Online Shopping 101: How To Successfully Buy Things Online By Stella

This is a response to the poster who narrated her bad experience shopping at Her post was here

My dear, sorry about your experience with AliExpress. I know how you feel. It's one of the RISKS with online buying IF YOU ARE NOT WELL INFORMED. Not only from Aliexpress, it could have happened with any other store - just shine your eyes well. 

To help her and other members of this community shop safer online, Here's top of what to know before ever buying a single thing online:

1.) SIZES VARY BY COUNTRY: UK clothes/ shoes size is not the same as USA size. Not same as EU size. Every country has their own size, and for you to buy in the right size IT IS YOUR OWN RESPONSIBILITY to know the sizing conversion, and convert to the seller's size. Foe example, if you are buying stuff from China, convert your sizes to China sizes. You can google 'clothing sizing chart' for any country vs another e.g. "uk china clothing sizing chart".

2. PAYMENT OPTIONS: When buying from Aliexpress, only use a seller that lists "escrow" - which means that your money will be
held up by an escrow account and only released to the seller when you receive your stuff satisfactorily.

3. REFUND POLICY: No matter the shop you are buying from, always read the refund policy. Some sellers dont have any, while some have a very short period (say, 2 to 7 days). Be sure that the refund policy states a long time enough for you to receive the items and for the items to get back to the seller if you decide you don't like it. If a good will take 2 weeks to reach you, be sure that the refund policy is from 30 days up.

3.) NUMBER OF REVIEWS: Before buying, check and read the reviews and stars, especially the negative ones which tell you a lot.

4.) TOP RATED SELLERS: In marketplace-style online stores like Aliexpress and ebay, even amazon - where each store is owned by different people, it is safe top rated sellers. This is what I do.

5.) PICTURES CAN BE DIFFERENT FROM REAL LIFE: Be sure you have seen the item physically (elsewhere) before ordering because dubious sellers always blow up the photos and some use a different photo - so that what you get is very different.

5.) IF IT'S TOO CHEAP, RUN: If it's too good/ cheap to be true, there is a high chance that it is "not true' and fake. Flee before you are tempted to try. For example, you see people selling a designer tee-shirt for pennies, when you know that the real one is a thousand times more in price - how real can that be? 

6.) ASK THE SELLER QUESTIONS : If you are in doubt, send the seller your questions first, if they don't reply, it's a sign that if there's problem later, you will be OYO (On your Own). By the way, I always like to ask questions first to test... Always email if it's a website you have never bought from before - use their 'contact us' link.

7.) ASK IF ANYONE HAS USED THEM BEFORE: It helps to ask around first - maybe on a blog like here. You never know, someone may tell you if they delivered or not; if the items were good or not. And for a marketplace-store like aliexpress, ask about a particular seller and not just the entire aliexpress BECAUSE the fact is that there are still some genuine sellers out there.

8.) FIND OUT WHAT THE SHIPPING COST IS: Before hitting the 'buy now' button, know or ask if they ship to Nigeria and how much it will cost to ship to Nigeria or wherever you are. Don't assume anything.

Finally, please be wary of people saying "email me for tips' - if they have genuine tips for you, they would happily leave it as a comment.

And, know that while there are the fake sellers online, there are still the good ones. It is your own responsibility to be a savvy and informed online buyer first before dipping your toes in the water.

BY Stella Anokam
Naija Glam Wedding Blog (


  1. Anonymous2/26/2014

    Stella, you rock!

    1. Thank you, dear. I'm glad you liked the tips. Let me know if you have any questions.

  2. Anonymous2/27/2014

    so true. i bought some jeweries from Aliexpress that were super cheap, it came alright but started fading almost immediately, they didnt look as beautiful as it was online, so when next i'm buying things i'll bu the more expensive things and try. fast delivery though considering it was free shipping

    1. Sorry about that but you can still buy good stuff from AliExpress - just read the reviews very well and in some cases you'll find someone or more people that complained that they bought and the item faded fast. If you follow the other steps in this article, you should be able to buy with a better experience. Also avoid sellers with little or no reviews.

