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Beginners guide to Aliexpress

Updated on July 22, 2014

Aliexpress is the smaller sister of the global marketplace Alibaba. While Alibaba is generally focused on matching (usually chinese) suppliers of a service or product to an international consumer and allowing them to purchase their product or service in so called bulk (large quantities), Aliexpress is more of your everyday shopping website where you can buy something for a very low price because most of their products are directly off the shelf from the chinese factories in which most of the world's products are manufactured.

However Aliexpress differs a lot from your usual and can therefore be intimidating for newcomers and potentially scare them away. This guide is written for the absolute beginner to Aliexpress

Exploring the site

So you just opened a new tab and went on Aliexpress. You are greeted with something similar to the picture above. For this guide I highly recommend you create an account so go do that right away. For your account you don't need to use your real names and such (except in your shipping details of course) so fill the forms out however you like and confirm your email. Now the fun begins!

The first thing you should do every time you visit Aliexpress is to check out the SuperDeals section which is in a little link at the top of the search bar. SuperDeals are often as the name implies, large discounts on some already cheap products and you will often find some very cheap items here compared to for example Amazon.

Take this noise-cancelling bluetooth earpiece for example, it's original price was $49.89 but now it dropped 69% to $15.47.

Comparing to Amazon the most relevant alternative that is Prime compatible (to compare with Aliexpress's free shipping) is this

$119.99 original price and at the moment of me typing this: 49.95,

Evaluating the quality of the product

I know I'm comparing apples to pears here but let's say that all you want is a bluetooth earpiece that cancels out other noise, which both of the products listed do. If you are interested in that item then before buying it is important to see if that product has been acclaimed well by other Aliexpress members, to do so click on the item and you will be brought to the product's page. Then scroll down a bit and click on the feedback tab.

As you can see the supplier got a 4.8 out of 5 average rating which is superb, however it is important that you check the number of reviewers of that item. In this case 121 people have reviewed it, so 4.8 from 121 people means pretty much all of the 121 people who reviewed it loved it to some extent. If you are still not convinced then read some of the feedback comments to see what others liked/disliked about the product, but if you are then either click buy now or add to cart. Why? I'll explain later

Don't be fooled

There are some items that are the same price or sometimes more expensive than those on Amazon, but they still say "X% off" to trick you. This can lead to impulse purchases as we call them here in Sweden where you just buy it right away because it is a good deal. Take this bluetooth speaker for example. Original price $22 and after 10% discount it is priced at 19.80 so you better hurry up and buy it.

All joking aside a quick search on Amazon shows the same exact speaker for $23 original price. Therefore it is wiser that you buy it from Amazon as the shipping time will be tremendously faster and Amazon is just a tad more trustworthy than some random chinese seller. Of course I'm not bashing the product's quality from the Aliexpress seller as it has got some really nice feedback but this isn't often the case with most items.

Roker®Sound Cube Portable Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker Built in Hands Free Speakerphone and Rechargable Battery,Clear and Crispy Sound Quality,Works With iPhone iPad iPod,Mp3 player,Tablet,Laptop,Computers And Any Bluetooth Enabled Device,Support 3.5mm Audio Cable Connection (Black)
Roker®Sound Cube Portable Wireless Bluetooth Stereo Speaker Built in Hands Free Speakerphone and Rechargable Battery,Clear and Crispy Sound Quality,Works With iPhone iPad iPod,Mp3 player,Tablet,Laptop,Computers And Any Bluetooth Enabled Device,Support 3.5mm Audio Cable Connection (Black)

I bought this speaker from Amazon a few months ago and believe that it is unnecessary to pay big money for a quality brand speaker. This thing has everything you want in a speaker. If you are looking for a speaker on the cheap then this is your best bet


Finding your product

So you just heard all about this fantastic product but don't want to shell out loads of hard-earned cash on it. Start by typing a description of sorts into the search bar on Aliexpress, keep in mind that you want to be as general as possible so if you want to find a charger for your htc phone then type in usb wall charger in the search bar, why not "usb charger" you say? Well you can if you want to but a lot of the results are car chargers and QI wireless chargers so you want to find the equilibrium between general and detailed searches

Now you'll start seeing results similar to this. But we can do better. I like to sort by "Orders" this brings the most ordered item first and so on, you could sort by feedback if you want to however I find it inaccurate as most people just order the item and don't leave any feedback. So click on the "Orders" button.

