How to buy products on AliExpress and ship to Uganda

AliExpress is one of the biggest online shopping sites in the world. You can find almost everything you are looking for there; ranging from electronics to shoes to clothes to car parts and to furniture. To sum it up, If you are looking for anything that’s made in China, AliExpress has it. However, although AliExpress is a very popular site, many Ugandans have never shopped from it, probably because they afraid of losing their money or they don’t know how things work on the site. In this guide, I will take you through all you need to know on how to buy products on AliExpress and ship to Uganda. Let’s dive in!

Also read; How to sell online in Uganda

 What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is an online shopping platform based in China. The platform is owned by the Alibaba Group. AliExpress connects small and large businesses in China with buyers across the world.

How does AliExpress work in Uganda?

AliExpress works in the same manner as generalist ecommerce marketplaces like Condala or Ubuy. You do not need an account to browse products on AliExpress. However, if you want to buy any item, you will be required to have an account. Creating aliexpress account in Uganda is free and easy.

Once you have created your AliExpress buyer account, browse the site and find the platform you want to buy. Click Buy Now or Add to Cart and checkout later after collecting all the products you want to buy.

Shopping on AliExpress is no different from how to shop on Condala or eBay.

When you place an order for anything on AliExpress, the seller already has a shipping arrangement for you and you would only sit back and wait to receive your item in Uganda. This saves you the hassle of having to hire the services of a freight forwarder like it is with buying goods on Alibaba.

What You Need to Shop on AliExpress in Uganda

  • An AliExpress account
  • AliExpress App
  • An accepted payment option (MasterCard, Visa, Maestro etc)

The first thing you need to do is to create an account on AliExpress. You can do this via the AliExpress website or App. Once you have an account, you can signin and start shopping.

I recommend using the AliExpress app to shop as the app has better prices. Yes, shopping via their app is cheaper than shopping on their main site as there’s a difference in price.

One you login on the app or website, you can go ahead and add other things you will need such as your shipping/delivery address and your preferences.

Who uses AliExpress? Who is AliExpress meant for?

AliExpress is a Business to Consumer (B2C) site. It is designed for ordinary consumers that purchase products in small quantities for individual use. AliExpress is not a place for buying goods in bulk for resell. In fact AliExpress limit buyers to a Maximum Order Quantity (MOQ) of 100 but most sellers limit their MOQ to only 10 or less. If you want to products in bulk for your business, use Alibaba or Made In China.

Also read; How to buy goods on Alibaba and ship to Uganda

Where is AliExpress store located?

AliExpress is located in China. Being an online shopping service, the platform exclusively does its operations on the internet through their website and mobile apps. The products on AliExpress are sold by individuals and companies. Majority of these sellers are located in China.

Where are AliExpress offices located in Uganda?

AliExpress does not have offices in Uganda neither do they have any agents here. AliExpress is an online company that has one office in China where it originates. So don’t be conned by crooks masquerading as AliExpress authorized agents in Uganda.

No. AliExpress does not have any offices in Uganda. They don’t have agents here either. AliExpress is an internet based company which has only one office in China.

Does AliExpress ship to Uganda?

Yes, AliExpress ships their products to Uganda. Shipping usually takes 2-4 weeks for your order to arrive in Uganda. The shipping arrangement is taken care of by the seller. As a buyer, there’s nothing you need to do in regard to shipping arrangements.

Is AliExpress safe for Ugandan buyers?

Yes. Shopping on AliExpress from Uganda is safe. Otherwise it wouldn’t be one of the most popular shopping sites in the world with hundreds of millions of users. AliExpress protects its buyers from fraud and conmen.

All protections are applied automatically to all users. As long as you pay for your order within the AliExpress platform using secure payment methods like PayPal and Credit, you will be safe.

Do not pay via unsecure methods like Moneygram or Western Union. If a seller asks you to pay for your order outside of the site’s accepted payment methods (for example via Western Union or his PayPal account), this is a clear indication that they are attempting to defraud you. The seller may simply accept payment and then vanish in thin air. Only use secure and standard payment method available in the store!

Are AliExpress products genuine and legit?

