AppScenic Ecommerce Blog

Why You Should Quit Dropshipping from China: An In-Depth Look

Why You Should Quit Dropshipping from China -  

Are you still dropshipping from China? If so, it might be time to rethink your strategy. Yes, we know China continues to be the biggest ecommerce market in 2024, and it’s been a popular choice for many dropshippers back in the day, due to the cheap products and huge selection of items. 

In 2024, it’s not a strategy we recommend anymore. In fact, ever since we launched AppScenic, we’ve been saying that starting a dropshipping store with products from China that have three weeks shipping times and lack any customer support, is a dead end and has been for a long time!

 

 

As we still get this question a lot, we decided it’s time for an entire article to showcase the most important reasons why continuing to dropship from China is not the best idea.  You can also have a look at the video above if you’re more into videos than articles. 

Let’s dive into why you should quit dropshipping from China and explore better alternatives.

What’s the problem with traditional dropshipping from China?

Even in 2024, most dropshippers still follow the traditional method of finding cheap products from China and marking them up. Now we know this may sound amazing, but, hear us out, this approach often leads to low-quality products and poor customer experiences. It’s not a winning strategy and it’s also the reason why we decided to disrupt the dropshipping industry by launching AppScenic, our dropshipping automation platform. 

With our platform, we wanted to give you a 100% legit method to find and dropship high-quality products on your store from suppliers in the USA, EU, UK, Canada, etc. This is the dropshipping way that we love most and we actually even teach a course on how to run a modern dropshipping business using this type of method.

Now, getting back to dropshipping from China, most dropshippers use these methods to dropship from Chinese suppliers:

  • They use Chinese suppliers and dropship on Amazon. What it means is that they tried to dropship directly on Amazon from Chinese suppliers. It works like this: they import products to Amazon that are actually shipped to their Amazon customers straight from their Chinese suppliers. This is one of the worst methods of dropship nowadays, and we will explain why in more detail in the next chapter.
  • They use Chinese suppliers and dropship on eBay. This is similar to what we described above; retailers use Chinese suppliers to dropship on eBay instead of Amazon. It’s still used today by some eBay sellers and that’s possible only because eBay policy is not as strict as Amazon’s. 
  • They use Chinese suppliers to dropship. Dropshipping from Chinese suppliers directly to your store is also one of the most popular methods used in the last years but definitely not the most efficient way, not anymore.

 

Next, let’s see why dropshipping from China doesn’t work anymore. 

Long shipping times

Let’s face it, one of the biggest challenges of dropshipping from China is the shipping time. We live in an age where consumers expect instant gratification. They want their purchases to arrive almost as soon as they hit the “buy” button. With shipping times from China often ranging from two to six weeks, you can’t compete with those delivery times.

Imagine ordering something online and having to wait a month for it to arrive. Frustrating, right? That’s exactly how your customers feel. Long shipping times can lead to impatience, dissatisfaction, and negative reviews. This delay can severely harm your brand’s reputation and customer loyalty.

So, you see, shipping times make a big difference these days. In the USA especially, with the launch of Amazon’s prime delivery system, people aren’t used to wait long for their orders anymore. Actually, 42% of customers expect a 2-day shipping option every time they order online.

That’s why it’s very important to find a supplier located in your region or as close as possible and can ship fast. Fast shipping times could actually be a selling point for your online store, as the order fulfillment part is neglected by many beginners and they are only focused on getting the sale.

Quality control issues

When dropshipping from China, maintaining quality control can be a real challenge. Yes, you might find great deals and attractive cheap products, but their quality can be hit or miss. Some suppliers might cut corners to keep prices low, resulting in low-quality products.

Consider this: a customer receives a poorly made item that breaks within days. Not only does this reflect badly on your business, but it also increases your return and refund rates. Inconsistent quality can undermine customer trust, making it harder to build a loyal customer base.

Read more: How to find high-quality products to dropship

Return Complications

When it comes to dropshipping from China, the return process isn’t just complicated, it can become a logistical nightmare. Imagine asking a customer in the USA to return a defective or unwanted product to China. The return process involves long transit times back to the supplier, often taking as long, if not longer, than the initial delivery. 

