Have you just started out your dropshipping business? Still confused whether to choose AliBaba or AliExpress to get genuine suppliers for your store? Well, worry no more and read out this Alibaba Vs. AliExpress comparison review to check out which site would best suit your needs!
An exciting business model with very few or no startup costs has been a dream of many, and then dropshipping came into reality. We have always been a great fan of the dropshipping business model. It's so lucrative that anybody can start out from any corner of the world.
However, if you are still new to all this – In dropshipping, the business owns a list of suppliers from sites like Alibaba and AliExpress. It then, instead of owning the whole inventory, passes out the orders to the supplier itself, and the supplier then fulfills the whole order. Most of the time, third parties are the one handling shipping and logistics for the business. Typically, this third party is a wholesaler who is into the dropship business for quite a long period.
As mentioned previously, sellers are the pillars of dropshipping business. That being said, Alibaba and AliExpress are two platforms that are always trusted by dropshippers across the globe to get genuine seller lists. In fact, these two platforms have cornered a huge slice of the globe's online B2B and B2C retail markets. Additionally, both the platforms offer unique selling and buying experiences for different types of sellers and buyers.
But the question that remains forever in most of the dropshipper’s mind is which platform might be the best for them? And on top of it, how do these platforms differ from each other? And last but not the least, how do Alibaba and AliExpress work?
If you are someone having similar questions in your mind, read this Alibaba Vs. AliExpress comparison, and the review of each platform. We have made sure to get all your queries covered, let's get started!
Alibaba Group: What exactly is it?
Alibaba and AliExpress are two different marketplaces, they are not similar at all. But the only similarity between both the marketplace is that both are a part of the largest multinational technology company the Alibaba Group. The mission of both the platforms is similar hence it's a part of the Alibaba wholesale division too. This division was designed for small and medium sized business owners to sell best products to their customers at affordable pricing.
If compared, Alibaba is quite cheaper than AliExpress. But with AliExpress dropshippers can buy single products before sending it out to customers, and with Alibaba they don't have this specific option.
When compared to US-based retail sites, both Alibaba and AliExpress offer products at the cheapest rate, however, this doesn't mean you have to vouch for both marketplaces. Check out our exclusive Alibaba Vs. AliExpress comparison review to understand which marketplace would best suit your dropshipping needs.
Back then, Alibaba was not involved entirely into the dropshipping model, they have started it out recently. In today's date the dropshippers are allowed to trade directly with manufacturers, wholesalers both international and domestic, and factories. The platform is free to use, and allows dropshippers to source products without any minimum order quantity. This is a great initiative for beginners who are very picky about products, and don't want to invest much in inventories.
Most of the sellers on Alibaba are verified by the team, and the top-rated ones are verified and passed by Alibaba's Trade Assurance Protection Policy. Since the service is relatively new by Alibaba's end there are certain limitations now, and it only connects to Shopify and WooCommerce platforms
Lastly, with Alibaba, dropshippers can easily get products with their logo, store name, or any other custom name at a very low price.
AliExpress has been into the dropshipping business for quite a long period now. Many sellers offer this feature, and in fact, they are well versed with the whole dropshipping concept. The marketplace is known for the products it offers to dropshippers at a very competitive retail pricing. The best part here is, dropshippers can buy a single product over here, they have access to a built-in shopping cart to test products before sending it out to any customer.
AliExpress even offers express shipping options to dropshippers. All in all, AliExpress is a great choice for dropshipping business, but is it better than Alibaba? Let's take a look now!
Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: The major differences
Using Alibaba for dropshipping would not cost you any penny. Accessing the platform is completely free, you can get access to all the sellers by just a click. However, when it comes to picking up products, there's no cart option available here. Instead, you'll directly have to contact the seller if you want to order something.
As far as pricing is concerned, Alibaba follows the wholesale pricing model. Hence, without any double thoughts, you will have to bargain here to get the best deal. And when it comes to pricing, Alibaba is much better than AliExpress, if you are ordering in bulk, you can actually get huge discounts.
The only downside with Alibaba is sellers don't offer single pieces here. For samples too, first you have to make a bulk order, then you can receive samples, or else pay for the shipping to get just a product delivered.
Some other features of Alibaba:
- Timely delivery of products because of the Trade Assurance Program.
- Private labeling options available even for bulk orders.
- 60-day interest free financing option available for new dropshippers who have just started out and looking for some funds.
- Available in 18+ languages.
- Best secured payment portal.
- Beginner and user-friendly interface.
The best feature of AliExpress when compared to Alibaba is there is no minimum value. You don't have to worry about samples at all. You can buy just a product, use it for yourself, and then place bulk orders, when you are satisfied. There might be just a few sellers who have opted for minimum order quantities, but most of them don't.
And as far as pricing is concerned with AliExpress, it's different when compared to Alibaba. Over here, the platform uses the retail pricing model and not the wholesale one.
Some other features of AliExpress are:
- Multiple secure payment options available (more than 38 in fact).
- Express shipping option available.
