Alibaba brand is associated with AliExpress and Taobao online stores. These services are part of the largest online corporation, but they all work differently. Alibaba.com is a trading platform mainly for wholesale sales, which brings together entrepreneurs and suppliers from different countries. We have gathered a list of tips on how to shop at Alibaba.
Alibaba is the world’s largest online trading platform. It is part of Alibaba Group, a Chinese corporation founded by one of the richest people in the world, Jack Ma. The online platform is the place for only wholesale purchases. But it is used by millions of buyers and suppliers around the world. Thanks to its marketplace, many customers, most of whom are entrepreneurs, purchase products in bulk for their companies.
Alibaba’s website is a gateway to dealings between exporters and buyers, customers and importers. The first category of users sells products. The exporting company provides a description of its activities. Also, it talks about its products, confirming the information with additional photos of products, quality certificates and other information. In addition, each supplier offers its own terms of delivery. Therefore, before you buy on Alibaba, you should carefully study the information about the exporter.
Buyers are looking for the products they need on Alibaba of the sales floor and reliable suppliers. The marketplace is characterized by convenient functionality. This allows the customer to negotiate with the importer directly on the Alibaba. It is important to always contact the supplier to clarify the information about the products.
Also, during the correspondence with seller the customer can solve price issues, delivery options. The customer can request one unit of product to determine the quality of the product immediately before placing an order on Alibaba and conclude a larger deal with the supplier.
How To Buy On Alibaba: Full Guide
Alibaba is not an online store. It is a trading platform where suppliers exhibit their products for sale. To find out how to order on Alibaba and buy it yourself in bulk, you first need to understand how the marketing service works.
Key steps in Alibaba ordering process
- Registration on the site.
- Search for products.
- Online correspondence with the supplier directly on Alibaba to clarify information about the product, its price, delivery terms, etc.
- If the customer is satisfied with the negotiations with the supplier – conclusion of the transaction.
The main feature of Alibaba is that the customer does not add items to the cart, but only sends requests to suppliers. However, in addition to searching for and purchasing products, the customer can also place their own advertisements for the products. In this case, the buyer will receive requests from suppliers.
How to use the search on Alibaba correctly?
- The fewer words in a query, the more accurate the search will be. For example, you need to find a robot vacuum cleaner, but you don’t know the specific product model. Then just enter “vacuum cleaner robot” and you will see a wide range of robot vacuum cleaners. After all, if you do not specify what kind of vacuum cleaner you need, then the search will provide all the available options.
- If you know the model, the exact name of the product, then you need to enter in search the full name. Then the search result will be specific. For example, if you look for a robot vacuum cleaner model LL for dry and wet cleaning, then you need to enter the name with all the details of product – “LL-D6601 wet and dry”. If you just enter “LL wet and dry”, then the search will not find a specific product.
- It is not necessary to enter your country in the search field, for example, “shoes poland”. There are filters at the bottom after the product search, where you can specify the region.
- You do not need to add unnecessary words like “seller”, “supplier” and other words that are not related to the product.
- It is also often advisable to enter the product in quotes. However, this does not affect anything. After all, if you add the same “vacuum cleaner robot” in the search line using quotes, the results will be the same as without them.
In order to quickly find the required product and not to search other web resources in search of information like ordering on Alibaba, you can use the function “Request for quotation”. Thus, you can fill out an application form, in which you can specify in detail what kind of products you are looking for and place them on the trading floor free of charge. This request will be displayed to suppliers, who can apply to the client themselves in the future.
Seller status on Alibaba
Status: Free Member
Description: Suppliers who have registered a free account. Sellers with this status often hide crooks.
Status: Gold Supplier
Description: Suppliers with whom it is possible to cooperate, but there is no maximum guarantee of their reliability, as the information about them is processed and checked only online.
Status: Gold Plus Supplier
Description: Premium suppliers. Alibaba inspectors visited these companies and checked all the documentation related to their operations, as well as the conditions under which the products are manufactured.
