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30 October 2020

Alibaba Clone Website - How to Create a Website Like Alibaba?

Alibaba is the largest and most successful B2B wholesale marketplace in the world,  accounting for 8,4% of global retail e-commerce (Amazon - 13.7%) and generating tens of millions of dollars for its owners every day. In our article we will look at how this marketplace works and how to create your own clone of Alibaba - a multi-vendor platform with identical functionality and design.

Alibaba Marketplace Business Model



Alibaba Group business structure. Source

Alibaba's online store (site) is part of a huge multinational conglomerate called Alibaba Group Holding Limited, which includes Taobao, Tmall, Alipay, AliExpress, Alibaba Cloud and many other entities. Together, they bring the conglomerate 20 billion in net income. According to the Form 6-K, report, the Alibaba Group is monetizing its services through four pillars: main commerce, cloud computing, digital media, and innovation.

The Alibaba marketplace is part of the mainstream commerce segment and operates as a multi-vendor platform for entrepreneurs (wholesale B2B market). Any entrepreneur can use it to sell their products. Registration and creation of ads are free (if there are less than 50 of them per month). The platform earns money mainly through Gold Supplier subscription and advertising services.

Key features of the Alibaba marketplace:

Online store monetization model



Alibaba Gold Supplier subscription cost and description

There are many earning methods that can be used to monetize marketplaces. When creating your clone of the Alibaba site, you can choose any of them. Here are the approaches Alibaba is taking:

Other multi-vendor platforms, besides the things listed above, also use other approaches:

Functions of a multi-vendor marketplace



Main functions of a multi-vendor marketplace. Source

Alibaba is a giant trading platform that, in addition to standard functions, uses an advanced analytical system, neural networks, big data and hundreds of other complex technologies. Building such a project from scratch is very expensive, difficult and time consuming. It is better to create a clone of the Alibaba site with a basic set of functions, which will save resources and allow you to get to market faster. After launch, the list of functions can be expanded as needed

Functionality of multi-vendor website for the buyer’s role:

Functionality of multi-vendor website for the seller role:

Functionality of multi-vendor website for the administrator role:

The cost of creating an Alibaba clone


There are several ways to create a clone of the Alibaba website. The easiest is to use WordPress templates and plugins, which is quite cheap and doesn't require any coding or web design skills. You just buy hosting and activate your favorite theme like Alibaba. Hosting costs from $ 20 to $ 500 per month, depending on the allocated memory and connection speed. The template usually costs $ 50-1000, free options are available.

Another option is to use services like Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento. These are cloud solutions that also offer to launch a website using a template, but at the same time take on the entire technical side. Amount involved: Shopify and BigCommerce - from $ 30 to $ 300 per month, Magento - basic functionality is free, there is a subscription cost from $ 15 to $ 50 thousand per year for corporate solutions.

You can also create a website from scratch, which will allow you to develop a more unique design and implement features that competitors do not have (and WordPress and Shopify templates). It is more difficult, longer and more expensive, but in the long term it is more profitable, since it can create a design focused on a specific niche and target audience (which increases sales and user loyalty), and also, you do not need to pay a monthly subscription.

The cost of creating an Alibaba clone



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