Style Sourcing

How to Buy from 1688 ? Complete Guide 2024

If you’ve been trading across borders and imports from China for years, then you’ve heard of 1688.com. But as a foreign buyer, it’s not easy to source directly from 1688.com. This article will guide you from beginning to end on how to buy from 1688 and what you need to pay attention to when using it.

 1. What is 1688.com? And what’s the difference with Alibaba.com

1688 icon

Compared with Alibaba.com, the 1688 site may not be so well known. Because Alibaba is a national international website, it helps small and medium-sized enterprises to expand international trade export marketing and promotion services. It wants to showcase overseas buyers, promote suppliers’ companies and products, and then get trade opportunities and orders. And Alibaba has done a lot of advertising overseas to promote its platform and services. So for overseas buyers, it has become a famous brand.

alibaba logo

 

1688 is Alibaba’s platform for Chinese domestic wholesalers, providing business opportunities and a convenient, safe online trading platform for small and medium-sized companies from Chinese domestic trade. 1688 is a wholesale and sourcing site, covering 16 industries such as raw materials, industrial products, garments, household products, and small commodities. It provides a range of supply services from raw materials procurement – production and wholesale, etc. In short, 1688.com is equivalent to the Chinese site Alibaba.com. A similar platform is Taobao, which focuses on retail.

Why is it worthwhile for overseas buyers to purchase from the domestic 1688? com platform? Because there are many trading companies and wholesalers on Alibaba’s international site, most of them are also looking for suppliers and selling goods from the domestic 1688.

So if you learn how to source and find suppliers from 1688, it gives you an additional channel to find source suppliers and have advantageous products.

 

2. How do foreigners register the 1688 account?

Firstly, go to 1688.com, Google Chrome is recommended. You will see this is a Chinese website, as below.

1688 homepage

Then please try to use Google Web Translate to translate the web page into English(Or your native language, which we’ll demonstrate here in English). You can also type the website in translate.google.com to translate the web page. Type the website URL in the space and select English on the right side of the box to select the language.

Then you will see “sign for free” on the top right side. Click inside and turn on the register page.

You can select the personal account on the right side. And fill in your information in the corresponding column, please note, mobile phone select your area code. If fill in the wrong area code, you will not receive the verification code.

1688 english

The phone receives the verification code, enters it into the box, and clicks the orange agree and submit button to sign up. Now you have a 1688 personal account, can start your sourcing journey.

1688 register

3.  How to buy from 1688.com?

There are a few tips you need to know about the 1688 platform before your procurement, which will help you find products and narrow suppliers more quickly and accurately.

For example, if you want to source makeup brushes, you can type makeup brushes in the translation tool to get the Chinese phrase. Paste the phrase in the search column.

translate

1688 search

You will see plenty of results show up. At the top of the page, there are some settings that you can select based on your needs: material, size, target customer… Here, most of the options don’t need to be checked. But the place of origin deserves special attention.

As professional buyers, we know that if a product comes from a factory in a concentrated industrial cluster area, the product will be more cost-effective than the product from other places. Because industrial cluster upstream and downstream raw material supply chain and support will be more perfect and mature. Price and quality will be guaranteed.

For example, as for makeup brushes, The “Hometown of China Cosmetic Brush” is in Cangzhou, Hebei Province, Luyi in Henan Province, and Yiwu, Zhejiang Province are also the main sources of makeup brushes, all worthy of attention.

search page

Turnover: Click here and it will sort the sales amount. It is recommended to click so that you can see which products have sold better recently and have higher market recognition. That can help you discover explosive products.

Your Region/Areas: This is also a very useful feature to see the geographic location of your desired supplier. For example, if your agent is located in Yiwu, you want the supplier to be from within Zhejiang Province. It is convenient for the agent to inspect the goods, or for the supplier to deliver to Yiwu. Then you can check Jinhua Yiwu.

select location

Also here can be used as a checkbox, the origin of the supplier options. For example, if you want to purchase 3C digital products, then you can check Shenzhen. Then the first few pages of results will be from the Shenzhen suppliers.

