How to sell on Amazon from Alibaba

Panna Kemenes

Alibaba is a business-to-business (B2B) eCommerce platform, connecting brands with thousands of manufacturers.

In September 2021, the global eCommerce giant Alibaba reported over 1.24 billion active consumers using its platform.¹

Some retailers opt to buy from Alibaba and sell on Amazon. This business model allows Amazon to take care of the order fulfillment process.

This article will cover the entire process of buying from Alibaba and selling on Amazon.

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Table of Contents

Can I sell Alibaba items on Amazon?

The first step when looking at how to buy from alibaba and sell on amazon is to take a look at the legalities.

Is it legal to resell items from Alibaba?

Yes - selling on Amazon from Alibaba is legal.²

Buying from Alibaba to sell on Amazon is the business strategy of many successful brands. They can connect to a massive competitive market of suppliers with Alibaba, while allowing Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to run the order fulfillment process.

As long as the products you sell comply with your Amazon seller agreement, as well as with any applicable laws and regulations, there’s nothing to sweat about.³

Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that buying from Alibaba and selling on Amazon is without potential pitfalls.

Pros and cons of buying from Alibaba to sell on Amazon

Here’s a quick overview of the pros and cons of buying from Alibaba and selling on Amazon.

Reasons Amazon sellers use AlibabaCons of selling on Amazon from Alibaba
  • Low prices, with many goods being manufactured in China
  • Thousands of suppliers to choose from
  • Alibaba Trade Assurance protects you against scams and theft
  • Easy to set up an account and make contact with suppliers
  • Supports multiple payment methods, including Wise and Paypal
  • Direct shipping from Alibaba to Amazon FBA
  • Branded products are likely to be counterfeit - can get your Amazon Seller account banned
  • Some suppliers provide low-quality products
  • Risk of scamming when using the wrong suppliers
  • Market saturation may prevent you from making profit
  • You may be eligible to pay US sales tax if you don’t apply for the Alibaba US Sales Tax Exemption Program (ASTEP)⁴

How to sell on Amazon from Alibaba

Let’s now take a deeper dive into the ins and outs of how to sell Alibaba products on Amazon.

Research and choose what Alibaba products to sell

The first step in creating a successful strategy to buy from Alibaba and sell on Amazon is research.

Research is key to finding the right product(s) for your business to buy and sell. Specifically, finding products that are in high demand, with relatively few competitor Amazon sellers, is a great strategy for getting a foothold in the market as a beginner.

That being said, competition needs to be balanced. Breaking into a market monopolized by a few big brands is just as difficult as breaking into one with thousands of small brands.

Finding a niche where there is definite demand, as well as room for new competitors, is key to your success as an Amazon seller.

Similarly, choosing products that are relatively cheap reduces the initial financial risk of breaking into the buying and selling industry.

Find and contact Alibaba suppliers

After finalizing your product, it’s then time to find the right suppliers.

Just like with Amazon, you can search for your product on Alibaba’s website, adding filters such as price ranges, supplier types, the supplier location and certain product certifications.

The benefit of Alibaba is that you have a global marketplace of suppliers at your fingertips, giving your business a wide range of potential business partners to choose from. But, the flipside of this is that not all suppliers are made equal.

Therefore, it’s crucial that you make contact with multiple suppliers. This will allow you to agree on pricing, evaluate how the supplier operates their business, as well as gauge their experience level in the industry.

Choosing Verified Suppliers that offer Alibaba Trade Assurance also reduces the risk of scams or any other sort of bad business practices.

You can also create and submit an Alibaba Request for Quote (RFQ) to find the various prices on offer by suppliers.

Contact Alibaba suppliers

Request Alibaba product samples

Aside from discussing pricing, it’s key that you also request product samples from all of your potential suppliers.

Buying products in bulk without first testing them is not a wise decision - quality can vary massively from supplier to supplier. And good quality products are a guarantee of customer satisfaction.

On top of this, contacting your potential supplier and requesting a product sample allows you to get a better feeling for how they operate. Factors to consider are the length of time it takes for them to respond, the quality and clarity of the response, as well as the overall ease of the communication process.

These things are often a good indicator of the operating style of a business - something you want to evaluate before making a bulk order!

Place the order and pay your supplier

Once you’ve decided on your supplier, it’s time to make your order and pay them.

Alibaba suppliers support multiple methods of payment such as PayPal, Apple Pay, wire transfers, credit card and Western Union.⁵

To ensure business runs smoothly, it’s best to file a Purchase Order (PO) agreement with your supplier, so that the shipping terms, price and amount of product units are clear for both parties.

POs are legally binding and protect both you and your supplier in case of problems with shipping, the product, or in the event of non-payment.

It’s also best to make transactions with suppliers who have Trade Assurance, which protects your money in the case that your purchase order agreement is violated.⁹

Ship your items from Alibaba to Amazon FBA

Now that you’ve paid your supplier, the next step is shipping your items to an Amazon FBA Fulfillment center.

