When speaking about dropshipping suppliers, we often think about AliExpress.
It's undoubtedly the most popular supplier for dropshippers.
But did you know there are many alternatives to AliExpress dropshipping?
And in this article, we're going to talk about one of them: 1688.
So, to get started, let us introduce 1688 to you:
What is 1688?
1688 is an ecommerce marketplace owned and managed by the Alibaba Group. It is one of the largest online shopping platforms in China.
AliExpress, Taobao, and 1688 are all owned by the Alibaba Group. However, despite all these websites being part of the same family, there are several differences, especially in language and the business model.
As 1688 and Taobao are primarily in the Chinese language, dropshippers who aren't familiar with the Chinese language tend to use AliExpress instead.
Can you use 1688 as your dropshipping supplier?
As discussed, 1688 is a Chinese marketplace.
Generally speaking, you can use 1688 as your dropshipping supplier. However, you must find a way to overcome the challenge that 1688 only ships to China and is displayed in the Chinese language.
You can use Google Chrome's translation extension that appears at the top right corner to translate the website:
Remember that you must register an account to contact a seller or place an order.
Plus, on the product page, you'll notice that they display two kinds of pricing. One for 'Wholesalers' and the other one for 'Dropshippers.'
Overall, yes, you can use 1688 as your dropshipping supplier, but it's definitely not the most beginner-friendly.
Before showing you how to create an account on 1688 quickly, let's discuss its pros and cons.
The pros of dropshipping with 1688
The pros that come with dropshipping with 1688 are numerous, but here are some of the most important ones:
Lower prices are among the most significant advantages of using 1688 for dropshipping.
As 1688 is a wholesale marketplace, you can access products at a much lower cost than you would find elsewhere.
It means you can buy as little or as much of a product as you need, which can be highly beneficial for starting your business.
1688 is well known for its swift response time and customer service. They make it easy to contact suppliers, get answers to questions, and resolve any issues quickly.
Direct access to factories and wholesalers
Dropshipping through 1688 gives you direct access to factories and wholesalers in China, allowing you to get the best deals and prices for your products.
The cons of dropshipping with 1688
Dropshipping with 1688 may appear to be a simple option, but there are a few drawbacks.
Shipping cost and delivery time
As 1688 is based in China and only ships to Chinese addresses, it's likely you will have to find a third party and pay additional fees for international shipping.
Most of the suppliers on 1688 communicate in Mandarin, so understanding what they are selling and how they operate can take time and effort.
Because 1688 is a Chinese marketplace, PayPal payments are not accepted, so you will need to find an alternative payment method which can cause complications with refunds and returns.
What is the difference between 1688 and AliExpress?
If you doubt whether you should ditch AliExpress for 1688, here are some differences between the two:
AliExpress is available in a variety of languages, including English, Chinese, Russian, French, Turkish, and Italian.
Your chosen language will be used for keyword searches and filtering, making it relatively easy to find the products you're looking for.
Unfortunately, this isn't the case for 1688. Since 1688 is written in Chinese, dropshippers must use Google Translate to browse the website.
1688 only accepts China Alipay and debit cards in China. Meanwhile, AliExpress accepts credit cards or International Alipay.
If you do not register a Hong Kong company, paying 1688 suppliers in US dollars is difficult.
AliExpress provides shipping services for those who live in countries other than China, like ePacket, China Post, FedEx, and DHL.
1688 only ships to China territories, which can be difficult as a dropshipper, but with the help of 1688 agents, you can overcome that logistical barrier, as they can support the shipment of your products.
You can also opt for dropshipping by targeting only Chinese consumers.
The products are much cheaper on 1688 than on AliExpress and Alibaba because of the discerning Chinese consumers.
How do you create an account for 1688?
To create an account with 1688, head to the marketplace and use Google Chrome with the Google Translate extension installed.
After translating the website with the extension, the homepage will look like this:
When using more than one device, the 1688 website provides you with two options by default. If you use a PC, you will be redirected to the 1688 desktop version to register.
If you use your mobile phone to access 1688, you will be forced to register with Taobao. Because they are both owned by Alibaba, Taobao and 1688 collaborate.
Related article: Can You Do Dropshipping With Taobao? (Know This in 2024)
To make it easy for you, click on this registration page.
There are two ways to register for a 1688 account. 1688 personal accounts and 1688 business accounts.
Personal accounts are used by buyers like you and me, whereas suppliers use enterprise accounts.
As shown in the image below, you will be redirected to the 1688 member registration page:
The registration form can seem confusing, don't worry! We get it translated for you:
- The first field is '会员名': Member's surname (this is the username) should not contain space
- The second field is '登录密码': Login password
- The third field is '密码确认': Password confirmation
- The fourth field is '手机号码': Phone number
- Drag the arrow to the right
- The last field is '验证码': Verification code
Remember to agree to the terms and conditions. Then click the red button to begin 1688 registration.
The following stage will direct you to a code confirmation page. All you have to do is to enter the verification code sent to your phone number to finish the registration.
Great! Now you have an account on 1688.
How to search for a product on 1688
1688 offers almost everything you can find on AliExpress, but it's sold at a more affordable price.
The categories you want are on the left side of this website, just like the categories you wish on AliExpress.
Searching for an item on 1688 is relatively easy as long as you are familiar with Chinese or have a basic understanding of utilizing Google Translate.
For example, you can type a keyword into the search bar, and you will be met with many product choices.
