Alibaba Vs. AliExpress 2024: Which is Better for Dropshipping?

Are you still confused about whether to choose AliExpress or Alibaba for dropshipping? Have you already been using AliExpress for dropshipping but thinking of exploring Alibaba as well? Or are you simply curious to know if Alibaba is available for dropshippers or not?

No matter what your question is, we have got you covered with everything in the Alibaba Vs. AliExpress comparison review

2024 is all about dropshipping because multiple small and medium-sized businesses are turning to this model to reduce their overall operating costs and reach the global market quickly.

In fact, because of so many dropshippers already acing the game, the trends are more likely to change in the coming year. Many dropshippers are now increasing their focus on delivering personalized and seamless shopping experiences to their customers. With that being said, as a dropshipper, did you know that AliExpress is not just the only marketplace from where you can source products?

Yes, you heard that right! Even Alibaba can!

In fact, Alibaba offers customization options that AliExpress sellers don't really offer. And it's not just this; there are a plethora of differences between sellers from Alibaba and AliExpress. Stay tuned to this Alibaba Vs. AliExpress to explore it all!

Quick Summary on Alibaba Vs. AliExpress for Dropshipping

Did you know that Alibaba and AliExpress are both owned by a single multinational technology companyThe Alibaba Group? In fact, there is one more division of the company – Alibaba Wholesale, that comes between Alibaba and AliExpress. All these divisions were built by The Alibaba Group for small and medium-sized businesses and even large enterprises who want to buy Chinese products at the cheapest possible pricing. 

When it comes to the user base, Alibaba is more like a B2B platform offering the lowest pricing per item. Alibaba Wholesale, on the other hand, offers products having slightly higher prices than Alibaba. And to last, AliExpress is a B2C platform offering single products directly to customers at a slightly higher pricing than Alibaba Wholesale, still typically lower than any US retail prices. 

Since Alibaba has recently come up with its very own dropshipping feature, let's explore below whether you should choose Alibaba or AliExpress for your dropshipping business

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress 2024: Detailed Comparison

What is Alibaba?

Alibaba Review

Alibaba is a popular e-commerce platform owned by the Alibaba group, which is now present in 190+ countries and has a 150,000+ seller base. The platform was built for wholesale buyers who wanted to buy bulk products from China. The marketplace is best for large businesses that are looking forward to buying semi-finished products at the cheapest rate. They can even buy products from Alibaba to resell them all online or in-store. 

Since the main motive of the platform was to help large businesses place bulk orders at go, the pricing of the products here is the cheapest. Buyers over here get to contact the supplier directly and can even ask them to create custom products.

However, back in September 2020, Alibaba launched its very own dropshipping program. But is it as smooth as AliExpress's well-established and popular drop shipping program? Let's explore it below!

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress Review

AliExpress is one of the most popular B2C marketplaces, trusted by millions of dropshippers across the globe. This e-commerce platform is literally the world's favorite shopping app, and it's not us saying this, but according to Statista, in January 2022 itself, more than 455 million individuals visited this platform. 

Through AliExpress, dropshippers can buy single products and export them anywhere across the globe. The pricing of the products here is very cheap, and even the quality is awesome. 

Features & Pricing Breakdown: Alibaba Vs. AliExpress

Alibaba Features & Pricing

As a dropshipper, you can search for any product on Alibaba for free; you will not have to pay any kind of membership fee or upfront cost to manufacturers. Buyers can explore the site, look out for the best products to sell, search best suppliers selling these products, and reach out to them via email or chat. Compared to AliExpress, there's no built-in cart option available here, and you will have to raise a quote! 

The very next best feature of Alibaba is it follows just the lowest per-item pricing model; hence if you are ordering in bulk, you will have to pay the least amount possible. One thing to note here is every seller has their own unique Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) value, but most of the time, it's a hundred pieces per order. 

Since the order quantity here is more as compared to AliExpress, Alibaba even offers 60-day free financing to buyers so that they can buy the products, sell them all, and then pay them back to Alibaba within 60 days. Some other best features of Alibaba are: 

  • Beginner-friendly buying process (not many complexities)
  • Easy-to-navigate website
  • Secure payment portal available
  • Trade assurance feature available for buyers to buy from trustworthy sellers only
  • Ready to ship bulk products available
  • Free customization and white labeling option 
  • Pay later (financing) option available for buyers making bulk purchases
  • Available in 21+ languages

Alibaba Dropshipping

Previously Alibaba didn't support this dropshipping model at all, but recently they are allowing individuals to trade directly with manufacturers. The marketplace, as of now, integrates only with Shopify and Woocommerce platforms. The only downside of Alibaba dropshipping is it doesn't offer market analysis tools like AliExpress. Hence dropshippers will have to analyze the data on their own or use third-party solutions like Spocket, Dropified, or Syncee. 