Majority of products listed on AliExpress are legit. Although there’s a good number of vendors that sell replicas and counterfeits. But you know all principles of shopping on AliExpress, you will never face a problem buying fakes. Counterfeits on AliExpress are mostly common with branded products (world brands), storage devices and electronics. If a vendor sells counterfeit disguised as original, you can report them to AliExpress and have your money refunded.

Does AliExpress deliver to doorstep like Condala and Jumia Uganda?

No, AliExpress does not offer doorstep delivery Uganda. Why? Because the home address system in Uganda is very poor. Most people have to collect their packages from Post Office (Posta Uganda).

Even the post office system is not very efficient although efforts are being made to address that. If the seller shipped your order via major couriers like DHL or Fedex, they would call you to go pick it at their offices.

Recently, Posta Uganda launched a home delivery service. If your Aliexpress order is dropped at Posta Uganda, you can instruct them to deliver the package at your doorstep. They charge about UGX 4,000 per kilometer.

Which products does AliExpress sell in Uganda?

First, you need to understand that AliExpress is not shop. It is simply a platform where sellers list their products. Within AliExpress, you’ll find vendors selling almost any products ranging from fashion items to electronics and home decor. It’s a great place for find any products at great prices.

Are those low prices on AliExpress for real?

If you’ve spent any time on AliExpress, the low prices will definitely catch your eye. You will find products that cost from as low $0.9. These prices are real because the cost of manufacturing products in China is so low compared to Uganda. That’s why Chinese manufactures are able to sell some products at incredibly unbelievable prices.

Does AliExpress have a pickup station in Uganda?

No. Currently AliExpress does not have any pickup station of its own in Uganda. If your order reaches Uganda, you will most likely collect it from the Post Office branch. Post office is mandated to collect incoming packages that are sent to generic or nonexistent addresses.

Post Office can also deliver your package to your doorstep in a special arrangement, which would of course attract an extra delivery fee of about UGX 4,000/- per kilometer.

If your package was shipped via major couriers like DHL or Fedex, they will also call you to collect it from their office or they deliver it to your home or workplace at a cost.

Does AliExpress accept cash on delivery in Uganda?

No, AliExpress does not accept cash on delivery in Uganda. I know as a Ugandan, you have fears paying online for something you haven’t seen. But have no worries. Just pay using either PayPal or credit card. Buying on AliExpress is safe. When you pay for anything, AliExpress holds your payment in escrow and only gives it to the seller after you have confirmed receiving what you ordered. If you don’t receive the item or item is not as described, AliExpress will refund your money.

How to long will it take to receive my AliExpress package in Uganda?

Most sellers on AliExpress use economy shipping which is a slower shipping method. Typically, AliExpress packages take 2-3 weeks to arrive in Uganda. If there’s a bigger delay, it can take up to 45 days.

However, you can also receive you package in just days if you tell the seller to use a speedier shipping method like Express Shipping. With Express shipping, you can receive your item in 3-5days.

But remember, the faster the shipping method, the more costly it becomes. Recently I ordered a camera on AliExpress which shipped via Fedex express shipping and I received it in 4 days.

Is It Safe to Use a Credit/Debit Card on AliExpress in Uganda?

Yes, it is safe to use a credit/debit card for shopping on AliExpress. Your bank details and personal information are protected by SSL technology. With this technology, your card info is encrypted. Sellers and AliExpress itself cannot see it. Besides, most Ugandan banks now use the 3D Secure system to protect cardholders from potential frauds. Before you remit the payment off your card, you have to first confirm the transaction by entering a secret verification code sent to a mobile number that’s connected to your card.

Can I pay via Mobile Money on AliExpress in Uganda?

No, currently AliExpress does not accept payments via mobile money. However the company is working towards making this possible. Soon or later it might be possible to pay for your AliExpress orders in Uganda using MTN Mobile Money (MTN MoMo) or Airtel Money.

So what payment methods does AliExpress accept in Uganda?

