What is Alibaba for? Chiefly, Alibaba is China’s giant online e-commerce marketplace. As a matter of fact, it is the largest in the world. In particular, Alibaba connects products and services all over China. What is Alibaba for? It offers shipping and banking services to millions of people. Additionally, it is also a search engine. Not to mention that it is highly mobile.
This post focuses on how you can source products from the well favored Alibaba marketplace. Important to note that there are pros and cons in sourcing products from Alibaba, so you’ll find some clarification here.
What is Alibaba for? No one denies that it is a colossal marketplace. With 7 million merchants and 8 hundred million items for sale certainly make this platform a giant. No wonder millions of people search alibaba.com every day to find products at a bargain price. By the same token, the millions of merchants are both manufacturers and wholesalers.
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What is Alibaba for? A Place for Entrepreneurs
Notably, Alibaba is the world’s most famous marketplace even more than Amazon and eBay combined. This is where many entrepreneurs, newbies and experienced ones seek products to start their online business or just a physical store. In general, Alibaba offers a marketplace for those who want to search and source products for their business.
What is Alibaba for? Rest assured that this online e-commerce giant links Chinese merchants to buyers all over the world. For sure, the attractive price for products on the marketplace can make you very curious about starting your own online business. Specifically, you can even start your very own private label products. Find out how Alibaba works here.
Dominant Force in Online Shopping
Alibaba dominates online shopping in China. This online marketplace gives people the opportunity to earn money. No wonder this attracts millions of sellers and buyers from more than 190 countries. Key point is that you can connect with a Chinese manufacturer and order varying products to sell.
In comparison to eBay for instance, Alibaba does not charge sellers for listing products. Therefore, manufacturers and wholesalers list their products for free. As a matter of fact, anyone in China can list products on this marketplace. For this reason, it is utmost important that you do a thorough research about the seller. Suppliers are already verified here.
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What is Alibaba for? An Immense Shopping Platform
By far Alibaba is a well-known online platform for shopping. In fact, it can be considered as the hottest e-commerce marketplace. When it comes to online business dealings, Alibaba leads both Amazon and eBay in total. By the same token, the percentage of Chinese shoppers is about 80%. From China’s huge population that number is staggering.
To get a true sense of Alibaba, you can envision these three e-commerce giants: Amazon, eBay and PayPal. If you merge them, that’s a picture of Alibaba.
Word of Caution
Undoubtedly, there are many fake products coming from the Alibaba marketplace. Caution must be taken for example with brand name products. Keep in mind that Chinese people list products free of cost on the platform. Therefore anyone can list anything. Discover how to trade safely on Alibaba here.
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Low Cost to Manufacture Products: Generally, manufacturing products in North America can be costly. Therefore entrepreneurs go where the cost is cheaper. Of course China’s Alibaba is an attractive place to go. Needless to say this attraction has entrepreneurs swarming alibaba.com.
Small Orders Taken: Chinese suppliers especially wholesalers are willing to work with you. As a matter of fact, they will even ship small orders. To point out here, some manufacturers don’t like to take small orders. However, you can certainly find those that will work with you.
I remember the first time I wanted to make a small order from a manufacturer, and my request was not honored. The reason given was that it has to do with the molds that they use and the least amount that can be produced. There are certainly reasons for the minimum order requirement (MOQ).
Sample Products: Before you make an order, suppliers are willing to send samples for you to examine the quality and durability. Usually, you pay the shipping cost and they send it by air directly to your address.
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Wide Range of Suppliers and Products: Rest assured that you have hundreds of suppliers to choose from. In particular, you can send emails to several suppliers and get quotes for a range of products and request samples. With this intention, you can compare product quality and cost.
One of a Kind Products: Many suppliers offer full customization of your products so that they can be unique.
Easy Contact: The easy design of Alibaba’s website allows you to find information without problem. From the moment you click on a product, you can contact the supplier to get answers to your questions via an email. You can also make a call.
Free On Board (FOB) Service: Many suppliers offer free transportation of your items to the coastal port for shipping. Afterwards you take on the added shipping cost to your desired address. This can be very costly, so every bit helps.
