Dropshipping on Alibaba: should you be for or against?

Dropshipping on alibaba

AliExpress continues to be one of the biggest eCommerce platforms, with more than 150 million buyers. The marketplace, owned by a China-based Alibaba group, is also extremely popular for dropshipping. That’s thanks to its abundance of suppliers, competitive product quality, and low costs.

If you consider AliExpress dropshipping, you can count on various ready-made solutions for aid. But you also should consider all the pros and cons — and we are here to help.

The nuances of AliExpress and Alibaba dropshipping

To save you the confusion, here are the main differences between the two:

  1. AliExpress is more of a B2C (business-to-customer) platform. You can place orders for as many or as few items as you wish.
  2. Alibaba, owned by the same Alibaba Group, is more of a B2B (business-to-business) platform. It’s a wholesale marketplace more aimed at bulk orders, with perks like mass customization products for a certain brand. There’s usually a minimum number of items you must order, usually starting with 100 per batch.

AliExpress is okay with dropshipping. They even offer an affiliate program for dropshippers that allows you to get additional income. Let’s take a look at other advantages and disadvantages of the platform:

Pros:

  • Lower costs that can be really appealing to your customers.
  • A chance to discover truly unique products.
  • Low risk. Lots of trustworthy suppliers to choose from. They also offer great customer support and are very serious about quality, shipping, returns, etc.
  • Wide shipping geography. AliExpress suppliers ship to more than 110 countries, so there’s a huge chance your customers will get their orders.

Cons:

  • Longer shipping time. The average free shipping time from AliExpress is 30 business days, and it can take as long as 45.
  • Return Process. Yes, most suppliers will issue a refund or offer to send you another product if you complain on behalf of your customer. But if it comes to opening a dispute, you will have to wait for days to weeks for a decision to be made. While waiting, you will most likely have to refund the unsatisfied customer out of your own pocket to save your store’s repute.

What about Alibaba dropshipping? The pros and cons appear as follows:

Pros:

  • Pricing & quantity negotiation. Suppliers on Alibaba are open to a dialogue, so you can always discuss prices and a minimum number of products to order.
  • Lots of suppliers & unique products. Some products are only manufactured in China, and Alibaba is the only place to order them in bulk.

Cons:

  • More shipping risks. It’s one thing to run into delivery troubles with one relatively cheap item. But what if a pricey bulk order gets damaged or lost?
  • Shipping time still takes longer. Plus with ordering products from Alibaba you have to wait additional time for them to be manufactured.

When comparing the two, dropshipping with AliExpress is much less risky than Alibaba dropshipping. Yes, it has its obstacles, but they are not that hard to work with.

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