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Now That You’ve Bought From AliExpress, What Should You Expect?

AliExpress Orders

Touted as the world’s biggest sale (whether online or not) Singles Day came and almost $18 billion dollars later, went, Zimbabweans also got in on the fun. Sure Zimbabweans may make up an insignificant figure from that large amount above, but AliExpress was used last week to get a number of products for many.

Some of you may be new to how this works going forward and have a few questions as to what to expect.

I’ll try and demystify any questions you have and hopefully give you the reassurance you need.


What happens after I’ve paid for my goods?

If you notice on the AliExpress website, there is a My Orders tab, that allows you to check all Orders that you have either paid for or that are awaiting payment. Here you can track what the general status of your goods are, have they been paid for, shipped or awaiting delivery?

I say general in that I was unable to find a means to track the exact location of a consignment of mine, but if you can read Chinese (some Orders have English, but most of mine were Chinese, and Google Translate never helped me much), you can click on the View Detail link just next to an Order and under the Logistics Information you’ll be able to click to a website that shows you.

So, in answer to the question above, after a payment to an Order is made, that Order is then forwarded to the ‘shop’, they check if you have filled in all details specific to the order; right colour, right size, right model, etc.

If any details are left out, they will not ship your goods and will sent you a message asking for the relevant info.

Just under your name, click on the Message Center and then have a look under Order Messages. If there are any challenges with your Order, the Shop will advise you here – we actually had 2 transactions that needed further info from us and our Order hadn’t shipped because those details were absent.

Once you supply the details here, your order should leave shortly thereafter.

How long will my goods take to arrive?

As mentioned in my previous posts, this takes from 30 – 60 days, however, I’d get most of my Orders after 38 days on average. There is nothing you can do to speed up the delivery, but just be patient. This having been the biggest day Sale that Alibaba (the parent company of AliExpress) has had, chances are high that a number of Shops/Couriers are going to be on their toes trying to see to it that your delivery is made in the quickest time in order for them to keep your trust in them.

What you could do during this period is to visit your local post office and familiarise yourself with their processes. When do they send out that little slip that advise you that a parcel awaits you, what are their charges for parcels (should be $2 handling fee if you don’t pay duty and your package is less than 1kg, I think) and should you need to pay duty for your package, where are ZIMRA’s offices so that you can settle this matter.

This information will save you time when your goods arrive (you may have bought the stuff for resale or want to give someone as a gift) so having this knowledge prior to the goods arriving saves precious time.

You could try and track your package, though I’ve had little success with this. Someone mentioned in a previous post that you could get the details of ZIMRA and check with them through your tracking number whether your parcel would have arrived. I’m not the best of friends with the tax man, after they took some of my toys and refused to allow me to bring them in.

How much duty will I pay?

A number of people have this concern and want to factor it into their budget for wanting to bring in something. I’ve yet to master the charges that ZIMRA levies for bringing in goods, but what I do know is that anything bought less than $10 (ten dollars) is duty free (well, so long as you are permitted to bring that item in).

Other than that, ZIMRA charges based on the duty tariff for the cost of bringing the goods to Zimbabwe, which includes the purchase price and shipping cost. It is for this reason that I prefer to go for the ‘free shipping’ option when buying, yes it takes long to arrive, but from my experience when I brought in some goods through courier, DHL got involved out of nowhere and charged me a ‘processing fee’ of $50. For this reason, I encourage people not to use courier shipping, and to make sure guys like DHL DO NOT get involved, otherwise you’ll be regretting your purchase.

On average, if your consignment is over $10 prepare to pay between 40 – 60% of the purchase price for that item.

I always encourage people to ‘shop’ at different stores on AliExpress, and to make each store’s purchase no more than $10 (if possible), so as to avoid paying high duty.


What if I missed the Single’s Day sale?

It is never too late, AliExpress always have great deals that allow people to enjoy massive savings from what they’d normally pay on the streets of Harare.

An even bigger secret is that if you download the AliExpress mobile app you are able to pay even less for products as there are discounts there.

If there is anything in specific you want to buy or need some assistance with on AliExpress, do hit me up in the comments below and I’ll glad answer.

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