What Is Processing Time on AliExpress and How to Speed It Up?
AliExpress is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world and belongs to the Alibaba group. It’s unique selling points are affordable prices and products that may not be available in Europe and North America. Many people who aren’t familiar with the platform come across terms that are unique to AliExpress, such as ‘Processing Time’ while ordering items.
Processing time on AliExpress is the time that the seller of the items requires to fulfil the order. The scope of order fulfilment starts from identifying the location of the items in the warehouse and also includes picking, packing and ultimately handing over the goods to the nominated logistics provider.
The average processing time of sellers on AliExpress is between 1 to 5 days. In some cases where item size and quantity may pose a challenge, an order may take a longer time to fulfill.
Buyers on AliExpress are able to see the processing time of each order on the shipment details page – more information on that further below. It’s also important to note that processing time should not be confused with shipping or delivery time. In fact, it’s the process before the shipping window starts.
Let’s take a closer look at what’s behind AliExpress’ processing time and what steps you can take to speed it up.
What Happens During the Processing Time on AliExpress?
Once a buyer on AliExpress has successfully completed the checkout and payment process, the processing time starts. This is where the seller/shipper starts fulfilling the order. Here are the 6 most important steps that happen during a seller’s processing time.
1. Inventory is Assessed & Located
The first step of the seller is to check and locate the inventory of the items that were purchased. They typically locate and track inventory in a warehouse management system (WMS), which informs them how much of the product is in stock and where to pick from.
2. Goods are Picked in the Warehouse
In this process, the ordered items are picked from the racks and retrieved from the warehouse. They are now ready to be packaged.
3. Goods are Packaged
Now, the ordered items are made fit for shipping. Packaging types include corrugated boxes, envelopes, bubble wrap, wooden crates, storage boxes, padded mailers, or customized packing. All items are packaged according to the item size, shape and design, as well as the respective shipping method.
4. Shipping Documents are Prepared
The seller will now use the shipping information that was provided by the buyer upon checkout to prepare the required invoices, packing list and shipping labels. This information is important for the logistics provider to identify the shipping method and place of delivery.
5. Shipping Methods are Arranged
The shipper has now packed the order and is arranging for the logistics provider to pick them up for shipping. AliExpress works with multiple providers such as international couriers like DHL, FedEx, or EMS. AliExpress also offers a Cainiao shipping method, as well as their own standard and economy shipping options.
6. Cargo is Picked Up by the Nominated Transporter
Lastly, the seller makes the goods readily available for pickup and the logistics provider ships the goods using your preferred method to the destination. However, it’s important to note that the processing time does not include the shipping/delivery process.
What Is the Average Processing Time On AliExpress?
Buyers should expect the standard processing time to be between 1 to 5 days. However, it’s not uncommon for the processing time to take longer sometimes, due to documentation requirements for export/import, government regulations, compliance, or when the goods are voluminous or in high demand.
Smaller items that are easily stored are also usually processed within 1 – 2 days. For larger items or goods that are not located in the distribution warehouse, processing time may take up to 9 days, albeit being extremely rare.
How to Find the Processing Time on AliExpress?
There are a few ways to view the processing time on AliExpress. The easiest way is by accessing the ‘My Orders’ or ‘Shipping Cart’ tab after signing in to the account. Here is a screenshot showing the processing time under the ‘Shipment Details’ of the order.
What Happens When the Processing Time is Exceeded?
A seller typically has a maximum of 9 days to fulfil an order. However, if the seller is facing issues to meet the indicated processing time, they are able to extend it by submitting an extension request. The request form can be viewed below.
This will grant the seller more time to fulfil the order. If the processing time is passed without an extension submitted, the order will be automatically canceled and the buyer receives a refund.
How to Speed Up the Processing Time
Although the processing time is determined by the seller, there are several things that buyers can do, in order to reduce the processing time. Most of these revolve around providing accurate shipping and order information, as well as staying closely in touch with the seller.
- Ensure That Shipping Information is Accurate – Make sure the contact details you provided on the checkout page is accurate. This includes the full name, phone number, email, and address. This will allow the shipper to create the shipping documents correctly, without having to reconfirm.
- Choose A Seller with Acceptable Processing Times – Certain products are sold by various sellers. Pick vendors with faster processing times and those that have a good store reputation. Lastly, depending on the urgency of the cargo, there is an option to pay priority shipping to ensure your order gets shipped out immediately.
- Be Clear on Order Requirements – For items with customization options, such as custom engravings, sizes and colors, be clear on the instructions and agree on them before ordering. As sellers need to prepare these extra services it can add to the processing time, if they are not discussed and agreed beforehand (especially for complex services).
- Communicate with The Seller – If the order is taking too long to fulfil or the processing time is approaching expiry, reach out to the seller and request them to speed up the process. You may also remind them of the order in case they have forgotten about it. Sellers on AliExpress fulfil hundreds of orders a day and may have forgotten to fulfil yours, although this is quite rare.
Co-Founder & Writer
About the Author
Gerrit is a certified international supply chain management professional with 15 years of industry experience, having worked for one of the largest global freight forwarders.
As the co-founder of freightcourse, he’s committed to his passion for serving as a source of education and information on various supply chain topics.