Great, now we have the most ordered usb wall chargers at the top of our search. You can scroll around to see if you find anything that you like. Your first or second search result should be a standard apple-like wall charger. Since wall chargers are universal i.e they can be used for both iPhone and Android devices and many other, if however you wanted a wall charger with an Android compatible cable then you can change the "compatible brand" section on the left hand side of the screen to HTC, Samsung or any Android brand. Regardless I would recommend you buy the "4 USB port travel charger" It has as stated, 4 USB ports and also wall ports for Europe, UK, USA and Australia. As of now it costs $9.09 with 8% discount while the cheapest on Amazon costs $12.99 and can go up to $25.99 and most of those didn't have the features of changing the wall port and outputting 2 amps while NONE came with the additional wall ports. Also you can't beat free global shipping no matter how low the price of your order is. Here are the most promising alternatives I found on Amazon

HDE 4 Port USB to AC Wall Charger
HDE 4 Port USB to AC Wall Charger

This one originally costs $24.99


If you see a button with something similar to "Get a $X coupon" then be sure to click it. Now click on "Add to cart" and then "Go to cart"

Your cart

Now I'll explain why you should add an item you like or might buy to your shopping cart/wish list, most sellers on Aliexpress tend to release brief discounts on some of their items. If one of those items happen to be in your shopping cart or wish list then you'll receive a notification and an email. As a newcomer I recommend you add as many items as you can to your shopping cart as you'll receive tons of discounts and maybe even coupons.

If you are ready to buy something in your cart then click on the "Buy all from this seller" button, since Aliexpress is comprised of multiple sellers you cannot check out everything in your cart at once unlike Amazon, and your orders will probably be of 1 item at a time. However if you want you can check out the seller's store of an item you might be interested in to see if they have any similar items. If they do and you add it to your cart then those two items will be shipped together.

The Aliexpress Escrow system

You might've noticed a bunch of badges on product pages and text saying "ESCROW" and wonder why there is no Paypal support on Aliexpress. This might set you off from ordering stuff from there, I know I did. However Aliexpress has their own secure payment system called "ESCROW". When you place an order using Escrow (most suppliers support this) the money is withdrawn from your bank account or however you paid and stored with Aliexpress. The supplier doesn't receive the money until you have received your items and are generally pleased with them and click "Confirm Order Received" In your "My Orders" page or when your "Buyer Protection" ends (usually the maximum estimated shipping time in days for your order + a few extra days). This means that if something with your product is not according to what the product page said then you can open a dispute (also in your My Orders page) and negotiate an agreement with the seller (usually you will get to keep the item and get a full refund via Paypal) and afterwards you can leave a negative feedback warning other buyers about the authenticity of the product. Keep in mind that everyone can make screw-ups and you shouldn't avoid suppliers because of one or two negative feedbacks unless it happens to be a recurring theme.

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ON BUYING ON ALIEXPRESS: If the supplier wants you to pay by Paypal or direct bank/card transfer DO NOT! The supplier will receive your payment and that is all. You will not be covered by Aliexpress's Buyer Protection and will most likely not receive your products. For maximum security place orders with Escrow at all times.

Do you order from suppliers with little-to-no feedback?

See results


That's it for now, you should know enough to have the confidence to get out there and snatch some nice deals. If you liked this guide then check out my website which has some guides for making money online effortlessly

Check in every now and then to see if I have updated the article and like it if it helped you as it helps me, or leave a comment on something you want covered in this guide. Happy 'Spressing


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