The products you sell can either make or break your store. Here are 5 items to avoid at all costs when dropshipping with AliExpress.
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Learning what items you should avoid selling in your store is simple…
…in fact, there’s only five types of items you need to be aware of.
In this article, I’m going to reveal each of these items, and more importantly, explain WHY you should avoid them at all costs.
Whether you own a dropshipping store or are looking to create one, by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what items you need to “ditch.”
Let’s get started.
It’s not just about the ‘winning’ products
Usually, people in dropshipping only focus on finding the right products.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? After all, it only takes one amazing product to make you $10,000/month.
If that’s the case, who cares about the products you should avoid? Aren’t you avoiding them anyway by choosing the right product?
While you should focus on finding the right items, this is useless until you learn what items you should AVOID. The same way your store can scale up to six-figures when you find the right product, selling the wrong products can have even worse consequences.
Sadly, people end up learning this hard way. Their store gets sued, or they run their store at a loss, or they have their profit margins slashed. If only they knew these five items to avoid, they could have gracefully dodged these dreadful consequences.
At least this won’t be you — after you’re done with this article, you’ll never make those mistakes!
To start our quest, let’s look at the very first item you need to avoid…
#1: Products with Low Reviews
While this item has several orders, it lacks in reviews—and as we’ve covered in other posts, reviews are a super important factor that makes people want to buy.
This is the “social proof” I keep talking about: you only want sell products with high reviews, because this is a strong indicator that OTHER people are also benefiting from and buying the product.
When you buy something from Amazon or eBay, it’s unlikely (and against human nature) that you would rather buy a product with 1 or 2 reviews compared to one with thousands.
This is because of fear. You fear choosing an item with low social credibility because you assume there is a greater risk that it may be inferior or, even worse, arrive damaged.
As a seller, you need to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. No one is going to buy a crappy product, no matter how “amazing” you claim it to be. If other people aren’t actively buying and enjoying the item, there is no incentive for customers to buy it.
On the other hand, an item with very few reviews also means you don’t have enough information to know if a supplier will be good at fulfilling orders, especially if you start selling a lot.
Will the quality of the items go down as the production goes up? Is the supplier good at shipping out this item on time? How many people truly like the item they receive? A small number of reviews isn’t enough to make an assessment on this.
By solely focusing on selling products with a substantial number of reviews, you’re avoiding any chances of refunds, customer disputes, and chargebacks in your store. (Trust me, you DON’T want to have to deal with any of these.)
#2: Products with Trademarks
This Star Wars mug in the video of this blog is a perfect example of a product with a trademark.
The person selling this either has no idea it is illegal, or maybe they just don’t care. Regardless, the truth is the same: Unless you have permission to reuse, it is illegal to sell trademarked items in your store.
So what will happen to this guy? Well, eventually one of two things will happen:
- The product will get removed from AliExpress because it is illegal
- They will get sued by Disney (the company who owns Star Wars) for copyright infringement
And while they will make some sales, this is very short-term thinking. In psychology, they diagnose this strong desire for short term pleasure with the term “instant gratification” — and it happens in all areas of our life.
To understand this better, we’ll use healthy eating as an example.
Let’s say Greg, a 40-year old overweight man, wants to finally make the decision to turn his life around—and to start off, he commits to follow a strict diet plan.
Obviously, this isn’t as easy as it sounds. And to make matters worse, one on a Saturday night where Greg called his buddies to watch the basketball game at his house, one of the guys pick up the phone to order some pizza.
At this point, Greg is in a big dilemma: Should I eat this pizza and go against my plan … or should I stay disciplined?
Sadly, Greg gives in and eats the pizza. But what’s important here is what drove him make that decision: the urge to gain instant gratification. As the whiff of hot cheese and pepperoni filled the room, he just couldn’t resist the sensation.
This is the same thing that happened to the guy selling the Star Wars mug. For a while, he will make some sales, especially because of how huge a fanbase Star Wars already has: But these sales are at the expense of going down for copyright in the future and possibly being sued.
Selling products that are legally resalable is always the safer, smarter route to take when dropshipping items in your store. Don’t make the same mistake as this guy because your business won’t last very long.
#3: Products That Are Boring and Generic
One question we get a lot:
“Why would a customer purchase an item from your store at a mark-up, when they can go to AliExpress or Amazon.com and buy it from there instead for cheaper? Won’t the potential customer price-check your item?”
We created a 12-minute video that answers this, but in brief, the answer is no — IF you focus on getting the customer to impulse buy and create scarcity.
An impulse buy is basically buying a product without much thought. In life, we make several impulse buys such as coffee before work, movie tickets and even a candy bar.
By the way, can you see what all of these examples have in common? They are CHEAP. And with cheap items, you don’t really need much thought to make a decision about whether you are going to buy it or not.
This is different to say buying high-ticket items, like a couch, bed, or even a house where you have to put a lot of thought and calculation before deciding whether you want to make a purchase.
To get someone to impulse buy, you need to trigger an emotional reaction to the item that they are seeing. They need to look at it and REALLY, really want it.
