If you’re looking to make money online or buy certain products in bigger quantities Aliexpress is a good option.
Aliexpress is an online retailer based in China that strictly focuses on selling products to international buyers. And it’s the 32nd most visited website on the planet. The Alibaba Group as a whole made $319 Million in 2019 alone! But is it safe to shop there?
In this guide, we’re giving you the complete overview on Aliexpress and answer some of the most common concerns when it comes to buying on Aliexpress. You won’t find a more comprehensive guide about how to safely navigate through Aliexpress.
What is Aliexpress?
Aliexpress is a popular retail website with headquarters located in China and is owned by The Alibaba Group. It’s also an eCommerce platform that primarily focuses on helping small businesses in China sell products directly to international customers. Mainland Chinese citizens cannot purchase products from Aliexpress.
You can compare Aliexpress to American companies like Amazon or eBay because they sell products directly to individual customers. The only major difference between Aliexpress and Amazon is that Aliexpress is purely a platform for 3rd party sellers. Amazon is a mix of both because Amazon creates its own products and allows other sellers on their platform.
When we talk about Aliexpress a major concern people have is about the safety of the website. So let’s get into that.
How Safe is Aliexpress?
Aliexpress is safe because they have a program called Buyer Protection. They guarantee that if your product doesn’t arrive on-time as described you can get a full refund.
Buyer protection has been simplified over the years. There is nothing you, as the buyer, need to do to have buyer protection. Whenever you buy something on the platform you’re protected.
So what actually happens if your product never arrives, arrives extremely late, or is not in the condition it was promised to be in?
Buyer protection works in 3 steps:
- You contact customer support and the seller to tell them your problem.
- Then you open a dispute with Aliexpress against the seller.
- If the seller doesn’t respond to the dispute Aliexpress guarantees a refund.
After the dispute is settled your order will be closed and in less than 15 days you will get your money back in your account.
So no matter what happens on the platform you’re protected from bad products and from losing your money. Their goal is to be as reliable as possible and make sure that no customer has a bad experience.
Now that we know the platform can be trusted, people wonder why the products there are so cheap. Does that mean the quality is just a bunch of junk?
Personally I don’t think so but that also depends on what you’re shopping for.
Why is Aliexpress So Cheap?
Most people assume products from China are cheap. I understand because I used to think that way too when I started my first importing business. But what people don’t realize is that most products that we love also come from China. So what’s the difference?
Well, the difference can be the amount of time a factory has been open or the experience a particular factory has with the products they’re making. So Aliexpress is a platform that connects Chinese small businesses to international customers.
Selling on the platform is an opportunity for these businesses to gain exposure. Online businesses are started everyday selling Aliexpress products on platforms like Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and Wish. Aliexpress works as the middleman between manufacturers and online businesses.
And with that being said there are a few reasons why products on the Aliexpress platform are priced low.
Here are the 3 reasons why Aliexpress products are so cheap:
- Both Aliexpress and the seller is trying to gain your business: – When you buy on Aliexpress for the first time you will get access to first time buyer coupon codes because Aliexpress wants you to make a purchase. Also you’ll notice the products marked down by the seller. Think of it as a promotional tool used by the seller to get your attention and get you to take action.
- You’re buying directly from manufacturers: – With manufacturing in China being as big as it is and the international market growing factories have found ways to make more money. They sell their products directly to other businesses through Alibaba and create their own brands and sell directly to customers on Aliexpress.
- You’re looking at counterfeit products: – It happens and it sucks but there are counterfeit products on Aliexpress. But that doesn’t mean you will be scammed. You just need to look for the signs of a safe business to buy from and make sure they are enrolled in buyer protection.
Products aren’t cheap on Aliexpress because they are bad. They’re cheap because you’re buying directly from the manufacturing source and completely cut out the typical retail middleman. Chances are you’re not going to recognize the brands but that’s okay, it doesn’t mean you’re being scammed.
Now we’re getting into the exciting aspect of Aliexpress and that’s how to actually buy products on the platform. We put together a step by step with pictures to show you exactly how to do it. Let’s jump right in.
Something that bothers me is when our readers lose money or have bad experiences using Alibaba or Aliexpress. I want to try and put an end to that. That’s why we partnered with JungleScout to put together a supplier/manufacturer database to help you find the right factory for your products. If you want to check it out, it’s right here.
How to Safely Order From Aliexpress (with pictures)
First, you want to join Aliexpress and create an account. This only takes a few steps and it’s quick to do.
