I think that every international buyer knows about Alibaba, it is a very famous group in China. However, 1688.com belongs to Alibaba Group, which owns alibaba.com and Aliexpress.
What’s their difference and how to buy from 1688.com is our topic for today, I hope my article will make your 1688.com purchasing a little easier.
1688.com vs. Alibaba.com: What is the Difference?
1688.com is a Chinese e-commerce site, but what does it mean?
1688.com is owned by Alibaba Group and has the same features as the sister site: Alibaba.com (B2B sourcing platform). However, 1688 is different from its sister site.
Alibaba focuses on trade between China and all over the world rather than just exports from China to overseas buyers. Today, 1688.com has become one of the most popular online domestic markets in China.
With 1688.com, you can find Chinese suppliers in virtually any industry without having to search through hundreds of websites. 1688.com is the B2B supplier directory owned by Alibaba Group that has been around since 1999 and was built for international customers just like you!
Here below are 1688.com ‘s top 5 features:
1. Search based on product category or keyword.
2. Find Chinese suppliers with detailed categories.
3. With 1688’s list of verified sellers, customers can be confident about who they’re buying from.
4. Sellers have a history of customer feedback so buyers know what they’re getting before making a purchase.
5. The 1688 Advantage Plan gives exclusive benefits to members who register with.
What can you find on 1688.com?
1688.com offers a wide array of products including clothing, jewelry, and much more! If you are looking to buy in bulk or just want an individual item check out this website today!
1688.com is only for Chinese buyers because only the Chinese language now. It is mainly in B2B, B2C, wholesale, and manufacturing of products.
Currently, more than 50,000 Chinese suppliers are concentrated on 1688.com. Each supplier or factory has its store and offers its products. This is the largest wholesale website in China, and prices on it are lower, so many trading companies use it for their overseas buyers.
What is the difference between 1688.com and Alibaba?
The two most popular online wholesale marketplaces in China: 1688.com and Alibaba.com, are very different, though they offer the same services.
1688.com is mostly used for china’s domestic market, while Alibaba is more focused on targeting international trade. That is the main difference. Alibaba is currently open for business in the United States, India, and many other countries.
The other difference is domestic payment methods, unlike Alibaba, 1688 offers CNY payment options instead of USD. This makes it easier to do international trade between Chinese suppliers and overseas buyers without making them pay high fees or exchange rates on their purchases.
In other words, 1688 was made for Chinese businessmen while Alibaba was made for international customers. Many domestic buyers use 1688.com to find products and most suppliers are also catching up to the relatively fair prices for good products.
More than 80% of the businesses that trade and interact are factories and about 20% are trading companies. Have a look around. You will find something that interests you here.
The 1688.com website is in the Chinese language, suitable for the Chinese market, so do not have the 1688.com English version website now. That’s why as an international customer, buying from 1688.com is not easy.
Why should you buy from 1688.com?
There are many retailers out there, but not all can be trusted. 1688.com is one of the most recognizable brands in China’s e-commerce industry today.
They can provide lower prices, more products, and high-quality suppliers with fewer MOQs. It means that if you need just 1 or 10 pieces, it will still be at wholesale prices!
1) More opportunities with lower prices
1688.com is a well-known website and at the moment, is the largest wholesale website in China. People purchase products from there due to the relatively low prices. Over 50,000 legitimate sellers on 1688.com, so you will always find something you need.
There are many suppliers on 1688.com who are factories or top wholesalers. It means you can get wholesale products directly from factories in China. In this way, you can bypass the export agent or trade company and purchase goods at a lower price.
And the product prices on 1688.com are very transparent, the price of the product varies according to your purchase volume. But there is one point you should pay attention to.
When Chinese suppliers knew that the products will sell to European, Australian, or American buyers. They will offer higher quality products at higher prices overall. It doesn’t mean you will automatically get lower prices rather than Alibaba.
