What is Alibaba and How Does It Work?

Need to move a large quantity of wholesale products at once?  Or perhaps you'd like to buy a bunch of wholesale goods in bulk.  If either of these scenarios apply to you, consider shopping at -- or becoming a seller on -- Alibaba.  It's one of the largest marketplaces of its kind for moving wholesale goods!

So what exactly is Alibaba?

Alibaba is an online platform that connects manufacturers and wholesalers in China to individuals and businesses around the world looking to trade or resell.  Users on Alibaba can buy products for their business and then use or re-sell them, or sign up to be a supplier looking to use Alibaba as a selling platform.

Alibaba is somewhat different from AliExpress (its sister website), as well as other popular e-commerce platforms such as eBay.com and Amazon.com.  This is because its focus is more on trade between businesses, rather than a direct-to-consumer or person-to-person approach.  That is, its business typically consists of products being sold in bulk by suppliers at wholesale prices to small or medium-sized businesses worldwide, who then re-sell them for a profit in domestic markets.  In that sense, Alibaba is more akin to "drop-shipping" services such as Doba.com

As a result of this model, many of the items that can be purchased on Alibaba require you to buy a minimum number of them at once.  However, there are some items that you are allowed to buy only a few of at a time, and Alibaba has no problem with people buying products from its suppliers to enjoy for themselves!

How does Alibaba work?  3 ways to use Alibaba

1. A large collection of wholesale products

Alibaba lets you get direct-to-consumer prices on a wide assortment of items from Chinese manufacturers.  Clothing, accessories, home & garden fixtures, sports & leisure equipment, toys... you're sure to find something that you like!

2. Search options help you narrow your bargain hunt

Are you looking for a product in a certain colour or material?  Or maybe something in a specific price range?  Or an item that you can have shipped for free?  Alibaba has several convenient search features that will help you filter through the selection until you find the perfect product for you.

3. Become a supplier and fill your own orders

Looking to sell instead?  You can sign up to be a product supplier on Alibaba.  Build your company profile, list and sort your products, and keep in touch with clients and partners without clogging up your personal email inbox.  If you buy an upgraded Gold Supplier account, you can even create your own mini-website on Alibaba, and create "showcases" to put your products in front of more potential buyers, more often!


(Image source: Alibaba)

 

Throughout our course on Alibaba, we'll show you how to buy or sell on the platform, as well as providing you some safety tips for doing so.  Remember, Alibaba is one of the largest portals in the world for buying or selling wholesale goods, so if you need to purchase it or move it in bulk, consider choosing Alibaba.com!

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