AliExpress is a great place to source products for your dropshipping store, however, the huge number of items available means choosing what to list can be difficult.
Furthermore, although the majority of suppliers are reliable the products can vary in quality. In some instances, you could end up with counterfeit products.
The good news is, some simple due diligence before you list a product can help ensure you do not run into trouble with sub-par items.
To avoid dropshipping illegitimate products, here are some of the things you should look for when sourcing from Aliexpress.
1. Check Product Reviews
Before you begin whittling down potential suppliers for a product, you should do your research to ensure that the product itself is getting good reviews.
This will give you a good idea of the popularity of the product (lots of recent reviews clearly means people are currently buying), and what customers think about it.
Knowing that a product is getting good feedback is an important consideration before trying to sell it in your own store.
Customer reviews will also give you an idea of any quality issues, shipping times, and even the buyers’ demographic (age, sex, and location information are often revealed within a longer, more detailed customer review).
The screenshot above is from a supplier selling Puma tracksuits. As you can see, one customer has been satisfied with the delivery time.
However, with only 5 reviews (despite a good star rating), I would more data before deciding that this was a product and/or supplier for me.
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2. Check Product Star Rating
Each listing will have a product star rating that will help you ascertain the legitimacy of a product. In any case, genuine or counterfeit, you will want to avoid a product with a low star rating.
Try to avoid dropshipping items with 4.0 stars and below, unless they are really relevant to your niche and cannot be found elsewhere.
This is important, make sure you check that to see if a better quality version of the same product can be found with a different supplier, or even on a different platform if it is that important to list.
3. Check Supplier status and Feedback Scores
Once you have narrowed down your product idea, you can research potential suppliers.
For this, AliExpress has a comprehensive review system that allows customers to leave feedback about their experiences with a manufacturer/supplier.
The supplier feedback score is available at the top-left of the product listing and will also lead you to information on supplier details, location and how long they have been operating, etc.
A supplier with a good feedback score (90% and above) and has been trading for several years is clearly going to be less of a risk than a new trader with little feedback.
The established trader is also a lot less likely to be dealing with counterfeit goods.
The Feedback Score area will also reveal the seller’s sales volume, which is another good metric to understand the viability of a potential trading partner.
In the example above the 93.6% feedback score, along with over 36,000 followers is a great indication of a reputable seller of Adidas goods. They have also been in business since 2014 (revealed once you click the tab on the Aliexpress website).
4. Check the Supplier’s other offers
If a supplier is very broad, across all types of SKUs and brands it could be a red flag that they are knocking off counterfeit goods.
It is difficult for a small supplier to have access to so many manufacturers, this is normally reserved for the larger drop ship suppliers who can handle a high number of contracts.
A simple way to check whether the seller is spread thin over hundreds of categories is the “‘Seller’s Categories’ section on AliExpress. You can also hit the “Visit Store” tab within the feedback area.
Comparing this to the supplier age and sales volume will help you detect whether there is a potential anomaly. If it doesn’t add up, then it is best avoided.
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5. Check the supplier Warranties
Another red flag that might indicate counterfeit goods is the absence of a sales warranty. A seller with a legitimate contract with a brand manufacturer will be able to offer a warranty of sorts.
Any seller that doesn’t, could be selling fakes.
You can check this in the ‘Seller Guarantees’ tab on the item’s sales page.
Bear in mind that a true warranty is normally 1 year or more. A short, 2-3 months warranty could also indicate less than quality goods. The seller might be offering the warranty at their own expense just to lure you in.
6. Avoid Trending Products
Counterfeit manufacturers love trending products. It is a way to quickly sell items that are popular while also blending into the overall “noise” of multiple suppliers selling the same goods (both real and fake).
That is why you should consider avoiding trending items, especially if you have arrived at the party late and there is a lot of competition anyway.
You have a much higher chance of getting burned in a market like that.
Furthermore, even genuine dropship products may lessen in quality if demand is high. Manufacturers may be forced to rush production just to keep up with the required volumes.
That being said, it can be lucrative to ride the wave of a trending item… just ensure you ramp up the due diligence in order to stand the best chance of finding a legitimate supplier.
7. Due Diligence of the Logo and other trademarks
Even though you might be dealing with Aliexpress images only, it is still possible to scrutinize a product in terms of its overall look and logo.
Try to compare these images to originals on the brand website. Where are the logos placed? What are the quality of the print and overall design?
A misspelled logo or trademark, or one with different brand colors is a clear indication that the product is fake.
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8. Order a sample
Finally, you cannot beat actually having the product in your hand. This is the reputation of your dropship business after all.
Making a sample order will give you a clear idea of the quality of the product, shipping times, and other things the customer may experience.
Although it will mean a longer turnaround time before you can potentially list the item and begin selling, the peace of mind you will have that the product is up to scratch is very important.
If you follow all of the above points, you can begin selling with the confidence you need to succeed in the competitive world of dropshipping.