AliExpress — Bringing China Direct to You in English
While you can buy many popular made-in-China products at Lazada, there are a million other items not found on their platform.
For example, if your old video game console has a broken door (to an accessory compartment) or a bad game controller needs to be replaced, you’d have better luck with AliExpress. You can source for all sorts of spare parts, even some obscure ones.
AliExpress is the sister site to Alibaba.com. The latter is The Alibaba Group’s namesake business-to-business (or B2B) platform, set up to supply Chinese goods in volume to the world market.
At Alibaba.com, you’ll meet suppliers who deal only in bulk. Quantities can be in hundreds of units; thousands; a truck load or even several containers worth. A minimum order quantity, or MOQ, is usually specified.
Of course, prices at Alibaba.com are much much lower — buying from here is absolutely buying direct from China, dealing straight with the source.
AliExpress complements Alibaba nicely by being a smaller-scale B2C player. Possibly, dealers on this platform are buying from Alibaba.com (at the MOQ) and reselling piece-meal or in small quantities. This definitely helps to satisfy market demand, meeting the needs of the large base of international customers.
It could even be that Alibaba merchants represent themselves at AliExpress, so that they can provide samples to prospective (medium- to large-scale) customers.
Buy Anything and Everything Chinese at AliExpress
Whatever the case, AliExpress is where one can literally buy anything and everything available for sale in China. As long as someone sets up an AliExpress account and lists those products.
Get the latest fidget spinners; mobile phone accessories; household and electronic gadgets; electronic components (like integrated circuits, SMT resistors, capacitors, etc) and tools; and more.
Even if you think no one may be selling a particular item, just give it a search. You can even post a photo of an item and AliExpress will find you the exact match or look-alike products.
Yes, anything. And everything. Direct from China. (Sorry, had to reiterate this most important aspect.)
Most times, free shipping to Singapore is provided. If not, a token amount is charged. Look around, as there are more than a handful of sellers with the same items for sale, but priced differently depending on their delivery options (and possibly where they sourced their goods).
Also, pay attention to customer reviews and each seller’s monthly transaction volumes to get a better idea of who would be better at meeting your requirements. With prices not far off from seller to seller, factoring in other considerations can help to reduce disappointments.
That said, if the Chinese language is your handicap, you no longer need to feel helpless. Shop online at AliExpress — everything there is in English 🙂
Hang on… there’s more…
Drop Shipping is the Name of The Game
Have you ever looked into or wondered about how online stores are doing business, especially in the area of inventory management?
Well, you might have come across the novel concept of drop shipping. It works like this:
- Shopper orders an item and pays for it (at online selling price).
- Seller places order for said item from manufacturer (at cost price), supplying shopper’s delivery details.
- Manufacturer packages item and sends it straight to shopper, informing seller of such.
- Shopper receives item, not (necessarily) knowing it came from elsewhere rather than seller’s shop.
As you can see, the online shop seller never touches the actual item being sold. In fact, the shop owner does not have to keep a single piece of stock! Essentially, there are no inventory woes and worries — especially tying up funds to keep stock.
This is where AliExpress comes into the picture beautifully. Many sellers on the platform are actually well-versed in drop shipping. They will send out their products quickly, keeping in mind not to invoice recipients nor reveal the source of goods.
This collaborative manner of doing business benefits all parties. China producers get to sell to international customers; online (re)sellers earn by bringing in such customers; and consumers gain by getting myriad choices and (hopefully) better-priced and quality products.
Buying Direct from China — Online Sellers Can Score Big with AliExpress
Without much fuss, online sellers can easily make available a wide range of products for sale to their customers. All with the comfort of knowing that AliExpress suppliers will take care of stocking inventories and delivering goods. Transparently.
To up the game, sellers can even brand their products by asking manufacturers to tweak designs and customize by adding their brand names and logos.
So, if you want to set up shop online, like many of those Shopify websites out there, consider the drop shipping model when starting up.
When transaction volume gets bigger for certain items, you can always seek out Alibaba.com to enjoy bulk pricing for these goods. At that point, you’d have to deal with shipping to customers yourself. This is a good problem to have though, as your online business would have boomed.