Complete Guide: How to Buy from 1688 Outside China?

Feb 28, 2024 Chapter 1. Sourcing

Do you want to know how to buy from 1688 without agent if you are outside of China, and how to choose high-quality 1688 suppliers?

Whether or not it is worth it to buy from 1688.com depends on your individual needs and circumstances. 1688.com is a wholesale marketplace that caters primarily to Chinese businesses, and it can be a great source for products at very competitive prices.

However, there are some things to keep in mind before you start buying from 1688.com.

 

 

Should I Buy from 1688.com?

Buying from 1688.com can be a great way to get high-quality products at competitive prices, but it’s not for everyone.

Here are some of the characteristics of people who are a good fit to buy from 1688.com:

  • Experience with wholesale purchasing and importing: If you have experience buying products in bulk from overseas suppliers, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the complexities of 1688.com.

  • Familiarity with Chinese language and culture: While 1688 has made some efforts to accommodate English-speaking buyers, the site is still primarily in Chinese. Some basic language proficiency and an understanding of Chinese business practices will be helpful.

  • Ability to conduct thorough product research and quality control: 1688.com hosts a vast array of products from numerous suppliers, so it’s crucial to carefully evaluate product descriptions, reviews, and supplier ratings. Ordering samples is also recommended to assess quality before committing to a large order.

  • Willingness to invest time and effort: Sourcing products from 1688.com requires more dedication than shopping on retail platforms like Amazon or AliExpress. You’ll need to spend time researching, communicating with suppliers, and managing logistics.

  • Tolerance for potential risks and challenges: Buying from 1688.com involves some inherent risks, such as language barriers, potential quality issues, and shipping delays. You should be comfortable with managing these challenges and have contingency plans in place.

 

However, if you’re a first-time buyer or prefer a more streamlined and hands-off approach, retail platforms may be a better fit.

 

 

 

 

How to Buy from 1688?

The next steps show how to buy from 1688 without agent:

 

1. Familiar with the 1688 Platform

 

1688.com Review:

1688.com is a catalog of China wholesaler suppliers under the Alibaba Group. 1688.com is almost the same as Alibaba.com, except that 1688.com mainly caters to Chinese companies.

The reason is that sometimes Chinese wholesale suppliers have an inherent prejudice against Americans, Europeans, and other foreigners when they offer quotes on Alibaba.

In other words, sometimes, the same suppliers you find on Alibaba and 1688.com will offer higher prices for foreign companies.

Whenever you complete the price negotiation of an Alibaba supplier, you can also contact the same supplier through 1688.com and provide a different e-mail address to see if the quotation is other.

If the prices are similar, it’s all good. However, if the prices are very different, you should find out the exact reason for the difference.

 

In general, you can work with Alibaba and 1688.com to make sure that you get the lowest price.

 

1688 Advantage:
  • Full category of products in China
  • The best way to find China real manufacturers
  • The lowest price for the same products

 

1688 Disadvantage:
  • Language barrier
  • Payment security
  • Hard to Return

 

 

 

 

2. Decide Who Handle Your 1688 Orders

If you want to directly buy wholesale from 1688 to your country, how do you buy from 1688?

 

Buying from 1688 Options.

Usually, you have 3 options to buy from 1688.

 

1. Contact the supplier directly on 1688.Com

After registering your 1688.com account, you can log in to your Aliwangwang account to communicate directly with suppliers.

Alternatively, you can find the supplier’s mobile number or WeChat ID on the product page and contact the supplier on WeChat.

The rest is like buying from Alibaba, discussing product details, samples, order quantity, discounts, payment methods, etc., with the supplier.

 

-Advantage
    • You can bypass the middleman and talk directly to the manufacturer.
    • Most sellers on 1688.com only sell to China domestic buyers. The prices they offer you are usually lower than Alibaba.
-Shortcoming
    • Many suppliers do not speak English, so be patient and use simple English.
    • Many 1688.com suppliers do not have a PayPal account. Their bank cards only accept RMB. You have to find a payment method that they can accept.

 

 

2. Buy Goods From 1688.Com With Shopping Proxy Website

Many Chinese buying agent websites offer buying services from popular Chinese online stores like Taobao, 1688.com, JD.com, etc. All you need to do is submit a product link on their website. They will then help you buy products from 1688 supplier.

When all your orders arrive at their warehouse, they will consolidate and repack them for you and send them to you via different shipping methods.

