Some kid’s products from China are really enticing, because of their super cheap pricing, more so when they are being sourced directly from China with no mediators to eat up the margins.
That is AliExpress.com for you
A mega online store from China that ships worldwide! It has tons of different sellers selling everything under the sun (just like Amazon). For those who don’t know, I’m based in India.
I have shopped quite some stuff from AliExpress for my son and unlike many buyers that I have come across in India, I have never faced an issue where I had thought my money was wasted. Note that this does not mean that I haven’t received products in bad shape or quality, or sometimes not received at all. In those cases, I have got money refunds too.
Here is a quick guide while shopping from this giant
- This is what I do when I search and browse the site. Hope this makes sense to you too. I type in the keyword in the search box that I need (for example – Montessori). With so many search results, I see the exact name of the item I want (say – knobbed cylinders) & type it again in the search box. Then with the exact search results of different sellers of the product I need, I sort the results from price low to high. Trust me there are huge price differences among different sellers for the same product. I choose a seller for my item (knobbed cylinders in this case) based on the price, the number of orders (it is shown alongside the product on the product page) and customer reviews.
- Basically when you buy a product, you are also given a purchase protection period of around 45 days (depends on an individual basis too). You can access and check when it is ending in your order details. What it means is in those 45 days, the payment will not be released by AliExpress to the seller. In that period, you can raise disputes to your orders if there is a need.
- It becomes easier to browse and shop when the prices are shown in your own currency so that you don’t spend an extra minute every time to do the conversion and decide whether it is worth it or not. I have set my currency to INR in my account settings in my login.
- Once you receive your order, you are supposed to go to your orders tab and mark the order as received. Please do this positively and be a responsible and honest buyer. It is even better to give feedback to your order experience.
Here are some FAQs that I get from fellow parents all the time
Instead of replying them individually, it’s better to put them here all at once 😉
How long does it take the item to reach India?
It takes around 30-60 days to reach India on an average. And I believe it is the same for almost all the countries. I have had cases when I did not get the item within the purchase protection period. The key here is to make sure that the purchase protection does not end before your order arrives. You will be getting an email notification when your purchase protection for a particular order is about to expire. If you haven’t received the product, go ahead and raise a dispute for that order and ask the seller to extend the purchase protection and/or make a full/partial refund. That way your money will be safe. If you have already received that order then mark the order as received so that the payment can be released to the seller. We as buyers need to be very honest here. When a dispute is raised, usually the sellers negotiate over messages and ask us to wait for more days till the order arrives and they extend the purchase protection meanwhile. If you think it is no longer feasible for you to receive the order at later dates, you can reply that you need a refund. Note that every product description would have the general shipping timelines, so make your choice accordingly. Do not expect the item to be delivered as quickly as Amazon. I usually order stuff in advance, like what my son would need a couple of months down the line. So even when they are delayed, I’m okay about that.
Is it safe to buy from AliExpress?
Yes, it is safe as long as you have the purchase protection active. As mentioned above, try to extend it by raising a dispute or sending a message to the seller to extend it if you haven’t received the order yet. Sellers respond to the messages pretty quickly.
What are the shipping charges?
There are tons of sellers and products on the site. Every product has different shipping charges. But most of the products are with free shipping and it is clearly mentioned in every product description. There are no hidden charges or conditions apply stuff!
Are there any customs fees?
No. I have ordered more than 20 items from the site with free shipping and never paid any customs.
Would you recommend buying stuff from there?
Depends on what you are buying. I have mostly bought educational materials but anything you buy, make sure to read the product description very nicely to avoid shocks and surprises. Also, do check the reviews of the product and that particular seller before buying it. Long back, I had bought a t-shirt for my son and I was not happy with the quality at all. I raised a dispute & asked for a partial refund and they did.
Which seller is good?
I don’t search by a seller, so I don’t have any particular recommendation. I just search an item with its keyword. With so many products and sellers, the same product is often sold by multiple sellers. You can decide upon a seller by reading it’s reviews easily.
How to choose a seller?
Is it suitable to buy many items at a time or first try buying one and if successful in receiving it then go ahead with more?
If you are buying from AliExpress for the first time, then, of course, you will not spend much on your first buy 😉 But technically it doesn’t make a difference if you buy all at once or separately because the sellers might be different so your shipments will obviously be separate. So it is as good as buying separately at different points in time. Even if the seller is the same for all the products, it is a wise decision to buy all at once, assuming you have found trust in the payment system. Also, it is very much possible that the same product might be out of stock or available at a different price when you decide to buy it next.
What are the payment options?
Any credit or debit card, visa, master card, American Express etc. Your card will be charged in USD.
How do you decide what to buy when?
I do my research and buy stuff well in advance so that shipping delays and misplaced parcels don’t bother me. I also don’t keep many expectations that the order will arrive certainly. Basically, I don’t order important/urgent/must-have stuff from there. If it arrives, it’s good otherwise I will anyways get my money refunded. But 95% of the time, the item has been eventually delivered to me.
What all have you bought for your child?
I’m listing some of the previous orders that I have found useful, worth the penny and worth the wait. Many products are not available now on the links that I have in my order history, so had to skip mentioning those here. Some prices must have been changed too now.
- Long Sleeve Waterproof Feeding Bib & Art Apron
- Newborn Baby Cap Head Cap
- Knitted leg warmers
- Knitted Leggings/Busha Pants
- Pretend play food
- Bead maze toy
- Montessori Math beads
- Snowball maker mould
- Animal finger puppet plush toys
- Montessori moveable letters lowercase
- Waldorf wooden peg dolls
- Magnetic building blocks (mini magnaformers)
- Building blocks with gears
- Interlocking building blocks
- Montessori mini knobless cylinders
- Montessori number rods (different version)
- Water painting mat with magic pen (acqua doodle)
- Baster syringe tube (Montessori practical life activity tool)
- Easter eggs
- Montessori knobbed cylinders (mini)
- Montessori wooden shoe lacing toy
Is this a sponsored post?
Haha, no. I’m not getting any commission or affiliates fees here. I’m just gathering some good karma! 😀
I have some more doubts.
Please go ahead and share them as comments. If I think the questions are legitimate 😉 and I’m eligible to answer, I still certainly answer and also edit this post to add the new questions. It will help more people like you! So you get to earn some good-karma brownies too 😉
I hope you found this post useful.
Do not forget to follow us on Facebook page & closed Facebook group, Twitter and Instagram for day to day updates that might not always find a place on this blog. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to know more about our early learning journey, DIY & Montessori-inspired activities for kids, kids books & toys reviews and much more!
Hope to see you around. Happy Parenting!