In addition, 1688’s prices are much lower than Alibaba’s in most cases when they have the same product from multiple suppliers. I think it can save a lot of money for you and help your business grow faster. What’s more, when your orders reach a certain volume or value, you will enjoy them!
2) More Products And High-Quality Suppliers With Less MOQ
Usually, sourcing products or finding reliable Chinese suppliers. The overseas buyers always attend trade shows in China or source on Alibaba.com. However, at Alibaba.com and the trade show, you can only reach a portion of the Chinese suppliers.
And 1688.com you can find certain products and suppliers there. Because many of them only supply products to domestic buyers and many trading companies, it is a collection of almost all suppliers in China.
Did you find the MOQ set by the suppliers on alibaba.com is very high?
You need to wholesale hundreds or thousands of products at a time to get started. I think it’s not friendly to the small sellers and the startups which will take risks to purchase so much inventory at once. However, the threshold for purchasing at 1688.com is much lower.
For some products, the MOQ is only 1 or 2 pieces, also on 1688.com, you can find your suppliers’ Aliwangwang or WeChat and communicate with them directly. If you are a small seller, you can set up a store with ten or more product categories for only 100 or 200 dollars. It will reduce the risk to start a business in this way.
What to consider before buying from 1688.com?
1) Keywords or Images
Do you have any keywords or images to search for the product?
If not yet, you’d better prepare it, please. Image search is the fastest way to find your product on 1688.com, so you must have several product pictures ready. If you don’t have any relevant images, a little trick is that you can use the keywords to find the product on Taobao, Amazon, or AliExpress.
And take a screenshot of the product, then use these screenshots to search on 1688.com. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the relevant product with pictures, so you need to prepare 3 to 5 keywords for the product. And translate them into CHINESE, then search on it.
2) Language Barriers
1688.com is face to domestic market so most of the suppliers there don’t speak English, and hold website is ALL CHINESE! That means you should start to learn Chinese as one not very quick solution as well, here are 2 quick and useful suggestions for you.
Using Google Translator to translate English to Chinese. You can just easily click the right button, then “translate to English” or you can add a google chrome extension. And just type “Google translate extension” then you can add it to make your visit to the website much easier.
If you have tried the whole process from every step to the last one, you might find out that. You have to translate the webpage to English whenever you change to a new page, which makes the whole process troublesome.
In addition, when you need to send inquiries to the suppliers, it might lead to misunderstanding. If you are not very familiar with suppliers’ cultural backgrounds, thus not benefit your business.
3) Product Quality
How to avoid defective items when buying from 1688?
Sometimes you can’t tell the quality of the products simply only thru pictures, you should have probably experienced the “Ideal vs. Reality “. Since 1688.com is not a platform targeting foreign markets, you need to be careful about this.
Usually, the supplier promises to solve any minor problems during the production process. Don’t believe it. Inspection is the only way to check the quality of the product, and it is also the only way for your suppliers to solve any problems. So, to prevent receiving defective items, you must arrange a pre-shipment inspection.
While the goods are still at the Chinese manufacturer, they will want to get a remaining payment from you. But if you import products of bad quality, they will result in bad reviews and refunds, which will be detrimental to your reputation.
4) Export License
As you might have noticed, suppliers in 1688 don’t have an export license. So, even if you handled all the details by yourself, here is the last challenge. You will need to find a professional agent and she will take care of all the stuff about the export license.
Tip: Finding a trustworthy sourcing company like Yansourcing will save you much more time and cost.
How to source a good supplier on 1688.com?
It can be difficult to pick one supplier among so many similar suppliers, especially if you are not an expert in this field. There are some simple steps that you can take to help narrow down your options and find the best fit for your needs.
First, ask yourself what kind of product will suit your company’s needs? Do you need something standard or custom-made? This will give you a good idea of where to start looking.
Next, consider how much money is available for sourcing this product. Do you have a budget set aside specifically for finding new suppliers?
