Supplier Options: AliExpress

AliExpress is not a safe place for someone like me.

I am a habitual shopper. I’m not the worst habitual shopper in the world, but it is a bad habit that I struggle to control. Partly because shopping is sometimes necessary, and partly because now it’s just so freakin’ easy to do. I don’t even have to leave my house, so it doesn’t matter if it’s frigid ¬†or hailing or blisteringly hot outside. And now online stores have wishlists…online window-shopping has become something I just do when I’m bored.

AliExpress is a new venture for me. I stumbled into my first purchases there while searching for panther charms (because my usual supplier had diddly squat.)

Variety! Wholesale quantities and prices! Setting it to show Canadian pricing! Free shipping! Yeah. My bank account took a hit. I failed to notice that ship times and whatnot are long.

Hell, it took several days just for my payment to be “verified.” About a week for all the parcels to get shipped. I’m used to ordering from places that process my payment within a day and ship my parcel by the next business day (sometimes the same day, if I order early enough.)

The first parcel arrived today. Twenty eight days from the order. Which isn’t too bad, I guess, given everything. But since I can order from my other supplier in the US and get the stuff within two weeks…well.

One of the worst parts for me is the waiting. I like having tracking on a parcel, because when I don’t, I get all panicky that the item has disappeared into the void forever. But when I have tracking, I check it obsessively. I even found an app that will track parcels across different shipping companies and countries (and sends push notifications when there’s a tracking update.)

But China Post can take days to update tracking. Also, I’m finding that China Post tracking numbers don’t seem to work with Canada Post tracking, even once the parcel has landed in Canada. The parcel that arrived today didn’t update in Canada Post’s system at all.

So AliExpress isn’t for when I need supplies ASAP (like last night, when I realized I was running low on crimp covers. It might cost me more to order from my US supplier, but at least I know I’ll get the crimp covers within about two weeks. Also, they were runnin gtheir $1 sale, and had a whole bunch of new chips listed at $1 or cheaper…including a mixed strand of tourmaline chips.)

Also, the search functions on AliExpress are iffy at best. At least it’s not super-strict with spelling, as many of the listings are spelled incorrectly, and they’ll still get pulled up. There’s apparently an advanced search function, but I haven’t found it yet (though I do most of my browsing on my phone, so that might be why.)

There’s a lot of scrolling involved in my window-shopping.

The bulk of the item description is in the listing title, too, which bothers me. There’s a chart in the listing that includes things like size and material, but it’s not comprehensive. I suppose I could contact the seller if I wanted more information, but…nah.

I can’t quite speak about the quality of the items yet. Not with any confidence. The parcel I received today was a packet of charms. The quality of them seems good. But I have some strings of stone chips coming, so we’ll just have to wait and see what kind of quality stones I get.