If you are not well acquainted with AliExpress, here’s a quick primer. It’s a mighty online retailer owned by the Alibaba group which is a Chinese eCommerce group. AliExpress is targeted at potential international buyers and one of the largest retailers in the world in terms of revenue equating to Amazon and Walmart. AliExpress itself doesn’t sell wares instead it’s a huge platform that allows third parties to sell.

It is enthralling that the Chinese are not allowed to purchase from this platform instead they have to look for a domestic Ecommerce such as TaoBao.

Why Is AliExpress So Cheap?

There are many possibilities of why the products on this platform are cheaper compared to many other online retailers.

The merchants who sell on AliExpress are based in China hence the merchandise is directly from the Chinese manufacturers which reduces a lot of costs and eventually product’s selling price is low. Another reason could be that the products are rejected knockoff pieces from a brand during quality control and quality assurance checks.

Is the Experience Safe and Legit?

Just like any other online business, the risk is inherent and one needs to be extremely cautious and do some research before jumping to conclusions. The disadvantage of online business is you can’t see the products in person and can’t judge the quality physically; it’s always a ride or die situation.

When you are buying from a well reputable store and read online reviews or even head to the physical store to abrogate the problems be it quality or size. This means you have limited options such as seeing online reviews and photos of the product on the same platform and also a number of that product sold and the number of satisfied customers.

Buyers are skeptical and concerned if the seller takes their money to run over the hills and never to be heard from. It is essential for such a platform to create a customer protection policy and ensure the customers are not deceived.

Why Does AliExpress Have a Poor Reputation?

When you shop from a U.S based online website you get exceptional premium products because their quality control process is strong with minimum loopholes. AliExpress is a platform of wholesalers and manufacturers with an inadequate quality assurance system hence the products are not always up to the mark or topnotch quality.

Another possible reason is that sellers defraud the buyers, sometimes the shipping takes very long and poor customer overall makes it an unattractive business which affects the reputation.

Is It Safe to Do Drop Shipping?

AliExpress has a drop shipping program called as Alidropship which is similar to traditional drop shipping. AliExpress products can be good, fast, and cheap altogether. Using Alidropship provider makes it easy to import budget products with low cost and high margin to your online store.

The website does not charge any upfront fee for drop shipping hence you can easily experiment with it. It is challenging to choose whether to do drop shipping from AliExpress or Alibaba as you need to take into account payment options, false advertisements, and shipping costs.

The payment options with Alibaba are slightly difficult for smaller sellers as they need access to funds quickly to maintain the cash flow. Alibaba focuses on large sums of money optimized for international markets.

So, if you’re considering AliExpress for drop shipping always vouch for sellers ratings, read the reviews, judge to photos attached in feedback to ensure customers are satisfied with what they received and a safe way is to select sellers with buyers’ protection policy in case of order disputes.

In the case of Alibaba its preferable to order a sample piece before committing to bulk purchase to avoid any issues.

Are the Payment Methods Safe?

AliExpress Payment

The most convenient payment method in AliExpress is via debit/credit card. Customers are not comfortable in making payments through cards and they don’t want to risk the security of payments; therefore, AliExpress has taken some security measures to make it safe for customers to pay via debit/credit cards.

AliExpress uses the pin code method to countercheck authenticity so when you make payment via debit/credit card you have to confirm transaction through SMS passcode which makes the online shopping safe. Also, customers must keep international transactions locked via their banks and only activate it for a limited time when they intend to make transactions.

Deliveries and Returns

AliExpress Deliveries and Returns

All the items on AliExpress have an estimated delivery time mentioned which is usually 20-60 days but due to COVID-19 crisis the delivery time is increased to 90 days (3 months). Delivery also depends on the shipping method chosen. Even if you receive notification that the products have reached your country they might keep sitting in the warehouse for a long time.

All shipments including free shipping items have a tracking number but the product might take a week or so to get dispatched only then the tracking number is added to the product and you can track wherever the product is floating till it reaches your countries customs clearance office.

If you haven’t received a tracking number you can reach out to the seller or open a dispute but unfortunately, that’s only possible once the maximum delivery time has ended.

You have to be a smart shopper before making a decision of purchase. AliExpress has a potent policy for the returns. If the customer never receives the product in the given time they can opt for a full return or if the product differs significantly from what was shown you can either send it back and claim a full return or keep the product and claim half return.

Hidden Costs of Aliexpress

You need to be clear about information about shipping goods from china to your country and any relevant import taxes. Almost all countries impose VAT taxes on imports and it’s a legal responsibility to pay these.

The transportation company will pay on your behalf and later issue a bill to you. Many customers were dismayed to find about these extra costs and left negative feedback for sellers which is why many sellers bypass these import duties by tagging packages as low-value gifts.

This is illegal. You need to opt for slow free shipping options if you want to avoid paying tariffs as express companies have strict policies and you will have to pay extra import duties on your package.


The key takeaways of this article were:

· Is AliExpress a safe website to shop from?

· Why is it so cheap?

· Is it safe and legit?

· Why does AliExpress have a poor reputation?

· Is it safe to do dropshipping?

· Are the payment methods safe?

· Delivery and any hidden charges


Risk is inherent and exists in every internet purchase transaction. AliExpress is a relatively safe platform and is legit. However, you must always be on your toes when purchasing from AliExpress.