Well, we already know that AliExpress is the marketplace par excellence to find dropshipping suppliers with attractive prices and minimal guarantees.
Now, can you imagine for a moment what it would mean to have to manually replicate all the orders you receive in your online store on AliExpress?
And when I say replicate, I mean repeat the entire process on AliExpress; search the products, select the configuration options if it is variable, add them to the cart, enter billing / shipping information and make payment. And all that for each new order you receive.
At first, with very few orders, it might even become feasible to do so. But as the number of daily orders grew, it would be practically impossible to manage manually.
You would have to spend most of your time just doing that and the chances of making mistakes with orders would grow exponentially.
Luckily, today there are already tools and plugins that allow you to connect your WooCommerce store with AliExpress so that all the orders you receive are automatically generated in AliExpress without you having to do anything at all.
So that you don’t have to spend a good part of your time looking for the perfect tool, I have already done that analysis work for you.
AliDropship is the most complete plugin to sync WooCommerce with AliExpress and dropship like a pro.
Main advantages of AliDropship over other plugins
Why don’t I recommend a free plugin?
Well, the main reason is because you cannot demand any type of support nor do you have guarantees that it will be kept up to date. And honestly, if you are serious about dropshipping, it is the least you should invest in.
How does AliDropship work?
The first thing you should know is that this plugin has two versions, one for WordPress and the other exclusively for WooCommerce. (With the purchase of a license you will have access to both).
Needless to say, the version you should use is WooCommerce.
Once the plugin is activated, a shortcut to the AliDropship configuration will appear in the main menu of the WordPress admin panel.
The first thing to do once you enter the configuration panel is to register the plugin license to be able to configure it. The license key is a long combination of letters and numbers and it is sent to you by email when you purchase the plugin.
You just have to paste it into the field that I show you below and click on “Activate”:
Well, you already have the plugin license activated, so the next thing is to configure the general settings from “AliExpress> Settings”. In this section you can configure things like:
- Add a note on orders. This is very important as it allows you to notify the supplier that you are a dropshipping seller and that you only want them to contact you if there is an issue with the order.
- Activate order tracking.
- Or include your Aliexpress affiliate url to activate the cash-back option I talked about earlier.
Apart from that, it is important that you leave the update settings well configured from the beginning. With these settings you will tell AliDropship how to update the information of the products when they change in AliExpress .
You will find these settings in the “AliExpress> Updates” section and you can define in detail what you want AliDropship to do in the following cases:
- The product is out of stock on AliExpress.
- A product variation runs out of stock.
- The AliExpress provider updates the inventory, that is, it changes the number of available units of the products.
- The supplier changes the price.
From here you can also activate AliDropship’s automatic product update system and choose how often you want all these changes to be checked on AliExpress.
As you can see in the previous image, you can choose between updates once a day, a week or a month.
IMPORTANT: You must bear in mind that this automatic update system only works if you have the Google Chrome browser open . If you don’t usually have your browser open, you can also do the manual update with a single click.
Finally, without going into detail about them, here is a list of the main options that allows you to configure AliDropship:
- One-click predefined price rules. Of course you can also configure yours from scratch.
Multi-currency to display prices in different currencies.Color variations picker with thumbnails.
Activity reporting dashboard. You will have access to a complete record of all the changes that the products undergo in AliExpress ordered by dates.Order tracking report dashboard.
Migration assistant to export the configuration to other stores and save you hours of work.
How to import products from AliExpress with AliDropship?
Although we already have AliDropship installed in WooCommerce, I have not really explained how to connect our online store with AliExpress to be able to import products and register orders automatically.
To do this we are going to need a new tool that will “bridge” between WooCommerce and AliExpress. This tool is an extension for Chrome that we must install in the browser and that receives the same name as the plugin, AliDropship. You can install from here.
Once the extension is installed, you will see an icon like the following in the browser bar.
Click on it, write the url of the home of your store and click on the “Add” button. Then WordPress will ask for your permission so that the AliDropship extension can connect with your store and act as a bridge with AliExpress. Click on “Authorize” to allow the connection and voila!
Listen to me. It may seem complicated, but I assure you that it is only 3 steps and in less than 1 minute you have it.
