If you’re in the trading business, you must have heard of Alibaba’s online platform. Founded in 1999, Alibaba is one of the world’s largest online wholesale markets. It offers connections and product ranges from mostly East Asian manufacturers.
When compared to alternatives such as AliExpress, target audiences are the most striking difference between the platforms. Alibaba is hailed as an authentic and reliable platform for business-to-business transactions. AliExpress, on the other hand, also caters to consumers.
However, is Alibaba as legit and authentic as people claim? Let’s explore how safe the online market really is for businesses:
What Services Does Alibaba Offer?
Alibaba is the sixth largest e-commerce company in the world. It falls behind Amazon, which remains number one in both size and gross revenue. However, in terms of the online wholesale industry, it’s bigger than all US-based retailers. It exceeds Amazon, eBay, and even Walmart.
The founder, Jack Ma, created the platform to connect Chinese wholesalers to businesses across the globe. Currently, the platform is accessible in around 200 countries, seeing over 100,000 customers every day.
Here are the main services offered by the website:
The platform primarily hosts Chinese manufacturers but also provides access to suppliers in Russia, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Thailand, and Turkey. Overall, these suppliers are categorized into 40 main groups, which include OEM, consumer electronics, textiles, etc.
You can place orders for anything from customized apparel and fashion accessories to home decor and furniture. You simply have to contact the seller and place an order according to the MOQ requirements.
If you’re a seller, the platform has a team of Business-2-Business specialists to help you boost your sales. They help sellers customize selling programs, which includes helping them set up seller accounts and posting different products.
Lastly, the online marketplace offers multiple online transaction options for both sellers and buyers, including online bank transfers, wire transfers, and debit or credit transfers.
Sellers can mark certain payment methods as their preferred transaction modes. However, buyers can switch methods at their convenience. Once the payment is complete, the service links you to shipment options.
Now, we’ve established Alibaba’s services. However, even if it’s a big online company, is it safe from scams? Well, on the whole, the answer is yes. The Alibaba Group has a reputation to maintain. As such, the company places special emphasis on authenticity and transparency.
Does that mean scams are impossible? The answer’s no. Even though the company has placed certain safety measures to prevent scamming, there’s only so much they can do.
If you’re a buyer, you must do your part as well. It’s your job to thoroughly research potential sellers and watch out for red flags.
Here’s what you can do:
Most profiles on Alibaba are verified by the company. As such, it’s always wise to look through each seller’s profile. However, some profiles may have a mix of verified and unverified information. You’ll have to double-check the seller information against external websites.
For example, most reliable sellers link their profiles to their official brand websites. These websites usually host more details about the seller. Cross-verify these details with the company information on Alibaba.
If a seller is claiming different things on both profiles, it’s a red flag. Moreover, if you can’t find an external website, look for the seller in Alibaba’s Trade Assurance list.
Secondly, if you’re unsure about a seller, check their rankings on the Alibaba platform. Previous clients can rate a seller based on their service and quality of goods. Gold-ranked suppliers are the best on the platform.
These suppliers may even have management certifications, which assure quality control. When it comes to Chinese goods, quality assurance is a major issue. Therefore, when you’re assessing sellers, verify their quality control measures.
Gold-ranked retailers will always have excellent quality listings. They will also have verification from third-party inspectors, attesting to their legitimacy as a company. Such inspectors check if a company exists in the location it’s based.
If you want to hire a third-party inspector to double-check, the supplier should be open to it. If they’re not, it’s quite clearly a red flag.
Thirdly, you should also check a seller’s preferred payment method. On Alibaba, you can either use credit cards, PayPal, or AliPay. All three methods are fairly safe, but PayPal is the safest from hacking and external interventions.
If a seller is asking for a non-conventional payment method, refuse their business. Similarly, if a seller asks for unreasonable deposits (aka more than 20% of the total amount), you should report them.
All in all, Alibaba is safe for online transactions due to the cautionary measures the company provides. As mentioned, the Alibaba platform provides trade assurance, which is a trade security service.
It helps buyers if they’ve been scammed or misled. For example, if you were sold low-quality goods, Alibaba’s trade assurance team would investigate the seller. In most cases, buyers are refunded their money, leading them to satisfactory outcomes.
Another example is unfulfilled orders. If you fail to receive your order, Alibaba’s customer support takes full liability. Their team will also handle supplier disputes, mediating between you and your retailer.
Overall, their goal is to ensure all suppliers are verified and all transactions are processed as per their website policy.
To conclude, Alibaba is quite legit as an online e-commerce company. It prioritizes both suppliers and buyers through its policies, ensuring fair trading transactions. Not only does the platform host a wide variety of products, but its customer support services also provide enhanced security and convenience to users.
If you’re looking to buy from Alibaba, you can rest assured. It’s an excellent platform for all sorts of businesses. It’s especially great for beginners as the platform provides user-friendly learning devices that familiarize rookies with the sourcing process.
- Is Alibaba Legit? — yes, it has many safety procedures are in place.
- Do scams happen on Alibaba? — it is not guaranteed that no scams will happen. As such, you need be careful and be cautious by keeping in mind the tips discussed above.
- Is it safe? — yes, most of the time.
- Is it a good platform for buying products for my business? — absolutely. It is one of the largest B2B platforms in the world and many businesses trust Alibaba.