This is a full guide to dropshipping in 1688. This detailed FAQ article will tell you everything you need to know about the best dropshipping site that isn’t AliExpress.
As dropshipping gets more and more competitive, this guide will help dropshippers all over the world breathe a sigh of relief.
Instead of using the most common and traditional ways to find products, you will learn about the amazing benefits, tools, and tricks for dropshipping items directly from 1688.com.
Make sure to read this whole article so you don’t miss any important information that could help you with your dropshipping options.
Let’s start, and as you read on, you’ll find all the details you need to answer any questions you might have.
What Is 1688.com?
Alibaba Group of Companies owns and runs 1688.com, which is an online market place. It is one of the most popular places to shop online.
You might wonder why Alibaba and AliExpress aren’t enough online shopping sites. Alibaba is a parent company that owns a few other online sites, like AliExpress 1688 and Taobao.
There are some differences between the online sites owned by the Alibaba group. The biggest ones are the languages and business models. Most dropshippers who don’t know any Chinese use AliExpress to do their business.
Most of the time, sites like 1688 and Taobao are run in Chinese. So, the fact that Chinese suppliers can’t speak English is another way in which 1688 is different from AliExpress.
Even though they don’t speak English, the suppliers who sell on 1688 and Taobao still do so. Let’s look more closely at what 1688 is about.
If you just type “1688” into Google, you will get this result:
1688 Google result
You might be afraid of the outcome and want to leave the option to explore the possibilities with this site, but we suggest you stay calm and read this article to the end.
As we said at the beginning of this article, if you have a problem with 1688.com, you will be able to solve it.
You can see that the products shown at 1688 and AliExpress are almost the same. The theme, options, and general feel of the 1688 website are more like those of AliExpress and Alibaba.
What Is 1688 Dropshipping?
With 1688 dropshipping, you can get your goods from 1688.com. You would have to change your product sourcing to 1688, just like you do with AliExpress. This is what dropshipping is all about.
As competition in dropshipping has gotten tougher and margins are getting smaller every day, it’s more important than ever to look for ways to dropship products from sites other than AliExpress, eBay, Amazon, etc.
At 1688, there are a lot of suppliers, factory owners, and wholesalers who can help you with dropshipping.
To do well with 1688 dropshipping, all you have to do is talk to the product sourcing agents on this site in the right way.
Dropshipping with 1688 will go smoothly if you know how to find the best product and the best supplier.
Dropshipping with 1688 is almost the same as dropshipping with AliExpress.
Fun fact: As AliExpress has become more well-known around the world, it has become harder to sell things from AliExpress to people who already know about it.
By getting your products from 1688, you can beat your competitors in a lot of ways.
Beat the other people.
We’ll talk more about these special ways to lead in the dropshipping world as we move on to the next section of this article.
How Do I Dropship with 1688?
It is easy to do dropshipping with 1688. If you are a dropshipper, using 1688 as your sourcing site won’t cause you any trouble. Even though it might not be easy for everyone, we will help you figure out how to do it by following the steps.
We will take you through the process of dropshipping with 1688 step by step. Read the steps below carefully, and if you do them right, you’ll be up and running in no time.
Creating an Account on 1688.com
To start dropshipping with 1688, you have to sign up for an account on this site, just like you did with AliExpress.
Don’t worry about learning Chinese. You can use Google translate to figure out what this website wants from you, thanks to technology.
For your convenience, we’re giving you the information you’d need to fill out a registration form at 1688. When you sign up for 1688, you have to give the following information:
Username Login Password Confirmation of Password
Your Number of Phone
After you’ve given the above information, just check the box below, move the security slider to the right, and click the box at the end.
Product Research on 1688
Go to 1688.com and look for the products you want to dropship. In 1688, there are many ways to find out about a product.
Here are three of the easiest and most common ways to find out about a product:
Use Google Translate and write in English what you want to translate.
Hire a freelancer who speaks Chinese to do product research for you.
Use image search to find products you’ve seen somewhere else.
Fun fact: Smart dropshippers already know what products they want to sell, so they just search for those products in 1688 to find a better price so they can make more money.
