The best alternatives to Alibaba are definitely worth considering if you’re planning on running a dropshipping business. Although Alibaba is widely regarded one of the top contenders on the market, for its excellent variety and ease-of-use, it’s far from the only option.
Alibaba, just like many dropshipping solutions, has its limitations. Some people consider the solution to be too unpredictable. Although many of the manufacturers listed on Alibaba are great, it’s difficult to guarantee the quality of the products available.
Some drop shippers also avoid Alibaba because they’re looking for a dropshipping provider focusing on a specific industry or offering a high level of customer service. Today, we’re going to be looking at some of the leading Alibaba offerings on the market, to help you make the right decision about your dropshipping future.
Benchmark: What is Alibaba?
Before we start exploring some of the leading Alibaba alternatives, let’s discuss what you get with Alibaba in the first place. Alibaba is a huge global directory of dropshipping manufacturers, and a platform where you can find items to sell online.
For most people, Alibaba represents one of the broadest and most exciting options for dropshipping. The global trading platform has countless products available to browse through, so you can definitely create a comprehensive and diverse product catalog.
Alibaba has an easy-to-use search function for finding products, bulk suppliers around the world, and a range of shipping options. However, it does have minimum order requirements, so you’re a little stuck if you only want to order a few products at a time. You may also find it’s much harder to get the customer service you want from this huge global brand.
So, what are your alternatives?
Alibaba Alternatives #1: Printful
While Alibaba is excellent for companies in search of a wide range of global products to sell, not every company needs that diversity. If you’re looking specifically into the “print on demand” aspect of dropshipping, then Printful could be the tool for you. With Printful, you can easily choose from a range of customizable products, like clothing and wall art, and change it to suit your needs.
Printful only creates the items needed to fulfil your orders when someone actually buys something for your company, and there are no minimum orders to restrict your selling options. Even better, the solution is extremely easy to use, with a built-in mockup generator to help show you what your solutions are going to look like in advance.
There aren’t any initial costs for signing up with Printful. There’s also no monthly subscription to worry about. All you pay for is the base cost of the products you want to sell, the price of customizations, and the cost of getting your products to customers. Printful can definitely save you some cash on things like storage fees.
- Excellent range of customizable products
- Lots of ways to make your brand stand out
- Good shipping service with fast delivery
- No minimum order requirements
- Works with Shopify and other apps
- No monthly fees
- Only suitable for print on demand products
- Can be expensive depending on your product choices
Who is it Best For? ✅
If you’re looking for a print-on-demand alternative to Alibaba, Printful is probably the most popular choice on the market. Known for its sensational ease-of-use, Printful makes creating unique products simple.
Alibaba Alternatives #2: Oberlo
Oberlo is probably one of the best-known dropshipping solutions on the market among Shopify users. The solution is designed to work specifically with Shopify, making it easier than ever to integrate your dropshipping products and capabilities directly into your store. All you need to do is install the Oberlo plugin into Shopify and you’re ready to go.
You can find a host of excellent dropshipping suppliers with Oberlo, offering a wide range of products, so you can grow your company however you choose., Oberlo is also extremely helpful for beginners, offering guidance and insights on how to make your dropshipping business work. There are even reporting and analytics tools to help you predict your chances of success.
Oberlo has a free plan available, making it a great choice for business leaders who want to keep initial costs low. You can begin searching for products without spending anything. Just remember to add up all the costs of choosing and shipping your products when you’re trying to create your budget. If you want access to more features and a higher product limit, Oberlo’s “Boss” package starts at $29.90 per month.
- Designed to work with Shopify
- Easy-to-use environment for beginners
- Access to a huge range of products
- Free account option available
- Good support and guidance for beginners
- Only available for Shopify
- Paid package is required to track shipping
Who is it Best For? ✅
Dropshipping with Oberlo is easy and convenient, particularly if you’re already a Shopify user. If you want an excellent range of products, and a straightforward approach to building your business, Oberlo has it all.
Alibaba Alternatives #3: Spocket
Another excellent solution for dropshipping companies is Spocket. These easy-to-use service integrates with a wide range of site-building platforms, including BigCommerce, Wix, WooCommerce and Shopify. All you need to do is log into your account, and you can order samples or add items to your portfolio in a couple of clicks.
Spocket is also excellent for offering ultra-fast shipping. You can see exactly which suppliers offer the best shipping times when you’re looking for products to add to your store, so you know which ones to choose for the best customer service. There’s also access to extra features like branded invoicing, and discounts on a range of products.
