Wednesday, April 24, 2024

How to Get Cheap Prices & Simple Shipping on Alibaba in 2024: A Guide

If you are looking for Chinese suppliers of private label products, Alibaba is the place to go. Using Alibaba appears to be fairly simple at first glance. However, how do you locate trustworthy vendors, deal with them, and arrange for product shipping? All of these topics will be covered in this article.

In this article you will learn:

  1. What is Alibaba
  2. Is Dropshipping available on Alibaba?
  3. Alibaba: Is it secure?
  4. Basic precautions to follow when buying on Alibaba
  5. Which Products Are the Best on Alibaba to Purchase
  6. Alibaba’s Gold Suppliers versus Non-Gold Suppliers
  7. Comparing Alibaba’s Factories and Trading Companies
  8. How to Use Alibaba to Find Excellent Suppliers
  9. How to Get in Touch with Alibaba’s Suppliers
  10. How a Foreigner Can Access and Use WeChat
  11. How to Bargain with Suppliers on Alibaba
  12. The Best Ways to Bargain for Low Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ)
  13. How to Pay and Place Orders on Alibaba
  14. How to Ship Chinese Products
  15. How to Purchase Wholesale Items from Alibaba
  16. Conclusions

What is Alibaba?

Alibaba Group is a Chinese multinational conglomerate that operates various e-commerce, retail, internet, and technology businesses. It was founded in 1999 by Jack Ma and a group of entrepreneurs in Hangzhou, China. Alibaba has become one of the world’s largest and most valuable technology companies.


Additionally, Alibaba owns, a website that lets international customers purchase inexpensive Chinese goods one at a time. The main distinction between Aliexpress and Alibaba is that the former is used for purchasing numerous products for your company, while the latter is used for purchasing one or two items for individual use.

Is Drop Shipping Available on Alibaba?

The majority of Alibaba suppliers require you to buy a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) of $500 or more. Alibaba is therefore not a great option for drop shippers. It is preferable to use AliExpress, Alibaba’s sister website, if you wish to drop ship.

Alibaba: Is It Secure?

Alibaba, as a platform, can be considered safe for both buyers and sellers when certain precautions are taken. However, it’s important to note that the safety of transactions on Alibaba depends on various factors, and users should exercise caution to mitigate potential risks. Here are some tips to ensure a safer experience on Alibaba:

1. Research Sellers: Before making a purchase, thoroughly research the seller, especially if they are not well-known. Check their ratings, reviews, and transaction history. Look for sellers who have positive feedback and a good track record.

2. Use Secure Payment Methods: Alibaba provides a secure payment platform called Alipay. Whenever possible, use secure payment methods like Alipay, which can offer buyer protection by holding funds in escrow until the buyer confirms the receipt and satisfaction of the goods.

3. Beware of Scams: Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true, as they might be scams. Verify product details, pricing, and shipping costs. Avoid making large payments upfront, especially if dealing with a new or unverified seller.

4. Communicate with Sellers: Before making a purchase, communicate with the seller to clarify any doubts, confirm product details, and discuss shipping arrangements. Legitimate sellers should be willing to provide information and answer questions.

5. Check Product Descriptions: Pay close attention to product descriptions, specifications, and images. If something seems unclear or inconsistent, seek clarification from the seller.

6. Use Alibaba’s Dispute Resolution: In case of disputes, Alibaba has a dispute resolution process. Report any issues promptly, and Alibaba may step in to mediate and resolve the dispute.

7. Read Terms and Conditions: Familiarize yourself with Alibaba’s terms and conditions, including their buyer protection policies. Understanding the platform’s rules and regulations can help you navigate potential issues

           You can use Jungle Scout’s Supplier Database to look up a Chinese supplier’s export history before sending any money to them. Although this is an affiliate link, the most affordable and comprehensive way to view supplier import records is with Jungle Scout. You can view every shipment that the supplier has sent to the United States. Even the factories from which your rivals source their goods are visible to you. You can be pretty sure a supplier is reputable if you can observe that they are consistently exporting goods to other businesses.

