The eCommerce industry will be worth about 600 billion dollars in the year 2024. While it is an alarming statistic, it does prove one thing: there’s so much money for online retailers to make in the industry.
There’s no doubt considering that there are more than 10 million eCommerce stores on the internet.
It’s not difficult to find an online business or eCommerce store owner who does not make use of software solutions.
ECommerce software solutions have lessened the workload, making it easier and convenient for online merchants to run their business to ensure maximum profit.
If you intend to venture into eCommerce, two eCommerce solutions will come out on top: AliDropship and Shopify.
For this purpose, we will put AliDropship against Shopify to make a good decision when opting for your preferred eCommerce solution.
What Is AliDropship?
As its name suggests, AliDropship is a dropshipping solution that allows users to dropship products from the AliExpress online marketplace.
With AliDropship, you can quickly launch a dropshipping business, whether as an expert or as a novice, by streamlining the entire business process.
Interestingly, AliDropship is compatible with WordPress CMS, which is the most used CMS in the world. Not to mention, AliDropship is compatible with WooCommerce and other essential WordPress themes. That way, you can populate your product database with dropshipping products from AliExpress.
Nonetheless, AliDropship features a product database of over 100 million dropshipping products sourced from AliExpress that were handpicked by their team of experts.
Additionally, both the AliDropship WooCommerce plugin and AliDropship Chrome extension allow you to source for high-performing AliExpress products quickly.
AliDropship allows you to set up an online dropshipping store either with the DIY method (via the plugin) or by ordering a custom store (built by their team).
Also, they have a wide range of add-ons, such as product bundles, product banner, abandoned cart, social rabbit, AliShipping, and many more.
Unlike other eCommerce solutions, AliDropship features helpful resources and guides that allow you to launch successful dropshipping stores without hassles.
What Is Shopify?
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce solution founded in 2004 by Tobias Lutke, Daniel Weinard, and Scott Lake. Shopify is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms, with more than one million users.
Interestingly, Shopify is used by over one million merchants in more than 175 countries. Some of their famous customers include Blu Kick, Bombas, Dressbarn, Simba, and others.
It is notable for its wide range of templates, flexibility, and user-friendliness. In fact, Shopify can quickly be set up by both tech-savvy and non-tech-savvy users without the need for technical knowledge.
Additionally, Shopify incorporates useful tools for both online and offline businesses. For instance, Shopify provides a POS application that can be used by offline stores.
With Shopify, you can sell and ship your products whether dropshipped or not.
The setup process you engage in depends on how you intend to use the AliDropship platform. You can choose an eCommerce site with hosting or opt for the DIY plugin version, which allows you to connect the AliDropship WooCommerce plugin to your existing WooCommerce store.
For the DIY plugin version, you have to customize your eCommerce store yourself. Besides, AliDropship is compatible with WordPress, so you can quickly set up your online store.
If you intend to order for a customized online store, it takes the AliDropship team between 12 – 25 days to fully design it. Overall, the setup process is not complicated.
The first step to setting up your Shopify store is registering on the platform. By entering your registration details and clicking on ‘Get Started,’ Shopify will instantly create your online store in less than 10 seconds.
Next, you have to complete your business profile, and you can choose to sell online using the Shopify software or in-person with the Shopify POS. You can set up a Shopify store, whether you have a website or not.
If you have an online store built with the WordPress CMS, you can start selling immediately by adding the Shopify WordPress plugin to your site.
With AliDropship, you can either customize your website from scratch or assign it to the AliDropship development team to build your online store. However, Shopify allows you to set up your online store in a few seconds, and you are left to start adding product descriptions, images, etc.
AliDropship provides several website themes. This includes AliDropship themes and some themes from WooCommerce. About 20 themes are featured in total; some are free, while some are premium themes.
From the themes page, you can hover over any and click on Live Demo to see how it appears. Likewise, you can download your preferred theme and then install them from your WordPress dashboard.
Afterward, you can apply them to your WooCommerce site from the list of available installed themes.
Shopify features various website themes you can apply to your online store. From your store Dashboard, you can click on the customize theme to access the available theme options, whether free or premium.
The themes are of different styles, such as minimalist, grid, video, and more. You can browse through the theme store based on your store niche to narrow down the best options.
To use any of the themes, click on it and select Start – if it’s a paid one, you will have to make payment before. Like AliDropship, there is an option to preview the themes before uploading as well.
Both AliDropship and Shopify have green scores in the aspect of themes. So, it’s a draw for this round.
With AliDropship, you can directly import products from the AliExpress marketplace. From your dashboard, the featured Import option at the right tab allows you to sort and import products from specific categories. Other filters like shipping origin, shipping destination, shipping method, price, and more can also be applied.
There is also an option to import AliDropship products – these are AliExpress products that have been reviewed and chosen by AliDropship experts. Products will be sent to your store once you click on the import button beside them.
Shopify supports product import via CSV files. All you need is a CSV file with the list of products you wish to import and then upload it from your dashboard.
To import, you should navigate to Products from your dashboard and click on Import on the Products page. This will open up a pop-up window for you to upload your file. All products in the uploaded document are automatically added to your product list and ready to be uploaded.
