Author: Joe Warnimont

A Quick Cosmetro Theme Review

The cosmetics and beauty industry is worth an estimated $603 billion globally and predicted to rise to a whopping $758.4 billion by 2025.

So, what does that tell us?

Clearly, this is a lucrative niche. But, at the same time, if you’re an ecommerce seller looking to either invest in this market or keen to set up an online store as a sideline, your cosmetics and beauty products need to stand out from the crowd.

 

This means ensuring your site looks attractive, showcases your gorgeous products, and successfully engages potential customers.

If you don’t have the coding or web design know-how to create a custom theme and your eCommerce platform of choice is WooCommerce, never fear. There are plenty of customizable WooCommerce themes that are explicitly designed for the beauty industry.

One such option is Cosmetro

Cosmetro is one of the most popular WooCommerce themes for the cosmetics niche and capitalizes on the Elementor Page Builder.

With that said, we’re going to take a more in-depth look at Cosmetro in this review; more specifically, we’re looking at:

  • What Cosmetro is
  • Cosmetro’s features
  • Cosmetro’s plugins
  • Cosmetro’s pricing
  • Cosmetro’s support options
  • What Cosmetro users have to say
  • Our final verdict

There’s lots to cover, so let’s get going.

Who’s Cosmetro?

In short, Cosmetro is a fully responsive WooCommerce theme aimed at eCommerce store owners selling skincare, makeup, perfume, and other fashion/beauty products. It’s the top-rated best-sold WooCommerce theme on ThemeForest – which is quite a feat!

Cosmetro Theme Review

Cosmetro can be installed in just two easy clicks by using the Elementor Website Page Builder. And, it boasts eight different skins with pre-styled interface sections. You can utilize the latter two to enhance your website’s look and make it easier for users to navigate.

This theme is fully customizable. You can build online store pages with ease using Elementor modules to create rich page content (more about this in a sec).

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s turn our attention to some of Cosmetro’s core features:

Cosmetro’s Features

There are over 30 pre-built SEO-friendly page templates to choose from: These are ready to use, user-friendly templates designed in blocks, sections, listings, and grids, complete with retina-ready image-rich design that’s minimalist and responsive.

cosmetro templates review

Elementor page builder: The Elementor page builder enables you to design your website without writing a single line of code. Its drag and drop editor makes it simple for you to customize your pages. Just drag your product photos, ready-made headers, and footers, or one of the 100+ widgets available, and drop it into the template. In next-to-no time you’ll create rich page content ready for publishing. You can even insert sliders (slideshows) and carousel sliders of images for visitors to scroll through.

Installation Wizard: This feature makes it easy for you to install and activate all the plugins you need to efficiently and effectively run your store.

Customizable and pre-designed web contact forms and buttons: You can use these to encourage customers to subscribe to your mailing list, create a login, and simplify purchasing options. There are three pre-designed contact page layouts to choose from and newsletter subscription pop-up options too.

Ajax Filters: These robust, fast filtering capabilities enable users to pick and choose what they’re looking for on your site. Visitors can filter their search by brand, price bracket, product type, and so on.

High-speed mobile-friendly layout: With Cosmetro, linking your website to your social media networks is straightforward. The theme boasts a sticky menu, so there’s no need for users to scroll down pages. There’s also a currency switcher so you can sell in multiple currencies – needless to say, this is an absolute must if you plan on targeting a global audience.

Payment options:  Cosmetro is compatible with popular payment options

Blog layouts: You can utilize Cosemtro blog layouts to help structure relevant and lively blog content.

Cosmetro Review: Notable Plugins

Alongside the features mentioned above, there are a few plugins Cosmetro integrates with that deserve a nod because it gives you a greater sense of how customers can interact with your Cosmetro-built storefront.

Cherry Search plugin: This enables customers to search for products using a search bar without leaving the page they’re browsing.

JetMenu plugin: This empowers you to break down your products to make them easier to find. For example, while selling makeup, you can segment them into all kinds of categories – Cheeks, Eyes, Lips, etc., and then add product items under each of those respective headings, such as bronzer, eyeshadow, lipstick, etc.,

Revolution Slider plugin: This provides all the advanced functionality you need to create a visually appealing and engaging website –  advanced video animations, cutting-edge slide designs, visual building blocks, etc.

Cosmetro Review: Price and Support Options

Cosmetro Theme Review

At the time of writing, it costs $75 to buy Cosmetro from ThemeForest. In fact, as we’ve already hinted at, it’s the top-rated best-sold WooCommerce theme by certified Elite Author ZEMEZ, who describes Cosmetro as “very stylish and really perfectly designed!.”

For your $75 investment, you get not only access to the features already outlined but also six months of support from ZEMEZ. This includes help with reported bugs, theme issues, and 3rd party assets. You can extend this support to 12 months for an additional $23.63. Plus, Cosmetro goes with detailed documentation on its installation and customization.

Customers give 5-star reviews for Cosmetro’s support function, describing it as “amazing” and “quality.”

Cosmetro Review: What Cosmetro Users Say

A glance at customer reviews on the ThemeForest site tells us that Cosmetro users are a happy bunch overall. Reviews are all five stars, and users especially like how easy Cosmetro installs its “excellent template” design and its “niche relevant” theme.

Overall, we couldn’t find a single reviewer who had anything negative to say about Cosmetro.

Cosmetro Review: Our Verdict

Suppose you’re keen to start selling beauty and cosmetic products online. In that case, you must have a professional-looking, high-quality, and fully functioning theme that you can customize to reflect your brand.

Cosmetro is one such option. It’s affordable, mobile-friendly, customers love it, and it’s easy to install. Importantly, you get some support, and it offers you plenty of choices to ensure your store’s beautifully designed.

Are you already using Cosmetro, or have you downloaded it as a result of this review? Let us know what you think in the comments below.

How to Add a Favicon to Your Shopify Store

The identity of your ecommerce store brings together several elements such as the logo, site colors, and your marketing materials. This identity strengthens your overall brand and creates a healthy reminder for your customers, evoking feelings of comfort and reliability when they see your brand images and colors. Although small in size, the Favicon also ties into that branding strategy. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to create and add a favicon to your Shopify store, rounding out your online appearance and making it easier to recognize your store when customers visit.

 

What’s a Shopify Favicon?

A Shopify Favicon, or any Favicon for that matter, is a small icon for your website that appears on the browser tab next to your website name.

The browser address bar is the most common area to view the site Favicon, but it also comes up in the following locations:

  • Toolbar apps
  • Bookmarks
  • History results
  • Search bars
  • Sometimes when shared on social media

Essentially, whenever the browser needs to show a link to your website, and there’s not much room for other content, it replaces your usual, full-size logo with the Favicon.

Shopify Favicon examples

By default, Shopify adds the Shopify logo for your Favicon, so we need to change that.

A good favicon is often a smaller version of your logo, but sometimes they vary a bit because you want to ensure they are visible, take up all the allotted space, and add a bit of color next to your website name.

By default, all browsers support Favicons sized 32×32 pixels. That’s a rather tiny image, but with the help of some online generators you can make your own Shopify Favicon for your website. Also, larger images get scaled down anyway, so you don’t necessarily have to get it to exactly 32×32.

A Favicon makes quite a bit of sense for online stores on Shopify since they’re easy to add, and it’s important to strengthen your brand identity as an online seller. Some also argue that it helps with SEO.

Keep reading to learn more about how to add Favicon to your Shopify store.

How to Add a Favicon to Your Shopify Store

As mentioned, when running a site through Shopify it automatically adds a Shopify logo as your site’s Favicon. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s far more professional and brand-oriented to include your own logo.

Therefore, go to your Shopify dashboard and click on Online Store under Sales Channels.

Navigate to your Themes and click on the Customize button next to your current theme. Although settings change from theme to theme, all the most recent Shopify themes have a section to change the Favicon.

online store

In the Shopify customizer, scroll to the bottom of the list on the left and click on Theme Settings.

theme settings

In the new section, find and select the Favicon button.

favicon - Shopify Favicon

This reveals a button to Select Image or Explore Free Images. I can’t imagine they have any free images that match your logo, so it’s best to click on Select Image to upload a custom image from your computer.

select image

Choose the Favicon file and upload it to Shopify.

After that, you’ll see a preview of your Favicon icon. To make the changes permanent, select the Save button in Shopify.

save button

To view your Shopify favicon in action, go to the frontend of your website and look at the current browser tab. You should see the Favicon next to your site title.

example Shopify Favicon

Tips for Creating Your Favicon

Although it seems easy to generate a little icon, it’s important to get it right, considering customers see the Favicon whenever they come to your site. It’s also easy to make a Favicon that’s blurry or doesn’t fill the entire space, defeating the purpose of the Favicon since it’s not that visible to the eye.

