Alibaba and Amazon are the two largest global e-commerce platforms. Together, they own a combined market capitalization of more than $1.1 trillion. They don't compete head to head. Alibaba is still solidly Chinese with limited global reach. Amazon just hasn't captured the China market.
The two platforms might seem similar. In fact, many view Alibaba as the Chinese Amazon. However, aa frequent user and “剁手族” (shopaholic) of both platforms, I know the two are heavyweights in their own ways.
Here's my take on how they are different and which is better.
1 Category 1: All about the Money
Amazon might be a global giant but Alibaba is the king of sales. Double 11, which occurs on November 11 each year, is the biggest online shopping day in China.
In 2018, Alibaba earned 213.5 billion RMB (30.5 billion USD) in just 24 hours- that's 100 million USD for every 21 seconds!
Amazon earned 6.2 billion USD on Black Friday in 2018. The revenue earned by Alibaba and its retails is five times that of Amazon.
2 Category 2: Delivery Speed and Fees
Amazon is known for its Prime delivery. Prime offers unlimited 2-Day delivery on select items and even same-day and 2-hour delivery in certain areas.
Alibaba doesn't have a "prime" type service. Instead, you can select items based on cities. If you live in Beijing and order an item shipping from Beijing, you can get your item same-day. Most items, however, take an average of 2-3 days.
3 Category 3: Product Quality and Return Policy
“Never buy shoes on Alibaba!” This is advice I tell every single friend of mine. Every pair of shoes that I have bought on Alibaba had problems- the wrong size, poor quality, or a different color from the website.
Fortunately, Alibaba promises a free, no-reason return within seven days. The best part is you can assign a time for a deliveryman to pick up the item you wish to return. Aside from shoes, Alibaba has been criticized for selling fake products with poor quality. However, due to strong return policy and stricter screening, quality has improved.
Amazon's product quality is impressive. However, its return policy is a nightmare. You have to print out labels, find a suitable box, tape it tightly and find the closest UPS store to drop it. The best strategy is to pick a product that you won’t regret.
Tell us about your experiences with Alibaba and Amazon in the comments below!