If a Chinese supplier asks you to send payment to a person in Nigeria, this should raise an alarm! Make sure the company you are sending to is listed under both their Alibaba trade name and the name in the Jungle Scout supplier database!

You will almost certainly always receive your products if you order from Alibaba, provided you take the usual precautions. I’ve been using Alibaba for almost ten years, ordering products worth millions of dollars from dozens of suppliers, and I’ve never experienced fraud.


Which Products Are the Best on Alibaba to Purchase?

Alibaba is a vast online marketplace that caters to a wide range of products. The suitability of products depends on your business needs, interests, and target market. Here are some categories of products that are commonly sourced or purchased on Alibaba:

1.   Electronics and Gadgets:

  1. Smartphones, tablets, and accessories
  2. Consumer electronics (headphones, cameras, smartwatches)
  3. Electronic components and parts

2.   Apparel and Fashion:

  1. Clothing (casual, sportswear, fashion)
  2. Shoes and footwear
  3. Accessories (jewelry, handbags, sunglasses)

3. Home and Garden:

  1. Furniture (indoor and outdoor)
  2. Home decor items
  3. Kitchenware and appliances

4. Toys and Hobbies:

  1. Toys for various age groups
  2. Board games and puzzles
  3. Outdoor and sports equipment

5. Health and Beauty:

  1. Skincare and beauty products
  2. Haircare products
  3. Health supplements and wellness items

6. Consumer Goods

  1. Stationery and office supplies
  2. Pet supplies
  3. Travel and leisure products

7. Machinery and Industrial Equipment:

  1. Industrial machinery and equipment
  2. Agricultural machinery
  3. Manufacturing tools and supplies

8. Automotive Parts and Accessories:

  1. Car parts and accessories
  2. Motorcycle parts
  3. Automotive tools and equipment

9. Electrical Equipment and Supplies:

  1. Power distribution equipment
  2. Electrical cables and wires
  3. Solar panels and components

10. Sports and Outdoor Equipment:

  1. Sports gear and equipment
  2. Camping and hiking gear
  3. Fitness and exercise equipment

11. Jewelry and Watches:

  1. ·Fine jewelry
  2. ·Fashion jewelry
  3. ·Watches for various styles and purposes

Alibaba’s Gold Suppliers versus Non-Gold Suppliers

Image Source:

The benefits of being a Gold Supplier on Alibaba are displayed in the table above for suppliers.

In exchange for enhanced ranking, marketing services, and other benefits, Gold suppliers pay a premium, and Alibaba verifies these suppliers’ identities in part. But be aware that a supplier’s status as an Alibaba Gold Supplier does not imply that their goods are of a high caliber. Nonetheless, it does provide some evidence that this supplier is a reputable and committed one.

You shouldn’t discount a supplier completely if you find one on Alibaba who isn’t Gold but still has the exact product you’re looking for and seems good overall. Alternatively, just give them a closer look; for example, go over their import records and confirm that the company name matches the payment name.

Comparing Alibaba’s Factories and Trading Companies

Factories and trading companies are also types of suppliers on Alibaba.

A trading company typically has slightly higher prices, slightly more consistent quality, and a wider selection of products than other companies because they do not manufacture the products they produce. Factories offer a more erratic quality, a more limited selection, and slightly lower prices.

Although neither is inherently good nor bad, be aware of the distinctions between these kinds of providers.

How to Use Alibaba to Find Excellent Suppliers

Finding the ideal supplier should come first, even before you consider MOQ and freight charges. You must first register for an account on Alibaba before you can search for suppliers. Don’t worry if your company isn’t registered. You are free to enter any name you choose for the business.

