If finding a winning product is the first hurdle dropshippers face, getting reasonable and reliable shipping is the second. This should not stop you from testing a product. The first step is to make sure you can actually sell and make a profit on your product. Step two is to get shipping times down and work out supplier issues.
While some suppliers on Aliexpress have express shipping most products have insane 3 week+ shipping times. That simply doesn’t cut it in today’s market where 3-7 day shipping is pretty much expected.
Make sure you test shipping times by actually ordering your product from the supplier - this also makes it easy to get unique product images and create custom video ads
This leaves you with a few options:
The best option will depend on your product. Some products can be sourced from Aliexpress using their ordering system. Sometimes just sending a message to the Aliexpress seller can connect you with better shipping and pricing terms.
Finding and optimizing shipping times is generally something you do after you have proven you can sell an item and are looking to scale.
Keep in mind many of Aliexpress sellers are just a middleman between you and the actual supplier or manufacturer. If you find an item on Aliexpress and can’t work out better shipping the next step would be go to Alibaba and see if you can’t locate the actual supplier or manufacturer. They can usually tell if they have any express shipping options or local warehouses.
Dropship agents can also help connect you with the right company to fulfill your orders. Agents are usually people with industry experience in China who work with suppliers to get you the product you need. Many of these agents try to sell orders in bulk and then get you to pay for third party logistics (3PL). This isn’t really dropshipping in the basic sense and requires more money.
Be very clear with what you expect when working with an agent. In most cases I would advise involving an agent only when you are looking to scale your store.
Be careful when working with an agent - there are plenty of scammers. Make sure you verify their sources. Ask for pictures of items, order samples, etc.
If you can’t get the right supplier with manual outreach and an agent is a bit too involved then using a dropshipping aggregator is a good option. While they do have some monthly costs you are paying for the ability to have a stable supplier who can fulfill orders.
Not all suppliers in these aggregators are made the same. The aggregators screen suppliers but each one has different requirements. Just because you find a product or supplier doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect.
(in no particular order)
You can find a full list of suppliers and directories here.
While the US doesn’t have quite the amount of product manufacturing as China, you might be surprised what options there are for dropshipping. Many small-to-midsize US brands offer dropshipping. DropCommerce for example connects dropshippers with US based companies that offer dropshipping and gives you an order management platform.
There are two downsides to US suppliers: low profit margin, and product selection. Manufacturing is cheaper in China so profit margin is greeted if you can get goods made overseas. The types of products made in the US is limited, so finding something unique and interesting you can sell via Facebook ads can be hard.