Alibaba Delivery Time

The delivery window of Alibaba orders varies significantly depending on the supplier you have chosen for the trade. It even depends on the order quantity and on the customization options (if you choose any). Sometimes one can expect the delivery within 7-15 days of purchase, or else it's between 20-30 days

AliExpress Features & Pricing

When compared to Alibaba, AliExpress is extremely easy to use for the dropshipping business model. The platform offers competitive pricing and even comes with a built-in product cart feature for buyers to quickly make individual purchases. However, if compared, the product prices over here are higher than Alibaba's – because here you will be buying single products, but still, it will be much lower than other US-based retailers.

Apart from the above, some other best features of AliExpress are:

  • Simplified return and refund process
  • No minimum order value constraints
  • Multiple products available and also more options from local sellers as compared to Alibaba
  • Secure payment and transaction portals
  • Quick delivery window, most orders are delivered within 7 days of making a purchase
  • Best for independent dropshippers who are looking forward to selling products globally
  • Currency conversion option available
  • Built-in marketing and analytics tools
  • Powerful filter and sorting options available to choose the best seller
  • AliExpress University Learning resources are available for new dropshippers who have just stepped into this specific model recently.

AliExpress Dropshipping

Dropshipping came into existence because of AliExpress, and the marketplace has really laid out some best features for dropshippers to order one-off products instead of placing bulk orders. There are multiple dropshipping apps and plugins available out there for dropshippers to dropship products quickly. However, the only downside here is, as compared to Alibaba, sellers over here don't offer any customization options since the sellers here deal with only pre-made products. 

AliExpress Delivery Time

The lead time of products bought through AliExpress is much shorter than Alibaba, probably because most of the products are pre-manufactured. And the best thing here is once you have placed an order, it gets shipped instantly. However, the arrival time of the shipping depends on the shipping option you have chosen. 

Usually, products ordered from AliExpress are delivered within 7-15 days of making the purchase, and rarely it goes beyond 30 days.

How to Use Alibaba for Dropshipping? 

Alibaba, as mentioned previously, has recently come with a dropshipping feature, which is available right on the official website itself. Dropshippers can explore multiple products over here, from consumer electronics, apparel, home and garden products, vehicle accessories, beauty and personal care products, and so much more.

Alibaba for Dropshipping

After picking any product, at the bottom, you will see the seller information, where Alibaba shares important details of the seller like store rating, delivery time rate, response time, transactions, main market, and collaborating suppliers.

Here's how the Alibaba dropshipping process goes:

  • Go to the official Alibaba website, and on the bottom right corner, you will see the My Alibaba section; hit on it and register yourself.
  • Click the home section and then go to the dropshipping option, over there you can either explore top-ranking products or the new arrivals.
  • Below every order, you will see the minimum order quantity; make sure to check it out (for dropshippers, it's either one or two products).
  • Explore the processing time of each order before raising a quotation.
  • Click on the chat now option, and talk to the supplier about the product details and dropshipping option they offer.
  • If the processing time order pricing fits into your budget, import it all to your dropshipping website and sell it quickly.

How to Use AliExpress for Dropshipping?

Using AliExpress for dropshipping is as simple as buying products from other online markets. You will just have to pick up a product, look out for a reliable supplier, check the ratings and reviews of the supplier, and make a purchase. But do remember that you will have to create an account first; for this, you will have to visit the official page, enter the details, or simply log in with your Facebook or Google account.

AliExpress for Dropshipping

Here's how the AliExpress dropshipping process goes:

  1. Search any product in the search bar, make the most out of the filters option available – like filter out products according to customer rating, reviews, pricing, number of orders placed
  2. Next, check out the real product pictures uploaded by the buyers themselves
  3. Explore the feedback history of each seller through the minisite page
  4. Place an order through the built-in cart feature, or simply use third-party dropshipping solutions and import all the selected products to your dropshipping store.

Alibaba Vs. AliExpress: Customer Support Service

Both the marketplaces are based out of China, but the kind of support each provides varies. The reason being Alibaba just stepped into the dropshipping business model. However, they are still popular for bulk purchases only. And, when it comes to AliExpress, a few sellers here are local ones who don't own a manufacturing unit and are just selling limited products. Thus, whatever experience a customer would have on both of these marketplaces completely depends on the seller they are dealing with. 

But we aren't trying to fret you out. To ensure a good and safe buying experience, both marketplaces have laid out some strict rules and regulations for sellers, and if they end up violating any, they will be terminated permanently.

