At Alibaba, you can buy products from anywhere in the world and the best part is you don’t require a company to buy from Alibaba. However, you should keep in mind that Alibaba is a wholesale company so there will be MOQ requirements from the sellers. Therefore, you should contact the seller before ordering any product at Alibaba.
- In order to buy products from Alibaba, you have to open an account on this platform
- When it comes to searching for a product at Alibaba, you have two options: search by keywords and search by images
- You should order products from suppliers who are verified by Alibaba
- You can use your credit card, VISA debit card, PayPal, etc. to make a payment on Alibaba
Company Overview: Alibaba.Com
Alibaba.Com is the world’s largest wholesale marketplace where you will be able to buy various types of products at an affordable price. Because it is a wholesale marketplace, you have to buy products in bulk. The best part of this platform is, that you won’t need any trade license or registered company to buy products from Alibaba.
Moreover, you can also order products from Alibaba for your personal use. But in this case, you have to be careful about the minimum quantity that you have to order. You can contact the seller and see whether they can ship you a single product. According to the latest statistics, the market cap of Alibaba.com is 215 billion which makes it the 4th biggest IT company after Apple, Google, and Microsoft.
Alibaba VS Aliexpress: The Difference
Many people get confused between Alibaba and Aliexpress. To make it clear Aliexpress is the retail version of Alibaba. In Alibaba, there is a minimum order requirement but in Aliexpress you can purchase a single product. In, Alibaba, you will be able to directly contact with the manufacturer but that is not possible in Aliexpress. The below table will give you a clear idea of the differences between Alibaba and Aliexpress –
|Alibaba is a B2B marketplace||Aliexpress is a B2C marketplace|
|You have to buy the product in bulk quantity||You can order a single product|
|The price of the products is low and negotiable||The price of the products are bit higher and non-negotiable|
|There is no buyer protection at Alibaba||The buyer protection feature is available at Aliexpress|
|You can customize the products and orders||You won’t be able to customize the products and orders|
|The product inspection feature is available||You won’t be able to inspect the quality of the product|
|Alibaba doesn’t support Dropshipping||Dropshipping feature is available|
Buying Products from Alibaba without a Company
I have already said that you can buy products for your personal use at Alibaba without a company. If you are wondering about the buying process then follow the below steps –
Step – 1: Open an Alibaba Account
You must have an Alibaba account to buy products from this platform. So, if you don’t have an account then check the below process –
- First, open a browser on your computer
- Now visit Alibaba.com and click on the Login page
- Next click on the “Join Free” button to register an account
- After that provide a valid email address on the required field
- Then click on the Agreement and select next
- On the next page you have to provide the below information:
- Trade Type
- Telephone Number
- Finally, click on the “Agree and Register” button to complete the process
Step – 2: Search for a Product
Once you register an account at Alibaba, you will be able to search for your desired products and buy them. When it comes to searching for a product at Alibaba, you have two options: search by keywords and search by images.
When you log in to your Alibaba account, you will see the search bar at the top of the website. In the search bar, type your product name or keyword and click on the Search button. On the next page, you will see all the results related to your search. If you don’t find the product that you are looking for then you can also use the image search feature. Follow the below steps for an image search –
- First login to your Alibaba account using the username and password
- Now click on the “Camera” icon on the search bar
- Then click on the “Upload Image” option and select the image
- You should keep in mind that the image size should not exceed 5MB
- Then click on the “Search” button to complete the process
When you search for a product on Alibaba, you will see thousands of items on the search result. So, it will be wiser for you to narrow the search result. You can easily narrow the search result on Alibaba. You will find the option on the left side of the search results page. You can also search for sellers on Alibaba.
For example, if you have purchased products at Alibaba before and know the seller’s name then you can find all the available products of the seller when you search by the seller’s name. This is a very handy feature and with this feature, you can easily find your desired products and seller.
Step – 3: Check the Supplier
Once you have found the desired product you should check the supplier and see if the supplier is verified by Alibaba or not. You have to visit the company profile of the supplier to verify their legitimacy. You have to find out profile badges because the profile badges ensure that the supplier is verified. There are three types of badges available in Alibaba –
- The A&V Check: It indicates that the supplier has passed the authentication and verification inspection by Alibaba or a 3rd party verification service
- The Onsite Check: This badge ensures that the supplier has onsite operations based in China
- The Assessed Supplier Check: It ensures that the supplier is verified by a 3rd party service
Step – 4: Contact the Supplier
If you are satisfied with the supplier then you should contact the supplier. You should keep in mind that there is a minimum order requirement for each product on Alibaba and since you want to place an order for your personal use; you should contact the seller and see if they can accept any order below the minimum requirement. There are lots of suppliers available at Alibaba that accepts order below the minimum requirements.
So, you should visit the company page and send a message to the supplier describing your requirements. If the supplier agrees then you can place the order and let the seller know about the order. However, you should keep in mind that ordering below the minimum order requirements will increase the price of the product. Therefore, you should also negotiate the price with the seller and ask the seller to create a custom order for you.
Step – 5: Make the Payment
If the seller creates a custom order for you then click on the “Pay Now” button or you should select the product and the quantity and then click on the “Add to Cart” option. Go to the cart and click on the “Pay Now” button. You can use your credit card, VISA debit card, PayPal, etc. to make a payment on Alibaba.
If you select Credit or Debit card then you have to provide the card number, expiration date, and CVC on the required field and click on the Pay button to complete the payment process. If you want to make the payment using your PayPal account then you have to select PayPal from the payment option. Then you have to provide your PayPal email address to initiate the payment process. Finally, click on the Pay button to complete the payment process.
FAQs about How to Buy from Alibaba without a Company
How long does Alibaba take to ship products to the USA?
The answer to this question depends on what type of shipping method you have chosen while placing the order. There are three types of shipping methods available at Alibaba to ship products to the USA. They are –
- Express shipping: 3-5 days
- Airfreight: 4-7 days in most cases
- Sea freight: 25-35 days
Can I buy from Alibaba as an individual?
Yes, you can buy from Alibaba as an individual. In fact, you can buy products for your personal use at Alibaba and you won’t need any registered company to place an order!
Does Alibaba ship for free?
The answer to this question depends mostly on the sellers available on this platform. Some sellers offer “free shipping” but in most cases, they include the shipping charge into the product price.
Which shipping method is cheapest on Alibaba?
Among all the available shipping methods, “Sea freight” is the cheapest option for delivery. But, you should keep in mind that it will take more time to ship the product compared to other shipping methods.
Last Updated on November 7, 2022 by Magalie D.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.