Stillfigurineout Online Shopping (for toys!) Review: AliExpress

Here’s a review of my shopping experience with AliExpress!

URL: https://www.aliexpress.com/

My Referral Code: INK5M6C3 (for discount coupons for new sign ups!)

 

About the website

AliExpress is an online shopping website based in China. If you feel it sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is. It’s based off Alibaba.com, which is a website own by Alibaba Group. You’ve probably heard of their co-founder Jack Ma.

Even though Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com are under the same group, they are for different purposes. I have tried purchasing items from both, albeit only once with Alibaba.

Alibaba offers B2B (business to business) services, and AliExpress offers B2C (business to consumer) services. What it means is that Alibaba offers wholesale prices for their products for small or big businesses (or even for personal bulk purchases), whereas AliExpress is like Amazon and other online shopping sites.

They both have desktop and mobile versions.

I’m sharing about AliExpress here, but will also share about my experience with Alibaba.com.

AliExpress Mobile App

Above: Mobile app (left) and Desktop site (right)

I’ve always preferred to use the mobile app, as it’s really convenient to search for something whenever I need to.

Selection of Items

Aliexpress sell almost anything and everything. Furniture, household products, electronics, vehicle parts, you name it, they have it. Come on man, almost everything is made in China, so they have almost everything lol. Below are the categories of items listed in the mobile app.

AliExpress Categories

Having said that, for toy collectors, there’s also an abundance of toy options. However, you’ll have to be careful if you are looking for authentic figure. Some of the toys sold there may be KO (knock-offs), bootleg, or basically non-authentic. Their quality is different from authentic of course, but some are not so bad. There are some China brand Marvel figures (ZD Toys) that are sold there too. I feel that some of these figures are good for spare or fodder parts for Marvel Legends.

Same for other items as well, quality and authenticity is something that is up to you to verify. Looking at reviews is really helpful, and for further checking or clarification of doubts, google is just a few clicks away.

 

Price and Payment

Price

The prices of most items are reasonable, and I dare say most are cheaper than their retail counterpart. They always have multiple sellers selling the same item, so be sure to filter through the price list so that you would get the best deal.

Some shops have discount coupons (with minimum expenditure), so be sure to look out for it.

Of course, you get what you pay for. For example, don’t expect a $20 smart watch to have the same quality and built as, say, a Garmin smart watch. However, having said that, most items are of decent quality enough in my opinion. Again, always look at the reviews and feedback.

Payment

Payment, like on other online shopping platform is relatively easy and straightforward. Just add a debit/credit card and you are good to go. The check out process is as smooth as Amazon. Just add items in cart and check out when ready.

They offer 60-days money back guarantee too, but I have never needed to use that.


>> My Referral Code: INK5M6C3 <<

Do use my referral code if you decide to sign up for an AliExpress account! I’ll get a USD5 coupon, but you’ll get USD19 worth of coupons!

Even if you already have an account (but had not entered a referral code when you signed up), you can enter my referral code and still enjoy the coupons!


Communication and Shipping

Communication

 AliExpress Chat MessageThe AliExpress app has a chat function in the ‘Messages’ option, so you can enquire with the seller directly before or after a purchase. They are mostly responsive and will reply as soon as they can. The moment you make a purchase, there will be a new chat added to your chat inbox, for you to chat with the seller if need be. This is a convenient automatic action done by the app.

You can see in the picture beside that once order is confirmed, a chat option is available if you need to chat with the seller.

 

 

Shipping

Most items have free shipping with tracking, or some may have an optional tracking fee. For bulkier items, shipping will be more expensive. Sometimes the tracking is only to the destination country, after which it is sent by your local mail service which does not have tracking.

AliExpress also ships worldwide. I’ve seen reviews from many different countries including those from Europe and South America. I have also chatted with Instagram users from other countries that use AliExpress. They just take a longer time to ship there compared to Asian countries.

 

My Experience

Even though this review is about AliExpress, I’ll just share my experience with Alibaba too.

Alibaba

I find Alibaba very tedious to use, and the amount saved is not much unless you buy in the item in a big bulk. It really is meant for B2B purposes. Here is what you need to do when ordering:

1. Search and decide on an item

2. Ask for quotation after informing them on the quantity

3. Decide on shipping (using your choice of freight services or seller’s if they have)

4. Payment

It may take a bit of time for them to reply a quotation (a few hours or even a day or two). And if you make changes to the quantity, then you’ll need a new quotation.