- Easy order processing.
- Available in 18+ languages.
- Some sellers don't ask for extra shipping cost.
- More than 51 currency options available.
Steps to Use Alibaba for Dropshipping
Using Alibaba for dropshipping is literally not a tedious task at all. As compared to AliExpress, this platform is quite famous for wholesaling products and not just one product. There are a few suppliers offering individual purchase options. Moreover, dropshippers on Alibaba have the opportunity to work with sellers to create customized products. There are “ready to ship” products available too which can be delivered to end customers within 15 days of placing an order.
To begin with, the first step to find products and sellers on Alibaba is:
- Enter the product's name on the search bar. Make the most out of the filters available like minimum order quantity, price, supplier's quantity, certifications, and more.
- Check out the themed pavilion section like top ranking products.
- Send request for quotation in the RFQ market.
- Always specify your requirements in the quotation.
- Check out the seller's profile according to the badges they have earned for their services. A gold supplier is a supplier who is a paid member and has been verified by Alibaba for its services. A verified supplier is a supplier whose company's profile, management system, and production capabilities have been assessed by the Alibaba team. And trade assurance suppliers are the ones who accept payment through Alibaba.com, enabling order protection.
- Place an order right away by click on “Start order” section or contact the supplier to get more specific information by clicking on “Contact supplier” option.
- Request a sample before placing the complete order. Remember that Alibaba as of now offers multiple secure online payment methods like credit cards, online bank payment, telegraphic transfer, and financing options.
Steps to Use AliExpress for Dropshipping
If you are thinking of starting out dropshipping with AliExpress, it's easier here too. You just have to go to the official AliExpress page, and click on the join button. While joining, make sure to create an account of your own, or opt in to sign in with Google, Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform.
There's a search section available at the homepage from where you can browse products by category or just search something specific. You even get an opportunity here to filter out the results according to price, rating, shipping country, cost, and returnability. You can even sort out the results according to new listings, best match, and price.
Make sure to pay attention on these things:
- Check out the ratings of each seller and the number of orders they have shipped till date. Usually, you must pick up a seller having a rating above 4.0, or more than 100 orders shipped.
- Make sure to check out the real pictures of orders uploaded by other dropshippers.
- If the seller matches your needs, start adding items in your cart and place the order accordingly.
- AliExpress even offers ePacket shipping option, whereas a few sellers also offer free shipping on orders.
- Now, after checking all the above-mentioned steps, by using Alidropship, Woodropship, or Dropshipme you can import selected products to your dropshipping store.
Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Customer Service Review
Yet another factor to consider while choosing Alibaba or AliExpress for dropshipping needs is the customer service itself. However, you must understand that these two platforms are based in China, and most of the sellers are third-party ones. Hence, whatever experience you would have while picking products from these platforms completely depends on the individual seller. But the best thing both Alibaba and AliExpress have done is they laid out some rules and regulations for each seller, and if anyone violates it, they will be terminated/discarded. So, let's dive into the rules and how both platforms work differently when it comes to customer service:
Alibaba Customer Service
A dropshipper deals directly with the supplier whenever it makes a purchase from Alibaba. In fact, Alibaba just helps dropshippers meet suppliers, it is never involved at all, at any point of sale. But the best thing Alibaba has done here for dropshippers is they have dedicated help centers. They even have built up community forums, and forms on the website for dropshippers to enter any issues they have been facing with the supplier or the site itself.
Moreover, dropshippers can even reach out to Alibaba customer service executives via live chat. The only disappointing thing with Alibaba is you will not get the contact number of the supplier, you can't reach out to them directly, instead you will be able to talk to them via email.
AliExpress Customer Service
When it comes to customer support service, Alibaba and AliExpress both offer similar support. In fact, over here dropshippers have access to the live chat option feature. They can use this feature to talk to support executives if they are facing any issues. Similar to Alibaba, even AliExpress doesn't offer phone support.
Lastly, AliExpress offers great dispute management service on the official site itself. Dropshippers can make the most out of this service if they want to report any supplier for poor service, or request refunds ASAP.
Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: User Reviews
When it comes to reviews of both the platforms by actual dropshippers, we have done major research. And the first thing we found out is that all the dropshippers' reviews varied according to the type of seller they dealt with. In all, we would highly recommend that while making any purchase from Alibaba or AliExpress make sure to use legit tools to find legit sellers. Some best tools we would recommend from our end are Alidropship, Oberlo, DSMtool, Spocket, and Dropshipme.
Alibaba customer review
As of now, many dropshippers have reported some scams usually done by quite a few sellers. However, a lot of dropshippers have actually earned a hefty amount of profit just because they choose legit sellers. And one of the major reasons behind this positive experience is the efforts Alibaba and team have taken to crack down product quality related issues.
Lastly, if you are looking forward to buying custom products for low prices, Alibaba must be your choice, because many wholesale dropshippers have earned maximum profits.
