Usually, the first thought of future online merchants is to get products into their online store from AliExpress. However, there are more reliable and valuable options out there. Forget about being one in a million with poor products and trashy service.
Marketplaces take a big slice of the cake of e-commerce. We can think about it in more ways. Individuals like to just sit in their cozy bed and scroll through the product pages of AliExpress, eBay or Amazon, for example. It’s favorable for them because they don’t have to go out, they can order almost any kind of products online, it’s easy to meet low prices. It’s possible to check reviews there, but these are not always worth to rely on. There are a lot of stereotypes that say you can only get bad quality items from marketplaces, and there is truth in it.
Mull over the undeniable fact that people do not dare to buy the expensive, big size or significant products but the tiny ones with low prices where there are no serious risks, for instance on losing a lot. And it says a lot.
If people have a lot of doubts when they are buying products from these marketplaces, why would you, as an online store owner want to resell those cheesy items in your own e-shop? It’s not a good bargain either for you or for your customers.
In the following, we are going to talk about what recommended alternatives you can have to get products from AliExpress.
- Marketplace or Local supplier?
- Other reasons to work with local suppliers
- Drop shipping & Remote Warehousing
- How to get to know real, local suppliers?
The best alternatives to marketplaces are real suppliers and what’s more, local ones. The factors and thoughts next to the phenomenon that people try to get and resell products from AliExpress could be, for example:
- it seems to be easy,
- everyone does it, so why wouldn’t I succeed,
- there are a lot of options to choose from as for the products, retailers (referred to as suppliers here),
- the products will sell themselves because they are cool,
- it’s cheap,
- likely you will get rich easily.
This list never ends. In the meantime, however, these are false images and dreams people follow. We can say the reason why it is a dead idea in only one sentence. After sharing this, we will talk about it in more detail, you just have to scroll down.
Everybody sells the same products, and people will not only realize it but also the matter that they can find the exact same items on marketplaces. So they will turn away. Poor products aren’t worth more money.
As for the Few items from the niche – More varied stock part, we share a bit of an explanation. So, what we mean here is that more parties on AliExpress have only a few products, the product range is not significant at all. If they, for example, sell kitchenware, you will only find one dinner set or a funny salt cellar there, but nothing else. However, if you work with a normal supplier, that will provide many many products from that certain niche. This is how you can manage a good business. By the way, what do you think, the most successful online stores get products from AliExpress? We don’t think so.
The factors mentioned in the infographics are not all that we can talk about. They are just the most important, from a certain view.
And as you can see, working with a local supplier is more beneficial than getting products from a marketplace.
- you don’t have any customs duty and VAT problems,
- your prices can be lower,
- you can check the products’ quality in advance,
- there won’t be lost packages,
- banks don’t want to move apart, they will gladly cooperate,
- there’s easier differentiation,
- lower competition,
- good customer service,
- no scam or fraudulent partner disguised as a supplier.
So when working with real, local suppliers, you don’t have to be in that big competition, you can be unique.
We have a Facebook group with more than twenty thousand members (Shopify Dropship, Wholesale Suppliers – Syncee group). In this community, we have posted a mini questionnaire with the following question: What is the most important factor when you choose a new supplier to your Shopify store?
A lot of answers arrived, here’s a quick review of it. The result, from August 2018, reflects the need for the remote warehousing model that we are going to talk about in detail in the followings. Also, you can check here the need for working with a local supplier as for all of the factors people chose as the most important ones.
Do you know what drop shipping is? It is an e-commerce model, and running your business like this means you do not need to stock an inventory, you do not have to do anything with them, you won’t even touch the items. You only get the data feed file, so you meet these products virtually. However, if you don’t see them, you don’t even know what quality they have. The money, by the way, moves between you and the customer then you and the supplier. It would be a good kind of retail fulfillment method because you don’t need to invest a lot of money in your business, however, don’t let it charm you. Many people think about getting products from marketplaces when it’s about doing drop shipping. However, it’s not the only way. Moreover, we recommend you to not do it in the standard way. Read more about the new way of it, the remote warehousing, a bit below.
So, you can see the disadvantages of using drop shipping above, in the marketplace sections. There are a lot of similarities. You can’t trust these services totally.