To resolve any problems, here are some tips for creating your Shopify Favicon:

  • Start your design larger than 32×32 and shrink it down if need be. You’re bound to have a blurrier image if you try to stretch a smaller image into the space. For instance, taking a 32×32 image from Hatchful and trying to stretch it out to get rid of the written part of the logo may cause problems.
  • You typically can’t just take your current logo and expect it to work perfectly as a Favicon.
  • Favicon’s look great when you cover every pixel of the provided space. You don’t have much room, so you should take advantage of every square pixel in the 32×32 space.
  • Remove all text, as it’s hard to read in a Favicon. The exception is if your primary logo element is a large letter.
  • Shoot for solid, brighter colors. Simple, cartoonish logos work best.
  • Look at the Favicons from your favorite brands. What have they done to ensure their online image gets through with a favicon?
  • Consider either filling up the entire space with a solid color background or making a transparent background with the foreground element stretched so it just touches the edges. You’ll notice that many larger brands have transparent backgrounds for their Favicons.
  • The ICO file format works well for smaller images. If you’re not familiar, use a PNG for transparent backgrounds or a JPG for high-resolution Favicons with solid backgrounds.

How to Generate a Favicon for Your Shopify Store

You have the option to design a Favicon in any design software of your choice. If you prefer Photoshop, go with that. If you’d rather a free software like GIMP or Pixlr, all of them work as long as you stick to the required dimensions of 32×32.

You also have the option to make a Favicon with Shopify’s Hatchful Logo and Free Favicon Generator. View our entire guide on using Hatchful to build a logo.

download logo

Once the logo creator does its work, it provides you with a file filled with multiple logo formats, one of which is a Favicon.

Shopify Favicon file

Keep in mind that many of the logos you make with Hatchful use white space around the logo, so you may have to adjust it for the graphic to cover most of the space. In general, I’ve found that you should only use the provided Hatchful favicon if it already looks good (it fills up most of the space and doesn’t have small elements like text).

If that’s not the case, use a third-party editing software like Photoshop or Pixlr to cut out some of the unnecessary elements.

Important: You need to use a larger version of the image if you’re planning on stretching it over a canvas to cut out text and white space. For this, I used Hatchful to generate logos but actually took one of the large logos (not the Favicon file provided) since I don’t want blurring to occur when I stretch it over the 32×32 canvas.

Inside your editing software, choose a new canvas with the Width and Height both set at 32.

32 by 32

Make a layer for the new image and ensure that image is larger than the 32×32 canvas, as you may be stretching it out. Then upload or place the image into the canvas.

In the following screenshot, I have the Favicon design zoomed in so I can make sure it fits the square properly. It’s blurry, but I know it will look much better when I zoom out.

large version

As you can see, the zoomed out version of the Favicon in the Pixlr designer looks good. I’ve covered most of the space allotted, opted for a bright and solid color icon, and removed all signs of smaller text.

smaller version

The last step is to Download the file. You can choose to make it a transparent PNG at this point. But for this tutorial I’m sticking with a high-resolution JPG so that it looks as sharp as possible. And I don’t mind having a background with a solid color.

download - Shopify Favicon

Go back to your Shopify dashboard. Click on Online Store > Themes > Customize.

Then go to Theme Settings > Favicon.

Upload that new Favicon and click the Save button in the Shopify editor.

image preview

Again, the primary way to test out and view your Favicon is by simply opening up a tab with your homepage website URL. As you can see, the Favicon shows up nicely and is actually a little better than my previous Favicon, seeing as how that one didn’t fill up the entire 32×32 space provided.

the final product - Shopify Favicon

In Conclusion

A Shopify Favicon takes no more than a few minutes to design and add to your site, yet it provides a wonderful reminder to your visitors on which website they’re on. In addition, it can serve as a way for people to find your website in their bookmarks and browser histories, considering they’re most likely searching through a long list of other sites when going through those sections.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t settle for a blurry or illegible Shopify Favicon image. If you find that the first Favicon doesn’t look quite right, or you’d like to cut out some text or add a transparent background, go back to the beginning and get it right. Although it’s not a good idea to have no Favicon at all, a blurry or hard-to-see Favicon makes your brand look unprofessional and somewhat silly.

If you have any questions about adding Favicons to Shopify, or making your own Shopify Favicon, let us know in the comments section below.

Best Fulfillment Center in the USA (Mar 2021): Which One Works for Your Store?

All online stores need some sort of fulfillment. Whether that’s self-fulfillment, third-party logistics, or dropshipping depends on the type of organization. We recommend looking into which style of fulfillment works for you as your business grows. Eventually, third-party logistics make sense for online stores, seeing as how it cuts out expensive and time-consuming elements like storage, shipping, and packaging. The goal is to find a fulfillment partner near your primary customers. That way, the products don’t take long to get to their homes. That’s why we put together a list and comparison to find you the best fulfillment center in the USA. 

Our analysis involves checking into the advantages of each fulfillment center in the USA, while cutting it down to the outliers that provide competitive pricing, fast shipping, and multiple warehouses to reach every part of the US.

Keep reading to find the best fulfillment center in the USA for your business.

The Best Fulfillment Center in the USA

Finding the ideal fulfillment center doesn’t necessarily mean partnering with a fulfillment provider near your place of business. It’s all about the customers. So, if a fulfillment company has centers spread throughout the United States, that’s much better for reaching those customers. We’re also looking for options that integrate with your online store.

It helps if a fulfillment company has connections to ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce, that way you have no problem sending orders to the fulfillment center and getting products to your customers.

If this all sounds good, take a look at the best fulfillment center options in the USA below. We highlight our favorite, then go into four more fulfillment centers that provide the low pricing and essential elements needed for all ecommerce stores.

Best Fulfillment Center USA: ShipBob

ShipBob caters to online stores that need shipping, packaging, and storage all in one. The fulfillment brand offers benefits like up to 13% cost savings, an increase in average order value by up to 97%, and reduced cart abandonment by 18%. It’s the best fulfillment center in the USA because it actually has over a dozen warehouses within the US, along with one in Canada, one in Ireland, and one in England. Note: ShipBob is continuously growing its fulfillment network, so check here for the most up-to-date locations.

shipbob homepage - best usa fulfillment service

Some of the USA fulfillment center locations include the following, targeting various regions across the United States:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Carrollton, TX
  • Woodridge, IL
  • St. Petersburg, FL
  • Edison, NJ

We also like that ShipBob is known for its featured partner integrations, including regularly used ecommerce platforms and shopping cart tools with the ability to send orders to ShipBob in a rapid manner. For instance, you can integrate with Wix, Shopify, Bigcommerce, WooCommerce, Square Online, and Squarespace, just to name a few. The system contains a myriad of other integrations as well, such as options for returns and inventory management.

Advantages

  • Connections to your online store and automatic syncing with inventory and orders. The packages get put together and sent out to your customers without you having to do anything on your end.
  • Multiple integrations for ecommerce platforms, return management platforms, and more.
  • Distributed inventory that lets you choose locations across the network of US fulfillment centers from ShipBob (and data to optimize this over time).
  • Data and analytics for seeing where orders are sent and how long they take.
  • Options for two-day express shipping, allowing you to keep up with the big dogs.
  • An order management panel with filters and searching tools to find all shipping-related information with a few clicks.
  • Inventory management and reporting that combines to form a beautiful solution with visuals and decision-helping analytics.

Locations

ShipBob boasts an ever-growing network of the best fulfillment centers in the USA. It also has a global fulfillment center network. The list of locations include:

  • Kilkenny, IE
  • Ottawa, CA
  • Edison, NJ
  • Bethlehem, PA
  • Geneva, WI
  • Cicero, IL
  • Woodridge, IL
  • Chattanooga, TN
  • Louisville, KY
  • St. Petersburg, FL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Grapevine, TX
  • Carrollton, TX
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Moreno Valley, CA (right by Los Angeles)
  • And many more

Fees

The ShipBob pricing and fee structure is straightforward for newcomers and established ecommerce businesses. The company offers a transparent, total fulfillment cost pricing system so you know exactly how much you’ll pay as your business grows.

It’s still necessary to receive a quote from the ShipBob salespeople, but the pricing typically includes the following:

  • A one-time implementation fee
  • Fees for receiving inventory
  • Fees for storing items in warehouses
  • Fees for shipping each order

It’s way fewer fees than other 3PLs, and can be actually rather affordable, especially since those types of fees are outlined on the ShipBob website (no surprises).

