How To Sell on Amazon From Alibaba the Right Way

Last updated on August 29th, 2023

Written by Mohamed Aden

With the dozens of ecommerce successes seen over the years, it’s high time to embark on your journey as a digital entrepreneur and become an Amazon seller. One of the first things to do is source products from wholesale marketplaces like Alibaba. Then, you’ll need to figure out how to sell on Amazon from Alibaba, and we’ve got you covered!

What exactly can Alibaba bring to the table regarding your Amazon seller experience? Let’s discover how the Chinese platform can help Amazon sellers create a lucrative ecommerce business and reach success. 

Understanding Alibaba and Amazon

While it isn’t as frequently mentioned as Amazon, Alibaba is still regarded as one of the biggest ecommerce companies in the world. It falls just slightly behind Amazon in terms of market value in 2023.


To those unfamiliar, Alibaba and Amazon may appear synonymous in how they work, considering they both belong to and fall under the ecommerce umbrella. However, they’re vastly different in many ways. 

For one, they focus on and operate with different business models. Amazon focuses on B2C (business-to-consumer) and C2C (consumer-to-consumer) operations, whereas Alibaba primarily operates with the B2B (business-to-business) model.

In short, Amazon is a retailer selling products and services directly to consumers, while Alibaba acts as an intermediary between the supplier and the seller. 

Naturally, their varying focuses mean they provide different services. Amazon offers sellers and buyers worldwide a platform to connect and complete ecommerce transactions. On the other hand, Alibaba offers product-sourcing services for aspiring sellers.

Rather than seeing these platforms as competitors and engaging in one over the other, many digital entrepreneurs see an opportunity in these differences. They choose to use both for their ecommerce journey. How? 

You can easily browse the vast catalog of items, negotiate with suppliers, and place bulk orders for your inventory on Alibaba. While most of the suppliers on the platform may be Chinese manufacturers, Alibaba still offers an extensive network of wholesalers from various countries in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, and Africa. Meanwhile, you can create product listings through Amazon and market your products to a massive customer base.

  • B2B business model

  • Offers product-sourcing services for sellers; connects suppliers to sellers

  • Features a vast collection of suppliers, manufacturers, and products worldwide
  • B2C and C2C business models

  • Offers a platform to connect sellers and consumers

  • Offers various fulfillment methods for sellers
  • By using Alibaba as a sourcing platform, Amazon sellers can benefit from the convenience of sourcing their products from reliable and legitimate wholesalers. Additionally, the vast product selection on Alibaba allows sellers to explore a wide range of products and find the best fit for their target market.

    How To Sell on Amazon From Alibaba

    After understanding the basics of the two tech giants, it’s time to learn how sellers can maximize the potential of Alibaba and Amazon and their services to ensure a long-lasting and profitable ecommerce presence. 

    Conducting Research and Analysis

    The first step in your Alibaba-Amazon journey is product selection. Choosing a suitable product line for your target audience will make or break your career as an ecommerce entrepreneur and determine the entire course of your business endeavor. 

    For these reasons, before selecting any products, conducting sufficient product research and engaging in thorough competitive analysis is crucial and necessary.

    For simple product research, browse through Amazon’s Best Seller page to get a quick look at what the ecommerce giant’s audience base is most interested in and see if any products fit your brand’s niche. Ensure that the items you choose have high demand with low competition.

    screenshot of the Amazon Best Sellers page with annotations

    You can also head to Alibaba’s Best Seller page and browse through popular products on the platform to know what your competitors are possibly offering and what trends are gaining traction in ecommerce.

    It’s best to analyze how your direct competitors interact with their consumers through their reviews and ratings and how they price and market their products.

    Choosing the Ideal Alibaba Suppliers

    Once you’ve decided on which products to sell, it’s time to select potential suppliers and wholesalers from Alibaba. When choosing a supplier, ensuring they are reliable, legitimate, and meet your requirements is key to avoiding any future road bumps.

    The Chinese platform encourages buyers to partner with two types of manufacturers on their platform: verified and gold suppliers. 

    Verified suppliers have a badge on their profile that lets buyers know they’ve gone through and passed Alibaba’s unbiased verification process. Verified suppliers are more likely to maintain higher standards and deliver top-quality products.

    annotated screenshot of an example of a verified Alibaba supplier

    Gold suppliers are premium members that have similarly gone through Alibaba’s authentication process. Being a gold supplier indicates that you’ve been on the platform for an extended period and are dedicated to your business.

    screenshot of the gold supplier badge for gold Alibaba suppliers

    Sample Ordering & Product Quality Control Checking

    Before buying your products in bulk from your trusted Alibaba suppliers, it’s still crucial that you check if the products are of the highest quality, and you can do so by ordering samples. 

