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How to make a website like AliExpress

by Сodica 2 months ago in how to
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AliExpress is a huge e-commerce portal connecting China and the entire world. The story of this marketplace inspires companies to aim for similar success.

The article was initially published in Codica blog.

AliExpress is a huge e-commerce portal connecting China and the entire world. The story of this marketplace inspires companies to aim for similar success.

In this article, we will consider how AliExpress succeeded and how to develop a similar platform.

Summary of AliExpress

A short history of the marketplace

Aliexpress is a B2C marketplace platform launched in 2010 and owned by Alibaba Group. Alibaba is based in China and is centered on the biggest wholesale market players. Meanwhile, Aliexpress was developed to support small Chinese enterprises.

Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, loaned $60,000 from his acquaintances to launch Alibaba. But in 2014, the firm reached a record-breaking IPO of $25 billion.

AliExpress serves as an intermediary between sellers and purchasers. Now, the website is accessible in 18 languages and covers 220 countries.

What are the pros and cons of AliExpress?

Pros of the website

The pros of the AliExpress marketplace are as follows:

  • Good user experience, both for purchasers and merchants;
  • An affiliate program to increase sales on the platform;
  • Availability in many languages;
  • Reviews with images;
  • Linking buyers and sellers from many countries;
  • Moderate commissions and fees;
  • Many variants for online payments.

Cons of the website

However, the company has its cons:

  • There is no opportunity to combine items in one order when purchasing from various vendors;
  • You can test the quality of a product only when it is delivered;
  • Occasionally it isn’t simple to return goods.

How does AliExpress earn money?

AliExpress takes the following fees:

  • It charges a commission from 5% to 8% for each merchant’s transaction.
  • Also, it raises $1500 for registration or changing a store on the platform.
  • Furthermore, the enterprise makes around $7 million a year from listings.

Factors of the Chinese B2C marketplace success

Local sellers’ and purchasers’ needs

Alibaba Group understood the needs of the Chinese market and included appropriate services.

Local payment service

The PayPal tool was not easy-to-use in the Chinese market. So, Alibaba Group offers a safe and straightforward Alipay.

AliExpress mobile apps

The enterprise developed smartphone apps for Android and iOS that offer choosing products and making orders just like the AliExpress platform.


An essential aspect of a thriving online marketplace is smooth and fast logistics. It takes 10-12 days for AliExpress to deliver goods to France, Brazil, and Spain, and five days to South Korea.

Workflow automation

AliExpress utilizes 800 robots in the warehouse. It accelerates human work efficiency twice.

The advantages of developing a store similar to AliExpress

The quarterly earnings of Alibaba group increased at the end of 2021 by 33%. Let’s see what assists this enterprise thrive and the benefits a similar platform could bring you.

  • No expenses for keeping stock. A business like AliExpress acts as an intermediary between purchasers and vendors.
  • Market growth. The online commerce market rises by 20% annually and is projected to be worth 1.4 trillion by 2025.
  • Possibility for rapid expansion. If you make good conditions for merchants and purchasers on your platform, it helps to attract more users.
  • Broad audience coverage. A platform similar to AliExpress provides you with extensive coverage of the target audience.
  • Easy-to-analyze data. You receive permanent access to the information about the behavior of customers. So, you can analyze it and enhance the user experience.

Key features for a website like AliExpress

Account creation and login

This feature enables new users to register on your AliExpress-like website. The process of registration must be fast and straightforward.

The required details may range according to the country of residence of a vendor.

Product ads

Goods' prices at AliExpress must comprise VAT. A merchant adds a description, categories, and images when posting a product advertisement.


Typically, online marketplaces provide search by-products. The AliExpress website also offers using keywords and illustrations for search.

A similar well-thought flow is implied in the search for the multi-vendor marketplace created by Codica.

Checkout and payments

The convenient and fast checkout engages users. Your online marketplace might provide your users checkout without registration.

AliExpress supports many payment methods. These are MasterCard, Visa, Alipay Balance, Western Union, and other online payment systems.

Order management

This option includes tracking the status of the order and sending requests for a refund. In the case when AliExpress has not processed a booking, a buyer can revoke the delivery.

And when AliExpress has processed the booking, a shopper may send a cancellation request to the merchant.


Websites like AliExpress use messaging systems to simplify communication between vendors and shoppers. Messaging assists both sides in clarifying the details of each transaction.

Reviews and ratings

There are a few ways to check if a vendor is reliable on AliExpress:

- Membership of a vendor. The more time the membership lasts, the more trustworthy the merchant is.

- Credits. AliExpress suggests buyers’ ratings and reviews in actual time. Each positive feedback adds a credit to the merchant.

- Sales. The more sales, the more credible the vendor is.

Support and disputes

When developing a platform like AliExpress, providing tech support and other help for your users is essential. For example, you can create an email form or chat system through which customers can contact the support team.


Demonstrate to your adopters the processes of writing off fees clearly in your B2C marketplace.

How to develop a website like AliExpress?

There are particular aspects that are essential when creating an online marketplace:

Your platform should bring new and unique value;

  • Check your marketplace idea, be it viable or not;
  • Learn more about your potential users;
  • Take into account legal aspects;
  • Pick a monetization strategy;
  • Attract both shoppers and vendors.

Tech implementation of a multi-vendor platform

Start your e-commerce platform with an MVP (a minimum viable product). It is a functioning version of your product that you can bring to the market. Early users will give you feedback, so you can correct your product in accordance.

Also, you should select the right web development approach. Let’s take a closer look at two main methods.



  • Creating a website is cheaper and faster;
  • You don’t need special programming skills for web development.


  • Some aspects require programming skills (server, plugins);
  • Possible data leaks;
  • Difficulties when scaling the project in the future;
  • The provider can change their rules, which affects your platform.

Custom development


  • Flexibility for developing;
  • An option of creating unique solutions;
  • Code ownership;
  • The most robust tech stack usage;
  • Ability to integrate features and install upgrades;
  • High security.


  • More expensive development process at the start that pays itself in the long run;
  • Requires a credible development partner.

Tech stack to create a custom marketplace

AliExpress’s tech stack includes the following tools:

  • Programming language: Java
  • Server library: Spring
  • HTTP server technologies: Nginx, Squid, HAProxy
  • Databases: Redis, LevelDB, Hadoop, MySQL, Oracle Database, Apache Hbase
  • Operating systems: Linux, Red Hat Linux
  • Server software: Apache Zookeeper

The cost of an AliExpress-like platform

The ultimate cost of development depends on the following aspects:

  • The complexity of your web solution;
  • The development approach;
  • The location of your development partner and their rates.

The approximate cost of website development like AliExpress is $78,300. Of course, your tech partner will give you a precise cost.


Do you want to develop a website like AliExpress? Figure out what people need. Due to unique services or features, your web solution will grow.

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