AliExpress wholesale is a sourcing method where sellers can buy products from AliExpress suppliers in bulk at lower prices.
The advantage of using AliExpress for wholesale purchases is that AliExpress gives you access to a wide variety of products. From electronics, toys, and apparel, you can find thousands of suppliers for each category.
This step by step guide will show you how AliExpress wholesale works and share some helpful tips on building a successful online business.
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What Is AliExpress?
AliExpress is a Chinese-owned B2C marketplace that connects vendors and middlemen to resellers and individuals around the world.
AliExpress is a retail division of Alibaba with no minimum order requirements, and anyone can buy products “as is.” Both of these companies belong to Alibaba Group Holding Limited, one of the biggest ecommerce companies in the world.
AliExpress works like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, and other marketplaces where consumers browse through products and place an order through the platform. The only difference is that AliExpress sells goods at exceptionally low prices.
Because AliExpress is dominated by Chinese sellers with low labor costs, the products on AliExpress are significantly cheaper than any other B2C marketplace.
In addition, buying from AliExpress is safe because AliExpress offers a money back guarantee. If your product doesn’t arrive on time or if it’s not as described in the listing, you can get a full refund.
This money back guarantee applies to AliExpress wholesale purchases as well!
Can You Buy Wholesale On AliExpress?
You can buy wholesale on AliExpress and many vendors offer additional discounts if you buy your products in bulk.
However, it can be difficult to find AliExpress wholesalers as AliExpress primarily caters to consumers who buy products in single unit quantities.
If you find a supplier that fits your needs but doesn’t advertise a wholesale price, you can message them privately and ask for bulk pricing.
How AliExpress Wholesale Works
AliExpress wholesale works as follows:
- You find products to sell
- You buy in bulk to lower your price
- You ship your products to your warehouse or Amazon FBA
- You keep your warehouse stocked with consistent orders
Create an AliExpress account and browse the marketplace to find products to sell.
If you’re not sure what to sell, browse the AliExpress best sellers list or the AliExpress official ranking page. Then, use the filters on the left hand side of the page to find a profitable product to sell.
Buy In Bulk
Contact the supplier and ask for the following details:
- What is the wholesale price?
- Do you provide free shipping?
- How much time does it take for an order to reach an address in the US?
Store Products In A Warehouse
FBA also allows you to fulfill orders for your online store and other marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy.
Keep Your Warehouse Stocked
Once you start selling your products, figure out your lead times and make an estimate when you need to reorder your next batch from AliExpress.
If you run out of stock, you can start dropshipping from AliExpress at slightly higher prices.
Why Buy Wholesale From AliExpress Instead Of Alibaba?
AliExpress has no minimum order requirement for most products. If a seller has an MOQ, it will most likely be 2 to 5 units.
Overall, you never have to worry about minimum order quantities on AliExpress. On the other hand, purchasing wholesale on Alibaba requires a lot more capital. Most suppliers on Alibaba require MOQs of 250 to 1000 units depending on the product.
Buying wholesale with AliExpress makes sense when you need to buy in bulk in much smaller quantities.
AliExpress products are pre-made and shipped within 1 to 3 business days after receiving the order. In contrast, Alibaba orders can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on quantity and customization, as most products are made to order.
Frequent Sales And Promotions
AliExpress has frequent sales and promotions as they mainly cater to individuals and resellers. Meanwhile, Alibaba never offers any sales or promotions because they are a B2B marketplace that sells wholesale and private label products.
Communicating with AliExpress vendors is easy. Most sellers are proficient in English because they deal with buyers from all over the world.
Meanwhile, Alibaba suppliers generally don’t have a consumer facing team. You’re more likely to encounter sellers who use apps to translate from Mandarin to English and have difficulty communicating.
How To Buy Wholesale From AliExpress
To buy wholesale from AliExpress, you must first find a product or a niche and validate your idea. Then, you can use the AliExpress platform to find a good wholesale supplier.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to buy wholesale from AliExpress:
Step 1: Search For A Product To Sell
Create an account on AliExpress and search for products using the search box. You can search for “product-name wholesale” or “product-name bulk” to find vendors that offer wholesale products.
Depending on the product category, you can use the filters on the left-hand side to refine your search.
Then, you should change the “Sort by” dropdown to “Orders” to sort the list by sellers with the most orders. These sellers are more likely to be reliable and genuine.
You don’t need to worry about minimum order requirements (MOQ) because AliExpress sellers usually have MOQs as low as 1 to 10 units.
For products sold in bulk, you should see “Bulk price” in the dropdown menu below the “Sale Price” on the product page. Click the button to learn more about a seller’s wholesale pricing details.
You can also view any restrictions on the number of products that can be bought.
Optionally, you can compare pricing on 1688.com for the best deal on your order.
Step 2: Compile A List Of Suppliers
You’ll rarely find manufacturers on AliExpress as most of the vendors are middlemen and resellers.
To find the best suppliers, do a background search on all vendors on your list and check if they meet the following criteria:
- Accept bulk orders.
- Have 90% and above positive ratings.
- Have reasonable product prices.
- Have a good response rate.
- Provide detailed product descriptions.
Never blindly go for the lowest price. If there’s a product selling at $50 on average, and you see the same product selling for $20, it’s probably a lower-quality product or a knockoff.
Make sure you read the AliExpress reviews.
