Aliexpress is a B2B wholesaling shopping mall established by Alibaba Group. Recently, it has announced that the online marketplace would be targeted at consumers outside China.
AliExpress was launched in late 2009 as a wholesale multi vendor platform for oversea companies to purchase small volume orders from Chinese sellers and manufacturers. But now 65% of Aliexpress customers are individual consumers. Shen Difan, head of Aliexpress, said: “More and more individuals want to buy good value-for-money goods from China. Given this context, AliExpress sped up the transformation”.
In 2012, Aliexpress started attracting online sellers from Taobao. Monthly transactions increased in that year compared to 2010. And in January, 2013 sales increased by 420% compared to 2012.
Sellers from Taobao became the biggest seller group on Aliexpress. Every seller who joins the virtual shopping mall already has an account on Taobao. And recently, the back-end systems of the two multi vendor platforms have been integrated
As on Taobao, the payment system will keep a customer’s money on the marketplace ecommerce platform until the customer confirms the delivery. PayPal was also present on Aliexpress in 2010 but stopped its service on the online shopping mall over one year later. Just like Taobao, Aliexpress organized sellers for promo activity to boost their sales.
One of the differences between Taobao and Aliexpress is that seller are charged 5% commission. But it is still not clear whether they will keep the commission or not.
Previously, the United States were the target market of Aliexpress. But the multi vendor marketplace now decided to focus on Russia, Brazil, India, and Eastern Europe as these markets show a rapid growth. Provided that the eCommerce infrastructure is comparatively poor in these countries, Aliexpress can get more online customers from these markets.
Now the virtual shopping center Aliexpress has covered over 220 countries. There were about 110 thousand sellers on the multi seller ecommerce platform with 50 million items for sale as of March 2014. The categories of goods also expanded from electronics to others such as apparel and home furnishings.