How is AliExpress used with dropshipping

Earning money on the Internet is also becoming increasingly popular in Germany. More and more online shops are being opened that offer very special or widely diversified assortments. An important question in such an online business is whether you want to store and ship the products yourself or whether you use the so-called dropshipping system. The aim is to establish a cooperation with manufacturers such as Alibaba or Aliexpress, in which the customers order a product in your shop, but receive it directly from the manufacturer via dropshipping.

You yourself only act as an intermediary and earn money from the profit margin you have calculated. If you want to establish business relationships in China and buy products as a result, you can't ignore the Alibaba B2B marketplace. The company, which was only founded in 1999, is now the largest and most successful online trading platform in all of Asia and now beyond.

So if you run an online business or an online shop, you can resell third-party goods via dropshipping. You can use Alibaba as a cooperation partner for your shop. For example, you can use the site to buy products and then resell them on Amazon. You don't need your own products, you can use the creativity of others to generate income. How exactly does it work? What do you have to do to get cooperation partners and reliable suppliers for your dropshipping business with the help of Alibaba or Aliexpress?

20 ideas for making money online

Idea 1: Earn money with your own online shop

First of all, what can you sell on the internet? Almost everything can be turned into money these days - from hand soap to sophisticated software. In order to generate income with an online shop, you need one thing above all, namely a brilliant business idea. If you have this for a completely new product or service that has rarely or not yet been offered, then the first important step has been taken. You may have discovered a niche that you can cover with an online shop on the Internet.

Idea 2: Advertise as an “affiliate”

If you run a blog or own a private website, this is a lucrative way to make money online. You can use so-called affiliate programs for this. They offer advertising material that you incorporate on your site. Whenever a visitor to your website clicks on such an advertising banner and buys something in the target shop, you will receive a commission.

Idea 3: earn money as an influencer

A field of activity in the area of ​​working from home that has only existed for about ten years is that of the influencer. These are people who use their reputation to advertise products or services from companies. Companies pay money for this, because they depend on good advertising. Take Kim Kardashian as an example: if she mentions or wears a certain product in one of her messages or videos on Instagram, the majority of her followers want the same product.

Idea 4: answer online surveys

Answering surveys is a very good and safe way to make money online. To be able to take part in such surveys, all you have to do is create an account with various market research institutes using a free registration.

Idea 5: Working from home as a product tester

Do you enjoy testing products? Then try yourself as a product tester. The simplicity of working and making money from home is that you usually get the test products for free and are allowed to keep them when the test is over.

Idea 6: make money as a writer

A great way to work and make money from home is to become a writer or writer. If you previously had to send your manuscript to countless publishers, today you can get started as a so-called self-publisher. The eBook is a lucrative form of this. More and more people are not buying books in bookstores, but are downloading the books onto their PC, tablet or eBook reader.

Idea 7: become self-employed as a copywriter

By writing texts - but in the form of commissioned work - you can also earn good money on the Internet. The first thing to do is to look for customers who will give you orders for such texts. So you have to keep an eye out for new clients all the time. In addition, you can register on content platforms on which you have to provide a sample text after registration and on which you will be classified in terms of quality based on this text.

Idea 8: Turn your own language skills into money

A special form of working from home as a copywriter is doing translations for customers. Perhaps you are not only fluent in your mother tongue, but have also learned other foreign languages ​​such as English, Spanish, French or Chinese. In addition to the possibility of using your own language skills for classic translations, there is also the possibility of working as an online language teacher.

Idea 9: make money with photos

Earning money on the Internet with pictures is a popular and lucrative way to earn money online on the side. Of course, it is only suitable for you if you have a creative streak and maybe already enjoy taking photos. You can put the finishing touches to professionalism, for example, with YouTube videos or attend a course.

Idea 10: Use your smartphone as a microjobber on the go

If you travel a lot and have a smartphone with a good camera, you can, so to speak, earn money on the Internet as an app jobber. All you have to do is download the appropriate apps such as Fotolia, Streetpotr or AppJobber onto your mobile phone and you can then select jobs that are displayed on a map of your surroundings. It's almost always about going to certain places, taking pictures, answering one or the other question and forwarding everything to the app. You will receive a fee for each completed job.

Idea 11: make money with your blog

First of all: Wanting to earn money online on the Internet with your blog in 2020 is not a matter of a few days or weeks, but mostly a long-term affair. However, it is also a sustainable method of making money online on the side. As a blogger, you publish articles, give tips, delve deep into topics, or rent out advertising space on your blog. This method is suitable for you if you enjoy writing or if you know someone who can do it cheaply for you.