There are absolutely no upfront costs required for using Spocket if you want to sell 25 products or less. To upgrade and have access to more product listings, you’ll need to choose between the $49 pr $99 per month plan. Though these might seem expensive, it’s worth noting you get some great deals on your products.
- Fast shipping and shipment tracking
- Automatic pricing with global shipping rules
- Extensive support from product suppliers
- Lots of items to add to your store
- Integration with existing ecommerce platforms
- Brandable invoicing and packaging
- Can be expensive with the monthly plans
- No tax and duties calculator
Who is it Best For? ✅
If you’re looking for a convenient dropshipping service which integrates with a range of ecommerce platforms and delivers quick shipping, Spocket is a great choice. The ability to track shipments as they head to your customers makes it easier to offer great service.
Alibaba Alternatives #4: Salehoo
Salehoo is a dropshipping tool designed for companies looking for a range of products, and opportunities for rapid growth. The solution combines effective market research with an online directory full of wholesalers, dropshippers and ecommerce stores. There are even native integrations for ecommerce tools like BigCommerce.
Salehoo helps companies to get started fast, by allowing you to search for and find items trending in your chosen niche. Once you know what you want to sell, you simply reach out to one of the people in the Salehoo directory and contact suppliers you’re interested in to get your new products at the lowest possible cost.
More than just your average dropshipping tool, Salehoo is particularly unique because you can access a host of high-quality items here, from companies like Disney, Lego, Sony, and many others. You will need to apply to access some providers though.
Unlike most dropshipping solutions, there’s a fee associated with Salehoo which you pay either on an annual or lifetime basis. This gives you access to the Salehoo directory for $67 per year, or $127 for the lifetime package. After that, if you want to add products straight to your Shopify store from AliExpress using Salehoo, you’ll need either the basic plan for $27 per month, or the premium plan for $97 per month.
Both packages enable dropshipping, but the Premium package enables unlimited high-profit product importing, with a dedicated onboarding account manager. There’s also the “Educate” package for a price of $47 per course to help you start dropshipping faster.
- Excellent selection of high-quality products
- Products available from well-known market leaders
- Huge selection of training resources
- No hidden fees to worry about
- Completely vetted supplier selection
- Can be very expensive
- Limited access to some suppliers
Who is it Best For? ✅
If you want a premium dropshipping experience, the Salehoo ecosystem is an excellent choice. You’ll have a wide variety of products to choose from, coming from some of the best brands in the world. However, you need to expect to spend quite a bit of cash.
Alibaba Alternatives #5: AliExpress
Technically, AliExpress and Alibaba belong to the same company, but they’re not exactly the same. Both brands are linked to the same company in Hong Kong. In China, Alibaba owns AliExpress. However, However AliExpress is the “retail” branch for Alibaba.
Put simply, this means any customer can access the Chinese manufacturers on AliExpress, and purchase products from them. Whereas with Alibaba, you buy from Chinese suppliers and manufacturers elsewhere in the world in a wholesale strategy.
AliExpress has some limitations, including significant problems with long shipping times. Although you can source products of just about any kind from AliExpress, and many of the suppliers speak English, it takes a long time to ship your items.
The good news is you do get extremely low startup prices, the option to ship all around the world, from India to the US, and virtually endless private label products from the online marketplace.
There’s no charge to sign up and use the AliExpress website. Like many of the best Alibaba alternatives, you pay only for what you want to buy, and the costs of shipping products around Asia, the USA, and countless other locations.
- Cuts out the middleman of finding suppliers
- Easy to find a wide range of trading companies
- Cheaper than Alibaba.com in some cases
- Great rating system for choosing suppliers
- Huge selection of products for your online store
- Difficult to order large quantities in some cases
- Very little buyer protection
- Long shipping times
Who is it Best For? ✅
As the consumer alternative to the business-to-business Alibaba company, AliExpress can be a good alternative if you only want to buy a few items for your online store from time to time. Unfortunately, the solution isn’t as fast or secure as a B2B platform.
Alibaba Alternatives #6: Doba
One of the most popular dropshipping solutions on the market, Doba provides a wide B2B marketplace where you can shop for all kinds of wholesale suppliers. You can place orders for your online business directly within the Doba application, after sourcing the right company from a huge supplier database.