Adding Product Details from 1688 to Your Store
You can add the details of your products to your store by hand, but there are also smarter ways to do it.
You can get the information about the products from Google extensions. 1688 Data Scraper is one of these add-ons.
1688 Import extension
With these add-ons, you can import the details of the chosen products into a CSV file.
The product details can also be imported using an app. For Shopify, you can use an app called Importify.
Later in this article, we’ll talk about the specific rules for using 1688 with Shopify.
Adjusting Prices with Your Margins
A dropshipper doesn’t have to worry about how to change prices and margins. But, unlike AliExpress, where you can often use apps to change prices, 1688 may require you to enter prices by hand.
Placing an Order at 1688
Putting in an order at 1688 is directly linked to researching products and suppliers. Like other e-commerce sites, you can directly order a product if you want to.
If you have already done research on your products and chosen your suppliers, it will be easy to talk to your suppliers about managing your bulk orders.
At 1688, the following ways of placing an order are fine.
File CSV with direct order
Excel sheet Google sheet
In a different question in this guide, we’ll talk more about how to place an order on 1688.
Fun fact: In 1688, you need to talk to your suppliers about how to ship and where to go across borders. A normal 1688 agent or supplier in China offers shipping services.
Make it clear to the suppliers at 1688 that you are a dropshipper who wants to ship internationally.
What Products Can Be Purchased from 1688.Com?
1688 sells almost everything that AliExpress does. Since this site is mostly for suppliers and wholesalers, you can find the newest and most popular items to sell for less money.
On this website, you can find the categories on the left side, just like you can on AliExpress.
You can buy anything from 1688, from clothes to tools to the newest accessories and coolest gadgets.
Fun fact: It’s not a good idea to buy heavier items from 1688 because the shipping costs would make the total price of your items go up by a lot.
How Do I Search for an Item at 1688?
It’s not that hard to look for something in 1688. At 1688, you can search for a product by typing the keyword into the search bar. The search results will show you a lot of products.
The Chinese language scares most buyers or dropshippers. You can write the keywords in English and use Google Translate to translate them.
When you open a non-English website in Google Chrome, it is automatically translated into English. If it doesn’t translate, you can right-click on the page and choose “Translate to English.”
If you want to find something on this site, try using keywords that are both broad and simple. If you find the product you want, just click on it, and the other items that go with it will also be there for you to choose from.
You can also use the dropshipping buzzwords in the search bar to try out different products.
For example, you can type words like “portable,” “solar,” “foldable,” “multipurpose,” etc. into the search bar to get a better idea of the kinds of products you might be interested in dropshipping.
Be careful when figuring out shipping prices at 1688, which include both domestic and international shipping costs. Don’t forget to include the cost of shipping in your prices.
How Can I Find the Hot Sales at 1688.com?
Use filters if you just want to see what products are selling like hotcakes at 1688. Just type the keyword into the search bar and sort the results by how many sales they have.
You can also look at the “Popular recommendations” section, which shows the newest and most popular products.
You can also pick a category from the list of categories to look at the products in that category.
You can also type the name of your niche into the search bar to find hot selling products at 1688 in that niche.
For example, if you are in the outdoor niche, you can just type “outdoor” into the search bar and sort the results by “sales.” The results will show you what products are selling well in the outdoor niche.
It might not be the best idea to look for hot-selling items directly on 1688, but you can make a list of products from other sites like AliExpress and then look for these products on 1688.
You can search for products on 1688 by image, just like you can do on AliExpress with the “search by image” option.
Caution: Before scaling your products, you should always talk to your suppliers and ask if they have stock. Don’t just rely on what their website says about product stock.
Products sell quickly on 1688, and some things may be gone before you even start getting ready to take orders.
How Do I Place an Order on 1688?
It’s easy to place an order at 1688. You can order from 1688 the same way you order from AliExpress.
Before you place an order, you should talk to the suppliers or manufacturers who are at 1688. You also need to compare the price of the product as a whole by adding the shipping costs.
In that case, placing the order would be very easy because you would already have a relationship with the manufacturers.