Idea 12: offer webinars

A webinar is an interactive online broadcast. Many hundreds of participants can watch a webinar or recording live and actively participate. A webinar is an ideal way to pass on your knowledge to other people.

Idea 13: SEO optimization for companies

Anyone who wants to play at the top as a company cannot avoid SEO optimization (Search Engine Optimization). Search engine optimization refers to measures that increase the placement of a website in the organic search engines. The result: The websites that are displayed high in the search engines get more visitors. If you are well versed in SEO optimization, it makes sense to offer this as a business service.

In times of the European Central Bank's low interest rate policy, more and more people are looking for alternative investment and savings products. Often a decision is made to trade in securities, as high profits can be achieved here. This trade becomes problematic when one lacks the knowledge. Then the chances of a return can quickly dwindle and become noticeable in losses. If you know your way around stocks, perfect, then you have very good opportunities to make money online. If you are not familiar with the topic, so-called social trading could be an alternative for you. With social trading, you exchange ideas with other private investors about the latest developments in the financial market and orientate yourself towards the professionals.

Idea 15: Do-it-yourself selling

Do you like to make your own products that others might like? Then you can also earn money online with them on the Internet. On the one hand, as mentioned above, you can do this through your own online shop. But even without this you can sell your products to customers. Providers like Amazon offer you the opportunity to sell your products on their websites.

Idea 16: test websites

For the success of a website it is essential that it is clear, easy to understand and easy to use. This should be the goal of every business in order to attract customers and sell them products. Often the company or the developer of the site cannot judge how user-friendly their site is. Many operations are a matter of course for them, as they were there during the development process. The end user, on the other hand, is not familiar with the products and the website and has a completely different point of view.

Just like a high level of user-friendliness, a website needs an appealing design. Many visitors leave a website early because the design does not appeal to them, it does not make a professional impression or it is too confusing. This is especially important these days as there are a large number of good websites out there - this gives you a great opportunity to make money online on the side.

Idea 18: program apps

If you are familiar with programming software, there are many options for making money on the Internet. If you then have an idea that adds value to other people, it can be worth developing your own app. It is important that it is an app that either does not yet exist or one that is better and easier to use and offers people greater added value.

Idea 19: Programming websites

If programming apps isn't for you, but you have some knowledge of programming websites, you can do the same for other companies. Older companies in particular do not have a particularly mature web presence and are always looking for programmers to take care of their pages. In order to get orders, you can either register with relevant websites such as or send an unsolicited letter to companies whose websites are still expandable.

Idea 20: virtual assistant

Many self-employed people often do not have the money or the capacities to be able to afford their own office with employees. Nevertheless, there are many tasks that you cannot do alone and that need support. Many entrepreneurs use a virtual assistant for such tasks. This can take care of various tasks, such as answering e-mails or making appointments with business partners.

Alibaba and Aliexpress: what's the difference?

Alibaba and Aliexpress are both companies that belong to the Alibaba Group and were developed by Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Alibaba is a Chinese B2B trading platform that is particularly interesting for manufacturers, trading companies and wholesalers. As an entrepreneur, you can search for available manufacturers for your product here. You can tell that this is a B2B platform from the fact that there is a minimum order quantity for most products. Thus, Alibaba works like a directory of various retailers that you can easily contact.

Aliexpress, on the other hand, is a B2C trading platform, which is more aimed at the end buyer. Every private seller can list his goods on Aliexpress, which is why it is very similar to the Amazon platform. So here everyone can simply search for products and buy them without a minimum order quantity. So if you want to open your own dropshopping online shop, you can buy your products from both Alibaba and Aliexpress.

Registration with Alibaba and Aliexpress

To be able to be active on the B2B portal yourself, you need an account. Getting one takes time, as Alibaba places high demands on its dealers. This is noticeable in the verification process. In order to identify you as a dealer, Alibaba requires the following documents:

  • Business license
  • Identification documents
  • IP address

With these measures, Alibaba wants to ensure that fraudsters do not have a chance to abuse the platform for their own purposes. Once you have an account approved, it makes sense to provide as much information as possible about your own business so that you can make a good impression if interested parties click on it. Then you can start looking for serious business partners.

It's a lot easier with Aliexpress. As with any other platform on the Internet, you just have to register with your name and a password. And you can go shopping very comfortably.