Business: This refers to the business model, which is divided into 4 parts. Production and processing, wholesale distribution, investment agent, and business service. For our sourcing work, the last 2 parts do not need to be cared about, we only need to focus on the production and wholesale distribution.

business type

By choosing production and processing, there will be suppliers whose business model is that of production, they will be manufacturers. If you choose wholesale distribution, the result will appear as wholesalers and traders.

It does not mean here that you must choose production and processing and choosing wholesale distribution is necessarily bad. Choose according to your actual situation. If you want to have orders to find a factory, then, of course, you need to choose production processing. 

But if you are looking for stock inventory goods, or you want to buy small quantities or a larger variety of products in lower quantities. Then choosing wholesale distribution will be more suitable. Because in general, the factory requires a larger MOQ unless it happens that he has stock.

In-depth: Here are 2 options, an in-depth factory inspection, and an in-depth business inspection. Factories with in-depth factory inspection certification are only available through authoritative third parties such as Intertek, SGS, and BV after in-depth factory assessment. Only factory-based suppliers can apply for factory inspection, if they are non-production-based, they can only apply for In-depth business inspection.

in-depth inspection

Among the in-depth inspection suppliers, click the company profile you can see their inspection report. To check the company’s basic information such as worker numbers and turnover. Then Click the SGS icon, and it will jump to VR inspection. So, 1688 in-depth factory inspection in my opinion is very useful.

At least let us sometimes even if not go to the supplier site visits, but also to obtain a professional third-party certification body to issue the report, saving us a lot of time for screening visits.

4. How to select suppliers from 1688.com?

In addition to the above points that need to be noted, there are some other matters about suppliers that need to be focused

During your search, you must notify the below icon. One is the Chinese word 诚 which means honest, one is a bullhead icon.

icon

Chenxintong(诚) is the basic membership in 1688.com, just like the gold membership in Alibaba.com. As long as the supplier submits your business license and pays the annual fee of 6688 yuan. Then can become a member of Chengxintong on 1688. com.

The bullhead icon stands for the powerful merchants, the entry threshold is relatively high. And there are certain requirements on the strength of suppliers, the annual membership fee is 5,570 USD.

The supplier must first join the Chengxintong, and the company has a registered capital of at least 7,550 USD. The threshold is higher, which can filter relatively high-quality suppliers. The powerful merchants and also Chenxintong did not need to be factories.

In September 2020, 1688.com introduced an even higher level of membership called source factory. The icon is , which means factory in Chinese.

source factory icon

Source factory has a rather high entry threshold, with an annual fee of 116,180 USD, they must be a factory enterprise of production and processing. And a requirement for a plant area >= 1000 square meters, also requires annual sales greater than 1.5 million USD. The main industry of the member’s business body must meet the relevant requirements. 

Overall, the source factory is the most worthy of cooperation, the powerful merchants are the most essential choice.

5. Feature functions on 1688.com

On the home page of 1688.com, you can see a camera icon to the right of the search box, here is the function of searching things by pictures. Click this icon and upload the picture of the product you want to find. Then 1688 will search for the same or similar products with this product picture.

feature function

This feature is very useful when your search intent is to find a specific product and you have a high-resolution image on hand. It will save you time entering keywords and culling styles one by one.

The blue flight icon cross-border” Exclusively pointed by the second arrow in the picture is especially worth trying for online e-commerce buyers who want to find pop-ups or trade practitioners looking for new products and inspiration.

Cross-border product Recommendation

The service is mainly for small and medium-sized buyers who own an online store such as Selling, Amazon, Wish, and eBay. This provides online sellers with high-quality supply chain resources and data analysis. Currently supplying products in categories such as clothing and accessories, and home textiles. Also home decorations, also digital home appliances, sports and outdoor, etc.

The “New “icon finds new products, also worth a try for e-commerce sellers, it is a sales list of recommended several major categories of recent hot-selling new products.

Familiarizing yourself with these tips above will help make your 1688 buying journey more effective and convenient.

 

6. How to pay on 1688.com?

When you select the products that you like from 1688.com, you can fill in the quantity in the corresponding box and click” add receipt”. Then the items will go into the shopping cart.

add to shopping cart

The prices in 1688 are explicit and set according to different quantities. So for buyers who want to purchase stock and standard items, the cost is clear at a glance. Unless you need to customize or make changes to the production of goods, you need to communicate with the supplier in-depth further.

