Rahul is an app enthusiast who loves scouring the web for alternatives to popular apps and websites. Monopoly mustn't prevail!
Owned by the Alibaba Group, AliExpress is a premier online shopping destination for millions of online shoppers from around the world. As of 2020, the website serves more than 150 million buying customers in about 190 countries around the globe, and it supports more than 16 languages. Unlike Alibaba, its parent company, e-shopping sites like AliEpress usually process both business-to-business and business-to-consumer transactions.
AliExpress also provides consumer-to-consumer, cloud computing, and online payment services. The company makes most of its revenues by charging a 5% to 8% commission on all transactions completed on the platform, alongside a fixed $1500 + store fee to start or change your store on the platform.
With monthly traffic of 437 million visitors in June 2021, AliExpress is a favorite destination for millions of global online shoppers. Its products are favorably priced compared to competing sites, supporting both B2B and B2C trades alongside other business support services.
AliExpress boasts thousands of listings across numerous product categories, offering shoppers a true under-one-roof shopping experience on the web. The site has one of the lowest prices among its e-commerce peers, further attracting price-savvy shoppers to its litany of products.
The website also uses an attractive, easy-to-navigate interface that highlights current promotions, bonuses, and discounts to boost trading volumes.
Sites Like AliExpress
For this review, we chose to exclude all other e-commerce websites owned by the Alibaba Group. Thus, if you want a similar online shopping experience as AliExpress, I recommend the following five alternatives.
- Mercado Libre
- Rakuten Ichiba
eBay is one of the three biggest, oldest e-commerce websites in the world, recording net revenues of more than $9 billion in 2020. As of 2021, eBay had more than 187 million users around the world, a 1.08 increase on 2020 web traffic figures. Of these, the e-commerce giant had about 1.7 billion listings. It had goods worth approximately $27.5 billion bought and sold on the platform in Q1 2021.
Incredibly, over 60 percent of the eBay Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) involved mobile users at some point, with about 940,000 eBay sellers using "promoted listings" to feature more than 250 million listings.
These numbers, among others, illustrate both the opportunities and limitations involved with selling on eBay.
The platform charges sellers an insertion fee when they create a listing as well as a final value fee (commission) on every sale made. While insertion fees are non-refundable, sellers receive up to 250 free listings per month, while listings with multiple items are only billed once. The eBay final value fees range between 12.55% of the sale up to $7,500 and 2.35% of the amount of $7500, as well as a fixed $0.30 per order.
Both fees depend on unit price, listing format, and the category of your listing. However, you may pay more if you purchase optional upgrades for the listing, such as "promoted listings," as well as if you have a low seller reputation due to poor seller conduct and performance.
Sellers can also buy "Good 'til Canceled" listings that renew every month.
- Grow your sales quickly
- Acquire new customers easily
- Reach more potential buyers, fast
- Comparatively higher prices
- Easy to get started
- Numerous marketplace seller protections
- Multiple seller fees regardless of sales
- Reputation-based final value fees
- Limited control over listings
- Stiff competition
- Delayed payment processing
- Per-listing, per-category insertion fees
One of the big three online retailers, Amazon received more than 2.7 billion visitors from mobile and desktop users in June 2021, a 17.39 percent rise from the 2.3 billion visitors received in February same year.
This traffic provides ready-to-buy customers for Amazon sellers, along with numerous other benefits of selling through Amazon, including Amazon FBA. With $386 billion annual revenue for FY 2020, Amazon is the top online retailer in the world by revenues, piping similar eCommerce titans eBay and Alibaba.
Selling on Amazon guarantees a huge business scale, consumer trust, a functional website, and operational simplicity. However, this comes at a significant cost, including significant fees to sell through Amazon, stringent customer service rules, stiff competition with transient price wars as well as high cost of advertising.
In select cases, sellers have even faced competition from Amazon itself, with the inherent minimal control on business and distant customer relationship tipping the competition in amazon's favor.
However, selling on Amazon is more affordable than on eBay. The individual plan charges $0.99 per unit sold, while the professional plan $39.99 per month regardless of the number of units sold.
