While Alibaba and Amazon have been dominating their local markets, which are China and the USA respectively, for years, the winner in European e-commerce is yet to be decided. Since more and more people wonder which store they should choose, we’ve prepared an article to help ease the final decision.

Similarities and Differences Between AliExpress and Amazon

The main similarity between these two is that they both, well, sell things. Just like Amazon, AliExpress is a popular place to buy electronic gadgets, household items and tools, clothing, hygiene products, and other products. Both online stores support desktop versions, meaning that you can buy everything through your browser, and have their own free mobile apps available on iOS, Android, and some other platforms.

If you dig deeper into the topic, you’ll also find that AliExpress’s owner, Alibaba Group is an extremely large and influential company famous for its own developments and initiatives. The company, for example, doesn’t avoid investing in education and fully supports Alibaba Cloud Academy providing official certification programs for students from all over the world. In turn, Amazon spends a lot of money on building its own hardware and software, which makes the company much more than just another Internet shop.

The comparison analyses of Amazon and AliExpress shows that while these stores have a lot in common, they differ significantly in how they operate. The former is in many ways your typical online store as it has its own suppliers, warehouses, and exclusive goods. Amazon does cooperate with other people willing to sell their products to the website’s visitors but doesn’t rely on them completely. Unlike AlIExpress, Amazon would still exist if it suddenly lost all its third-party sellers working on the website for a fee. That is what marks the key difference.

Alibaba Group’s store is what you call a retail platform — a place where people can open their online shops and sell their products, giving something to the platform in return. At first, a visitor could only find Chinese shops on the site, but now that Alibaba is determined to beat Amazon and eBay in Europe, the store is available for the sellers from almost any country in the world. For instance, you can buy Nike original sneakers on AliExpress, and they will not cost much.

Once the topic of money has been introduced, there is no way back. Let’s talk about which store will not hurt your wallet … or will do it gently, at least.

AliExpress and Amazon Prices

aliexpress vs amazon price comparison

The main reason AliExpress has been gaining more and more popularity in Eastern Europe for the recent years is that it may be outstandingly, unbelievably cheap. There a lot of products you can buy with no more than a buck during a regular season, but this store is also famous for its sales, including the ones to celebrate the Chinese New Year at the end of January. With various coupons and discount promo codes, a customer can make most of the products even cheaper than they already are, and usually, these coupons aren’t that difficult to find. There is a mobile app designed for giving people discount codes for playing games and performing simple actions, after all.

While still cheaper than most physical stores, Amazon is more expensive for the average customer than AliExpress. Amazon coupons and discount codes are easy to find but not as easy as the Chinese platform’s ones; that’s mostly because many sellers on AliExpress create exclusive coupons to support their shop — thanks to internal competition, a customer can ALWAYS find a way not to pay the full price.

Since Amazon is not just a platform for third-party sellers but an independent online store in the first place, it has a lot of programs aimed at retaining users by deepening the connections with them by different methods. For example, Amazon Prime, a subscription-based program giving you access to lightning deals and the biggest sales, allows you to buy almost everything you want at a much lower cost but requires you to pay a certain amount of money every month. Amazon Prime may come in handy if you have a small child as it supports a program allowing you to choose some products you want to receive regularly on a cost-recovery basis (or close to that, anyway). Free shipping is available for subscribers too, as are special services including one-hour delivery.

Moreover, Amazon Prime members take advantage of Prime Day — the store’s biggest shopping event characterized by tremendous discounts on … everything. Being on par with the biggest sale events on AliExpress, PD even surpasses it in some aspects, making the Chinese store not all that appealing for the US buyers. What certainly doesn’t help, however, is that Prime Day takes a place only once a year. Some people just don’t feel like waiting for months before they could buy a new smartphone, and that’s perfectly understandable. Also, don’t forget that Prime Day is not available for the average customer — you have to pay before they allow you to join the party.

Instead of Conclusion

So, the discussion about which is better is complicated and there is no ultimate answer. As a rule, AliExpress is cheaper, but it’s not as if Amazon has become so popular for no reason. There is no harm in visiting more than one online store, so we’d recommend giving both of them a try. The verdict also depends on what exactly you’re going to use a marketplace for.

For instance, Amazon provides its partners with a simple way to monetize their websites and blogs without even selling anything. The company’s affiliate program, which is free and called Amazon Associates, requires you to post a special link on your site. Whenever a visitor buys something through your link, Amazon shares the profits with you — that simple. AliExpress has a similar program, but the store itself is less trusted in some parts of the world, including the USA. Also, the Chinese platform’s partners aren’t happy with the commission they have to pay for every product that has been sold through their link.

For dropshipping, AliExpress is probably better as it IS cheaper most of the time. You may want to provide your customers with the products from both stores though; their assortments may be similar, but it doesn’t mean they have no differences at all.

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