Here’s a taste of what to expect in terms of pricing for ShipBob services:

  • For receiving – A flat rate of $25 for the initial two hours. Every hour after that costs $40 per man-hour.
  • For storage – A monthly fee of $40 per pallet per month. There’s also a fee of $10 per shelf per month. Finally, there’s a fee of $5 per bin per month. You only pay for what you need.
  • For picking and packing – This is included in the cost, A $0.20 per pick fee comes into play after the first four picks.
  • For standard packing – You receive free plain mailers, tape, dunnage, kitting, and boxes. Anything more elaborate (like an insert or custom branded box) costs more to store as a SKU but not to pack.
  • For shipping – This depends on the order. The pricing varies based on what gets sent, the weight, dimensions, destination, and more. You also have to factor in the shipping service. ShipBob provides shipping discounts with the main providers.

Overall, ShipBob takes the top slot in our list of the best fulfillment center options in the USA. From the pricing to the integrations, and the many warehouses to the beautiful apps, you can’t go wrong when shipping and storing products with ShipBob.

Click here to learn even more about ShipBob in our comprehensive review.

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2. Shopify Fulfillment

The Shopify Fulfillment Network offers an alternative to third-party logistics for those already using Shopify as their ecommerce platform. It has a full-service network of shipping locations across the United States, where you send them your products and receive recommendations on where to hold the items within the extensive network. For example, Shopify may recommend that some of your items go to Michigan, while other products may have more sales down south, so it makes sense to store them in the Oklahoma or Georgia warehouses.

shopify - best fulfillment center USA

What’s also great about the Shopify Fulfillment center is that you can make sales on all channels. An order that comes in on Amazon goes through the same fulfillment process as one that comes through your Shopify website. Combine that with reasonable pricing, a simple billing process, and top-notch support and Shopify becomes the best fulfillment center in the USA for your needs.

Advantages

  • Dedicated support your online store and the fulfillment process all in one place.
  • Steep discounts for shipping rates from the major transportation providers like UPS, Fedex, and USPS.
  • Transparent pricing and a simple bill that combines your Shopify subscription with the fulfillment fees.
  • Several fulfillment center options in the USA, making it easy to ship from locations near your customers.
  • Reporting, real-time analytics, and smart replenishment tools to restock your items and ensure everything runs smoothly.
  • Support for regular online stores, along with B2B wholesale, subscription order fulfillment, and more.
  • Support for sales through different channels like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon.
  • Excellent data control, with custom data at your fingertips and end-to-end package tracking whenever an item gets sent to a customer.
  • Inventory management and return processing.
  • Fast and same-day fulfillment services where you control the timing of the shipments if something needs to go out faster.
  • Sleek branding options with customizable packing slips, packaging, and marketing inserts.

Locations

As of this article, Shopify Fulfillment centers in the USA include:

  • California
  • Georgia
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas

Shopify also has a Canada-based shipping center in Ottawa, Ontario.

Fees

The Shopify Fulfillment network bills its customers through two methods: per fulfillment (picking, packing and shipping) and per month (storage and special projects).

Each company has to get their own custom quote from Shopify, but they outline details on how they end up with particular pricing for each brand:

  • You get charged each month for your storage space when using the Per Month plan. They add on any special project fees when necessary.
  • They charge separately for wholesale orders.
  • The Per Fulfillment plan factors in picking and packing fees, which include finding items in the warehouse and packaging them with supplies and inserts.
  • Shipping charges include elements like the weight of the package, shipping carrier, and shipping zone.

Pricing unique to your company appears in the Shopify Admin page.

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3. Deliverr

Deliverr has the unique advantage of focusing on multi-channel fulfillment, in particular through Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also connect to your main ecommerce platform, as it support links to Shopify, Bigcommerce, and many more. Deliverr offers affordable pricing that’s customized based on the style and size of your shipments. You can also offer next-day delivery when selling through partners like Facebook and Shopify.

deliverr - best fulfillment center USA

What’s unique about Deliverr is its prime-like badging, which enables items for super fast shipping programs like the Walmart 2-day option. In short, you can turn on those badges within your online store to prompt people to buy faster due to the promise of free shipping. Overall, Deliverr has a simple interface for those who don’t want something too bulky. It’s also rather affordable and provides ways for you to boost your sales with the help of faster shipping badges.

Advantages

  • Individual shipping and fulfillment modules for Shopify, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Wish, and many more.
  • Free two-day delivery to some of the most popular marketplaces and through top ecommerce platforms.
  • Reasonable pricing that’s always transparent.
  • A badge system to boost sales by promising faster shipping to customers. For instance, you might add a badge to one product on eBay to guarantee the customer they’ll get the product within a certain period of time.
  • Inventory management tools to understand where your products move to and from.
  • A respectable warehouse network spread throughout the USA, with fulfillment centers on the west coast, Midwest, east coast, and in the south.

Locations

Deliverr has its own warehouse network, so you can ship your products to the fulfillment centers that make the most sense.

As of right now, these states have a fulfillment center in the USA:

  • Georgia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Colorado
  • California
  • Indiana
  • Missouri
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • South Dakota
  • Luoisiana
  • New York
  • Arizona
  • Nevada

Fees

Simple and transparent, the Deliverr pricing allows ecommerce shops the opportunity to fully understand what they’re paying for and when it becomes the right choice for them.

It all depends on your business, but here’s a list of the general fulfillment fees:

  • Fulfillment – Starting at $3.99 per unit
  • Storage – Starting at around $0.75 per cubic foot per month

You can enter your products in the Deliverr Cost Calculator to get a better estimate.

4. Shipmonk

Shipmonk provides ecommerce order fulfillment and integrations with top sales channels to make for a stress-free storage and shipping process. It offers a 4-1 cloud-based software with tools for inventory management, shipping, orders, and warehousing. Shipmonk has three fulfillment centers in the USA, all spread out into different regions to reach your customers in the most efficient way possible.

shipmonk

You can also expect shipping discounts when you partner with Shipmonk, along with high-quality customer support through the phone, chat, and email. Shipmonk offers support for all types of ecommerce fulfillment. For instance, you can set up a connection for subscription box fulfillments, or maybe consider sending out products for your crowdfunding campaign. The FBA prep services come in handy, while the retailers fulfillment options works for many businesses as well.

Advantages

  • Several locations in the USA, with options to decide on where you store your products based on data.
  • Return management for your customers to send their unwanted items back to the original locations instead of your office.
  • Support for special projects in case your scope runs outside of the usual fulfillment practices.
  • Actionable reports with breakdowns for orders, costs, and the units being sent around the US.
  • Transparent billing to keep your costs low and always understand how much you’ll pay.
  • Free integrations with the top ecommerce platforms, along with over 100 other integrations.
  • An all-in-one management software with features for shipping, warehousing, orders, and inventory, all compiled into one simple dashboard.

Locations

Shipmonk has three fulfillment center locations in the USA:

  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Pittston, PA
  • Fort Lauderdale, FL

They strategically located these warehouses on the three main coasts of the US, opening up options for faster shipping.

Fees

Shipmonk markets that its pricing is transparent and ready for you to look at, and that definitely seems to be the case.

You can view the Shipmonk website for pricing information on subscription box fulfillment, retail, and Amazon fulfillment prep.

Here’s what to expect for the ecommerce fulfillment pricing:

  • Starting at $2.50 picking fee per order, $0.50 for additional picks, and $0.20 for promotional inserts for up to 500 monthly orders.
  • Return processing of $2.00 +0.50 per additional items.
  • Storage: $1 per month for a small bin; $2 per month for a medium bin; $3 per month for a large bin; $4 per month for an XL bin; and $20 per month for a pallet.
  • Additional fees when needed: $45 per man-hour for special projects; special fees for container unloading; $250 minimum pick and pack fee; and $.15 to $2 for packaging materials.

5. Red Stag Fulfillment

Red Stag Fulfillment has top-notch rates and professional shipping and storage, all merged into one dashboard for you to partner with the right shipping carriers and send your products to specific warehouses. It’s considered one of the best fulfillment centers in the USA for a few reasons. First of all, Red Stag connects with top ecommerce platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce. It provides discounted shipping labels, shipment tracking, and streamlined returns with no hassles.

red stag

Red Stag is a USA fulfillment center through and through, with warehouses on the west and east coast, getting close to all customers through the states. It works as a wonderful Amazon Fulfillment alternative, seeing as how you receive same-day shipping and fulfillment, web-based inventory and order management, and return processing. We also like that it has lower storage fees and a quality customer experience team in case you have any questions.

