This article is a comprehensive guide on 1688 dropshipping. In this detailed FAQ article, you will get to understand everything that you need to know about the best alternative to AliExpress for dropshipping.
As the dropshipping industry is getting more and more competitive, this guide will serve as a sigh of relief for dropshippers all around the world.
Instead of using traditional and most common methods to source your products, you will discover the amazing benefits, tools, and tricks to dropship items directly from 1688.com
Make sure you read this article until the end so that you don’t miss out on any crucial information that help you with your dropshipping alternatives.
Let’s get started now, and as you read further, the details will follow to answer every query that might come across your mind.
What Is 1688.com?
1688.com is an e-commerce marketplace owned and run by Alibaba Group of Companies. It is one of the largest online platforms for online shopping.
Alibaba is in fact, a parent company and owns a few other online websites including AliExpress 1688 and Taobao.
There are certain differences between the sites of Alibaba group, among which language and business models are the key differences. Most dropshippers who do not know a word in Chinese rely merely on AliExpress for dropshipping.
Sites like 1688 and Taobao are primarily run in the Chinese language. And, another reason to differentiate 1688 from AliExpress is the language barriers of Chinese suppliers.
The suppliers who are not familiar with the English language maintain their availability in 1688 and Taobao. Let’s have a deeper dive into what 1688 is all about. When you type in “1688” in Google search, you will get a result like this:
While you may be scared of the result and might think of leaving the option to explore the possibilities with this site, we suggest you stay calm and read this article till the end.
As we stared at the start of this article, you will have a solution to every problem that you might face with 1688.com.
The products shown on 1688.com are almost the same as they are on AliExpress. The website theme, options, and overall feel of 1688 correspond more to AliExpress and Alibaba sites.
What Is 1688 Dropshipping?
It is the option to source your products from 1688.com. Just like you dropship products from AliExpress, you would have to change your product sourcing to 1688.
As the competition has grown fierce in the dropshipping industry and the margins are getting squeezed day by day, there is an eager need to explore options to dropship products from sites other than the traditional sourcing sites like AliExpress, eBay, and Amazon, etc.
There is a large number of suppliers, factory owners, and wholesalers available at 1688 to cater to your dropshipping needs. What you only need is to have the right communication with the product sourcing agents present on this site to succeed with 1688 dropshipping.
You must know how to find the best product with the best supplier in order to have a smooth and satisfying dropshipping journey with 1688. The dropshipping process with 1688 is almost similar to AliExpress dropshipping.
Fact: As AliExpress has earned wider popularity worldwide, it has become more difficult to sell items from AliExpress to the people who are already aware of AliExpress. Using 1688 to source products gives you the margin to outperform your competitors in many ways. The remaining article will discuss these particular methods to lead in the dropshipping sphere as we move on to the following sections.
How can I Dropship with 1688?
You have to register your account on this site, just like you do with AliExpress, to start dropshipping with 1688.
Thanks to technology, you can use Google translate to understand what this website is asking from you. So don’t be afraid of the Chinese language. We will go step by step to walk you through the process of dropshipping via 1688. Read carefully about the steps explained below and if you follow them correctly, you will get it going in no time.
1.Create an Account on 1688.com
Here is some info that you would have to provide for the registration at 1688 to create an account:
- Login Password
- Password Confirmation
- Your Phone Number
After providing the details mentioned above, just tick the checkbox below, slide the security confirmation slider to the right and click the box at the end.
2.Research Product on 1688
Visit 1688.com and search for the products you want to dropship. There are various ways of product research in 1688. There are three most accessible and most common product research methods listed below:
- Use Google translate and write the keywords in English.
- Utilize the services of a freelancer who is familiar with the Chinese language to carry out product research for you.
- Make use of image search to find the products that you have already seen somewhere else.
Fact: Smart dropshippers already have the products in their mind and they just search those products in 1688 to look for a lower price to increase their revenues and profit margins.
3.Adding Product Details from 1688 to Your Store
You can manually add the product details to your store, but there are easier ways to do it, too.
Use Google extensions to import the details of the products. One of such extensions is the 1688 Data Scraper.
You can import the details of the selected products in a CSV file with the help of such extensions.
Some Apps can also be used to import the product details, like Shopify or an APP called Importify.
The guideline about using 1688 with Shopify will be discussed later in this article.
4.Adjusting Prices with Your Margins
Adjusting prices and margins are simple for a dropshipper. But unlike having frequent apps to adjust prices in the case of AliExpress, you may have to rely on manual entries with 1688.