Opening an Aliexpress Account:
- Go to Aliexpress.com
- Click Join on the top right
- Fill in the email and password you want for your new account
- Click create account
- Start shopping
When you first create an account with Aliexpress they greet you with a $3 USD off coupon! You can clip the coupon by clicking “get your coupon” and continue shopping.
Or you can exit the screen and the coupon will be applied during checkout.
How to Access Aliexpress Coupons
- Click on “My Orders”
- Then “My Coupons”
- Click on “See All Deals”
Whenever you’re shopping on Aliexpress there are deals for purchase amounts or holiday specials. By always checking back in the coupon section you can be sure to always save money.
Now, once you’ve created the Aliexpress account use the search bar at the top to look for products to buy.
To show you an example we looked for “Mens Watches”
There are three main things to look for in a product listing when trying to figure out if a seller is legit.
- Check if they’re a “Top Brand” on the platform.
- Look at the percentage of positive feedback they have.
- Check the number of orders they’ve fulfilled.
These stats can’t be made up. They need to be verified by Aliexpress so if a company was out there scamming people and not fulfilling orders then the reviews would tell you.
Newer companies have fewer orders fulfilled but you at least want to see a company fulfilled more than 1,000 orders just to be on the safe side.
AliExpress Delivery Time
Shipping methods are improving with Aliexpress and depending on where you live you can benefit from free shipping.
When you are looking at a product on Alibaba you can select where to ship the product from.
You can ship products on Aliexpress from 3 countries: China, Russia or the US.
So if you live in the United States then you can get your products delivered from a local distributor. This dramatically reduces your shipping time.
Delivery Time When You Live in the United States
An item shipping from inside the United States from Aliexpress is delivered via USPS and will take 4 – 10 business days to get to you.
Now let’s look at a product shipping from China.
If you’re located anywhere outside the United States then your products will be shipped from China via ePacket Shipping.
Delivery Time When You Live Outside the United States
For example, if you live in the UK and your product is shipping from China the delivery time will be around 20 – 60 days.
Something to keep in mind…
Buyer Protection is always extended to the last day of estimated delivery. So if the estimated delivery time is 20 -27 days then your Buyer Protection guarantee will go until day 27.
Once you select your product and choose your shipping method it’s time to place an order.
Click on “Buy Now” and you’ve brought into the order page.
After you place your shipping information you’re asked to pick a payment method.
Aliexpress Payment Methods
There are only two payment methods you should use on Aliexpress:
- Credit Cards
It’s the only way to protect your money from scammers. Every business will say that they accept Western Union or ACH payments but there’s no guarantee that once they have the cash the order will be filled. But with Paypal and Credit Cards you not only have the protection of the payment processor but you also have a statement to show Aliexpress if you were to file a dispute.
Next, you’re brought to review your order. Look at it and make sure you’re aware of the estimated delivery time.
Remember that coupon we got for signing up?
Well, it was applied directly to the sales page! So we got $3.00 USD off the price of the order and we have free shipping!
And there you go. These are the exact steps you need to follow to order products on Aliexpress.
Always Check Your Order
When you receive your order make sure to check for quality issues. This is one of the ways you can protect yourself. Remember, you’re only protected by buyer protection for the duration of your delivery time.
Let’s say estimated delivery was 4 – 10 days and you received your product on day 6. That means you have 4 days remaining to open a dispute with Aliexpress if your product is broken.
If you wait until day 11 to open a dispute there’s nothing you can do anymore.
Wrapping This Up
So if you want to wrap this up in one single phrase it’s that Yes, Aliexpress is safe to use and shop with. What makes most people hesitant to use it is that there is no major brand on there we can recognize.
And that’s kind of the point because it’s Chinese small businesses looking to sell to international audiences. If you’re looking for American brands then you need to shop in America. These are small businesses looking to grow and get their name out there. Aliexpress does everything in its power to keep the platform legit from scammers.
They allow people to post pictures and leave detailed reviews about the products. Go with your gut and if something doesn’t look right don’t buy. But you could be ignoring a great resource by dismissing one of the largest eCommerce platforms on the planet.
Comment below if you’ve ever used Aliexpress and if after reading this you’ll consider giving it a shot!
Reminder: We partnered with JungleScout to put together a supplier/manufacturer database to help you find the right factory for your products. If you want to check it out, it’s right here.