Affiliates, Ali Express Passive Income

Being part of a thriving and profitable eCommerce platform can serve as a good foundation to start an online business. The go-to platform is often Amazon but that’s not what I’ll be discussing today. Instead, I’ll be showing you how to make money with Aliexpress, the company that makes headlines when it earns $30.8 billion on Singles’ Day in 2018.

Yes, you read that right, billions in a day.



Launched in 2010, AliExpress is a Business-to-Customer (B2C) retail owned by Alibaba, a multinational conglomerate company. The platform is catered for Chinese small businesses and suppliers to sell goods to the international market. You can find common products such as electronic goods to very bizarre ones like the inflatable water theme park (I kid you not).

The Amazon marketplace is said to be one of its biggest competitors, but if you look at the latest sales stat, it doesn’t even come close to what AliExpress is currently achieving (except for one).

  • The site is visited by over 732 million viewers per month.
  • It has more than 60 million regular customers.
  • It delivers to more than 230 countries.
  • Over 75% of sales come with free shipping.

The exception here is that Amazon carries more products (> 560 million) than AliExpress (about 100 million). In terms of variety, Amazon does offer more yet there’s still plenty of room for profit-making. Just one caveat though.

Selling opportunities are only available for Chinese companies, so unless you are based in China, you are not qualified to become a seller. However, there are two things you can be part of – dropshipping or affiliate marketing – and that’s what we’ll be talking about today.


In a growing digital world, AliExpress Dropship represents one of the most popular dropshipping companies in the global market and offers a slightly different take on eCommerce websites. If you are looking for something that breaks the mold and wants to own a niche online store without the fuss of inventory, this may be a good alternative for you.


AliExpress Dropship is a favorite among sellers because it has no start-up fees. Its innovative business model allows you to hold inventory online without ever having the items delivered to you. This business model means that products are bought from the manufacturer or supplier through listings displayed in your niche online store.

The Dropship Model – Courtesy of Oberlo

Once the items have been bought, you order them straight from the manufacturer. The manufacturer or supplier then ships the item directly to your customer, while you retain any markup on the sales as profit. There are literally no costs whatsoever if you want to start using AliExpress Dropship.

There is a small amount of risk involved though. If you forget to keep a close eye on prices, for example, and sell a product that has since become more expensive, you risk taking that difference as a loss. Provided you perform well and update frequently, this dropshipping business could turn into a regular little money-making side hustle.


It’s easy to start with AliExpress Dropship and you don’t need any funding. All you need is an online store, which isn’t that hard to set up. You can set up a site with Shopify, Woodropship or AliDropship and put together a completed store. Once you have somewhere to house your products, you need to decide on your niche.

What sort of inventory would you like your store to carry? Are you an avid drone flyer? A fan of wigs and hair extensionsLover of jewelry? You can sell whatever you want with dropshipping.

After choosing a niche, you can begin stocking your store and run strategic marketing. Promotion helps drive customers to your store and there are several ways of doing it, either through free or paid techniques. Watch this video to learn more.



To put things into perspective, let’s highlight some pros and cons of dropshipping products from China.


  • You can mark up the selling price according to your liking (but within a reasonable range).
  • There are no service fees to access the product database.
  • There’s good customer support to help your store establish good credibility.
  • Due to its global outreach, your products will appeal to a wider audience market.
  • You can work on the store as a side project and gradually grow into full-time.


  • You run the risk of being out-priced by suppliers and eating into your own profit if you are not paying attention.
  • There’s also the risk of dealing with untrustworthy suppliers who dish out poor quality products without your knowledge.
  • If the buyer does not like the item, has a complaint or any other issues – you are the one who has to take the flak.
  • Free delivery has its perks but shipping can take up to 30 days (or more) depending on destinations. This can discourage or even frustrates shoppers.

With that in mind, if you still like to start your own AliExpress Dropshipping business, please visit this guide to learn more.


Another business model that doesn’t involve a store setup per se, is called affiliate marketing. With the AliExpress affiliate program, you can promote products through blogging and earn from the sales commission. That way, there’s no need to list products or worry about finding suppliers.

Just like dropshipping, the first step involves finding a niche – something that’s not only interesting but one that you have extensive knowledge about. Since blogging is all about creating content, the more information you share about a product, the more it’s going to attract the consumer savvy shoppers. As a result, the more sales conversion you are likely to make.

With affiliate marketing, understanding the behavior of your targeted audience is crucial – what are their concerns, expectations and how certain products can help solve their problems. All these aspects can be answered through product reviews and that’s what you’ll be working on mostly with your content.


After deciding on a niche, the next step is to set up a blog. WordPress is one of the most popular platforms – from blogging to creating an online store. Even for products, you don’t own, it’s possible to install a store feature onto your site. It is also neat to use because of the plugin features that customize functions for the site.

Having a blog with content is a prerequisite for most affiliate program application as it helps the merchant to verify your commitment towards promoting the niche. However there are two types of WordPress out there – the dot com version and the self-hosted version – so make sure you know the difference. In essence, self-hosted WordPress is my go-to platform because it is more flexible and doesn’t have all the monetizing restrictions that come with 

If you’ve never used WordPress and are curious to know what it looks like on the inside, simply create one for free using the tool below.


To join the program, there are a few affiliate networks that can facilitate the process. You must first create a user account with the network (it’s free) before you can access the merchant. Once you have been accepted, a unique coded link will be made available to allow you to paste onto the relevant spaces and text of your content.

Interestingly, each network comes with different offers in terms of the commission rates so have a look at this information before you apply. At CJ Affiliate, Aliexpress has a high network earning of ⅘ and it offers a 4% commission on all products with a 3 days cookie period. At FlexOffers, the rate is slightly lower at 3% with the same cookie duration.

The best offer I’ve seen so far is with the Admitad network whereby commissions are structured according to product categories. Similar to the Amazon Advertising Fees, it will give you something worthy to think about when selecting a niche product to promote on AliExpress. If you are interested to earn more than 4%, you should look into the following highlighted categories.

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