Alibaba belongs to the Alibaba Group, one of the largest web-based groups in the world responsible for such web-shopping giants such as Aliexpress and Taobao. Alibaba.com itself is the behemoth Alibaba Group's largest individual company, as well as the largest online business-to-business trading platform in the world. 

What this means is that Alibaba.com does not target individual clients but rather small and medium-sized companies with its products. This can be seen in the form of the very common (and often quite high) minimum order quantities set for many of the items on offer at Alibaba. This makes the site less interesting for casual shopper who just want one Chinese-branded Android tablet or only a couple new shirts, but very useful for small businesses that need to order 500 Print T-Shirts or 200 Digital Cameras. 

Alibaba Index

The Largest B2B Platform in the World: Alibaba

Alibaba.com, it's also worth noting, is more similar to eBay than Amazon in the way the site is set up: the majority of the items for sale are not offered by Alibaba.com itself, but rather by individual vendors. Just like eBay and Aliexpress, Alibaba's business-to-consumer sister site, Alibaba is mainly just a platform for other vendors to sell their goods, in this case to other small vendors.

Experience with Alibaba.com

As Alibaba is the largest site of its kind in the world, reports from happy and not-so-happy Alibaba shoppers alike are everywhere online. Most of our experience on Alibaba has been positive, but it can vary heavily depending on the vendor from whom you purchase. Because Alibaba does have relatively strict rules regulating vendors, so we've found most of their vendors to be very professional and quick to answer questions.

We always recommend that you check out the vendor's profile before you buy. Read their previous customer reviews, pay attention to the customer ratings, and decide if you trust this person. Alibaba itself pays visits to all of its largest vendors and ranks them according to trust, previous customer experiences, and the efficiency of their businesses, so you can also look out for special seals from Alibaba on vendor pages as confirmation of a trustworthy seller.

The shipping times can vary depending on the vendors--some have longer processing times or don't offer express shipping. All of our experience with Alibaba vendors have been fine. We waited 3 weeks for our test order, which was comfortably within the 3-6 weeks estimated by the vendor.

Counterfeit Goods on Alibaba.com

China is famous for being one of the largest suppliers of Knock-Off goods in the world. As Alibaba.com is a Chinese website offering goods from vendors all over Asia, buyers should remain aware and keep on the look out for counterfeit goods. The purchase and ownership of counterfeit goods is not punishable by law but shipping them into your country may be, especially if you order them in large amounts. Buyers based in the EU, the US and Canada should be particularly vigilant, as counterfeiting goods in these countries is a crime and importing knock-offs could result in a heavy fine should your order be stopped at customs. 

Due to the legal headaches that they can cause, we recommend avoiding counterfeit goods to the best of your ability. Price is the best gauge of a product's origins. Regardless of how good they may look in the pictures, that $85 Gucci bag being shipped from Guangzhou is probably not a genuine Gucci bag from Italy. Pay attention to customer reviews and ratings of the item and the seller as well; these are a good gauge of how honest a vendor is (or not).

Ordering on Alibaba.com

The shopping and ordering process on Alibaba is different from other online shopping sites. Not all items listed on Alibaba include prices, and most that do only show price estimates for bulk orders. When you decide you would like to place an order, you can either contact a particular supplier directly or you can request quotes on specific items from multiple vendors carrying similar items on Alibaba's "Trends" page.

Ordering on trends.alibaba.com

Alibaba's "Trends" site, mentioned above, is the most-used method to place orders on Alibaba by customers. Here, the most popular items on offer at Alibaba are highlighted and organized into easily-browseable categories. When you find the product(s) that you would like to order, you will be able to specify exact specifications for your ideal item and effectively send a quote request to all vendors carrying similar items.

