Are AliExpress and Alibaba the same?

by Kristen

Alibaba and Aliexpress are the two most popular eCommerce platforms in the world. They are the largest online marketplaces globally, each with more than 200 million customers and over 100,000 businesses registered on their platforms. These two platforms are specifically designed for international trade and are the best places to sell your products to China or Asia.

Although Alibaba and AliExpress are both owned by the Alibaba Group, they are not the same website. AliExpress is a sister site of Alibaba.com, which was launched in 2009 with a much more limited product range than AliExpress.com. 

The Alibaba Group focuses on serving international (English-speaking) retailers, while AliExpress is dedicated to helping the international consumer.

Aliexpress.com is a shopping site where sellers and buyers can trade. Sellers post their products, and the customers make the purchase. The prices of the products depend on the sellers; hence the sellers have the freedom to set the prices.

With all of this information, I know that some of you are still confused, and there’s still a question of whether these two websites are the same? That is why I have come up with this article to let you understand the two platforms, and if you’re excited to know every detail, then you have to continue reading!

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What is AliExpress?

Aliexpress or Aliexpress.com was launched in 2010 and is a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group. AliExpress is the online marketplace for AliExpress.com, an eCommerce business that Alibaba.com owns.

The online store has different types of products across various categories, including electronics, clothing, footwear, jewelry, and fashion accessories, but you can also find food, home and garden, sports and leisure, and much, much more. It’s one of China’s leading online shopping sites; Additionally, it is a top global shopping destination for Chinese goods and is hugely popular in the USA and Europe.

Moreover, it allows you to buy directly from manufacturers and wholesalers in China and offers a wide range of genuine brand name products and generic and ODM products that are often hard to find in China and other countries. Lastly, it sells both wholesale products and directly to end-consumers.

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Features of AliExpress

  • Free shipping

AliExpress makes worldwide shipping available at no cost to consumers. Shoppers can select their preferred shipping provider and country to get free delivery.

  • International protection

AliExpress offers a protection plan for every order. This protection plan is also known as buyer protection. Shoppers can request a refund or a replacement order if they don’t receive their order or have a product not described.

  • AliExpress App

The AliExpress app makes online shopping easy and fun and you can download it on iOS and Android devices. It allows shoppers to shop from their smartphones and access offers, coupons, and protection plans.

  • 100% buy with confidence

AliExpress guarantees the quality of its products. Shoppers can shop with confidence, knowing that the products they buy are 100% authentic and as described.

  • Return shipping

AliExpress covers the return shipping cost. Shoppers can get a full refund and return the product if they are not satisfied with the item. This means shoppers feel the need to return the product and get a refund; the store will cover the delivery fee to get it back to their location.

  •  Personalized shopping experience

Shop for more than 4 million products on Aliexpress.com. Log into your account and create a wishlist to get instant notifications whenever your favorite item is available.

What is Alibaba.com?

Alibaba.com is a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce website that helps consumers find products and suppliers to create a business relationship. Alibaba has more than 160 million products listed on its site and over 240 million users each year. Over 50% of the traffic comes from mobile devices, and it is the largest B2B e-commerce platform.

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With such huge traffic, Alibaba knows how to influence, persuade, and convert its visitors into buyers. On Alibaba, there are over 60 million potential buyers, as many as 70% search for products on a mobile device, and almost half of all shoppers are ready to buy. They are luring potential buyers by creating effective ads emphasizing the benefits of their products, value, and superior quality.

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Features of Alibaba

  • Precision of Product Listing

Alibaba.com is the world’s most comprehensive product-based B2B trading platform. As of September 2015, it has over 7 million product categories and more than 37 million product listings.

  • Coverage of Product Range

Alibaba.com provides listings of products in various fields and scopes, including industrial supplies, home appliances, electronics and IT, apparel, health and beauty, auto parts, home and garden supplies, collectibles, and more.

  • Unlimited Listing Page

Alibaba.com allows wholesale trade members to create and manage unlimited product listing pages. For retail, Alibaba.com supports both sellers and merchants to set up their online shops for free.

  •  Unified Search

Alibaba.com’s search engine is powerful and precise. It allows users to refine searches by item name, shipping destination, total price, condition, etc.

  • Multiple Channels and Multilingual Support 

Alibaba.com provides multilingual support to global traders and buyers, with English, Spanish, and Portuguese currently available. Meanwhile, users can post their specific business needs on Alibaba.com’s Business-to-Business (B2B) platform, discuss their trade ideas with manufacturers and traders, or join trade missions and trade shows.

  •  Vendor Verification

Alibaba.com is against trade fraud and encourages members to create a standardized and secure environment by verifying their vendor’s trading capacity.

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Differences between AliExpress and Alibaba

Alibaba and AliExpress both offer eCommerce services. However, there are some key distinctions between Alibaba and AliExpress.

Type of Marketplace

Alibaba is much more than Alibaba.com — it’s a B2B (business-to-business) platform that includes millions of manufacturers for wholesale transactions. On the other hand, AliExpress is much more than AliExpress.com — it’s a B2C (business-to-consumer) platform that gives five hundred million users access to hundreds of thousands of suppliers.

Product

AliExpress can be an excellent source for hand-made goods, but it’s also the number one place to go for stock-ready items. In fact, some of our global customers prefer it because they can get high-quality products at wholesale prices. On AliExpress, you have access to millions of options among hundreds of product categories — and all of these products are available on demand.

While on Alibaba, it’s an excellent resource for businesses and resellers who want to buy from China, but sellers can take the wholesale concept even further by customizing products to their liking. So if you’re going to have customized products or private labels, you should choose Alibaba.