 

-Advantage
    • The good thing about these sites is that the procedure is simple and easy, the shopping experience is great.
    • The whole process is just like you are shopping on AliExpress.
    • They also offer PayPal or credit card payment options.
-Shortcoming
    • They will not help you source products or suppliers.
    • Nor will they help you to check the quantity and quality of your order.
    • You have to find the target products and suppliers yourself on 1688.com!
    • Their shipping method is only for small orders, and they do not offer shipping options such as air, rail, LCL, or ocean for bulk orders.

 

 

3. Hire 1688 Purchasing Agent

Actually, you can apply for 1688 agent service, they can help you find and pay suppliers on 1688, and help you ship from China to your country via international express service.

So, first of all, you need to find a 1688 agent with the product, color, size and quantity and other basic information of your business such as budget price and quality control, samples, payment terms, commission and other things about your business question.

After that, the agent can help you to procure and negotiate with the supplier on 1688 to get feedback on the product and supplier so that you can make a purchasing decision, and then you can pay for the order and the money for shipping from China 1688.

While the procedure is not complicated, it is important to ask and build trust with the 1688 agent to avoid the potential risks of buying from 1688.com.

 

-Advantage
    • They usually offer more services like sourcing products and manufacturers, samples, custom products, customs clearance, more shipping methods, etc.
    • Their service is one-to-one, which means you get prompt and personalized service.
    • Many of them are fluent in foreign languages ​​, and you can communicate with them in the local language.
-Shortcoming
    • They only like big customers, big orders, and if your order is small, they will charge a high commission, or their response may not be as positive.

 

 

 

3. Search Your Products on 1688

The entire website is in Chinese. So you have 2 ways to find the products you want on 1688 in English.

 

1.Use Google Translate.

Enter the relevant keywords of the desired product in the search bar or click the camera icon to search for images

1688.com is a platform that offers a wide range of products of different qualities. First, determine what kind of products you want and then enter the relevant keywords in the search bar of the website.

You will get a variety of related products from different suppliers.

 

2. Search by image on 1688.

Another way to search for products is the “image search on 1688”. Click on the camera icon available in the upper right corner of the search bar.

Using this option, you can upload an image of the product you want to search for, so the site will display a list of related products.

 

 

 

 

4. Identify a Good Suppliers on 1688

 

how to buy from 1688

1. Chengxintong:

Chengxintong(诚信通), the annual fee is 6688 yuan. As long as you have a business license, you can apply for it. (The Membership fee is the lowest, and this way, we cannot screen out high-quality merchants.

The number of years can neither prove that you are a high-quality business nor can it prove that you are not a high-quality business. so use this method the chance we can find a good supplier rate is 20% or even 10%)

 

 

how to find a supplier on 1688

2. Powerful Merchants:

Powerful merchants (实力商家 the sign is Bull Head), the annual membership fee for the women’s clothing industry is 58,000, and for the non-women’s clothing industry is 28,000.

Generally speaking, it’s okay to choose powerful merchants, but this is not enough! At this step, the chance we can find a good supplier on 1688 rate is 60%.

 

 

how to buy from 1688

 

3. Factory Inspection Report:

In-depth factory inspection and in-depth business inspection(深度验厂与深度验商). If you are a manufacturer, you can apply for an in-depth assessment. If you are a non-factory type, you can only apply for an in-depth business inspection.

So this is more reliable than ordinary powerful merchants.

Compared with in-depth business inspections, I am more inclined to in-depth factory inspections because manufacturers can guarantee their products and provide low prices.

At this step, the chance we can find a good supplier rate can reach 80%. But, it’s not enough! I want to have a higher success rate!

 

 

how to find supplier from 1688

 

4. File Report

In all the in-depth factory inspection merchants, click on the “File Report” of the “Company Profile” to view the company’s staffs number and scale.

It is recommended to consider many peoples’ suppliers, at least 50 people or more, preferably more than 100 people.

The more the number, the better. Generally, large companies why raise so many people because the quality is relatively more guaranteed. At this point, the chance we can find a good supplier success rate can reach 98%!

 

 

5. Well Seller Index

How does one ensure that product ratings on 1688.com are genuine so as to make buying decisions?

 

Unlike Taobao and Amazon, 1688 is a B2B platform and rarely leaves reviews, so when we read reviews, we only look at the content of negative reviews and how the supplier handles negative reviews.

First of all, you can check the 1688 supplier rating system, taking women’s clothing as an example.

 

1688 supplier index

 

 

The 1688 supplier rating system consists of 4 indicators, as shown in the red rectangle box above, which are:

  • product description 3%↑
  • response speed 8%↑
  • delivery time 5%↑
  • and repurchase rate 36%

 

I think the most important metric is the 36% buyback rate. People won’t come back if the supplier can’t provide a cost-effective product. It can be seen from the above figure that the supplier has 7 years of 1688 experience, which is not short. We usually screen suppliers with at least 3 years of experience.

