AliExpress and the Alibaba Group are related, much in the same way that Facebook and MySpace share a common ancestry. AliExpress is a consumer-based site and one of the best places to purchase from because you can purchase items individually and not through an intermediary. Alibaba is just like AliExpress but for businesses looking to source bulk orders from suppliers.
Alibaba, a prominent Chinese company that has highly influenced today’s e-commerce marketplace is home to two different sister platforms, AliExpress and Alibaba.com. In the past few years, both platforms have helped thousands of everyday consumers start an e-commerce business by providing the two with an efficient buying experience for cheap goods in addition to widespread customer protection . Like any other large corporation in this capitalist world, Alibaba Group incorporates questionable business strategies plus unethical ways of conducting business that simply cause others to lose before eventually moving on with little regard for anyone who might be negatively affected by its actions.
In this blog post, we’re going to discuss why Alibaba.com and AliExpress might be the perfect places for B2B buyers and sellers to shop from around the world. We will compare key features of each platform and share insights on associated costs and additional professional services offered. As your business grows, you can use this information as a starting point in building out your own corporate identity!
Alibaba Group (An Overview!)
Alibaba is China’s biggest e-commerce website and Alibaba Group is the parent company of Alibaba.com and AliExpress. Alibaba has approximately 450 employees globally as of 2014, with major offices in Hangzhou, Beijing and San Mateo. The goal of the Alibaba Group was to make it easy for companies to do business on a global scale.
The Alibaba Group is famous for flying in the face of conventional wisdom when it comes down to doing business. The group has led the way when it comes to eCommerce and embracing technological advances that have revolutionized how we interact with one another and with our markets. In addition to AliExpress and Alibaba, the group owns Taobao, Tmall, Lazada Group, Alibaba Cloud, Alipay and Alibaba Pictures Group. The revenue generated by a portion of these endeavors is recycled back into environmental conservation efforts which roughly equates to every single day saving roughly 370 million gallons of water combined.
What is Alibaba.com?
Alibaba.com is not a relatively new startup anymore. It has been around for a while now, and during its time it has played quite an active role in multiple industries – both in China and abroad. Some of the organizations that used Alibaba.com as a primary online channel have gone on to be very successful in their own right. So if you’re thinking about creating your own e-commerce business (which is perhaps why you’re reading this article) you could definitely learn something by studying some of the companies Alibaba helped grow over the years.
Alibaba.com sellers have the opportunity to create a mini-website or storefront, also called a “sales channel”, which is visible to buyers and showcases products as well as production capabilities for OEM/ODM products. By using the built-in marketing and CRM tools that are available on Alibaba.com, sellers like you can reach and keep in touch with customer s and build customer relationships in ways that help them feel more secure about buying from you . The platform also provides a multitude of resources that facilitate buyer-seller communication and offers many options for those who are looking for help when it comes to logistics , such as shipping and payment protection.
What is AliExpress?
Alibaba Group is a multinational Internet technology conglomerate that follows an 80/20 business model where they devote eighty percent of resources to their core e-commerce platforms and only twenty percent of resources to what they call “new retail” ventures. One of the original parts of Alibaba group is Alibaba.com which has been the major force behind many new businesses including Tmall, Taobao, and AliExpress, from three different groups separately founded but now united under the Alibaba umbrella. With its focus on cross-border transactions with Chinese suppliers, AliExpress provides a way for people from all over the world to shop directly from China’s factories at prices that are generally much less expensive than anywhere else in the world – in other words (à la 1984) it’s True Savings!
The AliExpress platform is like Amazon, Etsy and eBay, except with a much bigger audience. Buyers come to AliExpress to look for quality goods at attractively low price points, and because it offers everything from cell phones to beauty products, there is something for everyone. It becomes perfect place for dropshipping due to its wide selection of goods and competitive prices, secure buyer protection and ability to purchase in small amounts. Independent sellers can register and sell products directly to hundreds of millions of buyers worldwide.
Comparison Chart: AliExpress VS Alibaba
|Typical buyers||Businesses||Consumers, resellers|
|Typical sellers||Manufacturers, wholesalers, trading companies, exporters||Retailers|
|Fixed annual fee for sellers||Yes||No|
|Commission per sale for sellers||0% (in most countries)||5-8%|
|Secure payment portals||Yes||Yes|
|Buyer countries and territories||190+||200+|
|Seller countries and territories||200+||6|
|Request for Quotation (RFQ)||Yes||No|
|Shipping time||15 days to months||1-4 weeks|
|Product||Raw materials, customizable products, ready-made products||Ready-made products|
|Shipping cost||Vary depending on the shipping terms agreed upon by buyers and sellers||Typically free|
|Minimum order quantity||Yes||No|
|Financing options for buyers||Yes||No|
Alibaba Vs AliExpress: Which Should You Pick?
Now that we have discussed both platforms in detail, it will be easier for you to decide which platform is the right one for your business.
Alibaba is a business-to-business global marketplace that assists with anyone in the process of sourcing, creating, and selling products. And while it’s mainly used to help businesses import and export goods with suppliers who manufacture them, you can still shop on the site for consumer goods—ones that individuals or small companies have already sold to the company ahead of you.
Prices are usually fixed on AliExpress. But you never know something that exists only in Alibaba, a store that has any wholesale price. This rate is a bit higher for AliExpress, but gives us some discounts compared to the wholesale prices of Alibaba. However, this is not an issue if you ask me when buying more items at once – each piece is really important!
Alibaba is a wholesale site, meaning that you will almost always have to negotiate with a manufacturer or other supplier in China directly. This means that there’s a longer wait time for the product to be manufactured and shipped. However, items on AliExpress are usually smaller units of stock available for immediate shipment. While there might be some handling costs, these come out of your profits so it’s not deducted from the total amount of the final sale price.
AliExpress allows you to order products and have them shipped directly from the manufacturer for a much lower price. This is done by these manufacturers in an attempt to attract customers that don’t plan on creating their own brand, as wholesalers and distributors do. As Alibaba doesn’t manage a warehouse, they can’t offer dropshipping to their customers either.
We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions and answers on Alibaba.com and AliExpress.
How reliable is Alibaba or AliExpress?
Both platforms are generally solid and customers can reasonably expect to receive their goods. However, there is a small caveat: unfortunately, the internet is full of scammers and there are always certain products that you need to be especially careful about buying.
How do you determine if an Alibaba or Aliexpress supplier is legitimate?
There are no foolproof ways of protecting yourself from fraudsters. You need to thoroughly research them and determine what amount of risk you wish to take with your business. We offer services which help resolve issues with suppliers, including guidance and support for disputes.
AliExpress is a consumer-based site and so far is the only major player in China that enables buyers to purchase items individually which makes it a very good place for people looking to purchase many smaller things they need instead of going through an intermediary. Alibaba, however, is a service designed for businesses looking to source bulk orders from suppliers.
Last Updated on August 6, 2022 by Ana S. Sutterfield
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.