Talk to the suppliers at 1688 about everything, including product availability, quality, shipping times, information about shipping delays, etc.
It’s always a good idea to hire a virtual assistant who speaks Chinese and can talk to your suppliers, but you’d have to place a lot of orders every day to make it worth the money.
How to Dropship from 1688 via Shopify?
In the world of e-commerce, one of the most common ways to do business is through dropshipping with Shopify. Dropshipping from AliExpress and 1688 on the Shopify platform have some differences, but they also have a lot in common.
Using 1688 as your source website with Shopify will only require a website built on Shopify, a few useful apps, and a few manual entries.
Dropshipping has a lot of advanced options when you use Shopify and AliExpress together, but you can also use Shopify with 1688 without much trouble.
Another helpful Shopify app called “Importify” will help you add product information to your Shopify store.
The CJ and Importify apps for Shopify
Apps like “Importify” and “Easy Boost” cut down on a lot of the work you need to do. Here are some of the good things you can get from these apps:
Import of a product with translated information
Help with tags and making products fit your needs
Help with bringing in reviews of products
Order fulfillment services
You can use apps on Shopify, but you can also enter data by hand with 1688.
Why Sourcing from 1688.Com Is a Good Choice for Dropshippers?
With so many dropshippers entering the e-commerce field, it’s important to find products on sites other than AliExpress.
Dropshippers have many reasons to choose 1688.com over other sites. Here are a few of the reasons why.
Compared to other sites, the prices of goods at 1688 are crazy low.
Direct contact with the owners of factories and wholesalers.
The benefit of being able to find out about a product’s release before it’s available on AliExpress.
1688 has less competition because people don’t know about it and it’s hard to communicate.
AliExpress is one of the largest e-commerce sites in the world. Most shoppers log in to AliExpress to double-check the prices of their favorite items.
Since dropshippers sell the products at prices that are higher than what AliExpress charges, they tend to lose orders.
With 1688, you can sell the same products at lower prices and still make the same amount of money. More money would be made online if the margins were higher.
Earnings and margins that are higher
Fun fact: Some AliExpress sellers are Chinese dropshippers who buy goods from sites like 1688 and then sell them on AliExpress for a profit.
How to Select Reliable 1688 Suppliers for Dropshipping?
Using 1688 is almost the same as using other e-commerce sites to find reliable suppliers.
There are a few things you need to know about a supplier if you want to do dropshipping. Here are a few of the most common ones.
Better ways to talk and work together
Faster reaction times
A large number of years of service
Discounts for buying in bulk
Answering your queries
A good amount of orders
Customers have given us good feedback.
The 1688 supplier you can trust the most will be the one with the most points in the above criteria.
There are some extra things you can look for on 1688 that might help you find a good supplier. These things are:
The percentage of items that are sent back should be low.
In the last 90 days, there should have been a lot of people who bought.
Both the description of the cargo and the shipping answer should be good.
How Can I Find the Best 1688 Sourcing Agents?
You can use sourcing agents if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of doing everything yourself on sites like 1688.
A sourcing agent’s job would be to get the products you want from Chinese suppliers at the same prices or even lower prices.
With the best product sourcing services, you can automate your dropshipping business in this way.
Look for sourcing agents who can help you with the following.
able to talk to people in both your language and Chinese.
Sites like 1688 and Taobao make it easy to find things.
Set up products of the same quality at lower prices.
You need to be able to talk with Chinese suppliers in order to run your business smoothly.
Since time is important for dropshippers, choosing the right sourcing agent would be the best way to make dropshipping easy and fun.
How to Talk to 1688 Suppliers for Dropshipping?
There are different ways to get in touch with 1688 suppliers. You are most likely to have trouble with 1688 suppliers if you don’t know how to talk to them in Chinese.
Since dropshipping is a serious business, you should really pay attention to how you talk to your suppliers.
If you want to talk to suppliers at 1688 more effectively, follow the steps below.
Keep the talk as simple as possible. Use the “contact the merchant” option to ask the seller if he speaks English. If they don’t speak English, you could try using Google translate to communicate with them.
