Dropshipping vs. Print on Demand: Is AliExpress The Solely Choice?

The explosive growth of e-commerce is producing a requirement amongst entrepreneurs for brand new kinds of enterprise fashions. These new fashions differ from these out there at present in velocity, high quality of supply and uninterrupted operation. That is occurring even within the face of unexpected unprecedented crises such because the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the crucial well-established and customary enterprise fashions is the AliExpress enterprise mannequin. Many startups don’t even hesitate to open a retailer in a large aggregator, and even skilled entrepreneurs switch their enterprise there.

New star within the sky

It appears that evidently AliExpress is out of competitors (in some ways it was so till 2020), however with the growth of alternatives, and together with the demand for a print-on-demand (POD) mannequin, the world chief might need to share its dominance.

Let’s have a look at whether or not a print-on-demand method might actually take the place of the dropshipping that each retailers and shoppers are accustomed to.

POD Framework

The chance to create a enterprise from scratch with little or no funding (and generally no funding in any respect) may be very enticing to producers and sellers of print-on-demand merchandise.

For sellers, this implies:

  • the absence of warehouses and stress about details that some items most likely won’t be offered, can expire, develop into broken, exit of trend, and so forth.; 
  • there isn’t any must buy gear – this can be finished by suppliers;
  • or, conversely, the flexibility to run a enterprise with a employees of 1 individual, if you have already got the gear;
  • the chance of the processes’ automation with a special-designed print-on-demand service device – PODza. 

For producers, this implies minimal manufacturing prices, all the time new artistic concepts, and a take-payment first-create-later framework, which permits working with a minimal funds for uncooked supplies.

For entrepreneurs, there are countless alternatives for model promotion by way of user-generated content material and social media with excessive buyer and lead engagement.

For patrons, there are all the time personalized (usually distinctive) merchandise, quick supply, and the flexibility to direct management of the manufacturing course of and make changes.

Dropshipping Framework

The enterprise mannequin of dropshipping is similar to that of print-on-demand. Right here, we are going to check out the important thing variations that decide the benefits and downsides of the framework:

  • The work is carried out by way of bodily shops and warehouses of products – there’s a excessive threat that some items will stay unsold, which entails a loss.
  • The dropshipping firm is liable for packaging and supply of products, the vendor is just an middleman in transactions – this can be a large benefit for sellers, as a result of all accountability for buyer satisfaction lies with the producer.
  • White labels are additionally an enormous benefit for sellers as consumers won’t distinguish between the middleman and the producer – they are going to see the producer’s model on the bought merchandise. This perform can be out there within the POD mannequin.
  • Analytics out there solely through the use of widespread instruments, comparable to Google Advertisements, Google Traits and others. On this, the AliExpress mannequin is inferior to print-on-demand shops, as a result of it doesn’t have a specialised device like PODza.


Effectively, now we have one final query: which of the fashions is extra environment friendly, worthwhile and handy, and also will result in better buyer satisfaction? Under are the primary choice standards between print-on-demand and AliExpress fashions that can aid you make an knowledgeable choice.

  • Print-on-demand is the brand new star, and dropshipping is the elder: Within the former case, the competitors isn’t but so excessive.
  • Print on Demand doesn’t tolerate dumping: It helps create worth and a optimistic model repute, justified by the excessive velocity of supply and product high quality.
  • Print-on-demand isn’t restricted to at least one nation (Aliexpress is China-affiliated) and subsequently your retailer can present providers domestically in addition to worldwide. This gives some ensures in instances of disaster. Specifically, as a result of 2020 pandemic, many shoppers have given up procuring from China. With many factors, you possibly can make certain that if one stops working, you possibly can depend on the opposite, which AliExpress couldn’t do.
  • The print-on-demand mannequin presents solely clearly-defined product high quality and maintains it all through the complete lifetime of the enterprise. With dropshipping, there’s a excessive likelihood that some shipments from inventory can be of inferior high quality than others.


Each enterprise fashions have benefits, however some options of the print-on-demand framework mentioned on this article point out that in 2021, it’s extra affordable to launch a enterprise on this framework, relatively than in dropshipping.

A world pattern around the globe is the transition from bodily to digital, and this issue alone can be sufficient to know the prospects for each choices.

After all, in the event you resolve to go for dropshipping, this doesn’t essentially imply that you’ll lose, however you’ll face harder competitors, stronger (virtually invincible!) gamers, and you’ll have to put in way more effort with a purpose to acquire the belief and loyalty of your potential prospects.

The second international pattern around the globe is the growth and destruction of borders, in order an entrepreneur you can’t afford to be tied to a specific locality.

Additionally understand that shoppers (particularly the youthful generations of millennials and zoomers) respect model social positioning on environmental points. Print on Demand meets this requirement as properly – there isn’t any want to chop down forests and kill whole populations of animals to create a set of merchandise made out of pure supplies that can by no means be offered.

Think about all of the choices out there in your space and in your funds, and make the selection that’s best for you.