Alibaba Quotation Request

You can specify exactly what you want, in what color and measurements, in what currency you want to be quoted, and to what country you want the product(s) to be shipped. This form of price comparison is most interesting for private vendors and small-business owners, because you can specify exactly how many individual items you need. There's even the option to "Post a Buying Request" option on your Alibaba account, which allows you to describe an exact item you want, and in what quantity you want it, to be sent to specific vendors or posted publicly for any vendor to contact you with a quote.

Alibaba Buying Request

Most vendors on Alibaba only accept bulk orders, so if you're only ordering for yourself or you want to order less than 5 individual articles you would be better served shopping on Aliexpress, Alibaba's consumer-to-consumer platform.

Payment

Alibaba Trade Manager

In order to facilitate millions of payments between thousands of vendors every day, Alibaba has created its own program called TradeManager, which is free to download. 

TradeManager is effectively and email-based chat manager similar in interface design to IM applications such as AIM and Microsoft Messenger. TradeManager facilitates all contact between Buyers and Seller and, as a Buyer, you will use it to ask any questions regarding your order, clarifying the payment process, confirming the shipping method, etc.

The payment methods vary from vendor to vendor. Accepted payment methods will always be demarcated on product pages. Common payment methods accepted by Alibaba vendors include Western Union, MoneyGram, T/T (Wire Transfer),  Credit Card, and PayPal.

Common Payment Methods on Alibaba

  • L/C: Letter of Credit. Only for large bulk orders.
  • D/A:Documents against Acceptance. Only for large bulk orders.
  • D/P:Documents against Payment. Only for large bulk orders.
  • T/T:Telegraphic Transfer, otherwise known as a Wire Transfer. Depending on your bank, you may be charged a fee for international transfers.
  • Western Union: Pay cash at a Western Union office and cover an extra fee to have Western Union send the money for you.
  • MoneyGram: A more modern version of Western Union. Most popular in North America.
  • Skrill/Moneybookers: PayPal competitors that function very similar to the popular payment app.
  • PayPal: not very popular on Alibaba. It's worth it to look around for it because it has the most reliable protection system for private buyers.
  • Secure Payment: You pay directly into a Citibank Account held by Alibaba in Singapore. Alibaba then withholds your payment from the vendor until you confirm you have received your order. Payments are accepted via AliPay only.
Alibabas Bezahlmethoden

Payment Methods on Alibaba vary between Vendors

Alibaba.com Secure Payment

Alibaba offers its own secure payment service in an effort to improve the buying process for both customers and vendors: Alibaba.com Secure Payment. You, as the buyer, pay the price of your order directly to Alipay via any one of the multiple payment options accepted, including Mastercard, Visa, Maestro, Western Union, Bank Transfer, WebMoney, and QiwiWallet. Just as on Aliexpress, Alibaba will hold the payment in its own account until you (the buyer) confirm that you have received your order. Only after receiving the buyer's confirmation will Alibaba transfer the money to the vendor.

The extra protection offered by Alibaba with the Secure Payment system is quite good. In case there's any problem with your order when it arrives, Alibaba will happily refund your money in its entirety (including any shipping costs). The only real downside we've found to the secure payment system is its availability. As of this writing, it is only available when ordering on the Wholesale Platform, which is the platform designed specially for businesses to order products in bulk.

Whenever the secure payment option is available, you will see a green "Buyer Protection" box on the product page.

Alibaba's Buyer Protection

Alibaba's Buyer Protection: Extra Security for Alibaba Shoppers

 Shipping Costs and Delivery Times

Shipping and handling, like just about everything else on Alibaba, depends on the individual vendor from whom you are buying. Most offer a few Free or discounted shipping options, along with a few express shipping options via private carriers such as UPS, DHL, and FedEx. A lot of vendors give very long delivery estimates (usually 20-60 business days) to shield themselves from Buyer complaints about slow shipping. In our experience, you will almost never need to wait the entire 60 workdays for your order.

