How to sell on Alibaba: First steps, tips & fees

Panna Kemenes

Alibaba is a global business-to-business (B2B) marketplace, supporting over 1.31 billion active consumers as of 2022.¹

Businesses can source a variety of wholesale products on Alibaba, and find suppliers best suited to them. Alibaba can also help you expand into international markets. To be successful, you need a solid understanding of the platform.

This article will explore how to sell on Alibaba, as well as how much it costs to sell on Alibaba.

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How to sell on Alibaba: First steps

Here’s an overview of how to sell on Alibaba from the US.

Register an Alibaba account

The first step of selling on Alibaba is creating your account.

To create an account, you’ll need to provide:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Location
  • Phone number
  • Business name

You’ll also need to specify whether you want to open a buyer or seller account, or a hybrid of both.²

After entering your details, you can verify your account via email.

You can also have your company verified to become a Verified or Gold Supplier. This gives potential buyers trust in your business.

Set up a company profile

After registering for an account, you can begin setting up your company profile.

Your company profile page is crucial to your success as a seller. It’s the first impression potential buyers will have of your business. You can include information such as your company’s location, size, target market(s), and products.

When it comes to goods with specific safety regulations, it’s helpful to list any product certifications. Proof of such certifications will help your business stand out to potential buyers.

Create an online storefront

Creating your online storefront is the next step of how to sell on Alibaba.

Luckily, you won't need coding or design skills. You can easily upload your products with detailed descriptions and images using a template.

It’s best to list several products, as your online storefront will look fuller and more appealing to buyers. Increased product listings also increase the probability of ranking in search results.

Alibaba’s auto-translate system will make your storefront accessible in up to 18 languages. This further increases your international reach.³

Respond to customer queries and Alibaba RFQs

Having a strong company page and a verified profile is a key element to your success as an Alibaba supplier. But quality communication is the last piece of the puzzle.

In the saturated international market, stellar communication can set your business apart.

🔍 Did you know?
Alibaba reports that responding to buyer inquiries within four hours gives a 30% higher follow-up response rate.³

Giving a fast response to Alibaba Requests for Quotations (RFQs), for example, is a great way to build a relationship potential buyers.

The My Alibaba seller workbench and the AliSupplier mobile app can also help you improve your communications. You can get notifications of new messages to respond even faster.³

Use Alibaba support and tools

Alibaba offers sellers a host of support features and tools. From ads and lead generation to analytics and order management. Taking advantage of tools can help increase your sales.⁴

Additionally, as a seller you can activate Trade Assurance on all transactions, depending on your country. Trade Assurance provides you with a secure payment platform. In the event of any problems, Trade Assurance provides impartial mediation to resolve issues.³

Alibaba support

How to receive international payments from Alibaba

Alibaba is an international marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers from over 190 countries.⁵ This means that you can receive payments from around the world.

Alibaba’s website supports multiple payment channels such as wire transfer, credit card, online bank payment, online transfer, Boleto, Western Union, PayPal, and more.

But when it comes to receiving these payments into your bank account, traditional banks can become complex and expensive. That’s where Wise Business can save you money.

Wise is not a bank, but a Money Services Business (MSB) provider and a smart alternative to banks. The Wise Business account offers local account details - such as IBANs and Routing Numbers - for major currencies. This allows your customers to pay you like a local merchant.

You can also pay other Alibaba suppliers at the mid-market rate, which can save you money.

Get a Wise account today

How to ship items from Alibaba

Once you’ve made a sale, the final step is shipping your product to your customer.

There are trade and shipping regulations for your company’s country as well as the country you’re exporting to. The United States Trade Representative is a good source of information for those exporting to or from the United States.

Once you’re clear on trade regulations, the next step is deciding on the method of shipment - air or ocean freight.

Air freight is generally faster and more expensive. Ocean freight may save you on costs at the expense of longer delivery times. For more information, check out Alibaba’s ocean freight FAQs and air freight FAQs.

💡 You can also read the guide on shipping from China to USA, and how to calculate US import duty and taxes from China.

Alibaba shipping

How much does it cost to sell on Alibaba?

There is a cost to sell on Alibaba. Sellers can choose different payment plans depending on their needs. Let’s take a closer look at the plans.


The standard seller plan costs $3,499 USD per year. With the standard plan, among many other features, you get:

  • Unlimited product postings
  • Initial keyword advertising spend of $500 USD
  • Dedicated account manager⁶

This can be a good plan for new sellers who want access to basic account features without investing a huge amount.

Standard Extended

The standard extended plan costs $5,299 USD for 2 years. The extended plan comes with an additional keyword ad spend of $550 USD. This plan saves you 20% when compared with renewing the standard plan.⁶

This can be a good plan if you have tried the Standard plan and it works for your business. It can also work if you have a tested product that will continue to sell over the coming years.


The premium plan costs $6,999 USD per year. Premium users get:

  • Keyword ad spend of $1150 USD
  • 100 posts with the help of an Alibaba posting expert
  • NYC-based key account manager
  • Access to the Key Success Program (KSP)⁶

This is a good option for those who have the financial resources to boost their products as much as possible.

Is selling on Alibaba right for you?

Selling on Alibaba can be profitable. You need to ensure that there is a definite demand for your product, with room for new competitors in the market.

You also need a unique selling point. This can be in price, quality, or service competitiveness. Additionally, you need to be prepared to manage the process of trade and shipping, with all the potential complexities it can bring.

When it comes to receiving payments, you can also maximise your profit margins by using an account with multiple currencies, such as the Wise Business account.

Once you have all these areas covered, you can sell on Alibaba with confidence.


Discover more Alibaba articles:


  1. Alibaba Group Announces March Quarter and Full Fiscal Year 2022 Results
  2. How can I register an account on
  3. How to start selling on
  4. Alibaba B2B Tool Suite and Features for Sellers
  5. Our Businesses - Alibaba Group
  6. Gold Supplier Membership Price |

All sources checked July 18, 2022.

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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