Surely you’ve heard of Alibaba, the Chinese website that lets you buy and sell all kinds of things. Now then, being a platform widely used in the world, how can one benefit from it? If what you want is to buy in Alibaba and you don’t clearly know how you should do it, you can read this entry and allow us to explain it in detail.

How to buy on Alibaba

There are many factors of influence when buying within the Alibaba platform. It would be important to emphasize that the experience may vary depending on the country where you’re going to do it. Especially if you live in the Latin American continent. But it has been proven possible to buy on Alibaba successfully despite one not being a resident of China.

The risk of being scammed, not having the possibility to verify the supplier’s authenticity and long shipping times. These are described as disadvantages when buying from abroad in Alibaba. But there are several ways to do it effectively, reliably and safely. For that same reason, today we’re going to show you how you can buy in Alibaba in an intelligent and satisfactory way.

Sign up on Alibaba and create an account

If you know how to speak English, you can use Alibaba’s international platform, but if that’s not the case, you can choose to use its Spanish version. Assuming you’re the English version, go to the top and click on the link that says “Join Free”. After that, you’ll be taken to a page where you must provide your e-mail and verify it. After that, you’ll receive an e-mail to verify your account within 24 hours.

Alibaba Sign In
This is the page to register on Alibaba. If you’re using the International version.

Add your info afterwards: place your country or region of residence, if you’re a buyer, seller or both, name and phone, etc. If you don’t own a company or don’t want to register using it, fill in the “Company Name” space using your name again. Once you have everything ready, click on “Send” and wait for you to be taken back to the home page.

Once you’re there you can start shopping on Alibaba. If you aren’t familiar with this type of e-commerce platforms, we’ll tell you what the process is like. You look for products you want, filter results according to your needs, contact the supplier to start negotiating and finally close the agreement and make your purchase.

How to be careful and protect yourself

Unfortunately, even though Alibaba has tried to eliminate them, it’s still possible to run into scammers. Or perhaps, with suppliers and/or sellers that are dishonest and untrustworthy. However, don’t worry. There are many ways to avoid them and at the same time get good quality products for your business through this website.

You must be aware of three things: possible fraudsters, middlemen of doubtful origin and the quality of the products. When you’re looking for a particular product, never stay with only one option. Contact several suppliers to evaluate them and determine which of them would be your preferred option. And try to verify the quality of their products.

Verify the authenticity and quality of suppliers

How can you determine the authenticity of a supplier? First of all, it’s necessary to explain that in Alibaba there are the Gold Suppliers, who pay a subscription to improve their sales on the site. They’re the most preferred option. They have three verification programs: A&V Check, Onsite Check and Assessed Supplier. They can be seen in this link.

How to verify suppliers on Alibaba
The list of supplier verification programs on Alibaba: A&V Check, Onsite Check and Assessed Supplier. And the information that’s verified in each one.

Gold Suppliers with A&V Check are those that were legally verified as a company and whose contact information was also verified. Those with Onsite Check, are those that in addition to having a business license and contact information verified, their facilities were visited and verified by the Alibaba staff.

Finally, the Gold Suppliers marked as an Assessed Supplier were verified as the A&V Check and the Onsite Check but also, their facilities were visited by highly accredited third-party companies alien to Alibaba, which verified a great variety of aspects such as the quality of the products and the manufacturing process. This verification program is optional and exclusive for Gold Suppliers from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Keep in mind that while Gold Supplier are reliable, some may not be because it doesn’t guarantee reliability. However, as a buyer you have the right to contact any supplier and request any information that allows you to verify their authenticity until you’re satisfied.

What else can you do or take into account?

Alibaba offers two additional alternatives. One is Trade Assurance, a free service that covers you in case your product doesn’t arrive on time or is not of quality. And Secure Payment, an option of Alipay (company associated with Alibaba) that “holds” your payment until they confirm that you received it in order to get it to the provider.

Alipay Aliexpress
Alipay allows you to make payments securely on digital platforms. Source: Quartz

Finally, something that very few people know: you can order samples of products through Alibaba. This allows you to directly verify the quality of the products you buy. Keep in mind that you may have to pay some money to receive it depending on where you live. This is to establish trust with suppliers and let them know that you want to do serious business with them.

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Related: Will Crowdfunding Be The Future Financing?

Always buy wisely online!

Photo used for the entry’s featured image by danicuki on Flickr/CC BY-ND