I am the ultimate budget shopper, I love a good bargain! This personality trait and my love for things is how I ended up finding out about AliExpress and shopping on the site a number of times. I usually get questions from readers of my blog and people who follow me on social media about the ins and outs of shopping on AliExpress, so I thought to write this post to let you guys know my experience and some tips. I am not saying that I’m the expert on AliExpress shopping, but I have been doing it for over 3 years now – so I have some insight.
MARCH 2020 UPDATE … DUE TO THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK, SHIPMENTS FROM CHINA ARE SUPER DELAYED! SO I WOULD ADVISE AGAINST BUYING FROM ALIEXPRESS CURRENTLY BECAUSE YOUR ITEMS WILL BE DELAYED AND MIGHT NOT EVEN MAKE THEIR WAY TO SOUTH AFRICA!
June 2018 update … Since writing this article a lot of people have had further questions about shopping on AliExpress. I’ve filmed a video that answers all further questions that aren’t captured above. Please watch the video – it might have the answers that you have. If you still have more questions, you can ask in the comments below.
What I buy and won’t buy on AliExpress
You can literally buy anything on AliExpress; the items that I have bought on the site include: makeup brushes, cellphone covers, t-shirts, hair (wigs & weaves), wig caps. The items I will not buy from the site are items like makeup and everything else that I haven’t mentioned in my to-buy list. I am 99% sure that the makeup sold on AliExpress is not real and that is the main reason why I don’t buy makeup from them.
Fake or nah?
First things first, AliExpress sells mostly dupes – you need to be okay with that when you shop on the site. So if a bag says it’s Chanel, trust me, it is not the original Chanel from Miss Coco herself. Thus, it is up to you to decide which types of items you don’t mind having dupes of and shop for those.
Which shop to choose
Now this is where it becomes a bit hard because there are thousands of shops to choose from – if you are a first time buyer, there is no way to know where to buy. This is the process I go through:
- figure out what I want to buy e.g. makeup brushes,
- search for a more specific descriptor of what I want e.g. rose gold makeup brushes,
- filter the results by those shops that only offer free shipping,
- from those results, find a few that look good
- choose the one I want based on number of orders and reviews
I usually only buy items that have had more than 1000 orders and have mostly good reviews, no item will ever have 100% good reviews, so it is up to you to discern which is the best item to choose.
There are a number of shipping options on AliExpress ranging from the very expensive to the very cheap. You can use courier companies like FedEx, DHL etc. this asures you that you will have your items delivered in minimum time and have the advantage of getting a tracking number and being able to track your parcel from China to South Africa. Using a courier company is the most expensive way to ship on AliExpress. Alternatively, you can use the free shipping option, you will receive your parcel via the South African Post Office, your parcel will arrive in 6-8 weeks (this is based on my experience). The disadvantage of this shipping method is that you cannot track your parcel, you just have to pray that it will get to you. However, AliExpress has buyer protection where if you do not receive your parcel after a number of days, you get a 100% refund.
That is basically my 2 cents on shopping on AliExpress, I think I have covered most things, if you have anything else that you want to find out, you can ask in the comments 🙂
November 2017 update
Here are some of the items that I bought and the stores that I bought them from: