If you’re interested in selling clothing, you may have considered dropshipping. It’s a great way to start selling products online without having to keep a large inventory.
However, when dropshipping clothing from China, there are a few things that you should keep in mind before jumping on the bandwagon.
At first, outsourcing your clothing manufacturing to China may seem like a surefire way to save money on manufacturing costs. However, there are some reasons why it’s a bad idea and why outsourcing to China may prove to be an expensive mistake.
It’s important to understand that when selling clothing online, mismatches of the customers’ expectations and the product’s quality can easily occur.
Therefore, it’s crucial that the clothing you sell is supplied by a supplier who takes their work seriously and provides high-quality items.
If you’re worried about quality, counterfeits, or scams, this list will definitely help you to make an informed decision about whether or not to dropship clothing from China.
Let’s start with the first reason why you shouldn’t dropship clothing from China:
1. There’s a lot of counterfeits in the Chinese marketplace.
First of all, the Chinese marketplace is known for having a lot of counterfeits.
These are clothing pieces that try to imitate products of famous (and valuable) clothing brands such as Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, and Vans:
When selling this counterfeit product, you will not only disappoint your customers who may have assumed they are getting a real Vans hoodie, but you may also get into legal trouble.
You should also be aware of selling copyrighted products, like Fortnite caps. Just like counterfeits, these products can get you into legal trouble if companies find out you have been selling their copyrighted items without their consent.
The last reason you should avoid these products is that Facebook does not allow them to be advertised. This means that your ad manager account will likely be suspended if you publish an ad for these products.
2. China has poor manufacturing standards
The next reason to avoid dropshipping clothing from China is that the manufacturing standards are often pretty poor.
China does not have the same labor laws like the US and Canada, which can cause all kinds of problems.
For instance, your clothing can be (partly) produced by children or workers under bad conditions, or it can be made from non-ethically sourced materials.
These bad conditions cause an inconsistent quality in the clothing pieces.
In turn, your customers will receive broken items more often, which may cause your business to lose brand identity and value.
Here’s an example of someone who has written a review about receiving a bad quality clothing piece from China:
And, if you’re in for a laugh, take a look at what else can happen with Chinese clothing products here:
Another issue of these poor manufacturing standards is that clothing made in China can come with an awful smell.
There are lots of stories about this problem on the internet, such as this one. There, a woman ordered clothing from China. When it arrived, the clothing smelled so bad that she thought it hadn’t been washed in a decade!
In short, these poor manufacturing standards cause all kinds of quality problems in Chinese clothing!
3. Shipping is unpredictable and unreliable
When selling clothing, some of your customers will need certain clothing pieces within a few days for a special occasion.
If you’re dropshipping clothing from China, this is something that you won’t be able to offer, and therefore, you will miss out on customers.
When shipping clothing from China, the package will have to go through at least two customs checks and travel many miles before reaching your customer’s doorstep.
Because of this, the average shipping time for clothing from China will most likely be three to four weeks (unless you don’t mind paying $15+ for premium shipping options).
The worst thing is that these shipping times are not even consistent. Some packages will arrive within three weeks, while others get stuck at customs (or even lost) and take more than six weeks to arrive.
Finally, some regions in the world will even charge your customer import taxes when taking delivery of the package, which you definitely want to avoid!
4. You are likely to encounter sizing problems
Chinese clothing is often produced with Chinese sizes in mind.
Since most Chinese people are relatively small compared to people in places like the US and UK, the sizes for clothing pieces vary as well.
Therefore, most dropshippers often include a sizing guide when dropshipping clothing from China, like this one:
Unfortunately, Chinese sizes fluctuate so much that it’s really difficult to predict the right size for your customers accurately:
Even if you get the sizing guides right, many customers will simply ignore or miss them and order their clothing pieces in the wrong size.
5. You won’t get the customer service you deserve
If you’ve ever tried to contact a Chinese supplier through AliExpress, you may have experienced this problem from your own perspective.
Chinese suppliers have a reputation for having pretty bad customer service. They may neglect your messages, reply in bad English, or lie about the shipping times or the product itself.
Most Chinese suppliers handle a very limited policy that leaves no room for guarantees when it comes to refunds.
In that case, you (as the dropshipper) will often have to pay for the refund out of your own pocket.
If customer service is really important to you, I suggest looking at dropshipping with US suppliers or EU suppliers.
These businesses are built on customer satisfaction and are more than happy to reply to your emails or pick up the phone to talk about organizing a refund if your customer isn’t satisfied with their order.
Working with these suppliers will be great if you are looking to improve your customer service!
6. The returns will give you a major headache
What do you think will happen when considering the five reasons I’ve given above?
That’s right; you will get a lot of refund requests!
When dropshipping clothing from China, there can be so many reasons for someone to request a refund. For example:
- Ordered the wrong size
- Bad product quality
- Product is broken
- Delivery time was too long
- The product is counterfeit
According to CNBC, the return rates for the clothing niche can be up to 40%. This is one of the reasons why the clothing niche should be avoided by beginners.
Now, imagine what they will be like when dropshipping clothing from China. The return rates will become even higher!
And it’s not like the returns will be easy to handle.
Shipping the packages back to China will cost a fortune and take forever, so your only real option is to let the customer keep the product and refund their money.
What if you do want to dropship clothing in 2021?
By pointing out these excessive returns, I have discussed all reasons why you should avoid dropshipping clothing from China.
But, what if clothing is a real passion of yours and you’re determined to start a clothing dropshipping business?
In that case, don’t forget that there are many alternatives to dropshipping clothing from China.
By using a supplier from (for example) the US or EU, most of the problems that I’ve given in this article will be solved immediately!
More often than not, you will have access to high-quality products, good customer service, fast shipping, and simple refund policies.
If you’re interested in a supplier like this, you should take a look at Modalyst:
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a supplier that is specialized in clothing and is not based in Asia, you will find some of your best options here:
The 14 Best Fashion and Beauty Niche Dropshipping Suppliers
I think we can conclude that the takeaway of this article is that you shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon and try dropshipping clothing from China.
The products from Chinese suppliers may be cheaper, but you will end up paying the difference (and more) in other ways.
When it comes to dropshipping clothing from China, the most significant risk you face is the quality of what you will receive. You will be very lucky to find a supplier that has done their homework and checked that the products are of good quality in one go.
By using a local dropshipping supplier, you will able to avoid all issues that come with dropshipping clothing from China.
Hopefully, you’ve learned something new today and saved yourself from a lot of headaches!
Have a great rest of your day!
Getting Started with Dropshipping in 2021
So, are you ready to get started with dropshipping? Or maybe you have already started, but you’re looking to get some inspiration?
If so, then I suggest reading this complete Shopify dropshipping guide.
It’s a huge article, but it contains everything that you need to know to create your own Shopify dropshipping store in 2021. It’s like a dropshipping course, but then for free!
Reading this article will surely help you to get started and to stay motivated while beginning and continuing your dropshipping journey.
Just don’t forget that success takes time. Keep improving each and every day!
Shopify Dropshipping Complete Guide 2021: Create Your Store!
And here are the articles I suggest you read next:
And also, if you didn’t create a Shopify account yet (to get your dropshipping store online), then you can click here to get a free 14-day trial!