How AliDropship Stores Differ From Shopify Dropshipping Stores


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Both AliDropship and Shopify are great options for creating a dropshipping store. However, they differ in several ways.

Both work well with sourcing products for AliExpress and both can automate most of the major tasks of running your store.

I’ll outline why both of these options work well for dropshipping but also point out how they are quite different as well.

What Does AliDropship Do? How Does it Work?

alidropship stores

All AliDropship stores are powered by the AliDropship plugin. The plugin is what transforms any WordPress installation into a fully functioning dropshipping store.

As the name implies, AliDropship sources products from AliExpress. With AliExpress’ inventory of over 100 million products, there is no shortage of the types of products you can sell.

If you aren’t familiar with AliExpress, it is one of the largest online retailers around. The website is made up of merchants primarily based out of China.

They offer a huge variety of products at very low prices. These merchants are accustomed to working with dropshippers.

That is what makes AliExpress the go-to dropshipping supplier for many dropship store owners.

Besides the variety of products and low-pricing, AliExpress benefits also include:

  • 200,000 exporters
  • Free shipping on most items
  • Ships to over 200 countries worldwide
  • Online shipping tracking
  • Wide range of shipping methods
  • Buyer protection system with full money back guarantee

AliDropship Stores Requirements

working on laptop

As mentioned above, AliDropship works exclusively on the WordPress website platform. The plugin’s other requirements include:

Web Hosting Server Requirements

  • Open incoming connection
  • Hosting 32bit (64bit recommended)
  • PHP 5.6 or higher
  • ionCube activated on your hosting (or Zend Guard Loader)
  • File size upload limit: min. 10MB

Web Browser Requirements

The web hosting server requirements are standard on most web hosting providers. However, I did run into a snag with my hosting provider as they did not have ionCube activated by default.

Therefore, I had to look up how to install ionCube myself. I could have requested that they install if for me but I was comfortable doing it myself.

It was not difficult at all but it could be a huge hassle for a majority of people. This is why I recommend using a hosting provider that has it installed or make things simpler and use AliDropship’s web hosting.

Since they are the creators of the plugin, their web servers are perfectly configured to work with the plugin as well as configured to handle the load of a dropshipping store.

AliDropship Plugin Versus a Custom Store

online store

The AliDropship website offers several services but as far as creating your own dropshipping store goes, you have two main options.

These two options are the actual plugin itself or ordering a custom webstore.

If you are already familiar with using WordPress, using the plugin will be pretty easy. The admin area is user-friendly and you can control all aspects of your store from the panel.

alidropship store settings

When you use the plugin, you will be able to import products directly from the AliExpress website.

You can import an unlimited amount of products and you can have the plugin automatically fulfill an unlimited amount of orders.

Using the plugin will take a bit of time up front as you customize your store and import products.

An AliDropship custom webstore will alleviate a lot of that time for you.

This is because the AliDropship team will handle all of the work and create a custom store for you.

This allows you to get started much faster in promoting your store and generating an income.

The custom store service will handle details such as:

  • Niche market research
  • Domain name registration
  • Importing products
  • Custom graphics (logos, header images, etc.)
  • On-site SEO
  • Social media pages creation

Your store will be ready in a matter of days and once you have it, you can continue to import products into your store as you see fit.

AliDropship Custom Stores: Get a jumpstart on your dropshipping business with a turnkey custom dropshipping store. Prices start at $299. Or get the plugin for a one-time fee of $89.

What is Shopify? How Does it Work?

shopify logo

Shopify is an eCommerce platform that works well for all business sizes. Whether you are selling a few products or if you’re an enterprise-level business, you can sell on Shopify.

One of the main differences between Shopify and AliDropship is that you can sell more than dropship items on Shopify.

Whether you have your own product line or if you want to dropship, you have both options available with Shopify.

Shopify eCommerce Store Versus a Dropshipping Store

When you use Shopify as a regular eCommerce (shopping cart solution) platform, you can start importing your products immediately.

When you want to use Shopify as an AliExpress dropshipping store, you will also want to install the Oberlo app.

Oberlo accomplishes the same thing that AliDropship does in that it enables you to import AliExpress products into your store.

Keep in mind that Oberlo works exclusively on Shopify. You cannot use it on WordPress. If you prefer to use WordPress, then AliDropship is ideal.

Shopify Pricing Plans

There are three Shopify plans that you can choose from.

They are $29, $79, and $299 per month depending on your store’s needs. Most small business owners are fine starting with the basic plan.

You can always upgrade your plan as your business grows. The best thing to do is sign-up for the 14-day Free Trial and experiment with using the platform with Oberlo.

I used the free trial to test out using Shopify and Oberlo.

Both were very easy to use but I still wanted a WordPress dropshipping solution in order to save money.

AliDropship Stores or Shopify for Your Dropshipping Business?

woman working online

So how do you decide between the two platforms? As a new dropshipping store owner, I wanted to save on monthly fees.

I felt that the money I saved on recurring fees could be put towards a marketing budget. This is key since advertising is part of owning a dropshipping business.

The basic plans for both Shopify and Oberlo total $60 per month to maintain your store. This doesn’t include other apps that you may want or need to install that may also have fees.

When I learned of AliDropship, I was hooked because I would be able to use WordPress (which is free) and I’d only have to pay a one-time fee for the AliDropship plugin.

I read up on AliDropship’s features and became inspired by some of their dropshipping success stories that I knew I made the best choice.

The plugin hasn’t disappointed. The only thing I would do differently going forward is that I will likely order a custom store.

I feel that the time savings will be worth it as I am already busy as it is so having my store built for me would be beneficial.

Wrapping it All Up

Hopefully this post has helped to clarify the differences between AliDropship stores and Shopify stores when dropshipping with AliExpress.

I think both are excellent solutions for anyone that wants to open their own dropshipping business.

It comes down to figuring out your needs in terms of features and budget. Are you in the process of opening your own online business?

Leave your feedback in the comments below. I wish you much success in your online business!

2 thoughts on “How AliDropship Stores Differ From Shopify Dropshipping Stores”

  1. Hi Eartha,
    Thank you clair and useful articles! I’m looking to start online earning and I decided to start with affiliate comissions. But I’m interested in dropshipping business also. And there is one thing I don’t understand. If I sell myself from my own website and sold item comes to customer from China (f.ex.) and this item is broken or not it is not the color that customer ordered. What I could do about it? How it works the returns and refunds? Please could you clarify this moment?

    • Hi Larissa,

      As a dropshipping store owner, you would need to handle returns and refunds yourself. This is especially the case if you are sourcing products from AliExpress. Most AliExpress merchants will not accept returns or offer refunds.

      Attempting to get a refund from a supplier could take a long time and may not happen at all. You can always apply for AliExpress’ Buyer Protection Program.

      The key is not having your customers waiting for their returns or refunds to be processed so it is ideal to process them on your end.

      Thank you for stopping by and posting your questions here. I hope that I was able to answer them. I wish you much success in your online business!

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