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Low Quality Products: To avoid this you need to request samples and be in constant communication with the supplier. For one thing, your thought of a high quality product may differ greatly from the supplier. Testing samples and letting them know how you want to improve the product are key factors.
Lower Standards: Work standards may not be high and as a result product quality is low.
Language Limitation: Obviously, English is not first language in China, so there is going to be some language barrier. Nevertheless, many suppliers do know enough English to communicate with buyers. For sure the grammar may not be perfect, but it’s enough for you to understand each other.
Dealing With a Different Culture: Keep in mind that the way you may want to do business with a manufacturer may not be the ideal because of the different cultures.
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Verification of Manufacturer: To be sure that the manufacturer really exist, you need verification. Certainly, this costs money. Whether it is a trip to China or paying a reliable company to check on their location and how they work, due diligence is important.
Costly Shipping: Considering that your products will be shipped from China, the cost can be hefty. Likewise shipping may take a long time, unless you request express shipping by air. Of course that will cost even more. However, if you factor in all the cost with the price for your products, your profit margin may work out well.
Payments: A key point to note is that many manufacturers may not like your preferred form of payment. For instance, many of them do not accept PayPal. Some only deal with wire transfer and even Western Union. The way you send payment is something you have to be wary of. Point to note is that Alibaba is aware of the problem and have safety precautions in place. Learn more about their supported payment options here.
Clearing Customs: Once your products arrive at the port, they need to be cleared. Understanding how customs work is important.
In case you don’t want to go through the motion with sourcing products from Alibaba, you can secret my success here.
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Tips to Remember
Research: Research and verification of suppliers before you go into any business transaction with Chinese manufacturers and wholesalers can’t be over-emphasized. Neither can the request for samples before you make an order. Alibaba has different ways for you to verify suppliers, so make use of them. For instance: assessed suppliers and onsite checks of manufacturing companies, likewise their gold suppliers.
Do the Extra: To set your mind at ease, you can follow this further and ask a third party to do a site check for you. Basically, you want a verification that the manufacturer do have a factory that makes the product. In like manner, you also want them to check the quality of the product.
Get Information: There is no doubt that getting answers to your questions can make a big difference to sourcing products. Key point is to clarify any doubts you may have. You can ask for the business phone number and make a call to see if there is anyone answering on that side.
On the other hand, you can also arrange a Skype call. From my experience though, they are more comfortable to type rather than talk. Remember also to make a request for pictures of the products.
Keep in Touch with Suppliers
Email: Apart from phone and Skype calls, suppliers usually answer your emails very quickly. As a matter of fact, this seems to be their preferred form of communication.
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What is Alibaba for? Overall, Alibaba is the marketplace to buy cheap and sell for profit. In case you are thinking of an online business like a store, you can order items from Alibaba and sell for a high profit margin. Apart from your online store, you can sell the same items on Amazon and eBay.
Whether you chose to sell one item or a range of products, there is no limitation to what you can order on Alibaba. Bear in mind that it is China’s all-inclusive directory linking you to millions of products and suppliers so you can have a profitable business. Whether you are looking for a manufacturer or a wholesaler, there is no shortage on their platform.
Discover more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alibaba_Group
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2 thoughts on “What is Alibaba for”
This is an interesting article about Alibaba! I’ve heard of it, but I never knew it was so large! As large as Amazon, E-Bay, and PayPal combined, WOW! That’s incredible!
I didn’t realize everything was so cheap there either. It sounds like a great place to shop for needed items. Howbeit, it also looks like you need to be careful who you buy from, as well. It sounds like there’s a lot of low-quality merchandise and you need to seriously shop around, as you’ve said.
This has been very enlightening. I know where to start should I ever decide to do an e-commerce business or should someone else ask me for advice concerning it!
Thanks for the post and the information. It was very informative and very well written. Keep up the good work.
Glad you found this post. Alibaba is a giant indeed. Therefore, you have to be very careful of the suppliers you contact. Ideally, at least 25 before you decide which to choose.