Also, who pays for this international shipping? Typically, unless the seller is willing to take these costs, it falls on the customer, which will lead to bad reviews. And even if a customer agrees to return a product to China, there’s the risk of the package being lost in transit. From our experience, approximately 90% of returns to Chinese suppliers result in the retailer having to take the loss and cover the full refund or replacement.

A high rate of returns can lead to an increase in chargebacks too. Customers might resort to chargebacks as a faster way to get their money back, especially if they find the return process too delayed or complicated. Frequent chargebacks can put your payment processing and advertising accounts at risk. Platforms like Stripe, PayPal, and even advertising giants like Facebook and TikTok have policies against high chargeback rates. Trust us, getting your accounts suspended overnight can even break your business.

Communication barriers

Chinese people speak a different language and live in a different time zone. So, dealing with suppliers on the other side of the world often means you will need to face language barriers and different time zones. Miscommunications can lead to wrong orders, delayed responses, and overall frustration.

Picture trying to explain a complex issue to someone who doesn’t fully understand your language and is awake when you’re asleep. It’s like playing a frustrating game of telephone – not very efficient and prone to errors. Effective communication is crucial for timely and accurate order fulfillment, and these barriers can significantly slow down your operations.

Huge shipping costs

Shipping costs from China have been on the rise. The global shipping industry has faced numerous challenges, from increased fuel costs to regulatory changes, all of which contribute to higher shipping fees. These rising costs can eat into your profits, making the once attractive margins far less appealing.

Think of it as filling your gas tank – if the price per gallon suddenly doubles, your road trip becomes a lot more expensive, potentially forcing you to cut your journey short. Higher shipping costs mean you have to charge your customers more, which can make your products less competitive compared to local alternatives.

Competition and market saturation

Dropshipping from China isn’t a new concept. In fact, it’s a path most have walked on, which means you’re facing a lot of competition. Many dropshippers offer similar products from the same suppliers, leading to market saturation and price wars.

Standing out in such a crowded market is like trying to make a splash in a pool already filled with swimmers – tough and often impossible. Differentiating your business becomes challenging, and competing on price alone is a race to the bottom.

Customer trust and brand perception

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy and conscious about where their products come from. Ethical sourcing and sustainability are growing concerns. Products from China are often associated with cheap labor and questionable environmental practices, which can damage your brand’s reputation.

Building a trustworthy brand is like nurturing a plant – it takes time, effort, and the right conditions. Associating your brand with low-quality, unethical products will harm your reputation. Modern consumers value transparency and ethical business practices, and failing to meet these expectations could damage your brand.

Read more: Why over 90% of dropshippers fail

Alternatives to dropshipping from China -

What are some better alternatives to dropshipping from China

So, if not China, then where? Here are some alternatives that might serve you better.

Local suppliers

Working with local suppliers can drastically reduce shipping times and improve product quality. Your customers will appreciate faster delivery, and you’ll benefit from easier communication and better quality control.

Imagine offering two-day shipping and high-quality products – it’s like winning the customer service lottery. Local suppliers can also help you promote your business as a supporter of local economies, which can enhance your brand’s appeal.

Niche suppliers

Finding niche suppliers who specialize in specific products can help differentiate your business. These suppliers often offer higher quality items and are less saturated than generic markets.

Trust us, if you find the right niche, marketing strategy and the right audience, then your customers will notice the difference and be willing to pay a premium for your product. Niche products can help you build a unique brand identity and attract a dedicated customer base.

We’ve written a whole series on top niches to dropship, from high-end fashion to premium home items, so check them all out here if you want to know more about each of them and start dropshipping from niche suppliers.

Where to find dropshipping products outside China?

So, how you can find high-quality products from USA, CAN or EU? Well, yes, we know, that finding those dropshipping products can be a challenging task, given the huge range of suppliers, platforms, and apps available at the moment. So, to make this easier, we recommend testing a few dropshipping platforms that work with domestic suppliers and also offer free accounts before committing to one or two that best suit your needs.