Here is how it looks when you have the extension installed and then type '1688' on the Google search result page.
Furthermore, it is also advisable to use more broad and concise keywords when searching for an item, as this will help you find what you are looking for.
You've learned about product research; what about finding a reliable supplier in 1688?
How do you find a reliable supplier on 1688?
Finding a reliable supplier on 1688 is similar to finding a reliable supplier on other ecommerce sites. It requires you to do some research.
Here are some essential criteria to consider when choosing a supplier on 1688:
1. Good communication
Make sure the supplier has good communication.
It should be open and honest to ensure a smoother working relationship. Make sure the supplier answers questions promptly and provides helpful information.
2. Years in business and rating
Look for a supplier who has been around for a substantial number of years.
You should consider a supplier with at least three years of business and a general rating of four stars.
On 1688, it's easy to spot this; it looks like the below.
3. Competitive pricing
Look for a supplier with competitive prices. It will help you save money in the long run as you won't pay more than the market rate for products.
4. Product quality and customer feedback
Take a look at the product rating, as a low rating indicates poor quality, and a high rating means good quality and customers are happy with the product.
On top of these criteria, here are some additional factors to consider when looking for a reliable supplier on 1688:
- Low return rate: A low return rate indicates that customers are generally satisfied with their purchases, which means the supplier provides quality products.
- The number of buyers in the last 90 days: A high number of buyers over the past 90 days shows that the supplier is active in the market and has a steady stream of customers.
- Great cargo description and shipping response: Look for suppliers who provide detailed information about their products and accurate shipping times.
Consider all the above factors to find the right supplier for your dropshipping business on 1688.
In the next section, we'll see if 1688 is a safe dropshipping platform.
Is 1688 safe?
In general, 1688 is a safe platform to use for dropshipping.
All transactions on 1688 are protected by Buyer Protection policies, meaning customers are reimbursed in the event of fraud or if their orders are not delivered as promised.
In addition, 1688 has a dispute resolution system where customers can raise issues and receive assistance. And lastly, 1688 also uses a secure checkout system that keeps all customer information confidential.
How do you place an order on 1688?
You can place an order on 1688 just like you would on AliExpress. Before placing an order, we highly recommend you speak to the suppliers or manufacturers at 1688.
Please also compare the overall cost of the product, including shipping fees.
It is also possible to share the order details via Google Sheets, Excel sheets, etc., with your suppliers on 1688.
If you still have difficulty dealing with 1688 payments and vendors, you can turn around to dropshipping agents.
Top 3 best 1688 dropshipping agents
Are you looking for the best 1688 dropshipping agents to help you source products from 1688?
If so, look no further. Here are some popular agents to consider:
LeelineSourcing is a professional sourcing company based in Shenzhen, China.
They specialize in providing high-quality products from reliable Chinese suppliers for dropshippers worldwide.
With them, you can quickly source products from 1688, including hot-selling items and limited edition products. They also provide various services such as price negotiation, product quality control, etc.
YAYAKA is another famous 1688 dropshipping agent that offers similar services to LeelineSourcing.
They provide access to millions of products from reliable Chinese suppliers at competitive prices.
Additionally, they offer various services such as product sourcing, quality control, customization, and shipping management.
ShipAnt is also one the best dropshipping agent that handles sourcing from 1688, and they also take product sourcing from Taobao.
ShipAnt's goal is to provide dependable dropshipping service to assist dropshippers in locating quality dropshipping suppliers on 1688 and Taobao at a lower cost and with faster delivery than AliExpress.
Their order fulfillment service includes sourcing, purchasing, QC, repacking, label branding, barcode, inventory warehousing, pick pack, shipping, tracking, and aftersales.
FAQs about dropshipping with 1688
Although finding a reliable supplier is an essential part of starting a dropshipping on 1688, there are more steps you need to know!
If you’re interested in learning more about dropshipping with 1688, here are some frequently asked questions.
How do you import products from 1688 to Shopify?
How do you pay on 1688 without Alipay?
If you have a Chinese bank account, you can use a wire transfer to pay on 1688. Alternatively, you can use an agent who will pay for the goods on your behalf.
Before we go to the final verdict, we've created a quick summary of this article for you, so you can easily remember it:
- 1688 is a Chinese marketplace where you can find low-cost suppliers willing to dropship their products. It's very similar to Taobao, another popular dropshipping marketplace.
- You can use 1688 as your dropshipping supplier because it has many advantages, such as lower prices, faster shipping, and better quality control.
- Install the Google Translate extension on Chrome to browse efficiently on 1688.
- 1688 is a safe platform for dropshipping.
- LeelineSourcing can assist you in sourcing your products from 1688 without difficulty.
We've learned that 1688 can be used as a dropshipping supplier in theory, but it's definitely not the most beginner-friendly platform.
Not only is the website displayed in Chinese, but it officially only ships its products to China.
On the other hand, you will find a wide range of products for low prices.
So, what do you think? Will you try using 1688 or a different supplier?
Let us know in the comments below!
Want to learn more about dropshipping?
Ready to move your dropshipping store to the next level? Check out the articles below:
- 10+ Best Countries for Dropshipping in 2024 (& 5 to Avoid)
- Alibaba vs. AliExpress: Which One Is Best for Dropshipping?
- Can You Do Dropshipping With Alibaba? (The Answer Is Here!)
Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth guide on how to start dropshipping here!