Alibaba vs AliExpress Dropshipping Which Platform is best?

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Alibaba and AliExpress corner a large portion of the online shopping markets for B2B and B2C, but who are they for, how do they run, and which site is better for dropshippers looking for excellent deals? Read on for our view of the debate on Alibaba vs. AliExpress and which forum for dropshippers is most useful.

What is Alibaba?

Launched a decade ago, Alibaba is the world’s largest wholesale B2B network, linking Chinese producers and wholesale vendors worldwide with small to medium enterprises.

The history of Alibaba aims to help manufacturers meet a worldwide marketplace for their goods and offer a wide variety of free resources to help customers, all of whom own dropshipping firms, locate the products they need quickly and conveniently at rock bottom costs.

There are three significant websites under the Alibaba banner, the English language site, and Chinese language sites and, each of which has a somewhat different feature. Hundreds of millions of items are currently listed in over forty categories, including clothes, consumer electronics, and equipment, in all three channels. Each year, customers from over 90 countries visit the web.

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How is Alibaba functioning?

As a B2B marketplace, products on (unless ordered as samples) are sold in bulk. Alibaba does not own the inventory of the goods sold since it is a website for wholesalers rather than a sole vendor. Instead, the site ties customers and vendors together, unlike Amazon, which owns the product inventory and supply chain and delivers to the user directly along with providing a separate drop delivery option called ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’ or ‘FBA.’)

By taking a commission from each sale and charging subscription fees to vendors with storefronts on the web, Alibaba makes money. Sellers are not paid for listing their products, but a premium is required for extra sale features and enhancements.

What is AliExpress?

One of the world’s leading online marketplaces is AliExpress. Launched in 2010, it helps customers worldwide to order directly from China’s producers and distributors.

How is AliExpress functioning?

As goods are manufactured and delivered directly from China, AliExpress has a tradition of selling products cheaper than Amazon and other related pages. It is typically either low cost or free to order from AliExpress, but it is worth little because it may take up to a month for goods to arrive, and that tracking information is usually not given.

Among the items available on AliExpress, you’ll find slim, high margin items like men and women’s wear, toys, consumer electronics, hair and beauty products, and jewelry (though larger items including furniture and even vehicles and motorbikes are also on offer.)

What’s the main difference between Alibaba and AliExpress?

The critical difference between Alibaba and AliExpress is that Alibaba is primarily meant for manufacturers’ B2B wholesale sales. Simultaneously, AliExpress is often available to customers and offers limited quantities of specific goods or products.

Do the same people own Alibaba and AliExpress?

AliExpress and Alibaba are owned and operated by the Alibaba Company, and many vendors list products on both websites, although the sites have different features.

Can I dropship products on AliExpress?

AliExpress provides an ‘Alidropship’ – a drop shipping scheme, an automated approach that incorporates a method close to the conventional dropshipping model but still offers specialized resources and support such as software creation.

As pricing on Aliexpress is so much lower than sites such as Amazon and eBay, using AliExpress as a dropshipping service makes it easy to import low-cost high-margin products to your online store. As AliExpress offers pictures of each object you will use on the platform, along with importing details straight from the seller, saving time and letting consumers know what to expect when they purchase an item, you won’t have to wonder what you’re receiving.

To begin dropshipping, AliExpress does not incur any initial costs, so you are free to play with limited risk with product choices and rates.

How do I drop ship products on AliExpress?

Sellers ought to have their storefront set up with a domain name and web hosting provider for dropship items using Alidropship on AliExpress. To create good seller credibility on the website, a plugin can then be used to start dropshipping on the web quickly and efficiently – adding products, adjusting costs, writing and editing specifications, and importing feedback.

Can I dropship products on Alibaba?

Alibaba can be used to import vendors (usually based in China) who can provide the dropshipping company with wholesale goods and fulfill orders.

The platform has eliminated all of the entry barriers encountered by dropshippers, providing bulk pricing, and putting no limits on when or how goods are sold. (buyers are free to list items separately and wholesale to any business customer on Amazon, eBay, and their eCommerce sites)

How do I produce dropship goods for Alibaba?

Only use the Alibaba search bar to locate items while using plugins to narrow down the results if you already know your e-commerce niche. You should configure the choices to satisfy individual specifications such as price, lead time, etc. You need to choose the product’s supplier/manufacturer and the country in which the item is made. (You may want to select electrical goods suppliers in Japan, whereas organic cotton is better imported from China. For example, Bangladesh or Pakistan.)