Though AliDropship supports direct product import, the CSV file product import option Shopify offers provides more flexibility. You can import products from virtually any online marketplace.
Product Images Editing
There is a built-in image editor featured on AliDropship. This image editor lets you make size changes to your images. You can also add effects, brush up some not-so-good-looking areas, crop, and add text and stickers. The editor is easy to use; you upload the images and get to work.
To access the image editor, navigate to product options from your store dashboard, and select the product image you wish to edit.
You can access the Shopify image editor from the All Products page, select the product image you wish to edit, and click on the Edit Image option.
You can perform several tasks with this image editor, such as image cropping, drawing, resizing, orientation changing, flipping, and a few more. All of these options are intuitively laid out which makes the tool hassle-free to use.
You can get a functional image editing tool on AliDropship and Shopify, so it is a draw.
The product suppliers handle shipping on AliDropship. As an online merchant, you have to pay the product supplier a shipping charge and a product cost charge.
Thankfully, AliDropship suppliers generally offer low shipping rates, while a large number even handle shipping for free. Likewise, the delivery time also depends on the supplier, but free shipping takes 10 – 30 business days, while super savings shipping costs $5 and takes 10 -20 days.
The fastest is the standard shipping which takes 10 – 15 days and costs $10.
Shopify handles shipping themselves, and they work with several shipping carriers. Some of these include USPS, DHL Express, UPS, Sendle, and Canada Post. The shipping method to use depends on the destination of the customer.
Also, the cost of shipping varies, and it depends on the shipping carrier and the weight of the product. You can apply shipping discounts based on your Shopify plan; the Shopify and Advanced Shopify pricing plans incur up to 90 percent discount for domestic shipping.
Shopify offers a more reliable shipping service as the platform takes up the shipping responsibility, it is not dependent on the product suppliers.
With AliDropship currency settings, you can adjust your store currency to match your location’s currency. The USD is the default currency, and you can add more if you wish to switch currencies within your dashboard.
You can toggle on the currency location, which will automatically display your customers’ local currency when they visit your store. If you use the AliDropship Woo version, you can install the built-in currency switcher widget, so your customers can switch the displayed currency themselves.
Currency localization can be achieved on Shopify with the Auto Currency Converter application. This application is featured on the Shopify apps store and can be installed with any Shopify plan. It automatically switches the displayed currency to match the location when customers access your store.
Additionally, a currency selection box is displayed for customers to switch the currency themselves. Not to mention, the Auto Currency Converter also features a currency converter that allows users to compare the rates. You can manually switch the currencies without the app by adding a code to your stores’ URL.
Unlike Shopify that requires the installation of an add-on, AliDropship wins here due to its built-in currency localization feature.
The AliDropship platform supports web hosting, but it is WordPress-based; besides, the AliDropship user dashboard is similar to the main WordPress CMS dashboard. Nonetheless, the web hosting features you get depend on your preferred pricing plan.
However, it offers 3 – 17 GB disk space with a free control panel and an unmetered bandwidth. Also, it is relatively fast with a 2,000 Mbit per second speed. That way, you can host multiple dropshipping websites with a single web hosting plan. Likewise, it comes with an advanced security system and free anti-DDoS guard, which guarantees your website security.
The web hosting solution available on Shopify is highly versatile. It uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN) that ensures that your website content is speedily delivered across the world.
You can either connect an existing domain name or purchase a domain name from Shopify. Not to mention, you can also buy a new domain name directly from Shopify.
Nonetheless, the Shopify web hosting offers automatic software updates, free SSL certificate, and unlimited traffic bandwidth. Their web hosting is secure as it is a Level 1 PCI compliant.
In the web hosting category, Shopify wins as it uses the CDN technology and it is also an accredited domain registrar.
Dropshipping support on AliDropship is limited to the AliExpress online shopping platform; hence you can source and dropship AliExpress products directly.
However, this implies that you cannot dropship products from other online shopping platforms like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, etc. The dropshipping service also directly supports WooCommerce, so it is a perfect solution if your dropshipping store is WooCommerce-based.
Shopify is not affiliated with any online shopping platform; hence its dropshipping umbrella covers all. This implies that you can dropship products from any online shopping platform, such as AliExpress, Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and others.
As discussed earlier, all you need is to upload a product list in a CSV file. You can also enter dropshipping products manually without the need to import from an online marketplace.
Shopify again comes out on top of AliDropship as users can dropship products from any online marketplace including AliExpress.
Inventory management is one of the unique features of the AliDropship plugin. You can track your product counts to know when they are available and when they are out of stock.
On the Shopify dashboard, there’s a dedicated inventory management section. From this section, you can manage your inventory by tracking and adjusting the counts. It also displays your inventory history because all your products are tracked. You can import and export inventory lists as CSV files.
Shopify wins in this round because it allows users to import or export their inventory lists in CSV file format.
AliDropship does not feature a built-in analytics dashboard. To get analytics for your dropshipping store, you should connect it with Google Analytics.