Just as with the items themselves, you should always pay extra attention to the different shipping options offered by each vendor. Some offer Free Shipping, some only offer paid shipping. Some offer very expensive standard shipping, others offer very cheap shipping. It's very common to find vendors offering items for particularly low prices, and offsetting the price savings on expensive shipping.

Alibaba and Customs

Your experience here is also heavily dependent upon the vendor: most Vendors that do a lot of business on Alibaba know how to pack and declare packages directly for customs.

Alibaba Index

This symbol shows you how long this vendor has been active on Alibaba. The more experienced the vendor, the more probable it is that they know how to declare a package for international shipping.

Because it's always possible that you are unlucky and, in spite of all your efforts, order from a vendor who does not correctly package or label your shipment for customs. That's why we always recommend being familiar with your country's rules and regulations on international shipping and import fees, so that you know what to expect in case your package makes an unplanned stopover at your local customs office.

For shipments entering the US, extra taxes and fees on your product are possible. Not every item is taxed when entering the country, and the majority are only subject to a nominal processing fee of between $2 and $9 in the case of a random customs stop. The amount to be paid, however, can vary widely depending on the product and how it’s sent. If you are concerned about your item, or are planning to order goods in excess of $500, it is worth it to check with the Customs Office at the port of entry to confirm any extra fees.

Any extra taxes or duties on your shipment will either be paid at your door when the mailman drops it off, or the package may be held at your local post office. In which case, you will need to go pick it up and pay any applicable fees in person.

Special Features

You should check out the multiple reviews available on each vendors page before ordering from them. Alibaba has an internal department that focuses on inspecting and reviewing Alibaba's largest vendors, it even allows third party companies to review vendors. You should pay attention to these reviews before ordering to make sure that you can trust the vendor.

Conclusion

Alibaba is most appropriate for small and medium-sized businesses that need to buy products in bulk. In this respect, it's hard to beat Alibaba's selection, bulk order discounts, individual attention (when ordering from an attentive vendor), and the peace of mind offered by the Alipay Secure Payment system. Private shoppers that aren't interested in buying in bulk may still look around and may even find some good deals, but such shoppers would be much better served looking on an equivalent consumer-to-consumer platform such as Alibaba's C2C equivalent Aliexpress.

Alternatives

Alternative 1: AliExpress
AliExpress
kann Versand kosten huge selection, Alibaba for individuals that don't want to order in bulk. Pay attention to Vendor ratings before you order.
Alternative 2: DHGate
DHGate
kann Versand kosten huge selection, be sure to pay attention to vendor ratings
Alternative 3: eBay
eBay
kann Versand kosten huge selection, most similar to AliExpress, keep an eye on vendor ratings and shipping costs

0 Alibaba Coupons

Because Alibaba is a platform specifically for companies to offer their wares directly to other companies, there aren't very many coupons available for Alibaba normally. If you find any cool discount offers or coupon codes for Alibaba, be sure to let us know!

 

Sorry, no coupons are currently available.

 

11 Reviews

Order by
Translate 06/05/2017

manuel

compramos un movil , no funciono , no lo cambiaron ni devolvieron el dinero
la primera y ultima vez que compramos aqui .

en amazon son mas serios , venden cosas , que funcionan , sino te devuelven el dinero
aqui nos han timado bien timados
Translate 05/29/2017

mauro

alibaba e i 40 ladroni, a me sono capitati i ladroni. acquisto una batteria al litio per 211 euro ma dopo 35 giorni annullano il mio ordine perchè il fornitore non è riuscito a spedire in tempo. Mi restituiscono dopo altri 7 giorno solo 199 euro! a gli altri 12??? bohhb non rispondono
Translate 03/19/2017

giuseppe Migliarini

I have ordered and payed 74 dollars for a clutch actuator buying it from Chaoyang Auto Parts ltd , Add : No 558 , Quingnian Rd , Jianghan District , Wuhan ,China 430022 , a firm present on Alibaba. I have talked with the sales engineer of Chaoyang Auto Parts ltd , Chad Liu , at the mail export@alibabautoparts.com. The package has arrived about after two month and , when I have opened it , I didn't found the clutch actuator but a tyre pressure gauge of about 5 dollars worth.
I have sent several mails to export@alibabautoparts.com , but I have never received any reply from nobody.
All what I have learned from this experience is never buy anything from alibaba and expecially from chad Liu of Chaoyang Auto Parts.
Giuseppe Migliarini
Translate 02/03/2017

