When someone was searching for a Chinese dropshipping supplier a couple of years ago, very few people would recommend taking a look at Alibaba.
Most people would go straight to AliExpress, as there weren’t many other popular dropshipping suppliers around. However, in 2021, there are so many more options to choose from!
For instance, dropshipping with Alibaba is officially a thing now!
Alibaba was always known as a great place to buy products in bulk but wasn’t really suited for dropshipping and buying products one by one.
However, that has now changed with the launch of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center!
In this article, we will look at what the Alibaba Dropshipping Center has to offer you and whether or not it is worth using for dropshipping.
What is the Alibaba Dropshipping Center?
But that’s not the only feature it has to offer. Besides finding products and suppliers, you will be able to easily import those products into your store and process orders more efficiently.
The Alibaba Dropshipping Center launched at the beginning of June 2021 and allows anybody to easily and efficiently leverage a worldwide database of suppliers!
What can you do with the Alibaba Dropshipping Center?
The name “Alibaba Dropshipping Center” sounds pretty good, but how does it help you to more easily do dropshipping with Alibaba?
Well, that’s what we will find out now!
First and foremost, it allows you to easily find products on Alibaba that are suited for dropshipping.
Previously, dropshipping with Alibaba was possible, but you had to find a supplier that would sell their product without a minimum order quantity.
Since Alibaba was primarily a place for buying products in bulk for the business-to-business industry, finding suppliers that would sell their product one by one wasn’t easy.
The “Search Products” feature of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center essentially collects all of Alibaba’s products that don’t require a minimum order quantity:
It allows you to easily find dropshipping products on Alibaba by incorporating some features that make finding your desired product simpler.
For instance, you will be able to filter on 12 different categories, such as apparel, home appliances, and consumer electronics. Besides this, you will be able to input your preferred currency and your “Ship to” location.
For each product that is shown, you will find its price, shipping fee, and processing time. For more information about the product, you can always click on it to open the regular Alibaba product page.
If you’re interested in learning more about finding great dropshipping suppliers on Alibaba, check out our other article here!
Create an import list
After searching and finding a winning product on the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, you can add it to your import list with a simple click of a button.
On your import list, you will find an overview of all the products you have added:
Here, you can customize all the product’s details and make the product ready for pushing it to your store!
You will be able to choose a fitting product name, choose a collection to add it to, write a product description, and edit its variants and images.
On top of this, you can also chat with the supplier of your chosen products directly from the platform:
This allows you to easily ask them the most important questions before starting to dropship the product!
View your published products
Once you have pushed a product to your store on the import list, you can head to the “My Products” page to manage and edit it there:
If you want to delete a product that you have pushed to your store, then that is possible to do through this page, simply by clicking the “Delete” button.
View your orders
So, you have found a product to sell, created a product page for it, and pushed it to your store with a click of a button.
But now what?
Well, your next goal should be to get some orders rolling in, right?
However, the Alibaba Dropshipping Center won’t help you with that.
You will have to do a bit of marketing to let people know you exist and sell your products!
What the platform can help you with though, is processing the orders after you have received them.
This is done on the “My Orders” page:
After receiving orders, they will appear on this page, where you will be able to fulfill them and send them directly to your supplier with a few simple clicks.
Tip: Are you struggling to get your first dropshipping sale? If so, check out our 14 awesome tips in this article!
Adjust (pricing) settings
Besides the pages I covered above, the Alibaba Dropshipping Center offers a settings page too, where you can edit all kinds of useful options.
For instance, you will be able to implement a simple automated pricing strategy using the pricing rules:
Using pricing rules, you can enter your product’s price as a function of the product cost and shipping fee. In other words, you can automatically let the Alibaba Dropshipping Center calculate your product price based on the amount you pay for the product.
Currently, it supports a pricing strategy where your product’s price is determined using the product’s cost and shipping fee.
For instance, if your product costs $10 to buy, you choose “2.5” as the multiplier, and the shipping fee is $5, then your selling price will be:
Price = $10 * 2.5 + $5 = $30
If you had a pricing strategy in mind that works similarly to this one, the pricing rules offered by the Alibaba Dropshipping Center are great.
And, if you would like to calculate your potential profits when you were to choose a certain product price, take a look at our profit margin calculator here!
For the rest of the settings within the platform, here are our recommendations:
|When a product is no longer available||Set quantity to zero||The product may become available again from your supplier shortly|
|When a variant is no longer available||Set quantity to zero||The variant may become available again from your supplier shortly|
|When the cost changes||Do nothing||You may want to review the cost change yourself first and determine if a price change is necessary|
|When inventory changes||Auto updates||Displaying a varying inventory on your store improves trust as it shows that people are buying the product|
|Automatic order cancellation||ON||By turning on this setting, you can prevent unnecessarily paying for an order that has been canceled|
The pros and cons of dropshipping on Alibaba
Now that you have a general understanding of dropshipping on Alibaba using the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, let’s see if dropshipping on Alibaba is worth it.
