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AliExpress cracks on Europe - Part 1

Do legit vendors sell the original stuff?


Aliexpress have recently made significant news moves to try and increase their market in Europe. AliExpress has gained notoriety for selling cheap products that come from China. They also have a reputation on their platform for a large number of counterfeits of renowned brands of all categories. 

Worth enough to check in a series of articles, covering how they are trying to achieve this and if their methods are likely to work. 

As AliExpress is one of the marketplaces we check continuously on behalf of our clients, we noticed that an ever-increasing number of potentially European sellers are selling on the Chinese platform. Many of these started appearing in the last quarter of 2019. But is this real? Or a disguise from the large number of Chinese sellers. Is this strategy going to crack Europe and take on market leading Amazon? Are they really putting in place strategies like undercutting Amazon on seller’s fees to attract legit sellers to the platform? Let’s test!

We ordered a popular pair of ADIDAS trainers, to see if what we received was, in fact, the real deal. Many shoppers are lured into a false sense of trust when the seller has a high review score, the product looks to be of sound quality, and the “official” logo is used. But does this mean what turns up will be an original?  Also how far do AliExpress take their registration process for sellers? Will we be getting an item from the country the seller should be located at? eBay has recently looked at how vendors manipulate the item location in their listing to appear more legitimate, but it does not look like AliExpress has anything in place to discourage this.

How does AliExpress work?

When you search on AliExpress you are given many different results. You are given the option to toggle and change which country you want the product to come from and be delivered to. There are several sellers from Europe, and the number is growing every day, but they are still behind China vendors when it comes to the sheer amount of online stores.

Just like on Amazon, you are given results from different sellers. But what tools are available to help you see which sellers are probably legitimate? 

(As you can see, customers are given a wide range of choices when they make a purchase, Source: AliExpress)

When you click on a product, you can see the rating of the store at the top of the page. This is based on user feedback and is given as a percentage, much in a similar way to how Amazon rate their third-party sellers. 

If you are shopping around for a seller you can choose the country you want the item to be shipped from, and then choose your seller from the list. There seem to be many sellers already on the platform from Spain and Italy, but there are not a huge amount in Germany or the UK, certainly not anyone selling clothing and shoes. 

(This store in Italy has 66,7% positive feedback, Source: AliExpress)

If a customer wants to go further into detail about the store, they can visit the store page to find out more in-depth information. This page gives detail about feedback, buyer protection and the refund availability. You can also click on business information to get the address of the seller. This is important if you run into problems with your order later down the line.

(The store page gives a quick overview, Source: AliExpress)

Anyone who is about to part with money will more than likely be very keen to find out what the experience has been for anyone else buying the product. The process works very much like any other online marketplace. Once someone has been through the buying process they are invited to give a star rating and leave a comment as part of their review.

(This store has a very ambiguous overall rating, Source: AliExpress)

It is worth noting that it can be quite easy for online stores like this to get fake reviews, by offering a free product to some users.

Putting AliExpress to the globaleyez test

With AliExpress looking to increase their presence in Europe, we wanted to get the full picture on the end to end process. The online store we picked isn’t unusual - there are many others from Italy and other European countries that have a very similar rating. Can they be trusted to deliver a genuine product in the condition advertised?

We’ve put this to the test by ordering a popular Adidas shoe. There are a number of questions we want to answer when we receive the product such as:

  • Is the product genuine?
  • Is the product in good condition?
  • Can we return the product easily?

Make sure you are following our blog for the next article in this series, where we will unbox the product and review the quality and shipping process. Find out if the product is genuine and was shipped from where the seller said it was.

We’ll also review the returns process in our third and final article in this series to investigate whether the shop sticks to their returns policy. 

After reading this article, you could be forgiven for worrying about your products being sold on marketplaces such as AliExpress. If you are a company with branded products, it is vital that you start to think about your digital brand protection.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you with distribution control and digital brand protection. 

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