Alibaba was founded in 1999 and is usually cited as China’s answer to both eBay and Amazon since it contains a vast online database of everything people want to buy in just one place.
Alibaba dropshipping can be a very lucrative business if you find the right ways to do the business and build an online eCommerce brand.
Alibaba is where you can source products from reliable suppliers and sell them in your store for a profit.
Once you learn how to use their dropshipping service, you can easily open up an online store, build an inventory of low-priced goods and have your supplier deliver the goods to your customers once they make an order.
Major Business Areas of Alibaba
Alibaba has some significant business areas that you need to be familiar with before you consider venturing into the Alibaba dropshipping business model. Check them out below.
- Lynx – Lynx is relatively committed to providing Chinese consumers with a premium online shopping experience in making sure that they purchase products from top brands. It also helps to ensure the cost-effectiveness of products through limited-time promos, along with consumer needs, to help provide products at a price that is fair and favorable.
- Alibaba International Market – The Alibaba International Market is a dropshipping platform that serves millions of buyers and suppliers worldwide.
- Taobao – It is a platform that displays millions of products as well as services, to allow customers to choose what best suits their needs.
- Ali Mama – Ali Mama is an online marketplace that helps to provide mobile marketing and PC services to the sellers in the Alibaba trading market.
- 1688 – It is an Alibaba dropshipping platform that provides a channel for product purchasing from the local wholesalers of business operating in the Alibaba retail market.
- Cainiao Network – It is a subsidiary that is wholly-owned by the Alibaba Group Affiliate. The main aim of this network is to meet the logistic needs of the mobile and online commerce industries of China in the future.
- AliExpress – AliExpress is quite popular since it is a global retail marketplace for consumers. Consumers worldwide can purchase a variety of products directly from the manufacturers and wholesalers in China through Alibaba dropshipping.
- Alipay – It helps to facilitate payments as it provides a convenient and safe way for mobile payment and the collection of services. Alipay is the main settlement method for sellers and buyers of Tmall and Taobao.
- Alibaba Cloud – The Alibaba Cloud Computing offers a definitive set of cloud computing services to help in supporting the participants of the mobile and online business ecosystem in Alibaba Group. This also includes the sellers and third-party businesses or customers.
The good thing is that Alibaba is rapidly developing and includes some great features which we are going to list down below.
Features of Alibaba that Make It Ideal for Dropshipping
Here are some features that make Alibaba stand out and ideal to consider the Alibaba dropshipping business model.
- Alibaba has secured an “integrity pass” thanks to the Alipay platform that provides safety and security to both buyers and sellers on Alibaba Group. The service provided on Alipay is excellent and guarantees the best experience for buyers and sellers.
- Alibaba Group’s website has three teams, which include English, Chinese, and Japanese. This consists of a massive availability of customers and enables the exchange of information between buyers and sellers.
- Alibaba has the world’s largest Chinese forum, which facilitates business meetings and friends. That has helped to create convenience for business owners globally.
- Alibaba has also managed to narrow the distance between business owners and increase the site’s visibility.
How to Start Alibaba Dropshipping
Unfortunately, Alibaba dropshipping is a manual process; in that, you’ll have to identify a supplier of a product that you want to sell, test their efficiency or legitimacy, and then start selling on your online store.
You also need to know that Alibaba does not offer any help with shipment tracking, which means you’ll have to contact your supplier and request for all that information.
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Here are the steps you need to take before you launch an Alibaba dropshipping business.
1. Have a Computer and Stable Internet Connection
Launching an online Alibaba dropshipping business requires you to have access to your own computer and reliable internet connection.
Since you’ll be selling products online and dealing with a supplier from the other side of the world, you need to have means by which you can communicate with them, as well as your customers.
That is why having your own laptop, and reliable internet connection is essential.
All your work will be done through your computer, as you’ll also be marketing and handling customers online from your computer.
Therefore, you need to make sure you have these two things before you consider launching a dropshipping business.
2. Choose a Product to Sell in Your Niche
The first step with Alibaba dropshipping is identifying your niche and deciding on the product you want to sell in your store.
There are plenty of niches to choose from, and you can also consider getting into a niche that you are most passionate about.
Once you decide your niche and the product you want to sell, the next step is to log on to Alibaba and find a reliable supplier.
3. Find a Reliable Alibaba Supplier
Finding a supplier is one of the most crucial steps you have to take when launching your Alibaba dropshipping business. You have to be extremely careful and choose a reliable supplier.
There are thousands of suppliers on Alibaba. However, you need to make sure that you select a supplier that is highly rated and one that has good feedback. A supplier with good ratings shows that they are reliable and work well with businesses.
