AliExpress is a huge e-commerce company, offering thousands of different types of products for sale exclusively online. The difference between this company and most online shops is that it doesn’t actually sell anything, but acts as a marketplace for buyers and sellers. Those who have a product to sell can use their platform to set the price and meet prospective buyers. At its core, it is supposed to sell large quantities of a certain product to companies at discounted prices.
Those who shop on AliExpress are not necessarily wholesalers, but also regular people who buy individual products. The Chinese online shop doesn’t cater exclusively for local customers but has expanded its client base worldwide. The dedicated app for Android and iOS devices allowed it to further grow its business. It uses an advanced feedback system, so buyers and sellers can make an educated decision by using these ratings.
Key facts about AliExpress
- AliExpress allows users to shop by product category and apply multiple filters
- Buyers are strongly recommended to read the reviews written by other clients before placing an order to avoid scams.
- AliExpress allows players to spread the news and share info with friends over social networks.
- Interaction between sellers and buyers is possible thanks to the instant messaging feature.
- AliExpress offers buyer protection on all the purchases made by its members.
How does AliExpress work?
AliExpress brings together millions of buyers and sellers and creates the needed framework for this marketplace. Those who have stuff to sell make an offer and then wait for customers to express their interest. Healthy competition ensures the fact that the ones who offer the lowest prices have a better chance to sell products. The review score is also an important ingredient in the recipe for success.
Once a prospective customer decides for one product or the other, he or she selects the shipping method. The Chinese wholesale platform offers multiple alternatives, including UPS, DHL, FedEx, TNT and SF. Within Chinese borders, EMS which is local the Postal Service and Air Mail by China Post are preferred. Not all shipping methods are available for all products, so users need to choose one from the list.
Another important step during the acquisition process is to choose the payment method. Most credit cards are accepted, but certain debit cards are not allowed. Maestro, Solo, Carte Bleue, PostePay, CartaSi, 4B and Euro6000 are on the list. Meanwhile, bank transfers and electronic wallets such as PayPal and Skrill can be used to make payments. The e-commerce store is adding new payment methods, so the list grows.
Every now and then, AliExpress will offer discount coupons to selected customers. Those who shop here frequently are more likely to benefit from these coupons, but new members are sometimes targeted. The ones who sell products have the option of offering discounts to make their items more attractive. In order to keep a close eye on all the special offers, clients should check out the “Promotional Products” page.
The AliExpress mobile experience
The AliExpress app was developed immediately after the e-commerce store opened its doors in 2010. As the expansion of mobile devices continues and people rely increasingly more on smartphones and tablets, this application comes in handy. To encourage existing and prospective customers to use this app, they offer occasional promotions. The interface is user-friendly and all the products available on the website can be found within the app.
Overall there are more than 100 million items, including various customizable products. All offers and basic features such as buyer protection are offered to mobile users. Shipping is free for more than 75% of the items they sell online. The AliExpress escrow service is the one that provides protection on every transaction. It is a godsend for new buyers who worry about the quality of the products.
AliExpress is a gateway to Chinese products, but also a huge e-commerce store, significantly larger than eBay, Snapdeal, Flipkart or OLX. In order to keep things fair and transparent, the company releases payment only when the buyers confirm the purchase. This reduces the risks of dishonest sellers sending defective products and walking away with the money. Until confirmation is given, the money will be kept safely in the escrow service.
What are others saying about AliExpress?
AliExpress is used mostly by those who want to shop for large batches of products at lower prices. Many people use the service to acquire products that they sell in their own land-based stores. The fact that this is a Chinese company used to worry prospective customers, but this is no longer the case. Alibaba has earned the trust of most customers and its offshoot benefits from its newfound credibility.
Having said this, there are still plenty of unhappy customers who complain about AliExpress being a scam. Most complaints are targeted at individual purchases that failed to meet their expectations for one reason or the other. In most cases, they bought a product that broke down faster than expected or didn’t look as advertised. Stuff made in China is less expensive for a reason and sometimes the reason is inferior quality. On the bright side, the company as a whole is fair and has no reason to deceive its customers.
My rating of AliExpress
I do most of my shopping online these days, so I can’t turn a blind eye to any major e-commerce store. Since I’m not a wholesaler, my priority is purchasing quality items, so AliExpress wasn’t exactly my first choice. It would be unfair to label products made in China as less reliable, as most of them are pretty good
I would expect shop owners to use their service routinely, to cut down on costs and keep their businesses afloat. As for individual shoppers, there are probably better options especially if you don’t buy huge quantities. Buyer protection is a great addition to AliExpress and I like the fact that they have a Western-friendly user interface. They’ve obviously put a lot of work into developing this service and the outcome should meet most expectations. A review score of 8 out of 10 reflects this accomplishment.