Shopping online offers many opportunities to get the great products you need from the comfort of your home, your office, your phone, or anywhere you can get internet connection. And, not only does this save you the shoe leather of trekking to a store; it also saves you money on the products themselves. One of the best places to shop online is AliExpress.
This guide will break down how to buy products from an AliExpress supplier and save the most money while doing so. Then, we’ll touch on why and how AliExpress is so cheap.
What is AliExpress?
AliExpress is a division of Alibaba Group, the Chinese company that’s one of the largest wholesale and retail companies in the world. Launched in 2010, AliExpress is a retailer site that enables direct sales of goods from third parties to consumers.
It’s the largest or among the most popular e-commerce site in places like:
And, it overtook Walmart as the world’s largest retailer worldwide in 2016.
While Alibaba itself is a wholesale platform specializing in bulk sales, AliExpress is a retail site more comparable to Amazon. However, AliExpress doesn’t manufacture and sell its own goods; instead, it enables third parties to sell to consumers around the globe.
It also empowers those consumers to save money in various ways.
Top AliExpress Savings Tips
AliExpress offers incredible prices on a wide range of goods, from electronics to apparel. And, while most prices you see are generally lower than prices elsewhere, there are also ways to further enhance your savings.
Being an informed consumer is key when trying to understand the best things to buy on AliExpress.
Understanding what deals to look for, you can spend a fraction of what you would otherwise. On AliExpress, there are two main kinds of strategies to follow:
General shopping tips – Hacks that apply to most if not all shopping, such as:
- Bulk buying
- Shopping out of season
- Using coupons, rebates, etc.
AliExpress-specific tips – Ways to save just on AliExpress, including:
- Using the AliExpress app
- Searching “Flash Deals”
- Shopping safely
Maximize your savings by combining all of these strategies.
Buy in Bulk, When Possible
As noted above, AliExpress’s sister site, Alibaba, is designed for wholesale rather than retail. As such, to purchase a product, you need to buy in a bulk order. While this costs more upfront, the actual price per unit is about as low as it can possibly be.
That price per unit tradeoff isn’t unique to wholesalers like Alibaba.
In many shopping contexts, a product becomes cheaper the more units you buy. That’s no less true on AliExpress. In fact, these deals happen in real time as you shop. Selecting quantities greater than one can immediately change the unit price on certain goods.
Shop Outdated or Out of Season
When’s the best time to buy a winter coat? The summer.
Besides buying the same product in bulk, another saving trick that works across many shopping contexts is looking for out of season or outdated items. Retailers need to move products, so items that have been sitting on shelves for too long will be discounted by the AliExpress seller.
This goes for both brick and mortar stores and virtual “shelves.” And it’s not just for clothes.
When’s the best time to buy a phone model? When a newer one replaces it. Technology is also much cheaper once it’s outdated, even only slightly so.
Use Promos, Coupons, and Rebates
One of the best ways to save on goods in any shopping context is to game all available deals, both from the retailer itself and from third parties that partner with it.
Three of the most common kinds of deals are:
- Promotions applied to product categories
- Coupons for individual products
- Rebate programs offering cash back
Promotions and coupons offer money off your upfront cost, for a limited time. But rebates offer potentially greater savings with cash back after a short period of time.
And when it comes to rebates, we’re your first and best option.
RebateKey offers countless Alibaba deals. Shopping with us, you can save up to 70% on your AliExpress order. Over the past 30 days, shoppers have saved an average of $50 dollars on their AliExpress purchase with the help of RebateKey.
Use the Mobile App
As if the deals available on AliExpress’s website weren’t enough, their dedicated mobile app offers even more opportunities for saving.
The AliExpress app is 100% free on Android and iOS.
Once you download it, you’ll be immediately rewarded with cash back incentives on your first purchase. And these incentives scale up with purchase price, enabling up to $100 dollars cash back on purchases over $200 dollars.
Plus, using the app gives you access to special “mobile only” deals unavailable anywhere else.
Look Out for Flash Deals
One of the absolute best ways to save on AliExpress is their “Flash Deals” section.
