Buying from 1688.com- A Secret that Alibaba and Aliexpress Sellers Trying to Hide to You
Probably you know that you can source cheap products from Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com. You may usually place large orders from Alibaba.com and smaller orders from Aliexpress. But you would never know that actually many of the products those sellers offer are from another Chinese wholesale site called 1688.com(also called Alibaba.cn. It’s .CN, not .COM). It’s not only a Chinese version of Alibaba.com, but also a cheaper source for all kinds of products. Those Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com sellers just bought the items from 1688.com and added prices on the items and sold to you. Or even, only when they have received your orders, they go to order from 1688.com and later ship to you, running their business without any stock. Of course, they won’t tell you about this.
And the fact is more shocking, there are more shopping sites you are familiar with are selling items sourced from 1688.com. This explains why there are so many Chinese sellers in different platforms and where they source the products from. All of these, were hidden to you as secrets and you just don’t know them. The following image shows the relationship.
Apparently, when you purchase products from Alibaba.com and Aliexpress, the items have already been transited between many distributors or resellers, and you actually paid a lot of extra money to them to be their profit, which can be completely saved.
If you are a business man and want to cut down cost and earn more, I believe you now may want to ask yourself why not source from 1688.com directly? Yes, of course you can! As long as you want to do it, you can order from 1688.com directly without knowing Chinese language. All are no problem! I will introduce in following details on how you can make it.
Why you Want to Source from 1688.com?
First, you need to be aware why you want to source from 1688.com original sellers/suppliers. Basically, there are following reasons:
Walking around resellers and buy products from real original suppliers.
Cut down your purchasing cost and save money
Earn more profit margin
However, if you are going to buy products for personal use, for only 1 pc or 2 pcs, or very small quantities or amount, I don’t suggest you do it as 1688.com is still wholesale site and MOQ conditions is usually defined for every item, even though the MOQ is actually very small now. We only suggest wholesaler or resellers to purchase from 1688.com for business.
What products can be purchased from 1688.com?
Basically, there are all categories of items in 1688.com, as long as you can imagine. However, not all items can be purchased by you due to the shipping limitation or shipping cost. For example, if you are trying to ship items via normal express shipping, the following items will be restricted:
Knives or gun related items
For some large items, like wooden tables, office chairs, they are large, heavy and cheap in item cost, you would like to ship them in sea cargo. If you find these items are with enough profit margin in your market considering all costs, you can still go ahead to purchase them.
Who wants to source from 1688.com?
Not only wholesalers want to source from 1688.com, the following users may also want to purchase from 1688.com.
Company purchasers who purchase for their own companies.
Solution companies who purchase for their client companies
Local purchase agents who collect a lot of orders from their end clients
Local offline market wholesaler and resellers
Offline Shop owners
Online resellers like sellers on ebay, amazon, shopify, own websites.
If you are any of the above, you may want to consider purchasing from 1688.com.
Difficulties of Sourcing from 1688.com
Hold on. As 1688.com is designed to face Chinese only, most suppliers can only speak Chinese, and they only accept Chinese internal payment. Of course, they mostly don't ship to international addresses either. So, you always need to engage a purchase agent if you can not handle this all by yourself. Basically, the purchase agent will help you on the following:
Inspect the items
Return and Change problematic items
Consolidating and repacking
Shipping to international addresses
Sounds useful? Yes, definitely! Usually agent will charge 3%-10% as commission basing on the order amount and complexity, and it's also sounds reasonable.
OK! Once you understand it, we can now go ahead to get into details of how to purchase from 1688.com.
How to Find products on 1688.com
1688.com is very similar to Alibaba.com,
and the only difficulty you are facing to find the product you want is
the Chinese language. In order to solve this obstacle, you need the
translation tool to get the single page or the whole website translated
into your local language. The following tools are recommended:
–Google Chrome Browser: http://www.google.com/chrome (Strongly Recommended)
Chrome browser is having built in translate function that helps you translate pages from another language to your local language or your specific language. You will see how it works later.
Firstly, you have to keep in mind that Chinese Character keywords should be used in 1688.com's search. English keywords will only bring much fewer results. So, you always need to input Chinese keywords in the search box. Well, we know you may not able to type Chinese, so we have already solved the problem for you.
You can use Google translate on https://translate.google.com.
It brings up the search result:
As you can see, the search keyword was already translated into Chinese and the related results were searched out.
But, the page is in completely Chinese!!! No worry, now it's Chrome's show time.
You only need to right click on any blank part of the page, and select “Translate to English”, the Chrome browser will translate the whole page into English for you.
Looks good!? Yes! The page is now readable. You can select the item and click into the item details to see more items details, just as you are browsing on English Alibaba.com or Ebay. And the Chrome browser is having an option for you that you can keep it translating any page in this site into the language you specified. It’s really awesome!
So, with the Chrome browser, and Google translate, you can easily search and find target products on 1688.com, and you will see the price is amazing… And it’s not complicated at all….
How to Order from 1688.com and make payments
Just like shopping on taobao, you will need alipay to place order on 1688. I am sure you will know how to do this, since you are already a master of taobao.
If you have any problem in payment or placing order on 1688.com, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org for solution.
How to ship your orders to your destination?
There are different options. You can ship your parcels to you via air freight（PRT Express，PRT SAL，PRT Pickup） or PRT Sea.
This is very flexible. The only thing you need to consider is the cost, timing and parcel safety.
Best Practices and Tips
Due to the machine’s translation, sometimes the translated text may not be 100% accurate, which makes the search result of the products are not correct. Don’t worry and be frustrated in this case. You can simply solve it by trying other words like synonyms to retry the search to find the target products.
Don’t use too long keywords to make the search as it will bring more irrelevant results. You can try using your kernel keywords instead to make the searches.
Price and quality
Basically, 1688.com seller/suppliers will list the different prices for the different purchase volumes/quantities. You can get lower price if you purchase more. Also, your order must meet the minimum order condition as it’s the prerequisite for purchasing. If your order quantity is less than the MOQ, your order will not be accepted.
Always get samples
Different sellers/providers will offer items with different qualities. You always need to purchase samples or MOQ orders first to check the quality first before you decide big orders. This is every easy to understand, but you always need to keep in mind.
Avoid Sensitive and Fragile Items
Some items like knife and gun related items or liquid, batteries items, they are usually restricted by shipping companies and it’s not suggested that you purchase them to bring troubles. For fragile items, you always need to consider the high risk in shipping process as nobody will cover the risk or loss for you.
Avoid cheap but big and heavy items, except shipping by sea.
Sometimes, you may find some chairs or other big items are cheap and with good designs. Yes, sometimes they are, but they are also very big and heavy. If you purchase them, you will face the high shipping cost that you don’t want to undertake. So, don’t purchase them except you are confident and have found a very cheap way like sea freight to ship them.