How to buy and source from Alibaba

Alibaba.com is a major player in the B2B eCommerce space. Buyers and suppliers around the world have used this platform to expand and scale their businesses .
What makes Alibaba.com so knock-down is its offer of a wide range of features, tools, and services that are designed to streamline the B2B sourcing feel .
In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about buy and sourcing from Alibaba.com. We will start by reviewing what Alibaba.com is and how it compares to AliExpress and Amazon. From there, we will discuss who uses Alibaba.com and why they choose this platform over other B2B marketplaces .
We will cover in detail how to buy from Alibaba.com, how to practice safe buying, and tips to get the most out of your sourcing experience.

What is Alibaba.com?

Alibaba.com is an on-line B2B marketplace where buyers and sellers from around the world can connect and carry out transactions. It is a plug, trusted platform that is used by millions and millions of businesses .
Alibaba.com is part of the Alibaba Group and was founded by Jack Ma in 1999. This caller is based in China but serves commercial enterprise in 190+ countries and regions and 40+ industries with over 5,900 different categories of product offerings .
The platform is equipped with many tools and features that are designed to streamline B2B buy and sell .
buy from alibaba

Alibaba vs. AliExpress

AliExpress is another eCommerce chopine in the Alibaba Group, but unlike Alibaba.com, this market stead is geared towards B2C transactions .
Since it is a B2C platform, AliExpress sellers list their products to sell to consumers. Products are priced at retail prices rather than wholesale prices. even though its prices are relatively higher than Alibaba.com, AliExpress is known for its cheap items .

Alibaba vs. Amazon

Amazon is an american B2C eCommerce platform. The basal dispute between Alibaba.com and Amazon is who the buyers are. Suppliers on Alibaba.com are selling to businesses, whereas suppliers on Amazon are selling to consumers .
Amazon is identical alike to AliExpress in the sense that they are both B2C marketplaces. Both platforms allow freelancer retailers to list their products. Amazon besides has several brands of products of their own, such as Amazon Basics, Solimo, and Revly .
Amazon ’ second products are by and large priced a little higher, making it more on par with an on-line general memory than a discount store .
additionally, Amazon uses a subscription model where users can pay an annual tip for “ Amazon Prime, ” which grants them free 2-day ship on all “ Prime ” items. The subscription besides gives users access to extra perks, like a library of music, television shows, and movies .

Who uses Alibaba?

As we mentioned, Alibaba.com is a B2B platform. This means that most, if not all, of the buyers and sellers on Alibaba.com are businesses .
The distinctive suppliers are businesses that sell sensitive materials or manufactured goods. The typical buyers are retailers, wholesalers, sourcing agents, and manufacturers who reference products for resell or individual label for their own businesses. sometimes, manufacturers buy crude materials on Alibaba.com and besides use Aliabab.com to sell their completed products .
The bottom line is that buyers come to Alibaba.com to purchase goods or materials both stingily and in bulk that they will ultimately resell for a profit .

Why buy from Alibaba?

There are several reasons why buyers use Alibaba.com. Let ’ s take a count at a few of the most coarse reasons why users choose Alibaba.com over other B2B eCommerce market .

The platform is trustworthy

The chief argue is that it is generally a sure platform. People can be doubting to spend money on-line, specially when it is the tune of thousands or tens of thousands of dollars .
several factors make Alibaba.com trustworthy. The first base is the secure payment portal site. Transactions are backed by a count of guarantees on Alibaba.com, but having access to a guarantee payment portal is attractive to buyers and sellers alike. This way, buyers don ’ t have to worry about their credit card numbers and other sensitive information being compromised .
additionally, Alibaba.com offers a plan called Trade Assurance, which ensures that buyers receive their shipments on time. It besides guarantees that the quality of the products matches what was promised by the seller. Alibaba.com besides offers Product Inspection Services, which is another measure that is used to ensure quality .
Buyers can shop on Alibaba.com with assurance that they will get what they pay for every time, and if they don ’ metric ton, they can count on Alibaba.com to go to bat for them until the dispute is resolved .
alibaba buyer protection

It’s easy to use

The Alibaba.com chopine is very easy to navigate, and the buy process is much more square than it is when you place an rate on a paper form or over the call .
Buyers can choose to ordering ready to ship products, which is equally dim-witted as adding items to a cart, entering your payment information and placing your order .
alternatively, you can message sellers directly to negotiate prices or customize your products. obviously, there are a few more steps involved hera, but it is still very square .