 

how to shop on 1688 in english

 

 

The Final Conclusion:  

High-Quality 1688 Suppliers= powerful merchants + deep factory inspection + many employees + well seller index.

 

 

 

 

5. Use the Right Buying from 1688 Procedures

So, how to avoid product defects when buying from 1688? Usually, we have some next suggestions.

 

  • Don’t Choose Cheapest Products

When you buy from 1688, you have to be very careful to sell on amazon store. At least 5-10 suppliers are quoted, and their prices are usually different.

You may be inclined to choose the cheapest supplier to maximize your profits. Unfortunately, this is a common mistake made by new Amazon sellers. They choose the cheapest supplier, and in the end, there is a high probability that they will get low-quality products.

Why can some 1688 suppliers give you a low price?

This is usually at the expense of product quality. It may be that the supplier uses inferior materials, cheap labor, and outdated equipment to be able to give you such a low price. Although the cost is low in the short term, the final product’s quality is deficient, and the cost will be much higher in the long run. 

 

  • Buying Samples First

During the buy from 1688 sampling process, it is necessary to ensure that the final production unit samples are received. 

Usually, the supplier promises to solve any minor problems during the production process.

Don’t believe it.

To ensure that the final sample must be a complete version. 

 

  • Prepare Specific Requirement

A detailed description of the product can be added to ensure that a single contract, this kind you can put all the details requested in writing technology, clear, just in case. 

Be as specific and detailed as possible. Including all dimensions and dimensions, materials used, the weight of the item, function, material description, function description, etc. The more detailed the description, the greater the chance of winning any disputes about product quality. 

At the same time, it should be shown to the supplier that product quality is your primary consideration and that you do not accept anything defective. This will put additional pressure on them, forcing them to get things done right from the start. 

 

  • Do Quality Control

The next important step is when your product is manufactured. To prevent receiving defective items, arranging the pre-shipment inspection while the goods are still at the Chinese manufacturer is necessary. 

Inspection is the only way to check the quality of the product, and it is also the only way for your suppliers to solve any problems because they will want to get a remaining payment from you. 

 

  • Choose Safe Payment Method:

Currently, 1688 does not directly accept payments from overseas buyers.

However, there are three main ways to pay for orders on 1688.

 

Payment method Description
Third-party payment service A service that facilitates payments from overseas buyers to 1688 suppliers.
Agent An intermediary that handles all of the communication and payment with 1688 suppliers on your behalf.
Cross-border payment service A service that allows businesses with a registered company in China to pay for orders on 1688.

 

 

how to pay to a 1688 supplier

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buying on 1688 Challenges You May Face:

 If any foreigner decides to buy products from 1688.com, things may be difficult because this marketplace does not cater to international customers.

Here are the top 5 challenges you may face as a foreign user.

 

1. Language Barriers 

1688.com is a domestic marketplace that serves only local buyers and suppliers in mainland China.

Keeping this fact in mind, this marketplace’s website is in Mandarin, which foreigners cannot understand unless they know the language. 

 

2. Payment Method Problem:

-only local payment is allowed

1688.com, as a domestic market, only provides local payment methods such as WeChat, Alipay, and company or personal bank accounts.

Chinese providers only accept RMB, so you must convert USD to RMB. Another way is to hire a local agent to pay bills in China as a middleman.

 

3. Shipping Method Problem:

-only local shipping is allowed

Since 1688. com’s suppliers only ship within China. They cannot ship internationally because they do not have a shipping network.

If you buy from 1688.com, you will need an export agent or freight forwarder who can pick up your order from the supplier and deliver it to your doorstep.

 

4. Product Quality Verification

The products offered by 1688.com are not quality-verified. So sellers can sell anything they want.

To ensure that you buy a quality product, you must perform quality checks. To do this, check the seller profile, quality certifications, number of employees and verification tick marks on previous order quantities.

Make sure that you order sample products before actually ordering.

 

5. Suppliers Usually Do not Export to Foreign Countries

1688.com suppliers work mainly for inland customers, so they do not have export licenses because they do not need them. If you are buying from 1688.com as a foreign buyer, exporting your products will be a matter of you hiring an export agent.

It is best to find a supplier with an export license so that shipping the product will not be an issue.

 

6. High MOQ for Quality 1688 Suppliers

The products produced by the supplier for the first time are prone to quality problems. 

The minimum order quantity will also affect the product defect rate. A large factory with a good reputation, their minimum order quantity is 2000 pieces. You managed to reduce the minimum order quantity to 500 pieces. 