5.Placing an Order at 1688
There is a direct relationship with product and supplier research by placing an order with 1688. There is an option to place an order directly for a product, just like other e-commerce websites. You can easily communicate with suppliers to manage your bulk orders if you have already done your product research and supplier selection. The following practices of order placing are acceptable at 1688.
- Direct order
- CSV file
- Google sheet
- Excel sheet
We will discuss more about placing an order on 1688 in a separate question later in this guide.
Fact: You need to negotiate with your suppliers at 1688 about the shipping methods and cross-border destinations. A typical 1688 agent or a supplier provides shipping services locally in China.
Clearly mention to the suppliers at 1688 that you are a dropshipper who is interested in international shipping.
What Products Can Be Purchased from 1688.Com?
As this website primarily serves as the supplier or wholesaler site, you can find the latest hot and trending items to be sold at cheaper costs. 1688 offers almost everything that you can find on AliExpress. You can find the categories on the left side of this website just like the categories on AliExpress.
From the latest accessories to exciting gadgets and fashion to industrial items, you can purchase anything from 1688.
Fact: It is not recommended to buy heavier products from 1688, as the shipping charges will go up, and would increase the overall price of your products to manifolds.
How Do I Search for an Item at 1688?
It is not that hard to search for an item on 1688. By typing the keyword of an item in the search bar on 1688, you will get tons of products from the search results.
You can use Google translate and write the keywords in English or other languages, as most buyers or dropshippers from other countries may get scared of the Chinese language on 1688. Opening websites in Google Chrome automatically translates the website in other languages to English or other languages as your browser. If it does not translate automatically, you can find the button on the web page and click ‘translate’ to get it working.
When you search for a product on this website, try to use broader and simple keywords. If you find your required product, just click on that item, and the related items will also be shown to you for further options.
You can also try to explore different products by writing the dropshipping buzz words in the search bar. For example, you can try writing the words like “solar”, “portable”, “foldable”, and “multipurpose”, etc. in the search bar to have a broader idea of the range of products that you might be interested in for dropshipping.
Caution: Be cautious in calculating shipping prices on 1688, including domestic and international shipping charges. Don’t forget to add shipping rates to your prices.
How Can I Find Hot Sales products at 1688.com?
You should use filters if you just want to find out what products are selling perfectly at 1688. just write down the keyword on the search bar and sort the search results by sales.
You can also explore the option of “Popular Recommendations” where the website features the latest and trending products.
You can also choose any category from the category list to explore the products of your own choice in a specific category.
Another great way to search for hot selling products at 1688 in a specific niche is to write the name of your niche in the search bar. For example, if you are in an indoor niche, you can just write “home improvement” in the search bar and sort the search results by “sales”. You will see the hot selling products in the home improvement niche in the results.
It may not be the best idea to search for hot selling items directly in 1688, but you can shortlist the products from other websites like AliExpress and search these products on 1688.
A great method to search the product on 1688 is to search the product by image, just like the “search by image” option available on AliExpress.
Caution: Always communicate with your suppliers and ask for stock availability before scaling your products. Don’t just rely on the product stock details mentioned on their website.
Products sell fast in 1688 and things might be sold out before you start preparing orders.
How can I Place an Order on 1688?
It is very easy to place an order at 1688. Just like you place the order on AliExpress you can place an order on 1688 by using the same way.
You must compare the overall cost of the product by adding up the shipping fee and It is highly recommended that you talk to the suppliers or manufacturers present at 1688 before placing an order. In that case, you would find it very easy to place the order as you already established a relationship with the manufacturers.
Discuss everything with the suppliers at 1688 regarding product availability, product quality, shipping times, and the information regarding any shipping delays, etc.
It is always a good idea to engage a virtual assistant who knows how to communicate in the Chinese language with your suppliers but to make it cost-effective, you would have to be having a lot of daily orders.
As already discussed in this article, you can also share the order details with your suppliers on 1688 via Google sheet and Excel sheets, etc.
Fact: The smartest way to sourcing products from sites like 1688 is to hire a dedicated service of agents like the one offered by SupDropshipping.
How to Dropship from 1688 by using Shopify?
While there are some differences between methods of dropshipping from AliExpress and 1688 on the Shopify platform, there are many similarities too, and dropshipping via Shopify is one of the most common methods in the world of e-commerce.
A website built with Shopify, some useful applications, and a few manual entries are all requirements that you need for using 1688 as your source website with Shopify.
Of course, dropshipping has many advanced options when the combination is Shopify and AliExpress but using Shopify with 1688 is not that hard either.
If you find it better to work with a full-time sourcing agent service like SupDropshipping, then “SupDropshipping App” will be the best Shopify app for that purpose.