Step 3: Make Contact With Your Suppliers
After you’ve made a list of suppliers, reach out to them using the “Store” hyperlink on the product page which provides access to the “Contact Now” button.
The AliExpress messenger works like most email services where you’ll be notified after the seller responds.
You can also ask for the seller’s WeChat ID to communicate because everyone in China uses WeChat for faster communication.
Here’s an email template you can use to ask for more information on AliExpress wholesale:
My name is John Doe. I am from ABC Company and we are based in New York, United States.
We are looking to buy your product wholesale.
*insert AliExpress product link*
Could you please answer the following questions:
- What is the maximum quantity per product?
- What is the cost per unit for X units?
- What is the shipping time to the United States? Do you provide free shipping?
- What are your payment terms for new customers?
I would also like to order a sample before buying in bulk. I will place the paid sample order once I hear from you.
Please also let me know your WeChat ID.
Most AliExpress vendors provide free shipping, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra fees for samples.
When communicating with an AliExpress supplier, make sure you use shorter sentences with basic words to avoid miscommunication. You should also avoid using links to applications banned in China, such as Gmail, Facebook, Whatsapp, and Dropbox.
Step 4: Decide On A Payment Method
AliExpress supports most payment methods such as PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and credit card payments.
AliExpress has also partnered with region-specific payment processors such as Webmoney, Qiwi, iDeal, Klarna, Sofort, Blik, and GiroPay.
Although these payment processing companies are safe for buyers, suppliers will have their own preferences. Some platforms have high transaction fees or high penalties for customers issuing chargebacks.
AliExpress’ preferred payment method is AliPay, which is a good middle-ground for both buyers and sellers. AliPay is a virtual wallet belonging to AliExpress and is a cross between PayPal and ESCROW.
Buyers pay their orders via credit card or debit card to AliPay. Once they receive the goods on time and in good condition, AliPay releases the payment to the supplier.
AliPay is safe and secure and gives buyers protection. And the process of filing a dispute is very straightforward.
Step 5: Choose Your Supplier
Examine and thoroughly test your samples before narrowing down your list of suppliers.
Make sure you get the ETA for free shipping and obtain quotes for the more expensive expedited shipping options.
Shipping can take anywhere between 5 to 60 days to arrive in the US. Read more on AliExpress Shipping to understand which shipping carrier to choose.
In general, AliExpress vendors are not manufacturers so there’s less room for price negotiation. Often times, there are 3 to 5 brokers in between the product and you!
To select a supplier for your order, check if the seller replies to your messages in a timely manner. Orders are often delayed and you need your supplier to be responsive.
Pros And Cons Of AliExpress Wholesale
Buying wholesale from AliExpress has the following pros and cons:
- Wide variety of products: With over 100 million products, AliExpress sells the most products among all the international B2C marketplaces.
- Fast delivery times: Compared to Alibaba and other international marketplaces, AliExpress has short delivery times. The products are pre-made, so the vendor only needs to ship them.
- User-friendly website: AliExpress is easy to use and navigate. The ordering process is also straightforward.
- Low startup costs: The products on AliExpress are so cheap that you don’t have to invest much money to start selling online.
- Free shipping: Most AliExpress suppliers provide free shipping on small orders. You also don’t need to pay shipping fees for sample orders.
- Quality control issues: When buying from AliExpress, you have no control over how the products are made or packed and quality control is a real problem. At the end of the day, if a customer has issues with the product or packaging, your brand’s reputation will suffer.
- Lack of customization: Most vendors on AliExpress provide no customization as the products are to be used “as is.” If you’re looking for customized products, you’re better off buying from Alibaba.
AliExpress Wholesale Next Steps
After ordering wholesale from AliExpress, you can store your products in a warehouse or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). FBA will also pack and ship the products to other online marketplaces at low rates.
If you don’t want to invest in wholesale stock, you can try AliExpress dropshipping. Most AliExpress dropshipping businesses use a dropshipping service or app to find a supplier on AliExpress to streamline the dropshipping process.
Popular dropshipping apps include Oberlo, CJ Dropshipping, and AliDropship.
These apps connect your store to AliExpress and help you import multiple products to your store instantly. They also help you automate order fulfillment and allow you to focus your efforts on marketing.
Frequently Asked Questions About AliExpress Wholesale
Is AliExpress Wholesale Safe?
Yes, buying wholesale from AliExpress is safe, provided you follow these precautionary measures:
Pay Using Alipay
AliPay provides buyer protection and you can file a dispute if you aren’t satisfied with your products.
Avoid making payments directly to a vendor’s account because you won’t be protected.
Buy From Reputable Sellers
Check the seller ratings and AliExpress reviews before buying any product. Genuine sellers have a rating of 4 or higher.
Look for suppliers that have shipped a large number of orders successfully. If a seller has good ratings and many recent sales, you’re less likely to have a bad experience.
Say No To Deals That Are Too Good To Be True
If the price is too good to be true, it most likely is. If vendors are selling a product for $40 and you find a supplier offering the same product for half its price, it’s most likely a scam, or a lower quality product.
Are AliExpress And Taobao The Same?
AliExpress and Taobao are not the same. AliExpress is a B2C online marketplace that targets international buyers, while Taobao is a Chinese-only online shopping platform.
Taobao has a larger selection of products with cheaper pricing than AliExpress. However, the vendors don’t speak English, and the buyer protection isn’t as stringent on Taobao.
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Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.