Luckily, 1688.com offers some search filtering options to narrow down your selection. I’ve flagged them all and will explain in detail what each option means in the following.
Label 1. 7X24H响应
This means that the seller can reply to you at any time, not only by working day or working time. It is important because not every supplier can serve you at any time.
Label 2. 工业品牌
That means it has a little famous and reputation in this area, you can buy from them at ease.
Label 3. 48小时内发货
It means that the seller can ship your order within 48 hours. This option is very important because not every supplier has the item in stock. And some suppliers often start production after receiving your order.
Label 4. 实力商家
This is similar to Alibaba’s Gold Membership, only a certain number of quality manufacturers and distributors can be selected. Usually, this means that the product is of good quality and can be delivered on time.
Label 5. 加工定制
This option means that the supplier can provide further customization services based on the product. For example, if you want to change the design of the product or add some materials or your logo, etc.
Label 6. 通用排序
This is to help you personalize your selection based on your past browsing and shopping habits.
Label 7. 最低价-最高价
This option is used to filter the price, you can enter a price range, such as 50-100.
Label 8. 起订量以下
This is used to filter the MOQ of the order.
Label 9. 所在地区
This is used to filter the location of the supplier. You can ask for the location of your logistics provider, then select the same province as your logistics provider here.
For example, if your logistics provider is in Guangzhou, then you can choose Guangdong Province (广东省). It will save you the shipping cost and time for domestic shipping.
Label 10. 经营模式
This is used to filter the business types of suppliers, there are 4 types:
- Business services
Label 11. 深度认证
This option allows you to choose a supplier that has passed in-depth inspection. 深度认证 means in-depth inspection. It is a service that 1688.com provides for supplier members to certify the comprehensive capabilities of their business.
Label 12. 深度验厂
It is almost the same as Lable 11. It is audited by an internationally renowned certification company and produces a credible certification report. It means In-depth Manufacturer inspection(深度验厂). If you are looking for a factory, then you can choose it.
If you want to work with a trading company, you can choose an In-depth Wholesale/distribution inspection(深度验商).
Label 13. 诚8年
This sign means that this supplier has been a paid 1688.com seller for 8years. Usually, the longer they have been a paid supplier, the more stable and reliable the supplier is.
Label 14. 成交1万+元
This shows the sales of this product in the most recent month. You can see the popularity of this product from this data, but it is just for reference only.
How to start buying from 1688.com?
Creating an account at 1688.com is the FIRST step in starting your buying journey there. It doesn’t matter if you are purchasing from 1688.com through an agent.
I still recommend that you have a 1688.com account so that you can receive all the benefits it has to offer! To create your account, please follow these steps:
1. Click on “Create Account” on the top right corner of any screen on the website.
2. Fill out all necessary information and click “Submit”. You will be redirected back to the login page where you’ll see your new User ID number.
3. Keep this number for future reference.
4. If you do not know how to create it, kindly contact us, Yansourcing will guide you step by step.
Once you have your 1688.com account, you’re at the heart of the purchasing process – finding the product you need.
Enter keywords in the search bar, then just click “Go.”
To browse through their extensive categories, just scroll down the page and then use your mouse to hover over a sub-category. This will bring up sub-categories, making it easier for you to find what you are looking for!
If all goes well, you’ll see a lot of similar products like this:
Then choose a reliable supplier to communicate with (We talked about how to source a good supplier before this content).
For most of the products on 1688.com, you can place an order directly. But, for some products, the seller sets some restrictions. Or requires you to communicate with the seller before placing an order.
So, communicating with the suppliers on 1688.com is a very important step for your purchase there, also it’s a necessary skill.
Before placing an order you usually want to know the last price for your quantity order, the delivery, specification of the product, if you need a sample to check the quality, any certificate for the product, etc…
What are the chat tools for 1688.com?
There are some tools to communicate with suppliers on 1688.com you can’t miss.