Millions of products to choose from

Alibaba.com has millions of sellers, which means there are besides millions of products to choose from. This wide variety show of products to choose from gives buyers the flexibility to choose the seller and items that best suit them .
For case, if you search “ thyroxine shirt ” you will get closely 180,000 results for that item alone. You can filter your results based on respective different criteria .
alibaba product search

Pay Later options

sometimes, startups need a little assistant to get going. Alibaba.com has Pay Later options so that buyers can purchase inventory to get the ball rolling even if they don ’ t have the budget .
This helps retailers avoid calling on the aid of investors or other finance options which can get a bit more complicated .
give Later is backed by Kabbage Funding and offers lines of credit from $ 500 to $ 150k with 6-month finance. Interest rates start at 3.5 % .
alibaba pay later

Tools for global sourcing

The very nature of Alibaba.com is utilitarian for businesses who are cook to go ball-shaped, and the platform has extra tools for buyers and sellers who want to do occupation across borders .
The most valuable tool for global expansion is the automatic translation of storefronts and individual messages. The platform presently supports 16 languages, which helps knock out the issue of language barriers .
This means that you could send a message to a seller in Italy and your message will automatically be translated to Italian. When they message you back, the text will automatically be translated to your prefer speech, whether it be english, Mandarin, Italian, French, etc .
currency conversions work the same direction. You can see listings in your preferable currency, so you don ’ t have to manually calculate the conversions .
alibaba real-time translation

How to buy from Alibaba in 6 steps

Buying on Alibaba.com is a little different than buying from an on-line B2C store, like Amazon or AliExpress. The work is designed to be both efficient and customizable .
Buying on Alibaba.com is very straightforward and streamline, but some steps have alternative approaches that give users a fiddling leeway to shape their buy experiences .
Let ’ s take a expression at the 6 steps for buying from Alibaba.com .

1. Create an account

First astir, is creating a free Alibaba.com explanation. You ’ ll be prompted to add some information which normally includes :

  • Country/region
  • Trade role
  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Company name
  • Telephone number

At this stage, you ’ ll besides be prompted to create a password .
As for the deal function, you will either blue-ribbon “ Buyer ” or “ Both. ” only blue-ribbon “ Both ” if you plan on buying and sell on Alibaba.com .

2. Search and find products

future, it is prison term to search for products. There are two ways that buyers can find items to order on Alibaba.com : search and browse the general marketplace or post a Request for Quotation ( RFQ ) .
Browsing the market is easy because it works merely like any early search engine. You input a search question and browse the results. You can besides “Upload Image” to more effectively perform searches with product images that you are looking for .
alibaba image product search
Results can be filtered and sorted by a kind of different criteria, including :

  • Supplier type
  • Product type
  • Minimum order quantity (MQO)
  • Supplier country/region
  • Certifications
  • Features

alibaba product filter
This helps buyers narrow down products to meet their needs. If you can not find the perfect intersection with the right buy conditions, you can post a Request for Quotation in the RFQ marketplace and suppliers can actually reach out to you if they can fulfill your hope order .
alibaba rfq
Either means, it ’ randomness easy to find the best products for your business on Alibaba.com .

3. Compare sellers

There are millions of sellers on Alibaba.com, but some sellers have certain qualifications or certifications that set them apart from the rest. These three independent identifiers are “ Gold supplier, ” “ Verified supplier ” and “ Trade Assurance supplier. ”

  • Gold suppliers are paid members on the Alibaba.com platform that have been verified as businesses with industrial or commercial capabilities.
  • Verified suppliers are businesses whose company profile, management system, production capabilities, and process controls have been assessed, certified, and/or inspected by third party institutions.
  • Trade Assurance suppliers are suppliers that accept payments directly through Alibaba.com’s payment portal, enabling Alibaba.com order protection.

alibaba supplier type
It is a good theme to take a spirit at each supplier ’ south verified reviews to see what classify of experiences by clients have had with them. If you have any questions for the suppliers about their operations or other information that you can not find on their profile, you can message them privately to ask .

