True Aliexpress USA suppliers are rare. While many of the sellers on Aliexpress claim to be shipping from the USA, most of them are not. It pains me to paint them all with a broad brush but most of them lie through their teeth.
Aliexpress sellers are ruthless and they will do anything to get sales. I’ve had many of them lie to me outright and even show me photos of their USA warehouse only to find out weeks later that they are actually shipping from China.
There is an important distinction that you have to pay close attention to when looking for USA suppliers on Aliexpress.
There are essential 2 types of “USA suppliers” on Aliexpress.
The first is well established Chinese suppliers that have real warehouses in the USA. Some even have long-standing contracts with many USA stores and they supply them.
They usually supply the thousands of dollar stores throughout the USA and some even supply big name stores like Target and Walmart. Selling through Aliexpress is a supplemental income for them.
These are the types of suppliers you want to work with. They have real warehouses and they can legitimately ship your customers’ products from the USA.
The second type of Aliexpress USA suppliers is the type you want to be very careful with. They don’t actually have any physical presence in the USA. Instead,m they use shipping lanes that ship from China with a direct lane to the USA from where the parcels get forwarded via the USPS.
This can work and it can be quick. For all intents and purposes, it looks like the parcels ship from the USA because the parcels will be delivered “from” the USPS.
The problem with this is that things can go wrong and it often does. While it is a faster option than standard Aliexpress shipping, it is not really a USA supplier.
Finding Aliexpress USA Suppliers
So, how can you distinguish between the two? How can you find true USA suppliers on Aliexpress? The truth is that you can’t really tell with 100% certainty as there is no real measure put in place by Aliexpress to verify this.
To filter Aliexpress sellers by those who ship from the USA, simply set the filter in your Aliexpress search results.
These will be all the products that sellers claim they ship from the USA. This is not always true so we have to tread carefully.
Our first round of verification is to check the basic ratings of the Aliexress seller. Make sure that the seller has been in business for at least one full year – ideally more. In our example, the seller has been in business since 2012 which is a big tick.
If you scroll down to the shipping options we can clearly see that they are shipping from the United States and that they use the USPS.
Their estimated shipping time is 4 to 13 days. At the time of writing this, there are still huge delays because of COVID-19 so that 4-13 days is normal for domestic shipping times.
Next, we need to check something very important and that is their processing time. Shipping time is one thing, but if the Aliexpress takes 2 weeks to “process” the order then it ends up being super slow.
This is how many Aliexpress sellers get away with it. They claim to have fast shipping from the USA but they set their processing time to 2 weeks. They make up for the shipping with the processing time and that is how they can “cheat”.
To check their processing time, use the Asify Chrome extension to see what their average processing time is. In our example, it is 1 to 5 days which is quite good.
I used to recommend you read through the reviews to see what USA customers have to say about shipping times but from my experience, most of the people who leave reviews on Aliexpress are the ones who want to bitch about something.
As a final check, I would recommend you message the Aliexpress seller.
Tell him that you are dropshipping and want to make sure that he is really shipping from the USA. Make it clear that you want to use him and that you can send them a lot of business.
You can also ask him about his USA stock. Ask him about how much stock he has and whether he stocks related products.
A good supplier will respond quickly and is usually very keen on your business since Aliexpress sellers love dropshippers.
If you have the time and patience, place a test order. This will allow you to gauge the shipping speed as well as the product quality.
DO NOT jump in and start selling hundreds of products – especially if you promise your customers fast shipping from the USA.
Dropshipping From The USA with CJ Dropshipping and Udroppy
The problem with Aliexpress sellers is that they are all over the place. If you run a niche store then you might have to deal with multiple Aliexpress sellers and that can muddle things up very quickly.
They allow you to sell these products through them WITHOUT you having to buy stock upfront.
Essentially it is the same deal as with Aliexpress but with some huge advantages.
- You only have to deal with 1 supplier. This makes managing your dropshipping business easy and they can ship multiple products together which is great if you run a niche store.
- They can process your orders in 1 to 2 days. This is a big deal since that is often the sticking point with Aliexpress. Every day you save counts when you dropship.
- They offer fast shipping from China. Aliexpress shipping is slow partly because they use the cheapest shipping options. Even ePacket is slow and very cheap.
- CJ Dropshipping and Udroppy use dedicated shipping lines which is at least twice as fast as Standard Aliexpress shipping. Their average shipping times are 5 to 10 days from leaving China to delivery in the USA.
While CJ Dropshipping and Udroppy mostly ship from China, they have USA warehouses as well. CJ Dropshipping now has 2 USA warehouses and this comes with a LOT of great options for dropshippers.
Firstly, CJ has a huge inventory in their USA warehouses that are open to all dropshippers. These are genuinely dropshipped from the USA and there is no bullshit like with Aliexpress sellers.
They also have the option for you to ship products from China to their USA warehouse. They will then manage your inventory for you and you can dropship as usually – BUT it is your inventory.
In my opinion, this is the best option for dropshippers who want to transition to having their own inventory in the USA. Yes, you will need to pay for stock upfront but CJ manages the entire process for you and it is so much easier than transitioning to a fulfillment center.