Hermie

Hallo zusammen kennt euch die Firma Shenzhen Inteyi Co. Ltd? hat jemand Erfahrungen damit gemacht?
Translate 01/29/2017

Durim

Hallo ich habe fragen.
Ich will ab 200€ bei alibaba was bestellen um hier weiterverkaufen kann mir jemand sagen wie sicher ist das und kan man denen dort vertrauen? Hat jemand erfahrung?
Translate 11/16/2016

Erich Obermaier

ALIExpress.com nur einmal, und nie wieder!!! Nach 35 Tagen keine Waren. Auf dem Tracking tut sich nichts. Viel zu komplizierte Webseiten bei Reklamation.
Translate 07/08/2016

Karl-Heinz Kressler

Karl-Heinz Kressler
Am Weidufer 10
28844 Weyhe

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, ich benötige die LED Fahrradrückleuchte EAN Nummer 8711295658310 statt mit dem roten Deckel eine gelbe Kappe. Können Sie das liefern ? Wie ist der Prei pro Stck bei 1000Stck.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen

Karl-Heinz Kressler
Tel. 015221083857
Translate 06/16/2016

Volker Friedrich

Habe über die Fa.: Hangzhou Sehon Technology Co., Ltd

Add:No.439.JinCheng Rd,Xiaoshan,Hangzhou,China
etwas bestellt und völlig falsche Ware erhalten. Preisbereich um 900 Euro. Nun muß ich auch noch den Zoll bezahlen und die Firma schweigt sich aus. Bin gespannt ob ich über Paypal abgesichert bin.
Translate 12/21/2015

M. Beck

Ich habe bereits zum 2. Mal keine Ware bekommen, obwohl der entsprechende Betrag über PayPal von meinem Konto abgebucht wurde. Bei beiden Produkten handelte es sich um Waren im Niedrigpreissegment (unter 2,00 €) aber das dürfte eigentlich kein Grund sein, das Geld einzustecken und die bestellten Waren nicht herauszugeben. Zwar habe ich in einer langen Korrespondenz versucht die Ware doch noch zu bekommen, aber die Antworten aus Fernost waren regelmäßig nicht zielführend. Ich kann also eigentlich nur null Sterne vergeben und davon abraten dort etwas zu bestellen.
Translate 08/16/2015

Cshopper

hallo leute
ich wollte euch mal fragen ob jemmand
schon erfahrungen gemacht hat mit dem chinesischen
unternehmen : Tabaeo + Tmart ? mit google sprachübersetzter
und einen sogenanten tabaeo agent kann man ja dort bestellen,
ich habe persöhnlich mich in der letzten zeit sehr damit auseinander gesetzt
und die preise + versand verglichen und muss sagen, das man nicht wirklich
günstiger bsw. viel günstiger kommt
die preise sind zwahr teilweise noch günstiger als bei alibaba + aliexpress
aber halt nicht free shipping =( und mann zahlt für die tabaeo agenten zwischen
3-10 & gebühr für den Service + dazu kommen noch die versandkosten die je
nach tabaeo agent pro 100 gramm bei ca 1 euro 60 sind, was man relativ schnell
zusammen hat , ein hemd hat schon an die 300 gramm =( falls jemmand eine günstigere
seite kennt wie diese überteurten tabaeo agenten sagt mir bescheid
Translate 04/01/2015

Jakob Huber

Habe jetzt schon öfters bei AliExpress bestellt und war immer top zufrieden!
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