Some retailers prefer to ship their products to a separate location first, so that they can inspect the products as well as save on Amazon FBA storage fees. However, it’s also highly convenient to have your products shipped directly from your supplier to an Amazon FBA center.

Verified suppliers on Alibaba will be familiar with the shipping process, and can help you in getting your first shipment underway. They’ll also often include the shipping costs directly in your invoice.

Similarly, if your products are particularly heavy and/or large, they will need to be shipped via sea. In this case, working with a freight forwarding agency is recommended in order to ease the process, from customs clearance to packaging.

🔍 Can Alibaba send items directly to Amazon?
Yes - you can have your products shipped directly from the supplier to an Amazon warehouse. Once your inventory arrives, it takes approximately three business days until it’s available for sale. Alibaba to Amazon FBA is a convenient system, saving you from having to ship your inventory to Amazon yourself. To learn more, check out this Amazon FBA guide.⁶
🔍 Read more about Alibaba shipping

Create a listing on Amazon

The final step in the process of selling on Amazon from Alibaba is creating the listing for your product.

To create your listing, you’ll need to go to “Inventory” in Seller Central and then select “Add Product”.

From here, you can create a new detail page for your product and then create the listing for it. You’ll need to provide some information about your product, some of which Amazon will display on the product’s page, depending on manufacturer and seller contributions.⁷

Create an Amazon listing

Risks of selling on Amazon from Alibaba

Alibaba is a secure platform to source manufacturers from and Amazon is similarly safe as a marketplace to sell your products on. Yet, as with all online marketplaces, there is always the potential to get scammed, or to run into untrustworthy suppliers.

When buying from Alibaba and selling on Amazon, you need to watch out for counterfeit goods. If you find a branded product on Alibaba - like Nike shoes, for example - the likelihood that it's a counterfeit is extremely high.

⚠️ If you get caught selling counterfeit items on Amazon, your seller account will be banned - ending your Amazon FBA operations.

Similarly, you need to think about market saturation before deciding on which product to buy on Alibaba and sell on Amazon.

If you end up trying to sell a product that’s already offered by hundreds of other sellers, you may end up with few sales and a net loss. That’s why conducting thorough market research is crucial to your success as an Amazon seller.

Your business is also reliant on Alibaba’s shipping times. If there are supply-chain issues with Alibaba suppliers, this could affect the success of your sales and consequent customer satisfaction.

Tips for safe shopping on Alibaba:

Staying safe on Alibaba isn’t difficult. Here are some best practices to stay safe:

  • It’s best to only buy from Alibaba Verified Suppliers, as well as those who offer Trade Assurance. This ensures that the suppliers are legitimate, protecting you against scammers, theft and poor quality products

  • Requesting product samples is a must-do. Without product samples, you can’t guarantee the quality of what you’ll order in bulk. In addition, this first contact with a potential supplier allows you to see how well they interact and communicate, making for a better assessment of their operations

  • Avoid branded goods on Alibaba - they are almost certainly counterfeits and will get your account banned if you sell them on Amazon

  • Research your supplier - evidence of customer reviews on forums or any other sites can be a helpful indicator of their trustworthiness

  • Some retailers suggest avoiding direct shipping from Alibaba to Amazon FBA centers, in order to ensure the quality of the product being shipped in bulk. While this is not required for safe shopping on Alibaba, it may be a good idea if you’re unsure about the trustworthiness of a new supplier.⁸

For more tips on staying safe while using Alibaba, check out our Alibaba safety guide.

Receive Amazon payments with Wise Business

Now that you understand how to buy on Alibaba and sell on Amazon you can get started building your sales figures.

Being an Amazon seller opens up a global marketplace for your products. But international business is not without headaches.

That’s where Wise Business can help. If you sell on multiple Amazon marketplaces, you can withdraw your different currency earnings directly into your Wise account. This way, you’ll avoid paying high currency conversion fees. Read the quick quide to set up Wise account details on Amazon, and start saving money today.

Receive international payments
with Wise Business

Wise is a business account that gives you major local account details - from IBANs and Routing Numbers, to Sort Codes. This saves you money when accepting payments from customers abroad.

Use Wise’s multi-currency account to convert your money into different currencies in a matter of seconds, all while having it exchanged at the mid-market rate.

🔍 Read more:


  1. 22 Remarkable Alibaba Statistics [Updated for 2022]
  2. Is it Legal to Resell Products From Alibaba on Amazon?
  3. Program Policies - Amazon Seller Central
  4. Enrolling in the Alibaba US Sales Tax Exemption Program (ASTEP)
  5. Payment page
  6. Ship products to Amazon
  7. Create listings one at a time - Amazon Seller Central
  8. Amazon seller central
  9. Trade Assurance

Sources checked August 8, 2022.

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