A question that get's asked a lot these days, is 'What is the difference between AliExpress & Salehoo' and which one should you use?
I have always taken the approach, that using both is the best policy, as it gives the strength of both platforms without needing to use their weaknesses (or at least less) but today we will explore the major differences and similarities in our Salehoo vs AliExpress showdown!
It's worth noting that the platforms also cater for different audiences, someone searching on AliExpress is usually searching for something different than someone who has signed up for Salehoo.
If you have read the full Salehoo review then you will know that it's essentially a large database of liquidators, manufacturers, dropshippers and wholesalers all in one easy to find place.
The platform itself is designed to only allow real, or vetted suppliers on, so it starts to eliminate some of the issues that we will come onto in a bit with AliExpress. The suppliers are also found all over the world, rather than just being Chinese or Indian manufacturers or middlemen. This means you can potentially find yourself a vetted DropShipper in the EU or USA who can ship products too you faster.
You do pay a yearly fee to access the platform, or you can pay a one off fee that allows you access. This also includes access too the Salehoo Labs to find up and coming products and their training guides and documents, so really it's more than just a simple wholesale list provider.
The other thing about Salehoo, is that they don't have automation set up for sites such as Shopify or AliDropShip, so it means if you do find suppliers on there, you will have to fufill their orders by hand, or in a less automated way than if you imported them from AliExpress via Oberlo or AliDropShip.
AliExpress is the marketplace or store front part of the Alibaba empire.
It's designed to allow people to purchase smaller quantities of items (as low as 1) much in the same way as Amazon or eBay.
Primarily filled with Easten sellers, again mainly Chinese stores, AliExpress is full of people trying to sell you items at some stupidly low prices! It's grown in popularity over the last few years, because most store owners or middle management agents who dominate AliExpress don't actually care where they send their products, as long as someone pays. Which allows people like you and me to purchase hundreds of items and send them all around the globe, for a pretty small price (partly thanks to China getting some sweet shipping deals with Europe and America). Another reason why AlIExpress has grown, is due to the fact big platforms such as Shopify and plugins such as AliDropShip have automated alot of the process from importing products, displaying them in stores, all the way to sending those orders to sellers and updating the shipping information.
Anyone can purchase items from AliExpress, and there is no fee for joining or browsing. It can be a literal minefield though, as there are thousands upon thousands of sellers, and millions of different items for sale. If you browse through, you will more than likely find 100 different sellers all flogging the same item, all using the same picture and claiming to be the original sellers (sadly, there is no easy way to validate these claims)
Conclusion - Who Wins?
If I am going to be honest, neither wins.
As I said at the start both of these platforms are useful in their own way.
If you are someone who wants to move away from the cheap items that take 4 weeks to arrive, then check out Salehoo, if you are new to the DropShipping game and you want cheap items that have potentially higher profit margins (though may also cause more headaches) then go for AliExpress!
Whatever you choose, just ensure the products you are purchasing are high quality, the sellers are reputable and that you are protected against products falling apart or being low quality.
James started The Online Student as a typical blog telling people about his struggles and woes with DropShipping, Amazon FBA and even Affiliate marketing. He then decided that blogging about it all would give people the skills, knowledge and apps to get up and running (while making a little extra on the side). After a few months he realised it was quite lucrative and decided to work his ass off making it a bit more than just a hobby!