4. Negotiate deals or buy right away

once you choose a supplier and a product, you can either negotiate the deal or buy right away. In order to buy right away, the product must be labeled as “Ready to Ship” and shows a “Start Order” button on the merchandise detail page .
If you want to get samples of the product, place an order lower than the request MOQ, lower the price of the goods, or make any kind of customizations to the order, you ’ ll necessitate to “Contact Supplier” and use the “Chat Now!” instantaneous messaging instrument to negotiate with the seller .
contact alibaba suppliers
again, to do this, you will message the seller privately. Professionally address them and intelligibly state what you have to propose. There may be some back and away, but with the veracious access, you should be able to work out a deal that makes sense for all parties involved .

5. Place your order

once you ’ ve worked out the details of your consider, it is meter to place an order. Although you can take the transaction off of Alibaba.com, we suggest not doing so. Once the transaction leaves our platform, it is no longer eligible for Trade Assurance, which protects both the buyer and the seller .
If you place the order on Alibaba.com, you will keep communication on the platform and you ’ ll pay through our fasten payment portal vein. The bear requital methods include :

  • Credit cards
  • Debit cards
  • Online bank payment (eChecking)
  • Wire transfer (T/T)
  • Western Union

alternatively, you can use “ Pay Later, ” which gives buyers 6 months to pay for their order with a 3.5 % minimum interest pace .

6. Receive your goods

The final dance step of the buy procedure is to receive your goods. When it comes to cross-border shipping and logistics, buyers can use Alibaba.com Freight for a dependable and transparent experience. It provides ocean freight, air freight, and air express & air parcels from chiefly China to worldwide .
If you pay through Alibaba.com, our Trade Assurance program will see this process through. Shipping times vary by seller, so this will be worked out on a individual footing .
once you receive your order, you can leave your seller a review and decide whether or not you ’ ll use them to reference your products again in the future .

6 Tips for buyers on Alibaba

We ’ ve mentioned that Alibaba.com is full of utilitarian features and resources. however, all of these are much more utilitarian when you know how to use them to your advantage .
hera are a few tips that will help you optimize your buying know on Alibaba.com .

1. Complete your profile

Sellers do not have to accept every order or even entertain every extend. They want to know that they are working with a legalize and serious buyer who will hold up their side of the deal .
In ordering to show suppliers that you ’ re representing a veridical business and you ’ ra not trying to scam anybody, we suggest adding equally much data to your profile as potential .
Add a profile picture and all of the allow contact information. Use a professional e-mail savoir-faire for your occupation rather than a free generic address like Gmail. Fill in a much as you can about your business, when it was founded, how many employees you have, and any figures you have related to sourcing .
The more accurate information you provide, the better your profile appears to suppliers. To edit your profile, you just log into your Alibaba.com account and go to My Alibaba workbench and snap on “My profile” .
my alibaba

2. Search more efficiently

The market on Alibaba.com is a search engine, so how you frame your search inquiries will determine what sort of results you ’ re shown .
Let ’ s go back to the exemplar of t-shirts. If you ’ rhenium looking for a specific color and stylus, specific those in your research inquiry. A research for “ thyroxine shirt ” will yield different results than “ gray men ’ south metric ton shirt. ”
As you explore the options, you may want to use some more particular search inquiries and some that are less specific, and besides try persona search. Some sellers do not wholly optimize their listings, so your results will vary .
Another way to narrow down your search results is with the filters along the left-hand side of the page. This lets you narrow down your options by criteria specific to the seller, the merchandise, or both .

3. Assess sellers

One of the most important parts of sourcing on Alibaba.com is knowing who you ’ rhenium buying from. You want to make surely that they are reliable and trustworthy .
Checking for the Gold Supplier, Verified Supplier, and Trade Assurance Supplier qualifications is a good plaza to start. From there, check out the supplier ’ mho profile on a supplier ’ south shopfront. Their profile lets you know what type of company it is, where they sell to chiefly, whether they offer OEM or ODM services, whether dropshipping is provided, how retentive they ’ ve been selling, their entire annual gross and accept currencies .
alibaa supplier capabilities
many profiles besides feature exploiter reviews. Reviews are one of the most authoritative aspects on a supplier ’ s profile because it shows you past transactions have gone and whether or not by users have had cocksure experiences with them .
alibaba seller reviews
Have conversations with sellers to learn more about their products and their production processes. Ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with buying from them .