This also means that your order is not so important to them. They are used to dealing with large, multi-million-pound companies because they order thousands of products at a time. This is why the minimum standards of large manufacturers are very high. Of course, there are exceptions, but in general, their attitude will not be as good as some other small companies. 

 

1688 quality

 

 

7. Not available for international shipping

Many 1688 products are difficult to transport safely internationally, such as those with batteries, powders, and imitation brands… You may need to find a reliable company to help you calculate and plan transportation prices in advance.

 

 

 

 

Avoiding Scams when Buying from 1688.com

If you want to shop from 1688.com without any hassle, make sure you follow the key points for a seamless online shopping experience.

 

 

 

1. Online pictures cannot judge product quality

At the end of the day, 1688.com is a marketplace for selling products online. As a foreign buyer, it is difficult for you to check the quality of your products in person, so you will not be able to judge the quality of your products through pictures.

However, one solution is to ask for samples. Samples can help you determine the product’s material and quality beforehand.

 

2. Don’t buy big and heavy products from 1688.com

1688.com is not the most suitable choice for buying big and heavy products. If you want to do so, be sure to read the instructions and ask about the material quality and shipping methods.

Don’t forget to order samples. Heavy products are difficult to ship internationally and can cost you a fortune in shipping costs.

 

3. Check the refund/return policy before confirming your order

1688.com supports buyers by offering a refund or return policy. Be sure to confirm that these policies are included in the final proposal before placing an order.

If the supplier delays your order or fails to deliver(out of stock), you can always request a refund.

 

4. Collect proof of verification from the seller/supplier

Before placing an order on 1688, be sure to check the authenticity of the vendor. Some of the factors that indicate authenticity include blue verification check marks on the vendor’s profile, authenticity badges, more employees and other symbols on the seller’s profile.

 

5. Don’t transfer money to personal accounts

Always keep in mind to request a company bank account for payment when buy from 1688. Authentic vendors always have a bank account registered in their company’s name.

 Avoid sending money to any personal or individual account, as it may be a scam.

 

6. Only confirm orders from suppliers who are willing to send samples

Always ask for samples(pay for it) before placing a bulk order on 1688. If the supplier is genuine, he will gladly agree to your request.

If the supplier is unwilling to send samples, it indicates that the supplier may be a scam. Other situation is the suppliers don’t have the sample in hand even they had listed the picture online.

 

7. Check the supplier’s comments on the order before confirming

Reviews of the 1688 sellers profile will tell you about the supplier’s history. You can always check reviews to determine if a supplier offers quality products.

If you want to shop from 1688.com without any hassle, make sure you follow the key points for a seamless online shopping experience. 

 

8. High Risk Products Category on 1688

Electronic products are a high-risk category on 1688. There are many possible problems with these products. If you are not dealing with a large, well-known manufacturer, you will take a high risk and deal with a large number of defective products. 

Another high-risk category is any product that involves sewing, such as clothing, shoes, covers, bags, accessories, etc. Not only have to worry about the size, sewing quality, and materials used, but many factories in China cannot currently sew high-quality products according to foreign standards. 

 

 

 

 

Buying Goods on 1688 Conclusion

It is recommended that the first two to three 1688 orders be delivered to our warehouse. Then, we can check each item for defective items, and products without quality issues can be sent to your location or Amazon FBA warehouse.

This can prevent early negative reviews due to quality issues, which will significantly affect product rankings.

Later, if the first buy from 1688 new suppliers are all right, you can consider shipping directly from the supplier to Amazon or your country at this time. 

But, if you have quality requirements, you must find an agent to help you do quality inspections, especially online e-commerce sellers(amazon/eBay).

Beside buying on 1688, as the best China sourcing company, we also can help you source the best products from China.

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Taiwo
Taiwo
2 years ago

I want to buy good from 1688.How do I get good agent to assist on it and send it to my country

Kingsley Madu
Kingsley Madu
1 year ago

How can i buy goods from 1688, and also how can possible the shipping?
I need a reliable agent please to respond.
Thank you in anticipation 

Francis
Francis
1 year ago

Hi, I want to start ordering goods from 1688 but i need a proper guide as to starting. Can you help?

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What is the Best Agent to Buy on 1688? - Supplyia
1 year ago

[…] there are unlimited possibilities to purchase from 1688, and your thinking should not only be limited to benefit agents to help you purchase products, use […]

Damilola Akodu
Damilola Akodu
1 year ago

How do I get a reliable agent if I want to buy goods from 1688

Kaseba chaangwa
Kaseba chaangwa
2 months ago

I want to start ordering from 1688 but would like you to help with quality review

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