Dropshipping 5 min read
16 Oct 2020

CJ Dropshipping Vs AliExpress: Which One Is Better For Your Dropshipping Business

CJ Dropshipping Vs AliExpress: Which One Is Better For Your Dropshipping Business

Once your eCommerce store website is live, the next major step are to find dropshipping suppliers. It is important to make the right choice as they take care of a large part of dropshipping business operations.

Even if your store’s site offers a great user experience, if your dropshipping suppliers fail to fulfill orders properly, they could hurt your sales. To achieve a solid partnership with a dropshipping supplier, your store theme will come into play at some point.

This is because your theme plays a critical role in determining how many products you can add, and how you can present them. 

Download the free Debutify theme to make use of add-ons like Product Tabs which help you to build and offer a product catalog that brings in more sales.

So with CJ Dropshipping and AliExpress being some of the go-to suppliers, let’s examine each of them and find out which one is better for your dropshipping business:

Primary Differences

AliExpress is an international platform for retailers. The way it works is such that individual vendors can set up stores, in which case an order is fulfilled by the particular dealer with whom it was placed.

AliExpress itself doesn’t handle this part but rather provides an environment for different people to do so.

On the other hand, CJ Dropshipping is a 3-in-1 resource. You can source products, have your orders processed, and also rely on them for shipping.

So if we are looking at the entire journey of making a sale, from the point that a customer selects a product to receive it, CJ Dropshipping business can take care of more duties.

For those who want to eliminate the use of an additional tool for order processing, in particular, the CJ Dropshipping business might be the better fit.


The AliExpress platform is designed to attract just about any type of person. It is quite easy to use in that all you do is set up an account the same way you would if you were going to buy from Amazon.

CJ Dropshipping offers multiple services, a new user may need to sort through a bunch of options in the beginning. Ultimately, it is hard to put one supplier above the other in this aspect.

This is because while CJ Dropshipping may appear to be more complicated, for someone who wants to do more than just buying, it bundles the other services together neatly. 

Sourcing Products

The AliExpress platform being open to a multitude of traders (over 8.7 million), offers over 2.5 billion products to choose from. 

This puts it far ahead of CJ Dropshipping, which has roughly 215,000 products. But the product issue is a little more nuanced than that.

If you are just starting out and experimenting with different products, AliExpress is undoubtedly the better option. Those who have narrowed it down to a successful product can consider sourcing it from CJ on their desired scale.

Previously, the CJ team had focused on listing products according to evident demand or customer requests. In the near future, they will be offering a plan to suppliers who can sign up and post their products.

At the moment, they also offer users a chance to suggest products that are doing well in their stores to the CJ team. But as things stand now, AliExpress is the better option for sourcing products.

To make the addition of products even simpler use a theme like Debutify to stay on top of the activity in your Oberlo app and other suppliers. Download Debutify the highest converting free Shopify theme.

Total Cost Of Products

If you look at the product price alone, products on AliExpress tend to cost much more than they do on CJ Dropshipping. This is primarily because, with AliExpress, you’re dealing with a small middleman of sorts.

A lot of the people who set up shop on the platform still have to get products from manufacturers.

They are usually not operating on a scale that enables them to get the products at very low costs. Furthermore, once they have displayed the products on the platform, they have to invest in ads to get more visibility.

There are also the annual fees whose refund policy requires a sales goal of USD30,000 annually for a 50% refund and USD60,000 annually for a 100% refund.

The CJ team handles relationships with manufacturers to ensure that products can be listed at competitive prices on the platform. In this aspect, the CJ Dropshipping business is the better option.

Shipping Policies

The process of getting the product to the customer can be hectic seeing as there are a lot of variables involved. You have to think about the shipping policy, shipping costs, and also about the duration of the process. 

When it comes to shipping costs, AliExpress is likely to have better offers.

This is partly because of the fact that there’s stiff competition amongst the numerous dealers, with some even offering free shipping.

The issue here is that it can be difficult to know just how good of a deal you’re getting. Remember that some dealers tuck the shipping cost into the overall price.

While that may not always be a big deal, the length of the delivery period can be excessive. In the case of CJ Dropshipping, the shipping fees are usually higher, but with a shorter duration.

To opt for a delivery period as short as the CJ one, an AliExpress user will have to pay more than a CJ user.

While shipping preferences might differ from one customer to another, it is vital for your store to be able to offer a good balance between fees and time. This is where CJ excels more.

Payment Methods

The CJ checkout has 8 common options that span over 150 countries. One stand-out feature that could appeal to some store owners is the COD (Cash On Delivery) option. This is however limited to authorized clients.

