Picking Products to Sell: Your Guide to Alibaba vs. AliExpress

When starting an online business, many aspiring business owners are faced with the dilemma of where to source their products from. So where do you get them? A lot of people I speak to say to check out Alibaba or AliExpress. But what’s the difference? Which one should I get my products from?

The main thing to know when learning about the differences between Alibaba & Aliexpress is that Alibaba is largely business to business and Aliexpress is largely business to consumer. This is really where the key differences come up, and you can see from my next example how the two platforms differ.

Oftentimes, you can find the same product on both platforms but the prices will be higher on Aliexpress since its consumer focused and you aren't required to have a larger minimum order quantity.

Notice below, these are the exact same products of a Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen Action figure. The price on Alibaba can be as low as $1 per unit or as high as $9 per unit, and the minimum order quantity is 1,000.


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If you look at the cost of the action figure on AliExpress, you will see that the price is much higher. It’s closer to $25 per unit and that’s because you can buy them in quantities of 1. AliExpress is catered more to the end consumer.

To sum up the differences, take a look at this chart:

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Some other differences are that you can find manufacturers on Alibaba to make you a custom product or modify a product. An example would be if you saw a jacket on Alibaba and you really liked it, but you want to have the label on the jacket say your brand name. Well, you can contact the seller and ask them to do that. Or if you want to add another pocket to the jacket or change the design of the jacket, then you do the same thing: sontact the seller and have them quote you on how much the change would be.

If you aren’t sure what to sell, I would recommend statting with AliExpress and using their products to validate your idea. If you see that your products are selling, then go to AliBaba and order in bulk!

Do you have any questions about Alibaba or AliExpress? Let us know in the comments!

Jay Motwani

Jay Motwani is the Director of Sales at Volusion.

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