- Higher sales
- Purchase-ready customers
- Cheap to expand internationally
- Lower marketing costs
- No stock and related costs due to Amazon FBA
- Customers loyal to Amazon, not you
- Limited access to essential data
- Limited brand-building opportunities
- Loss of business control to Amazon FBA
3. Mercado Libre
Meaning "free market" in Spanish, Mercado Libre is the biggest e-commerce website and payments ecosystem in all of Latin America, and it's one of the most popular around the world by user numbers. The online retailer had 132.5 million unique active users as of 2020, a 78.6 percent increase on the 74.2 million users received in 2019.
With operations in 18 Latin American countries, Mercado Libre reported annual net revenue of almost $4 billion for FY 2020. Mercado Libre provides sellers with an optimal advertising avenue to reach more customers, a shipping solution to deliver goods easily, and a secure and efficient online payments infrastructure to enable cross-border trade.
The NASDAQ-listed online shopping platform had more than 32 million individual and organizational sellers in 2020. Collectively, the users sold over 719.3 million items on Mercado Libre, compared to the 378.9 million sold in 2019.
Mercado Libre users content with mandatory selling and shipping fees as well as optional fees such as "product ads" and storage costs. However, you can list items for free so long as they meet the set minimum listing price, with fees incurred once an order is received.
Critically, however, Mercado Libre processes all transactions in US dollars, protecting users from local currency fluctuations while making trade between the 16 countries served.
Mercado Libre Pros
- Millions of potential buyers
- Seamless shipping and fulfillment
- High exposure using product ads
- Strong customer-platform relationship
Mercado Libre Cons
- Customers loyal to the platform, not sellers
- Shipping problems and delays
- Complicated returns process
4. Rakuten Ichiba
Locally called Rakuten Ichiba and a member of the global Rakuten Group, it is one of the biggest online shopping websites in Asia. Ranked fourth among the largest online marketplaces in the world, the company received more than 120 million active users in 2020, amounting to more than 80.9% penetration among Japanese online shoppers.
With about 58 percent of Japan’s 126 million citizens shopping online, and the 20 to 30-year-olds exclusively so, Rakuten enjoys one of the most stable and profitable domestic markets of all eCommerce platforms.
Internal figures showed Rakuten Ichiba had about 50,000 merchants and net annual revenue of $13.8 billion for FY 2020.
Unlike most online shopping sites, the Rakuten marketplace has invested heavily in discounts and cashback, offering buyers discounts at every available opportunity. To qualify, a buyer must check if a click-through portal exists that lets them earn points, miles, or cash for clicking on certain links.
The marketplace also charges affordable listing fees at $0.99 per item on top of an 8% to 20% commission on every sale.
- Buy online and pick up at the physical store
- Daily price discounts and other credits
- Standard price rate between 0.5% and 5%, plus cashback points
- In-store cashback on most items
- Customizable storefront for sellers
- Sellers receive weekly payouts
- Extensive user support resources
- Reaching more customers
- Complex platform to use
- Credits are limited to one portal, regardless of portals used
- Some stores restricted from discounts program
Shopee is a leading online marketplace in South East and East Asia, with an additional presence in several countries across Europe and Latin America. Founded in Singapore, the company allows consumers and sellers to easily buy and sell online affordably through its secure platform.
Like most other online marketplaces, Shopee is exceptionally suited to its initial regional markets in South East Asia, where the company guarantees users an easy, secure, and fast online shopping experience in line with local customs.
As of December 2021, Shopee had on average 90 million active users per month and processed about 2 million buy and sell orders every day. The website is one of the cheapest for sellers to use, charging local Shopee Mall sellers commissions between 3% and 5%, while overseas sellers pay between 5% and 6%.
Using Shopee also allows for the key advantages of reliable logistical support alongside efficient payment processing. Other major features include Shopee Live, a live-streaming service, and in-app mini-games at Shopee Games.
Marketplace users can also use the in-app Shopee Feed to share what they are buying and selling, while the Shopee Live Chat enables users to communicate directly with one another and with Shopee sellers.
- More sales due to the high traffic marketplace
- Easy to acquire new customers
- Shipping and logistics support
- Lower marketplace fees
- Easy payout methods
- Shopee Guarantee scheme for sellers
- Limited control on business or your brand
- Weaker security system, with platform fraud possible
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.