When it comes to payment, AliExpress accept the following forms of payment:

  • Debit/Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Maestro, Troy, MNP, American Express etc)
  • PayPal (few sellers accept payments via PayPal)
  • WebMoney
  • Wire Transfer (Not recommended)
  • Western Union (Not recommended)

The easiest and safest payment method among the above is use of Debit/Credit card. Almost all local banks in Uganda now issue debit cards that allow online transactions.

If you cannot access a debit card issued by bank, you can take advantage of virtual debit MasterCards issued by Uganda telecom networks. Aitel Uganda has Airtel MasterCard and MTN Uganda has MTN Momo MasterCard.

How to get MTN MoMo MasterCard

Dial *165*70# to create MTN Momo MasterCard

How to get Airtel MasterCard

Dial *185*7# to create Airtel MasterCard

These virtual cards by MTN and Airtel are charged at 1000/- per transaction. The money is chopped directly from your mobile money account.

These virtual MasterCards not only work on AliExpress but can be used any other site or app where MasterCard is accepted.

Do I pay tax for product purchased from AliExpress?

There’s no sales tax levied on products purchased from AliExpress. However you may be charged an import tax by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) for an item you purchased on AliExpress if its value exceeds $50.

According to URA policy, any items imported into the country whose collective value is more than $50 (UGX 180,000/-) are taxable, whereas items whose collective value is below $50 are exempted from taxes.

So if you’re buying any item on AliExpress whose value is more than $50, URA will tax you. URA taxes range from 24-55%.

What if I don’t receive my package in Uganda?

AliExpress cares more about its buyers than sellers. If you order an item and it doesn’t arrive within the estimated time, message the seller and tell about issue. The seller should be able to give a satisfying reason as to why you haven’t received package, send you another product or refund your money. If the seller doesn’t give you a positive response or ignores your messages, open a dispute against them and demand for refund of your money. AliExpress will step in your dispute and if they indeed confirm you didn’t receive your item within the estimated shipping time, they will refund your money. That’s best thing about AliExpress. A buyer is put first. You cannot lose your money just like that.

Step by step guide on how to buy products on AliExpress and ship to Uganda

AliExpress is a bargain with all the letters, an online marketplace where we can find all sorts of products. Below are the steps on how to buy on AliExpress and ship to Uganda:

  • Create an AliExpress Account
  • Get familiar with the AliExpress App or website
  • Search for products
  • Add item to cart/bag
  • Enter your shipping address
  • Choose payment method
  • Confirm and Pay for your order
  • Track your order
  • Collect your package

Step 1 – Create an AliExpress Account

Like any ecommerce site, to buy any product on AliExpress, you will obviously need to first create an AliExpress account. Anyone can create an account on AliExpress and it is free.

To get started with AliExpress, download their Android or iOS app or head over to their website www.aliexpress.com, look for the signup or create account link and click it.

Fill in required info and finally confirm your account by clicking the confirmation link sent to your email.

Step 2 – Get familiar with the AliExpress App or website

If you are new to AliExpress, before searching for products on the site and placing any orders, it will be much smoother for you if you first get familiar with their website and learn how it works and their trade terms.

Step 3 – Search for products

The next step would be finding the products you want to buy. You can do this by either browsing product categories or by entering your product search keyword in the search box. For example if you are looking to buy men’s jeans, you will browse through the jeans subcategory that can be found under men’s fashion category.

The platform also has very powerful product filtering features that can help you find exactly what you are looking for. You can filter products using different values such as size, product condition, price range, free shipping, rating etc.

Once you finally zero down on the item you want to buy, ensure that the product is legit and will most likely meet your expectations. Carefully read through the product description, past customer reviews and seller feedback.

If the item has poor ratings by past buyers, it is advisable not to buy such an item as it is likely to be of poor quality or not exactly as advertised.

Step 4 – Add item to cart/bag

Once you have identified the product you want to buy, and you are satisfied with the product reviews by past buyers and all other relevant information provided by the seller, select product variants like color, size, quantity etc and either proceed to BUY NOW or ADD TO CART the item. Adding an item to the cart will save the details of that particular item until you are ready to buy it, it is just like as if you have popped something you want to purchase into a real shopping basket. You can add multiple items to cart and checkout later at once.