After that, deciding on a freight service is another mess if you are not familiar with it (just like me). I ended up using one that they recommended. Then the payment was another thing. I can’t remember the entire process as it has been more than a year since I did my only order, but it wasn’t as straight forward as a B2C platform.

AliExpress

I’ve has no problems so far using AliExpress. I’m mostly on the mobile version. Checking out my cart and making payment is smooth and easy. The items come at random duration, from earliest 5 to 6 days to more than a week (I’m in Asia, so it doesn’t take that long for me!). It is also easy to communicate with the seller via the chat function. I’ve only had one hiccup so far after so many purchases, whereby the item was held back in the China custom. The seller reshipped it and I received it, just that it took almost a month instead of the usual one week or so.

 

Verdict

Online Shopping at AliExpress is great! They really have everything, I even bought some motorcycle parts/accessories there for my Honda bike. I’ve bought some ZD Toys Marvel figures from there too. I mostly buy action figures and motorcycle accessories from AliExpress.

TL;DR

+ Sells almost everything (including toys and action figures! Though you need to be wary of authenticity)

+ Good price point for most items

+ Smooth check out and payment process

+ Easy communication with seller via chat function

+ Shipping with tracking

+ Ships worldwide 

+ Has a referral program so both referrer and new sign up get discount coupons

+/- You get what you pay for. Don’t expect high quality or excellent workmanship for cheap items lol. But having said that, most items are actually alright. Always look at reviews and feedback of the item, and compare prices of the same item from different sellers to get the better deal.

– I feel that overall, Shopee is slightly cheaper (but just slightly), but still prices are good at AliExpress


>> My Referral Code: INK5M6C3 <<

Do use my referral code if you decide to sign up for an AliExpress account! I’ll get a USD5 coupon, but you’ll get USD19 worth of coupons!

Even if you already have an account (but had not entered a referral code when you signed up), you can enter my referral code and still enjoy the coupons!


Do follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest!

If you’ve bought stuff from AliExpress, share your experience in the comments below! Thanks for dropping by! =)

35 Comments

  1. Ali-Express is great for personal consumption or business (Drop-Shipping). Thanks a lot for the given code; by the way, is it only valid for toys purchasing or I can use it on any type of inventory?

    Ali-express is one of the industry’s disruptive types of novelties. The American culture (Willing to get everything on the spot, at the moment) is the one thing that is keeping people away from great saving on these particular sites.

    Thanks, for a great review!

    1. Yeah I’ve heard that AliExpress can be used for drop-shipping, but that’ll take a lot of work; setting up your site is one, then the competition there is massive! You’d really have to stand out or have some strategy in place to sell via drop-shipping there.

      Ah yes, if you order from AliExpress (and as with most online platform), there is wait time. And especially since it’s based in China, countries outside of Asia has a longer delivery time. So buy only when you have the time to wait!

      Thanks for the comment Juan!

    2. Oh yeah, the coupon can be used for any purchase, not just toys!

  2. Good to have the discount coupon! I used to use Alibaba since I was doing some projects as a wholesaler. In alibaba people were very friendly and answered very quickly as you say.

    Do the products arrive directly at your door?

    With alibaba I have bought and sent to different parts of the world, and it has always worked very well. They have always strived with the best customer service.

    I have read that you were talking about quality that may not be the best. I was just looking for a Smart Watch. Have you made any purchase of this product?

    Thank you!
    Pablo

    1. Hi Pablo

      Yeah, the sellers at Alibaba has to be friendly, the competition there is high and they’d want you to buy from them. They do try to get back asap, but due to time zone difference, the reply is usually not immediate unless you catch them at their ‘opening’ hours.

      When I ordered, yes, the product arrive directly at my doorstep! Great that you had a good experience with them too.

      I’ve actually bought a smart watch which cost roughly around USD15. The touch screen is not as smooth, the display not so sharp, and the material feels kinda cheap, but it does look durable to a certain extent. I didn’t even use it, and sold it away at the price I got it for. If you want to get a smart watch or a fitness tracker, better to get from the reliable brands like Samsung, Fitbit or Garmin. Definitely more expensive, but it would be a worthy purchase.

      Thanks for dropping by!

