Should I Dropship From Alibaba Or AliExpress?

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Ahoy there! Are you contemplating setting sail on the high seas of dropshipping? 

If so, you may wonder which port to dock your ship – Should I dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress? 

Both platforms offer a bounty of products, but which one is right for you? 

For aspiring dropshippers, deciding where to source your products can be overwhelming. With the rise of eCommerce giants like Alibaba and AliExpress, deciding which platform to use can take time and effort.

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Puzzle no more! In this article, we’ll navigate the waters of dropshipping and help you decide whether to dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress. 

We’ll weigh the pros and cons of each platform, explore the key differences between them, and provide tips on how to find reliable suppliers. 

So hoist the sails, grab your compass, and let’s set a course for dropshipping success!

Difference Between Alibaba and AliExpress

When it comes to dropshipping, understanding the differences between Alibaba and AliExpress is crucial. At first glance, the two platforms may seem similar, but a closer look reveals a distinct contrast in their target audience.

Alibaba primarily caters to businesses and sellers who take orders in bulk quantities. It operates on a B2B model, meaning that most sellers want to connect with other businesses rather than individual consumers. 

This makes Alibaba an excellent choice if you’re looking to source products for your business.

AliExpress, on the other hand, operates on a B2C model and is geared towards individual consumers looking to purchase items in small quantities. 

While you can find bulk sellers on AliExpress, it’s more common to find sellers offering smaller quantities. This makes it a better choice if you’re dropshipping directly to customers.

Understanding the differences between these platforms is critical to determining which one is right for your dropshipping business. 

By considering your target audience and the number of products you want to sell, you can decide whether to dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress.

Alibaba VS AliExpress: TL:DR

Should I dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress? Here is a quick comparison table to help you decide between Alibaba and AliExpress:

Primary Business ModelB2BB2C
Minimum Quantity LimitsYesNo
Private LabelingYesNo
Average Production Time15 to 45 days7 to 45 days
Financing OptionsAvailableNo
Shipping CostsShipping cost is usually negotiated between buyers and sellersUsually free
Platform Help with DisputesAlibaba helps with disputesAliexpress helps with disputes

As you can see, Alibaba mainly targets B2B sales, while AliExpress focuses more on B2C sales. Alibaba has minimum quantity limits, making it ideal for bulk orders, while AliExpress allows small quantity orders. Additionally, Alibaba offers private labeling, which is not available on AliExpress. 

The average production time on Alibaba is usually longer than AliExpress. Financing options are available on Alibaba, while AliExpress does not offer this feature. 

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Shipping costs on Alibaba are usually negotiated between buyers and sellers, whereas AliExpress offers free shipping. Both platforms provide secure payment methods, and while you can negotiate prices with sellers on Alibaba, it is not possible on AliExpress.

Can I dropship products on Alibaba?

Alibaba is a popular source for wholesalers who wish to offer dropshipping services. It’s an excellent platform for finding suppliers in China who can provide wholesale products and fulfill orders for your dropshipping business.

With Alibaba, dropshippers can enjoy the benefit of wholesale prices and have no restrictions on where or how products are sold. This means buyers can list items on Amazon, eBay, and their eCommerce sites, individually and wholesale, to another business buyer. 

In addition, the site has removed many of the barriers to entry faced by dropshippers, making it an excellent option for anyone looking to get into the dropshipping game.

Can I dropship products on AliExpress?

AliExpress offers a convenient and reliable dropshipping program, Alidropship, that simplifies the process for online store owners. 

With access to a vast selection of low-cost, high-margin items, you can easily import product photos and descriptions directly from manufacturers, saving time and providing accurate information to customers. 

Unlike other sites, AliExpress doesn’t charge any upfront fees, allowing you to experiment with product choices and prices without financial risk. 

Instead, consider AliExpress as your dropshipping provider and enjoy hassle-free, cost-effective product sourcing for your online business. Remember this information when deciding on your business needs.