After creating your account, you need to decide which product you want to look for. Once you are certain of its identity, proceed to look it up on Alibaba. Finding three to five possible suppliers, getting in touch with them, and obtaining price quotes for your goods should be your ultimate objective when searching for suppliers.

When I first start a search, I want my results to be sorted by supplier rather than by product (which Alibaba does automatically). If not, one or two suppliers will dominate the first few search results. View the picture below.

Seek out vendors who offer goods that resemble what you’re searching for. Remember that a lot of suppliers just take pictures of products from Western brands. I like to search for indicators that the photos are real, like

  1. Indices that the picture was taken in China include the presence of Chinese characters or people.
  2. business watermark on the image
  3. poor quality images (the majority of suppliers don’t shoot images fit for retail)


How to Get in Touch with Alibaba’s Suppliers

Selecting the ideal supplier requires both aptitude and good fortune. Don’t forget to quickly look up the company on Google. Enter the terms “scam,” “warning,” or “beware” into the search bar to look for red flags. Aside from this, Alibaba suppliers can be extremely selective about which buyers they choose to collaborate with.

The Supplier Response Rate is displayed on the search results page. It is nearly always the case that this Response Rate is substantially less than 100%. Alibaba vendors frequently choose to ignore a large number of buyer requests.

You can improve your chances of receiving a response from a supplier in a few different ways. Think about posing the following queries:

  1. Are you certain of the products you want to buy? Or are you trying to find the whole price list and catalog? Just ask for information about one particular product.
  2. Are you concise and straightforward? Or does your provider need to spend a lot of time and effort responding to your email, which can be challenging for someone who doesn’t speak English fluently? Pose concise, bullet-pointed questions.
  3. Which nation do you came from? Suppliers find some countries more appealing than others, especially those where they don’t currently conduct business. Through Alibaba, your supplier can see which nation you are emailing from.
  4. Do you buy in bulk?

Asking for your supplier’s WeChat ID is the most crucial thing you can do to improve your communication with suppliers. WeChat is the primary platform used by Chinese people for business, not email. If you can obtain their WeChat ID and communicate with them via WeChat, your chances of success will increase.

How to Get in Touch with Alibaba’s Suppliers

Getting and using WeChat as a foreigner involves a few steps to set up an account and navigate through the platform. WeChat is a widely used social media and messaging app in China, offering a range of features beyond just chatting. Here’s a guide on how to get and use WeChat as a foreigner:

1. Getting WeChat:

  1. Download the WeChat App:
  2. Go to the App Store (iOS) or Google Play Store (Android) on your mobile device.
  3. Search for “WeChat” and download the official app.

2. Install the App:

  1. Once downloaded, install the WeChat app on your device.

3. Sign Up:

  1. Open the WeChat app and click on “Sign Up.”
  2. Choose your region and enter your phone number.
  3. Receive a verification code on your phone and enter it to complete the registration.

How to Bargain with Suppliers on Alibaba

Establishing the market price of the product you want to sell is the first step in any negotiation with suppliers.

You must speak with multiple suppliers because the only way to determine the fair price of your product, unless you are one of the very few who truly understands both the cost of manufacturing and your product, is to receive competing offers.

This is the point where your suppliers should start sending you prices. Tell them your ideal annual order amount (be an optimist, but don’t promise the moon) rather than the individual order amount if they inquire about how much you will be importing.

with extremely low prices in comparison to others should be avoided. Usually, this comes with a catch. Common catches consist of:

The shipment terms are much more expensive because they are EXW rather than FOB. The quality of the material is significantly lower—for example, 150 denier fabric rather than 600 denier fabric. Only incredibly large orders are accepted.

After ensuring that all quotes are comparable, meaning that the suppliers are quoting on similar products with comparable materials and shipment terms, inquire with the remaining suppliers to see if they can match the lowest offer. The temptation is to tell a falsehood, such as “I was offered these saddles by your competitor Ningbo Saddles for $24,” when in reality, they offered you $34. You’ll lose credibility as your supplier will figure you out. In China, price negotiations are less flexible than they formerly were. 10% off is frequently very significant.

