Understanding pricing when buying from Alibaba and Aliexpress will save you so much stress. Not paying attention to what I will share here will give rise to a few but serious issues. These issues can make it impossible for us to process your order or cause delays in the processing.
Alibaba is a global wholesale platform. This means that it is not a place to buy single items. You cannot shop on Alibaba as if you are shopping on Taobao or Aliexpress. Taobao and AliExpress are retail platforms while Alibaba and 1688 are wholesale platforms.
To get a single item on Alibaba would require that the supplier treats the order as a sample. This means that the unit cost would usually be higher than the unit cost if you were to order many.
Secondly, when you see any price or price range on Alibaba, don’t think you can always get the products at the displayed price. Many suppliers on Alibaba use very low and sometimes ridiculously low prices to attract customers. They want you to chat them up and begin negotiations.
It’s important to note that negotiation is part and parcel of the Alibaba system. So, if you find a product on Alibaba and just supply the link to us on your dashboard, there is absolutely no guarantee that we can buy the product.
More so, some suppliers may not respond to inquiries on time and this will lead to delays. Some suppliers will not respond at all.
Beware of ridiculously low prices
Again, you must beware of very low prices. There are mobile phones you see and a supplier displays N7 to N10 as the unit price and even tell you that moq is 1. (You know that Alibaba can display prices of products in your local currency). There is no how in the world a mobile phone would sell at such a low price. Such low prices should make you curious. It should lead you to engage the supplier first. Don’t just see such a low price for a product and then place an order for it. I can guarantee that such an order will never be successful.
Aliexpress is a global retail website. It’s important to also note that they would prefer to ship to locations outside China. You can, of course, ask the supplier to ship to an address in China but note that they will not always agree. The platform is designed for people outside of China.
More so, when the product you are buying is too cheap, they will expect (and this is an unwritten rule) you to buy a sufficient quantity before they can ship. It’s important to note that many people who buy from Aliexpress, do not necessarily buy single items. Many use AliExpress usually because they don’t know about 1688.com or find it difficult to shop on 1688.com.
Why we recommend 1688…
1688 is a Chinese website and everything is written in Chinese. If you visit the website the first time, you would likely be put off. However, just browse with Google Chrome and you will be able to translate from Chinese to English. On a laptop, just right click and select ‘Translate to English’. On mobile, the translation will likely happen automatically.
On 1688, what you see is, almost all the time, what you will get. Yes, there are a few times, when after placing an order, the supplier suddenly reviews the price of the item upwards. This happens once in a while. However, most of the time, you will always get products at the prices displayed.
Here also, you must beware of very low prices. When a price does not make sense or looks too good to be true, it’s most likely too good. Quality, on this platform, is usually a function of price. Of course, you can get great products at very cheap prices but it is not usually the norm.
If you pay attention to these points raised here, your importation experience will be a lot smoother.