    With this practice, you can request a product sample from multiple suppliers and conduct the necessary quality control checks to ensure that the product meets your standards and specifications before making the final purchase.

    Negotiation & Order Placement

    You can also negotiate with your suppliers regarding the final price and other terms (like Minimum Order Quantity or MOQ) to secure competitive rates and favorable conditions for your bulk orders. 

    In line with negotiating with your manufacturer for the final price, knowing how to pay Alibaba suppliers is best. Once you’re satisfied with the terms you and your supplier have set, you can pay your chosen suppliers through the following methods: 

    • Bank transfer 
    • PayPal
    • Alibaba Secure Payment Service
    • Alibaba Trade Assurance

    Shipping & Selling on Amazon

     Amazon offers various fulfillment methods for their sellers, but the most efficient selling method to use in your Alibaba-Amazon journey is the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program.

    With Amazon FBA, sellers won’t have to worry about storage, shipment, logistics, and customer service because Amazon handles them all on your behalf, allowing you to focus on other more essential business matters.

    With Alibaba in the mix, Amazon FBA sellers can simply outsource their products from the Chinese platform, send them directly to FBA warehouses, and Amazon will take care of the rest.

    When managing your inventory and considering the logistics of shipping from Alibaba to Amazon, it's essential to accurately calculate estimated express shipping costs and other shipment expenses.

    Here are some factors to consider:

    • Product weight and dimensions: International shipping costs may vary depending on the size and weight of your bulk order.
    • Shipping method: You can choose various shipping methods like sea or air freight and express courier shipping services like DHL.
    • Import duties and taxes: International shipments may include import duties or taxes, so learning about these fees will help you calculate shipping costs accurately.
    • Amazon FBA fees: Amazon charges fees for storage and shipment, depending on the size and weight of products and the time of year. 
    sideview shot of a woman looking at her laptop in worry

    Source: Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from

    Are You Allowed To Sell Alibaba Products on Amazon?

    Yes, you are. However, because of buyers' common concerns with the Chinese platform, most people believe otherwise, thinking they’ll experience grave consequences for their brand and overall reputation as an online entrepreneur.

    Learning how to navigate through Alibaba properly is key. To combat these worries and debunk this misconception, we’ll discuss Amazon’s product sourcing policies, the primary issues that surround Alibaba, and how sellers can avoid these risks.

    Common Challenges of Alibaba

    One of the biggest issues that Alibaba faces is the continuous propagation of counterfeiting. Countless counterfeits of branded products have long plagued the platform, leading the United States government to place Alibaba in the official US Counterfeit and Piracy list in 2022. 

    Fortunately, Alibaba has been doing its best to rid the marketplace of these fake products by taking down malicious accounts one after another with the help of the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Alliance.

    Some buyers are also wary of encountering fraudulent sellers and scammers on the marketplace. As mentioned, Alibaba urges customers to check for Verified Supplier or Gold Supplier badges on the seller’s profile before performing any transactions.

    Amazon Policies

    As an Amazon seller, being mindful of Amazon’s product policies is crucial to avoid any platform violations and account suspensions. The following are some policies every Amazon seller must be aware of.

    It’s best to read the marketplace’s list of restricted and prohibited products before buying bulk orders from Alibaba. Going through Amazon’s Product Safety and Compliance policy is also imperative to learn what safety standards and requirements your product must meet. 

    Additionally, Amazon has an anti-counterfeiting policy that aims to battle rampant counterfeit products from entering the marketplace and being used in customer transactions. If your products are proven to be counterfeit, you may lose selling privileges and have your FBA inventory destroyed. 

    In line with the consequences of counterfeiting, you may also be involved in intellectual property infringement cases. For this reason, it’s best to read on and learn Amazon’s policies on intellectual property infringement.

    Besides learning these policies, you can do the following to avoid violating any of Amazon’s rules.

    short graphic showing a checklist of what sellers should do for Alibaba-Amazon selling

    Final Thoughts

    By now, you should have gained valuable insights on how to sell on Amazon using products purchased from Alibaba. Additionally, you should have learned how to avoid any avoidable road bumps during your Alibaba-Amazon journey. Implementing these tips is crucial to develop your online business steadily and smoothly.

    Looking for help when it comes to managing your Amazon business? Let Seller Interactive guide you on Amazon and beyond.

    Talk to our Amazon experts and discover how to maximize your brand’s potential by booking a call at 1-800-820-3746 today!

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