The right partners for dropshipping via Alibaba and Aliexpress

One difficulty is that the distance between you and potential partners from China is quite great. It is probably not possible to travel there in person to negotiate. Therefore, you should research very carefully who you are dealing with if you are cooperating with a manufacturer. To check the seriousness, you could do the following:

  • Verify that an account has been verified by Alibaba or Aliexpress;
  • Check the background of the company interested in a cooperation (e.g. commercial register);
  • Personal contact of the company or the contact person;
  • Acquisition of specialist knowledge on Asian customs in business relationships (e.g. regarding informal formulation of inquiries, unfamiliar e-mail addresses).

On the basis of such information, you can usually already assess very well whether a possible cooperation partner is trustworthy or not. The ideal case would of course be that you maintain personal contacts with the company.

Earning opportunities through Alibaba and Aliexpress through low prices

Working with a Chinese producer is particularly appealing because the manufacturing costs for products in China are usually much lower than in Germany. As a shop operator with an account with Alibaba, you usually pay a fee to the platform. Of course, you have to add this to your ultimately calculated sales price. But why are the competitive prices for which Chinese companies offer their products? This is due to the already very low manufacturing costs. If you buy large quantities, the Chinese partner will give you another hefty discount.

Depending on the product, the purchase price is often only cents or at least so low that you can add a decent profit margin. In addition to the costs you incur (office rent, electricity, etc.), you should also include any duties and taxes as well as the desired profit margin. Even with all these surcharges, you will receive a sales price due to the low purchase price, from which you earn something and which is still significantly lower than for an equivalent product from a European country.

When it comes to dropshipping, Aliexpress has the advantage over Alibaba that you don't have to order huge minimum order quantities for your shop. You can buy each product here individually as soon as a customer has ordered and paid for a product from you. The disadvantage here, however, is that you don't get a discount due to large order quantities. Thus, the profit margin for dropshipping via Aliexpress is often lower than that of Alibaba. But you can make sure that you don't get stuck on a multitude of products.

Disadvantages of dropshipping

There are not only advantages to the dropshipping system, but also disadvantages that need to be carefully considered. They mainly concern the areas of dispatch and control. The main risks are that you cannot control the inventory of the Chinese partner, the shipping costs cannot be reliably calculated, there may be uncertainties about the reliability of delivery and, in the worst case, all problems with returns and refunds will weigh on your shoulders.

A disadvantage that should not be underestimated are possible problems with so-called cross-selling (cross-selling of suitable additional products, spare parts or accessories). Since the goods are not dispatched by you, but directly by the manufacturer, you have little influence on the following processes after forwarding the order. Only if something goes wrong will the customer contact you. When working with an unreliable partner with bad products, the complaints can ultimately pile up. You will likely get negative customer ratings, which will lead to financial losses in the long run. For this reason, choosing the right business partner is very important.

What to consider when dropshipping with the help of Alibaba

When dropshipping via Alibaba's supplier directory, however, there are a few questions that you should answer or clarify for yourself before starting such an activity. For example, the following questions are existential:

  • Is there a supplier relationship between you and the manufacturer?
  • Is the delivery of the goods really guaranteed?
  • How are returns and complaints handled?
  • Has the extended delivery time been taken into account and is this recognizable to the customer?
  • Are the delivered products new or does the manufacturer send used goods?
  • Can an invoice that is flawless for Germany under tax law be guaranteed?

Important information about dropshipping at Alibaba

You can find numerous advice texts on the subject of dropshipping via Alibaba for your shop on the Internet. The company now also offers a German-language website where you as a retailer can find out about the possibilities and look for partners. With this service, the company makes it clear that the German online market is also of great importance. You can find all the important information on the German-language Alibaba website.

Dropshipping vice versa

This whole system of dropshipping also works the other way around at Alibaba. With a dealer account, you are not only able to purchase goods from China, but also to offer your own products via Alibaba. The same goes for Aliexpress. So if you want to sell a new, interesting product, you can promote it on Alibaba. This works via your carefully filled out account, on which you advertise the product and underpin it with the highest possible resolution photos. With a convincing appearance, you will ideally find Chinese dealers who will sell your product for you on the Chinese market. In this case, you have to make sure that you can guarantee a consistently high quality of the product and meet the agreed delivery quantities.

Alibaba and Aliexpress offer two-way entry into dropshipping. You can find all the necessary information on the German-language website of the company mentioned above.

Which provider is best for your dropshipping business, whether Aliexpress, Alibaba or a completely different one, you have to decide for yourself. The fact is, however, that both are very reliable providers who place great value on high customer satisfaction. So, especially if you want to start your business, the two providers can be of great help for you.