You should now have two or three suppliers that offer similar products at comparable prices. You need to locate a supplier who can fulfill your smaller order.

The Best Ways to Bargain for Low Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ)

My goal when launching a new product is to have the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) as low as feasible. A minimum order amount, or MOQ, will be required of each supplier. It’s typically between $2500 and $5000. Negotiation can make the MOQ quite flexible on a first order.

Personally, I prefer to place a $500–$1000 initial order for an item, test it out on Amazon, and then move on to a larger order. Remember that most suppliers will be happy to ship such a small quantity for your first order. I refer to these as a “few samples” when I talk to my suppliers.

How to Pay and Place Orders on Alibaba

You’re prepared to pay for and ship your order once you’ve chosen a supplier and they’ve agreed to send your desired quantity. The majority of suppliers will send you an invoice that is simply referred to as a proforma.

If your order is smaller (less than $5000), use PayPal or Trade Assurance from Alibaba. This will essentially ensure that your items are shipped, but it won’t provide you with quality assurances (as Alibaba purports). The majority of suppliers will demand a 30% wire transfer deposit and the remaining 70% payment when the goods are ready once your orders get larger. PayPal is generally disliked by suppliers unless they deal with smaller orders.

How to Ship Chinese Products

When placing an order from China for the first time, it’s usually best to just ask your supplier to add the shipping costs to the invoice and handle the shipping arrangements.

Use a courier service like UPS, FedEx, or DHL to ship packages weighing less than 200 pounds by air. You should budget between $6 and $15 per pound, with an approximate minimum of $75. It’s simple to ship by air; all you have to do is give your supplier the address where you want your goods delivered.

Shipping more than 200 pounds should be done by sea freight, which can be more difficult to arrange and require the assistance of a freight forwarder. But don’t be too scared—it’s only difficult the first few times.See our extensive blog post on shipping freight by sea.

America has very generous “de minimis” rules that mean there will be no duty if your goods are valued under $800 and are being shipped to the US.

How to Purchase Wholesale Items from Alibaba

Although some Alibaba businesses let customers buy just one item, this massive e-commerce platform is primarily meant for wholesalers. Wholesalers buy in bulk and typically do not sell to end users, in contrast to retailers.

This is a brief rundown of the procedures needed to purchase wholesale goods from Alibaba.

  1. Choose the precise item that you wish to purchase in bulk. Prioritize finding a niche before deciding which specific products to purchase. Pay close attention to the product’s features, quality, and specifications.
  2. Find the appropriate vendors and engage in negotiations with them. Dealing with a con artist is the last thing you need to experience. Discussing crucial elements like the MOQ, product quality, and manufacturing lead time is necessary once you’ve located a trustworthy supplier.
  3. Request samples. Don’t believe what they say. Photographs are easily edited, and it’s rare to find a supplier who will disparage their own goods to prospective buyers. Don’t forget to take into account the product’s packaging when requesting a sample.
  4. Remit payment to your vendors. Thankfully, Alibaba does not release payment to wholesalers until you confirm that the products have arrived in acceptable condition. Paying suppliers in private is always an option, but you do so at your own risk. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue if you already have a positive rapport with them.


This explains the majority of the fundamentals of using Alibaba to locate vendors and goods. Alibaba is a well-established and reputable e-commerce platform, and many businesses around the world use it for sourcing products, connecting with manufacturers, and facilitating international trade. However, whether Alibaba is considered “good” depends on your specific needs, the nature of your business, and how you navigate the platform.

In summary, Alibaba can be a valuable resource, but it requires careful navigation and due diligence. Successful use of Alibaba often involves careful supplier selection, effective communication, and an understanding of international trade practices.

Do you still consider Alibaba to be a reliable source for suppliers? If you have any other questions about purchasing from Alibaba, please share them with me below.