Now that we've given you a short primer on what AliExpress is, are you thinking of speeding to use it as your source for low-cost online shopping? Not so fast... here are a few things -- good and bad -- that you should know about it before you use it.
Get stuff straight from the source for cheap -- Most sellers on AliExpress are wholesale retailers, so you can get products at a bit of a discount compared to wherever else they're sold.
Coupon clippers rejoice! -- AliExpress issues generic coupons for using the website during promotional times, as well as entering contests on their social media pages. Individual sellers may have their own virtual coupons for their specific store, as well. All of this adds up to more savings for you!
Buy with peace of mind -- On AliExpress, buyers are protected by a few simple guarantees. If your order doesn't arrive by the latest promised delivery date, you can apply for a full refund. Also, if you receive your order and it is significantly different from what was advertised, you can exchange it, return it for a full refund, or keep it and get a partial refund.
Non-Chinese sellers need not apply -- Unlike many of the more popular e-commerce websites, you can't become a seller on AliExpress unless you live in mainland China. They're thinking of changing this policy, but as of the writing of this course, they haven't yet.
Is the price worth the wait? -- Most of the products that you buy on AliExpress ship from China, so it will usually take a while for them to arrive (assuming that you live in North America or Europe). That is, unless you want to use expedited shipping options, but these can get pricey.
If you're using AliExpress, you're probably doing so for the prices. Stuff from Chinese wholesalers is usually a bit less expensive than it is if you buy it from other places. You can also use coupons from sellers or AliExpress itself to further reduce the cost of your orders.
However, since your stuff is coming all the way from China, you're going to have to wait a while for it to arrive. You can use expedited shipping options, but that will usually increase the price of your order to the point where you're not actually saving money. Plus, if you don't live in mainland China (which we assume that you don't), you can't sell your own goods on AliExpress.
Overall, AliExpress can be seen as sort of a bargain version of more popular e-commerce websites, such as Amazon or eBay. You just have to be vigilant about prices that are too good to be true, and patient in waiting for your orders to arrive.
Speaking of vigilance, our next tutorial will give you some safety tips for shopping on AliExpress.
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