4. Write effective inquiries

nowadays you ’ ve collected a short list of suppliers that you want to reach out to negotiate a deal or a customization needs. It is authoritative for you to write effective, clear, and detailed inquiries to make sure you get what you need .
We recommend including the pursue information about what you want to source :

  • Product description and specifications
  • Packaging
  • Quantity
  • Photos if any
  • Other critical points like safety, branding, etc.

The more information you include, the more probably you are to attract a seller that can meet your needs .
besides, ask the right questions to help you determine if the supplier is a beneficial match for you :

  • Price per order volume
  • Certifications such as FDA, CE/Europe, or China Standards
  • Availability
  • Ship origin
  • Shipping terms and cost

5. Negotiate with confidence

As we mentioned, you can negotiate with sellers. In arrange to be successful in negotiations and solve out a deal that works with your business ’ second needs, you must go in with professionalism, confidence, and reasonable asks .
If units are listed at $ 10 each, don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate go in with an offer of $ 2, or the seller will dismiss you as a non-serious buyer. An offer of $ 7 or $ 8 may be more reasonable, particularly if you ’ re ordering 1000 units .
Keep in judgment that a seller may not accept your first extend, so there may be a sting of back and forth. At the end of the day, you need to make sure that the monetary value you settle on makes sense for your business .

6. Order samples

many suppliers have minimum club quantities ( MOQs ) set in topographic point so that buyers don ’ thymine try to take advantage of wholesale rates on small measure orders .
however, suppliers understand that you may want to see the product for yourself before you buy thousands of units. Ask sellers about samples. Oftentimes, they will sell you a sample of the product you want to buy at the retail price .
It is specially important to arrange samples if the supplier is doing any customizations or secret label on your products, like adding your logo or other special designs .
Having the physical merchandise in hired hand can help you determine if it is the correct option for your business and whether or not you want to invest in a wholesale measure of units .

Buying and selling on Alibaba

many Alibaba.com users are both buyers and sellers. It is common for sellers to buy bleak materials from other sellers in club to produce their goods. By start sell on Alibaba.com and becoming a Gold Supplier, you can easily tap into the existing buyer need on this e-marketplace and grow your business and sales in a cost-efficient way .
Using Alibaba.com for both bribe and sell is both easy and helpful, as a buyer, since it keeps these major clientele operations in one position in your My Alibaba workbench .
my alibaba workbench

Case Study: MGS Accessories – sourcing, selling, and everything in between on Alibaba.com

Rashee Gupta used Alibaba.com to find trustworthy manufacturers and source materials for her product line : magnesium Accessories, her vegan and cruelty-free makeup line based in San Francisco, California .
After the initial success with her stigmatize, kin tragedies in 2019 made Rashee want to step away from the business. She knew she had more to offer and decided to push through. Rashee started selling on Alibaba.com as a last resort .
Since January 2020, Rashee ’ s business turned about. There has been a major stress on eye constitution due to mask-wearing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Rashee has seen a billow in eye shadow, false eyelashes, and eyeliner sales and has been getting more than 100 inquiries every workweek. Alibaba.com now accounts for 50 % of Rashee ‘s sales and the majority of her supplies .
Starting off as a buyer on Alibaba.com helped Rashee become a better seller — she knew how to win her customers’ trust and could anticipate all of their questions. Selling on Alibaba.com helped expand MGS Accessories ‘ wholesale and private label business both internationally and domestically .

“MGS Accessories was in the red before we joined Alibaba.com. Sales were very slow. Now, we have the opposite problem. We’re so busy we can’t keep up!”

MGS Accessories
Find out more about Rashee’s inspiring story here.

Final thoughts

Buying on Alibaba.com is reasonably dim-witted when all is said and done. american samoa long as you keep your communications and transaction on the chopine, there is no risk involved thanks to our Trade Assurance program .
If you are ready to sign up as a buyer, seller, or both, you can create a free Alibaba.com report today .
With Alibaba.com, buying and selling across borders has never been easier.
Learn more about why Alibaba.com is built for businesses that are interested in global sourcing, global selling, and both.

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