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Alibaba verifies and inspects their vendors for certification, but this does not mean that you do not have to perform due diligence when deciding who to purchase from. To prevent expensive and time-consuming mistakes, take the time to investigate each supplier you are interested in carefully.

It can be daunting and often frustrating to make transactions from foreign providers with which you do not share a shared language. When choosing dropshipping providers via Alibaba, having these basic rules in mind will help prevent you from making costly errors.

  • As a bulk retailer, the more products you buy at any moment, Alibaba gives a bigger discount.
  • It’s not Amazon’s Alibaba. If you’re dissatisfied with the items you purchase, you’re unlikely to obtain a refund or swap, so make sure to order a sample item before making a bulk order and check the credentials of a vendor whenever possible.
  • Pricing, along with minimum orders and even delivery prices, on Alibaba is negotiable.
  • Long distance thought. Alibaba vendors are searching for on-going partnerships with customers, so let them know that if the price and quality are right, you will definitely be given a much sweeter deal if there is demand for a re-order.
  • Don’t immediately presume that you’re referring to a retailer directly. You will also be put in contact with someone whose job is to take your messages and translate them to factory managers who may be in another part of China, usually with an American sounding name like ‘Betty’ or ‘Steve.’ Understand that this interaction has no impact on the expense or nature of the goods and if anything goes wrong, it will be impossible to benefit you.
  • If you are uncomfortable at any moment with any part of a transaction or alarm bells ring, just walk away. Thousands of vendors are eligible to select from. is normally a secure and trustworthy place, however there are still be bad apples out there but do your due diligence until some money switches hands and before making a bulk order, ALWAYS get hold of a sample to verify efficiency.

Alibaba vs AliExpress: which site should you use for dropshipping products?

There are some significant issues to address when deciding whether to dropship Alibaba or AliExpress goods, including payment choices, misleading ads and shipping costs.

Alibaba vs AliExpress: Options for payments

Alibaba provides less payment options as a B2B site than AliExpress, a consumer site.

Along with a PayPal-like credit or debit service called AliPay, AliExpress provides instant payment solutions such as credit and debit card transfers, while Alibaba, which focuses on foreign wholesale markets, offers optimised payment mechanisms for exchanging larger amounts of money. Traditional wire transfers, telegraphic transfers, letters of credit and eChecks are assisted by the network, but in some circumstances, credit card payment is an alternative.

In order to sustain cash flow, the payment options available through Alibaba will make it difficult for smaller vendors who need to access funds fast. In this example, it may be preferable to sell smaller products with higher profit margins individually on AliExpress.

Fakes and false advertising on Alibaba and AliExpress

On occasion, in terms of size and cost, goods offered by manufacturers on AliExpress do not fulfil the customer’s standards. There is very little information about how stores are checked on the website, so if you are thinking about using AliExpress for dropshipping, you can always verify the feedback rating of a vendor carefully analyse the product feedback for the particular item you are trying to buy and read any product reviews to ensure that consumers are pleased with what they get. In the event of order conflicts, it’s also a smart idea to pick sellers who give AliExpress Customer Security.

When you fails to perform due diligence while sourcing AliExpress goods may result in your consumer base becoming dissatisfied, affecting your eCommerce company adversely in the long run.

In the case of, in order to mitigate comparable complications, it is often best to get hold of a sample product before agreeing to a bulk buy.

Long delivery times versus high shipping costs

Although many retailers have free shipping on AliExpress, the delivery period for receiving an item may be anywhere from a week to 60 days, as the product would fly to your customer from China. For consumers, processing time is a crucial aspect, so it is necessary to understand how long shipping times will influence the retail business. Price is never the only concern for shoppers, many of whom with providers such as Amazon Prime are used for same or next day shipping.

Handling returns and exchanges

It can be a complicated method to ensure that an item is returned to the original vendor for a refund or swap, since items on AliExpress are imported and delivered from China.

Often, disputes with goods are addressed by the vendor making a minor deposit and encouraging the buyer to retain the item as it will be too difficult and time-consuming to take the return. AliExpress will be able to give a refund based on the commodity if a lawsuit is lodged, but before choosing who to deal with, it is necessary to speak to vendors about how refunds can be handled.

For most vendors, as the platform is set up to accept drop shippers, AliExpress provides a simplified and faster path to drop shipping performance. There are fewer vendors set up via Alibaba to sell the platform, as the site is oriented towards wholesale B2B.

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