Advantages

  • Custom packaging design and options for unique inserts and tape.
  • Return processing with exceptional speed and monitored processes that get customized for your business.
  • Several discounts for shipment carriers, storage fees, and inventory storage.
  • Same-day fulfillment, and other speedy shipping options for those in the ecommerce world.
  • An inventory and customer order management system that lives online for you to check in on your products and understand where they’re moving.
  • Integrations with the top ecommerce platforms, including Shopify, WooCommerce, Volusion, and Weebly.
  • Some of the best fulfillment centers throughout the USA.

Locations

Red Stag Fulfillment doesn’t have an enormous network of fulfillment centers, but it makes up for quantity in its efficiency and focuses on two current centers, with another coming in Los Angeles soon.

Currently, the two fulfillment centers are in Knoxville, TN and Salt Lake City, UT. Customers in those areas get one-day deliveries, while everyone else in the US receives a two-day shipping timeframe. There are only two little areas in the lower 50 states that have three-day delivery times, a small part of Montana and bits of New England.

Fees

Red Stag requires a sales consultation to determine the overall shipping costs for your business fulfillment expenses. However, the company breaks down usual costs like this:

  • Recieving
  • Warehousing
  • Picking and packing
  • Shipping
  • Returns

They don’t have hidden fees like many competitors. So you shouldn’t expect charges for account management, monthly minimums, or SKU management.

Choosing the Right Fulfillment Service in the USA

Not all efulfillment services are made the same, and that’s why we wanted to highlight the absolute best options for shipping and storing your products within the USA. The good news is that most US fulfillment centers and services have warehouses all over the country. In addition, you often get the bonus of a few international warehouses in case you plan on sending products elsewhere.

If you still have questions about the best fulfillment center in the USA, take a look at our final recommendations below:

  • ShipBob – Our top pick as a fulfillment center in the USA, with five primary warehouses, a beautiful online interface, and reasonable pricing for all companies.
  • Shopify Fulfillment – Ideal for brands already using Shopify. It offers solid pricing and a nice interface online for managing your orders. The only limit is that it’s not meant to integrate with many other platforms, and the network of warehouses doesn’t seem to be managed by Shopify itself.
  • Deliverr – Our favorite fulfillment center in the USA for selling on multiple platforms. You can offer rapid shipping to customers, through channels like Etsy, Walmart, and eBay, as well as your online store. They also have tons of warehouses in the US.
  • Shipmonk – A great fulfillment option when integrating with one of the top ecommerce platforms and looking for lower prices on shipping and picking. It’s also one of the better fulfillment solutions in terms of the software that comes with your fulfillment membership.
  • Red Stag Fulfillment – A smaller operation with quality customer support and options for all types of shipping and packaging. Not many locations, but the operations run smoothly.

We love hearing from you, so let us know in the comments if you have any thoughts or concerns about the best fulfillment center in the USA, or the ecommerce supply chain in general.

The Only Aliexpress Dropshipping Guide You Need to Start Selling Online

If you’re scouring the web for a comprehensive AliExpress dropshipping guide, then you’re in the right place. During this post, we’re going to explore everything you need to start selling online with the help of this fabulous platform. 

Does that sound good to you? Perfect. Let’s dive straight in!

 

What’s DropShipping?

If you’re new to the sphere of e-commerce selling, you might be a tad unsure of what dropshipping actually is.

In short, it’s just a business model that empowers you to sell online. However, when a customer buys something, your supplier then ships the product directly to the shopper on your behalf.

It almost goes without saying that you’ll sell your suppliers products at a profit (which obviously, is how you’ll make your money!)

Generally, you can market and sell a $5 item you’ve purchased via AliExpress for as much as $20 – that’s a massive ROI.

It’s the potential to make a huge return on your investment, that makes dropshipping more appealing than other business models, say, affiliate marketing. For those of you who don’t know, when you sell affiliate products, you earn a commission pre-determined by the supplier. Whereas, as we’ve just said, with drop shipping, you have the freedom to price your own products (which provides the opportunity for generating higher profits).

Dropshipping is also easier than opening a traditional brick and mortar store. Like the ones you see lining the high streets. With an in-person shop, the entrepreneur has to come up with winning product ideas, find suppliers and/or manufacturers; then shell out for products and their shipping. That’s not including the hassle and expense of marketing the brand to achieve those all-important sales.

Sadly, you could easily waste all this time and money to then to realize your chosen products don’t sell very well, if at all. That’s the risk you take with traditional commerce. Whereas with the ecommerce dropshipping model, you don’t (necessarily) have to squander your precious budget on any of the above!

Why You Should Start Dropshipping

We’ve only just scratched the surface on the perks of drop shipping. So, before we delve into the nitty-gritty of AliExpress, we thought it would be useful to hammer home why so many entrepreneurs utilize this business model…

Enjoy Location Freedom

Just like the large majority of other online businesses, you can run your dropshipping venture from virtually anywhere around the world.

So, if you fancy being a digital nomad, dropshipping could be a perfect way of transforming this dream into a reality.

There’s Lots of Money to be Made

As we’ve already alluded to, when done well, there’s lots of money to be made from dropshipping. Take Tim Kock for instance. He created a dropshipping store and generated a whopping $6,667 in under eight weeks!

Obviously, not everyone who launches a dropshipping business will have a success story quite as impressive as that, but you get the idea. There’s a lot of potential to make serious money.

Plus, a massive budget isn’t necessary to get started. Even when it comes to ‘learning the ropes’ you won’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars on fancy courses sold by ‘gurus.’ Instead, there are tons of blogs posts, podcasts, and video tutorials. Within days you’ll be able to learn the foundations of how to set up and launch a successful ecommerce venture without spending a penny!

The Internet is Your Oyster

With over three billion people online and a seemingly limitless number of products to sell on your store, there’s a good chance you’ll find a profitable market. The internet is your oyster, so go out there and find your niche. There’s no limit on your creativity!

What’s AliExpress Dropshipping?

So, what’s AliExpress Dropshipping?

In short, AliExpress is a massive online retailer based in China, owned by the Alibaba Group. Launched back in 2010, it comprises thousands of merchants selling products to business owners all over the world.

👉 At the time of writing, AliExpress’ website is currently available in the following languages:

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Dutch
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian

With so many languages catered for, you can quickly see why AliExpress is so popular with entrepreneurs across the globe!

Why Dropship Using AliExpress?

Yes, there are tons of online retailers you could use to kickstart your dropshipping business. But, AliExpress is the most popular platform — and for good reasons.

As we’ve just hinted at, AliExpress lists hundreds, if not thousands, of reputable vendors selling products at extremely reasonable prices.

Plus, masses of business owners have used AliExpress for years, sp suppliers are well-versed with the needs of entrepreneurs and as such (usually), try to accommodate your wishes.

Best of all, there isn’t an upfront charge to sell AliExpress products. So, you have the freedom to test a variety of merchandise without the fear of wasting hard-earned cash.

Once you delve further into the practicalities of AliExpress dropshipping, you’ll find plenty of apps that can import product details and images from AliExpress product listings to your store. It doesn’t matter whether dropshipping is a side hustle or your full-time gig; time is money. So, automating the majority of your business with plugins like these is an absolute must (but more on that later).

what-is-aliexpress-dropshipping-home

Hold your horses; they’re not the only things entrepreneurs love about AliExpress…

Their Products Are (Usually) Excellent Quality

Yes, like most other online retailers, AliExpress also sell their fair share of ‘dud’ products.

However, the key difference with AliExpress is how easy they make finding the cream of the crop. Due to the vast quantities of people using their services, their “review section” is on fire!

So, use this to your advantage. 

👉 To increase the likelihood of finding and using a supplier selling high-quality products, do the following:

  • Only work alongside suppliers boasting a positive feedback rating of 95% (or higher).
  • For a more accurate feel for how suppliers perform, only use merchants with a feedback score of 2,000 (or more).
  • Look at the written reviews section at the bottom of the product listing. It’s essential to take on board what other e-commerce merchants say about suppliers. If you don’t, you run a much higher risk of relying on AliExpress suppliers who are unreliable. Your brand’s reputation is only as good as your suppliers. So, don’t run the risk of doing business with vendors who haven’t been tried and tested!

As you can see, within minutes, you’ll get a feel for which products showcase superior quality.

📢 Top Tip: On the AliExpress product listing, click on the feedback tab. This provides a full break down of the supplier’s feedback score.