  3. Hi Ideso, I really wanna commend you for taking pain to bring out such a detailed and in depth observation.
    Almost everyone have had about Ali baba group and Jack Ma but not everyone knows the Ali express you mentioned here, and this is a kind of eye opener to the benefits and advantages the Ali express offers its consumers.
    I have tried the Ali express before directly from China and I can attest to the fact that this piece of information are all true.
    Should we talk about their easy access, their guarantee, the products and so on.
    This toys you have brought forward here would be a very lucrative one for someone who wants to ship huge amount of toys, for the purpose of resale, so I think Alibaba is a perfect option.

    1. Hi Carol

      The thing is, most items sold are the same in Ali Baba and AliExpress. It’s great that the AliExpress platform is available for ease of purchase, as Ali Baba caters to bulk purchases mostly.

      And yeah Ali Baba can be one of the source to get bulk items at cheaper price for the purpose of resale, but always ask for a sample first!

  4. Hi,

    Thank you for your informative article; simple, concrete and easy to catch.

    I am a fan of Alli Express, especially for yoga products. I started a few years ago, just for curiosity. I bought a few blocks for yoga, which I still use them every day for my clients. Are still in good shape. And I love the competitive price.

    The only inconvenient (if I can say so) is the shipping,  which took over 1 month. But I highly recommend. I do not know all the products, but of course depends on the producer.

    1. Hi Diana

      Thanks for sharing your experience! The products there are of decent quality. Yeah and I love the competitive price too, who doesn’t?

      You are right about the shipping. I’m in Asia, so I usually get my items in about a week or so. Those who stay outside of Asia takes a longer shipping time. And also, as mentioned, if you’re unsure about a product, always look at the reviews of the items from different sellers (as most items have multiple sellers selling them). That way, you’d have a better review of the product.

  5. Thanks for the review! I have thought about using AliExpress or at least use it to compare with price and quality of an object on Amazon to see what deals I can find. I like the message feature.  Especially since it makes it easier to connect with the seller.  I know on Amazon they have email and sometimes phone, but I like the immediate availability of the message feature.  It seems simpler.  I will definitely check it out and use your reference code!  Thanks again!

    1. Hi Jennie!

      Yes, the message feature makes it very convenient to communicate with the seller. I’ve used it when communicating about my delayed shipment of items. 

      And yeah, always check between different sites for better prices or deals on similar items! I like Amazon too lol. 

      Thanks for reading the post! =)

  6. Hello Ideso – Thanks for this post.  I haven’t heard of this organization before, but it is nice to have another shopping alternative.  I will definitely give them a try when I have recovered from the Christmas holiday.  I have to get those balances down you know.

    Many thanks for this opportunity!

    1. Hey Nathaniel

      You should try them out! But yeah, spend within your means. Sometimes we can get carried away with online shopping!

  7. Wow, I had never heard of AliExpress before now. I went to the site and found some pretty cool stuff.

    A pair of earrings caught my eye and what I really liked about it was they offered an option of a velvet pouch for only .80 cents more or a gift box for $1.50. That’s definitely a plus when you’re buying something as a gift.

    Have you ever encountered any problems with them, or have you ever had any problems getting any questions answered?

    1. Hi!

      Yeah they offer so many different types of items, almost whatever you can think of, its available there lol. And the price is great too. 

      Yeah sometimes they don’t offer packaging, and that would save you a bit of money. So if you plan to buy an item a a gift, then definitely get the box, heh.

      Of course no online selling platform is perfect, there are bound to be hiccups here and there, but so far I have not encountered any major problems with them. Like I mentioned in the post, there was once I had an item delayed to more than a month, but there was ongoing communication with the seller and they promptly sorted it out for me. So it’s been a good experience for me so far.

      Thanks for reading the post. =)

  8. Thank you for your honest review!

    I am usually wary of products coming directly from China because usually, they are cheap knock offs (the Chinese love to steal patents and copy products to sell them at a wayyyy cheaper price…only to find that they dont work with sense anyway), so I tend to stay away from them. The idea of purchasing directly from China online is an even scarier prospect.

    However, your review gave me a bit of peace of mind. At least I know that there will be knock-offs there and all I’d need to do is research by reading reviews on the product. Thank you so much!