Even if the supplier speaks English, try to keep the conversation as short and to the point as possible.
Fun fact: If you are talking to a Chinese supplier about something simple, don’t even bother to use correct grammar.
You can also hire a freelancer, a sourcing agent, or a fulfillment company to do the communication for you.
How to Pay 1688 Suppliers for Dropship or Wholesale?
At 1688, paying suppliers is done in a slightly different way than at AliExpress. In contrast to AliExpress, where credit cards are used, 1688 gives you three ways to pay for your dropship or wholesale orders.
Here’s what they are:
AliPay is the most common and easiest way to pay suppliers. If you don’t have an AliPay account, you can sign up for one and then use your credit cards, MasterCard, etc. to pay for things.
Bank transfer is the part that is harder. One problem with bank transfer is that you can only pay with RMB. Since most of the people who shop at 1688 are Chinese, this option is good for them.
1688 Purchase Funds
This option is for people who have already bought from 1688. They can use the money they get from 1688 to do regular shopping.
Fun fact: You can also send payments to suppliers at 1688 through apps like WeChat if you’ve built up enough trust and rapport with them. This is especially useful for large orders.
Is It Reliable to Buy at 1688.com?
1688 is a part of the Alibaba Group, and it is one of China’s most trusted e-commerce sites. So, you can buy with full confidence at 1688.com.
Alibaba plans to grab the international market of online shopping aiming to beat ecom giants like Amazon and eBay. So, it takes care of its customers and has set up processes to protect payments and make sure buyers get what they ordered.
How Can I Buy from 1688.com If I’m Outside of China?
The only way to buy something from 1688 is to talk to 1688 suppliers. You can talk to suppliers, and they’ll be happy to ship the goods overseas for a small fee.
Most dropshipping from China is done by people outside of China, while 1688 is the Chinese e-commerce site for people who live in China.
That’s why it’s all in Chinese and the prices are so low. The only currency accepted is RMB, and shipping options are also only available to places in China.
You can only get the goods sent outside of China if you talk to all 1688 suppliers and make it clear that you want them to.
What Are 1688 Dropshipping Reviews?
The number of reviews depends on how many people use the product or service. Dropshipping through 1688 is still not very well known. Still, dropshippers who have tried getting products from 1688 are very happy with the results.
Profitability is one of the most important things for a dropshipper’s business to do well.
Since 1688 gives dropshippers high margins, dropshippers who have tried this method give this website a lot of support. You can definitely rule the e-commerce business if you just check out this site.
Is 1688 Cheaper than AliExpress?
Yes, 1688 is meant to be a place for direct manufacturers and wholesalers. So, it makes sense that the prices set by factory owners would be much lower than those set by distributors or middlemen.
Most of the people who sell on AliExpress are 3rd party agents. These agents find products from manufacturers and list them on AliExpress by adding up their margins.
Because of this, the prices of the product are higher than the prices on sites like 1688.
Is Alibaba the Same as 1688?
Alibaba is not the same as 1688 in every way. You can say that Alibaba is the parent company and that 1688 is a branch of it. Here are the main ways in which Alibaba and 1688 are different:
Compared to 1688, Alibaba is a bigger platform.
Alibaba is meant to be a platform for international e-commerce, while 1688 is mostly a Chinese marketplace.
Alibaba can be used in a number of languages, including English, but 1688 can only be used in Chinese.
Alibaba is more of a business-to-business model. At Alibaba, you have to give a minimum order quantity (MOQ), but at 1688, you don’t have to.
For international shipping starting in 1688, you have to talk to the suppliers in person, but Alibaba already knows this.
Alibaba has a lot of ways to pay, while 1688 only has a few.
Is 1688 the Same as Taobao?
Some things are the same about 1688 and Taobao. Both of these sites are for the Chinese market and are run in Chinese.
What makes these two sites different is explained below:
In contrast to 1688, where there are three ways to pay, Taobao only accepts Alipay.
1688 is mostly for small and medium-sized businesses and wholesalers, while Taobao is for end customers.
Compared to 1688, Taobao is seen as a bigger and more well-known platform.