How Does AliExpress Work? A complete Guide

How Does AliExpress Work? A complete Guide

February 2, 2023

AliExpress is a name known to many people. It is the first name that comes to your mind for economical shopping. Besides low prices, it also offers a wide range of products. Thus, AliExpress has become the first choice for buyers. It is not only the right choice for buyers but also for sellers. You can find hundreds and thousands of drop shippers selling on AliExpress. Have you wondered why? Let’s tell you how does AliExpress work and how it can benefit you. Keep reading to learn everything.

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is the undisputed king of online shopping for Chinese products. It is the best choice for online shopping in areas Amazon does not deliver. AlIExpress has changed the meaning of international online shopping with amazing service.

Does the common “Ali” in Alibaba and AliExpress ring a bell?

You got it right. AliExpress is also owned by Alibaba group. While Alibaba is a B2B platform, AliExpresses fulfills the needs of consumers (B2C). It is based in China, yet it sends products worldwide.

Here’s more about how AliExpress works.

How Does AliExpress Work?

AliExpress is an e-commerce platform that allows sellers to sell their products. Thus, it is not a store itself. It just acts as a marketplace where different sellers can sell their products. You may say that AliExpress helps the suppliers connect to the customers. Many of these sellers are also drop shippers.

One of the main reasons for shopping from AliExpress is the affordable rates. The prices are often less than other e-commerce platforms. Many sellers also offer free shipping. It helps the consumers get the same products as other websites and save money.

AliExpress Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a common business model on AliExpress, like other websites. Most sellers connect to suppliers in China to drop ship products. Here’s how AliExpress works for dropshipping:

  • Sellers select a niche and find products they want to sell.
  • Next, they find out suppliers who can dropship products to the customers.
  • The drop shippers list the products on their AliExpress store with descriptions.
  • The customers place an order on the AliExpress Store.
  • The sellers direct the order to the vendor with the customer’s details.
  • The vendor ships the products to the customer and pays through AliExpress.
  • The seller receives the payment and pays the vendor for the product.

Sellers on AliExpress

In continuation of how does AliExpress work, let’s talk about the sellers on AliExpress. AliExpress is not only the right place for businesses but also resellers. Most AliExpress sellers are drop shippers. It means that they do not produce or manufacture any product. Instead, they buy products from the vendor. Or the vendor sends it directly to the consumer.

You can find different kinds of sellers on AliExpress, including:


Many businesses, like manufacturing facilities, have moved to AliExpress for improved business. You can find many manufacturers or factories directly selling their products. They are the best choice for the buyers and the company. The buyers get a better price by buying directly from the manufacturer. Moreover, the company does not have to rely on a third party’s reputation. They can ensure their quality and provide the best possible customer care.

Yet, the number of manufacturers or companies is not as high as one expects. The main reason is that they prefer dealing in bulk quantities. B2B platforms like Alibaba offer a better place for such sellers than AliExpress.

Retailers and Wholesalers

Other types of suppliers or sellers on AliExpress are wholesalers and retailers. You might not find many wholesalers on the platform like factories. But, most sellers on AliExpress are online retailers. They may be selling the same product on more than one e-commerce platform. Online retailers purchase products in bulk from wholesalers. These sellers then sell the products at a slightly higher price.

You can purchase from wholesalers on AliExpress if you want to buy at a lower price. You might also get a discount on buying a specific quantity. It is an ideal choice for those who want to automate their business. You do not have to step out of the house to refill inventory. Order from wholesalers on the same platform and sell as a retailer.


Dropshippers are a kind of online retailer. They get the products from the vendor or supplier and send them to the customer after keeping a profit. Dropshippers from all over the world are present on AliExpress. But, you will find a large number of Chinese drop shippers.

As mentioned above, drop shippers do not have to take the hassle of packing or shipping. The supplier maintains inventory and fulfils orders for you. You only have to manage marketing and customer care. Or you may take help from a drop shipping company like Wefullfill to perform these tasks for you.

Many people wonder how does Aliexpress shipping work. We will discuss it later in the article.

AliExpress Customers

Now that you know the sellers on AliExpress, let’s briefly describe the types of customers on AliExpress. Consumers or independent buyers are the most common AliExpress customers. But, a few businesses also move to AliExpress for certain purchases.