As we keep on saying, we believe dropshipping should be more than just sourcing low-quality products from China and AliExpress. That’s why you will never hear us recommending such platforms. Instead, we suggest choosing suppliers who offer high-quality products from outside China and can also ship super fast to your location. Here’s where and how you can find the best suppliers:

  1. Find dropshipping apps for your ecommerce platform: If you have a Shopify store, check the Shopify app store for the best-rated product-sourcing apps that can integrate seamlessly with your store. For instance, our own AppScenic dropshipping app is highly recommended.
  2. Independent suppliers: Another effective way to find great products is by exploring independent suppliers. This approach allows you to create your own brand store and sell private-label products, giving you more control over your brand and product quality. If you go for this option, make sure they can ship fast and use reliable fulfillment centers, such as Rush Order. 
  3. All-in-one dropshipping platforms: Opting for complete platforms can simplify your dropshipping operations. These platforms offer everything from great pricing plans, unique and high-quality products, top and reliable suppliers, ultra-fast delivery times, to 24/7 customer support. AppScenic, for example, is such a platform. It allows you to manage your team, handle orders, and access over 1 million high-quality products from trusted and top-rated suppliers. And now we also offer AI tools to help you improve your product description and images.

 

By utilizing these strategies, you can ensure that you source high-quality products that meet your customers’ expectations and build a successful dropshipping business without relying on low-quality items from China.

The benefits of choosing a better dropshipping strategy

Moving away from China and choosing a different dropshipping strategy can bring numerous benefits to your business.

Improved customer satisfaction

Faster shipping times and higher-quality products lead to happier customers. When customers receive their orders quickly and find the products meet or exceed their expectations, they are more likely to return and recommend your store to others.

Enhanced brand reputation

Working with ethical suppliers and offering high-quality products can significantly boost your brand’s reputation. Consumers are more likely to trust and support a brand that values quality, sustainability, and ethical practices.

Greater control over inventory

When you work with local or niche suppliers, you have more control over your inventory. You can easily inspect products, manage stock levels, and quickly restock popular items. This control can lead to more efficient operations and better customer service.

Reduced risk

Diversifying your dropshipping strategy reduces your reliance on a single source. If one supplier faces delays or quality issues, you have other options to fall back on. This diversification can protect your business from disruptions and ensure a steady supply of products.

Higher profit margins

While local suppliers might have higher product costs, the savings on shipping and reduced returns due to better quality can balance out the expenses. Additionally, offering unique, high-quality products allows you to charge a premium price, leading to higher profit margins.

The steps to take to make the move from Chinese suppliers

Transitioning away from dropshipping from China might seem difficult, but with careful planning, it can be a smooth process. Here are some steps to help you make the switch.

Review your current suppliers

Start by assessing your current suppliers. Identify which products have quality or shipping issues and begin looking for alternative sources for these items. Prioritize finding local or niche suppliers that offer similar or better products.

Research new suppliers

Spend time researching new suppliers. Look for reviews and testimonials from other businesses to understand their reliability and quality. Reach out to potential suppliers to discuss their products, shipping times, and pricing.

Test new products

Before fully transitioning, test new products from your local suppliers. Order samples to evaluate their quality and shipping times. This testing phase will help you identify the best suppliers and ensure a smooth transition.

Communicate with your customers

Keep your customers informed about any changes. Let them know that you’re improving your product quality and shipping times by sourcing from new suppliers. Transparency builds trust and can turn potential disruptions into positive experiences.

Monitor your dropshipping store performance

After making the switch, closely monitor your business’s performance. Track customer satisfaction, return rates, and overall sales. Use this data to make any necessary improvements and ensure the new strategy is working effectively.

Ready to make the switch?

Yes, the process to start quitting dropshipping from China is complex, especially if it’s the foundation of your current business model. But, considering the long shipping times, quality control issues, communication barriers, rising costs, and market saturation, it’s clear that exploring other options can be only to your benefit.

By shifting to local suppliers, niche markets, or dropshipping platforms, you can improve customer satisfaction, build a stronger brand, and ultimately increase your profitability. 

The road to a successful dropshipping business is filled with smart choices and adaptability. Here’s to taking the next step towards a more profitable and sustainable future!

Read next: What does the average dropshipping website make?

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