Handy Hack: The ‘Feedback Score’ refers to the seller’s sales volume, whereas the ‘Positive Feedback’ score indicates their feedback rate.

Any Other Advice?

Don’t just opt for the supplier offering the lowest price. Although it’s tempting, remember, if everyone used the cheapest merchandise, albeit inferior quality, the overall standard of AliExpress products would decline.

Instead, we suggest researching and comparing the prices of different suppliers who offer similar products. If several sellers market their goods at roughly the same price point, but one or two merchants offer a significantly lower price, there’s a good chance they’ve compromised on quality. So, avoid them like the plague. You don’t want a reputation for selling shoddy products!

what is aliexpress top selection

AliExpress Shipping is (Usually) Budget-Friendly

Despite the majority of products on AliExpress coming all the way from China, you might be surprised to hear that most shipping costs are either free or exceptionally cheap.

This is a massive perk.

Offering customers free shipping often sweetens the deal and could be that all-important incentive that convinces the shopper to complete their purchase.

However, if you want customers to receive their products quicker than free shipping allows for, use AliExpress’ premium shipping option (also known as ePacket).

When you opt for ePacket shipping, it usually takes between seven to 14 days for orders to reach the US, Canada, Australia, or the UK. Sometimes you’ll find taking a slight hit in profit so you can offer quicker shipping times is worth it. After all, higher levels of customer satisfaction are essential for bolstering brand loyalty.

📢 Top Tip: You can use Oberlo (more on this later) to help identify in seconds which products in your niche have an ePacket delivery option.

 

Aliexpress Dropshipping

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What is ePacket Delivery?

To understand how the Chinese dropshipping company works, let’s take a slightly closer look at ePacket delivery and how it works. If you’re running an eCommerce business with deliveries from Hong Kong, you’ll probably use ePacket delivery. This started as a postal agreement between the US and Hong Kong postal services, but there are now 38 countries that share the service.

EPacket delivery is one of the most popular solutions for AliExpress shipping, often delivering to the destination within 15 days – which is about half of the time of many packages using other methods. There are also other fast shipping options available beyond ePacket delivery, but they may be too expensive for your AliExpress dropshipping business.

To sign up for EPacket delivery with your credit card, you’ll need to check what the package and size limits are for the items you can ship. Most packages can only weigh up to 3kg, and they can’t be wider than 90 cm, or longer than 60cm. If you’re not sure about the limitations, consider speaking to the post office or connecting with your supplier to learn more.

The benefits of ePacket shipping for dropshipping include:

  • Budget friendly: You can pay a tiny amount per country and item for ePacket delivery depending on the partner that you work with.
  • Speed: Many AliExpress shipping options can take months. However, importing and order fulfillment with ePacket delivery takes around 15 days, which can help to improve your profit margins.
  • Convenient: Most ePacket shipping providers will allow you to easily track your package as it goes to your customer, which helps you to keep your client updated about the status of their purchase.

Of course, ePacket shipping does have its downsides too. For instance, you can’t necessarily access this function in other parts of the world. Additionally, it’s worth noting that there are limitations on the sizes and weights of the items that you can send to your customers.

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How To Start Dropshipping with AliExpress

So, having read all the above, you probably want to get going.

👉 Here’s how to get started.

1. Pick A Niche

First things first, select a niche.

Unsure what a niche is?

In short, a niche is a specific section of an industry. For instance, pet products, gym gear, baby accessories — these are all fabulous examples of niches.

If you’re not sure which niche to specialize in, browse through AliExpress and take a look at other digital stores to glean inspiration. As you do, make a list of niches you like the sound of.

Failing that, the following places are all fabulous for kickstarting your product research:

  • AliExpress’ Weekly Most Popular Products
  • Amazon’s Best Sellers
  • eBay Daily Deals
  • Lazada’s Top Sellers
  • LightInTheBox’s Top Sellers List

📢 Top Tip: Find a niche you’re passionate about. For example, if you love yoga, consider selling yoga mats, exercise clothing, sports bottles, etc. You’ll find creating content and marketing your store a much easier process.

Plus, a genuine passion for the products you’re selling will help keep you motivated once the initial novelty of running a business wears off.

💡 A word of advice: Find a niche with plenty of merchandise options. Ideally, you want products that aren’t readily available in high street stores or mainstream ecommerce shops. It stands to reason; there’s a higher demand for these kinds of items (so they’re easier to sell).

Now What?

Take your list of niches and product ideas and type them into Google’s Keyword Planner.

Then, select ‘Keyword Ideas.’ This will show how many people are searching for the product (and other relevant keywords). With this info, you can avoid picking a niche with little or no traffic.

💡 Handy Hack: The secret to conducting effective keyword research is striking a balance between competition and search traffic — which can be a hard line to follow. Ideally, you want keywords with the lowest possible competition, while still boasting lots of searches. If you’re struggling with this, AHREFs could help (this is a fabulous tool for identifying high-converting keywords).

We also recommend using trends.google.com.

Copy and past potential products and see whether its demand is increasing or decreasing — are there any noticeable patterns? Avoid niches where products are dwindling in popularity, or if the majority of merchandise is seasonal. Otherwise, you’ll find marketing your store way harder!

Product Ideas to Fuel Your Inspiration

If you’re still unsure, hopefully, these product ideas will get your creative juices flowing…
Phone Grips

How many times have you accidentally smashed the screen of your smartphone? Probably at least once, especially if you’re an iPhone user. Phone grips present an ideal solution to a genuine consumer problem. Plus, there’s a decent mark up to be had, making it easy to market and profitable — win-win!

Aliexpress Dropshipping

Fitness Leggings

Fitness clothing of all guises, especially leggings, tend to sell well. Tons of brands have jumped on the health and fitness bandwagon, and for a good reason — it’s profitable!

Aliexpress Dropshipping

Magnetic Eyelashes

Like we’ve already said, when it comes to choosing ecommerce products to sell, the nicer, the better — and magnetic eyelashes certainly fall into that category!

Aliexpress Dropshipping

2. Get the Tools You Need

If you want to start dropshipping as quickly possible, use Shopify and Oberlo.

What is Shopify?

Aliexpress Dropshipping - shopify homepage

Shopify’s an online store builder used by hundreds of dropshippers. Within hours, you can create beautiful looking digital stores and start selling.

However, you’ll have to pay for this software (after a two-week free trial). Plus,  you’ll need to populate your site with products — which is where Oberlo comes in.

What is Oberlo?

Aliexpress Dropshipping - oberlo homepage

As we’ve already a said, a lot of your dropshipping business can be automated, which is where Oberlo comes into play.

👉 This is how it works:

  1. Download the Oberlo extension onto your Shopify store.
  2. With just a click of the button, import the AliExpress products you want to sell.
  3. A customer buys your product(s)
  4. Shopify sends payment via your PayPal account.
  5. Oberlo finds the item on AliExpress on your behalf, and automatically fills out the customer details, and buys it from the necessary AliExpress supplier.
  6. The AliExpress supplier then ships the order directly to the seller’s address.
  7. Once the order’s dispatched, Oberlo sends the customer a tracking code on your behalf.

Voila, it really is as simple as that. 

Thousands of new merchants sign up to sell their goodies via Oberlo each and every month — so you’ll have an abundance of products to choose from across an array of niches. From fashion to electronics, to toys and beauty…and everything else in between, you’re bound to find something that appeals to your audience.

With Oberlo, you don’t need to think about storing, packaging, or shipping your products. So, you can focus your limited time and energy on growing your brand, marketing your products, and making those all-important sales.

Best of all, you can whittle this process down to just two clicks: one to order, one to finalize!

If you’re working with a tight budget, never fear. For Shopify users, Oberlo’s entirely free for the first 500 products — which when you’re starting out is plenty!

Last but not least, Oberlo also notifies you if there are any changes to the inventory or price of the products you’re selling. So, in theory, you’ll never be caught short!

3.  Order Samples

You can never be too careful with dropshipping products. Don’t be tempted to sell anything without inspecting it first.

So, order a sample.

This is the only way to ensure your e-commerce store sells products your customers can depend on.

📢 Top Tip: If you’re ordering a few items, opt for Express Delivery. That way, it should be with you in a few days. When it comes to samples, the quicker, the better, so you can get up and running as soon as possible!

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A Few Dropshipping Tips

As a bonus, we’ve added a few dropshipping tips to help you hit the ground running.

Setting Product Prices

As we’ve said time and again, dropshipping gives you the freedom to set your own product price. But be warned, don’t be tempted to overprice your items. Today’s online shoppers are savvier than ever before, so they’ll know if they’re being ripped off. Price your products too high, and you’ll run the risk of consumers clicking off your site and heading to your competitors.