    1. Heyya!

      Yeah, there are knock off items there, but certain items are just simply China brands. For example, plenty of household products and clothes are just random China brands which works just as well. Electronic gadgets too. Just be sure to check that the item that you are looking for has positive reviews. =)

  9. Hi! I really liked to read about Alibaba and the 40… no, that’s another story… about Alibaba and AliExpress. I have shopped in Amazon but never have used their retail counterpart. I have always head they have good prices and would like to check them out myself. It’s cool we can get $19 USD worth of coupons by signing up with your referral code. I’ll do just that!

    1. Lol! You should check AliExpress out! Of course, for major brands, I’d go for Amazon. But any other stuff, I’ll definitely check out AliExpress.

  10. Wow! This was great news to me since I like shopping online. I didn’t even know a site like this existed. I normally am buying tons of car and motorcycle parts, since I work on them. I normally use ebay, but with cheaper pricing and COUPONS, I think I found my new store, Thanks.

    1. If you are buying vehicle parts, be sure to clarify that it’s compatible with your vehicle model. You wouldn’t wanna wait out for it to be delivered and realize its not compatible! 

  11. Ali express is one of my favourite sites as they have every little thing that you nee I have shopped for countless products on Ali express and I swear after Amazon I think they are next. For Alibaba, I think it nice too although I haven’t gotten anything from there since is wholesale stuff but they have a very good rating and I would advise everyone to try them out

    1. I’d say I buy different stuff from Amazon and AliExpress. For my action figures, I buy mostly from Amazon and occasionally at AliExpress, but for household products, I usually go for AliExpress due to their decent quaility and cheap price. 

      For personal usage, I actually don’t recommend Alibaba. You’d only want to use Alibaba if you want to buy items in bulk, say, a hundred of the item or more.

  12. Well thanks for sharing your experience when shopping in AliExpress. I haven’t got the chance to use them when they announce localization in my country (it was terminated now), so I now know what can I expect if I decide to buy something from them. Is there a lot of electronics in their website? I am also looking to buy cheap headsets and smartwatch with decent quality 🙂

    1. There are a LOT of electronics in their website, but you gotta look through the reviews to make sure you get one which is of good quality! They may not have major brands, but most are still decent in quality. Always check the reviews!

  13. Upon looking for places to buy a birthday present for someone close to me, I stumbled upon your article about Alibaba and Aliexpress.  I’ve never heard of either one.  I have noted your referral code and will use it.  It looks like I can buy pretty much everything and save money in the process.  Thanks for posting this informative article.  I learned something today and I have you to thank.  

    1. Hope you can find what you need! Thanks for dropping by.

  14. Hello, Ali-Express is great for personal consumption or business (Drop-Shipping). Thanks a lot for the given code. Now I know that Aliexpress sell almost anything and everything. Furniture, household products, electronics, vehicle parts, you name it, they have it. It’s cool we can get $19 USD worth of coupons by signing up with your referral code. I’ll do just that!

    1. Yeah they sell almost everything under the sun lol. And thanks in advance if you are going to use my referral code!

  15. Thanks for sharing this review of AliExpress. Now I really got the difference between Alibaba and AliExpress. I haven’t used either before but I have done some sourcing severally for items I was interested in but I didn’t place any orders. In my area, China has always been linked to counterfeit products but this is not true considering the fact that most authentic products available in the market today were all made in China.

    I love the fact that we can get a particular product from multiple sellers. This will encourage price to be beat down to the minimum possible. One thing I usually do before purchasing anything online is to check customers’ reviews (very important).

    I love AliExpress and would definitely purchase something from there in the future. Your tips are truly useful. Thanks.

    1. Actually, you do have to be careful for counterfeit products when shopping online on any site. If I need to find branded stuff (like Adidas or other major brands), I normally go to my local retail shops or the official adidas website itself. I usually buy household stuff which are ‘brand-less’ or China brand, and look through the reviews before buying them. I occasionally buy action figures at AliExpress too, but my main go to website for action figures if still Amazon lol.

      And yes, always compare prices! Most online selling platforms has multiple sellers for the same item. Always compare and get the best deal! 

  16. Thanks for sharing your online shopping experience, Ideso. I have read a few of AliExpress review but none has actual buying experience. I have browse AliExpress several times and tempted to buy but always doubted their quality. Next time, I will follow your buying tips and the discount coupon sure comes handy. Thanks again!

    1. Yeah give it a try! Like I mentioned plenty of times, always look at the reviews as they would help in your decision.

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