1688 is the Chinese version of Alibaba, it was made by the Alibaba group with the native Chinese in mind, because of that the language is in Chinese. most of the suppliers or trade companies that sell products on Alibaba, Aliexpress, and DHGate buy their products from 1688 and then resell. Most of these suppliers don’t have physical inventory, when they receive purchase order they go straight to 1688 and get those products at a cheaper price and then add their profit and resell them at a higher price.
So how can you buy affordable products from 1688 if you don’t live in China?
There are 2 ways to buy products from 1688.com if you live outside China. 1- you can either learn how to personally purchase items from this site or use procurement companies to make your purchase. In this article, I’m going to show you how to use both methods in purchasing items from 1688.
PROBLEM TO BUYING FROM 1688
The downside to buying from 1688 is
- language barrier
- payment issues
- No international shipping
This article will help you solve these issues for you to buy with less difficulty in 1688.
HOW TO SHOP ON 1688 IN 4 EASY STEPS
Just like other Alibaba sites before you can start shopping in 1688 the first thing you should do is create a free account. The easiest way to create an account on 1688 is via Alipay by creating this account, you will be able to use the same Alipay login details on 1688, Taobao, and Tmall account.
Step 1-How To Create an Account On 1688
Visit https://intl.alipay.com/ to create a free account or Download AliPay mobile app from the App Store or Google Play store.
- After downloading the app launch the app and click on create account .when you do that it will take you to the dashboard.
- On the dashboard click on profile and from the drop-down menu click on me
- On the top right corner click on the arrow > below settings, this will take you to the next screen where you can copy your Taobao Account ID. That is what you will be using to sign in on 1688.com as your username
- Go ahead and click on Taobao Account and copy your username. You will also use the same password to login to 1688.
- Go ahead and sign in to your 1688 account with this login detains a code will be sent to your mobile phone for verification.
- Enter the verification code and click on next, from the pop up click on just once. This will take you to the main screen where you can start sourcing for affordable products and suppliers.
—————-If you get stuck try watching this step by step video on how to create 1688 Account.———————-
This username and password can be used to log into 4 different accounts in the Alibaba group 1688.com, Taobao Account, AliPay Account. Small.
Step 2-How To Source For Product On 1688
Because 1688 is written in the Chinese language we need to translate to English by adding google translate extension
we can search for a product in 1688 by typing in the product name, for better results translate the name of the product from English to Chinese, this is because the products in 1688 are listed in the Chinese language so typing in English keyword will only bring out few products. Go to google and translate the product name from English to Chinese simplified, copy and paste in the Chinese keyword into the search bar this will bring out a lot of products, you can then scroll down the page and choose the particular one that suits your specification.
Another effective way of searching for products in 1688 is by using the picture sourcing method. There are times you may see a product you like but you don’t know the exact name or you may see it on another site like Amazon,eBay, etc, In such cases, all u need to do is download the picture of that product and upload it on 1688 using picture sourcing
Before using the picture sourcing method turn off the google translator extension and after uploading the picture you can then turn it back on to be able to read the information on the page, this is to make sure that it doesn’t cover the picture icon on the search bar.
As an example, I will go ahead and upload a picture of sneakers.
As you can see, it gave us a variety of sneakers and some of them are not related. Go ahead and translate the site to English for easy understanding by clicking the google translate icon on your browser or right-click anywhere on the dashboard to translate the Chinese language to English. After you’ve done that scroll down the page and select the product with the best price, Moq and supplier rating and also check the reviews of other customers to ensure that the product is of good quality.
You can also search for products in 1688 by the product category. When you translate the page to English, you will see the product categories by the left side of the dashboard. Explore the items in each product category until you find exactly what you are looking for. This will help you to choose from a variety of products especially if you don’t know exactly what to buy or if you are still in the brainstorming stage.
AFTER SEARCHING FOR THE PRODUCT ON 1688
When you see a product that you like, just click on the picture of the product. This will take you to another page where you can see more product details as well as supplier details. You will notice that when you click on the product and go to the next page the information on this page still comes out in the Chinese language just like the other page, if it doesn’t change to English automatically follow the same process as before to translate to English, or right-click on any part of the page, scroll down and click translate from the popup list to translate to English.
Details you should look out for on the product page
- Total Quantity sold/deals
- Supplier Rating
- Customer Feedback or Reviews/Evaluation
also read how to start Amazon FBA business
Step 3- How To Contact Suppliers And Make Payment On 1688
How to contact suppliers on 1688
you can use these 3 methods to contact suppliers on 1688
1-QQ- On the product page you will see a blue icon this is called Ali wang-wang it is a communication tool that you can use to communicate with sellers on 1688
Before you can use this tool you will have to download and install the app on your computer.
>>Read this article and watch the video on how to install Ali wang-wang.>>
If you are using a mobile app you do not need to download the app it is automatically installed on the mobile app all you should do is click on the red button below the product. This will send the product details to the supplier to indicate that you are interested in that particular product. The supplier will then send a message to you with more details of the product most times in the Chinese language.
Copy the message and paste it in google translate to translate to English. Follow the same process to reply to the message
Type in your message in google translate and this will change the message from English to the Chinese language the next thing to do is copy the message and paste it in the messaging app and click on reply.
So this is one of the ways to communicate with sellers in 1688 the second effective method is using we chat. You can ask the supplier for their Wechat number
2-We Chat- Wechat is the Chinese version of WhatsApp this app is very popular and widely used among the Chinese one great feature of this communication tool is the ability to translate languages automatically without needing the help of a translator. With WeChat, you will be able to communicate effectively with the seller and easily share pictures and videos of the product.
3-Using Procurement Agent- If you are going to be using the service of the procurement agent then you will have to skip the communication process because the agent will be doing all the communication for you. All you have to do is communicate directly with the agent and they will get you exactly what you want. Read more on how to contract a procurement agent or company below.
-HOW TO MAKE PAYMENT ON 1688
There are two basic ways to pay for your product if you are buying from outside China. Because the suppliers on this platform don’t accept foreign currency the only ways you can pay is by using Alipay or procurement agents.
1-Using Alipay for payment-
Alipay is a well-recognized payment system in China. For you to pay with your Alipay Account you will have to load in Chinese currency. Before now it was difficult for people outside China to load money into their Alipay Account especially if they don’t have a Chinese bank account.
In November 2019 Alipay introduced a new feature that allows foreigners to load their Alipay Account by themselves with their local credit or debit card.
>>>>learn how to personally load your Alipay Account with a debit or credit card>>>>
2-Using Sourcing Agent for payment
Sourcing agents are people or companies who help you make all your China purchases with ease they can help you source for the product, communicate with suppliers and also make a payment on your behalf in Chinese currency while you pay them in dollars.
However, you should note that a procurement agent charges a certain fee or percentage. Some charge as low As 0.25$ per link while others charge between 1% to 5% of your total purchase cost.
Where to find procurement agents in China
These are some of the sites you can get credible procurement agents
go for trade assurance, gold, reviews from other customers they will buy and send to you freight forwarder some of the sourcing companies offer shipping services as well, and because they have more experience ask them if they have done transaction to your country before also ask for the best freight forwarders they have worked with.
Direct shopping and shipping sites-like
2 others 1688 English version.
Others- Sourcing methods like Meeno sourcing. Jing sourcing etc featuring why you need sourcing agent
Step 4- How To Ship Product From 1688 to your doorstep
Freight forwarders you will have to use freight forwarders to ship your products from 1688 because this site does not ship outside China so you need a Chinese address and you freight forwarders can provide you with Chinese address all you have to do is give the suppliers or sourcing agents your China address they ship to your