Status: Assessed Supplier
Description: Suppliers have been inspected by Alibaba representatives who have personally visited the facilities and read all documents and certificates. Sellers with this status can be considered the most reliable.
After “Search” line and the various filters that accompany it, there are categories of suppliers that differ in their status.
By selecting a supplier, you can also learn more about its activities. Thus, the client will have access to the information concerning the legal name of the supplier, status, certificates, number of payment transactions performed recently. As well as feedback from customers, the overall rating of the company.
For example, Jianghao Generator Set Co., Ltd., a manufacturer of diesel generators, has already had Gold Plus Supplier status for 6 years. Over the past month, its products have been purchased by four customers, and it responds to 93.5% of the messages from customers. Thus, it is important to know all the details about the supplier just before buying on Alibaba. To start a dialogue with the supplier, you just need to enter the information in a special block, and then click “Send”.
The price of products is another important feature of how to buy on Alibaba and conclude a profitable deal. You can see that the prices on Alibaba trading platform always vary. For example, the supplier indicates from $10 to $12. The price depends on the number of units of products you can buy, for example, 50 units of smartwatches, or you can buy 100 units.
As you undestand, the more units you take, the lower the price will be. However, it is always important to check the cost of products with the supplier, because they may not update the price in time. Or the customer needs a specific number of products, and the seller did not provide information on how to calculate their total cost.
How to send the right request to the supplier?
- First, provide information about you (your first name, last name, position) and the company you represent (name of the company and country).
- Then go on to the description of the product you are interested in: ask about its quality, size, specification. Indicate how many products you plan to purchase.
- Specify how much the amount of products you intend to buy will cost.
The supplier processes the customer’s request for some time. This usually happens within one day. After that the buyer will receive a letter from Alibaba to the email address provided during registration.
How to Buy on Alibaba: Ordering process
After you receive a response from a supplier, negotiations with the supplier do not end. Next, you need to make an agreement in the message center, which can be accessed only through your own profile.
The message centre is the main link between the customer and the supplier. This is where the question of how to buy on Alibaba and conclude a trade deal is decided. This “negotiation platform” works like an e-mail.
Bidding with the supplier company takes place only in the customer’s account through the trade center. Therefore, it is necessary to specify the number of products and the price per unit of products, after which – to confirm the order. If the seller satisfies the buyer’s wishes, he will also confirm the order. If he does not agree to the terms of the customer, then he will indicate his terms and conditions and wait for a response from the buyer. This dialogue will continue as long as both parties agree to all the terms and conditions and they confirm the transaction.
How to order on Alibaba: Final Steps
As for the payment methods on Alibaba, there are various options available. In particular, suppliers accept Western Union and MoneyGram transfers. It is also possible to pay with a Mastercard or Visa card, or transfer money using PayPal service. Each seller offers several payment options.
Delivery terms and conditions
Before confirming an order, it is important to agree with the supplier on the terms of shipment. Usually suppliers trade in bulk, relying on the FOB standard. The seller delivers the products to the port and loads them on the vessel specified by the buyer. The buyer takes care of the fate of the products. If the buyer has no experience in logistics, then he should use the services of a logistics company. Thus, these companies can provide their own delivery scheme.
Algorithm of the buyer’s actions on Alibaba
- Discuss all delivery terms with the supplier.
- Draw up a shipping document – a packing list in which to specify the size, weight of the cargo, name of each product, price, etc.
- Find a supplier of logistics services in your country, calculate the cost of delivery and customs duties. Conclude a contract with the company.
- Provide the logistics company with all the necessary information about the cargo.
- Waiting for delivery to the point previously agreed.
In addition, you can deliver products by mail or use express delivery services. But it will be much longer and more expensive. However, if the buyer has decided to deliver the order in one of these ways, then he needs to discuss the details with the supplier.