The Basic Guide To Buying On Alibaba
There are so many ways to buy online products. If you're a business start-up and you want to acquire opportunities overseas regarding affordable costs, a wide array of product options, good policies on product importation and customs, and convenient delivery methods, then Alibaba is the place to go.
Because right now, regarding numbers, Alibaba is bigger than Amazon and eBay put together.
In this article, I will try to explain to you the basics of how to buy from Alibaba and other tips and important concerns you should pay attention to when buying products from the platform. Let's get started.
The Guide To How To Find The Right Deals on Alibaba
Alibaba has millions of assorted products from different suppliers all over the world. There's so many of them that its hard not to find what you're looking for in the directory of the site. When you want to buy something from Alibaba's website, you can simply jump right into their directory and do a simple search.
If you've visited the sites of eBay and Amazon, then you already have an idea how to use Alibaba. In the search box of the product categories in the website, search for the particular product that you want.
The two approaches you can do in doing a product search on Alibaba are: Search Based on Product Descriptions and Search Based on Suppliers. For the first one, you just type in the product you're looking for in the search box.
For example, you can type cat leashes on the search box and after hitting enter, you will see thousands of results of cat leash products that you can order and get delivered to wherever you are.
For the second one, you can select from the drop-down menu and search products via suppliers. After clicking on search, you will see a lot of manufacturers that sell the type of product you entered.
When you're trying to learn how to use Alibaba and look for a product via the suppliers, you may want to pay attention to the product listing page.
Assess all the information listed, the pricing, the reviews and other pertinent information to help you arrive at an informed decision.
Price Per Unit
One of the many things that you're likely going to look at when ordering from Alibaba is the price.
Before buying on Alibaba, you also should check whether the product you're picking is priced per unit or bulk.
You should also make sure if there's free delivery for the package, or you have to cover the transportation costs of the goods.
MOQ means Minimum Order Quantity, and this is the number of orders that the supplier is willing to accept.
The number you see in their MOQ is often negotiable, so don't be discouraged if you're not ordering a lot.
Knowing the right amount you order will help you later in negotiating for the complete price because you already got a good starting point.
In Alibaba, you have many options to pay for your orders. Some of the more common payment methods accepted by the e-commerce site are Upfront TT or what is called a Bank Transfer, Letter of Credit, Western Union, and Paypal.
The riskiest payment method here is a bank transfer because you need to pay the full amount before the supplier can start production.
This payment method will also bear a high level of risk on the part of the buyer if the transaction doesn't pull through. This type of payment is not recommended when dealing with unknown suppliers.
You have almost zero recourse in getting your money back if something goes out of place in the entire delivery process.
Letter credit is a bit more complicated, but it's fairly safe to do. Both parties get an equal amount of risk in the transaction but will carry a bit more complexity.
This type of payment will be recommended only for purchases that may go beyond $20,000.
On the other hand, Western Union is very risky, too. If the payment is not protected by escrow, there's a big chance to lose the money you're paying the supplier. That's why we recommend that you only use this kind of payment method for people you already know that well.
Paypal is one of the most common payment methods for buyers because it presents the lowest number of risk, and it's fairly easy to use. There's a high standard of buyer protection for this kind of payment. Although this is a good option for you as a buyer, this isn't really an ideal payment option for the suppliers because of potential chargebacks, high tax rates and difficulties converting Paypal into the chosen currency.
It's also useful for you to know that even if Alibaba is a great place to shop. There's a lot of controversy and series of complaints plaguing the eCommerce site. You have to be at least aware that these concerns exist. To avoid experiencing such unpleasant purchasing experiences, you might want to do the following:
- Research on the suppliers. Don't stick to the reviewers found below the profile of the supplier. Try to contact real people about the credibility of their location and the sources of the products they sell.
- Another issue with Alibaba is the middlemen. There's a lot of manufacturers who are trying to scam you by providing you inferior service. Among the thousands of suppliers in Alibaba, most of them are just middlemen who are not the actual suppliers. They mark up the price, increasing the miscommunication between you and the actual manufacturer of the product. They provide little value and only make the relationship much most costly between you and the supplier.
- Another problematic issue in Alibaba is scammers. They're people who show in their profile that they're supplying you some products but turn out to be scammers who won't deliver your orders. They will just get your money and cost your business a lot of delays and budget problems. There's a lot of mechanism in Alibaba now that can help wade off scammers, but there are still a lot of them that can leak out.
- People who order at Alibaba also complain of quality problems in their orders. Many products advertise as high quality or premium are not exactly what they're supposed to be. All of these concerns even become more problematic when you order in bulk. That said, it's important to be extra cautious in verifying the quality and credibility of the products being sold.
Summary and Conclusion
There's a lot of potential in saving a lot of money when you order stuff at Alibaba. In this article, you learned how to do that safely and securely. You also learned how to make most out of Alibaba by making sure that you don't get scammed, you get the right payment options, and you avoid the riskiest forms of payment that won't suit you.
It's also in this article that you learned the ways to search for the right products at Alibaba. With this article, you will now be able to find out the right quality products from reliable suppliers. This article hopefully can give you an informed decision on how to purchase from Alibaba today.
Import from China actually is not a simple task. If you are working with a sourcing agent like me, then you’re already way ahead of the game. But what if you’re one of the 99% of small business owners or Amazon sellers who are not familiar with importing from China. I want to share my sourcing expertise with you to help you grow business.