To find out the answer to this question, we will look at the pros and cons of using the platform:
The pros of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center
Without further ado, let’s start with the first pro of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center:
No minimum order quantities
Previously, one of the major drawbacks of dropshipping with Alibaba was the hassle of finding a supplier that offered a product without minimum order quantities.
A product without a minimum order quantity can be purchased one by one and is therefore suited for dropshipping!
Now that the Alibaba Dropshipping Center has been launched, this major drawback has been solved.
When searching for products on the platform, you will only see products that can be bought per one pair, piece, bag, or set:
Add products to your store with a few clicks
If you have been using AliExpress to do dropshipping before, you will know that you usually need software like Oberlo or one of its alternatives to easily import products from AliExpress to your store.
When dropshipping with Alibaba using the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, you will get this feature built-in!
Adding products from the platform to your store is really simple.
Just search for a product, add it to your import list, make it ready for its listing, and click on “Push to store”:
A vast selection of low-priced products
One of the strengths of buying products on Alibaba is the price you will pay for the products.
They are low, often one of the lowest prices you will see online for a particular product.
Curious to know why?
Well, when buying from Alibaba, you are mostly buying straight from the Chinese factories that produce the products.
There is no intermediary (besides Alibaba). By buying close to the source of the product, you will always be able to get the lowest prices.
Access to fast and reliable shipping methods
When dropshipping with the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, you will have access to many different fast and reliable shipping methods.
You will get to choose from many more shipping methods compared to when buying something from AliExpress.
Alibaba will offer you their own shipping method, and some sellers will also work with their own shipping method that you can choose from.
Take a look at the possible shipping methods you may be offered in the image below:
Last but not least, the Alibaba Dropshipping Center is free!
Don’t forget that this is a big advantage as well.
Some dropshipping suppliers can ask for as much as $361 per month. By using a free supplier such as Alibaba, the money you will save will go straight to your monthly profits!
The cons of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center
Unfortunately, I can’t write an article about the Alibaba Dropshipping Center without saying something about its cons.
It has launched just recently, so it makes sense that it will lack in some areas.
Hopefully, Alibaba can work on improving these cons and become one of the best dropshipping suppliers in the future!
Only compatible with stores on WooCommerce and Shopify
So, if you currently have an online store built with a platform like BigCommerce, you won’t be able to connect it with the platform directly.
However, there is a solution!
Since Alibaba has partnered with several partners, you can now connect the Alibaba Dropshipping Center to stores on other platforms.
If you are interested in this, you will read more about it below!
Limited product categories
The second con of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center is that the product categories it offers are kind of limited.
When searching for products, you can filter on 12 different categories, such as apparel, home appliances, and consumer electronics. You might remember seeing them in one of the screenshots above.
In my opinion, it would be nice if Alibaba could add some extra categories to make searching for a specific product easier.
If we take a look at a different dropshipping supplier like AliExpress, we will see that they offer many more product categories compared to the Alibaba Dropshipping Center.
For example, you can choose all of these subcategories for “Consumer Electronics”.
No advanced filters
Another shortcoming of the platform is the fact that it doesn’t come with some advanced filters that you can use to find products.
For example, it would be nice if you could filter products based on their:
- “Ship from” location
- Product rating
- Delivery time
- Number of orders
- Price range
- And more
Not being able to use some of these filters is quite unfortunate, so let’s hope Alibaba will add them in the future!
No analysis tools
The last con of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center is the fact that it doesn’t offer any analysis tools.
If you have read our guide about the AliExpress dropshipping center, you will know that AliExpress offers an analysis tool that you can use to analyze a product and learn about things like its sale volume:
A tool like this can help you understand the current demand for the product you are looking at and could help you decide whether or not to start dropshipping it.
Using partners of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center to unlock more features
As you have read, the Alibaba Dropshipping Center has quite some cons that hold them from being one of the best dropshipping suppliers out there.
Luckily, it has partnered with five other companies that can help you to unlock some new features when using the platform.
So, let’s go over all of them and see how they can help your business!
Alibaba’s first partner is called Modalyst.
The mission of Modalyst is to simplify the process of sourcing, listing, and selling products in a variety of niches for an online store owner.
They are known for their vast collection of items in the fashion niche and the fact that they offer US dropshipping suppliers.
When using Modalyst in combination with the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, you will be able to use Modalyst’s own product importer tool that lets you import products in bulk with just a single click.
Furthermore, you will unlock automated order fulfillment, which means that you won’t have to worry about processing new orders anymore; everything will be on auto-pilot!
Last but not least, Modalyst has integrations for stores created on Wix, BigCommerce, and more!
So, if you have a store on any of these platforms, Modalyst will allow you to do dropshipping with the Alibaba Dropshipping Center. Awesome, right?
Depending on which suppliers you want to use and how many products you are planning to add to your store, Modalyst will cost you either $0, $35, or $90 per month.
