Being one of the most active resources talking about online shopping, this blog is constantly visited by people looking for information about online shopping, custom procedures, charges, shipping and other topics. For some of you, you might be among those who discovered my blog in the same way too. I dedicate much time to replying comments and also messages in order to help those in quest of information.
Personally, I am not ashamed to say have been exclusively shopping on eBay. While other Mauritian shopping addicts do purchase on other popular international web sites (for example laredoute.fr or utsavfashion.com), I was pretty deceived that items on Amazon are rarely available to Mauritius.
While looking for specific gadgets, I decided to try my luck on AliExpress a few weeks back. Till now, I avoided the web site as I believed that Ebay was probably the most secure platform for online purchases especially when you need to resolve conflicts for defective items or items you never received. And as long as I got my items on eBay, I had no worried.
Now that my 2nd purchase from AliExpress got delivered today itself, I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised in many ways, hence the need to write a blog post about this online shopping platform.
Wide variety of items
Before reading any further, you should know that AliExpress exclusively deals with sellers from China. So, forget about looking for items being shipped from the US or UK or exclusive brands from other markets. Don’t worry, you will still be able to purchase Samsung smartphones or Nike shoes but you will notice that there exist a wider choice of Chinese brands (and sometimes replicas or unbranded) available on the shopping platform. With brands like ZTE or Xiaomi, your choices just got wider!
Just to give you a simple example : While looking for a car dashboard camera (dashcam) on Amazon and eBay, I stumbled across a dozens of similar cameras sold under different brands on AliExpress, hence, prices were more competitive. Shipping options were much more interesting too, especially with better delivery times as described further below.
However, you need to be more alert and choose your products carefully. Contact sellers if needed. For example, the pair of shoes below is being sold at $75.79 but when purchased via the mobile app, the discounted price is $36.68!
Despite having purchased only two items till now, I have been amazed by the shipping experience. Information is readily available, just like Ebay. For those who shop on Amazon, you most probably know the pain regarding shipping.
Clicking on the small arrow reveals more (expensive and reliable) shipping options via partners :
Purchase #1 : I received the item exactly two weeks after the order date while delivery estimates were 15-39 days using free shipping via Singapore Post Air Mail.
Purchase #2 : The item reached home 17 days after the order date with delivery estimates of 39-60 days via paid shipping of $4 via China Post (Small packet by Air)
As you can see, I’m more than satisfied! During my past experiences while shopping on Ebay, items from China and Hong Kong took at least 3-4 weeks for delivery. Important to note that on Ebay, items shipped from the UK took on average 2 weeks to reach Mauritius and items from US usually take 3 weeks for delivery.
You probably heard of upgrades to first class or business class when travelling by air plane but for my first purchase, my item was freely upgraded from Hong Kong Post Air Mail to Singapore Post Air Mail :
You all heard about Paypal, right? Well, AliExpress has its own system, named as AliPay. Additionally, you can use Visa, MasterCard, Western Union, Maestro and other platforms I never heard of : Boleto, QIWI, WebMoney :
No confirmation codes needed for input back onto the system as required by Paypal. Just enter your credit card details and start shopping!
I haven’t encountered any problem yet (keep fingers crossed) but I read that there’s protection for buyers, similar to eBay. The screenshot below gives more details about this protection :
Zip codes and bla bla?
Before ending up with tens of messages and comments regarding zip codes / states etc, I prefer posting a sample of the Mauritian delivery address :
Since the past two weeks, I have been constantly visiting AliExpress instead of eBay. And coincidentally, the 6th anniversary of the web site is being celebrated right now with big promotional sales. BTW, purchases made with the mobile apps (Android & iOS) get further discounts. Don’t forget that items valued above Rs30,000 need a custom broker and used / refurbished items need permits from the Ministry of Commerce. Imports of mobile phones for commercial use might need an ICTA permit.
So, grab this opportunity to get some good deals!