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Website Review: AliExpress

Perhaps a lot of what you have heard about AliExpress has to do with scams, fake products and dubious merchants. I wouldn’t know about that because I love AliExpress and I’ve had a positive experience so far.

AliExpress is an online retail website that features mostly Chinese merchants selling goods to international buyers. AliExpress is part of the AliBaba group founded by Jack Ma, China’s richest man. As a retail consumer website, AliExpress has anything from fancy USB sticks to clothing and shoes, with prices usually cheaper than regular high street shops.

I’ve personally used AliExpress a couple of times, and here is a review of my experience.

 

Shopping

AliExpress has a large number of sellers on its website. Unless you take note of a particular seller you’ve purchased from, there’s the possibility that you may never buy something from the same seller twice.

Like almost all retail websites, shopping categories range from women’s wear, and men’s wear, to beauty and health, furniture and baby products. All the items I’ve order came as described. Not poor quality, wrong size or colour. They were just as described.

Perhaps what is responsible for AliExpress’ huge popularity is the fact that items are very cheap compared to high street stores. You will find a lot of (certainly new and unused) clothes going for a fraction of the regular cost.

If you are shopping on a low budget, you will certainly find your ideal price range on AliExpress. It is like buying directly from the factory.

Tip: I’m sure there are people with legitimate complaints about quality on AliExpress. To increase your chances of buying something good, check that the item has received a lot of orders and the seller has a high ranking on AliExpress. Also, make sure you read the reviews for the products. If the price of an item sounds too cheap to be true, check similar items and compare prices. Items similar to each other, but from different sellers, are usually in the same price range.

 

Shipping and Charges

Considering the nature of the website, AliExpress merchants ship worldwide. If your items can’t be shipped to your country, it will be noted on the product page. Shipping charges range from free shipping via China or Singapore Post, to DHL or Fedex which can cost anything from $30 and above.

One of the downsides of shopping on AliExpress is shipping. Shipping via China or Singapore Post is mostly free or very cheap, but can take up to 60 days to deliver. 15-30 days seem to be the average and I’ve received goods within this time frame.

Shipping via DHL, Fedex or EMS is expensive, and when added to the cost of the item you purchased, doesn’t make financial sense. You’re better off shopping at regular stores if you are going to buy a dress for $5 and ship it for $50.

 

Customer Service

I recently I made another order. After a couple of days, I got an email from the AliExpress team as regards one of the items. The order was suspended because they suspected fraudulent activities on the part of the seller. The order was subsequently cancelled because the seller couldn’t provide sufficient proof, and I got another email confirming that my payment would be refunded in 7 days.

There are usually also the regular emails confirming your order and notification when it ships.

 

Delivery

Items are delivered in the usual shipping packets, and sometimes bubble wrapped to prevent damages. My package is usually delivered to the nearest Post Office to my shipping address, and I’ll be notified to pick it up.

So far, I’d say AliExpress is not a bad place to shop for low budget items that you don’t mind waiting some time for. Just ensure that you make your purchases carefully.

 

About the Author: Amina Salau is a writer and editor running The Illuminated Pen. You can find her online at www.theilluminatedpen.com and on Twitter (@_Aminah)

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