The global dropshipping market is growing rapidly, which is creating more opportunities for those in the e-commerce space. In fact, the market is expected to cross the US$ 200 billion threshold in 2023 and grow to US$ 243.42 billion.
Plus, dropshipping is a great business model for entrepreneurs who want to dip their toes in e-commerce. If you are not familiar, this business model involves selling items on a branded storefront but relying on a supplier for order fulfillment.
Luckily, there are a plethora of tools that make dropshipping accessible to entrepreneurs with all levels of experience. Two tools that pair well for dropshipping are Alibaba.com and Shopify.
This article will cover everything you need to know about dropshipping from Alibaba.com to Shopify. It will quickly review the functions of these two platforms before diving into a step-by-step guide on how to dropship from Alibaba.com to Shopify.
Dropshipping from Alibaba.com: the basics
Before we dive into the tutorial on how to dropship from Alibaba.com to Shopify, it is important to understand the roles of these two platforms in the dropshipping process.
Alibaba.com is an online marketplace for wholesale trade. It is a place for B2B buyers and suppliers to connect and conduct business. As one of the largest B2B e-commerce marketplaces in the world, Alibaba.com is particularly valuable for retailers since it offers millions of products to choose from.
Shopify, on the other hand, is a platform for creating an e-commerce store on a site of your own. It also provides the complete set of tools that retailers need to manage their e-commerce sales flows.
This platform is suitable for both typical e-commerce, where orders are fulfilled in-house, and dropshipping. Plus, Shopify offers several pricing plans so it can grow with your dropshipping business if you decide to scale.
When you merge the resources from Alibaba.com with Shopify, dropshipping becomes simple. Since the platforms can be connected, the setup is quite seamless.
3 simple steps to dropship from Alibaba.com to Shopify
Now that you have a better understanding of the roles of these two platforms in the dropshipping process, let’s take a look at the simple, three-step process for setting up a dropshipping store of your own.
1. Build a Shopify store
The first step is to build a storefront on Shopify. Since Shopify offers a website builder, this is pretty simple to do.
As you build your storefront on Shopify, you should prioritize the customer experience. Think of it as a brick-and-mortar store. It should be easy to navigate and reflect your brand. The experience should be pleasant for shoppers.
When it comes to writing the copy for your storefront, you want to make sure it is compelling and informative. It is also important to create copy that uses simple words in your descriptions because you may lose your viewers’ attention if you attempt to be overly sophisticated.
2. Connect Alibaba.com and Shopify
Next, you need to connect Alibaba.com and Shopify so you can import your products to list on your storefront.
The process is as follows:
1. Open settings on Shopify
2. Navigate to “Apps and Channels”
3. Open the Shopify app store
4. Search for Alibaba.com
5. Install “Dropshipping by Alibaba Official”
6. Enter Alibaba.com credentials when prompted
Once you have connected the two platforms, you can continue the process of adding products to your storefront in the Home tab of your Shopify dashboard.
3. Start selling
Once the storefront is built and you have connected your Alibaba.com and Shopify accounts, you should be ready to launch.
Since you are selling on your own site via Shopify, you will need to find a way to drive traffic to the storefront. You can use social media marketing, email marketing, SMS marketing, SEO, paid ads, and more.
How to find the best suppliers on Alibaba.com
Although the steps we outlined above are quite simple, here are some tips that you will find useful for finding the best suppliers on Alibaba.com.
Use search result filters
Alibaba.com offers a plethora of search result features to find the exact product or suppliers you are looking for. For example, you can sort by price, type of product, and supplier type. It is a good idea to leverage these filters since they make it easy to narrow down your results for a more precise search.
Read the reviews
One great thing about Alibaba.com is that buyers have the option to leave reviews and ratings. This is valuable to prospective buyers who want more insight into what it is like to work with a specific supplier.
The reviews can be quite telling about the quality of the products, the process of receiving an order, and more. Reviews can reveal benefits and positive things about a supplier, but they can also reveal potential red flags.
After you find a couple of potential fulfillment partners, it is time to start inquiring about pricing. As you get quotes from various sellers, negotiate to see who can give you the best deal.
The value of entering negotiations with multiple suppliers is that you can leverage the various offers against one another. For example, if one supplier offers better pricing and another offers better terms, you can take the best parts of the deal back to the other supplier as a negotiation tactic.
Keep transactions on Alibaba.com
Alibaba.com offers a program called Trade Assurance to protect transactions that are carried out on the platform. This ensures that orders from participating vendors are delivered on time and reasonably meet the buyer’s expectations.
With that said, it is very important to choose a supplier that is willing to keep communication and transactions on the platform. If a supplier asks you to leave the platform for any reason, this may be a red flag.
Checkout on Alibaba.com is very flexible in the sense that there are tons of payment options. Some of the most popular options include PayPal, bank transfer, and credit cards like American Express and Visa.
As we have demonstrated, dropshipping on Shopify from Alibaba.com is quite straightforward. If you are looking to create an online store, using this e-commerce workflow is a great way to get started.