What should you know before shopping on Ali Express
AliExpress is a popular online store for buying products at much cheaper prices than Amazon and other similar services. The store was founded in 2010 and is owned by Alibaba, a massive Chinese multinational company focusing on e-commerce and computing, and is one of the world's largest internet companies.
How Does AliExpress Work?
To use AliExpress, you first need to sign up for a free account via the sign-up link in the top-right corner of the official AliExpress website. Create a new account by manually entering your email address in the sign-up form, or by logging in with your Facebook, Google, or VK account.
After the initial account creation, AliExpress will ask for your first and last name, your gender, your date of birth, your nationality, and a selection of several shopping categories that interest you, such as men's fashion, tech accessories, and consumer electronics.
Other information asked of you include your marital status, your children's birthdays, which industry you work in, your average salary, an estimate of how much you spend when shopping online per month, and other online shops you
Credit is king: AliExpress doesn't accept cheques, money orders, or pay pal for orders, instead focusing almost exclusively on credit cards as payment. The good news is all major credit cards are accepted.
Beware of bootlegs: In general, there aren't many Western brands selling directly on AliExpress and a lot of the non-Chinese products are fakes. This won't be a problem if you just want something that looks like the real thing and costs half the price, but if you're after authenticity, it's well worth spending the time to research the seller and read the product reviews written by other customers before buying. AliExpress is legit, but some of its products aren't.
Long shipping, no tracking: Most sellers on AliExpress offer free shipping for their products. However, choosing this option usually means you'll have to wait more than a month for it to arrive and you won't be given an AliExpress tracking code to follow its journey. Depending on how quickly you want an item, you may want to pay extra for faster shipping and a tracking number. You can do this during checkout for most orders.
What Do the AliExpress Smartphone Apps Do?
The official AliExpress smartphone apps on ios and Android simply allow you to shop on AliExpress and manage your account on your mobile device. These apps use the same account you use on the AliExpress website and let you browse products, add items to your cart, and complete orders.
AliExpress has several rivals that also target consumers looking to buy a wide variety of items at discounted prices. Some of the major ones are:
- Wish App: Like AliExpress, Wish app also connects Western shoppers with merchants in China that can sell them popular products for a fraction of what they'd pay back home.
DHGate: DFGate has been around for over a decade and offers products sold from wholesalers in China. It directly competes with AliExpress' target audience and even mimics a lot of the AliExpress website's visual aesthetic.
- LightInTheBox: Products on Light in the box are slightly more expensive than on AliExpress, but they're still much cheaper than what you'd find online. What sets Light in the box apart from AliExpress is it has some warehouses in the U.S., meaning some of its products will ship much faster than they would if they were being posted from China.