Alibaba Customer Support Service

Alibaba allows buyers to deal directly with suppliers, which we believe is the best thing because there will be no confusion around. Moreover, the marketplace even shares critical insights into how many deliveries the seller has already fulfilled successfully. And to add to this, the team even has help centers for buyers to raise any issue they have faced with any supplier. There are community forums available for buyers to share formal disputes or complaints they have faced anytime.

Additionally, Alibaba even offers live chat support to buyers, but there's no phone support available as of now. 

AliExpress Customer Support Service

There is not much major difference between Alibaba and AliExpress customer support service; they have a help center available for dropshippers, and they do offer live chat support. Apart from this, AliExpress even offers dispute management services to every dropshipper on the website itself for users to report any issues or request refunds quickly.

👉 New to Alibaba Dropshipping? Here's how you can get a quote!

If you have liked the whole Alibaba dropshipping model, and you think it's as easy as AliExpress, give yourself a pause. 

Alibaba is a lot different than AliExpress, and when we say this, we are saying it from the core. First thing first, open Alibaba's official website and explore the products over there. If you like any product, the next thing you will have to do is find a supplier who is selling the same product. But the important thing to note here is there will be multiple sellers selling the same product – out of the crowd. You will have to find one RELIABLE SELLER; here's how the overall step goes:

1. Find a Reliable Supplier

Supplier on Alibaba

Finding one reliable supplier from such a massive crowd is really a daunting task. However, to make the process easier, Alibaba has come up with certain tags. 

A few sellers have the Trade Assurance feature available, which means whenever you are not satisfied with any product sold by the seller, you can submit a claim directly to Alibaba and get a refund instantly. Next comes the gold supplier tag. To get this, sellers pay Alibaba a certain fee, which means they are reputable, and it's a safe bet for dropshippers to buy products from such sellers. 

Last comes the verified (assessed) suppliers tag, which sellers are often given by Alibaba's third-party service – which means the team has inspected the seller's factory, and the products manufactured there are quality-wise good. 

2. Submit all your Inquiries

Alibaba Request for Quote

Now that you have found a reliable supplier for your dropshipping business, next comes the main step – Request for Quote (RFQ). Requesting a quotation on Alibaba simply means contacting individual suppliers directly and introducing yourself, what products you're really interested in, and then asking for samples.

This feature is absolutely free; you can send any number of sellers and any number of quotations and pick just the one that best matches your needs.

3. Get Samples! 

Samples on Alibaba

No seller on Alibaba will ever give you any product sample for free. Remember this!

While requesting a quotation above, make sure to ask the seller for a sample to get a good understanding of the product's overall quality. At this stage, you will not just have to pay for the sample but even for the shipping as well. The red flag to check out here is a supplier not agreeing to send you a sample even if they are claiming that their products are good enough. 

Pro Tip: While buying any product from Alibaba, make sure never to purchase any branded one, or you might get into counterfeit or trademark issues. If you are really interested in selling branded products and want to avoid any potential legal issues, reach out to the brand directly.

🔥 Why Choose the Right Seller for Dropshipping?

As mentioned previously, sellers are the pillars of the dropshipping business, and the more time you will take to choose the right seller, the better the growth you can expect; wondering how? Here are a few reasons: 

  • Quality of Products

The quality of products your seller would be selling will directly impact the satisfaction of your customers. A highly reputed seller will always keep your customers happy with their purchases, and only then will the buyer yet again make a purchase in the future. And if things go the other way round, like the seller not selling high-quality products, your buyer might not ever make a purchase.

  • Reliability

The seller you will be choosing for dropshipping should be highly reliable. They should consistently deliver orders on time and meet the demands of your business so that your brand never loses its reputation.

  • Customer Service

Dropshipping is all about customer and customer service. The better you are at this, the higher the chances you will get success quickly. Hence, while picking a seller for your business, make sure that they are providing timely and helpful support to your customers, as well as to you as a dropshipper.

  • Pricing

Pricing is not really a factor when it comes to dropshipping, but since the game is all about profit-making, you will have to find a balance between affordability and quality. Don't go cheap, or else you will disappoint your customer, don't go expensive or else you will make a hole in your pocket. Hence, always do your research and compare prices from different sellers to find the best fit for your business.

  • Brand Compatibility

Last comes the major crucial factor. As a dropshipper, you should always choose a seller that aligns with the values and style of your brand. The more your seller understands your brand, the easier it will get for you to build brand loyalty.

Overall, to succeed in the long run, choosing the right seller does play a major role, and the above checklist will undoubtedly help you pick the right one from the crowd very easily.

