AliExpress offers a vast product catalog, an easy user interface, low prices, and many options to connect the platform to a dropshipping store.

However, AliExpress agents will tell you that they can make the entire experience even better.

Are they telling the truth, and should you use them as well?

Quick Answer: Should you use an AliExpress agent for dropshipping?

AliExpress agents can, in some cases, provide you with great services that will help you scale your dropshipping business. Therefore, you could consider using them. However, dropshipping agents outside of AliExpress may offer even more benefits.

If you are looking to use an agent for your dropshipping store, we recommend going with a dropshipping agent instead of an AliExpress agent.

AliExpress Agents: Should You Use Them? (Pros and Cons)

This article explains the concept of an AliExpress agent and gives our opinion on whether you should start using one.

What is an AliExpress agent?

Let's start with the basics, what exactly is an AliExpress agent?

AliExpress agents help you source products for your dropshipping and ecommerce store. They can also store, pack, and ship those products to your customers.

An AliExpress agent or dropshipping agent is an alternative to directly using a dropshipping supplier on AliExpress.

The difference here is that an AliExpress agent is a middleman and can offer you more services than a supplier.

We will discuss those services in more detail later, but first, let's consider why an AliExpress agent is a middleman.

An AliExpress agent is a middleman because they are the link between you and the supplier, acting as an intermediary.

Here is a short overview of how working with an AliExpress agent works:

  1. Contact. The first step is to contact an AliExpress agent and tell him what product you are looking for.
  2. Sourcing. Next, your AliExpress agent will try to find the best AliExpress supplier for the product you are searching for and try to negotiate the best prices.
  3. Storing, packing, shipping. Lastly, the supplier sends the products to your agent, who will store the items in the warehouse and ship them once you get new orders.
Dropshipping Agent infographic

Working with an AliExpress agent is different from working directly with an AliExpress supplier since the products will be shipped to your agent's warehouse first.

An AliExpress agent can be self-employed or work for a fulfillment warehouse company.

Storing and packaging are included in an agent's list of services, so an agent must have access to a fulfillment warehouse.

At first, many agents will ask you to buy your own stock of products to store in their warehouse, but after building a relationship with them, most agents will take over the whole inventory management task.

In that case, they will be able to ship the products out within one or two days of you sending the agent your list of orders.

Let's now take a look at some of the extra services an AliExpress dropshipping agent can provide to your business!

Which services does an AliExpress agent provide?

An AliExpress agent can provide you with more services compared to working directly with a supplier on the AliExpress marketplace.

Here is a list of everyday tasks of an AliExpress agent or dropshipping agent:

  • Sourcing. An AliExpress agent will try to find the best supplier for the product you are looking for.
  • Negotiation. Once a supplier is found, the agent will try to negotiate a lower price from the supplier.
  • Warehouse stocking. A dropshipping agent will stock your products in their own warehouse.
  • Quality control. Before sending out the order, a dropshipping agent will check if the package is complete and if the product isn't defective.
  • Packing. An AliExpress or dropshipping agent will pack all products from one order into a single package. This ensures that your customers won't receive multiple packages.
  • Branding. An agent can help with the branding, private labeling, and white labeling of your products and packages.
  • Shipping. For every order, an agent will check the fastest and most reliable shipping method for your customer's country. Also, they will try to help you if you experience problems like shipping delays.
  • Updates. A good dropshipping agent will update you on the latest product and shipping trends.
  • Tracking. Reliable tracking services are often provided to ensure you and your customers can monitor the shipment status of each purchase.

Quite a long list, isn't it?

Now, let's think about the benefits that these services can offer your dropshipping business!

What are the benefits of using an AliExpress agent?

Benefits of using an AliExpress agent include faster shipping times, more consistent pricing, insights on the latest industry trends, 1-on-1 contact, and the opportunity to improve your product's packaging.

Let's go over those benefits in a bit more detail!

One of the most significant benefits of using an AliExpress agent is that you can improve your delivery times and get reliable tracking.

An experienced AliExpress agent will know which shipping method they should use for each country they ship to.

In most cases, they will even use shipping methods that aren't usually available on AliExpress. For example, your agent might send packages to Germany using 4PX and to Austria using YunExpress.

