Guest article by Courtney Gordner
It’s hard to keep your eyes from getting as big as saucers when you first get a glimpse of the discount prices on some consumer items in China, which range from tablets, to jewelry, to the latest fashions.
Many of these can also be found on Chinese shopping sites and are ridiculously underpriced when compared to both online and offline items sold in the United States. However, it is often these low prices that should ring alarm bells. Is it actually safe to spend money on such sites?
Satisfaction Will Vary
There is no definite answer to whether or not Chinese shopping sites are safe; there have been complaints of shoppers being scammed. At the same time, there are also those who have had wonderful experiences shopping online and who will only buy products from these sites.
However, “buyer beware” is a warning to be found throughout the internet and isn’t limited to Chinese businesses. There’s a chance you’ll be happy with what you buy or you may be livid about having been ripped off.
Be Sensible About Where and How You Shop
When it comes to bringing your business to any online resource, it always pays to do your research. Compare it to seeking out online courses; some schools may have online college classes that are reasonably priced and accredited, whereas others are overpriced and provide credits that don’t easily transfer. To find the best fit for you and to get the biggest bang for your buck, you must do your research and ask the right questions.
It’s no different when shopping online on Chinese websites. Some businesses are highly rated and certain marketplaces are well known. Others raise all sorts of red flags.
Search the web for the most recommended Chinese marketplace websites, such as AliExpress. One good thing about this site is that businesses will not get your money unless you report back that you’ve received what you ordered. Also avoid giving out credit card or bank account information on non-secure websites if at all possible.
If It Sounds Too Good to be True…
Do you, in your heart of hearts, honestly expect to be able to get a tablet typically valued at $300 for a measly $20? A tablet with all the bells and whistles and no issues whatsoever? Be honest with yourself here, because the answer is a resounding no. If there is a scam to be had, it will almost always involve high-end accessories and electronics.
Someone looking for a discount on items such as Prada bags and Apple iPads should expect that what’s being sent to them (if they get anything at all) is not necessarily going to be of the quality and calibre that they ordered. The less you have to pay for these items, the greater the risk you’re taking in being ripped off.
There is a chance though that you may happen across fairly-priced discount items. It is possible. Afterall, the more reputable the site you use, the better the odds are in your favor. However, one rule the wise internet shopper typically obeys is the understanding that an item that sounds too good to be true typically is.
A Word About Selling Through Online Chinese Businesses
On the reverse side, using Chinese online marketplaces can be a great way for reaching millions of potential customers. This was how Apple got a foothold in the Chinese smartphone market: the American business allowed their phones to be sold on e-commerce website Tmall.
However, Taobao is the largest online market in China, boasting 370,000,000 registered users. They use Escrow (a security measure for sales), can sell products in Chinese or English, and there are numerous currency conversion options available to reach international customers.
If you want to sell your products on an online Chinese marketplace like Taobao, it’s important to do all the necessary research, consider the related risks, and contact the websites if you have any unanswered questions.
Online marketplaces in China are becoming more and more popular with shoppers with each passing day and the discounts are a huge part of that growing popularity. Be mindful of where you spend your money and above all where you share your credit card and bank account information.
Remember, it’s up to you to use your best judgment when it comes to shopping online in the Chinese marketplaces, just as you (hopefully) would in the American marketplace.