Buying from 1688.com- The secret that Alibaba and Aliexpress sellers trying to hide to you


Probably you know that you can source cheap products from Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com. You may usually place large orders from Alibaba.com and smaller orders from Aliexpress. But you would never know that actually many of the products those sellers offer are from another Chinese wholesale site called 1688.com(also called alibaba.cn. It’s .CN, not .COM). It's not only a Chinese version of Alibaba.com, but also a cheaper source for all kinds of products. Those Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com sellers just bought the items from 1688.com and added prices on the items and sold to you. Or even, only when they have received your orders, they go to order from 1688.com and later ship to you, running their business without any stock. Of course, they won't tell you about this.

And the fact is more shocking, there are more shopping sites you are familiar with are selling items sourced from 1688.com. This explains why there are so many Chinese sellers in different platforms and where they source the products from. All of these, were hidden to you as secrets and you just don’t know them. The following image shows the relationship.
 


Apparently, when you purchase products from Alibaba.com and Aliexpress, the items have already been transited between many distributors or resellers, and you actually paid a lot of extra money to them to be their profit, which can be completely saved.

If you are a business man and want to cut down cost and earn more, I believe you now may want to ask yourself why not source from 1688.com directly? Yes, of course you can! As long as you want to do it, you can order from 1688.com directly without knowing Chinese language. All are no problem!  I will introduce in following details on how you can make it.


Why you Want to Source from 1688.com?
First, you need to be aware why you want to source from 1688.com original sellers/suppliers. Basically, there are following reasons:

1.    Walk around resellers and buy products from real original suppliers.

 

2.    Cut down your purchasing cost and save money


3.    Earn more profit margin


However, if you are going to buy products for personal use, for only 1 pc or 2 pcs, or very small quantities or amount, I don’t suggest you do it as 1688.com is still wholesale site and MOQ condition is usually defined for every item, even though the MOQ is actually very small now. We only suggest wholesaler or resellers to purchase from 1688.com for business.



What products can be purchased from 1688.com?
Basically, there are all categories of items in 1688.com, as long as you can imagine. However, not all items can be purchased by you due to the shipping limitation or shipping cost. For example, if you are trying to ship items via normal express shipping, the following items will be restricted:
1.    Liquid, Cream,
2.    Powder
3.    Chemicals,
4.    Strong magnets
5.    Knives or gun related items
6.    Pure batteries.

7.    Other sensitive items

 

For some large items, like wooden tables, office chairs, they are large, heavy and cheap in item cost, but shipping them will cost even 3-10 times more than the item cost itself. Even if you ship them in sea cargo, it will still cost a lot. Of course, if you find these items are with enough profit margin in your market considering all costs, you can still go ahead to purchase them.


 

Who want to buy from 1688.com?
Not only wholesalers want to source from 1688.com, the following users may also want to purchase from 1688.com.
1.    Company purchasers who purchase for their own companies.

 

2.    Solution companies who purchase for their client companies


3.    Local purchase agents who collect a lot of orders from their end clients


4.    Local offline market wholesalers and resellers


5.    Offline Shop owners


6.    Online resellers like sellers on ebay, amazon, shopify, own websites.


If you are any of the above, you may want to consider purchasing from 1688.com.


Difficulties of buying from 1688.com
Hold on. As 1688.com is designed to face Chinese only, most suppliers can only speak Chinese, and they only accept Chinese internal payments. Of course, they mostly don’t ship to international addresses either. So, you always need a purchase agent like FreeShoppingChina.com agent to help you make the purchases and solve these gaps. Basically, FreeShoppingChina.com will help you on the following:
1.    Communication
2.    Payment(to sellers/suppliers)
3.    Collect orders
4.    Inspect the items
5.    Return and Change problematic items
6.    Consolidating and repacking
7.    Shipping to international addresses

Sounds useful? Yes, definitely! Usually agents will charge 3%-10% as commission basing on the order amount and complexity, and it’s also sounds reasonable.

OK. Once you understand it, we can now go ahead to get into details of how to purchase from 1688.com.


How to Find products on 1688.com
1688.com is very similar to Alibaba.com, and the only difficulty you are facing to find the product you want is the Chinese language. In order to solve this obstacle, you need the translation tool to get the single page or the whole website translated into your local language. The following tools are recommended:
-Google Chrome Browser: http://www.google.com/chrome (Strongly Recommended)
Chrome browser is having built in translate function that helps you translate pages from another language to your local language or your specific language. You will see how it works later.

1. Firstly, you have to keep in mind that Chinese Character keywords should be used in 1688.com’s search. English keywords will only bring much fewer results. So, you always need to input Chinese keywords in the search box. Well, we know you may not able to type Chinese, so we have already solved the problem for you.

2. You can use the Search Entry/Portal on FreeShoppingChina.com, you only need to click "Search" button after typing English keywords inside and selecting "1688.com" site, the keyword will be automatically translated into Chinese and sent to 1688.com, followed by a popped up search result page from 1688.com. The Search Entry/Portal can be found in head part of any page on FreeShoppingChina.com as shown below:
 

It will bring up the search result:
 

As you can see, the search keyword was already translated into Chinese and the related results were searched out.

But, The page is in completely Chinese!!! It's not readable!  No worry, now it’s Chrome’s show time.

You only need to right click on any blank part of the page, and select "Translate to English", the Chrome browser will translate the whole page into English for you.