Be Wary of Branded Products

Genuine luxury brands on AliExpress are few and far between — so don’t risk selling them. There’s a good chance they’re counterfeit products and you could run into copyright issues. AliExpress strongly discourages their suppliers selling these kinds of goods. So much so, you can’t even search for Versace or Chanel, because they’ve blocked these keywords.

Only Use Responsive Suppliers

Before you commit to using an AliExpress vendor, send them over a message. Take note of how long it takes for them to respond. You’ll also get a feel for how well the supplier speaks English. Needless to say, this skill is essential for effective communication (presuming you can’t speak Mandarin).

If the supplier takes weeks to respond, or they send you a useless response, they’re probably not worth doing business with. After all, if you have to contact them urgently, and they’re unable (or unwilling) to get back to you with a helpful solution, you’ll inevitably run into problems.

Learn the Art of eCommerce

Yes, launching a dropshipping business is relatively straightforward — but there are a few things you’ll need to learn. Namely, how to drive qualified traffic to your store.

Without traffic, you won’t make sales, period.

There are tons of traffic generation methods you can use to drum up customers, so take some time to research them.

👉 We urge you to learn the basics of:

  • Social media advertising (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)
  • Email marketing
  • SEO
  • Pay per click ads

Typically, a mixture of all the above will help your store gain enough traction to secure your first few sales. Over time, you’ll then be able to look at your stats and get a feel for which marketing method works best for your niche. Then hone in on that. Let the data guide your marketing methods!

📢 Top Tip: If you don’t want customers to receive promotions or invoices from your suppliers inside their package, just tell them that, and they’ll usually abide by your wishes (to be fair it’s only a very few suppliers who do that anyway, so you should be fine)!

💡 Handy Hack: You can even request custom packaging. So, contact your dropshipping suppliers directly to see what they’ll do for you.

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What If I Don’t Want to Use Shopify?

If for whatever reason you don’t fancy using Shopify, WooCommerce is a fabulous alternative — especially, if you already have a WordPress website.

In short, WooCommerce is a plugin you can download that allows you to set up your own e-commerce store from the convenience of your WordPress site.

👉 Similar to Shopify, it’s both a wallet-friendly and intuitive option that enables you to:

  • Sell both digital and physical products
  • Manage inventory and shipping tasks
  • Make secure payments
  • Sort taxes

Just like WordPress, WooCommerce is both free and open-source. So, you can download the plugin and modify it as you wish without paying a penny!

But never fear, although it’s incredibly powerful; it’s very beginner-friendly — you don’t need any coding knowledge at all.

WooDropship

woodropship - what is aliexpress dropshipping

Now, that we’ve covered what WooCommerce actually is, you’re probably wondering: ‘how can I start dropshipping with this solution?’

The answer: WooDropship.

So, what does WooDropship do?

👉 Well, in answer to your question, this extension allows you to:

  • Add and sell AliExpress products
  • Ship products directly to your customers.
  • Set the price of your products — You can even set how much profit you want to make from each AliExpress item you sell and edit the pricing of your products in bulk.
  • Access to inventory and price syncing tools — so when a product price changes or a product goes out of stock on AliExpress, WooDropship will automatically update your sales pages.
  • An inbuilt image editor — With just a click of the mouse, you can easily remove any watermarks printed on AliExpress product images.
  • Customize your product details — You can modify your product titles, descriptions, images, variants, etc. to ensure all your sales pages reflect the aesthetic of your store.

So, basically, it’s the WooCommerce version of Oberlo. How awesome is that?

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Pros and Cons of AliExpress Dropshipping

Like everything else in life, there are a few pros and cons to AliExpress dropshipping. So, let’s explore these in greater detail.

Pros 👍

We’ll start with the positives…

You Can Buy Cheap Products

This is the most notable benefit to dropshipping with AliExpress. The majority of products retailed on AliExpress are incredibly cost-effective, as is the shipping. Like we said earlier, this is usually either free or incredibly cheap. So there’s a good chance you’ll be able to make a decent markup on these items.

It’s Easier to Sell High-Maintenance Products

It goes without saying, some products cost more to stock and ship than others. As such, the harder the product is to ship to customers, the handier it is to dropship them via AliExpress.

By ‘hard-to-ship’ products, we mean:

  • Heavy products: The weightier the product, the more it costs to ship (often making them too costly to make a profit).
  • Larger products: Merchandise that takes up tons of space to store.
  • Valuables: High-value items that need additional security and insurance.
  • Fragile products: Goods requiring special care whilst ship.

On the whole, it just doesn’t make sense to pay for extortionate storage and shipping fees when you can dropship these goods directly from AliExpress at no extra expense!

Minimal risk

If your plan for building a business doesn’t work out, then you don’t have to risk losing all the money that you initially put into starting your business. Compared to retailing, where you lose all the investment you’ve put into products in your inventory, dropshipping enables you to pay only when you have received an order from a customer.

The small amount of risk in this kind of business operation is ideal for companies that would otherwise struggle to get financing and support for a company’s growth.

Flexible locations

With AliExpress dropshipping, there’s no need to open a brick and mortar store, so you can run your business from anywhere. All you need is a computer and a stable connection to the internet. It’s your choice where you want to run your company from.

If you and your family decide to move somewhere new after you start your dropshipping business, you can pick up your entire company and move it with you, without having to look for new real estate or worry about transporting goods to a new facility.

No inventory management

Buying, storing, and looking after your inventory can be an expensive and time-consuming process, particularly if you’re building a large store step-by-step in the United States. With AliDropship technology and aliexpress.com, you don’t need to maintain any inventory for your dropship store. This means there’s also less risk associated with things like someone stealing your inventory, or your warehouse suffering from damage.

Plus, because you’re not handling the inventory on your end, you don’t have to find people to come and look after your warehouse either.

Low overheads

Aside from a minimal financial commitment initially, running a dropshipping store also means that you have fewer overheads in the form of things like employee salaries, rent, bills, and so on. With dropshipping, there are no overhead costs to worry about. If your store grows to the point where you can’t handle it alone, you can even hire virtual staff.

The minimal overheads could mean that if you’re new to running your own business online, AliExpress dropshipping can give you an easy way to start making some serious cash, without a lot of initial risk and investment. You might not even have to seek out a loan.

Cons 👎

Now for the downsides to AliExpress dropshipping

Beware of False Advertising

This is hands down the worst thing about AliExpress.

By ‘false advertisement,’ we’re referring to the fact that a product on AliExpress may look fabulous online, but in reality, the quality of the product doesn’t match either yours or the customer’s expectations. To limit the chances of falling foul to this, follow the tips we gave you earlier on how to find a reputable AliExpress supplier.

Quite competitive

AliExpress is one of the most affordable and popular dropshipping suppliers in the current marketplace. No matter what kind of niche you choose, you’re still going to struggle to make a massive impact or stand out from the crowd. There’s already hundreds and thousands of other dropshipping merchants out there just like you.

Minimal control

Lack of control is one of the biggest issues with using AliExpress. You don’t have a lot of control over your suppliers, their fulfillment processes, and anything else they do. You’re going to have to trust that they’ll deliver the kind of quality you expect, and that they’ll provide the items to your customers on time.

This means that you need to spend a lot of time looking for the right person or company to support you in your business.

Much Longer Shipping Times

As we’ve already said, AliExpress’ merchants’ turnaround times vary greatly. Some ship orders as quickly as one week and others can take as long as 60 days. This may put some customers off, especially when other ecommerce giants like Amazon Prime can deliver orders by the next day!

It’s worth remembering that there are different shipping times available depending on the shipping option you choose. If you take your time sourcing the right supplier, you can reduce your upfront cost and improve delivery outcomes. However, since your products are coming from China, it’s likely that you may need to pay a significant amount if you want much faster deliveries.

Poor profit margins

Depending on your product categories, it is possible to make a decent amount of money with something like AliExpress dropshipping. However, if you have a crowded target market, it’s going to be difficult to get a significant profit margin. Remember, there are going to be a lot of people out there offering items with the same product descriptions as yours.

Usually, because there aren’t any special features or extra bonuses that can set one dropshipped item apart from another, companies need to compete on price, which has a significant impact on your margins. Make sure that there’s enough space for another company to come in and start making a profit in your area before you get involved with dropshipping.

Returns Can Be a Nightmare

Since all products on Aliexpress are sourced and shipped from China, it can be a real hassle to return your customers’ orders to the original AliExpress seller and get a refund.