However, the suppliers from 1688.com mostly cannot speak English, after all, this is a Chinese domestic trade platform. Don’t like Alibaba.com, the sales must speak English.

So you will need a buying agent to help you communicate with the supplier you found on 1688.com

Also, the vendors on 1688.com can only deliver to China’s domestic address, they are not able to ship directly overseas and take care of the export customs process.

Just mentioned that 1688 is only available for China domestic, the goods do not support sending overseas and only accept RMB payment. So how do overseas people pay in RMB? There are only two ways to pay in RMB at that time.

Alipay

This is the most commonly used payment method on 1688. It offers buyer protection, which can be a lifesaver if anything goes wrong.

Bank Transfer

Some suppliers may accept international bank transfers. Ensure you have all the necessary bank details and be aware of any associated fees.

As you can imagine, this is more difficult for overseas customers to settle the payment on 1688.com. However, foreign sellers can get an agent to pay for them through the function of payment on their behalf… That is, you select the goods yourself, and the purchasing agent helps you pay and take care of the collection and inspection of the goods, as well as shipping.

 

7. Shipping and Logistics

The vast majority of suppliers on the 1688 website can only deliver goods to a shipping address within China via domestic courier and logistics. Shipping abroad is not supported. International buyers usually need to use a freight forwarder or shipping agent.

These agents can receive the goods at a domestic address in China and handle international shipping, customs clearance and logistics.

While some suppliers may offer international direct mail, this is not common. If you choose an international courier, be sure to check the total shipping cost, delivery time and if there are any other additional charges. Be sure to check all details with the supplier beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings.

Important considerations
Choose a reliable freight forwarder: Choose a reputable freight forwarder by comparing communications.
Account for costs: Understand all potential costs, including freight, duties and other extras. Choose the DDP channel whenever possible.
Track your shipment: Maintain communication with your supplier and freight forwarder to track your shipment and stay up-to-date on its status.

By following these steps, you can ensure that items purchased from 1688 are shipped safely and arrive on time.

 

8. Some other wholesale platforms in China

Pinduoduo

Pinduoduo is currently one of the fastest-growing e-commerce platforms in China, specializing in group-buying deals that offer lower prices. It is especially popular for everyday items, and kitchenware.

Key features
Low prices: Get discounts by buying in bulk.
Wide range of products: from electronics to a variety of daily necessities.

Return guarantee: The products from Pinduoduo always come with complimentary shipping insurance, so if you find the products don’t meet your expectations or have quality issues, you can return it with free shipping.
Mobile-friendly: Strong emphasis on mobile shopping.

YiwuGo

YiwuGo is the online platform of the famous Yiwu International Trade City, one of the world’s largest wholesale markets for small commodities and daily necessities.

Key Features
Direct Access: Connect with buyers and suppliers in the Yiwu market.
Small Commodities: Ideal for sourcing everyday small commodities.
Physical Supported Platform: Reflects the online offerings of the physical marketplace.

Hc360.com

Hc360.com is a comprehensive B2B e-commerce platform providing business information and services for China’s domestic trade. It matches suppliers and buyers from all industries and provides trading consultancy.

Key Features

Industry Coverage: Mainly provides products from electronic products, machinery and equipment, chemical raw materials and other industries.
Business services: Focusing on customization and specialization, it provides a full range of supply chain services and consulting services.
Verified Suppliers: Ensure supplier credibility through a verification process.

 

9.FAQs

1. What are the advantages of using a domestic platform over an international platform?
Domestic platforms usually offer lower prices, better local customer service and faster delivery times within China.

2. Can international buyers use these platforms?
Although these platforms are primarily for domestic use, international buyers can use them with the help of freight forwarders and sourcing agents.

3. Are there language barriers to using these platforms?
Yes, most of these platforms are in Chinese, so it may be necessary to use translation tools or hire a translator.

4. How can I be sure of the quality of the products on these platforms?
Look for platforms that have strict quality control measures and check the ratings and reviews of the suppliers. Alternatively, seek the help of a sourcing agent, who can often provide inspection services.

5. Do these platforms offer bulk purchasing options?
Yes, many platforms (such as JD.com and Ewoo.com) offer bulk buying options with discounts for large orders.

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