One of the common irritations of AliExpress dropshippers is that suppliers can change their product prices from one day to another. If a supplier increases their prices, it might mess up your pricing strategy, and you might lose your profits!

A benefit of using AliExpress agents is that they usually won't suddenly change prices, which helps avoid unexpected fees. If they do, they will warn you beforehand.

Another benefit is that you can improve your product's packaging. You can ask your AliExpress agent to include your logo, promotional code, or a thank-you letter to your packages. In other words, it's a great way to make your dropshipping store unique!

Examples of custom packaging from Art of Where
Examples of custom packaging from Art of Where

When working with an AliExpress agent, you will have 1-on-1 contact with them, which means asking questions or discussing things will be really easy. This also allows your agent to update you on the latest industry trends!

Also, your agent will warn you of upcoming events such as Chinese New Year so it doesn’t come to you as a surprise.

A (better) alternative to using AliExpress agents

An AliExpress agent may provide quite some benefits to your business, but what if I told you there could be a better alternative?

A regular dropshipping agent can provide all the benefits of an AliExpress agent while providing two additional ones; better prices and better connections!

Reasons to use a dropshipping agent - infographic
6 Reasons to use a dropshipping agent

Let's quickly refresh our minds about the difference between an AliExpress agent and a regular dropshipping agent.

An AliExpress agent sources products from AliExpress suppliers, while a regular dropshipping agent might use local manufacturers that don't even promote their products online!

Let me explain.

Many dropshipping agents are based in China.

For them, it's easy to find manufacturers for your desired product as they read and speak Chinese.

By directly contacting Chinese factories, dropshipping agents can offer even better prices than AliExpress agents. Chinese suppliers and manufacturers who are less internationally focused usually charge lower prices than suppliers on AliExpress.

Most Chinese manufacturers think that Westerners have a lot of money, which is why they drive up their product prices for them.

Because of the better prices and supplier connections of dropshipping agents, you will get a better price-to-quality ratio compared to a dropshipping supplier or AliExpress agent!

The drawbacks of using an AliExpress agent

If an AliExpress agent were to have only benefits for your business, then you should definitely use one.

Unfortunately, that's not the case.

The biggest drawback of an AliExpress agent is that they may require a minimum amount of orders per day, won't usually provide automated order fulfillment, and require more trust from both parties.

Again, I will explain the drawbacks in more detail below:

  • Some AliExpress agents require MOQs. An AliExpress agent invests time for each dropshipper. Of course, they want to earn money for their services, which they do by adding a small premium on the supplier's prices. Some agents set minimum order amounts to avoid working with low-volume dropshippers.
  • No automated order fulfillment. Some dropshipping suppliers offer a feature where fulfilling orders is really simple. It's either fully automated or can be done with one click! When working with AliExpress agents, you will most likely have to send them a .csv file of your orders every day.
  • Trustworthiness. Unlike suppliers, most AliExpress agents don’t have a website for their business. For suppliers, you can easily find reviews of other dropshippers, but for agents, you often can’t. This is why you will have to trust an AliExpress agent before partnering with one.

Conclusion

After reading this article, you will probably know a lot more about AliExpress agents and dropshipping agents.

However, there is one thing that remains unanswered.

Should you do dropshipping with an AliExpress agent?

After examining the benefits, we have seen that AliExpress agents can offer faster shipping times, more consistent pricing, insights on the latest industry trends, 1-on-1 contact, and the opportunity to improve your product's packaging.

However, there is a better alternative, in our opinion: regular dropshipping agents. These will be able to offer you even better prices and connections, which means that the price-to-quality ratio will be much better!

To conclude, if you are looking to use an agent for your dropshipping store, we recommend going with a dropshipping agent instead of an AliExpress agent.

But to make use of all those benefits, you will need to find a dropshipping agent first.

If you are looking to find one, you will find five tips for finding quality dropshipping agents in this article! Plus, check out the 11 best dropshipping agents here.

Good luck!

Want to learn more about AliExpress?

Ready to move your knowledge about AliExpress to the next level? Check out the articles below:

Plus, don't forget to check out our in-depth guide on how AliExpress works here.

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