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Launched in 1999, Alibaba.com is a B2B ecommerce marketplace based in China. The platform allows you to target buyers in over 190 countries and regions and sell items across more than 40 major product categories.
However, Alibaba can be confusing and daunting for new sellers. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to sell on Alibaba.
Alibaba is an online marketplace for global import and export businesses to sell items in wholesale quantities. You can sell products across a wide range of categories, including:
There are a few simple steps that you can take to help you decide what to sell on Alibaba:
Alibaba doesn’t charge any:
UK sellers can sign up for Alibaba as a Free Supplier or a Gold Supplier. Free Suppliers can post up to 50 products online and source potential buyers through the platform.
If you sign up as a Gold Supplier, there are three membership packages to choose from: Basic, Standard or Premium.
|Number of products you can list||Unlimited||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Receive and respond to enquiries|
|Data and reporting|
|Personalised customer service||Local email support||Local email support||Dedicated account manager|
While it’s entirely possible to make money selling on Alibaba, there’s no guarantee of success. Not only will you need to compete with a wide range of other suppliers, many of whom are based in China and can offer products at bargain-basement prices, but you’ll also need to consider Alibaba membership fees and your other overheads.
But even though it’s no certainty that you will make money on Alibaba, there are a few simple things you can do to boost your chances of success:
You can register for an Alibaba supplier account by completing the following steps.
You’ll need to consider a couple of factors when pricing items on Alibaba:
Eventually, you’ll hopefully be able to find a happy medium that suits both you and your customers.
Alibaba accepts a variety of payment methods:
When a customer pays you with foreign currency, it’s important to find a cost-effective way to convert those funds back into GBP. While you can let your bank take care of the currency conversion for you, this means paying high transaction fees and accepting an exchange rate that’s well below the mid-market rate.
That’s why many businesses choose to open an online seller account. These multi-currency accounts allow you to receive fast payments in the buyer’s local currency, as well as access superior exchange rates when you convert your earnings into pound sterling.
For more information about the features and benefits of online seller accounts, check out the table below.
Disclaimer: Exchange rates change often. Confirm the total cost with the provider before transferring money.
When you’re working out an order agreement with a buyer, you’ll need to quote shipping costs and delivery timeframes. Because Alibaba lets users buy in bulk, depending on the size of the order, you may need to consider using a specialist international freight service.
There are plenty of international couriers to choose from, so compare quotes from several providers to find the most reliable and cost-effective option. For international orders, you’ll also need to choose between:
Finally, if you need to ship products from China, Alibaba offers its own logistics service, Alibaba Logistics. There are two options available:
Alibaba offers a range of tools that you can use to market your products to buyers, including:
Make sure you’re aware of these risks and drawbacks before you start selling on Alibaba:
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