With AliExpress, payment methods vary since you may be sourcing products from different vendors. This means that you may have to do some extra work to not only find the product but find a vendor who offers it through the payment methods you prefer.

If this becomes hard to achieve, your banking might turn into a more complex web. You could find yourself receiving payments from customers in a variety of ways using a particular option or set of options.

For a young store, this may not be easy, meaning that you could end up limiting yourself to vendors who are in line with the payment options tied to your order processing.

Such a move can hinder long-term growth. You can learn more about the top payment methods in the AliExpress ecosystem here.

AliExpress may also give you trouble when enforcing security measures in multiple order scenarios. The last thing you want to see is a failed transaction yet money has been deducted.

When you consider the COD option and the fact that every payment option offered by CJ covers any product listed and multiple countries, CJ comes out ahead in payment methods.

Parcel Delivery Modes

When using AliExpress as your dropshipping supplier, customers might make orders of products coming from different dealers. They may not know this and will probably expect all the products to arrive at the same time.

While it’s possible to notify them of split shipping for certain orders, it is not always ideal.

For starters, it creates extra work for the store owner. You also risk losing the entire order, or parts of it to a competitor as a customer tries to achieve a uniform delivery date for all products.

In some cases, customers are buying sets of equipment, say kitchenware, or video production tools, that are needed at the same time. This is common when products are needed for commercial events.

CJ Dropshipping business works around this by ensuring that all products ordered from their catalog can be delivered in one go. 

They even go further by neatly packaging the products in the same parcel. You can also have the parcels branded with your own store logo, custom image, or text.

This service also has no MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) condition. As a store owner, you’ll only have to deal with CJ and not multiple vendors in case there are any delays or other irregularities in delivery.

CJ Dropshipping is therefore the better option for parcel delivery modes. For a better understanding of parcel delivery options and why they matter, read more here.

Product Details

In this area, AliExpress clearly does a better job of displaying product details. CJ has put in place a service to receive requests for supplementary photo and video shoots for products listed but it’s yet to catch up.

With a theme like Debutify, you can easily display a wide range of product details. 

Download Debutify for free and boost conversions on your Shopify store by strategically positioning your product details.

Warehouse Networks

Many of the dealers on AliExpress do not have steady warehousing. Some rely on home storage units while others rely on the company they buy from.

The larger vendors have better warehouse networks but this set is small, and in some cases, they may not be the ones offering products you want.

CJ Dropshipping has a warehouse in Germany, Indonesia, Thailand, and two in China and the US. They will also be launching some in the UK and France soon. 

For places like the US where they have more than one, a customer can receive goods in as low as 2-5 days using USPS+.

For store owners with fast-moving products, CJ can sell them private inventory, which comes with faster processing time and zero storage fees. This puts CJ Dropshipping a little bit ahead of AliExpress in regard to warehouses.

If you’ve been keeping score with each aspect, don’t rush to put on over the other. To find the best dropshipping company, you may need to dig deeper and take longer. Let’s clue you in on some things to consider.

When you’re just starting out, you want to leave room for changes. Your first product listings may not be your best hits. 

And even if they do well, the background conditions may be eating into a lot of the profit and your ability to deliver a complete quality customer experience.

AliExpress may be the better option when you’re starting out. This is largely due to product variety and user-friendliness. Once you land on well-performing products, it’s time to start the next stage. This is where you look for the conditions that are lacking.

It could be limited payment options for a particular vendor. The issue may also be with the shipping time and other policies related to parcel options. Find out whether these problems can be solved without looking outside AliExpress. 

This will involve comparing different vendors.

As you do that, check with CJ Dropshipping and find out whether those same products are available. If they are, compare the other conditions like shipping fees and warehouse availability.

For those that aren’t available, you can always submit a request to have them listed.

But without popular demand among other factors, this could take a while. The comparison has to be guided by two major factors. The first is customer research.

You should record every complaint or query that you receive when offering a product through a particular dropshipping supplier.

For instance, if the data indicates that the majority of your customers would rather wait longer and pay less in shipping fees, don’t feel the need to opt for the fastest shippers.

Many customers have no issues receiving products under the same order on different days, as long as that schedule is upheld.

The second is your bottom line. Set targets for how much you want to make off of specific products. You may have to do some extra administrative tasks when dealing with certain dropshippers. 

But if you achieve your markup in the end, don’t feel pressed to switch.

Remember, both AliExpress and CJ Dropshipping work smoothly with Shopify. With AliExpress, the Oberlo addition will make life easier, especially if you have a good theme to house your products.

Download the free Debutify theme to simplify the addition of winning products from dropshipping suppliers to your store and build your 7-figure dropshipping store!  

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes is the CEO at Debutify. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies, and mentoring programs.

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