Read Also:

Long shipping times vs. high shipping costs

While many AliExpress sellers offer free shipping, the delivery time for products can take anywhere from a week to 60 days due to the goods being shipped from China. 

As a result, delivery time can impact your business and customer satisfaction. Consumers prioritize delivery time, and many expect same or next-day delivery from services like Amazon Prime. Therefore, it’s essential to consider how long delivery times affect your business.

Alibaba vs. AliExpress: Payment options

Regarding payment options, AliExpress provides immediate payment choices such as credit and debit card payments and a PayPal-like service called Alipay. 

Dropship From Alibaba or AliExpress

However, as a B2B site, Alibaba offers fewer payment options optimized for transferring larger sums of money, such as traditional wire transfers, telegraphic transfers, letters of credit, and eChecks. 

Thus, Alibaba’s offers can make it difficult for smaller sellers to access funds quickly to maintain cash flow. 

In such cases, selling smaller items with higher profit margins individually on AliExpress may be preferable.

Fakes and false advertising on Alibaba and AliExpress

Receiving products that do not meet customer expectations regarding quality or size can be expected when sourcing from suppliers on AliExpress. 

Due to the limited information on how stores are verified, dropshippers should be cautious and thoroughly check a seller’s feedback rating and product reviews before purchasing.

It’s also wise to select sellers who offer AliExpress Buyer Protection to ensure any order disputes can be resolved.

Neglecting due diligence when sourcing products from AliExpress can lead to unsatisfied customers and long-term damage to your eCommerce business. 

Similarly, when sourcing from Alibaba.com, it’s best to obtain a sample product before committing to a bulk purchase to avoid any potential fakes or false advertising issues.

Handling returns and exchanges

When it comes to handling returns and exchanges, drop shippers must be aware of the challenges that come with using AliExpress. Since products are manufactured in and shipped from China, returning items can take time and effort. 

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Sometimes, sellers may offer a small refund to resolve issues without returning the item. While AliExpress may offer refunds for customer disputes, clarifying how returns will be handled with suppliers is essential. 

On the other hand, Alibaba is focused on B2B wholesale and has fewer drop-shipper-friendly suppliers. 

AliExpress is the better option for most drop shippers due to its user-friendly platform and a larger number of suppliers.

Pros and Cons of Dropshipping



  • Access to a Wide Range of SuppliersOne of the main advantages of Alibaba is the vast number of suppliers on the platform. As the world’s largest online marketplace, Alibaba hosts over 100 million products from more than 200,000 suppliers. This means you’re likely to find a supplier that offers the products you’re interested in.
  • Lower Product CostsSince Alibaba is a platform for wholesale suppliers, the product prices are typically lower than those on AliExpress. This means you have more room for profit margins, which is especially important in the highly competitive dropshipping industry.
  • Higher Quality ProductsSince Alibaba is a wholesale platform, suppliers are often more focused on producing high-quality products that meet the standards of bulk buyers. This can be an advantage for dropshippers who want to offer premium products to their customers.


  • Higher MOQsSince Alibaba suppliers often have minimum order quantities (MOQs), dropshippers may be required to purchase more products than they need. This can disadvantage those who want first to test the market with a small inventory.
  • Longer Shipping TimesAlibaba suppliers are often located in China, meaning shipping times can be longer than those on AliExpress. This can be a disadvantage for dropshippers who want to offer fast shipping times to their customers.



  • Low MOQsUnlike Alibaba, AliExpress doesn’t have MOQs, which means you can purchase products in small quantities to test the market. This can be an advantage for dropshippers who want to start small and grow their business gradually.
  • Faster Shipping TimesSince AliExpress suppliers are often located in China, shipping times are generally faster than those on Alibaba. This can be an advantage for dropshippers who want to offer fast shipping times to their customers.
  • Buyer Protection: AliExpress offers buyer protection to its customers, which means you can get a refund if you don’t receive the products you ordered or if they are not as described. This can be an advantage for dropshippers who want to avoid the risks of dealing with unreliable suppliers.


