Aliexpress is basically a transaction-based wholesale platform for importing small volumes of goods from China. It’s a huge resource for innovative and profitable products that cannot be found elsewhere in low quantities.
Though ordering for Aliexpress seems simple and straightforward unlike Alibaba, there are however some few things you must do to minimize some coherent risks existing on the platform and increase your long-term success chances.
I will tell you how and why here, Just follow me!
Though, I have written and posted something similar on this before, but I decide to make a well-detailed post to walk you through the simple but tricky process of buying safely from Aliexpress. You can check out the earlier post here Safety Measures For Shopping on Aliexpress
Many products listed on Aliexpress are manufactured for the Chinese domestic market. These products may be just fine, but most are not compliant with standard product safety directives in Nigeria.
Importing non-compliant items is illegal, and may result in a forced recall or major fines, in case anyone is injured or damaged.
Note that, it’s always the importer that is responsible for ensuring that imported items are compliant with relevant standards and directives. Chinese suppliers, including those selling on Aliexpress.com, are not responsible.
If you still wish to import items from an Aliexpress supplier, you shall consider a sample test before making a larger order. You must also confirm which standard and/or directive is applicable to your product, in the country.
Simply follow the steps outlined below to have a risk-free transaction on Aliexpress
Step 1: Source products and suppliers
Aliexpress is home to small Chinese trading companies and unlike Alibaba, where you have a lot of verified information on each Gold Supplier, you have very limited information on an Aliexpress supplier profile.
This makes the supplier selection harder to define, but Aliexpress compensates for this shortcoming with customers’ feedback. For this reason, the supplier selection shall be based on buyer feedback to a large extent.
The positive feedback number is a good start, but you’ll get a more balanced impression of the supplier if you review the negative feedback as well.
Product selection is also an important factor when selecting a supplier on Aliexpress. You might want to expand your product selection in the future and the best thing is always to stick to one or two reliable suppliers, instead of sourcing new suppliers each time you need to stock up.
Important things to check at this stage. It’s important you carry out these checklists to the latter, as this will help you make informed decisions and have adequate information about the seller you are about dealing with.
- Does the supplier have 95% or higher positive feedback?
- What kind of negative feedback has the supplier received?
- Is the supplier receiving more or less negative feedback recently?
- Is the supplier specialized in your product or is it trading a little bit of everything?
Step 2: Price research and samples
- It’s possible to buy products directly online, but it might be possible to get a better deal if you negotiate the price directly with the supplier. The most straightforward way is to prepare an Excel spreadsheet with product links and a number of quantities you want to get quoted
- Common mistake importers make when negotiating the price with Chinese suppliers is that quality is negotiated down with the price. If you push the supplier too hard, he might simply end up sending a lower-quality product. The best way to avoid this issue is by stating clearly to the supplier that you will only accept a product with the same specifications as the one advertised on Aliexpress
- When you’ve agreed on a price, it’s time to buy a couple of samples. There’s a risk that the sample will not match your expectations, so order samples from more than one supplier, 2-5 is better. That way, you don’t need to start all over again if one or two suppliers don’t match your requirements. Remember, there’s no universal definition of “good quality” and this could also be reflected in the supplier feedback. What somebody in one country considers to be good quality might be considered junk in your market.
Step 3: Confirm order and payment
When you have confirmed a supplier and the number of products, it’s time to place the order and pay. In order to avoid fraud, I strongly suggest that you split the payment in two, one before the products are prepared for delivery and one after. Many suppliers need to purchase the products from another trading company, and there’s always a risk that something will be out of stock. It will also give the supplier an incentive to prioritize your order and speed up delivery.
The addition of Nigeria to the list of Paypal countries has opened a new method of making payments to Chinese suppliers. Most of the suppliers prefer PayPal because their money is not tied down with Aliexpress for some period of time, With PayPal, they get their money inside their account immediately. Though I really don’t advise a newbie to thread this line but if you decide to, do so carefully by following the instruction below.
When using PayPal, it’s possible to add additional terms to the invoice, thus adding a layer of extra security. If the supplier breaches these terms, you can open a dispute and PayPal will freeze the money until it has been resolved. If you win the claim, the money will be refunded. It’s like a “mini” Sales Agreement, and those really make a difference when importing from China. However, the Invoice Terms must be drafted by you. Below I give you an example of what the Sales Agreement might look like for 300 units of wristwatches:
- Payment terms: 50% Deposit (before the order) / 50% Balance (After supplier sends photos of the packed products to buyer’s email)
- Product: Wristwatch (Link: www.aliexpress.com/xxx)
- Case Material: Stainless steel / Case color: IP Rose Gold / Watchband: Leather
- Shipping included to the buyer address: Yes (If the supplier is shipping directly to you)
- This payment shall be refunded in case the supplier would breach it against any term.
As simple as that. This would serve as a form of protection for you in case the supplier defaults.
- Review the positive and negative feedback
- Prioritize suppliers that are specialized in trading your product (e.g. watches) instead of selling a little bit of this and that (e.g. leggings and phone chargers), I mean Jack of all Trade.
- Compare prices of different suppliers
- Negotiate price, but ensure that you are still negotiating on the same product
- Order samples from more than one supplier
- Add additional terms to the PayPal invoice (In case you are paying through PayPal)
- Pay 50% before the products are ready for shipment, and 50% after