If you’ve been following me for a while, you’d likely have noticed that I kinda have a thing for Aliexpress. Ever since the day I first discovered Aliexpress, and subsequently obtained my very own debit card, things have taken a turn for the worse in my bank account. However, It’s not like I always buy useless things – no no, I mostly buy things that I want to benefit me. In the past though, I would probably side-eye my purchases…who am I kidding, I’ve side-eyed some purchases this year.
P.S. While you’re reading this, I’ll be slaving away doing a Law of Tort exam, trying to salvage my GPA. Pray for me.
What is Aliexpress?
Aliexpress is a huge Chinese online shopping website where you can get all sorts of amazing deals and items for very affordable prices (depending on the item). The website features 13 categories which all sorts of products fall under. It’s like a Chinese eBay (minus auctions), and there’s just so many different stores and sellers! You can get items for as low as 20 cents (under 100 Naira). It is available as a website, and also as an App for your mobiles.
Why I Love Aliexpress
Aliexpress is good for me because I mostly buy little things – blog props, underwear e.g. my bralettes, the occasional makeup item. From my experience so far (quite a bit of experience) I’d say here are some major reasons I love the site!
+ Free Shipping (not every item has free shipping, but a lot do!)
+ Constant Sales & Discounts
+ Uniqueness of Products
While I love Aliexpress and can say I’ve had majorly good experiences, there are things you must take into consideration when buying stuff from there, especially shopping on Aliexpress from Nigeria.
Based on my experiences, I’d like to offer some helpful tips!
Don’t Take the First Deal You See
Oh my goodness! This is very vital. Remember how I said Aliexpress has a lot of stores? This is a major advantage, but can quickly turn to a disadvantage if you don’t shop smart. If you go looking for necklaces for example, and you see a nice silver one for $1 (N350 thereabouts) and in your excitement rush to order, you might feel a deep regret when you scroll down and see that same necklace sold by another seller for about $0.80.
Given the fact that our exchange rate fluctuates, I believe every cent counts. You might feel that the person with a cheaper price has a lesser quality, but this is honestly not always the case. So my first tip is:
Don’t take the first deal you see, look around some more and do necessary price comparisons before clicking ‘buy’.
Reviews are Vital
The downside to this is that sometimes the reviews are from people in non-English speaking countries, and even if a translation is done, it comes out a bit gibberish-y. I like to look at the reviews because sometimes, there could be a few English reviews.
Also, sometimes the review may not be in an understandable language, but I’m sure we all understand photos! I love reviews with photos the most, at least you get an idea of what you’re getting.
When it comes to reviews, take into consideration three things:
1. Sometimes, the seller begs the customer to leave a good review even if some nonsense has transpired.
2. I believe most times people rate a product as soon as they get it from the post office. They haven’t tried it yet, it’s all first impressions – this is why you should look for reviews with ‘additional feedback’.
3. Not everyone has the same experience. Maybe due to a mess up on the part of the postal service, the product arrived damaged to the customer, and they decide to leave a bad review.
Also, sometimes a product may not have any reviews. If you feel like it’s worth the risk, buy it. I was a bit scared when buying my palm leaves, but I was satisfied in the end. When it comes to more expensive items, however, stay woke.
Don’t be lazy like me – read the product description as well as reviews. I usually just read the reviews and get to ordering. When you read the product description, you can see vital info such as the measurements of the item. This can cause disappointment to be avoided! Some people complain about the size of their item, but didn’t read the product description.
Make Requests – Communicate
One thing I’m fond of doing is leaving a message for the seller as I place the order. I simply say ‘please package well’. Generally, I’d say the sellers take care in packaging, but a little reminder would not hurt.
It kills to wait for about 3+ weeks only to have a damaged item. A refund won’t bring back the time spent waiting and anticipating. I mean, yeah, I’m glad I have my money back, but I also really wanted that product, you feel?
Buy from the Same Seller
This is harder than it sounds. I talked on how there can be different prices with different sellers. This can make it hard for you to patronise the same seller for every item! However, the benefits of buying from the same person are that everything comes at the same time, and you can even get discounts when you reach a certain amount e.g. $20. This tip can be hard to stick to, but if you can (depending on what you’re buying) try it.
Patience is Key
If you’re shopping on Aliexpress from Nigeria – or basically anywhere else apart from China, you have to be patient. Free shipping has its pitfalls, and there’s definitely nothing ‘express’ about the shipping time for products when free shipping is the option.
If you pay for shipping though, the package can come faster. That leads me to my next point…
Don’t Buy Something You Need in the Same Month
This issue can be mitigated by paying for shipping (which is quite pricey) and since I’m sure most of us are on a budget, this point is important! I think the items that come fast are hair bundles and other techy stuff, but remember this! Items can take up to 3 weeks to come. Some items never come (I don’t think I’ve experienced this yet)! Thankfully, there is the ‘open dispute’ button for these situations.
If you feel an item is taking too long and the 60-day purchase protection is ending, message the seller, and they’ll extend the purchase protection. In fact, perhaps I’ll do a separate post on how to get money back in the case of such issues.
At the end of the day, experiences will differ. While I may get my packages, another person ordering from the same country as me might not – due to several factors. I could say so much more, but we’re already entering 1000 words, and I know people don’t always like lengthy stuff! However, I do hope you have enjoyed the post and found it informative.
If you have any more questions, I could answer them in another post, or even in the comments!
Ever patronised Aliexpress? How would you rate your experience?