From the Shopify dashboard, you can access analytics to get insights on how your store is performing. Moreover, insights on total sales, top products, total orders, average order value, sales by staff, etc. are provided. The insights are easy to comprehend as they are displayed in graphs and percentages. You can sort the time range and compare the different times.
Without any built-in analytics tool, AliDropship loses on this one.
AliDropship has a WordPress-compatible plugin that connects with WooCommerce. Also, the platform supports all payment gateways supported in WooCommerce, which includes PayPal, Stripe, Payssion, 2Checkout, Square, PayU, PayTabs, PagSeguro, and more.
Nevertheless, AliDropship also provides a Google Chrome Extension which allows you to source for AliExpress products from your web browser.
All the integrations you need are available in the Shopify app store. Hence, you can install your preferred apps on your Shopify online store to boost its functionality.
Also, Shopify integrates with more than 100 third-party payment providers offering customers a variety of payment options. Available ones include PayPal, PaySafe, 2Checkout, PayBright, etc. Interestingly, Shopify supports payment with cryptocurrencies as it integrates with Coinbase, BitPay, and CoinPayments amongst others.
With so many applications in the app store and more than 100 payment gateways, Shopify offers more integration than AliDropship.
Customer Support & Resources
You can quickly contact the AliDropship customer support by sending your message via a contact form. However, responses can be slow as it takes between 6 – 8 hours to get a reply.
To get quick support, you have to use the available resources, which include a Help Center, FAQs, and a blog. AliDropship has an online forum for users to discuss with each other. The platform also offers guides, case studies, and marketing tips.
Shopify offers 24/7 customer support. You can reach the support by email, live chat, or phone call though you might need to be logged in to access these.
Resources featured on Shopify include a blog, guides, podcasts, API documentation, help center, and a business encyclopedia. An online forum exclusive to only Shopify users is also available along with some free business tools such as a logo maker, business name generator, slogan maker, QR code generator, etc.
Clearly, you can count on Shopify’s customer support and available resources instead of AliDropship.
AliDropship offers various pricing plans for various services.
Pricing plans for Custom Store
- Basic Plan – $299
- Advanced Plan – $499
- Ultimate Plan – $899
AliDropship Hosting Pricing Plans
- Silver Plan – $48 per year
- Gold Plan – $86 per year
- Gold Plus Plan – $129 per year
- Platinum Plan – $220 per year
AliDropship Plugin – $89 (one-time payment)
Note: You can purchase ready-made stores on AliDropship, but the cost varies, it depends on the store owner. Similarly, you can request a replica of a dropshipping store on AliDropship you like; the price is also not static as it depends on the store’s features.
Here are the pricing plans available on Shopify:
- Shopify Lite Plan – $9 per month
- Basic Shopify Plan – $29 per month
- Shopify Plan – $79 per month
- Advanced Shopify Plan – $299 per month
- Shopify Plus Plan – Custom pricing
- Shopify POS Pro – $89 per month
Similarities & Differences
- Dropshipping platforms
- Website templates
- Auto currency localization
- Chrome extension and plugins
- Web hosting
- Third-party payment gateways
- AliDropship facilitates dropshipping while Shopify supports both dropshipping and traditional eCommerce businesses.
- Shipping via AliDropship is the responsibility of suppliers, while on Shopify, it is Shopify’s responsibility.
- AliDropship features direct auto currency switching settings while Shopify uses an app and also a manual option.
- AliDropship is limited to AliExpress, while Shopify supports several online shopping marketplaces.
- Shopify supports both web hosting and domain registration, while AliDropship facilitates only web hosting.
- Unlike Shopify, AliDropship does not support cryptocurrency payment.
- AliDropship does not feature store analytics functionality, but Shopify does.
Pros & Cons
- Easy setup process
- Chrome extension
- Free and low shipping costs
- Web hosting support
- Third-party payment gateways
- Delayed support
- No built-in analytics
- Limited to AliExpress
- Easy to set up
- Built-in analytics
- Web hosting support
- Domain name registration
- Chrome extension
- Several Shopify plugins
- Third-party integrations and payment gateways
- Supports crypto payments
- 24/7 Support
- Limited phone support
- Payment gateways attract transaction fees
AliDropship vs Shopify – Which Is Better?
Although AliDropship is a widely used dropshipping platform with reliable dropshipping features, it poses little competition to Shopify.
Shopify is an all-in-one eCommerce platform that allows you to run an eCommerce business, unlike AliDropship, which is limited to dropshipping on AliExpress alone. On the other hand, Shopify will enable you to dropship from any online marketplaces.
With Shopify, the risk involved with shipping is shared, and you can get shipping insurance. Also, their web hosting with CDN makes it a very reliable one, and you can count on their 24/7 customer support team for assistance whenever you need it.
Finally, the Shopify pricing plans may be on the high side; however, the platform offers different plans for different business scales. So, whether you’re a nano, mini, micro, or macro business, you’ll find the right pricing plan with Shopify.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing. I started my first e-commerce company in college, designing and selling t-shirts for my campus bar crawl using print-on-demand. Having successfully established multiple 6 & 7-figure e-commerce businesses (in women’s fashion and hiking gear), I think I can share a tip or 2 to help you succeed.