Consumers refer to people who buy a certain product for personal use. In this case, it may be anyone buying an item for themselves or their family. They can be considered a consumer if they are not buying it to run a business. Most buyers on AliExpress are consumers looking to buy products at low prices.


The number of businesses as sellers is very less on AliExpress. Most businesses order on AliExpress when they are resellers. They might be unable to find a particular product from their regular wholesaler. Thus, they opt to source those products from AliExpress to run their business.

How AliExpress Dropshipping Works?

AliExpress is a widely known name in dropshipping, and people often ask aboutAliExpress dropshipping. The truth is that dropshipping with AliExpress is easy and reliable. You can sell all kinds of products on the platform to global sellers. AliExpress mostly comprises resellers. Thus, it is considered a comparatively safe platform. The chances of scams and issues for the sellers and buyers are less. Yet, you must find the right vendor to ensure no problems arise.

Keep reading to know how you can use AliExpress for Dropshipping:

  • Create your online store on Shopify or Wix. You can make it yourself or take help from a professional.
  • Use a third-party application to import products from AliExpress. Automizely is a popular application that helps you import and sync products from AliExpress to Shopify. It also notifies you about the inventory and shipment.
  • You can also make an account on AliExpress. Add your business details and follow the instructions to create the account. AliExpress will verify your account after going through the provided information. It can take 2 to 3 days.
  • The next step is to choose a template and create your AliExpress store. Customize your shop using themes, layouts, and CTAs.
  • Add product images, descriptions, prices, etc.

You are ready to start dropshipping on AliExpress.

Best Products on AliExpress

AliExpress has all kinds of products ranging from hair extensions to foot massagers. You can find trending and evergreen products on AliExpress. Finding the right product is a major factor when thinking about how AliExpress dropshipping works.

A few of the best-selling niches on AliExpress include:

  • Jewellery and makeup
  • Skincare
  • Men’s and women’s clothing
  • Bags and shoes
  • Baby products
  • Car Accessories
  • Home improvement tools
  • Pet food and accessories

How Does AliExpress Shipping Work?

The discussion about how does AliExpress work cannot be complete without mentioning how AliExpress shipping works. AliExpress shipping is considered a reliable choice by sellers and buyers. AliExpress offers Standard and Premium shipping.

  • AliExpress Standard shipping takes between 15 and 45 days to deliver parcels globally.
  • AliExpress Premium shipping sends your shipment within 7 to 15 days to the desired address.

As AliExpress Premium Shipping is faster, it is a little more expensive than standard shipping.

Some sellers also opt for other shipping services like DHL, USPS, ePacket, etc. All these services have varying rates and requirements that you may read at Dropshipping Shipping Methods: The Complete Guide.

Why is AliExpress So Cheap?

Another common question buyers and sellers ask is how AliExpress is so cheap. Two main factors contributing to better prices on AliExpress are dropshipping and high competition. Most sellers on AliExpress are drop shippers. It means that they do not have to maintain an inventory or pay warehouse rent. Consumers can find products at low rates when the sellers do not add all these costs to the product. At the same time, the competition is high. If sellers want to stay in the competition, they must offer a competitive price. You will find most vendors selling at similar prices on the e-commerce platform. Also, the shipping costs are so low that sellers can offer free shipping.

How Does AliExpress Make Money?

Have you been more interested in knowing how AliExpress makes money than how AliExpress dropshipping work? We got you covered.

AliExpress earns from the sellers by charging them a certain percentage of their sales. The model is similar to other e-commerce platforms. But, AliExpress does not have a fixed price for any sale. Instead, they take 5% to 8% of every order. The percentage varies between 5 and 8 according to the product. Thus, sellers must consider this cut on each transaction value while setting the prices of products.


AliExpress has become the first choice of buyers worldwide. It offers unique products at low prices with free shipping often. Many people prefer buying from AliExpress to get better deals. AliExpress is also suitable for sellers. Sellers can opt for dropshipping on AliExpress to make better profits. We hope this article answers all your concerns about how does AliExpress work.

Let us know if there is anything else you want to know about how AliExpress works.

shailesh is a Design Founder & Advisor, Berlin School of Creative Leadership Executive MBA participant, Zippie advisor, Wolt co-founder, and Nordic Rose stakeholder.

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