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Shopify + AliExpress: Can You Build a Long-Term Business?

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New Contributor
Mar 16, 2018
Hi guys,

a lot of people start out with the Shopify + AliExpress / Oberlo model, but is it possible to build a successful long-term business with this model?

My main concerns are:

1) Long Shipping Times
- By default, it takes 7-10 days for items to arrive in US (longer for the rest of the world). Why would someone buy from your store if they can get the same item from Amazon in 1 day with zero shipping cost?
- It's a common issue, even among best rated sellers, that they don't use ePacket but China Post, even if you specifically instruct them to use ePacket. That can create some serious customer support issues.

2) Customs Duty
- If I as a customer would buy something and then get a form to fill out and customs duty to pay that would be a very unwelcome surprise. I would go through the trouble, probably, but I would never again order at from that seller.

3) Building a Relationship
- Nowadays you often don't buy directly from the manufacturer but from a re-seller. If you're stuck with a reseller, it's impossible to build a good relationship for the long-term (packaging, lower prices, etc.).

4) Quality Issues
- A lot of cheap products are made for Chinese market only and they don't comply with EU/US safety standards. That could cause a lot of troubles in the long-term.

What do you guys think? Is it worth doing the Shopify + AliExpress model, if you plan things for the long-trem, or is it better to skip the whole thing and find quality dropshippers in US/EU?

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Silver Contributor
Speedway Pass
Aug 25, 2012
I've been doing this for over a year with one of my stores.
I've never had a single complaint, I've had a few orders not arrive but I just send a replacement out. In fact, I've received thank you emails from customers praising my level of service who have then gone on to make repeat purchases.

People will tell you dropshipping is bad and that it's cheaper than you think to import, but here's the thing, the products I thought were going to sell when I started my store have never sold, not a single sale.
I now have over 100 products listed on my store and about 90% of sales come from just 5 products. Had I imported from the start id have spent a lot of money on failed products before I found them 5 winning products and would probably have given up.

So why not get started today with dropshipping, move fast find the winning products make some sales, and then look to importing/ branding/ improving shipping times once you know what sells.


New Contributor
Mar 16, 2018
I'm happy to hear that, thank you.

I thought I'd find some dropshippers in UK for my niche because of all the reasons that I mentioned before. The only downside compared to AliExpress would be a lot smaller selection of products.

I guess I'll give Shopify + AliExpress a go then and I'll slowly optimize the whole thing as I go along.

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