This guide will show you how to negotiate with Alibaba suppliers, and I’ll also address the question: can you negotiate shipping on Alibaba? Due to the low labor cost, many western companies find it advantageous to buy products from China; low Chinese taxes and regulatory compliance laws are in place without being overwhelming. 

So, when negotiating with Chinese suppliers, where do you start? For a one-stop sourcing solution, many westerners choose the largest e-commerce company in the world — Alibaba.

Founded in 1999, Alibaba leads the world in e-commerce because of is unfamiliar to most western companies; and will be more familiar. is best for buying high quantities of products for your business. prices are low, although shipping costs can be prohibitive. is more expensive but better for companies or individuals buying a few products, perhaps samples that you want to get delivered fast. is one choice for westerners wanting to source from China. Can You Trust Alibaba Suppliers?

Unfortunately, some suppliers on Alibaba are untrustworthy and dishonest. Before determining how to negotiate in Alibaba, do your due diligence and determine whether or not you are dealing with a reputable company. 

There is no 100% reliable way of checking company trustworthiness on Alibaba; however, if all or most of the following initial checks are in place, you can be reasonably sure you’re dealing with a decent supplier and mitigating buying risks.

How To Choose Alibaba Supplier

On-Site Reputation

Here’s how to choose Alibaba supplier: Go to Feeds > Discover on the Alibaba site and find companies tagged Verified, which means their production processes, goods, and company profile have been third-party assessed.

Gold suppliers have paid accounts on Alibaba. Fraudulent companies are more likely to have free Alibaba accounts, so a Gold supplier is more likely to be legitimate.

Trade Assurance means that if your products are late shipments or quality standards are poor, Alibaba will provide support.

Researching Products And Companies

Can you trust Alibaba suppliers to deliver a working product promptly? To determine supplier reliability, ask for a sample product. Ensure that there is an official company stamp on the invoice they send. If the product checks out well, you have another positive in determining whether a supplier is reliable.

Find supplier and product reviews on and off Alibaba. If the reviews are positive, you have an encouraging sign that the supplier is honest.

Bearing all the above in mind, you need to search for the products you want to order. Just type in the product name in the Alibaba search facility and run a search. For example, if you have a region in mind that specializes in textiles, you can further refine your search. 

Filter your search by minimum order quantities. You can further refine your search with Trade Assurance, Gold Supplier, and Verified Supplier specifications.

How To Deal With Alibaba Suppliers

Here’s how to deal with Alibaba suppliers. The first rule is to be polite. Behave patiently and honestly in your dealings with Alibaba suppliers.

Do you want to know how to negotiate with suppliers on Alibaba?

What follows is a list of best practices that will get you good deals with reliable sourcing agents.

If you follow the steps above, you already know that you have a trustworthy supplier. You both need each other, and mutual success is the best option. 

To communicate with Alibaba suppliers, you can choose the Contact Supplier button or the Chat Now button. When you use the chat facility, be mindful of time differences and make communication clear and concise — you are probably communicating with someone whose first language is Chinese — ensure that your messages are understood.

How To Negotiate Price With Alibaba Supplier

To determine how to negotiate price with Alibaba supplier, first decide on your negotiation method. Do you want one bulk quantity of items, or do you want goods delivered in separate consignments? With different consignments, you could initially propose a standing order of six months. So while your shipments may be smaller than the supplier might wish, you will be buying large quantities from the supplier in the long run.

Generally, Alibaba suppliers like to keep to fixed pricing; some will be against lowering their prices for you — reframe your request by emphasizing the value you are bringing to the deal. Are you spearheading a new market in your home country? Then this could give the supplier an opportunity for new product deals in your area when other companies follow your lead.

You can also connect the supplier with better distributors, which will decrease their costs. Use outside-the-box strategies to lower your prices so that the deal is a win-win for you and your supplier.

Need help with Alibaba suppliers?

How To Negotiate With Suppliers on Alibaba By Creating Supplier Competition

Here’s an underused method that illustrates how to negotiate with suppliers on Alibaba. Make suppliers aware that you seek alternative quotes from their rivals on Alibaba. Let the suppliers know that you are looking for alternative quotes and that you hope they can deliver their quotation at their best price. Often, this is an effective way to drive prices down.

This negotiating method often creates a bidding war between rival suppliers, in which you will end up being the winner.

How To Negotiate In Alibaba By Offering Generous Deposits

Here’s a method that will build supply trust and is a prime sample of how to negotiate in Alibaba. Your supplier will have concerns; they may be worried that they will not get paid the total amount from you after their goods are delivered — this is your chance to allay supplier fears by offering a 60 – 70% deposit on goods in advance.

Because 50% is a standard deposit, you will curry favor with the company, and offering an increased deposit rate is often an excellent way to negotiate a discount.

How To Negotiate With Alibaba Suppliers By Being The Perfect Client

Here’s how to negotiate with Alibaba suppliers and keep everybody happy. No company likes to lose a reliable client. Pay your supplier on time and be courteous and respectful to them; following three of four successful deliveries, propose a price renegotiation so that they can lower the shipment prices in the future.

Do business the right way with your supplier, and it could lead to higher profits for your company.

If the above is too complex for you, you may prefer looking for China sourcing agent.

Can You Negotiate Shipping On Alibaba?

One of the first Alibaba questions businesses want to know is: can you negotiate shipping on Alibaba? It’s an important question because shipping costs can make or break a business deal on Alibaba. Negotiating with different companies will give you an idea of how much shipping costs differ. 

For instance, one American company reports that their order of a hundred units cost $500 for shipping. Another company in the same area of China proposed a $900 shipping charge for the same order.

There can be various reasons for high shipping costs. One supplier may be shipping your consignment alone. Another supplier may be sending multiple consignments in one load, resulting in lower rates that they will then pass on to you.

If you think a potential supplier is charging too much for transport, research rival companies that ship at lower prices. Tell the supplier that you would like to buy from them, but want a better transport quote, and tell them how much your quotation is on shipping from another lower-priced company.

Can you negotiate shipping on Alibaba with other methods?

As you investigate the question: can you negotiate shipping on Alibaba, it’s important to know more than one negotiating method. If impossible to negotiate to ship directly, another option is to nominate a carrier. Run a Google search on the freight carrier to determine their reputation. Finding your freight carrier will be time-consuming; it often represents a significant cost-saving benefit for your business.

Using a freight forwarder in your home country will make the shipping process simpler and more controllable. Your nominated freight forwarder should also have an office in China, and if you shop around for the best deal, it will save you money.

Shipping costs are more negotiable than product pricing. Usually, the supplier will look at the costings again and lower the transport cost for your shipment if possible. 


Buying and negotiating with suppliers on Alibaba can be complex and time-consuming. The Alibaba website is a good starting point to begin product and pricing research in the Chinese market. 

Western companies choosing to go it alone if buying from China can face multiple problems. The language barrier can create difficulties and result in misunderstandings that slow down the negotiation progress. As a result, there may be confusion in the product creation and shipping processes. Western companies that try to find a Chinese factory will also face challenges.

A lack of understanding of tradition and values can impact results. Dealing with legal processes in China is also complex.

One solution is to visit the factory that will be producing your goods. But that is expensive and time-consuming, as is arranging an on-site company member to ensure that manufacturing runs smoothly.

There is a better way to import goods from China.

Using a sourcing agent can take the pressure off buying and shipping products from China. Looking for China sourcing agent? Easy Imex can scale your business and improve pricing and product quality. Utilize our knowledge, contacts, and resources and open your business to more profits and new possibilities.

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