How do things work on AliExpress? When you talk about products that were made in China, you’ll probably think of platforms like AliExpress or Alibaba. There are two online stores that sell Chinese products that might be interesting to customers.
In this article, we’ll talk about AliExpress. We’ll explain how it works, what you can find on it, and whether or not it’s a good place to buy in bulk or for dropshipping.
What is AliExpress?
AliExpress is a Chinese website where Chinese companies sell their products online. In fact, it is a website where a lot of small producers sell all kinds of things, from clothes to electronics to accessories to sporting goods and much more.
The Alibaba Group made this platform in 2010, and it brings together a lot of small Chinese producers who can now sell their goods directly to customers all over the world thanks to eCommerce.
In short, this website works a lot like Amazon and eBay, except that most of the sellers are Chinese and the site doesn’t sell anything of its own. Instead, it acts as a place where other people can show off their products.
AliExpress is not the first online Chinese market for buying and selling goods. The website that came before it was called Taobao, and it was only for people in China. AliExpress, on the other hand, only sells outside of China. In fact, Chinese customers can’t use the platform at all. This website is popular in Russia, Brazil, the US, and Spain, especially.
In the last few years, its use has been growing in the European Union as well. In Italy, for example, AliExpress has been very successful in the last year because many customers have been looking for a wide range of products, such as small appliances and clothing. AliExpress has been translated into all the major languages in the world, such as English, Spanish, Russian, Italian, Portuguese, French, and Polish.
How does AliExpress work?
AliExpress works the same way as all the other general platforms for selling things online. On AliExpress, you can find almost any kind of item.
On the website, all of the articles are put into different categories to make it easy for the client to move around.
More specifically, these are the product categories that users look at the most:
Men’s, women’s, and children’s clothes
Beauty and health articles
Parts for motorcycles and cars
Shoes and other items
Cell phones and phone service
There are subcategories within each category to make searching easier, faster, and more intuitive. So, each product has a detailed card with photos, a description of the features, and the price.
If you see something on AliExpress that you like, all you have to do is put it in your cart and pay for it.
AliExpress takes all kinds of electronic payments, including credit cards, prepaid cards, PayPal, Western Union, and others. Alipay, a virtual system that works a lot like PayPal but is all made in China, is the most popular way to pay, though.
The price of the product indicated during the purchase, however, does not equal to the final amount that you will have to pay. Taxes must also be added to the price of the item. For example, in the EU, VAT and all customs fees must be added to the price of any item that costs more than €22.
Finally, a note on the shipping times. Given the origin of the goods, the shipping times are quite long, the average waiting time quite often exceeds 1 month.
Who uses Aliexpress?
When it first came out in 2010, AliExpress was only for business owners because it was a site that focused on B2B, or business to business.
The AliExpress project was not very successful from the start, though, because it was hard to deal with complicated customers like a foreign company that buys in bulk to sell to the end consumer.
So, there was a sudden change in direction, and this market began to focus on customers who were mostly end users.
Today, anyone looking for specific products can use this platform. The quality of the products varies, but they all have the same thing in common: their prices are very low and easy to get.
This marketplace has a lot of different things for sale, so it’s a good place to start if you want to buy a single item or a few of the same thing. However, you can’t buy more than 100 of the same thing at a time on this site.
Is AliExpress reliable?
You might be wondering how reliable Aliexpress is and if it can be used for bulk purchases or dropshipping to take advantage of the low prices on the site.
First, let’s figure out how reliable it is. AliExpress doesn’t sell its own products directly, so it’s impossible to make a general rule. Instead, it acts as a showcase for Chinese producers, even small ones, who want to reach a wider international market.
Because of this, you might find some suppliers you can trust, but most of them are not people you would want to do business with. In fact, it’s not unusual to get products that look nothing like the photos on the site or that take a lot longer to arrive than the time frame given on the product page.
Often, you can also find well-known brands at low prices, especially in the fields of electronics and phones. There’s no doubt that these are fakes. This happens a lot on AliExpress and in China in general.
Be careful: buying fake products is illegal, and the buyer, not the seller, is the one who is most to blame.
Lastly, you should always be on the lookout for scams. In fact, there are many sellers who want to be paid in advance for goods that might not be sent. Before making a purchase, you should always read all of the seller’s feedback and reviews carefully and follow the safety rules listed on the portal.
Aliexpress and dropshipping
As we’ve already said, AliExpress is a general website where you can find any kind of product that is sold in China.
In the past few years, many dropshippers have used this platform to find products and suppliers for their online stores quickly and easily. Even now, most dropshippers still use AliExpress to stock up their stores and ship products to their customers.
Several apps and add-ons have been made to help people save time and money. They make it easy to move products quickly from the Chinese platform to the online store. But these apps and dropshippers don’t take into account that AliExpress is also a retail site. They continue to use it in the wrong way, which causes them to run into many problems.
If you use this platform for dropshipping, there are two important things to think about:
Prices are B2C, not B2B, so there isn’t much room for profit. Potential customers of a dropshipping shop can find the same products for less elsewhere.
Also, AliExpress sellers often don’t send packages using the agreed-upon shipping method. They may give false or wrong tracking numbers, making it impossible to track the package, and they don’t offer any help after the sale.
These kinds of problems and mistakes can make it easy for a business to lose customers who were already loyal. They can also lead to complaints and a loss of credibility.
AliExpress and Wholesale
AliExpress is mostly a place for individuals to buy things, so even buying in bulk is not recommended. One of the main problems, especially when it comes to imports, is certifications.
When a customer buys something on AliExpress for the first time, their biggest worry is that they will be a victim of some kind of payment fraud. In fact, this is not the main problem.
The biggest problem isn’t with payments, because you can always get your money back if you were scammed if you made a purchase. This is because AliExpress’s rules say that you can get back the full amount you spent if you were scammed. The biggest problem is when the goods are seized at customs because they don’t follow EEC laws, especially when it comes to toys, electronics, mobile phone accessories, etc.
So, if you want to buy something on Aliexpress, you should make sure that it has the following certifications:
The CE mark must be on toys, electronics, accessories for cars and motorcycles, and so on. The RoHS mark must be on electronics, wristwatches, and other metal items, among other things.
REACH is a trademark that must be on all beauty products, all kinds of plastics, and all kinds of chemicals.