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How Much Does It Cost To Develop An App Like Alibaba?

5504 Views | 1 min | Published On: May 3, 2021 Last Updated: September 7, 2023

eCommerce apps have soared in popularity thanks to a single concept they pioneered: bringing the goods to the consumer rather than the other way around. An app like Alibaba, Amazon, and eBay was among the first ones to introduce the concept of e-commerce platforms, and their popularity prompted a slew of new businesses to follow suit.

Given that you can purchase or sell any kind of product or service through your e-commerce platform, and that you can rely on factors such as digital media to popularise your e-commerce site, investing your hard-earned money to launch an e-commerce site is a perfect way to generate maximum revenue.

When you have the best mobile app developers on your team, you can create an app like Alibaba that rivals. If you’re thinking about starting an online store and need some advice on how to grow your business through an eCommerce platform, this article will help.

What Is Alibaba?

eCommerce platforms of Alibaba offer their services to customers around the world. The majority of transactions in the app are generated domestically. Alibaba along with AliExpresses hooks up various businesses in China that has buyers all over the world. 

Alibaba was founded by Jack Ma in 1999 as an online marketplace. Its primary goal was to connect buyers all over the world to Chinese suppliers. It has the world’s fastest-growing eCommerce marketplace for online shopping.

According to Investopedia, the revenue of Alibaba rose by 33.8% and 18.1% in adjusted earnings per ADS in Q1 of FY 2021. The process of development of an app like Alibaba would not be an easy task but it can be achieved with the help of the right mobile app development company.

Core Features To Include In Your App Like Alibaba

Alibaba is a huge platform with various features. It contains a very advanced and complex technology stack like artificial intelligence, big data, analytical system, etc. Your app should include MVP that will help your app in saving resources and entering the market faster.

The architecture of your app like Alibaba should be built on a strong framework. Find out what are the best frameworks for frontend and backend for your app. Let’s take a look at the essential features that you need to include in your online eCommerce marketplace app like Alibaba.

Features For Sellers

Below are described some features that are needed to provide a user-friendly experience to the sellers:

  • Vendor Registration & Profiles: Alibaba does not charge any registration fee for sellers. They have to verify their contact information, business information and other details provided. 
  • Product Listings: When the sellers add a new product to the app, they have to include various product information. Product descriptions include the product name, keywords, definition, payment terms, and keywords that will aid shoppers in their product quest. 
  • Company Registration & Verification: The app should ask the seller to share information about the company and type of business. They might have to upload their documents for verification. Along with this, they will have to fill in their payment details and shipping address.
  • Product Management: Sellers can manage the status of their products and display them accordingly (out of stock, restocked, etc.). 
  • Order Management: Sellers can keep a track of the number of orders, shipping status, and other details. Sellers can also cancel any order, change status or perform any other necessary action.
  • Messaging: The app provides the functionality of communication where users can contact the sellers to discuss any product details. The seller can also upload and download any files.
  • Subscription Model: There should be various subscription packages available in your app like Alibaba namely basic, standard and premium. The higher the cost of packages, the better will be the services and perks a seller gets.
  • Reports: Sellers shall be reported about their sales. If a seller is a part of any subscription plan, he would get a more detailed report.

Features For Buyers

Buyers, similar to the sellers, would enjoy certain functionalities provided by your app like Alibaba. Some of them are:

  • Customer Registration & Profile: Customers should be able to log in via their email address or contact numbers and also, using their social media accounts. This will make the registration process quick and simple.
  •  User Authentication & Account Page: Users should be able to manage their accounts including personal information, passwords, etc. They are given the authority to make their profile visible only to those buyers who they are communicating for business purposes.
  • Product Purchasing: This functionality enables the user to search for a respective item and then order it without any difficulty.
  • Messaging: Buyers can communicate with any seller in the app like Alibaba to discuss product information or to clarify any doubts.
  • Wishlist: Users can add items to the wishlist, monitor the total price, manage the quantity and checkout from the wishlists.
  • Payment: The app should be integrated with a standard payment gateway that enables the user to pay using any method. Users can pay via online payment, net banking, plastic cards, cash on delivery, etc.
  • Shipping: As soon as the shipment is confirmed by the suppliers, the buyer should get a notification/message containing the tracking number. Using the number, buyers can track the location of their order.
  • Ratings & Reviews: Buyers can rate the services provided by your app like Alibaba and leave feedback for the administrator to notice and help resolve any issue.
  • Notifications: Apart from getting updates about shipment and tracking, your app like Alibaba should be able to send notifications to the users notifying them about offers or discounts. The notifications can also inform about trades, newsletters, etc.
  • Disputes: The app should allow users to dispute if they are not satisfied with the product. Users can also ask the seller for a refund, for similar reasons. 
  • Customer Support: The functionality of customer support should be available at all time on your app like Alibaba. The page should contain FAQs for the convenience of buyers as well as sellers.

What Will Make Your App Like Alibaba Special?

For your app to stand out in the marketplace, you need to implement smart strategies. It is no doubt that apps having the same idea already exist in the marketplace. To make your app special and  attract maximum users, here are some strategies you can follow:

Unique Monetization Strategy

Alibaba overcame eBay China by outnumbering them in the number of sellers registered. Alibaba offered free registration for both, sellers and buyers. This strategy attracted a lot of users to the eCommerce platform. 