Step 5 – Enter your shipping address

Once you are ready to place your order on AliExpress, during the checkout process, you will be required to enter your shipping address. A shipping address is a place where you would like your order delivered.

In Uganda, we do not have a clear home address system like it is in Europe. If you have a postal address (Box number), enter it as your shipping information. You can also use a postal address of a friend you trust, so they can collect for you your package from their address when it arrives.

If you do not own a postal address, and you have no friend to help you with theirs, don’t worry, you will still be able to receive your AliExpress order. Just enter a generic shipping address in this format below:

Name: Mukasa Sam
Address: Makerere 1, Kawempe Division.
City: Kampala
State or Province: Central, Western, Northern or Eastern
Postal/Zip code: 00256
Country: Uganda
Tel: +256701234567
Email: mail@example.com

If you used a generic shipping address, when your package arrives, it will be dropped at a Post Office branch near you and you will be notified by SMS to go collect your package. Please ensure that the above generic shipping address has your real name as it appears on your national ID or Passport, plus your email and phone number.

Step 6 – Choose payment method

At this stage, you have to choose the form you want to pay for your order. Choose a payment which is safe and suits you. When it comes to payment, AliExpress accept the following forms of payment:

  • PayPal (few sellers accept payments via PayPal)
  • WebMoney
  • Debit/Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Maestro, Troy, MNP, American Express etc)
  • Wire Transfer (Not recommended)
  • Western Union (Not recommended)

The easiest and safest payment method among the above is use of Debit/Credit card. Almost all local banks in Uganda now issue debit cards that allow online transactions.

If you cannot access a debit card issued by bank, you can take advantage of virtual debit MasterCards issued by Uganda telecom networks. Aitel Uganda has Airtel MasterCard and MTN Uganda has MTN Momo MasterCard.

How to get MTN MoMo MasterCard

Dial *165*70# to create MTN Momo MasterCard

How to get Airtel MasterCard

Dial *185*7# to create Airetl MasterCard

These virtual cards by MTN and Airtel are charged at 1000/- per transaction. The money is chopped directly from your mobile money account.

These virtual MasterCards not only work on AliExpress but can be used any other site or app where MasterCard is accepted.

Step 7 – Confirm and Pay for your order

Once you have selected your payment form in the previous step, you can now proceed to confirm and pay for your order using any of the above payment methods. Upon successful transaction, you will see an onscreen message notifying you of the same. You will also receive detailed information about your order via the email you used to create your AliExpress account.

Step 8 – Track your order

Once your order is placed and payment is confirmed, you will receive a tracking code that you will use to follow up the journey of your package from China to Uganda. The tracking number is usually sent to your email once the package has been shipped. It can also be found in your AliExpress account under the section of orders.

You can check the whereabouts of your package by tapping on the “Tracking Information” link that appears besides your order.

Alternatively, you can track your order using international parcel tracking solutions like 17 Track. To get started with 17 Track, simply visit their website and enter your tracking code.

The website will show you information about the status of your order and where it is at the time of checking. If your order arrives in Uganda, you will be able to see that as well.

Step 9 – Collect your package

Before placing an order, you will be asked to provide your shipping address. If you enter your postal address, your package would be dropped at your address.

If you entered a virtual postal address provided by Posta Uganda, your package would be dropped at Posta Uganda branch near you and you will be notified SMS or call to go and collect your package.

If you didn’t have a postal address and entered a generic one as discussed in step #5 above, your package will also be dropped at Posta Uganda offices near you and you will be notified via SMS to go pick it.

To collect your package at Posta Uganda, you will be required to pay a withholding fee of UGX 3,000/- per package received.

Moreover if your item arrives at Posta Uganda and you have no time to go pick it, the guys at Posta Uganda can deliver it to your doorstep for as low UGX 4,000/- per kilometre. Just call their hotline: +256414255569.

However if your order was shipped via major courier companies like DHL, UPS, FEDEX or EMS, just stay at home, they will bring to you.