Alibaba or AliExpress: Which one is actually better for dropshipping in 2024?

It's you who have to decide this!

From features, pricing, and customer support, to honest dropshippers' reviews – we have listed it all above for you to make the best decision for your dropshipping store. However, the only tip we would like to give here is – Before picking up anyone, make sure to traverse through both the marketplaces carefully to find the right vendor. Always compare the prices of each product on these ecommerce stores to see if you can find a better deal elsewhere.

Top FAQs on Alibaba Vs. AliExpress

Is Alibaba and Alibaba group the same?

No, Alibaba and Alibaba group aren't the same. In fact, Alibaba is simply a marketplace for Chinese sellers to sell their products in bulk, whereas Alibaba group owns 10+ ventures.

Is AliExpress dropshipping safe?

Yes, AliExpress was launched for individuals who wanted to buy single Chinese products no matter where they stayed. In fact, as of today's date, thousands of dropshippers are relying on AliExpress for their business.

Are all Alibaba and AliExpress products from China?

Yes, all the products available on Alibaba and AliExpress are from china; for bulk purchases, customers can rely on Alibaba, and for unit purchases, AliExpress works the best.

What's good for dropshipping, Alibaba or AliExpress?

Both Alibaba and AliExpress are best for dropshipping. However, AliExpress is the most preferred choice of dropshippers out there since this platform sells unit products.

What is cheap, Alibaba or AliExpress?

Alibaba is cheaper than AliExpress because sellers over here sell products in bulk. However, since dropshippers don't need any bulk products, AliExpress would be a much cheaper option.

What is the difference between AliExpress and Alibaba?

AliExpress and Alibaba are owned by the same Alibaba group; the only difference between both platforms is: Alibaba is just available for bulk product purchases and is best for large businesses, whereas AliExpress is just available for single product purchases and is best for small businesses and dropshippers.

What is Alibaba RFQ?

Alibaba never allows site visitors to place orders directly with sellers. Instead, they will have to raise a quotation (RFQ), and then the seller will come back to you if they agree with the deal.

What can I use instead of AliExpress?

AliExpress is not the only option for dropshippers; they can use Alibaba, TaoBao, Banggood, DHGate, SaleHoo, and Gearbest.

Why is AliExpress cheaper than Alibaba?

Overall, AliExpress may be cheaper for new ecommerce retailers as they only have to purchase a few items at a time. At the same time, on Alibaba, you can find individual product prices that are cheaper. You can even buy products in bulk from manufacturers.

Are Alibaba and AliExpress the same thing?

Both Alibaba and AliExpress are dropshipping platforms and are sister companies. These dropshipping platforms are operated by the same owner Alibaba Group. Both and AliExpress are available with different features and provide exceptional buying and selling experiences to buyers and sellers.

Is there something better than AliExpress?

If you are looking for the other best alternative to AliExpress, then you can go for Salehoo, Banggood and DHGate, where you can find the latest and trending products at the lowest price.

Are AliExpress and Alibaba reliable?

Both AliExpress and Alibaba are the best dropshipping platform where you can find reliable sellers. As we all know that every ecommerce site has some frauds and scams. Therefore before going with any of the platforms, it is suggested to do thorough research and also read reviews and ratings carefully.

What's the main difference between Alibaba and AliExpress?

Alibaba is the B2B (business-to-business) platform for wholesale buyers. On the other hand, AliExpress is the B2C (business-to-consumer) marketplace comparable to Amazon or eBay.

Are Alibaba and AliExpress owned by the same people?

Yes, Alibaba and AliExpress are two different dropshipping platforms owned by the same company. Both platforms have different purposes and are designed for different audiences.

Conclusion: Can you use both Alibaba & AliExpress for dropshipping?

As mentioned previously, AliExpress is great for individuals who have stepped into dropshipping very recently. But as your business starts growing, and you have already grabbed the best customer base, and you know what they demand, by ordering large quantities on Alibaba, you can keep all the products in stock beforehand. For this, you simply will have to tell Alibaba's supplier that your customer base is huge, and you will have to place an order in bulk, so they can drop ship for you! 

Remember that customers out there are looking just for the best service, and you can offer the same by making the right decision for your business. 

If both the online marketplace is working for you, then YES, you should use both as per the orders you get. And we believe that in this article, we have covered everything you would like to know about Alibaba and AliExpress. The best thing here is both the platforms integrate well with any Shopify or Woocommerce stores. And when it comes to ordering management, tracking, and fulfillment, always take help from the best, like Alidropship, Dropified, Dropispy, Sell The Trend, and Woodropship.

Stay tuned to Droptweaks to explore more such important dropshipping tweaks, and stay updated with the trends!

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