This is a unique, time-sensitive sales section that offers major discounts on all kinds of AliExpress products. Common items featured include:
- Beauty products
This sale section offers steep discounts, many of which can compound with other sales and coupons as well. It’s not uncommon to see discounts well over 50% off. The catch? These sales are only available for exactly six hours.
Act quickly to save!
Stay Safe, Save Money
Finally, one last way to save money on AliExpress is unfortunately related to safety issues associated with the site. Steering clear of subpar products and sellers saves you money on replacement and shipping cost.
AliExpress has an unearned reputation for being home to scams and fakes.
And, like any online store where individual third pirates can sell to consumers, there are of course a certain number of shady sellers. However, that number is no higher on AliExpress than on comparable sites, like Amazon or Ebay.
In order to keep yourself protected:
Buy from trusted, highly-rated sellers
Make use of buyer protections:
- Products not received within the given period qualify for money back
- Items that don’t match descriptions are eligible for a refund
- Within 15 days, you’ll have your money back
Always use AliExpress’s own built-in payment system
Following this and the other tips above, you’ll maximize your savings on AliExpress. Now, it’s worth thinking about how and why these deals are so attractive, relative to other sites.
Why is AliExpress So Cheap?
For one thing, all of the hacks and tips above converge to make saving on AliExpress extremely easy. Taken together, those tips are some of the biggest reasons AliExpress is cheap. But there are also some unique factors related to its business model that are important.
The factors below set AliExpress apart from its e-commerce competitors:
Competing Businesses, Collaborating Sales
Aside from all the tips mentioned above, there are actually two main sources of discounts available on many goods offered on AliExpress:
- Deals from the individual retailers
- Deals offered by AliExpress itself
Especially in the US, where AliExpress doesn’t have the market share it enjoys elsewhere, AliExpress knows it is competing for your business with other retailers. So, it offers promotions on individual purchases, such as the standard first-time buyer sale.
Plus, each individual retailer is also vying for your purchase, competing with all the other sellers both on and off of AliExpress. That’s why individual sellers also offer steep discounts.
All that competition compounds in bonus savings for you, the customer.
Dropshipping: the Future of Distribution
Dropshipping is a key element to the design and practical application of AliExpress worldwide.
It’s also one of the most innovative developments in shipping and logistics. Dropshipping enables sellers anywhere in the world to get products to their buyers without worrying about inventory or shipping cost. It removes friction and helps products fly off shelves.
What that means for you as a consumer is that you can buy nearly any product at wholesale or near-wholesale prices, wherever you’re buying from.
Whether you’re buying from a product manufacturer or a savvy reseller, the experience is the same: it’s as though you’re buying from the source.
Generics: Not Fake, Just a Different Take
As mentioned above, AliExpress has a reputation for fake and counterfeit goods. Relative to other online retailers, this is an unfair assessment. However, there are many off-brand goods available on AliExpress that offer cheaper alternatives to name-brands offerings.
As with pharmaceuticals and groceries, you should think of these as generics. These products can even offer benefits over their branded rivals:
- They’re usually less expensive
- They’re often of the same or better quality
- They may have unique features not present in the name-brand equivalent
As long as you’re shopping safely and watching out for fraudulent practices, you should have no trouble getting the value you need, with or without name brands.
Save Money Every Day with RebateKey
Here at RebateKey, we’re dedicated to helping you save money on all your purchases, all the time. That’s why we offer various buyer programs, including specialized AliExpress and Amazon deals, and many of your other favorite retailers.
It’s also why we publish informative guides like this one.
So, now that you know how to get the most out of your online shopping at AliExpress, it’s time to put that knowledge to use. Go ahead and start saving with RebateKey!
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Giving Assistant. Best Ways to Save Money at AliExpress (2020 Guide). https://blog.givingassistant.org/save-on-aliexpress/
MakeUseOf. 5 Tips to Buy Safely on AliExpress and Avoid Frauds or Scams. https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/buy-safely-aliexpress-scams/
StartupBros. Safely Buy From Aliexpress: A Complete Walk Through for 2019 (With Photos). https://startupbros.com/buying-from-aliexpress/