Another useful Shopify app called “Importify” could also assist you in importing product details to your Shopify store.
Apps like Importify and “Easy Boost” reduce much of your workload. Some of the benefits you can enjoy with such apps are mentioned below:
- Product import with translated details
- Help with tags and product customization
- Help with importing product reviews
- Order fulfillment services
In addition to the use of apps, you can also do manual entries on Shopify with 1688.
Why Sourcing from 1688.com Is a Good Choice for Dropshippers?
Sourcing from sites other than AliExpress is the need of the hour. With so many dropshippers popping into the field of e-commerce, 1688.com has many reasons to become a better choice for dropshippers. Some of the reasons are mentioned below.
- Insanely low prices of products at 1688 as compared to other sites.
- Direct access to factory owners and wholesalers.
- The benefit of knowing the product launch prior to availability on AliExpress.
- Less competition in 1688 due to low awareness and language barriers.
Fact: As AliExpress has become one of the largest e-commerce websites in the world, most shoppers log in to AliExpress to double-check the prices of their favorite items. As dropshippers obviously sell the products with margins over the prices offered by AliExpress, they tend to lose orders. With 1688, you can offer the same products to be sold at lower prices while still keeping your margins intact. Higher margins would obviously mean more online earnings.
How can I Select Reliable 1688 Suppliers for Dropshipping?
The process to find reliable 1688 suppliers is almost the same as it is on other e-commerce sites.
The few most important factors that you need to find out in a supplier for the proposal of dropshipping are：
- Better communication and cooperation
- Quicker response times
- A substantial number of years served
- Competitive prices
- Discounts on bulk orders
- Answering your queries
- A healthy number of orders
- Positive feedback from customers
The supplier having the most numbers in the criteria discussed above will be a reliable supplier for you on 1688.
There are some extra criteria on 1688 that may be helpful for you to find a reliable supplier. These include:
- The return rate of the products in percentage should be low.
- The number of buyers in the last 90 days should be high.
- The cargo description and shipping response should be great.
How Can I Find the Best 1688 Sourcing Agents?
It would be the responsibility of a sourcing agent to get the products of your choice from Chinese suppliers at the same or even at lower prices. So if you don’t want to take the hassle of doing everything on your own with sites like 1688, getting sourcing agents is the option.
In this way, you can automate dropshipping business with the best product sourcing services. Look for the sourcing agents who offer the following to you.
- Comfortable with communicating in your language and Chinese.
- Able to find products on sites like 1688 and Taobao.
- Arrange the same quality product at lower prices.
- Able to negotiate with Chinese suppliers to make your business operations smooth.
As time is a most crucial factor for dropshippers, choosing the right sourcing agent would surely be the best idea for hassle-free and happy dropshipping.
The best option, in this case, will be the fulfillment services offered by SupDropshipping. These services will be discussed separately in this article.
How to Talk to 1688 Suppliers for Dropshipping?
You are most likely to have problems while talking to 1688 suppliers if you don’t know how to communicate in Chinese. As dropshipping is a serious business, it is highly advised that you take supplier communication seriously.
Follow the guidelines mentioned below for better communication with suppliers at 1688.
- Keep the Conversation Simple. While using the option of “contact the merchant”, ask the supplier if he speaks English. If they do not speak English, you can try taking help from Google translate.
- Even if the supplier speaks English, try to keep the conversation as simple and to the point as possible.
Fact: While talking to Chinese suppliers, don’t even bother to communicate in wrong grammar as far as the conversation is simple. You can also hire the services of a freelancer or ask a sourcing agent or a fulfillment company to do the communication on your behalf.
How to Pay 1688 Suppliers for Dropship or Wholesale?
Paying suppliers at 1688 is slightly different than the processes followed at AliExpress. Unlike the practice of using credit cards at AliExpress, 1688 offers three payment methods to pay for your dropship or wholesale orders.
Here are the methods:
AliPay is the most common practice of paying suppliers. If you don’t have an AliPay account, you can register with AliPay, where you can make transactions using your credit cards and MasterCard, etc.
Bank transfer is a trickier part. One limitation with bank transfer is that it only accepts payments in RMB. As 1688 is primarily meant for local shopping, this option suits the local Chinese people.
3.1688 Purchase Funds
This option is meant for existing 1688 shoppers. They can redeem the purchase funds offered by 1688 for regular shopping.
Fact: You can also use the option of sending payments to suppliers at 1688 via mediums like WeChat when you have developed enough trust and understanding with the suppliers in case of bulk orders.
Is It Reliable to Buy at 1688.com?
You can buy at 1688.com with full confidence because 1688 is a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group and is considered one of the most trusted e-commerce websites in China.