Some AliExpress suppliers offer a small refund to get you to just keep the product. Namely because shipping it back to them usually costs too much time, money, and hassle for it to be worth it! Again, refunds and returns are another thing you should consider discussing with a potential supplier before committing to doing business with them.

📢 Top Tip: If you feel you’re entitled to a refund from your AliExpress supplier, and so far you’ve been unsuccessful, contact Aliexpress’ customer support team directly. Depending on the product and the merchant, they sometimes offer refunds. But, be aware this isn’t likely.

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AliExpress Dropshipping: FAQ’s

Has reading the above sparked a few questions? Continue reading to find the answers to frequently asked questions about AliExpress dropshipping.

Why Would Someone Buy From Me If They Can Get the Same Product From AliExpress Cheaper?

Ahh. This one’s simple.

When you think about it, retailers have been buying products from suppliers for lower prices and selling them on at a profit for decades! This is how traditional brick and mortar stores have always conducted their business!

So, just like an in-person shop, with a bit of time and effort, you can easily create a better shopping experience than AliExpress. Period.

With tools like Shopify and Oberlo, you can create a trustworthy store that shoppers feel more comfortable buying from.

Couple this with providing customers with valuable content and you have a winning combination! Perhaps you could publish a blog or offer a free e-book for shoppers to download? This works wonders for helping you build trust with your audience while establishing yourself as an authority in your industry.

AliExpress Shipping Takes Too Long: What Can I Do?

You’ll be amazed at how many shoppers are comfortable with longer waiting times. The stats speak for themselves: Alibaba made over $17.7 billion in sales in just one day. So, clearly, there are people out there willing to wait a little longer to receive their products!

As long as you make your delivery times VERY clear on your sales pages, you should be okay.

It’s all about setting realistic customer expectations. Plus, if you’re selling your products at a competitive price, you’ll often find people will put up with waiting…if it means getting a discount.

I Need to Return an AliExpress Product: How Do I Do That?

On the whole, AliExpress suppliers don’t typically accept returns. As such, you’ll have to figure out how to handle returns and refunds on your own.

So, as you may have already guessed, this means writing and publishing a clear returns policy on your store.

📢 Top Tip: Do a quick Google search for ‘template returns policies’ and you should find one you can modify to suit your needs.

As you’re creating your refund policy, think about why customers might want to return your products.

👉 On the whole, if a shopper wants a refund, it’s usually because either:

1. They didn’t receive their order

If that’s the case, you’ll need to contact the AliExpress supplier directly and get the issue resolved. It’s imperative you nip these sorts of mistakes firmly in the bud because it could damage your brand’s reputation.

2. The product was damaged on route to their delivery address.

In the unfortunate event that a product gets damaged on it’s a way to a customer, we suggest asking the consumer to take a picture of the damaged goods. That way you can query it with your supplier more effectively. Then go ahead and issue the shopper with a refund.

Does Amazon Allow dropshipping? How Does It Work?

No, Amazon doesn’t permit traditional dropshipping on their platform, but that doesn’t mean you have to fulfill orders yourself,

Instead, you can turn to Fulfilment By Amazon (Amazon FBA), which just like regular dropshipping, takes the picking, packing, and shipping of orders out of your hands.

This is how it works:

  1. Set up your Amazon FBA account.
  2. Create your product listings
  3. Ship your products to Amazon, and they’ll take care of the rest.

By ‘the rest,’ we mean:

  • Selecting, packing, and shipping your merchandise.
  • Providing customers with tracking info.
  • Customer service (including returns)

However, you’ll have to factor in Amazon’s fulfillment fees, which vary depending on the size of the items you’re shipping and the time of year. But on the whole, prepare to pay $3+ for lightweight items.

Yes, it really is as simple as that.

You can also add Amazon as a sales channel on your Shopify store using the Amazon plugin. This tracks your inventory and notifies you in your Shopify dashboard when there are outstanding Amazon orders to fulfill.

Is AliExpress Dropshipping Dead?

The simple answer is no — definitely not.
Over the last few years, dropshipping has earned entrepreneurs millions, and there’s still a lot of money to be made. However, you’ll have to be prepared to get a little more creative to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace.
The real-life case studies speak for themselves. In 2017, Johnny FD made as much as $203,728.15 in net profits dropshipping, so it’s safe to say this business model certainly isn’t dead!

Is Dropshipping from AliExpress Profitable?

Again, yes, dropshipping from AliExpress has the potential to be extremely profitable. You just need to hold yourself accountable by writing down how much you want to earn and then working out how many products you need to sell to meet this target. Clear goal-setting is essential for keeping an eye on your profits.

Is AliExpress a drop shipper?

No, you’re the drop shipper.

A drop shipper is the store owner that “dropships” the products from the supplier on the Aliexpress platform.

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Best Aliexpress Alternatives?

There are tons of AliExpress alternatives, here are some of our favorites:

Salehoo

salehoo

Salehoo. This is another fabulous AliExpress alternative that supports the dropshipping business model.

Like the others in this list, Salehoo also offers dropshippers a large selection of trusted suppliers. Best of all, Salehoo provides a few training videos on how to make the most out of their marketplace, so you’ll be able to do business with them in no time. Not to mention, users also report that Salehoo’s customer support is both friendly and helpful.

Wholesale2B

 

wholesale2b

Unlike AliExpress, Wholesale2B is a US-based wholesale supplier directory.

They have as many as two million products on offer, spanning over 120 categories — which they add to each and every day.

Needless to say, if you’re based in the States, this is a fabulous AliExpress alternative.

Wholesale2B is best described as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for dropshippers. In addition to reliable suppliers, you can also get advice on how to to set up an online store.  Wholesale2B  integrates with the majority of eCommerce platforms including Amazon, eBay, BigCommerce, Shopify, and WooCommerce — just to name a few! So there’s a good chance you’ll be able to use Wholesale2B.

To give you a feel for the sorts of products you’ll find over there, here are a few examples of Wholesale2B’s products categories:

  • Apparel
  • Electronics
  • Pets
  • Baby Products
  • Bath
  • Bedding
  • Collectibles
  • Exercise and Fitness
  • Gifts
  • Groceries
  • Health and beauty

Wholesale2B makes ordering and inventory control very simple through their dashboard. With just a click of a button, you can automate both. They’ll also handle returns and exchanges on your behalf. However, they charge a whopping 3% + $2.50 transaction fee for every sale you make.

DHGate

Aliexpress Dropshipping

DHGate is a very similar marketplace to AliExpress, a lot of their products overlap so you can compare prices on both of these platforms to ensure you’re making the most profit. They also use ePacket shipping.

With over ten million products for you to choose from, sold by merchants located in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and other Asian countries, you’re bound to find something that interests your audience.

DHGate has products in all the following categories:

  • Electronics
  • Apparel
  • Watches and Jewelry
  • Toys and Hobbies
  • Home
  • Beauty
  • Outdoor and Sports

You can pay for items on DHGate via PayPal.

Banggood

bangood - what is aliexpress dropshipping

Last but not least, we have Banggood. This is another ecommerce marketplace boasting low-price products. With over four million products listed from China, Hong Kong, and the US — you’ll be spoiled for choice. Best of all, not as many people know about this site, which makes it great for trying to find something fresh to sell your audience.

You’ll find products listed in the following niches:

  • Drones and Robots
  • Smartphones and Computers
  • Home and Beauty
  • Outdoor and Sports
  • Garden and Outdoor
  • Clothing

Just like AliExpress, Banggood also offers ePacket and Air Parcel shipping. This can take anywhere between seven and 30 days to reach your customers.

You can pay for your goods via Visa card or PayPal.

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Are You Ready to Start Aliexpress Dropshipping?

We hope that having read this comprehensive guide, you now feel ready to start AliExpress dropshipping!

Have you ever tried AliExpress dropshipping before? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comments box below, as well as any other handy hints and tips you think our readers could benefit from. Speak soon!

Automatic Email Manager: The Ultimate Automated Order Printer for Ecommerce

Shopify, WooCommerce, and the many other ecommerce platforms are known for their automation features, such as order alerts and receipts. However, many businesses require the printing of invoices, orders, and receipts, whether it’s a restaurant that needs hard copies of orders sent to the kitchen, or it’s a wholesale business with custom invoices. Shopify, and most other platforms, don’t automate printed orders, so that’s where the Automatic Email Manager comes into play.

We discovered this extension after hearing that there aren’t many solutions for printing orders without going into the platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce and printing manually.

