Alibaba is one of the most popular websites for eCommerce in the world. Initially, the site worked as a bridge for mass-produced items to resellers. Nowadays, virtually everyone in the world has heard of this provider. If you are in the retail world, chances are you have an account with them.
Unfortunately, Alibaba has its drawbacks.
Many people find the products there to be highly commonplace, which can make it hard to differentiate your supplies from other stores. That’s why many companies are turning their attention to Alibaba alternatives. But, which ones should you look at?
The best alternatives to Alibaba include:
- Global Sources
- Amazon Wholesale/Amazon Business
- Trade Shows
- EWorld Trade
Before you try to seek out your next Alibaba “unicorn,” let’s take a look at the new vanguard of Ali-alternatives.
What Is Alibaba?
Alibaba is an online marketplace that links retailers to wholesale product suppliers. More specifically, this is a marketplace that connects retailers around the world to wholesale suppliers that come from China. As long as you have a particular product in mind, you will be able to search it and connect with an affordable wholesale supplier.
Can Individual Buyers Have An Alibaba Account?
Though many buyers would love to get direct wholesale accounts, the truth is that it’s retail-specific. You need to be a retailer. For the sake of this article, we’re going to look at sites that offer similar supplier sourcing on the net.
Why Are People Avoiding Alibaba?
While people are trying to get good suppliers, things aren’t what they used to be. Alibaba is not the only supplier site on the net. There are several reasons why people are beginning to shy away from Alibaba:
- It’s a quality issue. Many people simply don’t find most of the goods on Alibaba to be the same quality they once was. People don’t do cheap, so they are willing to look elsewhere.
- Everyone seems to buy the same thing. Though Alibaba is great for goods, a lot of store owners find that Alibaba tends to have the same products constantly floating to the top of the search page. This leads to a lot of stores having the exact same products.
- Pricing is an issue too. The products on Alibaba are affordable. Shipping? Not so much. It can cost an arm and a leg to get your products shipped into your country.
- There’s also a language barrier to worry about. While a lot of people on Alibaba tend to speak English fairly well, miscommunication happens. At times, it can be downright impossible to ensure that you get what you need. This is a major problem that can easily lead to loss, frustration, and anger.
- The shipping times are out of control. Some items can take as long as three months to ship! Since you can’t really do much when it comes to shipping speeds, this can cause a huge problem during times of high demand.
Bottom line? It’s not just a pricing issue. It’s a quality and speed issue. If you have a small business, you need to make sure you have service providers and suppliers that you can rely on.
The Importance Of Choosing Local Suppliers
One of the biggest trends today is erring away from suppliers and products from abroad. This was primarily due to the pandemic, when people noticed how quickly a supply chain from abroad can break. However, this is far from just pandemic-related. Here’s why it pays to go local:
- You get your stuff faster and more reliably. If your supply provider is an hour away, you can go there and pick up extra stuff if you really want to. The closer your supply chain is, the better off you’ll be during these unstable times.
- There’s no need to worry about culture clashes or misunderstandings. Doing business abroad is brutal, especially if you aren’t very “hip to the jive” about culture. The same goes for matters of language barriers. While your suppliers might use different slang from time to time, you’ll all be able to get along with ease.
- It’s easier to get legal issues situated. International laws and lawsuits can get messy, or even just get lost in the pages of all the other stuff you have to do. Having a local supplier means you get better accountability on the legal end of things.
- Most of the time, it’s a better level of quality from end to end. Things are just easier and more enjoyable when you stick to local groups. Since you’re local, there’s a higher chance of a personal connection to your suppliers and service providers.
My Picks For The Best Alternatives To Alibaba
Though Alibaba is excellent for people who want to find products from abroad, the truth is that you often are better off looking at alternatives that have a more personal connection. It’s also better to get connected to local community resources.
We’re going to try to stick to services that offer that fresh, local touch. Let’s take a look at our top three picks…
- Global Sources
Global Sources is one of the bigger B2B platforms for both dropshipping and wholesale products. This is one of the few sites that has tons of suppliers from both China and around the world.
If you want to, you can choose vendors by nation or by product. You can also start to develop relationships with specific wholesalers and distributors if need be. However, translation issues can happen and it can be hard to get around the platform.
It’s a great platform for people who are okay with getting both local and international distributors. While local sourcing can be a little tricky at times with this one, it’s worth it.
2. Amazon Wholesale
Jeff Bezos ended up taking over the world with his online juggernaut, and to a point, that can be both a bad and a good thing. Amazon is famous for its B2C work, but it’s important to realize that the platform also has a notable B2B side that’s worth considering.
The good part about Amazon Wholesale is that you get Amazon-level efficiency. The bad part about it, of course, is that you have to deal with minimal communication. If you need communication or want to stay local with your distributors, this may not be the platform for you.
Out of all the options on this list, this one is the hardest to do in terms of going for that full local community feel.
SavvySME is a very unique alternative to Alibaba, primarily because it’s not always focused on the products — -or at least not initially. This platform allows you to connect directly with distributors, service providers, and supply chain professionals.
In other words, you get to enjoy more direct communication and have a better chance at consolidating your shopping. Since SavvySME supports and encourages small businesses to link up at a local level, you will be able to get connected to service providers who are right near you.
One of the biggest benefits of working through SavvySME is that you are able to find all the people, companies, service providers, and resources you need under one umbrella. So, if you’re a small retail business looking for that pop of convenience, this will work well.
Everything you could need for a business, whether it’s a new supplier or even marketing services and accountants, can be found on SavvySME.
4. Trade Shows
Out of all the options that we suggested, trade shows are going to be the most difficult to reach out to. After all, you have to attend them at a set time and place. This means that it’s not a good option for people who need to have their new sources right now.
However, we’d be lying if we said trade shows didn’t help create a local community within the country they present at. There’s something refreshing about being able to see the people who work at the distribution company in front of you and be able to ask about what they can do.
Admittedly, a lot of trade shows don’t really work well as alternatives to Alibaba. So, if you do decide to give this option a try, remember that you are going there primarily for networking purposes.
5. EWorld Trade
EWorld Trade is a lot like a mix between eBay, Alibaba, and Amazon. It’s hard to explain, but the best way to describe it is that you can either search up the products that you want or post a product that you want to see. You get to see the country of origin, and then talk things out between the two of you.
EWorld Trade has a lot of good sides, but it can be extremely hard to navigate. Between this issue and the fact that it can be hard to control how quickly your shipping happens, it’s a good option, but still not quite ideal. The upside is that you can enjoy verified suppliers. The downside is that almost all the work is done through the platform…which can inhibit certain industries.
Find Better Alternatives To Alibaba
Decent Alibaba alternatives are not easy to find, especially if you want to onshore your supply chain. It’s time to take a look at the good that having a local supplier can do for you, your company, and your local community.
Every small business owner has the right to discover suppliers and products on their terms. Isn’t it time you decided to seek out service providers today?
Why is Alibaba so cheap?
The reason why products on Alibaba are so cheap is because they are made and sold in bulk prices. This gives wholesalers a way to offload large quantities of product at a rate that’s still marketable for them.
Can I get scammed on Alibaba?
Yes, there are scammers on Alibaba. Since this is a wholesale B2B site, scammers found on the platform tend to cause a far more devastating impact on businesses. Use caution when trying Alibaba.
How can I avoid getting scammed on Alibaba?
High quality Alibaba sellers will not have free accounts, name brand merchandise, or ratings that show that they are frauds. If a product looks too good to be true, then it probably is.