For some reason, there is an opinion that the Alibaba platform can only be used by business representatives who buy large bulk quantities of goods and then sell them at retail.
This is not true. Now every Russian has the opportunity to visit an online store, find the desired product there and purchase it in small quantities or even by the piece.
It is worth noting the intuitive design of the site. But still, you need to know some of the nuances of the purchase in order to make shopping correctly and safely.
The site’s current audience is over 50 million people. This is not just an online store, but a real marketplace. Generally it works on the basis of the business-to-business principle. Therefore, most of the audience is legal entities. But no one forbids an ordinary private person to shop there.
Now to the question of how to buy on Alibaba.
It will take some time from the moment you enter the site to the registration of the goods.
Newbies need to start with how to register now on Alibaba and what to buy to do so.
There are the following points here:
- open the Russian section of the site;
- create a new mailbox that will be used exclusively for work on the trading floor;
- you can take regular mail, but a lot of advertising offers will be poured onto it;
- install Skype on your computer and connect the Internet, if it suddenly was not there;
- buy headphones with a microphone for overhaul.
To register, the user and new buyer of the Alibaba service must use the English layout. All data is entered strictly in Latin letters, even if this is the Russian mode of operation of the resource.
Registration looks like this:
- click the “Login” button;
- choose the option with joining for free;
- fill in the registration table;
- select your country from the drop-down list;
- put a tag to enter the role of a buyer;
- register your full name;
- indicate the name of the company, if you are a legal entity;
- register a mobile number and an e-mail box.
Next, you need to come up with a strong password and write the code from the picture. It remains only to click on “Send”.
If you do not check the box for consent to the e-mail newsletter, then you will not be able to register.
Upon successful completion of registration, you need to enter your account data and then open your account. It’s called My Alibaba.
Now, as an individual, you want to start making different purchases on Alibaba.
You can start this exciting process after completing the registration.
The service allows you to search and order products on Alibaba using several convenient search tools.
For starters, this is a standard search bar. Requests into it are entered in English letters. If you know the specific name of the product, write it and click on “Find”.
Here you can buy both retail and wholesale. Although Alibaba.com is more focused on wholesale customers.
Since there is far from one product there, and you need to order specific items on Alibaba, it is better to learn how to use the search. To use the Alibaba site competently, try:
- indicate the name of one item of goods;
- do not use precise characteristics;
- apply filters;
- add quotation marks for the exact search answer;
- do not include the country in the request;
- prescribe only essential words, without excess water;
- indicate a sign – with a word or phrase to exclude it from your request.
If you know how to work with any other product site, then Alibaba can do it.
Although there is another option for searching for a product, whether it is by the piece or wholesale. This is a free request for a required purchase. It specifies specific parameters and requirements. In fact, this is an ad where you are looking for a specific product.
The request consists of:
- product names;
- volume of the order;
- detailed specification;
- expiration date;
- preferred location of the supplier;
- conditions for payment.
For example, a customer might indicate that you want to work with someone who is willing to offer a trade guarantee. In less than a day, a lot of offers will come to the mail, and the client will have to choose the best among them.
There is a third way to search. This is Wholesales. More relevant for private clients.
This is a special section where products with the following features are indicated:
- minimum quantity upon delivery of a batch;
- fixed cost;
- protection for buyers.
If everything is good with the English language, then you can additionally contact sales agents.
Using filters, you can change the resource interface and create optimal conditions for searching for goods.
Filters are irreplaceable if you need to find products for specific requests.
You can find filters at the top of the site. Here you can select:
- region of production;
- production time;
- availability of certificates.
Having decided on the desired category of goods, they can also be filtered by batch, size or color.
Information about the product
Having selected the products that you plan to buy, a page with all the parameters will open on the site.
Among them are the following information:
- used packaging;
- color, price, size or volume of lots;
- delivery option;
- payment method;
- the number of completed transactions for this product;
- supplier data;
- the manufacturer’s rating, which is formed based on the reviews of other customers.
Just keep in mind that the price indicated in the ad is not yet final. You can find out the exact price when making a purchase, as well as in the process of communicating with the sender.
Let’s say you decide to order something from Alibaba with delivery to Russia. In general, no one bothers to quickly register the goods and pay for it. But it is recommended to do this only on condition that you are 100% sure of a particular product.
To make it profitable, reliable and safe, it is better to buy according to a certain algorithm.
Contact the seller
First you need to negotiate. This allows you to clarify all the details of the transaction, including the cost for a specific number of units of goods.
Communication can be organized in several ways:
- make a request through the appropriate form on the website;
- write a message using online chat;
- use the Trade Manager messenger.
Through negotiations, the buyer decides the main issues related to the cost, quantity and terms of delivery.
Be prepared to write or speak in English.
In case of written inquiries, the answers come to the e-mail that was used during registration.
Message center capabilities
When the seller sends a response to the customer, the customer must visit the Message Center. It is located in your personal account. With it, secure negotiations are organized, as well as order management.
With the help of the center, you can discuss all the conditions and download the contract.
Nobody forbids to conduct a dialogue using personal mail. But then there will be no guarantees of the security of the transaction, as well as the protection of payments and orders.