  • Higher Product CostsSince AliExpress is a platform for retail buyers, the product prices are generally higher than those on Alibaba. This means you have less room for profit margins, which can be a disadvantage in the competitive dropshipping industry.
  • Lower Quality ProductsSince AliExpress is a retail platform, the products offered may not always meet the standards of bulk buyers. This can be a disadvantage for dropshippers who want to offer premium products to their customers.

Should I Dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress?

As you can see, both Alibaba and AliExpress have pros and cons regarding dropshipping. Ultimately, deciding which platform to use will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

If you’re looking for a wide range of suppliers with lower product costs and higher quality products, Alibaba may be your better choice. 

However, remember that you may have to purchase products in larger quantities and deal with longer shipping times.

On the other hand, if you want to start small and test the market with low MOQs, and offer faster shipping times and buyer protection, AliExpress may be the better choice for you. 

However, remember that the price may be higher, and the quality may not always meet your standards.

Ultimately, the key to success in dropshipping is finding reliable suppliers who can offer high-quality products at competitive prices, regardless of the platform they’re on. 

So do your research, read reviews, and compare prices and shipping times to make an informed decision that works for your business. 

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, both Alibaba and AliExpress can be great options for dropshippers, but they have advantages and disadvantages.

For example, Alibaba is more geared towards wholesale and may require larger orders and longer shipping times, while AliExpress offers a broader variety of products and more flexible dropshipping options. 

When deciding between the two, it’s essential to consider factors such as shipping times, product quality, return policies, and your business needs and goals.

Ultimately, whether to dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress depends on your specific business needs and goals. Take the time to research and carefully consider all the factors before deciding. By doing so, you can set yourself up for success in dropshipping.

So, if you’re still wondering, “Should I dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress?” the answer is that it depends on what you’re looking for. 

Take a close look at what each platform offers, weigh the pros and cons, and make an informed decision. 

And remember, no matter which platform you choose, success in dropshipping ultimately comes down to providing high-quality products and excellent customer service.


Besides, Should I dropship from Alibaba or AliExpress? Below are commonly asked questions:

Is it better to dropship from AliExpress? 

AliExpress is a popular choice for dropshipping due to its vast product range and relatively low prices. However, there are some downsides, such as long shipping times and the potential for fraudulent suppliers. 

Ultimately, whether AliExpress is the better choice for dropshipping depends on your individual needs and business goals. For example, consider product quality, shipping times, supplier reliability, and customer satisfaction before deciding.

Is Alibaba good for dropshipping? 

Alibaba is primarily a B2B platform but can also be used for dropshipping. The site has a wide selection of products at wholesale prices, making it an attractive option for those looking to start a dropshipping business. 

However, compared to AliExpress, Alibaba requires a higher minimum order quantity and can be more complicated to navigate. 

Additionally, since Alibaba is geared towards bulk orders, finding suppliers willing to dropship can be challenging. Researching and carefully evaluating suppliers before committing to a partnership is important.

Is Alibaba dropshipping free? 

Alibaba itself does not offer a drop shipping service. Instead, it’s up to individual suppliers to decide if they want to offer dropshipping and if there are any associated fees. 

Some suppliers may charge a fee for dropshipping services, while others may offer it for free. Therefore, it’s important to communicate with potential suppliers and negotiate terms before entering into a partnership.

How much investment do you need to start dropshipping? 

The investment required to start a dropshipping business can vary greatly depending on the products you sell, your platform, and your marketing strategy. 

While it is possible to start with a relatively small investment, it’s important to budget for expenses such as website hosting, product sourcing, and marketing campaigns. 

Initial costs include domain registration, platform fees, and marketing expenses. The key is to start small, test different strategies, and reinvest profits to scale your business over time.

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