I admit it: I bought my wedding dress from Alibaba.com, it cost $169, it fits perfectly and I love it.
After the wedding costs were spiralling out of control north of $25k I began to panic and couldn't bear to spend another few thousand dollars on a wedding dress.
I was Googling options for wedding dresses and kept getting directed to Alibaba.com - the Chinese ecommerce site that announced its $20 billion IPO this month, said to be the biggest IPO in tech history with a whopping $160 billion valuation.
And now I understand why. To look at Alibaba.com is an eyesore, it looks like the sale rack at Walmart or Asda in digital form, and that's because that's exactly what it is. But the price + service is unbeatable.
I read numerous online forums and watched YouTube videos of disastrous wedding dress purchases of people who have received the wrong product or size, people said 'UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOP HERE'.
But amongst the disastrous stories there were some good reviews, I found my dream dress for $169 and thought I would take the risk, consider it more of a learning process than anything else, after all if it didn't fit, $169 was nothing to cry about.
User experience of Alibaba.com
I messaged the seller of my dress enquiring about sizes, she replied within 12 hours and was extremely accommodating , calling me 'dear friend' - nice touch!
Sent her my measurements, uploaded some pictures of myself so she could get an idea of my size and I was tracking the dress's journey from Guangdong, China to my home in San Francisco with a month.
As you can see the dress fits perfectly, the quality is as good as a dress off the high street, and I will be buying again from Alibaba.com
Ecommerce has always been big, but I feel right now we are going though another revolution where shoppers have more trust in sites as success stories from their trusted peers get told and shared online.
Sites like LA's based Clearance.co have gone from zero to $2.1 million revenue in 7 months, women's clothing site Nasty Gal hit $100, million on it's sixth year in business, NoMoreRack raised for $40 million and Zulily.com - the flash-sales site for mom's has been hailed the public market success story as it's share price continue to rise.
These sites might look ugly to us design conscious folks in Silicon Valley but to middle America they are the same as going to the sale rack at Walmart and sniffing out a good bargain.
Staples announced it's closing 250 of it's retail stores as now it sees over 50% of it's sales online.
High Street shopping is mainly Chinese manufactured clothing, but you pay extra costs of brick and mortar. Alibaba sells similar items but because they go direct to consumer, it's cheaper.
Do you think Alibaba will be as big as Walmart in 5 years time? Comment below.
Ps: Like the dress?