With that limitation, we found that the Automatic Email Manager extension could help many of our readers. So, in this article, we’ll cover the list of features you get from the extension and guide you through an example of it in action.

Keep reading to learn all about the Automatic Email Manager extension and to figure out if it’s right for your business.

An Introduction to the Automatic Email Manager

automaic emal manager - Automatic Email Manager

On the surface, the Automatic Email Manager offers a way for business owners to increase productivity by automatically printing out important, incoming emails. The tool helps all business by turning your emails into PDFs, images, and other printable formats, then sending them directly to your printers without having to click that Print button every time. The tool also has features for automatically sending replies or forwarding those emails to other people. It works by setting up actions to send emails or reply to emails, all of which use email templates for an automated workflow. It’s even possible to incorporate automated attachments.

Besides all that, the Automatic Email Manager cleans out your email after a certain amount of time, moves copies to different folders, and processes emails based on conditions you configure prior to running the extension. Not to mention, it works with the most popular email services such as Gmail, Office 365, and Yahoo.

So How Does the Automatic Email Manager Help Your Ecommerce Store?

Many of the basic features covered above will make your workday more efficient, considering many online store owners spend far too much time messing with emails, whether it’s replying to emails or printing out copies for filing.

However, the Automatic Email Manager has some unique capabilities just for ecommerce shops.

To begin, it integrates with popular ecommerce platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, and Prestashop, just to name a few. The extension is actually a Windows software you download to your computer, but that then combines with your online store and can pull order information for sending off to your printers.

As an example, a restaurant often receives orders for takeouts and deliveries, all of which come through the online store’s email messaging system. Many restaurant owners manually print or send these food orders to the kitchen. Unfortunately, that takes an incredible amount of time throughout the day, and it leaves your business open to human error.

The Automatic Email Manager takes out the guesswork, since you can set rules to send or print your orders once they arrive in the inbox. A restaurant manager may automatically send the order to the kitchen, save a copy in a folder, and print out the order, all in one automated process.

We can say the same for regular online stores. You might have to send orders to suppliers, warehouse workers, or other employees. In that case, the Automatic Email Manager takes the lead by completing the email sending to all parties. Not to mention, it prints out the orders for you to save as hard copies.

We envision this working rather well for packing lists and order slips, seeing as how at some point you need to have a physical version of your orders.

How Does It Work?

The Automatic Email Manager works its magic in a few simple steps:

Starting out, you download the Windows software to your computer and activate it on as many devices as you want. The Automatic Email Manager website offers a free demo download for you to try out for 30 days.

Once it’s installed, you configure the account by naming a new process. You can then type in the email you want to check. For example, it makes sense to include the address that receives the order confirmation emails that come from your online store. This way, you don’t even need to connect the extension to your store, as it’s all run through your email account.

With the new name (for your own reference), and the Email address inserted, click the Next button to proceed.

add account - Automatic Email Manager

Next up, you choose which type of email account you’re adding. This does not differ from setting up your email account to forward to a mobile app on your phone. Most email accounts have the IMAP or POP3 information within the settings area. However, the Automatic Email Manager extensions also have automated setup procedures for some more popular email accounts, like Office 365 and Gmail.

Select the email account you’re using, and click on the Next button.

type of account

The configuration all depends on your email provider. In this case, I’m setting up a basic IMAP4 account. There’s a little more information I need to type in since I must find the username and password for that account.

The standard integrations like Gmail and Yahoo simply redirect you to the login page for that email service. For example, when using a Gmail account it sends you to the Gmail login page, automatically linking the two programs as long as you type in your username and password. What’s great about this is that many people already have those details saved within their browsers.

After everything is inserted, click on the Test Connection button. If the connection works, choose the Next button to move onward.

imap

The next page shows the genuine power of the Automatic Email Manager. You can decide to check the email account in real-time, every few minutes, or every day at a specified time. There’s even the option to only check an email account on some days, like maybe for emails that aren’t as important.

Select your desired timing and click the Next button.

push method - Automatic Email Manager

The next page has features for making Action Groups. These actions determine what happens to the emails after the Automatic Email Manager logs them in the extension. For instance, you may want to add an action to print the email on your default printer. On the other hand, you could make an action for forwarding the email to someone else or merging an email with attachments to another hard drive or disk.

The Automatic Email Manager provides several action templates to get you started. All you have to do is click on the “+” button to see the various templates and adjust them to your liking. There’s also an option to make an action from scratch.

Once you add an action, it shows up on the list of actions on this page. You have the chance to add more actions for this email account, where all of them get listed on this page.

What’s more is that each action has its own customization options. To open those up, click Edit for the action of your choosing.

group of actions - Automatic Email Manager

As you can see, the Action Groups from before are simply collections of several actions.

Therefore, this Action Group template offers three actions to occur whenever an email comes through this address.

It prints the email body, prints all attachments, and sets an email flag. Much like the groups, you’re able to add as many actions as you want within each group.

add action

It’s important to click each action to ensure you have all the settings added. As an example, each printer action needs you to specify a printer within your organization. Therefore, click on an action to see the required settings. In this situation we would choose a printer, decide on a template, and consider the other options like whether or not to add a page number or a stamp. You can even save paper by grouping multiple pages per sheet.

edit action

The Automatic Email Manager tools provide rules and conditions within those actions as well. This makes for a more specific action, seeing as how you can prompt an action whenever a rule is met.

For instance, all of your order emails may have some sort of wording in the subject line. Therefore, you can target the order wording so that only those emails get printed and sent to other people. Any other email that comes through this account is treated as a regular email, so you won’t end up printing personal emails that don’t relate to your business.

rules

Once you have your action groups, actions, and rules, the accounts appear on the front page of the Automatic Email Manager. You can always go into an account to change the actions and rules, or you have the option to include even more accounts. The bottom of the window tells you when the next check occurs, so you can easily test to see if the printer is working or if the forwarding rule works out for your business.

new orders - Automatic Email Manager

It’s also nice to know that you can make actions for saving backups on multiple disks. Furthermore, the Automatic Email Manager extension works well with receipt printers in a retail or restaurant environment. You must have the official printer driver from the manufacturer for that printer to work.

Automatic Email Manager Pricing

Pricing for the Automatic Email Manager is transparent. You can start with one license per computer and sign up for either a one-year subscription or a lifetime subscription that’s more expensive but never expires. What’s great about the one-year subscription is that you save money on a yearly basis and you receive a 50% discount after the first year.

Here’s a look at the pricing information for Automatic Email Manager:

  • 1 license – $89 for a one-year subscription.
  • 2 to 4 licenses – $65 per unit for a one-year subsection.
  • 5 to 9 licenses – $59 per unit for a one-year subscription.
  • 10 to 49 licenses – $52 per unit for a one-year subscription.
  • 50 to 99 licenses – $45 per unit for a one-year subscription.
  • More than 100 licenses – $37 per unit for a one-year subscription.

The first year pricing gets cut to 50% if you choose to renew. You also get all the new updates upon renewal. As you may notice, it’s more economical to buy multiple licenses, so if you need the services on several units it cuts the unit price by going for a package.

The one-time payment plans are a little different:

  • 1 license – $249 per unit.
  • 2 to 4 licenses – $239 per unit.
  • 50 to 9 licenses – $236 per unit.
  • 10 to 49 licenses – $232 per unit.
  • More than 50 licenses – $228 per unit.

Again, going for a lifetime plan ensures that you’re saving money in the long-run. It’s a little more expensive up-front, but after a few years it appears to be more affordable. Not to mention, the lifetime plans also provide support and updates for as long as you use the extension.

The Customer Support

After analyzing the customer service from the Automatic Email Manager we discovered that the company provides exceptional response times and a few ways to contact them. To begin, you can send them an email and expect a response within a few hours. There’s also an online chat box that leads you to the knowledgebase articles and the contact form.

The tool doesn’t have a direct phone line to call, but the email system, combined with the help and support page, comes together for answering all of your questions. You can type a keyword into the Help and Support page to locate documentation about a myriad of topics like for setting up conditions and printing out different formats.

automaic emal manager - help and support

Finally, the Automatic Email Manager team offers several social media pages, including a Facebook page, Twitter, and YouTube Channel. This way, you can reach out to them on social media or simply learn about the product through videos and discussions with other users.

Is the Automatic Email Manager Right for Your Online Store?

We highly recommend the Automatic Email Manager for ecommerce shops that print out order forms, picking lists, or backups for those orders. It’s also great for forwarding emails to other people in your organization! Click here to get started with the Automatic Email Manager.

Let us know in the comments if you have any questions about the Automatic Email Manager.

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