How to order from Alibaba – step by step guide

How to order from Alibaba?

How to order from Alibaba is a question I have asked my self many times. Products are easy to find and prices are cheap – a lot cheaper than anywhere else. But you need to buy large quantities, so if you have a business or intend to make one, Alibaba is the biggest platform in the world to meet with potential partners. If you are not a business, you should use Aliexpress.

I have, however, done some business on the platform and have friends who uses it frequently. So here you can read the step by step guide on how to order from Aliexpress.

If you are not familiar with – Then read my page about Alibaba

Alibaba buying guide – step by step

You have a product that you would like to order from a manufacturer at the Alibaba platform? Ordering a product via may sound simple but a quick search on Google and the Alibaba forum actually proves the opposite.

alibaba-search – Step 1:

Option A – Product search

Enter a product name and you will probably get 500-500000 results. That’s a whole lot of products, but it says absolutely nothing about the suppliers behind these products.
How to order from Alibaba

Option B – Supplier search

You still enter a product name but search for suppliers. Istead of a list of products you receive a limited list of suppliers related to the product. This gives a huge advantage – “matching products” for all listed suppliers. I will now explain why this is so important:

The more suitable products you find with a supplier, the more likely it is that it is a professional manufacturer and supplier.

A supplier who specializes in specific products, can most likely give the lowest prices, better quality and less quality defects and even a faster production time. These manufacturers or suppliers have in most cases more experience and knowledge when it comes to product certification, which is specifically important for the European and American market.

A small number of matching products shows that the supplier is only an unprofessional mediator who has no idea about the product. Always aim for the specialised when you order from Alibaba..

Alibaba Buying request

In theory, this is a very nice feature. Give Alibaba information about your product, your price expectations, the shipping details and your payment method. Your Pricing (RFQ) is then displayed to thousands of Gold suppliers who can contact you and provide you with prices. The disadvantage is that 9 out of 10 suppliers gives a mass response to you and your price expectations are not even close to theirs.

Contact the supplier and Order Samples – step 2

Communication with Alibaba suppliers can be difficult. Many importers give up because they do not get any responses. This is because suppliers struggle with customers who cannot give any significant product characteristics. A few days ago I came across a thread in the Alibaba Forum, which was launched by a European importer. He did not get much response and the suppliers responses were:

“I am also a supplier. You should ask professional questions about your product and its components such as Processing, packaging, trustmarks in your country, OEM or OEM etc.”

“As a supplier I answer only to exact requests. If your questions are general, it is very difficult to help you. Please be specific in terms of the characteristics of your desired product.”

If you want to get a relevant quote, you should provide the supplier with important and accurate product information. Below 4 common reasons listed why Alibaba suppliers do not respond to requests:

  • The buyer does not mention significant product characteristics.
  • The buyer does not supply certification requirements
  • The buyer does not indicate whether he wants to order an existing product or an OEM product (buyer Custom Design).
  • The buyer does not provide contact details.
  • Alibaba suppliers are busy, and They get tons of inquiries every day. They know how to spot the difference between serious and opportunists that very unlikely buy anything.

receive price proposals

If you have requested at 20-25 suppliers (I will explain why), you can expect a response from about half. The “response rate” will be a lot lower if you do not supply clear product features. It is important that the following information is included:

  • Product pictures / Link to Alibaba product page
  • product features
  • Minimum order quantity (MOQ)
  • Prices
  • Incoterms
  • Export packing
  • The order of samples

Samples are rarely free and even if so, it is assumed that you pay the air freight from China.

1. Receive samples from more than one supplier

2. Describe how many samples you want your vendor and of which product

3. Tell your suppliers that you expect the same quality in the final product.

4. Give your supplier the delivery address and invoice it as “samples”.

Alibaba order proces – Step 3

Reaching this step can sometimes take months. So I hope that you at this point already have found a product from a supplier that meet your quality needs and your budget. Do not be too hasty, however, if the supplier prices increased or if the sample does not meet your requirements – you start over in step 2. If you have finally decided on an Alibaba supplier, please note the following:

1. Whether your product samples meet your quality requirements and your specified product features or not
2. Prices
3. Minimum Quantity
4. Communication with the supplier


Usually, you pay 30% before production and the other 70% at the shipment of the products. I strongly advise you on the following:

Money transfers via Western Union. No reputable suppliers use this payment method. It is only used by fraudsters at, because the money can not be traced.

100% payment in advance. Never go for that method unless you have good relations with the supplier. This should definitely no be the way to order at Alibaba.

I hope this answered the question: How to order from Alibaba? Go to