1) Aliwangwang (阿里旺旺)
It is the official chat tool on 1688.com, here is the download link Aliwangwang.
You have to do is click on the blue icon, and the chat interface will pop up.
2) Wechat (微信)
It is a chat tool similar to WhatsApp, almost everyone has a WeChat account in China. If you want to establish a long-term relationship with the supplier, I suggest you add them as a friend on WeChat.
Also, the suppliers will always push you NEW products on there. How to add?
Tips, supplier’s cell phone number usually is their WeChat ID. You can find their phone number in the upper right or lower-left corner of the product page.
How to pay on 1688.com?
1688 suppliers most of them accept CNY (we said RENMINBI). If you have an agent like Yansourcing in China it is simply for your agent. But if you don’t have one, here are also some other payment methods that you need to know.
Because most of the suppliers on 1688.com do not support PayPal, bitcoin, or international credit cards. And their bank accounts do not accept US dollars.
Paying through Alipay is the cheapest and most convenient way, but… you must have a Chinese bank card to verify your Alipay account.
However, the Chinese bank account does not support online or remote account opening. You have to go to the Chinese bank office in person to open a personal bank account. If you often travel to China or attend exhibitions, you can open a Chinese bank card.
2) Bank Deposit Via Online Transfer
Almost all suppliers support bank transfers, however, they can only accept RMB.
Companies such as Transferwise or Paysend allow you to transfer RMB directly to the private bank account of the supplier.
Western Union is relatively simple, you only need to know the name and address of the recipient, this method is more suitable for small payments.
4) Chinese People In Your Country
Nowadays, many Chinese people go abroad to study or do business. You can build a connection with them, and ask them to pay for you, then you only need to pay them in the local currency, but if you trust each one is a point.
Tips for 1688.com: Delivery & Warehouse
Usually, the goods of stock order will arrive at your company address in 2-4 days after the seller ships them. I suggest you ask your freight forwarder, purchasing agent, or a sourcing agent to help you do some simple quality control, such as taking pictures of product details and packaging, checking the quantity, etc…
Because Product quality inspection is best completed at this stage. If the product is found to have problems, you can contact the seller to return or exchange it. If you don’t find the problem until you receive the product, it will be very troublesome and the cost of shipping it back to China is a big expense.
One more suggestion, ask to send all the goods to the same company address. And combine them into one package to save the shipping cost, if you purchase from different suppliers.
Logistics will affect your total cost, customs clearance, inventory control, etc… Do you agree?
So, if you want to make big money from importing from China, you must have absolute control over the logistics from China to your country. And know 4-5 mainstream shipping methods from China to your country.
You’d better have 2-3 freight forwarders who can provide the best shipping method. And offer you competitive shipping costs and stable services.
There are some facts you should know about 1688, that’s all I said that you need to consider. Language barriers, Monitor production, Check quality products, Logistics, Export License, and payment in China.
You should hire an agent/company to help you with all the tricks you might meet based on our experience like Yansourcing.
How we help you buy from 1688?
Just tell us what product you are looking for, the rest of them we handle for you. The rest are as follows:
1. Choose the products you want to order at 1688.com.
2. Send us your request on our page Yansourcing.com.
3. Make the first payment, which includes products, commission, and domestic shipping within China.
4. Wait until all the products arrive at our warehouse.
5. After having all the products ready, we will pack them and we will let you know which products had stock as well as the international shipping cost.
6. You must make the second international shipping payment, only for the difference after we adjust the domestic shipment (what the seller actually collected), the commission (we do not charge you commission for products that were not in stock), and the products in stock.
7. When making your second payment we will send the products to the requested address and 1 or 2 days later we will provide the tracking number so you can track your cargo.
8. You just have to wait for the products to reach their destination to continue with the customs clearance process that changes in each country.
Yansourcing’s advice: You don’t have to worry about your logistical routing, you can count on our Third-Party Logistics to handle the entire process safely. Do not hesitate to contact us!