Forming an order
When all the conditions have been agreed and the documents are approved, the order begins to form:
- in the window with the product description, click on “Order”;
- a bargaining form will appear, where you need to specify some information;
- this is the number of goods, their cost and conditions for delivery;
- confirm the completed order;
- wait for a response from the supplier.
You are almost there.
Someone needs to order a product on Alibaba to Russia by completing a wholesale contract. Others purchase by the piece. The question is how to deliver it now.
The supplier undertakes to deliver the products on its own to the warehouse of an intermediary or freight carrier located in China. Then the employees of this warehouse, having accepted the cargo, forward it to Russia.
If the client is a private person, and his order is small, then it is better to arrange delivery through intermediaries. Yes, you have to pay a little more, but the goods will arrive faster. Its quality and integrity will be checked before shipment. This gives more guarantees.
For individuals, the preferred payment option is to use the Trade Guarantee service. Due to this operation, you can protect the payment being made.
When the order is formed, and it is correct, you now need to pay for it.
The procedure is performed according to the following algorithm:
- open the site;
- go to your office;
- find this order in the section with my orders;
- choose a suitable payment option;
- make a payment;
- check the fact of sending the goods through the section with delivery details;
- complete the payment through the “About order” page;
- here you should click on the “Pay balance” button.
When the order has been shipped and the seller has received payment, the status of the order will change to “Awaiting Delivery Confirmation”.
As soon as the client receives his long-awaited parcel and checks it, making sure that it is inside, it is necessary:
- confirm the arrival of the parcel by clicking on the order close button;
- leave your feedback about the seller.
It is important to keep in mind that there is no common payment system on the Alibaba website. Different sellers have their own conditions and requirements, which are most convenient for them. In the case of Russian clients, there are several options to choose from.
To get started, you can use one of the popular payment systems. Most often it is MoneyGram or Western Union.
But this option of transfers is carried out to an individual. It is important to make sure that you are not confronted with a scammer before making a transaction.
The size of the commission when paying via Western Union
Here are some tips from Alibaba:
- check the status of the supplier;
- choose those who have the Gold Supplier status;
- use the Secure Payment system;
- clarify the details using the Trade Manager messenger.
In fact, payment systems are one of the least secure.
The next option is bank transfer. It is recommended to use it to pay from a legal entity to a legal entity.
For Russia, payments in dollars and euros are available. A commission is charged, the amount of which depends on the country from which the payment is sent. It takes 3-7 days for payment.
The method is popular among individuals. You will need a Visa or MasterCard to pay. But there are restrictions on the value of the goods. One transfer cannot exceed 20 thousand dollars.
Plus there are additional costs. They depend on the commission, as well as on the difference in the exchange rate between dollars and the Russian ruble. The average commission is 2.4% of the value of a paid order.
Who are the intermediaries
Resellers are also active on the Alibaba marketplace.
If you have never dealt with purchases, or simply do not have time to do online shopping, the solution of these tasks can be entrusted to intermediaries.
Resellers on Alibaba can:
- choose a product;
- communicate with suppliers;
- place orders;
- make purchases;
- resolve issues with packaging;
- check quality;
- make a payment;
- deliver to Russia.
These are employees of intermediary firms who are multilingual and are very familiar with the Alibaba website. They have their own databases with verified sellers. Many have their own warehouses and delivery schemes to different countries and cities.
Comparing Alibaba to Joom and AliExpress
It is important to understand that Alibaba is the largest international online marketplace. This is something of the wholesale markets.
Most suppliers are also manufacturers, representing trading companies or resellers, selling large quantities of products.
The bulk of buyers are legal entities, businessmen and entrepreneurs, so the prices here are noticeably lower than the average market prices. After all, it is profitable for suppliers to sell large quantities, and for customers to receive large deliveries at a reduced price. Many retailers have limitations in terms of the minimum quantity of goods supplied.
The Alibaba platform itself is not a participant in the process of trade relations between the client and the performer. They can negotiate the terms themselves. But because of this, Alibaba is also not responsible if the supplier turns out to be a scam. Although some solutions aimed at improving the security of the transaction have been implemented here.
Delivery times from Alibaba are usually longer. Indeed, for large parties, appropriate conditions are required. In addition to air travel, transportation is carried out by water.
In fact, Alibaba is a marketplace for business and active purchases in bulk.
As for resources like AliExpress and Joom, these are more online retail stores. Here they sell a lot of goods by the piece, or in minimal batches. Prices are higher than those of manufacturers, since the bulk of the contractors are resellers.
There is a more thorough control of the security of transactions between the parties. Parcels are sent to Russia by air, and therefore the delivery time is shorter.
As you can see, no one prohibits or prevents individuals from registering on the Alibaba site and making purchases. If you have some skills and clearly set goals, then you can make a profitable contact and purchase excellent products at very low prices.
Although we must admit that initially Alibaba was focused on working only with wholesale customers. Over time, the situation has changed.
Have you ever bought through Alibaba? How often do you use the service? What categories of goods do you buy and for what purposes?
Share your opinion on this matter and answer questions.
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