Alibaba is a B2B (business to business) wholesale directory where you can find manufacturers for your products, as well as already-made products. In some circles, Alibaba is considered the largest eCommerce site in the world, rivalling Amazon. Here’s an elaborate step-by-step guide on how to shop kitchenware from Alibaba and ship to Uganda.
Alibaba is an online wholesale e-commerce platform based and founded in China by Chinese businessman Jack Ma. It is essentially a directory of Chinese factories and trading companies in China, but it has grown to include suppliers from all over the world.
What is the Difference between Alibaba and Aliexpress?
The difference between the two is that Alibaba.com which is the mother website/online shopping store trades in bulk or wholesale. For this reason, most sellers on Alibaba have a set Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) which must be met before you do business with them.
While Aliexpress is a final consumer online shopping website where you can buy products and services in small batches, for example, you can even order a single product on Ali Express.
What you must know before shopping for your kitchenware from Alibaba.
Do not use Alibaba for single-unit purchases. It is for bulk purchases. If you intend to make a single unit purchase then download and use the Aliexpress Shopping App.
Suppliers charge high shipping fees on small orders and low fees on bulk orders is because they want to encourage people to take only make Large orders.
Do I need to pay taxes when I buy from Alibaba?
Yes, you will have to pay import duties charged by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) since you’ll be importing products from another country.
All goods imported into Uganda attract customs taxes except for goods imported for personal use and whose value is below $50. Any goods imported into the country whose value is more than $50 (about UGX 180,000/-) are taxable. Find out more information about these taxes from the URA website or visit any URA office nearest to you.
Step-by-step process of how to shop Kitchenware from Alibaba and ship to Uganda
Are planning on starting a kitchenware business in Uganda, here is the step-by-step process of how you select your product, and suppliers, pay and ship your goods to Uganda. Here is a step by step process of how to shop kitchenware from Alibaba and ship to Uganda.
Step 01: Go to Alibaba’s Landing Page
First, go to Alibaba’s Landing Page Alibaba.com. you can select the first one with an Ad at the beginning. They have an English Option so it will be easy for you to navigate the page.
Step 02: Sign up or Log in to Your Alibaba Account
Create an Alibaba Account or log in to your existing one if you already have an account for a faster and smoother transaction. Opening an account on Alibaba could be a challenge for you so, here’s how to sign up:
- Provide an Email Address
- Verify your account via code
- Fill in your other information, including your location, the fact that you’re a buyer, your company name, and more. As soon as you confirm, you’re ready to go.
- Once the whole process is complete, log in and start shopping!
Step 03: Get yourself familiar with the Alibaba website
Explore the Alibaba website and get yourself conversant with its features and learn how it works out.
Knowledge of how to navigate through the Alibaba.com website with ease will allow you to search for the best products and suppliers.
Step 04: Search for Kitchenware
Search for the kitchenware product that you want to deal in, for example, fun-to-use cookware sets. Get in touch with the supplier for more discussion about your order. You can search for a product using a photo or by directly typing a search term in the search bar and hitting enter or go.
Step 05: Find the Right Supplier for your products
Find a trusted and legit supplier who can give you good quality products at competitive factory prices. You need to first talk to them, and discuss your order, to make sure that your requirements are all covered.
Good suppliers on Alibaba can be identified by having a Gold Supplier badge the number of years has been operating on Alibaba, their origin, physical address, company website, contact details, their customer rate response and the total number of transactions they have completed.
Step 06: Dealing with the Supplier
Chat with the supplier within the Alibaba website or mobile app. Do not communicate with the supplier outside the Alibaba app such as email or WhatsApp, if it is your first time dealing with buying from Alibaba because you will not be protected in case things go wrong.
Request for information about the kitchenware products you have chosen. Insist on getting descriptions and photos of products you intend to buy. A good supplier should be in a position to all the information that you need on a product.
You may ask the following questions from your supplier
- Delivery time
- Price lists
- What is their Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ)?
- What payment methods do they accept?
- Do they offer samples?
- Do they ship to Uganda?
- How about the shipping process?
Step 07: Negotiating with Suppliers
If you are well conversant with the quality and nature of products that you want to buy and have made good research about the price ranges, you will be in a position to start a sensible negotiation with your supplier.
Step 08: Ordering your product
The supplier will send you a Proforma Invoice (PI) after you have agreed on the price, quality, and order quantity. The proforma invoice details a list of items and the corresponding cost of your order. Review the document thoroughly and cross-check the calculations against the exchange rate of the dollar, before making full payment.
Step 09: Arrange to ship the kitchenware.
Determine the intercoms that you wish to use. Intercoms will guide you on what your responsibilities are as a buyer and those of the shipper. My most preferred incoterm is Deliver duty paid, where you pay for everything and just wait for your product in your country. Research about incoterms and choose the one you wish to use.
There are two ways you can have your products shipped to you:
This is the shipment of goods via an air carrier, usually an aeroplane. This method generally takes 5-10days to get your goods delivered but it can be pricey depending on the size of your cargo. The air freight is ideal for smaller cargoes that weigh below 200kgs. This method is more expensive than its counterpart.
In this, method goods are shipped via sea using carrier ships. This method is ideal for transporting large amounts of goods. Goods are packed into containers and then loaded onto a vessel. Whereas sea freight is a cheaper method of shipping, your goods can take longer to get to their destination.
Selecting your shipping or Courier Company
Below are the major courier companies operating worldwide shipping services in China and have a physical presence in Uganda.
To get a quotation from a forwarder or shipping company, you will need to have a Proforma Invoice (PI) and Packing List (PI) that your Alibaba supplier should provide.
Step 10: Paying for your goods
The primary method of payment is using Alibaba’s Trade Assurance. Trade assurance offers protection to buyers in case their order is not shipped. With Trade Assurance, you can make a payment using Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) or credit card.
Another method of making a payment is by use of Secure Payment. With this method, your payment is held in escrow third party, Alipay, which is a member of Alibaba Group. The payment is only released to the seller once you confirm you have successfully received your goods and they are exactly as advertised.