Shopping from China
In recent years, shopping from China has become a cheap and popular option for buyers from all over the world. The main reason for this popularity is that Chinese online stores offer a huge number of products, worldwide shipping and attractive prices. On the other hand, the quality of the products and the level of service sometimes differ greatly from what we see on the site. So the decision of how and where to buy becomes really important.
Facebook is inundated with ads for stylish, inexpensive Chinese-made women’s clothing. Companies use stolen photos and significant discounts to attract customers to purchase items that differ materially from what they promised. A number of brands, including DressLily and RoseGal, are associated with the same Shenzhen-registered company owned by one of the richest people in China. These brands have millions of likes on their sites. But that doesn’t mean they are trustworthy.
Where to shop from China after all?
Just as Amazon is synonymous with online shopping in Europe and the United States, Alibaba is the dominant player in China. Founded by former English teacher Jack Ma in 1998, the giant accounted for 80% of online retail sales in China when it hit the New York stock markets. AliExpress, which launched in 2010 and targets an international audience, is also hiding under the umbrella of Alibaba. This is the market that Chinese retailers operate in, many unknown brands like Aun, Mi, Gimi and Teclast sell electronics along with Merry sunglasses and OneMix sneakers.
How do I know if a store is safe and trustworthy?
There are many ways to find out if a website is trustworthy or not.
Check their social media presence – make sure you find the sites you buy from on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Legitimate internet sites will undoubtedly have a presence on social media. Checking out their site will also give you insight into how they access their customers. You can also find ratings of online stores on Facebook. This is a good indicator of whether a site is trustworthy or fraudulent. If there is no website on social media, it is likely a scam and you should avoid it.
See customer reviews – just visit the website you want to shop on. From there, choose any product that is widely sold. Read customer testimonials here and also check out the reviews on the website. If it’s a legitimate business, you’ll find reviews on both the website and the product.
Check out the store on Trustpilot Check the age and domain rating – just go to Alexa.com and check the rating of the website you’re shopping for. If it is a reliable site, it should have a rating of less than 10,000. Alexa estimates traffic around the world. It’s also a good idea to check the age of the domain. The websites created are almost always over 3 years old. And if so, then the site is probably legal.
Fraudulent websites usually use what is known as a churn and burn technique and move from domain to domain. You can use this tool to check the age of your domain.
What is the quality of Chinese goods?
Ideally, the items you buy should be the same as the items from the boutique on your main street. However, sometimes the product may not satisfy you. For example, the quality of the dress material is not what you expected. In this case, you must be realistic when contacting the seller. If you do not know something specific, to which you could point out a defect in the goods you purchased, you simply do not like it – there is no reason to demand a refund.
So what if you are not satisfied?
Record it as an experience and don’t buy from that seller again, you can arrange for a partial refund. If you first wanted to rate a product with 1 star, wait a bit. Assessments are important and can be your only negotiating tool. You might be tempted to return the item, but be very careful. Sending anything back to China may cost more than what you paid for the items you ordered and will not be refunded. Tracking items sent back to China is unreliable at best and can sometimes disappear entirely at Chinese customs.
Is there an international guarantee for purchases from Chinese sites?
It’s complicated. Although Chinese online sites offer an international warranty, it is not easy to apply. If you order something and the product does not arrive at all, ask for a refund. But if you receive the item, use it for a while, and then you run into problems, then there is also a warranty problem.
Chinese internet sites provide a one-year warranty on most of their products. But there is a catch. You are responsible for returning the item to the seller. And it’s not easy. It will take a long time and will probably cost so much money that buying a new product will be cheaper!
Some shopping features
Buy cheaper and simpler goods, not expensive and massive ones. Make sure your country allows you to import the item you are planning to buy, note the size. Asian sizes can be much smaller than their European equivalents – “L” can mean different sizes in different regions. If you know how to find a product locally, and the price difference is not too great, it will be easier to buy it at home.
How to pay for purchases?
Legitimate online retailers accept credit cards and third party payment instruments. If the seller does not accept credit cards or asks to pay by bank transfer, stop buying. The third party ensures that you actually pay when you receive your package. If you do not receive the item, the bank that issued your credit card can help you get your money back.
Double check the shopping app on your smartphone. More and more people are shopping on their smartphones. However, some shopping apps require access to user information such as contact lists, messages, call logs and passwords, which could then fall into the hands of unscrupulous scammers. Select apps that require fewer permissions or restrict access to apps on your phone.
Compliance with European standards
Be careful with items such as toys and electronics as they may not meet European standards. EU products meet certain safety standards. Products from other countries may not meet these standards.
Remember patience is a virtue and you will need it when shopping online from a Chinese site. It may take 20-40 days for the goods to arrive.
Avoid using DHL, EMS, or other premium services. If you go this route, you will not only pay higher shipping costs, but you may also pay higher fees.
Be sure to read user reviews before purchasing. Returning an item will not be easy. Try shopping from one supplier. In this case, all goods will be combined into one package. When receiving and opening goods, try to take photographs of the contents of the opened packages. If the item is defective or does not meet the declared quality, you will have strong evidence in case you want to return it.
Do’s and don’ts when shopping online on Chinese sites
Alibaba is working on a solution to the counterfeiting problem, and some sites also have measures to control the sale of counterfeit goods. But at the moment this is not enough, a number of low-quality goods still end up for sale. Use your instinct. Be wary of stores that seem too good to be true – they usually aren’t. Don’t buy something that you know is well below the suggested retail price, no matter how tempting it may seem. Don’t buy from too new sites that have no reviews. Make sure they pass the above test of legitimacy, be rational and don’t buy what you really don’t need at all.
Lingerie, swimwear, and luxury or outerwear such as evening gowns should not be purchased from Chinese online stores. These product categories are best purchased from regular stores.
Do not store your card credentials and your personal information, such as your phone number, on the Chinese store server. Check your account balance after purchase. At times, a little more may be charged per trade due to currency conversions.
Why shopping in China?
Because the shipping is free. So, the fact is that its price is already included in the price of the product, but in most cases it is very low, and the buyer practically does not notice it. It’s very convenient for everyone! You don’t need to calculate the final purchase price – everything has already been taken into account. Where else can you buy goods with shipment to any corner of the world for a small amount?
Another great advantage of these stores is the number of discounts. Chinese sellers will never stop looking for ways to attract the attention of new buyers. During various promotional sales, you can buy products with great discounts. Therefore, you should always follow the news in the store. Plus, you can collect bonuses on most sites. You can get them for various types of activities: purchases, product reviews, photos and videos of purchased products.
Chinese stores are very popular with online shoppers who have realized that Chinese clothing, footwear, electronics or home appliances can be of high quality and as good as Western ones. Even well-known international brands and European fashion houses are opening factories in China, and some Chinese trading companies cooperate with factories that produce products for famous brands.
Start small shopping
Nowadays, most of the goods we buy are made in China. Usually electronic goods, clothing, etc. There are many websites that sell a wide range of goods without intermediaries. And therefore offer lower prices. Unsurprisingly, many shoppers around the world have already made the decision to shop online. Such shopping is not a risk, only a little experience is required. Start by buying small, cheap items. And as soon as you get your first goods from China, you can start buying more expensive products and in larger quantities. Avoid new sites that claim to have the lowest prices. Also, do not buy what was used before you. If you buy such products right at home, it is not difficult to replace or return them. However, this is not the case when you buy things from China.