Doba supports users in finding and selling products from a variety of suppliers, to maximize profit margin. You’ll even get help with analytics, so you can see how your company is growing over time. This is ideal if you’re trying to make sure you have the right supplier or product range.
With millions of products to choose from, Doba is versatile and easy to use. There’s a very easy to upload the products you want to sell to Doba too. There’s a bulk order upload and integration service.
The price for Doba depends on the kind of business you want to build. The lowest price for just one storefront integration begins at $14.99 per month if you pay annually. The business plan for up to 5 storefronts starts at $29.99 and there’s an Enterprise solution or $249.99 per month.
Each package comes with a host of extra features like bulk upload and integration, curated lists, purchase invoices, inventory syncing, and a dedicated account manager.
- Dedicated account manager to help you get started
- Easy to access a range of global suppliers
- Quick and easy solution
- Huge network featuring millions of items
- Email updates for trending products
- Expensive monthly membership
Who is it Best For? ✅
Doba is one of the top alternatives to Alibaba if you’re looking to access a range of products from global sources (not just made in China) and help from an account manager. You’ll have the support you need every step of the way to thrive.
Alibaba Alternatives #7: DHgate
Another of the top alternatives to consider when you’re looking for the best suppliers for dropshipping, DHgate is wonderfully easy to use and packed with great features. You’ll find a host of fantastic products to choose from, although you don’t get a sourcing agent and advanced assistance that you might get from other solutions.
DHgate offers worldwide delivery, with easy refund functions and buyer protection, to help give your customers more peace of mind. There are countless payment methods to choose from, and a fantastic selection of categories to explore when finding products.
If you’re looking for an alternative to dropshipping suppliers, DHgate is one of the best alternatives listed on Google, with much better prices than expected. You may find it’s much easier to stock your small business ecommerce store than it would be to set up a traditional supply chain. You can even save money compared to using Amazon and eBay.
Similar to most dropshipping solutions, DHgate doesn’t require a monthly fee for access to dropshipping products. You pay for the items you want as and when you order them, with many suppliers requiring no minimum order quantity.
- Wide selection of product options
- Easy to use interface
- Global shipping with buyer protection
- Lots of product categories
- Easy search function
- Some suppliers aren’t as reliable as others
- Can take a long time for some products to ship to customers
Who is it Best For? ✅
If you’re looking for variety more than anything else, and a low MOQ, then DHgate has a lot to offer. The biggest downside is you’re going to have similar issues to Chinabrands, TradeIndia, Indiamart and many others when it comes to long shipping times.
Alibaba Alternatives #7: Lightinthebox
Lightinthebox is one of the most popular wholesale stores online, selling a huge range of products not just to the Chinese market, but all over the world. The website is perfect for helping merchants find and purchase state-of-the-art products to appeal to their customers.
Like many of the dropshipping companies on the market today, the warehouses for Lightinthebox are located in China, which might mean your customers need to wait a little longer to receive their items, depending on where they’re located. Additionally, you may not be able to access as wide of a selection of products as you would on AliExpress.
You’ll get much lower prices from your wholesale suppliers with Lightinthebox, which is ideal if you’re trying to evolve from having an offline store into having a much larger global online store. Unfortunately, you may find it harder to integrate the service with your store builder.
With Lightinthebox, you don’t need to pay any monthly fees to source products from in China. You’ll simply pay for the items you need as your customers order them. This is one of the easiest ways to start a dropshipping company.
- Large variety of product options
- Great for low prices
- Easy to use navigation
- No hidden expenses to worry about
- Great for varied product options
- Not always 100% reliable (depending on your supplier)
- Delivery times can be quite long
Who is it Best For? ✅
If you want to keep prices as low as possible with your dropshipping tools, but you still want a wide variety of products, Lightinthebox is a great choice. This solution is easy-to-use, and it comes with a host of items to choose from. Just expect slightly longer shipping times.
Choosing AliExpress Alternatives
There are so many ways to get started with dropshipping these days, from finding your suppliers at tradeshows, to considering Amazon FBA. If you’re willing to order items from around the world, including regions like China, Singapore and India, you’ll have plenty of variety.
Ultimately, choosing the best alternative to Alibaba will be a personal process, based on your considerations of your company’s unique needs. With a little luck, the options above have given you a helpful starting point, so you can find the suppliers you need.
Comments 4 Responses
You’re welcome Carol!
Great article !