Again, let’s use a common example we use on this blog — the “famous” guitar mug.
Now, for a second, pretend you play the guitar. And every time before you start practicing in the morning, you LOVE having a nice cup of coffee.
Then one day, while scrolling through your Facebook timeline, you see an ad like this appear…
(Remember, pretending you LOVE both coffee and the guitar) How excited would you be to see this mug — one that merges—not one— but BOTH of your favourite passions together?
“HELL, TAKE MY MONEY AND RUN!” is what I’d say. I wouldn’t just say, “Hmm, that looks pretty cool,” and carry on scrolling down my timeline, because this mug has evoked a strong emotion (and desire) to purchase it now. (It’s not every day items like this simply land on our laps, right?)
But if instead that mug was simply a plain, white, non-branded mug — who cares? It’s just a mug. It doesn’t get me excited or create a burning desire in me to purchase it, because I’ve seen white mugs like this a thousand times before in my life (I even have one!), and if I wanted to get one today, I could easily take a trip to my local mall and get one.
Looking at both scenarios, you’re obviously going to be more willing to buy the guitar mug — not only because it triggers an emotional reaction, but also because of the next thing we’re going to talk about: scarcity.
Scarcity is when you make the somebody feel that they have a limited amount of time to take an action.
And it works all the time. Black Friday is the perfect example of this—people LITERALLY camp outside stores and shopping malls the night before to buy items at huge discounts for one day.
Why? Because of scarcity. People know they only have ONE single day in the year to make the most out of these crazy deals, and this creates a strong “FOMO” (a.k.a. Fear of Missing Out) that drives them to take urgent action.
Running limited-time-offers is a great way to create scarcity in dropshipping. For example, you could run a ‘limited offer’ where you will be selling the next 20 products at a 60% discount. This again triggers that FOMO that drives the customer to take action and purchase it so they don’t miss out on the 60% discount.
And because they think they are already getting a good deal, they don’t bother to price-check the item against AliExpress or Amazon.
But with generic and boring products like the one in the video, it’s very difficult to create scarcity because they can buy these type of products from anywhere. So stick to selling unique, original, and special items.
#4: Products That Do Not Have ePacket Shipping
As customers, we already know how annoying long shipping times are.
In fact, with dropshipping, shipping items from China to the US usually takes 2-4 weeks.
Although customers don’t really care about shipping times as much as you might think — using ePacket shipping (2-3 weeks) is an effective way of speeding up delivery so that customers get their items faster.
Plus, this will make customer support a lot easier, and you’ll get far fewer emails from unhappy customers asking where their item is.
“How do you know whether a product has ePacket shipping?”
To check whether a product has ePacket on a product listing on AliExpress, scroll down and click the ‘Shipping & Payment’ tab.
As we can see for this item here, ePacket shipping is clearly available.
#5: Products with Terrible Photos
…LOL, was it just me wondering what in the hell this thing was?
This “thing” is actually an electric bottle opener — but you probably would’ve had a hard time guessing if I never told you.
And that’s not only because you don’t know what it is, but also because the images for this item fail to show you how it works.
The actual unique element to this item is that you can watch the cork go up the bottle opener. However, the pictures do not show this at all. Instead, they are just photos of the actual product itself, which looks boring.
Good photos showcase two things: 1) what the product is and how it looks, and 2) what makes it unique. As a newbie, you want to take advantage of the free stock photos that your supplier provides.
BUT as every dropshipper comes to realise, some suppliers’ photos look dreadful.
That is why it is especially important that you focus on dropshipping (and testing) products with good images — as they are the most important part of the ad and product listing.
So if your suppliers’ photos are absolute vomit, here are two other alternatives:
- Purchase the item, then hire a photographer to take professional photos
- Pick another supplier with higher quality images of the same product
To go a little step further, you could even create a video ad — like the one Sarah created in less than ten minutes in this article.
While it’s not necessary for most items, products like this electric bottle opener do incredibly well with a video ad; because not only can people see how it looks — they also know how it WORKS too.
The Bottom Line
It’s a pipe dream to assume that dropshipping is simply a matter of finding “winning” products that make money. A real dropshipping store — one with carefully picked items — requires you to also know what products to avoid. This helps you save time sourcing products and accelerates the process of finding high-quality ones.
Want to learn the blueprint wildly successful dropship stores follow to make six-figures?
Six steps to building a six-figure Dropship store
In the eBook, I’ve included:
- How just one “winning item” can earn $10k/month. Yep. A lot of people don’t realize this… but most stores make the majority of their money from just a handful of items!
- The right way to choose AliExpress suppliers. Picking the right AliExpress dropshipper is crucial to drastically reduce things like refunds. Learn how to pick the right suppliers.
- Why long shipping times DON’T matter. A lot of people are scared to start Dropshipping because of “long” shipping times. You’ll learn why this doesn’t matter.
- Why six-figure stores take ONLY two hours a day to manage. You’ll learn how they utilize apps like Oberlo to make their stores semi-automated… making managing orders super simple!