From now on, when you enter AliExpress and you are logged in with your customer account (you can create one for free without having to buy anything) you will see a red bar with the name of AliDropship at the top of the page.
With this bar you will be able to select the products to import, search with one click for the suppliers with the best price , modify the information of each product if you need it and even edit the images and thus import only what really interests you.
Some Important Considerations About AliDropship
- In order to use AliDropship, you need to have ionCube installed on your hosting or server. I am not going to go into details of what ionCube is because it is irrelevant for this post, but if for some reason your hosting does not have it, when you activate AliDropship it will show you a message like the following:
The solution is simple. Contact your hosting support and in a matter of minutes, they will activate it. I at least had no problem with SiteGround, in 5 minutes I already had it.
- I don’t recommend importing product descriptions for 2 reasons; Google can penalize you for duplicate content and secondly, the descriptions are usually very poorly translated into Spanish and poorly optimized for SEO. So to avoid this, it is best that you write to them.
- Beware of product image file names. When you import the products from AliExpress, the images are automatically uploaded to the WordPress media library with file names (a combination of numbers and letters) not optimized for SEO.
The solution is quite simple. Once all the photos have been imported, you can modify the filename to optimize it for SEO with the free Media File Renamer Auto plugin.
TIP: Whenever you add products from a new supplier to your store, always make a trial purchase beforehand to see the quality of the product first-hand. This is the best way to validate if the supplier is of quality.
Driving traffic to our dropshipping store.
You may have hit the niche, found the best product provider and have an online store with the best design in the world and still not sell ANYTHING.
challenge work begins when you have to publicize your online store and drive traffic to it.
Once you have reached this point, you must be aware that it is not enough just to dedicate your time but you will have to invest money in advertising to capture your first traffic and start selling as soon as possible.
If someone promises you that you will get sales in a couple of weeks without investing a single euro, they are probably lying to you.
In dropshipping – as in any online business – a minimum investment is needed to have any chance of success. I at least don’t know how to do it any other way.
And now yes, we are going to see the 2 main ways of attracting traffic that you have.
SEO vs Paid Traffic
The first thing I want to make clear is that neither is better than the other, both have their pros and cons. But luckily, both are complementary and in fact, I recommend that you work both in parallel .
I’ll tell you how I would do it if I started a dropshipping ecommerce now.
Starting with advertising to gain traction
During the first month of any ecommerce project, it will be practically impossible to get direct sales from organic traffic through SEO. Therefore, at the beginning I recommend 100% to pull paid traffic through advertising so that the store achieves the first sales.
The ideal thing to grow fast is that during the first weeks (I would say at least the first 2 or 3 months) the profits are reinvested in paying for the publication and creating new campaigns or raising a budget for those that already work, if we can afford it.
So from now on when I talk about advertising campaigns, I will refer to campaigns on Facebook and Instagram ADS. (It could also be done with Google Ads, but I don’t recommend it to begin with because it is more complex to manage and more expensive).
I’m not going to go into the detail of how to create FB and Instagram Ads campaigns because only that would give to write a series of 10 posts like this hehe …
What if I am going to show you is the advertising strategy that I would continue taking into account that we start with a small budget.
Suppose we have a budget of € 5 / day and would spread it over 2 campaigns:
- DISSEMINATION: € 3 / day for a dissemination campaign . EYE! This campaign is aimed at cold traffic. It is not for sale, so no buy buttons or prices or offers. Because if you do, you will be wasting money, no one will buy from you cold and even less without knowing you at all.
- SALE: € 2 / day for campaign directed to sale.
What is sought with the dissemination campaign is to generate empathy, publicize our brand and the product through valuable content that is entertaining. (Think of the typical posts that people share on your wall because they are curious and attract attention.)
Quick lists of tips, tricks or curiosities usually work very well for this type of campaign. If, in addition to photos, we use video creatives for ads, the reach skyrockets and the CPC drops.
It goes without saying that you will have to try different copy, audience, images, videos, etc., and measure which ad works best.
It is very important that you also add a button or link to these ads that leads to a web page where this information is expanded in more detail. BUT I REITERATE; nothing to sell on this page.