Tips to buy safely on AliExpress and ship to Uganda

Whereas AliExpress is an authentic shopping site, you cannot rule out the possibility of getting scammed by wrong elements from there. Scammers are everywhere on the internet, and they keep up with new tricks from time to time. To ensure your money protected, follow these tips below:

1. Open a dispute before your time runs out

If something goes wrong with your order ie you pay and the seller never ships your order or the order doesn’t arrive within the estimated delivery time, open a dispute against the seller before your time runs. Remember you are given only 30days from the last estimated date of delivery to open a case against the seller.

2. Never cancel a dispute

Never ever cancel a dispute just because a seller has requested you to do so! On AliExpress, it is not possible to re-open a case that has been closed, and if you can’t reopen a closed case, means you will most likely lose your money.

3. Communicate within the AliExpress platform

Never at any point should you ever accept to communicate with the seller outside AliExpress’s official platforms (website or app). Do not accept to chat with the seller via email or whatsapp or any other external communication channel. Communication out AliExpress’s official platform does not concern AliExpress and you will not be protected in an unlikely event that something goes wrong with your order or you get scammed.

4. Don’t bulk buy on your first time

Do not place bulk orders esp if it’s your first time to buy from a certain vendor. First buy 1-2 pieces of the item just test its quality first. If the quality turns out to be good, you can go ahead order in bulk on your next purchase, that’s if bulk buying was your initial plan.

5. Don’t pay via unsecured payment methods

Never pay for your orders via unsecured payment methods like Western Union or Bank Transfer. When you send money to someone via Western Union, you have sent it to an individual not AliExpress. So you won’t really know where your money is going to end. It could be a fraudster trying to fleece you. The only secure payment methods I recommend is Credit/Debit card or PayPal, and  payment must be made within the AliExpress app or website.

6. Only buy from Established Sellers

Only buy from sellers who have been selling on AliExpress for a considerable number of years and have high positive buyer feedback. Long time sellers care a lot about their ratings and will always be there to help you in case something goes wrong with your order.

7. Read Complete Item Details/Description

Vendors include very useful info about the items they sell in the description section. Do not just place an order on any product simply by looking at images and product price. Carefully read the description as the seller might have included some important explanations for the buyer. For instance, the seller might include product compatibility requirements and whether the product is original or a replica. Some vendors also answer questions to order related topics such as shipping, refunds and returns in the item description area.

8. Never Buy Branded Goods on AliExpress

AliExpress is not a recommended place to buy branded products, especially global brands like Adidas, Apple, Samsung or Nike. There are high chances that the branded items you are buying will be replicas or of very low quality. However if you are buying Chinese brands, you are likely to receive good quality products – they exist.

9. Be Careful with Storage and Memory Components

Most counterfeits on AliExpress are common with storage and memory components such as flash disks, memory cards and hard disks. If possible, try to avoid buying products that fall in this category.

10. Be aware of phishing sites

 Fraudsters usually copy exact designs of popular  sites and launch them on fake domains that slightly look like one for the popular website. Their sole aim is to steal your private data such as passwords and credit card info. They can also trick you into buying fake products that do not exist and run away with your money. Always double-check the URL/domain of a site before entering your information. The official site for AliExpress is www.aliexpress.com, but a hacker could create an exact copy of their site and launch it on a fake domain like www.aliexpress.tk (notice .tk extension) or www.aliexpresss.com (fake with triple S).

Best AliExpress alternatives in Uganda

There are several alternatives to AliExpress for Ugandans to buy from. Although none of these alternatives is anywhere close to AliExpress but just good as well. They include:

Global alternatives

  • Walmart
  • Amazon
  • eBay
  • Dhgate
  • Newegg
  • Banggood
  • Bestbuy

Local alternatives

  • Kikuu Uganda
  • Jumia Uganda
  • Ubuy Uganda
  • Condala Uganda
  • Jiji
  • Bazeb

Final thoughts…

Now know how to buy products on AliExpress and ship to Uganda. Shopping on AliExpress in Uganda is simple and easy as that. If you are looking for a wider array of products that wouldn’t easily find in Uganda, you should consider AliExpress. As long as you remember to keep the things discussed above in mind, AliExpress is a fantastic place for online shopping in Uganda. Thanks for reading. See you on the next post!

 

 

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