Dropshipping From The USA with USA Suppliers
Dropshipping from USA suppliers is by far the best way to do dropshipping. It gives you the best of both worlds. The convenience of not having to stock inventory and fast shipping.
Getting products to your customers in 3 to 5 days removes one of the biggest problems with dropshipping. Happier customers and a lot less agro on the customer support front are not the only benefits.
If you are dropshipping from USA suppliers then the quality of products tends to be much higher also.
Established businesses in the USA simply won’t survive if the quality of products is below par.
Another huge benefit of dropshipping products from the USA is that you can accept returns. If you dropship from China then you have to eat the costs of returns.
Even when you dropship from USA suppliers on Aliexpress, they tend to be very difficult when it comes tp returns and at best you will have to refund your customer or send out replacements while you deal with the Aliexpress returns.
So, this all sounds too good to be true right?
As great as dropshipping from the USA is there are some issues…
There are limited options when it comes to finding good companies in the USA that are offering dropshipping. Because of this, competition tends to be much higher.
Most of these companies and their products already have dropshippers and you will enter markets and products that already have competition.
Competition is usually a good sign. Its a sign that there’s money to be made but you will need to roll up your sleeves as it will be harder to break into.
The margins will be much slimmer when you dropship from the USA with USA companies. Overheads are much higher and the higher quality of products will mean there is less profit to be made.
Another problem with margins is that many companies will be selling these products themselves (apart from dropshipping). Some will set fixed retail prices that leaves you with very little wiggle room.
One of the big benefits of dropshipping from China (or Chinese products) is that they are mostly “blank” and unbranded products.
As a dropshipper this allows you to attach your own branding to the products. Even if you don’t have your brand on the products and the packaging, it still allows you to create branding on your website and advertising.
When you dropship products from the USA then you will mostly work with products that are already branded. This greatly narrows your options as you become more of s reseller than a brand.
Finding USA Suppliers to Dropship With
Finding suppliers who are willing to dropship products for you can be tough. There are many companies that are keen to offer you wholesale but that usually comes with big minimum orders and very strict resale conditions.
You don’t want to deal with that. The margins are paper thin and you become a small fish in a big pond. The risks are also huge because you have to buy inventory upfront.
You want to stick to the dropshipping model to minimize your risk of investing in inventory. You also want the freedom to market and brand the products you are selling any way YOU want.
There are essentially 3 ways to find USA suppliers to dropship with.
1. Dropshipping and Wholesale Directories
The easiest way to find local companies and products to dropship is through directories. Salehoo is pretty much the only directory work looking at. It is a paid service but if you’ve seen what the free directories are like then you would be happy to pay the fee.
Salehoo has a LOT of really great companies and products and they actually maintain their directory.
They only allow legit companies to list and this not only saves you a lot of time but it also saves you from dealing with scammers. Most of the free directories are filled with Chinese imposters pretending to be USA suppliers so be careful.
Salehoo is $67 for 1 full year of access. It is well worth the expense in my opinion and I’ve been able to find a few gems. One good supplier is all you really need to build a great dropshipping business that has none of the Aliexpress hassles.
You can think of it as Oberlo but with USA suppliers. Sprocket is certainly a great option but they are limited in the range of products and suppliers they have.
You can install the app for free so it is well worth checking out to see if you can find products you can sell. If you can find your products on Spocket it is a super efficient way to run your dropshipping business.
Fast shipping from the USA and semi-automated fulfillment. What more could you want?
3. Manual Search
Finding your own dropshipping suppliers is a much harder process but it can pay off big time. If you are already fixed on a niche or a product type then you can start reaching out to companies and try and get them to dropship for you.
This can be a bit of a hit or miss as many companies will have no idea what you are talking about.
One GREAT place where I have has success in the past is Etsy. Etsy has thousands of sellers and you can find some amazing one-of-a-kind products there.
Most Etsy sellers are great at making products but they suck at marketing.
Contact them and tell them that you are dropshipping and want to sell their products. Most of them want to sell more and would be happy to work with you.
The secret is to start selling their products first. Once they see what you can do they will be much more open to negotiating on price.
The margins are not great at first but if you can proof to them what you can do they would be happy to offer you better prices than what they list on Etsy.
Two More USA Dropshipping Options To Consider
If you want to be rid of the headaches that comes from dealing with Chinese suppliers, then you have two more options.
The first is to do print on demand. This is quite a different business model but it most certainly allows you to dropship with less headaches.
The downside is that you are quite limited in terms of products you can sell and it requires a different skillset because it relies heavily on design. I’ve written extensively about using print on demand in eCommerce.
The second is something I have very little experience in but something I would most certainly want to look into in the future. That is the massive and incredibly lucrative market of suppliments.
There are dozens of great USA based companies that offer blank products that you can label and brand as your own. They take care of everything from dealing with regulators to shipping, product development ec.
It is not limited to supplements though. There are products like herbal teas, coffee and even perfumes. I recommend you look into Dropified’s Black program if you are interested in going down this path.