The monetization strategy of your app like Alibaba should focus on advertising, technical support and marketing. Alibaba offers these services in the form of membership plans. These plans offer better exposure of products and services to the sellers. 

Your app should offer two basic types of memberships for the suppliers:

  • Free Supplier Membership: Similar to Alibaba, this membership should allow the sellers registered on your application to list 50 items for free. However, some restrictions prevent anyone from starting as a free supplier on Alibaba. For example, all suppliers including unverified ones, located in China, must purchase premium Gold Membership.
  • Gold Supplier Membership: To subscribe to this membership, the seller must pay showcasing that he can pay and can be relied on. Gold Suppliers are also charged a processing fee.

Safety Of Transactions

After the launch of Alibaba, users faced a major concern of uncertainty and security. People wanted to know if the sellers/buyers were legit and if the payment system was safe. The app implemented various security mechanism for the same. You can also consider these measure while developing your app like Alibaba:

  • Escrow Payments
    An escrow payment is a guaranteed transaction method that ensures secure payment and delivery services for sellers and buyers. Now, the question is how can you implement an escrow payment method in your app like Alibaba?

    The buyer orders a product and makes payment to a third-party account. After he confirms that he has received the order, the money is sent to the seller. This method will prove to be secure for both the parties (seller and buyer) as it allows them to make money transactions without revealing bank details.
  • Buyer Feedback:
    Your app like Alibaba should allow its users to share their feedback as it builds trust towards the sellers and their product. Buyers are more likely to support sellers who have higher scores and reviews.
  • Seller Verification:
    All the sellers registered in your app should be verified to make sure they are a legally existing company. Buyers who are dissatisfied with the product, company service or a standard verification protocol may request an inspection.
  • Inspection Service:
    Your app can allow its users to order the services from a third party professional inspector. This person will go to the company the customer wishes, to inspect and include a report (with photos) as evidence that all of the manufacturer’s goods are of high quality.

Direct Search From The Platform

Alibaba makes sure that the products listed on its eCommerce platform are not displayed in Google’s response sheet. To search for items, a user has to go directly to Alibaba’s application and search there. As a result, a customer is unable to see products on competing platforms.

You can implement this strategy in your app like Alibaba. This will increase the search volume within your platform. This monetization approach will allow your app to generate high revenues like Google does by displaying ads on other eCommerce platforms.

Unique Payment System

Alibaba has a unique Alipay payment method. Similarly, you should plan of introducing a unique payment system for your app like Alibaba. This escrow payment method will help in building a long-term relationship with both the parties present in your app. 

According to Statista, Alipay acquired a worldwide user demographic of approximately 900 million. Implementing a unique payment method will offer, reliability to your platform and will also prove to be attractive to gain user attention.

New Transaction Patterns

Although the rest of the world using B2B, B2C, and C2C marketplace platforms, Alibaba pioneered a brand-new transaction pattern: the consumer-to-business (C2B) transaction model, which best meets customer demands and accelerates sales.

Your app like Alibaba should enable individual shoppers to form shopping groups to purchase limited volumes of goods at a wholesale price. This C2B transaction model lowers supply chain costs while also reducing inventory turnaround time.

Like Alibaba, you can also implement an O2O (online-to-offline) strategy for integrating the sales of online and offline platform. 

Revenue Model Of An App Like Alibaba

There are numerous options for making money from your app like Alibaba. The most common ways of generating maximum revenues are:

  • Subscriptions: Getting a subscription will prove to be extremely beneficial. Sellers will be able to provide better storefronts. Merchants that join the gold subscription, get improved storefronts and access to a variety of sophisticated management and analytics resources.
  • Value-Added Services: Your app like Alibaba would offer various types of value-added services integrated with advanced technologies. These technologies include data analytics, logistics, refunds, product showcasing, cargo shipping, etc.
  • Storefront Fees: Your app should consist of tools that would help the sellers advance their storefronts and management. Just like Alibaba, you can also get software developed and sell that to the merchants.
  • Online Marketing Services: Currently, Alibaba has approximately 10 million active merchants. To help to display the services provided by the merchants, your app should provide display marketing services.
    Sellers can bid on the position they want to display concerning the search keywords.

How Much Does It Cost?

Before the start of the improvement, we usually have a series of meetings to determine the scope of the project and devise a rough estimate. To calculate the costs, we evaluate the desired highlights and estimate the number of working hours required to complete them.

The cost of development of an eCommerce marketplace app like Alibaba depends on the features and functionalities included, platforms integrated, technology stack used and other things. The number of necessary worker hours is determined by the application’s multifaceted design as well as the numerous supported working systems and devices. The approximate cost of the development of an app like Alibaba is USD 41,000.

Final Thoughts

Alibaba has made a remarkable reputation in the eCommerce marketplace. It took approximately 20 years for Alibaba to create an organization of 600+ million active customers per annum. This is an opportunity to get an app like Alibaba developed for your business. With the right mobile application development company, it would not be difficult at all.

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App Monetization Strategies: How to Make Money From an App?

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