When it comes to dropshipping, there are very few stores that can stand up to the competition that AliExpress offers – and this is no mean feat, considering it offers dropshipping services at a low price. Their profit margins are therefore understandably high.
However, there are some instances when the products they deliver turn out to be defective, or other negative circumstances happening like shipments arriving later than expected, or having uncooperative sellers. This might make you think about the instances when your own dropship store might prove to be ineffective at handling orders, and eventually resulting in a permanent ban from payment gateways.
The good news about being a dropshipper though, is that you always have a choice to go for. That means that AliExpress has competition from other stores, all which help to keep product quality consistent. In this Alibaba vs AliExpress article, we examine one of them, Alibaba, and compare it with AliExpress to see which of them is better in what aspects.
What is Alibaba and How Does It Operate?
Alibaba is mainly a B2B (Business to Business) store, and it is revolutionary in many ways because it served as a foundational store that handled Chinese eCommerce for the domestic and global markets. It has also changed the landscape of eCommerce entirely, and is credited for bringing in the concept of dropshipping by many, while making the process easier and more convenient for its users.
The current landscape means that many people appreciate it for the following qualities it has:
- It has a wide variety of products that are available on the platform
- The products are at lower prices compared to AliExpress
- You can get items at very low prices and resell them for more, which helps you to earn good profits
If these are the benefits that the platform has, then it is worth a try – but, before making the decision to use its services, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each platform.
What Are The Differences Between AliExpress and Alibaba?
The thing is that both platforms are a part of the Alibaba group of companies. The only difference between them, at least on a major level, is that AliExpress keeps its focus on individual customers who want to purchase individual products, while Alibaba focuses on businesses that want to resell products but buy them at lower costs.
In this way, you can think of Alibaba offering a wholesale approach, while AliExpress uses a retailer approach. In summary, here is a table summary of the differences:
|Gives you moderate prices for individual produces||Gives you lower prices for all products available|
|You can get the same products from numerous suppliers (like Amazon)||You can only purchase products in bulk. Each product has a few products available.|
|The user can rate both the products and the suppliers||The ratings are only in regard to suppliers, rather than products|
|ePacket shipping is available, especially for cheaper items||Does not have ePacket shipping available, so the shipping cost is high|
|It is possible to purchase products from here using your regular credit card||It is not the most reasonable choice to buy a single product|
How Do You Find the Dropshipping Suppliers in Both Platforms?
Both of these platforms will make your work easier, as they will list the dropshipping suppliers that are available, then you can use this information to import products to your website.
AliExpress will allow you to dropship all kinds of products without buying limits, as mentioned earlier – but Alibaba requires you to do so in bulk only. The unfortunate thing is that the facility is not available with every seller on the platform, which can make it limiting in terms of the products you can access.
Which One is Better?
Both of these are great options for entrepreneurs and store owners, especially eCommerce ones. However, they will fulfill different purposes, and your choice will depend on what you want to achieve.
In order to know the best choice, you should answer a few question, which are:
Do You Want a Fulfillment Model For Your Dropshipping?
If the answer to this question is yes, then AliExpress is a better option than Alibaba, because they do not have a restriction on the quantities you can order. In this case, it is great if you are starting out on building your own business of dropshipping.
On the other hand, Alibaba is better if you want a chance to brand and label your products on your own, as well as having complete control over the packaging process once the products get to you. It will allow you to import your stock and manage it easily, and the cost is also quite cheap for a business.
Do You Prefer Bargaining the Product Prices?
Since you are buying products in bulk from Alibaba, the prices of the products are not fixed and you can bargain with the seller. The only thing you should do is giving your quantities and requirements to the seller, then they will give you a pricing quote that is negotiable and gives you maximum benefits for your business.
On the other hand, AliExpress does not allow for price bargains. The seller fixes the price, as well as the price for different quantities, similar to a retail store.
What About the Shipping Time?
If shipping times are a sensitive issue for you, then Alibaba is a better choice to go for, as their products are already manufactured and ready for shipping – which makes it a good option for business owners. On the other hand, shipping on AliExpress can take several weeks or months depending on the products, because they are made to order first before shipping.
Do You Want Customized Products?
The bulk buying nature of Alibaba means that you cannot customize your products or put private-level merchandizing on them. However, the AliExpress platform allows you to do so if you wish to.
You choice between these two platforms will depend on the results you want to achieve – and you will have to give them services of high quality in order to satisfy them.