Now, they have partnered with Alibaba to let dropshippers easily find suppliers on Alibaba.
Syncee’s advantage is that they are compatible with the most popular ecommerce platforms. Some examples include:
- And more!
And, just like Modalyst, Syncee lets you use some handy extra features like automatic product syncing and auto product ordering:
In terms of pricing, Syncee will run you anywhere from $0 per month to $129 per month.
Like the other partners, Spocket is a platform that collects dropshipping suppliers and acts as a connection between your store and the supplier.
When doing dropshipping on Alibaba with Spocket, you will be able to benefit from several things.
First of all, Spocket will show you some exclusive curated winning products that are sold on Alibaba and have trending potential.
Furthermore, you will be able to seamlessly import Alibaba products into your online store with just a few clicks, and if it doesn’t go as seamlessly as you have hoped, Spocket has a customer support team ready to chat with you 24/7.
Lastly, using Spocket also allows you to connect stores built on platforms like BigCommerce to your Alibaba Dropshipping Center.
The next partner is called Dropified.
If you have been following our blog, you may have seen this company being featured before in our supplier articles. However, that may be true for Modalyst, Syncee, or Spocket as well!
Just like the other partners, Dropified allows you to dropship with Alibaba using a variety of ecommerce platforms and make use of several automation tools:
If you want to do dropshipping on Alibaba using Dropified, you will have to pay either $19 or $47 per month, depending on your plan:
At last, we have arrived at the fifth partner, Sezam.
Unlike the other partners, Sezam isn’t a platform that lets you find dropshipping suppliers.
Sezam is actually a plugin for WooCommerce stores that helps you to do dropshipping with Alibaba.
With Sezam, you will unlock new features like one-click imports, automated ordering, and automated product updating!
It’s created by the same company that created AliDropship, which helps connect your WooCommerce store to AliExpress.
Note: If you’re interested in dropshipping with AliExpress and Alibaba on WooCommerce, then yes, you can combine the two plugins (AliDropship & Sezam).
You will be able to buy the Sezam plugin for a one-time payment of $99.
How do you use the Alibaba Dropshipping Center?
If you are ready to do dropshipping using the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, you are probably asking yourself how to get started right now.
But there is no need to worry!
Dropshipping with the platform is actually really simple.
Here is what you should do:
1. Connect your store to the Alibaba Dropshipping Center
First of all, you should connect your store to the Alibaba Dropshipping Center by going to the “My Store” section.
Then, click on “Add store” and follow the steps to make a connection between your store and the Alibaba Dropshipping Store.
Remember that if your ecommerce platform isn’t listed here, you can use one of Alibaba’s partners that I mentioned above to connect your store with Alibaba!
2. Find a product to sell
Once your store is connected to the platform, it’s time to find a product to sell.
You can scroll through products either on the “Search Products” page of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center or on Alibaba itself.
If you have found a product on Alibaba that you would like to sell, but you haven’t found it in the Dropshipping Center yet, simply use the search bar at the top of the “Search Products” page to find it and add it to your import list.
3. Make your product ready and push it to your store
The next step is editing the product’s details to make it ready to be added to your store.
Think of a fancy product name, write an awesome description, and decide which variants and images you want to include.
Once you are done, it’s time to push it to your store by clicking the orange button in the bottom-right corner!
4. Manage your orders
After getting your first order, you can start working on processing it by going to the “My Orders” tab.
From there, you should be able to quickly order the right products from your Alibaba dropshipping suppliers!
Alibaba Dropshipping Center vs. AliExpress dropshipping
Now that we are nearing the end of the article, you may be asking yourself the following question:
Should I do dropshipping using Alibaba, or should I stick to dropshipping with AliExpress?
It’s actually quite a difficult question to answer.
AliExpress offers the same pros as the Alibaba Dropshipping Center. It has no minimum order quantities, it offers a vast selection of low-priced products, and it’s free.
However, some things are different.
For instance, AliExpress doesn’t have an integrated system that lets you import products to your store, synchronize orders, and more.
In the end, I think you should research both platforms and see where you are able to find the greatest deal for your product in terms of the:
- Product cost
- Shipping cost
- Processing time
- Shipping time
Lastly, remember to take a look at the AliExpress Dropshipping Center too.
It’s a bit different compared to the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, as it’s mostly focused on finding products to sell and doing product analysis:
If you would like to learn more about it, feel free to read our AliExpress dropshipping center guide as well!
Plus, you can check out this infographic here to see the main difference between Alibaba and AliExpress:
Congratulations on completing this beginner’s guide on the Alibaba Dropshipping Center!
You should now know about the ins and out of the platform and be ready to start using it for your dropshipping journey.
With the launch of the Alibaba Dropshipping Center, we finally have a convenient way of dropshipping with Alibaba.
Remember that the platform is still in its infancy, so it’s likely that more awesome features will get launched in the future!
So, let’s stay patient and work on improving our ecommerce store in the meantime.
Have a great rest of your day!