You need to know that a supplier can make or break your eCommerce business, which is why being careful in this process is essential.
Choosing a good supplier will significantly contribute to the growth of your business due to proper communication, on-time product delivery to your customers, and high-quality goods.
Therefore, when choosing a supplier, these are some of the factors you need to consider to help you have a successful business overall.
4. Product Descriptions
Product descriptions are also vital for your online store. You need to make sure your customers have the best information about the products you are selling when they visit your store.
Therefore, once you set up your store, find a supplier, and launch your business, ensure all the products have top-notch descriptions to convince visitors to make a purchase.
Visitors need to feel that they are buying a high-quality product and the only to ensure this is having well-written product descriptions that fully explain your products efficiently.
You can craft the product descriptions yourself or hire an expert writer to do the work for you.
Product descriptions help to sell your items, and this is why it is so important to consider this in your eCommerce business.
5. Setup Your Website
Once you have everything needed to start selling on your online store, the next important step is to set up your website where customers can come and buy from you.
The three platforms mentioned above help to make it easier for you to dropship products from Alibaba directly to your customers.
These platforms make it convenient for and almost automate all the work.
That means using them helps to lessen the work as you can also assign other people the work that you are unable to do.
Dropshipping can also be an automated business, and this is what makes this business model very attractive and lucrative.
What you need to do is ensure that you’ve conducted thorough research and know how to handle this type of business before getting into it.
6. Order Fulfillment
Order fulfillment is also a key factor to consider for your online store. Alibaba dropshipping requires manual order fulfillment unless you are using platforms like Shopify, Amazon, or eBay.
However, there are also other fulfillment services that you can hire to assist you in this process.
When choosing a fulfillment company, you have to ensure that they are reliable, and their pricing is fairly set. Some of the best fulfillment companies to consider include:
- Rakuten super logistics
- Red stag fulfillment
- Xpert fulfillment
There are many other fulfillment companies to consider. However, the ones we’ve mentioned above are the most popular and reliable fulfillment companies you can check out to find out if any of them is suitable depending on your business needs.
7. Product Pricing
Product pricing highly depends on how much your supplier is charging you and the profit margins you set for each product listed on your online store.
One thing you need to consider is setting fair prices for all your results. This is an area where most eCommerce owners tend to find difficulty with since most customers prefer cheap items.
However, what matters most is the quality of the products you are selling in your store.
If you sell high-quality products, customers wouldn’t mind so much about the price because they know that they are getting the best products in the market. Therefore, this is something you have to check with your supplier.
Once you choose a supplier, we highly recommend testing their product by first shipping them to your place. This will enable you to take a closer look find out if the supplier offers high-quality products.
Doing so will give you a better idea of how to set up the price for the product to make sure you are fair to your customers.
8. Have a Solid Marketing Strategy
Marketing is an essential factor to consider when running an online store. Without marketing your products and brand, it is impossible to reach out to more customers and increase sales with time.
Therefore, you need to have a solid marketing strategy to make sure you popularize your brand and grow your business in the long-term.
There are many marketing strategies you can implement in your store – the first one being social media marketing.
Social media has proven over the past few years to be an effective way to reach more customers globally and make your brand popular.
The likes of Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have managed to increase the revenue of many brands, and we believe they can come in handy for your online store.
Therefore, we highly recommend learning as much as you can about marketing on these different social media channels so that it can make your store to be known, thereby help to win more customers and increase your sales.
The first thing you need to do is create a Facebook page for your business, as well as Instagram and Twitter pages.
After setting up the pages, make sure you include all the information about your store, the products you are selling, and start marketing them effectively.
With time, you will see these social pages begin to grow and gain more followers, as long as you are offering the best products and services to your customers.
9. Customer Service
Customer service also plays a massive role in your business. Running an Alibaba dropshipping business requires a lot of effort and excellent customer support.
Remember, there are times when customers will file disputes and request for refunds or product returns. Therefore, you need to find the right solutions to handle such issues.
You should provide several means by which customers can contact you on your site, in case of any questions or issues.
This will significantly help you build a strong relationship with your customers since they know how they can easily contact you when they need to. Also, ensure that you respond fast to customer queries.
If you are too busy with other stuff, you can assign the work to a virtual assistant that will be providing customer support on your behalf.
Conclusion On Alibaba Dropshipping
The Alibaba dropshipping business model is a lucrative way to make money online. However, it requires considerable effort and an entrepreneurial mindset to help you achieve a successful business.
But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t achieve success as a beginner.
What you need to do as a beginner is to think outside the box, be open to learning new stuff, and always have the zeal to scale and grow your business.
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