Shipping Cost

Shipping is a significant thing for online shoppers, but AliExpress helps eliminate these issues by keeping shipping cheap and straightforward. Shoppers can get free shipping on all products worth more than $10 — regardless of where they’re coming from. But what if you need faster shipping? That’s easy, too! Just pay a small fee, and your product will be there in the time you need it to be.

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While on Alibaba, they vary depending on the shipping terms agreed upon by buyers and sellers. A business can choose from different shipping methods, such as airmail, ePacket, DHL, UPS, and FedEx. In some cases, and especially for more expensive packages, you may opt for delivery confirmation or even for signature confirmation to ensure your goods reach their destination safely.

Minimum Quantity of Orders

Alibaba is known for its excellent customer service, but it requires high minimum order quantities, which may be cost-prohibitive to smaller businesses. AliExpress, on the other hand, has no minimum order quantity and offers excellent customer support; however, the site doesn’t have nearly as large of a selection as Alibaba.

Similarities between Alibaba.com and AliExpress

While Alibaba Group operates a business-to-business platform, sometimes referred to as B2B, while AliExpress is a direct-to-consumer e-commerce site, sometimes known as B2C, the two platforms are more similar than they have ever been before. Here are their similarities:

E-Commerce Platforms

AliExpress and Alibaba Group are both Alibaba Group’s flagship platforms that operate on the online marketplace model. The B2C site is AliExpress.com, and the B2B platform is Alibaba.com. Both platforms are among the world’s leading e-commerce sites regarding gross merchandise volume and sales.

Pricing

The pricing strategy of AliExpress and Alibaba Group is the same – both platforms offer different products at varying prices, with various payment options available to consumers. Alibaba Group’s online marketplace model is both a market maker and a market facilitator.

Brand Awareness

AliExpress and Alibaba Group are both household names in China and internationally, and both have gained global attention. Alibaba.com is the most popular B2B e-commerce website globally, and AliExpress.com is the most popular B2C e-commerce website in the world.

Steps in Using Alibaba.com

Step 1: Create your Alibaba.com account and start searching for suppliers in China. Signing up is free, and you’ll have instant access to millions of products.

Step 2: You can delve deeper into the supplier’s product catalog by clicking their “Profile” button. You can also break down your search by specifying the type of packaging, lead time, minimum order quantities, payment terms, and even language. Alibaba.com’s advanced search tool even allows you to narrow your search to a specific city or industry.

Step 3: With Alibaba.com’s comprehensive profiles, you can view all suppliers’ available products. Click on any product to see even more detailed product and supplier information. You can add specific product numbers to your shopping cart, add a new product to your wish list, or even save products to use later.

Step 4: Request for quotations of products directly from suppliers. Through Alibaba.com, you can communicate directly with manufacturers and wholesalers to quickly get pricing, lead time information, and small samples for your business.

Step 5: If a supplier is interested in working with you, they will negotiate a price. If you agree on a price, then you can place the order. Once you’ve placed the order with a supplier, you can now pay using their different payment method, and Alibaba.com will take care of the rest of the process. They will organize the production of the goods and ensure that they are shipped to you.

Steps in Using AliExpress

Step 1. Browse, filter, and search for products

Start by going to the AliExpress website. Once you’re on the website, you’ll be able to find a ton of products that you can buy. To get started, simply browse through the website and filter products. You can either browse through categories like clothes, electronics, or toys. If you’re looking for ideas, simply search for it.

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Step 2. Make sure you’re getting the best price

When shopping online, price is very important. You want to make sure whatever you’re ordering is the best price you can find. With AliExpress, you can make sure you’re getting the best price by comparing prices. AliExpress gives you the option to compare prices with other websites.Then, click on the “check price” button. This will show you where else you can buy the item.

Step 3. Set up an AliExpress account

Now that you’ve found an item you want to buy, you’ll need to create an account. To create an account, you’ll need to fill out a few details such as your email, first and last name, password, and so on.

Step 4. Find out about shipping costs

You must include shipping costs in your purchase before proceeding. Click on the shipping and payment buttons on the right side of the screen. This will tell you how much you’ll have to pay to have the item shipped to you.

Step 5. Review your order and make the purchase

When you’ve decided to add all of the items you want to your shopping cart, tick the box next to each one. Then, in the upper right corner, select the cart icon. Then you can check out the product and set up your payment.

Why choose AliExpress?

There are many reasons why you should choose Aliexpress over other online retailers. They are amongst the biggest e-commerce sites globally and have an unparalleled selection of products. You can find products from all over the world at Aliexpress, and if you’re looking for Chinese products, then you’re in the right place. The website and app are also straightforward to use, so it’s speedy and straightforward to buy your products.

And if you’re worried about the quality of your products, don’t be. The website has very stringent quality control, and you’ll find many user reviews on each product so you can easily see what other customers think.

You can find products as cheaply as $1, and if you’re not happy with something, it doesn’t cost anything to send it back. This makes it affordable and easy to try new products, with no risk at all. And don’t forget the free shipping!

Conclusion: Is Alibaba the same as AliExpress?

Hopefully, by now, it’s clear that Alibaba.com is the international version and AliExpress.com is the Asia-specific site that caters to Chinese sellers. The two sites have different search engines and different payment options, and for small sellers, their respective interfaces offer very different experiences.

If you’re interested in selling your products outside Asia, you’ll want to sign up for an Alibaba.com account. But if you’re mainly dealing with Asian customers, a better choice might be AliExpress’s user-friendly interface and its clearly-marked “free shipping” deals.

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