Once you have enough data on impressions, interactions and clicks in the campaign, then if it will be time to “take out the heavy guns” and show the sales ads.
The sales campaign will already show ads for the product / s with the buy button. But you should keep in mind that you should only show them to people who have at least clicked on the links in broadcast ads (and if you have used video, who have seen at least 70% of it).
Obviously this strategy is not perfect for all niches or the only one that works. It is the one that I have proven that has given me the best result with a small budget.
IMPORTANT: Although most Aliexpress providers ship worldwide, I recommend that you first focus on selling only to the public in your country and therefore limit the advertising campaigns you do to that geographical area.
Vitamining with SEO content so as not to depend on advertising
As I have already mentioned before, it is very important that you work in parallel with the SEO strategy of the store for two simple reasons:
- You will get a constant source of qualified traffic at zero cost.
- You can greatly reduce the CPC of your campaigns thanks to the fact that this SEO traffic will allow you to create much more qualified audiences with the Facebook pixel.
The SEO of the home page, the categories, and of course, the product sheets begin to work. Always focusing the content of these pages on transactional keywords, that is, for searches that indicate a clear purchase intention.
For example, if the online store is for gel manicure products, a transactional keyword could be; « Price uv nail lamps «.
A very common SEO mistake in ecommerce is not optimizing the content of the product category pages and using them only to show the list of products.
If you want to have a minimum possibility that your product categories position, they should always include a part of text that is original (no copy and paste from other websites), descriptive and focused on transactional words for that category.
It is not necessary to write a text of 1000 words, with texts of 200-300 words is more than enough.
Obviously just because you add text they will not position the categories, apart from that you will have to optimize:
- The information architecture and internal linking of the store. If the online store has several product categories, I recommend you always work with a SILO architecture.
- The link building. You will need quality external inbound links to gain authority.
- The anchor texts of the links. Every time you link any of the “strong pages” of the store, you should vary the texts and not abuse the exact keyword. You have to try to be as natural as possible.
As you can see, there are quite a few things to work on, but don’t wait until you have everything perfect to index the categories . Once you have defined the web architecture and you have added the texts to the categories, you will be able to index them and little by little work on the link building.
It goes without saying that if your dropshipping online store only has 1, 4 or 5 products, it doesn’t make sense to use categories.
What nobody tells you about dropshipping
We have almost reached the end, but I could not say goodbye without first giving you my most honest opinion about this ecommerce model.
I honestly believe that there are still interesting niches to exploit in dropshipping and I still believe that it is a good option if you want to start in the world of ecommerce and you do not have products to sell nor can you afford to invest a lot of money.
Now, I also admit that I am tired of seeing advertising by “experts” selling you the promise that anyone can invoice € 300 / day with dropshipping in a few weeks and without investing hardly any money.
Sorry to spoil the party, but things don’t work like that.
I’m not saying it can’t be done, but of course you are going to have to invest a lot of time and money and even then, doing this is not going to guarantee that you will achieve it.
- Selling with dropshipping is the same or more complicated than with a traditional ecommerce model.
- Delivery times too long (14-18 days on average). This is a great disadvantage if you compete with sellers with their own stock who can ship in 24/48 hours.
- You have no control over the shipping logistics.
- Management of returns directly with the distributor . You are the one who faces any incident with the client, so you will also have to take care of managing the returns and communicating with the supplier.
- You also have to invest a lot of time and some money if you want to be successful . Every business requires your sacrifice and this was not going to be less.
At least you will have to make a small investment in advertising and acquire a good dropshipping tool . This is the one I use.
- If you want to keep the project long-term, you will have to buy stock and sell your own products. I remind you that the entry barrier for a dropshipping business is minimal, so if you find a good niche where there is business, sooner or later the competition will grow.
It will no longer be enough to have low prices, you will have to offer more competent delivery times, a more agile return policy, faster customer service, etc.
Now yes, as the French say; c’est fini!
I hope it has helped you to have a more complete vision about everything that involves starting an online store with dropshipping.
So if you were thinking of creating a dropshipping project, go ahead!
Research, experiment, test, measure and test again … Whatever you do, DO NOT GIVE UP EVER.