AliExpress, many of you know today this marketplace, because as soon as we make a request on google the site is rather well placed, but how many of you have actually dared to place an order on the site? In fact, the site is relatively little engaged at the first approaches. The product sheets are not always well translated, one has the impression of seeing the same product several times at different prices and these lists of products sometimes seem a bit endless which does not facilitate the choice. However, one should not remain on this first impression, because if one scratches a little and digs a little more, the site turns out to be a real gold mine.
For my part, I placed several orders on the site (approximately 100), if most of them concern electronics or tools, I also bought some clothes and decoration for my wedding. On the strength of this experience, I will try to share it with you through several guides. Today, let’s start with the basics. First, we will try to understand what Aliexpress really is, then what we can find there and how to avoid the pitfalls.
What is AliExpress?
AliExpress is an e-commerce platform, a marketplace, where several vendors compete with each other. It is for this reason that when you type the reference of a product you can find several product sheets which may appear to be the same but which are at different prices. The shop is available in several languages, on PC, but of course also available on mobile phone where the application is very well done. I really use the mobile version very often, and I had to place half my orders on it. On AliExpress you will find almost everything except food.
Another prejudice we people have about the quality of products, if it is true that you will find products of bad bills, such as gadgets not often very useful, you will be surprised by the quality of some other products. Especially since in fact in everyday life we often already buy Chinese products in France, which are not necessarily of superior quality to what you will find on AliExpress and yet they are often paid almost 5 to 10 times more expensive. There is not only Chinese, but also very beautiful and quality things that can easily withstand the comparison with branded products that cost even ten times more.
What you can buy on Aliexpress
As I said earlier, you can really find everything on Aliexpress. To guide you in the best of ways, I will try to make a shopping guide by product category. Find below the list of the first published guides.
- Buy her wedding dress on Aliexpress
- Buy your wedding costume on Aliexpress
- Buy a mobile phone
The little things to watch out for
If you’ve left to buy clothes or shoes on Aliexpress, be very careful about the size. Indeed, for a large number of shops, the products are in Asian size. And it’s really small for us Europeans. For example when I buy a t-shirt in France I take M. I recently bought a hoodie on Ali, and I had to take a 2XL… If you don’t want to end up with a garment that is too small, take a metre and follow our size guide. Another thing you’ll have to be careful about is the purchase of smartphones. Check the frequency bands taken into account by laptops. For example, in France operators have licences for 4 frequency bands:
- 700 MHz (B28)
- 800 MHz (B20)
- 1800 MHz (B3)
- 2600 MHz (B7)
If the laptop you buy only makes 800 to 2000 Mhz, for example, it won’t be able to access certain bandwidth and you will “catch” less well. If you are tempted by certain electrical appliances, I also invite you to pay attention to the type of plug that is proposed. You can end up with holds that meet Chinese or US standards. So be careful when choosing “EU plugs”. If you don’t have a choice, you can always buy adapters if they are not provided (which is very often the case).
How to avoid fraud on AliExpress?
Although the Aliexpress platform pays a lot of attention to the shops referenced on their marketplace, it is nevertheless advisable to take some precautions before launching head down in your purchases on this platform. One of the cornerstones of trust comes from the comments left at the shop once the transaction is completed (that the product is received by the customer, or on the contrary that there has been a dispute for non-receipt of a parcel). So you go from one, be able to rate the shop and then be able to rate the product. AliExpress then expresses these ratings by displaying either a list of crowns or diamonds on the left hand side of the product sheets (left hand side corresponds to the shop area).
By positioning the cursor on diamonds or percentage, you can get additional information about the seller, especially comments left by users who have already placed orders with the seller. You should never actually buy from an unproven vendor. You’re not going to wipe the casts for the others. You can consider that stores with more than 85% positive reviews are good stores where you will not encounter any problems with your orders. Another important factor to take into account is the time since which the shop sells on Aliexpress, do not buy on shops that have been on the network for less than a year. Aliexpress pays great attention to the quality of services delivered by the shops present on its market place, it is in question of its reputation, and it will not hesitate to close a shop that has too many negative opinions.
In my case when I search for a product on Aliexpress, I do this way to make a first quick sorting. So I do my keyword search,”Jean homme” for example, right away I’ll sort by number of orders, so I’ll have jeans in front of me that have been sold many times. Even if I don’t like the model presented on the screen, I’ll click on it and then go to the page of the shop that sells these jeans. If I see that the shop has good returns and that it has been on the network long enough, then I will browse through the other products in the shop and then I could find a pair of jeans that would please me.
What are the delivery times on Aliexpress?
So delivery times, and certainly one of the most important things to know before you launch on Aliexpress. If you are a regular Amazon Prime and its delivery in one day, you may be disappointed with what can be offered by direct sales from China. When you buy on Amazon, the products leave directly from a French warehouse, in the worst European warehouse, which will guarantee you a very fast delivery. Now on Ali, when you go to order, the product will be shipped from China. So contrary to what one might think, this one will not transit by boat. It will initially be taken care of by a carrier, who will take your parcel to the nearest international airport. Indeed your parcel will arrive by plane. It will then be taken over by an airline. Either by a dedicated cargo plane, but it is more likely to travel on a commercial route. In the hold of an airplane with passengers. It is important to know that this is how airlines make their flights profitable. Your parcel will then arrive either directly in the country of destination, or in another country of transit (often England) in my case. It may then be examined a first time by the Customs authorities before leaving for the final country of destination. Once the customs clearance is over (more details will be shown below), your parcels will be taken care of by the local post office (the most common case) or by a private carrier (if you have opted for this delivery method). Because there are all these steps, delivery times vary from a few days to a few weeks. But we can still say that 20 to 25 days is really the average recorded. In my case the shortest is 6 days and the longest I had 6 weeks. I invite you to follow the status of your order on your account which is really quite well done. You will find all the steps mentioned above, you will then know quite precisely where your order is.
AliExpress also accepts all major payment methods and therefore credit cards (including PostePay-Visa, bank transfers, online transfers and prepaid cards).
Can there be customs charges with Aliexpress?
Another thing to consider when buying outside the European Union. It’s customs fees. If your order exceeds 22 euros, this one will be subject to control. If you go through a private carrier of the TNT type, Chronopost, Fedex your package will be safely subject to customs control. If this is the case, customs officers will assess the actual value of the parcel (because there is a value declared on the parcel). If they consider that the parcel is worth more than 22 euros then you pay VAT, perhaps more customs duties whose rates differ according to the type of goods. You will find a table below summarizing the different rates. The larger a parcel is, the more it will attract the attention of customs officials and the more likely it is to be opened.
For purchases below this amount, you won’t have any problems or surprises. If not, on average, think about adding 25 to 30% more than what you paid to get an idea of the total fees. Care must be taken with these costs, as they can have a very significant influence on the final cost.
To help you estimate your customs costs, find a small calculator below.
Calcul des frais de douane
Pour vous éviter de sortir votre calculette, j'ai développé ce petit outil. Rentrez le le prix d'achat, choisissez le type de produit que vous avez acheté et vous aurez une idée des frais que vous aurez à payer.
€Prix du produit en euros
€Frais de port en euros
Choisir le type du produit
Choisissez le transporteur, si vous ne savez on prendra 15€ comme frais de dossier