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The AliExpress platform is home to many beginner dropshippers when they start their online selling journey. The benefits are many: ease of use, mass products, and extremely quick processing times.
The thing with AliExpress is that it may not be ideal when you get to the point of scaling up your business.
This article will discuss the pivotal comparisons between AliExpress and CJ dropshipping, determine which platform is best for you, and provide you with proper answers to questions you may have when starting your own dropshipping journey.
AliExpress is an online retail service based in China and owned by the Alibaba Group. It was launched back in 2019 and offers products to international online buyers. It is easy to set up by vendors wishing to sell to customers worldwide. AliExpress bulk orders are available all over the world, and orders are processed by different AliExpress vendors.
Here are a few pros and cons to consider when researching AliExpress dropshipping for your business.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into each of these pros and cons below as we discuss the differences between CJ dropshipping and AliExpress.
CJ dropshipping is a platform that may be integrated with product sourcing, shipping fulfillment, and order processing. Some compare its functionality to AliExpress and Oberlo. Dropshippers can easily connect or list products on CJ to sell in their store.
There is a warehouse service available, as well as affiliate and API support. It covers all services related to your specific dropshipping business. CJ dropshipping is quickly becoming popular because of its highly competitive shipping prices and great customer review scores.
Here are some of the pros and cons of using CJ dropshipping for your business.
Now, let’s get into the actual differences between the two platforms and go into more detail below on the pros and cons of each platform.
Let’s break down the key differences between the two dropshipping platforms, starting with AliExpress.
While they appear to be very similar businesses, there’s a significant difference in the business models that Aliexpress and CJDropshipping operate on.
Aliexpress is a platform that connects the dropshipper with a supplier. It’s like an open marketplace where anyone can list as a supplier and start to offer products for sale. Even you, for instance, can list a storefront on Aliexpress and source products from Aliexpress itself and sell to other retailers.
Whenever you generate a sale and place an order on Aliexpress, it is the supplier who will fulfill that order. Aliexpress has no role to play, except supervise and intervene if need be, in rare cases where disputes arise.
CJDropshipping on the other hand is a three-in-one service. They have a marketplace like Aliexpress where you can order from suppliers, you can also order from them directly since they offer product sourcing, and they offer end to end fulfillment themselves.
If you were to look at the roles that each of these services play in the supply chain, you’d realize that Aliexpress has limited responsibilities, while CJDropshipping fulfills a lot more of them. From sourcing to quality control to warehousing, they have a more intricate role to play.
Aliexpress is hands down, the world’s largest online B2C marketplace. It has over 2.5 Billion products listed on it from 8.7 million suppliers. And this number is constantly growing.
This means that anyone who’s unsure of what niche to choose for dropshipping, or has little experience, can dive deep and pick virtually an endless number of products to test, with zero risk.
You can browse the site for years and still not finish the product listings. CJDropshipping, as we mentioned earlier, has close to 400,000 products, which is only a fraction of what you get with Aliexpress. However, these products are listed by CJDropshipping themselves.
They have a sourcing team that conducts research on trending items and picks only those that have a good chance of selling. The caveat is that trending products are almost always in short supply.
Inventory for CJDropshipping products may always run out in a short time span.
Aliexpress’s average fulfillment time is 1-5 days. That’s because they do not fulfill the order themselves. It’s the seller or supplier who you purchased from, who will handle that bit.
So, once you place the order, the seller will first locate the warehouse where the product is stored. Then they will arrange a pick and pack. Shipping documents will be readied. The selected shipping provider will pick it and then dispatch it. If the item is small and always in demand, then it can be really fast. Sometimes as fast as 1-2 days as well.
But, in some cases, it can take much longer. There are instances where the processing time has exceeded 5-days as well.
In comparison, CJDropshipping offers different processing times for different account levels and tiers, depending on the membership plan they are on. A standard free membership has 24-hours processing times. But it can take up to 1-3 working days for them to process orders.
Business plan members get priority order processing. Sometimes it can be as less as 24-hours.
Once again, Aliexpress is a global marketplace with thousands of suppliers. Many of these prefer payments through processors and services that are favorable to them, rather than to you. Many Aliexpress suppliers do not accept PayPal, which is the most popular payment gateway in the West. They prefer payments through services more favorable to them.
This can be a major issue for business owners who want to dropship from Aliexpress because it limits their payment options. If you want to avoid this, then you add another tier of filtering to your supplier search. Look for suppliers who accept payment methods that you are okay with. This might severely limit your options, mind you.
On a lot of occasions, Aliexpress sellers cancel your payment without an explanation. This is more often when you are new and you have placed a large number of orders. They probably do it to avoid chargeback scams. But it puts you in a very precarious situation because you have accepted orders from your customers and there’s little you can do except dispute the cancellation, which may take its own sweet time.
Most sellers on Aliexpress offer multiple shipping services on most products. You can choose from free shipping which is ePacket, Aliexpress Standard, Aliexpress Premium, EMS, DHL, UPS, Fedex & UPS expedited.
Free shipping is generally offered when the seller is covering the shipping costs in the product cost. That’s not always the case, but it is on most occasions. Also, free shipping is provided using ePacket, which takes about 28-30 days for international shipping. Sometimes, free shipping is not eligible to certain countries.
In comparison, CJDropshipping uses CJpacket, with average delivery times of 5-15 days internationally. They also offer EMS & DHL, as well as CJdropshipping sensitive and liquid, for items in those categories. On the face of it, CJpacket seems more expensive than Aliexpress’s free shipping.
