Buy from aliexpress that is a revolutionary retail website owned by the multi-billion dollar Alibaba Group, created by Jack Ma, a man who was rejected from Harvard 10 times and known to be worth 35.6 billion dollars today, one of the richest men in China and according to Forbes one of the most powerful people in the world.
AliExpress is an unlimited display of Chinese products, everything you can imagine and that you can´t is also in there, it´s like the Chinese version of Amazon, difference is that it´s cheaper, shipping takes longer and all sellers are third party businesses, AliExpress is just the platform they use to reach customers globally.
After several trials you will be able to determine whether you like to shop in AliExpress or not; many people do not like, but most people do, there is a reason for the huge success they have had over the years, besides, the prices are amazingly cheap compared to other western online shops and platforms, and it is a trustworthy structure as long as you keep your expectations realistic.
Why is AliExpress so cheap?
Manufacturing in China is way cheaper than most countries, there are many reasons for that, labor cost is low, the lack of intellectual property regulations contribute, and the government intervention incentivizing the production and trade in most industries have created for decades a production hub for the world.
Also, there is a big chance you are dealing directly with the factory, and cutting the middleman reduces the final cost of the products.
China is also known for being the capital of counterfeit and imitation products, anything and we mean everything can be reproduced very alike or identical, from famous smartphones to clothing and fine jewelry, and all these can be found in AliExpress.
Having so much factories and industry stimulates the competition and competition is always good for the customer, because the suppliers have to increase their quality and innovation and lower their prices.
How long for AliExpress to deliver?
This is where you need to be very patient and consider the cost-benefit of buying directly from China, because most of the items offered in AliExpress can take a delivery time of between 20-60 days, depending on the shipper, the item and courier company. It is a long wait but it might just be worth it.
In a regular time of the year and being optimistic you can expect your items to be arriving in three weeks, but there are specific dates, such as national holidays, like Chinese new year that can make the AliExpress purchase experience hell.
During the celebration of the arrival of a new year (late January-beginning of February) the whole country stays still, officially the holiday is one week, but most people go visit their hometown, factories close down and it takes almost one month for regular activates to go back to normal, so if you ordered something during this period chances are you will be getting in March or even April.
Another rookie mistake is to buy at AliExpress on Single´s Day (11/11), equivalent to the western “Black Friday”; prices will be super attractive but, something you ordered in November thinking you got awesome Christmas presents can be overdue for up to three or four months.
This happens because in the spirit of not letting any sale slip away, they won’t say no, and they won´t let you know they are out of stock.
Usually it takes a week after the purchase to receive a tracking number, but if you don’t get after 10 days it is recommendable to contact the seller; based on the feedback received you might want to open a non-delivery dispute, but you will have to wait for the maximum delivery time to be over to open an official dispute.
Sometimes the shipper will cooperate with you, but in worst case scenario you will be fully refunded by AliExpress.
Extra costs/ Import taxes
Import taxes vary from country to country, but it is common to find additional fees to our products when buying overseas, in the United States Is usually a 20% (VAT) upon almost everything, which the courier company will pay on your behalf, but that is not all, you will be charged for the handling fee and this amount may go from 10 to 15 dollars, so something that you bought for 5 dollars will go up to 16 or more.
Most of the people buying online don´t know about these extra charges, and so it happens a lot that people get their product and a higher invoice causing unsatisfied customers to leave bad reviews to the sellers, so instead, what they do now is that they mark the packages sold as “samples” or “gifts” although not every courier accepts handling packages marked as gifts.
Anyway, just bear in mind that most likely there will be taxes and/or extra charges when buying products online.
Can I find good quality products in AliExpress?
Buying online implies taking risks, unless you are buying from an authorized distributor or the online official store of an acknowledged brand, but sellers in AliExpress do not fit that description, ergo, you will take risks.
In other words, you need to be realistic about the price, read some reviews, check the seller`s and product`s ranking, also watching videos on YouTube might set accurate expectations on what you are buying, remember that not liking the item, is not reason enough to demand a refund.
If you think you found a bargain, because it is so cheap it´s so good to be true, it most likely is, and if you did some previous research about the product you might just get a good quality item if we talk cost-benefit wise. Even if you are not satisfied with your purchase remember what we mentioned in the beginning of this post, AliExpress represents risks, why?
Assuming you don’t like what you got, not liking it is not enough for a refund, and even if you the seller is a good will soul who is showing cooperative spirit, it might be more expensive to ship it back to China than keeping it, not to mention it will take a very long time.
But if you are thinking of returning it, do not speak ill of the seller on the platform, as you are trying to get him to cooperate with you.
Stay away from scams!
Both AliExpress and Alipay are strong and reliable systems regarding security matters, in fact Alipay is a digital payment system used by more than a billion people and with a pretty good security record. They are not bulletproof but no digital payment system is, in fact, both platforms are as safe as Amazon or Ebay for that matter; (Ebay has a huge leak of personal information).
This by any means represent a 100% safe assurance, in fact, there is a special section for frauds and ways to avoid fraud in the AliExpress Security Center.
The easiest way to fall into a scam is buying branded products, obviously you will be getting a fake, but besides getting a broken heart by thinking you got your new Prada shoes for 40 bucks, you might end up with nothing, if the price is way too low, it is recommendable to surf in other websites to try to catch an additional reference on what is the price trending for that particular item.
Is it safe to shop in AliExpress?
Billions are reported every year in sales through the platform, and evidence suggest that it is safe, but you have to be realistic and look after yourself; remember there is a huge community of online shoppers from whom you can request reviews and comments on their experience dealing with a specific seller or item.
Most of the time AliExpress turns out to be a good option but the time will come in which you find yourself to be unsatisfied, remember, these things can happen, and if you are buying cheap, there is a big chance you won´t be getting Italian leather.