Let’s preface with this a disclaimer, there are many exceptions to the signs here and you should always use your own discretion when choosing suppliers.
Many dropshippers don’t realize that AliExpress suppliers contain many people that are essentially also doing dropshipping using AliExpress as retail a platform. That means they are listing products for a higher price and most likely purchasing them directly from a factory source. Here are some signs to look for to avoid higher prices and subpar suppliers.
1. Too New
If you click on a supplier, you can view how long it has been operating. Newer stores are not automatically bad news because they may be offering a newer product; however, pay attention to what they are selling. If they are a couple months old and selling something fairly common, it may be the case that they are acting as a middleman for a product you can find for cheaper.
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2. Replica Sellers
Although it is frowned upon by AliExpress, there is no shortage of suppliers that are pushing replica products. Replica products that are clones of popular brands including logos and other branding hallmarks. Don’t be that dropshipper who got their store taken down for selling fake designer goods.
3. Low Quality Products
It is recommended to have a set of the products you sell on hand for several reasons but quality checking is essential. This allows you to act as another line of quality control. Even properly vetted suppliers can still produce low quality goods.
Inspect the products you list! If they fill cheap, uncomfortable, flimsy, or break easily, you may have a low-quality supplier. This is a one way ticket to a brand and store killer.
On the other hand, a great supplier can become a long-term partner that helps you grow your brand and cultivate a following. Again, please use your own discretion.
1. Detailed and Long Selling History
You should ALWAYS look into the history of your seller. Most reputable sellers will have a short description of how long they have been in business, a mission statement, and even photos of their factory.
A rule of thumb to use when it comes to defining a “long selling history” would be at least a year in operation but 2 years is better. This shows that the supplier is successful enough to sustain and also makes products that aren’t going to break 2 days into use.
2. Good Customer Service
Useful and timely customer service is an essential part of retail. You must be providing this to your customers, but your suppliers should also be providing this for you.
Look for suppliers that have a quick and helpful response when you have questions are concerns. You want a supplier that will not only assist you but stand by their products’ reliability.
Keep in mind, you may run in to some language barriers but usually a good supplier will be able to communicate clearly with you.
3. Flexibility and Willingness to Work with You
If you are building a brand for the long term, you will need logos and branding. Great suppliers are more than willing to put your designs on the products and packaging for a small fee. They will also have no problem with removing any of their branding or other signs that the product is dropshipped.
Additionally, if you are moving products well, you can contact suppliers and ask for discounts. Solid suppliers will usually work with you if you can show them you have a mutually beneficial relationship.