Are you wondering about what the difference is between AliBaba and AliExpress? There is a difference and attempting to dropship using AliBaba is not an efficient way to start your business.
It is easy to confuse the two services as they sound alike and sell similar products. However, AliExpress is a retail service that is owned by AliBaba. AliBaba is a B2B (business-to-business) company and AliExpress is a B2C (business-to-consumer) company.
How Does AliBaba Differ From AliExpress?
AliBaba can easily be confused as a dropshipping supplier resource for many reasons.
One reason is that they offer a huge selection of products. Another reason is that many of the products are sold at wholesale pricing.
However, AliBaba is not a good place for dropshippers to do business because AliBaba’s manufacturers sell to other businesses. They are a B2B company.
That means when you search for an item, you’ll likely see that there is a minimum order. They sell their items in bulk and not individually the way AliExpress does.
Can You Dropship Using AliBaba?
It is possible to find manufacturers on AliBaba that will sell their products individually. However, you will likely not receive the best pricing on one item.
Besides that, the manufacturers on AliBaba are not accustomed to dealing with dropshippers. They deal with businesses that are wanting to buy their products in bulk.
Attempting to dropship with AliBaba is futile at best. The good news is, you don’t have to stress over using AliBaba in order to start your dropshipping business.
AliExpress is a better option for many reasons which I’ll cover below.
Who are the Ideal Users for AliBaba?
As stated earlier, sourcing products from AliBaba is best suited to business owners that want to buy products in bulk in order to sell them from their own store.
Anyone that owns a physical storefront can benefit from buying bulk items from AliBaba. Many Amazon FBA sellers source their inventory from AliBaba and have the items shipped directly to an Amazon FBA designated location. Amazon then fulfills the orders.
What is AliExpress?
AliExpress is a large online retailer that is owned by AliBaba. AliExpress is made up of small businesses mostly based in China but also in other locations to include the United States.
Unlike AliBaba, you can order individual items from AliExpress at wholesale pricing. There are no requirements or fees to begin selling items from AliExpress.
Another plus is that the suppliers on AliExpress are accustomed to dealing with dropshippers and welcome doing business with them.
AliExpress is a B2C (business-to-consumer) company. That means that they sell one item at a time to customers. That is a large part of why they welcome dropshippers.
Dropshippers create more sales for businesses that are a part of AliExpress. Since there are no minimum order requirements, you can list any number of items in your own store and place orders as they come in from your customers.
Here are some more cool features of dropshpping with AliExpress:
- 200,000 exporters
- Some suppliers ship from the U.S.
- Over 100 million items
- No entry or participation fees
- No limits on your profit margins
- No limits on the amount of products you sell
- Works with individuals and registered companies
- 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
How to Open Your Own Automated Dropshipping Business
Now that you understand the difference between AliBaba and AliExpress, you may want to know your options for how to open your own dropshipping business.
There are many options in terms of shopping cart and dropshipping software. One of the first things you’ll want to decide is whether you want to use a web-based shopping cart solution or WordPress.
A web-based shopping cart solution example would be Shopify. Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce solutions online.
Many new dropshippers turn to Shopify and use the Oberlo app to begin dropshipping from AliExpress.
The thing to keep in mind with web-based solutions such as these is that your store is living on the Shopify platform.
Therefore, you are bound by Shopify’s user agreement. That means that they have the authority to close accounts at any time for any reason without notice to you.
On top of that, you will need to consider the monthly recurring fees associated with web-based eCommerce solutions. Shopify’s basic plan begins at $29 per month and that doesn’t include fees for any other apps that you may want to add to your store.
There are some advantages to opening your dropshipping store with Shopify. For example, the ease of use is one advantage.
You can create your account and have your store up within minutes. Then it is a matter of connecting a dropshipping app such as Oberlo to begin importing products into your store.
You will not need to deal with obtaining your own web hosting, setting up a payment gateway, software updates, etc.
The one major disadvantage is that you cannot move your store. If you want to move your store in the future, you can’t as you cannot move Shopify’s software to another web host.
You also constantly have the worry of account closure hanging over your head. Once you create your store on their platform, you are bound by their terms of service.
Using a WordPress Dropshipping Store
If using WordPress seems like the more ideal option for your business, you will be glad to know that you have options for this as well.
Either way, you’ll have ownership of the AliDropship plugin which transforms your WordPress website into a full-featured AliExpress dropshipping business.
AliDropship has a one-time fee so there are no recurring monthly fees to use it. You also get free lifelong updates and customer support.
It is an ideal option for WordPress users that one to open a dropshipping store.
What About a WooCommerce Option?
There is also the option to build your store using the WooCommerce plugin which is a free shopping cart plugin for WordPress.
By using WordPress, you save money on recurring monthly software fees since both WordPress and WooCommerce are free to use.
Another nice benefit of building your dropshipping store using WordPress is that you will always retain 100% ownership of your store.
There are no worries of another service being able to close your account for any reason they choose without notice.
You can sell your store easily, move it to another web hosting provider, or give it away. There are no limitations since you own the software.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of AliBaba and why it isn’t the best option for dropshipping. Fortunately, you have the option to use AliExpress without any hassle to source products for your store.
If you are concerned about shipping times from AliExpress, I’ve written a blog post which covers why longer shipping times won’t hurt sales.
I also highly recommend checking out the AliDropship blog for case studies, industry secrets, marketing tips, and more to help you with your own business.