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Amazon is an online retailer that offers extremely competitive pricing. Even though most of their products are found to be inexpensive, they too have to buy them at a cheaper price than what they’re selling for on their page in order to make a profit.
Amazon essentially works as a middleman, buying goods and a cheap price and then reselling them. What if you could buy these goods directly from the manufacturer instead? In this article we’re going to show you that most of these products come from, and that you can buy them directly from the wholesaler for a huge discount.
What Is Alibaba?
Alibaba is basically the Amazon equivalent in China. You buy goods at a cheap price and have them quickly sent to your door. For those who want to buy in bulk, you have the normal Alibaba page. Depending on the product, you may have to buy a minimum quantity of 10, or sometimes up to 1,000.
For those of you who only wish to buy 1 or 2 units of a specific product, Alibaba created their consumer page called AliExpress. Prices are a bit higher on this page, but are still cheap in comparison to what you might find on most US retail sites.
Even though Alibaba is based in China, they have a page that’s completely in English for international users. With AliExpress, ordering is usually a quick and easy process that only takes a couple of minutes to complete. Even though their page isn’t as quick or as savvy as Amazon, they do offer great prices and excellent customer service.
A Lot Of Amazon Products Come From Alibaba – Price Comparison
Most of the products that you find on Amazon come from Alibaba. In fact, most of these products are not even directly sold from Amazon, but rather individuals that buy products from China and then resell them on Amazon. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples to make this more clear.
In the image below we see an electric mosquito racquet for $20 on Amazon. It’s ranked as the #1 best seller in its category and has a lot of positive reviews, meaning that it probably is both reliable and works really well.
Being as frugal as I am, I didn’t want to spend such a large amount for something so simple, yet I also wanted this exact product because of all of the positive reviews that it’s received.
I decided to look around, and I was unable to find a cheaper price. That is until I looked on AliExpress. I found the exact same moqsquito racket on AliExpress for just $14 with free shipping. There’s also no subscription fee like there is with Amazon Prime. While the difference isn’t much, I’m still saving $6 in the long-run.
If we turn to the manufacturer page at Alibaba.com, we find the same racquet for $1 provided that I order a minimum of 1,000 racquets (these quantities are often negotiable). This price doesn’t include shipping, but with that included you’re only looking at $3 – $4 per racquet.
For our purposes, we’re probably going to want to go with AliExpress since we don’t want to order such a large quantity.
As you see from the image above, a company called “Elucto” is buying these in bulk and then reselling them on Amazon for a large profit. Instead of going through them, you can either buy a lot through Alibaba, or just get one and still save some cash with AliExpress.
While not a horrible price, we turn to AliExpress and find the exact same thing listed for only $1.22 with free shipping. You could end up saving roughly $9 on your purchase.
If we turn to the Alibaba manufacturer page, we find that the you can buy the same light for under $1 (depending on the quantity purchased), but this usually requires you to buy in bulk, so again we’re most likely going to stick with AliExpress.
A Few Things To Be Aware Of
Although it may look like candy and sunshine buying on AliExpres or Alibaba, there are a few things you should be aware of when purchasing from their website.
Extremely Long Shipping Times
Shipping is usually free on AliExpress, but the average shipping time for large products can take anywhere from 10 – 25 business days. If you need something in a hurry, this just isn’t going to cut it. For smaller items that can be placed in an envelope, usually you’ll receive them within 10 business days.
If I need something in a hurry there’s no way I’m going to wait that long. For products that I know I’m going to need to replace, sometimes I order a product on Amazon first and then the second one on AliExpress. When the first one breaks I’ll have the second one available, and I ended up saving a lot of money.
AliExpress does accept returns, and they’re usually really good about it. Yet again, you’re looking at really long wait times to get your money back for a product. In order to save money on shipping you’re going to want to choose the slowest shipping time.
Due to escrow laws, Alibaba might not be able to ship to certain states (such as the state of Washington). If you try to ship it to certain states AliExpress won’t even process your order. One way to get around this is to ship it to a friend located in another sate and eventually meet up with that person.
Working With China
Although Alibaba is highly reliable and has been in business for many years, you’re still working with a country on the other side of the world. Expect things to take a bit more time. Furthermore, if you’re contacting a seller using English, you’ll need to be very specific with your instructions.
Most sellers have pretty decent English, but Chinese is their mother tongue, so there may be some miscommunication if some unclarity is present.
Save An Extra 2% On All AliExpress Purchases
Here on FFL, we’ve frequently mentioned the use of cash back portals to save money when shopping online. When you use the TopCashBack shopping portal, you can get an additional 2% in cash back on all AliExpress products.
Sign-up for a TopCashBack account by clicking this link here. Type in “AliExpress” in the search bar and you should notice a box that comes up saying you’ll receive 2% cash back on all purchases.
Usually it takes up to 10 days to verify your cash back, but I’ve never had a problem receiving it. The money will go directly into your TopCashBack account, and once you reach a minimum of $20 you can withdraw it.
If you need an item fairly quickly, I would recommend just sticking with Amazon. Yet if you’re willing to wait a little bit extra longer, you could save a great deal of money by going through Alibaba or AliExpress. A great way to make use of this is when you go Christmas shopping. Just make sure to get your Christmas list done early.
It may be a bit difficult working with AliExpress since they’re located in China, but all sellers that I’ve encountered have been extremely friendly, and I’ve never had a problem with any order (I’ve made about 10 orders so far). If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them down below. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!