  3. Anonymous2/27/2014

    Is uk2meonline reliable? Please respond. Thank you. Aunt Eya, keep up the good work. For what it's worth, you're one of the best bloggers that leave meaningful post on your blog as opposed to gossips which won't do one any good. Haters will never steal your shine. Anonymous is what they'll continue to be and you will keep soaring higher. The sky is not your limit but your starting point. Have a blessed day.

    1. I have not heard about, or used UK2meonline - so I can't say. To be on the safe side, it's advisable to buy from big and highly reliable merchant shops like Amazon and some others. which are big companies with traded stock and strong policies to protect the consumer; and also have a reputation at stake. Online, most people take advantage of facelessness to setup shops and sell fake. And if in doubt, like you are now - just move on, my dear.

  4. Thanks so much for throwing my light on the online shopping stuff.

    It is quite informative.

    1. You're welcome - I'm glad you got value from the information.

  5. Anonymous2/27/2014

    Stella God bless you for this enlightment,though I first heard of Aliexpress from this blog,just check the site now and I found out the have good stuffs,but this are my questions,
    * Is it freshipping,cause I see free shipping in all the items
    * How many days will it take to get my stuff here in niaja
    * Is the site own by one person or own my diff people
    *have u ordered something from them before?
    Lastly is Cndirect a good shopping site? Cus they have cheap and beautiful things though is china. Await u responds.

    God bless u Aunty Eya have been following ur blog since last year october,saw it on google when I was looking 4 how to make ice cream at home,thanks for making me a better cook.

    1. You're welcome.

      There are different individual sellers on AliExpress and each one has a different shipping cost. Like I said in the aericle, 'shine your eyes' - READ beyond scanning from far - some sellers may be offering free shipping only within China etc - but I also mentioned in step 6 that you should "ASK THE SELLER QUESTIONS " - so take your questions directly to the seller. And if you can, print out this post - because I also said that 'if they don't reply your questions, you should RUN. I mostly buy from and a couple of top US and UK stores that I'm sure of - I don't know about CnDirect. Please don't be carried away by the fine and cheap.

  6. Abiola2/28/2014

    I need to buy makeup products from US to Nigeria,and I'm having delivery issues has they don't ship to Nigeria,pls wc family,how can I go about this?can I use intermediary nigerian websites like the uk2meonline that anon 8:28am spoke about?Or is there any one who knows someone who can help bring the goods down from the US,because that way they will be shipped to that person's address directly in the US.pls wc family,help an aspiring makeup artist pls.

    1. @Abiola, I have used several times and they deliver to Nigeria. And I usually use (ask of Sade, the owner) when I need to use any store that does not deliver to Nigeria. Orderbay helps me do the buying and send to me in Nigeria, and I always make sure to email/ call them to keep track - they also have a Facebook page where you can ask questions or email/ call them. But overall, Amazon delivers.

    2. Anonymous3/04/2014

      Hello Stella,
      Please i need to place an order on amazon but don't know how to go about it. i live in lagos. please help.


  7. mrs morgan3/01/2014

    Hello stella,pls do u knw about 10dollar hv lovely tins on there site do u knw any1 in nigeria who has bought tins 4rm dem?enlighten me please

    1. No, I don't @MrsMorgan. And I don't know anyone who has used them. Please don't like an internet shop just because it has fine things. I always recommend people to start from big, known shops such as - and they accept payment from Nigeria, and deliver to Nigeria. And you'll be sure to get a refund if you experience problems with your purchase or delivery. My motto is "better to be safe than sorry".

    2. Hi mrs morgan.I knw d 10 dollar mall.its called and I knw of ppl tht hv bot in d us but none in nigeria.I tried to purchase once n saw international shippin is 323 dollars.its so outrageous I wonder if its a mistake but till tomoro when I check its d same thing

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