Alibaba RFQ Guide: Unlocking the Secrets to Successful Sourcing

In the vast realm of global trade, Alibaba stands tall as the most extensive index of factories and supplier platforms. But before you plunge into the world of sourcing on Alibaba, there’s a crucial skill you must master – the art of requesting quotations properly. With a decade of experience in the sourcing field, we’re here to guide you through the intricacies of the Alibaba RFQ (Request for Quotation) process. So, are you ready to explore the secrets to sourcing success? Let’s dive in.

Understanding Alibaba RFQ

What is Alibaba RFQ?

Alibaba Request for Quotation is a powerful tool that Alibaba offers to customers for posting buying requests. It’s your ticket to discovering the best deals in the market. With RFQ, buyers can easily compare prices from various suppliers, ensuring they get the lowest possible price. There are four types of Alibaba RFQs, each with its unique approach:

  1. Invited Bid: The buyer invites specific sellers to bid.
  2. Open Bid: The buyer allows sellers to bid openly and check other supplier bids.
  3. Sealed Bid: Sellers tender a quote for the inventory, visible only to the selected suppliers.
  4. Reverse Auction: An open bidding system where the lowest price wins the bid.

Navigating Alibaba RFQ

How does Alibaba RFQ work?

Using Alibaba RFQ is a breeze. Simply log in to your Alibaba account, fill out the RFQ registration form, and hit “submit RFQ.” Once you’ve submitted your RFQ, Alibaba experts review it and match it with the ideal vendor. Vendors search for related RFQs, and if they find yours interesting, they’ll offer you a competitive price quote. You can then evaluate, compare, and request for quotations with ease.

Free or Paid: Your Choice

Is it free to use Alibaba RFQ service?

Alibaba offers two types of RFQ services. The first is the free RFQ service, which allows you to receive quotes from a minimum of ten distinct vendors. The second option is the Paid RFQ service, where you can choose value-added services for an extra fee. The Paid RFQ service, known as Quality RFQ, leads to more robust communication with vendors.

The Advantages of Alibaba RFQ

What is the best benefit of Alibaba’s RFQ service?

Alibaba RFQ benefits buyers in multiple ways:

  • Quicker Vendor Response: RFQ attracts vendors to approach you and provide 10-15 quotes in minutes, making it easy to find the best deals.
  • Convenient Cost Comparison: All quotations are available on a single page, allowing for easy assessment.
  • Proactive Vendor Services: Suppliers follow up and build a strong relationship with you.

The Pitfalls to Avoid

Disadvantages of Alibaba RFQ

While Alibaba RFQ offers numerous advantages, it’s essential to be aware of potential drawbacks. With RFQ, you won’t have the option to choose the type of vendor before receiving quotes. Recognizing the most acceptable costs can be challenging, and if you’re unsatisfied, you may need to repeat the RFQ process until you find the right match.

Mastering the Art of RFQ on Alibaba

How Do I Use RFQ On Alibaba?

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using Alibaba RFQ effectively:

Step 1: Go to Alibaba RFQ main page and complete the RFQ form.

Step 2: Specify your product details, upload photos, and provide essential information.

Step 3: Submit your RFQ and wait for quotations to arrive in the message center of the Alibaba RFQ dashboard.

Step 4: Review the quotations and contact suppliers.

Step 5: Request samples to assess quality.

Step 6: Place your order with the best-suited supplier.

Going the Extra Mile

How to discuss Alibaba RFQ Details?

Crafting a compelling Alibaba RFQ is crucial to attracting quality vendors. Your RFQ should be concise, consisting of five key elements:

  1. Introduction: Start by introducing yourself and specifying the product you want to buy clearly and concisely.
  2. Quantity: Specify the quantity you require, and if it’s just for testing, mention your intent to place a larger order later.
  3. Packaging: Discuss packaging costs upfront to avoid surprises.
  4. Importing Process: Clarify your expectations regarding shipping and import logistics.
  5. Address: Share the complete address if you need shipping to a specific location.

Choosing the Best RFQ

How To Select The Best RFQ On Alibaba

When choosing the best RFQ, remember that the quoted price is only one element. Consider these factors:

  1. Product Specifications: Pay close attention to product specifications, as they define the factory cost.
  2. Product Compliance: Ensure that the product complies with relevant regulations, as compliant products may cost more.
  3. Quantity: Higher quantities usually lead to lower costs, but there’s a limit to cost reduction.
  4. Shipping Incoterm: Understand the Incoterm, as it affects who handles the delivery and customs clearance.

Expanding Your Horizons

How To Get More RFQs Outside Of Alibaba

While Alibaba is a giant in the industry, you can also seek RFQs from vendors on other platforms. Here’s how:

  1. Create an RFQ Template: Prepare a detailed RFQ template, including technical specifications, supplier information, and trade terms.
  2. List Suppliers and Send RFQs: Explore platforms like Globalsources, HKTDC, attend trade fairs, or consider hiring a sourcing agent to connect with reputable suppliers.
  3. Gather Quoted Price Information: Initiate conversations with potential suppliers, follow up diligently, and document all information.

With these strategies, you can extend your reach beyond Alibaba and access a wider pool of suppliers.

Ready to Revolutionize Your Sourcing?

If you find negotiating with suppliers and ensuring safe payments on Alibaba challenging, Ningqu is here to make your sourcing journey easier and more secure.


  1. How do I use Alibaba RFQ effectively?
    • Follow the step-by-step guide: Fill out the RFQ form, specify product details, submit the RFQ, review quotations, request samples, and place your order.
  2. Is Alibaba RFQ service free?
    • Alibaba offers both a free RFQ service that allows a minimum of ten quotations and a Paid RFQ service with additional features for a fee.
  3. What are the advantages of using Alibaba’s RFQ service?
    • Alibaba RFQ facilitates quicker vendor responses, convenient cost comparison, and proactive vendor services, making it easier to find the best deals.
  4. What are the disadvantages of Alibaba RFQ?
    • Drawbacks include the inability to choose vendors before receiving quotes and the need to repeat the RFQ process if you’re unsatisfied with the quotes.
  5. How can I select the best RFQ on Alibaba?
    • Consider product specifications, compliance, quantity, and shipping Incoterms when choosing the best RFQ.

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