AliExpress is one of the leading business-to-consumer (B2C) eCommerce websites on the planet right now. It offers a wide range of commodities, from home appliances, to clothes and office supplies, at an affordable price.
The secret to its success is that it gave Chinese retail businesses the opportunity to compete on the global market, and managed to reduce distribution prices. Many Canadians have heard of this company, but not everybody knows what to expect and how to buy from AliExpress in Canada.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know to make the most of this eCommerce platform.
What Is AliExpress?
AliExpress is an online retail platform from China that was launched in 2010. It is part of the multi-billion Alibaba Group founded by Chinese businessman Jack Ma.
The idea behind AliExpress was to open the doors of international trade to small and medium Chinese businesses that have never had a direct link to the global market.
Most of the transactions on the site are business-to-consumer, and it is similar to its business-to-business (B2B) counterpart popular in Canada – Alibaba. Essentially, the main difference between the two eCommerce websites is that AliExpress provides services primarily for single orders, while Alibaba works better for bulk orders.
Buying from AliExpress has plenty of advantages thanks to its vast variety of products that you can’t always find in retail at local shops. The business is based on a dropshipping model, which allows vendors to avoid the costs of going through intermediaries and thus offer a better deal for the buyer.
Making an AliExpress Account
Before placing an order, you will need to open an account on AliExpress. Creating an account is straightforward and requires only your basic information. You can use your email or link your account on a social media platform (e.g., Facebook).
Those interested in buying from AliExpress in Canada would be better served by an email account, as they’ll get regular notifications. These will let you know when your desired items are on sale, or a product on your wishlist is back in stock.
Once you’ve created and verified your account, you’ll be ready to start placing orders.
Ordering from AliExpress
Before looking for stuff to buy, find the drop-down menu on the AliExpress toolbar and change the shipping preference to “Canada” and the currency to “CAD.” This way, you’ll be sure all the items you’ve found on the site are available for purchase and delivery to Canada, so there won’t be any disappointments when you click to buy.
Ordering from AliExpress is fairly simple: When you find something you would like to purchase, either click on “Buy Now,” or “Add to cart,” if you wish to continue browsing for more items instead. Once you’re in your cart, you can click on “Place Order” to initiate the buying process for real.
AliExpress has added many payment methods to its arsenal to keep up with its global popularity, but not all work as well as they should. At the outset, payment used to be available only through Alipay – China’s most popular e-wallet; many of its features are based on PayPal.
However, these days, although Alipay is still available as an option, if you have a PayPal account, go with that. Aside from probably being more familiar to you, PayPal’s user protection is better than Alipay’s.
Other payment methods accepted from Canadians include Google Pay, Apple Pay, WesternUnion, and WebMoney.
You can also connect your bank account to your AliExpress account and pay with your credit or debit card. After all, statistics show that eCommerce and online shopping are part of why so many Canadians are getting new credit cards, and if you have a Visa or Mastercard, you’ll enjoy their protection while shopping.
AliExpress Shipping to Canada
The shipping option you choose will depend on how fast you need your package to arrive. Currently, there are no AliExpress warehouses in Canada, so domestic shipping is unavailable.
AliExpress Standard shipping and ePacket are the way to go if you don’t mind waiting 15 to 45 work days for your shipment to arrive. This is the least expensive option; for certain sellers, the cost of shipment is completely covered by China Post.
The AliExpress Premium shipping option takes seven to 15 work days. It is more expensive than Standard shipping, but less costly than using a third-party shipping company.
There is a reason this option is popular among users – apart from being swifter than standard shipping, it gives you more precise tracking, so you can use the app on your phone to find out the location of your parcels at any time.
Once the package is in Canada, it is handed over to Canada Post, unless you are using a carrier service like DHL, FedEx, or UPS, in which case it will take care of the complete delivery. Of course, the price for this delivery method is much higher than that of other options.
Is It Safe To Buy From AliExpress?
AliExpress is a completely legitimate website, but with thousands of manufacturers and sellers from all over China, there is a chance you might get involved with a business that is less reliable than you might hope.
To be on the safe side, try the Top Brand selection of reputable vendors first. These brands have stellar reviews and provide consistently high product quality, secure payment processing, and expedient shipping. Here are some of the Top Brands listed by AliExpress:
- Kingston Technology
Of course, ordering from a business that isn’t a Top Brand doesn’t mean you’re going to be disappointed – there are thousands of retailers on the site, and most of them are just as reliable as the biggest ones. What’s more, AliExpress itself is a reliable service with a 15-day money guarantee programme that works well and starts from the moment your package should have been delivered.
If you have doubts about the commitment to quality or business practices of a specific vendor, we always recommend reading AliExpress Canada reviews for each product you intend to order. That way, you can see the general impression people have of a given seller before finalizing your purchase.
AliExpress in Canada: Customs and Taxes
First things first, you should know that any package worth less than $20 in value is exempt from tax charges. Once you go over that value, the taxes differ depending on the province you live in:
- For Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon, only the Goods and Services Tax (GST) of 5% applies.
- For those New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Prince Edward Island there is a Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) of 13%.
- For British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec, and Saskatchewan, both the GST and Provincial State Tax (PST) apply. The PST is lowest in Saskatchewan (6%), then Manitoba and British Columbia (7%), and finally Quebec (9.975%).
AliExpress is an online shopping platform that offers a wide range of products from China, sometimes at staggeringly low prices.
Opening an account and shopping there is easy and quick. Most vendors are reliable, and you can choose between several methods to pay for your goods. Of course, it always pays to read customer reviews for each product on the AliExpress website, as this is practically the only way to know what you can expect from your desired items once they arrive.
Although the majority of online purchases in Canada are still made through Amazon.ca, the biggest B2C Chinese eCommerce platform will undoubtedly try to close the gap in the years to come.
Do you have to pay customs for AliExpress Canada?
Yes. There are customs duties that you have to pay when ordering to Canada, provided your package is worth more than $20. Depending on where in Canada you currently reside, the tax will be different. At the very least, you’ll pay the GST tax, which is 5%. In some provinces like Ontario and Nova Scotia, you’ll have to pay the 13% HST, instead, or a PST on top of the GST.
How long does AliExpress take to ship to Canada?
This depends on the shipping program you choose. AliExpress Standard shipping (sometimes free) usually takes 15 to 30 days, although it can officially take 15 to 45 days. If you’re in a hurry to get your package, you can take the option of Premium shipping; that will cost you more, but your items will reach you within 7 to 15 days.
Does AliExpress ship to Canada for free?
Not always. For certain AliExpress purchases, China Post will cover the cost of shipping. Under shipping options, you can see if the seller offers free shipping, or even filter the product list to only show candidates that ship for free. You should keep in mind that customs duties and taxes are not included in the price.
Can I order from AliExpress in Canada?
Yes. AliExpress is available in and will ship goods to Canada. If you are new to this site and don’t know how to buy from AliExpress in Canada, what you first need to do is to open an account.
When you enter the AliExpress online shop, you can select “Canada” in the toolbar. This way, you’ll know all the displayed products are available for ordering to Canada.