AliExpress customer review
Some of the most common issues dropshippers faced with AliExpress were about a specific order not arriving on time, incorrect products shipped, and refund related issues. On the website, the reviews given by dropshippers are mixed. A few dropshippers faced many issues, but a lot of them managed to earn hefty profits by picking up the best sellers.
As by now, you all might have understood how different Alibaba and AliExpress works, here are some common questions you can ask suppliers before freezing a deal:
Remember that both Alibaba and AliExpress take effective steps to verify sellers before onboarding any of them. But as dropshipping is completely your business, and every order will affect your credibility, you have to assess each supplier.
For doing the same, here are a few questions you can ask your supplier before making a deal, so that you get to know better how future transactions with that specific seller would look like.
When it comes to AliExpress, sellers over there keep a fixed pricing for every product. However, in the case of Alibaba, dropshippers have to bargain, or have a conversation with sellers with regards to pricing. Hence, whenever you are dealing with sellers on Alibaba make sure to put up a price to the seller that would best suit your budget, in fact sometimes you can quote a lower one. Most of the time the seller may not agree with the pricing, but why not give it a try?
⚠ Note: Make sure to use Alibaba's request for quotation service (ROQs) to request quotes for multiple suppliers for each product. In fact, this service is available for free, which we believe is the best reason for you to hog into it. You can even buy yourself a few samples for checking out the quality of each product, for this, you'll even have to pay the shipping cost.
What will be the average order fulfillment time?
As a dropshipper, your customer will make or break your business. You have to work on the order fulfillment process, you have to be transparent enough so that your customer never gets disappointed with your service. For that reason, always ask the supplier how much time they will take to process the order, and always ask for an estimated time of delivery too. In fact, you can even ask the seller tracking ID of all the orders for you and your customers to track.
Would there be any extra shipping cost?
When it comes to AliExpress, the shipping cost of each product is provided to dropshipper on the product page itself. However, in the case of Alibaba you will have to enquire about the shipping cost with the seller to get a rough idea on how much you will have to spend for an order.
Kickstarting your dropshipping journey: Here are some brownie points for you!
- Always buy a sample product before making a deal, in this way, you'll be aware of the quality and packaging. You'll also get to know the estimated delivery time.
- Always make a deal with suppliers having a positive rating from other dropshippers, if there are any issues with ratings, make sure to reach out to the supplier, buy a sample, and then go ahead with the deal.
- Always check out the pricing of a specific product from multiple sellers, and if the seller is selling out a product at a lower price, check out its quality as well.
- Always negotiate with the seller to add up the cost of sample order into the price of large order, if you decide to continue, and if they don't agree with this, it's kind of a red flag.
- Always try to automate your dropshipping process so that you get time to focus on other important thing, there are already several dropshipping plugins available for the same.
- Always keep a check on your competitors pricing and their strategies to stay on the top.
FAQs on Alibaba Vs. AliExpress
⭐What is the difference between Alibaba & AliExpress?
Alibaba and AliExpress are two popular online marketplaces each used by dropshippers across the globe. However, the main difference between Alibaba and AliExpress is that Alibaba is just available for B2B transactions whereas the later one is open to customers too.
🔥Is AliExpress a part of Alibaba?
No, AliExpress is not a part of Alibaba, instead both Alibaba and AliExpress are a part of the whole Alibaba group.
🔎Which is better for dropshipping AliExpress or Alibaba?
Alibaba and AliExpress both are great platform for dropshipping, however, AliExpress is the best for bulk products and Alibaba is the best for sourcing custom and private label products.
✔Does Alibaba allow dropshipping?
Yes, anybody can start dropshipping with Alibaba, but when compared to AliExpress the profit margins here are not so great.
👉What's better than Alibaba?
AliExpress as of 2024, is the best alternative to Alibaba, it offers best products at cheapest rate and in bulk too.
❓Is there a US version of Alibaba?
Yes, there is a US version of Alibaba available offering best products of higher quality at cheapest rates.
🔎What is better than Alibaba?
Best 7 websites other than Alibaba are Amazon, AliExpress, eBay, Target, Walmart, and Doba.
Alibaba Vs. AliExpress Conclusion: Which one to choose?
The choice is completely yours!
As we have mentioned previously, each dropshipper’s store is unique in their own way. And only the dropshipper would know its own store's requirements better than any other individual. However, in general, after reviewing both the ecommerce platforms, we came to a conclusion that Alibaba is best for experienced dropshippers. If you are into a huge retail business and want custom products for your brand, then too Alibaba will best fulfill your needs. When it comes to AliExpress, this platform is best suited for dropshippers and small businesses.
We have made sure to cover each aspect of both the tools. Whatever you end up picking for your business, you can integrate both the platforms easily with your store. You can easily sync products and orders, and even manage your whole fulfillment part with multiple plugins like Alidropship, dropispy, and more. If you are using Shopify for your store, then voila, they offer a full suite of marketing tools to drive complete conversions!
That's it – either you pick Alibaba or AliExpress, remember that Amzmojo has always got your back, stay tuned to read out such related comparisons.