 

Looks good!? Yes! The page is now readable. You can select the item and click into the item details to see more items details, just as you are browsing on English Alibaba.com or Ebay. And the Chrome browser is having an option for you that you can keep it translating any page in this site into the language you specify. It’s really awesome! 

 

So, with the Chrome browser, and the Search Entry/Portal from FreeShoppingChina.com, you can easily search and find target products on 1688.com, and you will see the price is amazing… And it’s not complicated at all….


How to Order from 1688.com and make payments
After you find some good products on 1688.com, you may want to place orders to get them. Wait, you can’t place order directly on 1688.com as explained earlier, this site is designed for facing Chinese wholesaler only. OK, so you need a purchase agent to help you make it. Here we take FreeShoppingChina.com as the purchase agent as FreeShoppingChina.com has developed a streamlined purchasing system to run and handling orders, which makes the operations easier and traceable, and of course with higher efficiency.You can also find other purchase agents by communicating with them with excel files or emails. But FreeShoppingChina.com’s system is more convenient.

Basically, there are different processes designed to meet your different needs. We are taking the Service Mode small order as the example:


This workflow is easy to understand. Before you start, you need to register a user first so that you can use the purchasing system/process. The purchasing system is like the following:

 


After signing in, now we start to place the first order. Copy the item detail page from 1688.com and paste it into the "Add New Order" page.

 


After that, the information will be captured by FreeShoppingChina.com’s system and you can go ahead to specify the price and color, size options, if needed.

 


After all data is filled, you can submit to add the order into FreeShoppingChina.com’s shopping cart and later you can go to the shopping cart to submit the orders and make the 1st payment. Be aware, usually there will be 1st payment and 2nd payment from FreeShoppingChina.com which reflect the item cost, domestic shipping, international shipping and commission fee. You can read more information from FreeShoppingChina.com, if needed. Usually 3%-10% of the total item cost and domestic shipping cost are charged as the commission fee depending on the total order amount and complexity.
 

You can play around in FreeShoppingChina.com’s purchasing system. The system is in English and very easy to understand, so I believe I don’t need to take screenshots for them.

Once the orders are placed in FreeShoppingChina.com and paid, the purchasers from FreeShoppingChina will review your orders and help you make purchases. If there is any information needed or difficulty, they will notify you in the messages attached to the orders or emails. You can check “My Orders” page in member center to see your on-going orders for any progress or information.



Based on the above, actually what you need to do is to capture the product information and organize it into order list and hand over to FreeShoppingChina.com agent to have them purchase for you. You pay the purchase agent, and purchase agent pay the sellers. Whatever if there is a purchase system or not, you just need to make your orders understood by purchase agent so that they can place orders for you successfully.


How to consolidate orders from different suppliers?
You will probably wonder if you can consolidate the items from different sellers/suppliers into one or several carton boxes and ship to you together. The answer is yes. Usually purchase agent will help you make the consolidation. In FreeShoppingChina.com’s system, you only need to select the arrived items you want to package together and submit shipping, the staffs from FreeShoppingChina.com will package the items for you according to the order list you selected. It’s streamlined, and very easy to operate.
 

Of course, you will need to specify the packaging option and shipping address again here so that they can move on.


How to ship your orders to your destination?
There are different options. You can have the purchase agent like FreeShoppingChina.com to ship your parcels to you via express service or China Post service, if the parcel is not too large; Or, you can also find your own shipping forwarders who offer cheap Air Cargo or Sea Cargo services, along with customs clearing services.

If you select the former one, you just give your shipping information to the purchase agent like FreeShoppingChina.com and they will ship it for you after you pay them with 2nd payment.  If you select the latter one, you can contact the purchase agent to have them ship your parcels to your forwarder so that your own forwarder can later take over your goods/parcels and delivery to you in better way or with cheaper total cost.

This is very flexible. The only thing you need to consider is the cost, timing and parcel safety.


Best Practices and Tips
1.    Searching Tips
Due to the machine’s translation, sometimes the translated text may not be 100% accurate, which makes the search result of the products are not correct. Don’t worry and be frustrated in this case. You can simply solve it by trying other words like synonyms to retry the search to find the target products.

Don’t use too long keywords to make the search as it will bring more irrelevant results. You can try using your kernel keywords instead to make the searches.

2.    Price and quality
Basically, 1688.com seller/suppliers will list the different prices for the different purchase volumes/quantities. You can get lower price if you purchase more. Also, your order must meet the minimum order condition as it’s the prerequisite for purchasing. If your order quantity is less than the MOQ, your order will not be accepted.

3.    Always get samples
Different sellers/providers will offer items with different qualities. You always need to purchase samples or MOQ orders first to check the quality first before you decide big orders. This is every easy to understand, but you always need to keep in mind.

4.    Avoid Sensitive and Fragile Items
Some items like knife and gun related items or liquid, batteries items, are usually restricted by shipping companies and it’s not suggested that you purchase them to bring troubles. For fragile items, you always need to consider the high risk in shipping process as nobody will cover the risk or loss for you.

5.    Avoid cheap but big and heavy items, except shipping by sea.
Sometimes, you may find some chairs or other big items are cheap and with good designs. Yes, sometimes they are, but they are also very big and heavy. If you purchase them, you will face the high shipping cost that you don’t want to undertake. So, don’t purchase them except you are confident and have found a very cheap way like sea freight to ship them.


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