We must differentiate between the online commerce service with respect to the group. That is to say, differentiate Alibaba.com from the Alibaba Group which encompasses 18 companies among which is AliExpress or AliPay.
Differences between AliExpress and Alibaba
aliexpress It needs no introduction and it arrived in 2010. Although it was conceived as Alibaba for sales between companies, today it is an e-commerce platform for sales to individuals where we can find practically anything and which usually stands out for a low price on all products. . Covers for mobile phones, clothes…
Everything is usually affordable, although shipping times are often long. We can buy something cheap on AliExpress but we usually have to wait several weeks for it to arrive. We buy from other sellers and the web serves as an intermediary to buy from different countries or find a complete catalog with many different offers.
What is the difference between AliExpress and Alibaba? They are both online stores. both are from the Alibaba Group and sell products of all kinds. The second was born in 2010 and the first ten years earlier. But the main difference between the two is that one is focused so that we can all buy. The other, wholesale. AliExpress allows us to add items to the basket and buy them but Alibaba normally does not (there are some specific cases that will allow it) but first we need to contact the final company and finally we can make the purchase. It is designed for companies.
This is Alibaba.com
Alibaba.com is an online store available in many countries. Among them, Spain. It is less well known than others in the same group, such as AliExpress itself, because it is not intended for the final consumer but rather in a wholesale format. The purchase here is done in bulk, with large blocks of products regardless of what you want to buy. It can be a box with a hundred mobile phone cases or a thousand screws. It is generally purchased in blocks (with few exceptions) and works as a website that acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller but does not have its own stock or logistics service or shipments, as we have explained before.
It was created in the late nineties and its great difference with other Chinese online stores is that we are not going to find the final price in the product file and we add it to the basket and that’s it. No, here we have to contact the store or the seller to agree on a final price and close the sale. In most cases, this is the process to follow, although there may be exceptions that do allow you to shop as usual, normally. If not, we have to negotiate. Once we agree on the price, we can proceed… Of course, we will generally find a file that gives us some details about the prices or quantities of each of the products according to the order placed, but the minimum may be a thousand units, for example.
Categories and products
One of the most striking aspects of Alibaba.com is the categories. We will find sections and products that you will not usually find in other online stores like Amazon or like AliExpress. For example, the vehicle section or the machinery section that you see on the web.
Alibaba.com Top Categories They are: consumer electronics, vehicle and accessories, sports and entertainment, machinery, home and garden, beauty and personal care. Within each of them we can find all kinds of products of all prices. From a machine to make caps for more than eight thousand euros to a pack of 200 bath oils.
As we have explained before, in the product sheet you will see a number of details. For example, we see the price of the product depending on what you order: from 1.96 euros if you order from 200 units to 2,999 units or from 1.70 if you order from 3,000 units to 49,999 units, according to the example that you can see in the image. We can also see the mandatory minimum order or whether or not we can customize it, for example. In addition, we see the shipping time that will depend on the products you want, the quantity of it.
Company information and contact
Within each product file we can see a file of its seller. In the case of our body oil example, we can see in a box on the right who the seller is, how long they have been on the platform or how many transactions they have made since they have been on Alibaba. We can also see approximately what the response time is.
In addition, we can access a tab where we will see all the details: We can see more information about the company such as the usual markets, the total number of employees, the country or region in which it is located, the products or the score (out of five) that other buyers have given before you.
As we said at the beginning, here we do not add products to the basket (in most cases, with some exceptions) but we contact to agree on a price and be able to have the sale. For this reason, in each product file that you see we have two buttons: “contact supplier” or “talk now”. This will allow us to agree on a price or negotiate shipping time, but also to be able to close the sale. If we tap on “talk now” we access a web chat tool that allows us to communicate in real time.
Guarantee and Trade Assurance
Trade Assurance is an Alibaba service that allows us to have a guarantee or be protected in imports. It allows us a series of advantages such as payment methods such as PayPal, for example. and promise have payment security. In addition, it has extended support: up to 30 days after delivery you can request a refund and the service will help you mediate and resolve the claim, reimburse you when appropriate, etc.
We simply have to place an order online by looking for the button on the product sheet. Once you do, we pay through this platform. Finally we will be sure have a refund if there is any problem with the shipment… in the import, etc.
Other Alibaba Group Companies
Beyond ALibaba.com there are other companies that are part of the group, such as the Taobao.com website launched in 2003. Taobao is an online store that connects consumers. It is similar to Ebay so you do not buy from a store as such but from another person, generally. Creators, small businesses, etc. What’s more, does not charge commission for transactions but only profits from advertising.
Another company part of Alibaba is Tmall. An online store but that we normally do not use from Spain but is focused on the Chinese market and where all kinds of brands are sold. It was born in 2008 as a platform or B2C Marketplace with all kinds of retailers. In addition, it also has its Global version for international brands.
In addition, another relevant service of this company beyond its stores is alipay. Alipay is a mobile and online payment platform. It was launched in 2004 and is currently one of PayPal’s main rivals with millions of users around the world, although mainly in China.