How Alibaba Compares...
Are you thinking about starting a wholesale business or
thinking about finding new suppliers for products you’d like to re-sell? Alibaba
is an online portal / market place for wholesalers. If you want to have an
online wholesale business, you can connect with suppliers through the Alibaba
site and make arrangements to buy products at wholesale pricing and then resell
them. They call it a global trade platform. Alibaba also helps you leverage services such as escrow,
inspectors, and customized sourcing. You can find deals through their search function or you can put in an RFQ and have people
bid on it.
Selling on Alibaba:
If you want to sell bulk wholesale products, you can join for free and list your company,
list up to 50 products, and search buying leads. You can search leads and quote
buyers. If you want to use Alibaba for sales on a larger scale, you can
purchase a premium membership and get extra benefits. Most sellers are in China.
Buying on Alibaba:
As a buyer, you can use the feature that allows you to browse products to get an idea of pricing and to
choose a supplier. You can touch base with that supplier as well as determine
their status with the Alibaba site via examining their profile.
An an example, if you wanted to make a deal on some toys and resell them, you could find what you were looking for:
The above is one example of a product (supplier name has been blacked out). You can view information here to help you determine whether or not you want to touch base with this supplier to discuss the potential of doing business. Dealing with gold suppliers enables you to work
with paid members. Dealing with paid members provides you with access to
members who have met Alibaba’s authenticity / validity requirements. A “2” as
listed here indicates that the supplier has been a gold member for two years. the gold supplier status doesn't completely eliminate risk for you but it can minimize it.
If you wanted to talk to the supplier, you could initiate contact (names have been blacked out for privacy):
You can then manage communication through a message center from within and your Alibaba account.
Alternatively, you can fill post a buying request and have suppliers bid. The form is a large one but includes categories, descriptions, time frames, a place to add photos, and other info to help you describe what you're looking for. You then have the ability to choose a supplier to deal with.
In reviewing the Alibaba platform (but not actually initiating a sale), here's an opinion on Alibaba:
If you want to save money buying wholesale products and reselling them, connecting with a wholesale supplier in China could help you do this successfully and Alibaba has a lot of different suppliers to choose from with millions of products across many niches. Do your due diligence before sending any money, try a small sample order of you can, and if possible, use escrow services to safeguard your money as it will protect both the buyer and the seller.
Alibaba is a large company and does not appear to have the best reputation for timely responses to questions and to disputes. But that said, they do appear to listen to their community and seem to continually make changes and enhancements to their programs. The sheer size of their global marketplace makes it worth a look.
Many Alibaba sellers only sell in bulk so if you think Alibaba is too
big for you, you might opt to deal with AliExpress. AliExpress is also owned by Alibaba. This can be helpful
for those who want to place a smaller wholesale order. AliExpress has a
slightly better reputation (we've done an AliExpress review here on
TheWebReviewer, too. Click AliExpress Review). If you're interested in
learning about other wholesale opportunities, (perhaps local ones), you
can check out some of our other wholesale / dropshipping reviews.