Alibaba plans to grab the international market of online shopping, aiming to beat Ecom giants like Amazon and eBay. So, it values its customers’ experience, and there are processes defined to secure the payments and ensure the deliveries of buyers.
If I’m Outside of China, How Can I Buy from 1688.com?
You can talk to suppliers, and they are happy to ship the products internationally at nominal charges. So the only solution to buy from 1688 is by communicating with 1688 suppliers.
Dropshipping from China is mostly carried out by people who are outside of China, while 1688 is meant to be the Chinese e-commerce website for local residents.
That is the reason it is fully in the Chinese language and the rates of the products are quite low. The accepted currency is RMB and even the shipping options are also only available within Chinese destinations.
It is only by talking to 1688 suppliers and making them clear that you want the products to be delivered outside China.
What Are 1688 Dropshipping Reviews?
Dropshipping via 1688 is still an under-explored area. Nevertheless, the dropshippers who have tried outsourcing products from 1688 are highly satisfied. So the reviews depend on the number of people using the product or services.
As 1688 offers high margins to dropshippers, this website enjoys tremendous support from dropshippers who have tried this method. Profitability is one of the foremost factors for any dropshipper when it comes to their business success. You just need to explore this site, and you can rule the e-commerce business for sure.
Is 1688 Cheaper than AliExpress?
Yes. The rates offered by factory owners would obviously be quite lower than the rates offered by distributors or middlemen. 1688 is meant to host direct manufacturers and wholesalers.
At AliExpress, a wide majority of the sellers are 3rd party agents. These agents source products from manufacturers and list them on AliExpress by adding up their margins.
This, in turn, makes the prices of the product higher as compared to the prices offered by sites like 1688.
Is Alibaba the Same as 1688?
Alibaba is not exactly the same as 1688. You can term Alibaba as the parent company and 1688 as its subsidiary. The main differences between Alibaba and 1688 are listed here below:
- Alibaba is a bigger platform as compared to 1688.
- Alibaba is meant to be an international e-commerce platform while 1688 is primarily a local Chinese marketplace.
- Alibaba can be accessed in multiple languages including English, while 1688 is only managed in the Chinese language.
- Alibaba is more of a B2B model. You have to provide a minimum order quantity (MOQ) at Alibaba which is not compulsory at 1688.
- For international shipping from 1688, you need to talk to the suppliers in person while it is already understood at Alibaba.
- Multiple payment gateways are available at Alibaba, while limited options for payment are offered by 1688.
Is 1688 the Same as Taobao?
Both of these sites are meant for the Chinese local marketplace and both sites are run in the Chinese language. They bear a few similarities.
The differences between these websites are discussed here below:
- As opposed to the three payment methods at 1688, Taobao accepts payments via Alipay only.
- Taobao caters to final customers, while 1688 mainly targets small and medium-sized businesses and wholesalers.
- Taobao is considered as a bigger and more famous platform as compared to 1688.
How SupDropshipping can be Helpful with 1688?
There is a shortcut solution to all the challenges in doing 1688 dropshipping. You can hire the services of SupDropshipping and bypassing all the difficulties in sourcing products from 1688.
It goes beyond the idea of sourcing products from 1688. SupDropshipping makes the whole dropshipping agent service much easier for dropshippers.
One of the major purposes in 1688 dropshipping is to go for cheaper prices with the same quality with lower shipping costs.
You can trust our agents in finding out much cheaper priced products and start dropshipping products right from China.
You just have to provide the details of the products you want to sell, and our agents will search for the best available products at the lowest possible prices offered by multiple platforms including 1688.
You can enjoy the following perks and privileges with SupDropshipping:
- Sourcing products for your dropshipping business at competitive prices. You can also consider us as your 1688 agent in China.
- We can also be your full-time agent in China talking to Chinese suppliers on your behalf for the purpose of negotiations and product status updates.
- Doing a quality inspection of your products is one of the prime responsibilities of SupDropshipping so you don’t have to worry about whether your customers are getting the same products they ordered or not.
- Customize photos and videos of your products in high quality.
- Stocking your products in our own warehouses and providing you with order fulfillment services.
- Customize packaging and branding facilities.
- Private labeling and putting up your company logo and promotional material in the packages delivered on your behalf.
We hope that as an ambitious dropshipper, you found this article helpful by unraveling the hidden fears of limiting your choices to popular yet expensive websites like AliExpress.
We have tried our best to answer every query regarding 1688 dropshipping. If you have any other questions regarding the topic, feel free to leave your comments, and we will be more than happy to respond to them shortly.