Another drawback of it is the following. Imagine the situation when you get products from more suppliers. A customer goes to your online store, then orders more products, but those products are from different suppliers. In this case, the customer will get for example 2 packages with the certain products in them. It’s so inconvenient. And you can be sure, that if that person gets to see that one of the product is missing, they won’t think that oh probably it’s from another supplier but they would do think that you are unreliable, and you don’t want to send the other item to them. However, if you use the above-mentioned method, you can make the products wait for each other, and your buyer will only get one package in the mail.
A better, modified version of drop shipping
It’s called remote warehousing. This is a mixture of the standard wholesale business form and the well-known drop shipping model. If you do remote warehousing, you also don’t have to stock an inventory, you don’t have to pre-purchase the products that you want to sell in your online store. The customers will send you the money and you will send it to the supplier itself.
Mentioning again the previous fact, don’t let your customers think that ahh, this online store is unreliable because they didn’t put one of my items in the package I just got from the delivery man, and now I have to wait for more to get the other one. I want a refund. Obviously, because it’s not the truth.
If you don’t want to face this, there’s a solution. In the standard drop shipping, the supplier ships the product directly to the customer. However, in remote warehousing, the supplier sends the item to the online store owner’s place—it can be their garage, living room or later a fulfillment center if the company gets bigger, and the owner can afford it without any difficulties. In this way, the retailer can wait for all of them and can send those in one package to the buyer. If you are worried about what if there’s a big time difference between the delivering of each item from one ordering… then don’t forget the fact that we recommend you all the way to work with local suppliers, so in this way you don’t have to wait a lot for the parcels from any of the suppliers. You can send the packages to the customer in a couple of business days.
By the way, as you can realize, that the factors besides why is it beneficial to work with local suppliers are equal to the benefits of running a business using the remote warehousing service.
Another reason why it is good to pick the remote warehousing one is that you can check the quality of the product, whether they are damaged or not, whether everything is fine with them. We have read a lot of concerns about this, that they don’t know what the products are like, whether they have a cheap material or not, and so on. And at least but not last, you don’t have to worry about lost packages.
Read more about the Remote Warehousing by clicking here.
This task can be really easy to do if you know where to start. Here, we offer you some options, for instance, information about some directories, and you just have to browse and pick the best supplier for your own needs.
If you decided not to work with marketplaces and you are still a fledgling in the e-commerce world, then these ideas are just for you.
1. Syncee Supplier Exchange: This is a supplier directory in Syncee’s system. You can browse it with ease and check every necessary information about the listed wholesalers and drop shippers. Then you just have to choose one or more that suit your needs as for your online Shopify store. Finally, you have to import the products into your store. All Syncee users can check and get products from here if there’s any potential service they like.
2. Supplier lists on Syncee’s blog: We have created five lists for five main location, and you can check that for free. If you choose a supplier from there, you have to contact them and ask for an always updating data feed file. After this, contact Syncee so that we can import the products into your Shopify store.
3. Check your competitors: Do you see products at your competitors, or at any other stores you like, you can give it a try to check which suppliers they get their products from. You just have to order something from them and check whether you can see some information about the supplier on the packaging. It’s not always working, but there’s nothing to lose trying it.
4. Attend trade shows, exhibitions: It’s not possible for everyone because there aren’t many trade shows or exhibitions in each location but if there is, then you have to check them for sure. Even if you already have a supplier to cooperate with. You can never know when will you find another good one.
5. Forums, social media groups: Forums are a bit old-fashioned, but still existing. Find one and get quality opinion and recommendation from there, just take care of the date when a certain content was published. A newer version of forums like this is the social media groups, where you can check what others posted or write a question, request by yourself too.
6. Google Search: Yes, it’s not a joke. You just have to take care of who you spend time contacting with, and you have to be smart while searching. Our three quick tips: 1. Search extensively. A lot of suppliers don’t do any marketing so maybe the best for your needs would appear on the fifth page of Google. You can never know. 2. Don’t judge by the website. As for the previous one, many suppliers don’t care about being the most attractive in the market, Don’t judge by the book’s cover. 3. Use lots of modifiers. While searching you have to type various search tags for the better results.
Content manager and e-commerce adviser at Syncee. Her passion is strong for e-commerce novelties, online stores, and Shopify. She is committed to helping others succeed by her writings.