But if you look at the delivery times, CJdropshipping is much quicker. Also, if you are looking to get an Aliexpress shipment delivered within the same timespan as CJ, you will actually end up paying much more.
As far as refunds are concerned, Aliexpress states that any product that does not match the seller’s description is eligible for a refund. If the seller has guaranteed a delivery, then you can get a refund for late deliveries as well.
In selected cases, your buyer may be eligible to ship the product to a domestic warehouse. Else, it needs to be shipped to China.
CJDropshipping has a slightly more complex refund process. They offer full and partial refunds. Full refunds are eligible when the product arrives completely damaged or badly damaged.
Partial refunds are eligible for partially damaged products, or damages that do not affect the functioning of the product. Incorrect products will qualify for a full refund.
To apply for a refund, you need to open a dispute with relevant details like images and videos. The CJDropshipping customer service team will review your claim and get back to you with a solution.
We have read a few reviews where customers cite that the refund process is clunky and the outcomes are not always favorable. But we cannot verify the authenticity of these claims since they are posted on messaging boards.
So, rather than just looking at the costs, we recommend that you look at the fine print and the bigger picture.
Most dropshipping businesses sell multiple products in their stores. If you are sourcing from Aliexpress, then these products can be sold by different suppliers altogether.
Now, imagine if a customer in your store orders 5 products which are sold by 5 different suppliers on Aliexpress. These suppliers will ship each product differently. There’s no way to consolidate it into one shipment.
Subsequently, your customer may receive one shipment first and the next one may come in 8 days later, followed by two more, and the final one after 12 days or so. That’s just an example, mind you. Not a real life incident. But it’s quite possible because you are dealing with 5 different suppliers.
In such a scenario, it’s ideally expected that you as an online retailer keep your customer informed of the progress of the shipment through emails and SMS. But even then, there’s a distinct possibility that you might encounter an irate customer who asks for a refund the moment they receive the first shipment.
That’s because they will feel that items are missing. They have no idea that you are dropshipping and it is different suppliers who are sending the items.
In comparison, CJDropshipping will consolidate orders for you. They will ensure that all items in one order are processed, packed and dispatched in one order, at the same time. This way, in case things go south, you do not have to file multiple disputes.
Also, you just have to deal with CJdropshipping for the after sales support. In Aliexpress, you may have to open 5 disputes with different suppliers.
Aliexpress is a great platform if you are starting off with dropshipping. Not that CJDropshipping isn’t a good one for beginners. But the ease of use that Aliexpress brings is undeniable. You can easily sync products, there are no MOQs & there’s an endless variety to choose from, which is perfect for testing.
That said, once you find a winning product and are looking to scale, Aliexpress can make life very difficult for you. You are dealing with suppliers who are not reliable, the shipping is too slow or too expensive, there’s no way to private label dropship except reach out to each seller and request, you cannot store inventory in bulk and so on.
This is where CJDropshipping shines, and it is one of the reasons why a lot of dropshippers start with Aliexpress but end up shifting to CJ. The ease of use is a concern.
But as you get more experienced with dropshipping, you will not find these to be major issues. Instead, you will realize that CJDropshipping is more favorable for growing dropshipping businesses.
They have a great set of add on services, starting with custom product sourcing. In case you do not find your winning product on their platform or on Aliexpress, CJDropshipping can source your winning product for you.
During peak seasons, you can preorder the inventory in advance and store it in CJ’s international warehouses. They also offer white labeling services, as well as Print on demand. Their shipping is quicker too.
Here are answers to some of the more commonly asked questions regarding AliExpress and CJ in a nutshell.
What’s the processing time AliExpress?
The processing time for AliExpress is typically 1 to 5 days, depending on supply and other factors. The processing time starts as soon as the seller picks the order. A status is usually given for order fulfillment within 10 days after the payment was made.
What do I do if my AliExpress payment fails?
Do not worry; if you find that your AliExpress payment fails, you can contact the AliExpress team via the service help center. You can also read through the helpful information that can be easily accessed through the AliExpress blog to find a solution to your problem.
What is the difference between Alibaba and AliExpress?
Both Alibaba and AliExpress are online marketplaces. Alibaba is exclusively a B2B platform, whereas AliExpress is a B2C platform. Alibaba is helpful for businesses looking to purchase larger quantities of products directly from the manufacturer and at wholesale prices.
What are the differences between Oberlo vs AliExpress?
Oberlo is similar to AliExpress but offers a few more key options to choose from. With Oberlo, you can choose to change suppliers for a product, making a significant difference between the customer buying from you or a competitor. AliExpress offers the same products, but from multiple sellers, so each supplier of those products has its own pricing and delivery time.
Both Aliexpress and CJDropshipping are great ecommerce platforms that will help dropshipping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. However, as you grow, the advantages of CJDropshipping will become more and more apparent to you.
It’s not that Aliexpress is bad. It’s a great place to start with if you are new to dropshipping and want to learn and experiment. But once you find your feet, CJDropshipping is the better platform to grow your business on.
Looking to start a dropshipping business in Nigeria with no experience at all?
Simply start with CJDropshipping.
Even though I believe dropshipping with AliExpress is better for local dropshipping, which a newbie should start with, CJDropshipping provides almost all the tools that will not only help you start but also help you learn faster about the business of dropshipping.
AliExpress offers only access to a wide range of products and shipping to almost every country, but without the essential features that makes dropshipping work.
So, in my opinion, it is better to start with the products offered on CJDropshipping and then look to grow your options with AliExpress when you have more resources and experience.
Or you could just combine both if you can.
CJDropshipping for your global market and also for learning the trade. Then, AliExpress for local dropshipping and expanding your product options.
The ball is in your court.