AliExpress is a global sales platform for Alibaba Group, the Chinese retail giant, which is available in Brazil. The Brazilian consumer can make use of the platform in Portuguese and local delivery, both on the website and in the mobile app. In mobile format, the service is available for free on Android and iPhone (iOS).
It is worth mentioning that our review aims to analyze the use of the AliExpress app itself, and not the shopping service in general. With that, the topics Interface, Usability, Performance and Functionalities will be the pillars of this text. Knowing if the system works and if it meets the needs of the consumer are the targets of this evaluation, both in mobile and desktop experience.
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AliExpress: app offers a lot of offers, but leaves something to be desired in interface and usability – Photo: Reproduction / Pedro Cardoso
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AliExpress has a confused look on mobile – Photo: Reproduction / Pedro Cardoso
AliExpress has the same visual identity when comparing desktop and mobile versions. However, when looking at the offers highlighted on the monitor screen, we can see that they are more organized and coherent than on the cell phone. In this second case, no matter how big the screen, the various shapes and colors pollute the general aspect.
In addition to visual pollution, the categories in the mobile version are not organized in an options menu, but in a button that opens a second page with each set of offers. This makes the user spend unnecessary steps in his search. In general, the app’s appearance resembles a large catalog of those that come in newspapers.
AliExpress is available in Portuguese, but with some translation errors – Photo: Reproduction / Pedro Cardoso
Despite opening the page entirely in Portuguese, the site appears configured for delivery in the United States and priced in dollars. Fortunately, there is an option at the top for the user to switch to Brazil. This is the first point of usability that needs to be noted.
In the mobile version, this does not happen. Using the geolocation of the smartphone, AliExpress detects the user’s origin and already offers all prices in real. Of course, with the registration of an account on the platform, all these doubts will be solved and the consumer will be able to have an almost complete experience in Portuguese, but with many translation errors.
Speaking of registration, as in any large e-commerce, this step in AliExpress has shortcuts that aim to streamline the process and facilitate the user’s life. Thus, it is possible to connect immediately using the social networks Facebook and VK, or a Google account.
User can log into AliExpress using his social network – Photo: Reproduction / Pedro Cardoso
However, creating a login is quick and simple, just enter your email and password to get a free access and a discount coupon. When finalizing a purchase, you will need to enter payment and address information.
The AliExpress app shows a favorable performance on both platforms, but again, the speed and agility attributes of the desktop version are better solved. The performance difference is clear, but that does not mean that the system is slow on the phone.
Changing screens and accessing menus is quick. However, it is worth mentioning that our tests were done on a Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite with Android 9 installed.
AliExpress on mobile has dubious quality functions – Photo: Reproduction / Pedro Cardoso
Unlike the desktop version, AliExpress mobile has extra features that are not common in e-commerce services in general. One of them is the «News Feed», which, despite its name, is a collection of photos posted on social networks for consumers to be inspired, with the aim of buying products from the store. However, they are disconnected profiles of the Brazilian reality, usually written in Russian.
Right next to it, a chat option appears, without making it clear what your intention is. In fact, it is not a tool for contacting store service. In our tests, we only receive promotions messages through this channel, and nothing more. In fact, it is worth making it clear that customer service is precarious in Brazil, as it is only available in English in its 24-hour direct contact version.
The shopping cart and the user profile are two other functions that are easily accessible in the mobile app, which in this case stands out before the desktop version of AliExpress.
AliExpress search result presents offers without images in some cases – Photo: Reproduction / Pedro Cardoso
The search engine opens some random suggestions and tries to complete automatically when we are entering a term. Up to this point, there is no difference between the two versions. However, the overall experience in the mobile version is somewhat painful, as it may take a long time to display the result and show many products without their photos. None of this happened on the desktop version.
AliExpress is a global shopping app that tries to attract the public due to the low prices and diversity of products, but it lacks other aspects. In Brazil, for example, there is support that does not speak Portuguese and some bizarre errors in translations into the language, which makes one think that everything was done in an automated way, without care for the local public.
In general, using the system in the desktop version provides a much superior experience compared to the mobile app, which suffers from performance and usability problems.