Do you want to learn how to start mini importation business in Nigeria? You can get started by learning how to buy products on 1688.com and ship the goods to Nigeria easily.
1688.com provides a series of supply services from raw material procurement, production and processing, and wholesale products. One specular thing about 1688 is that you will definitely find something that interests you on the website.
In this guide, we’ll explain things you need to know before buying products from 1688 so as to make the sourcing, ordering and paying process easy.
Let’s get started!
1688 is an eCommerce platform owned by the well known Alibaba Group which owns Aliexpress, Alibaba, Tmall, and Taobao. 1688 was established in 1999 by 18 people led by Jack Ma, a former English teacher from Hangzhou, China.
The eCommerce platform was met to link manufacturers with wholesalers and retailers in China but it has developed into one of the most popular wholesale websites for the Chinese people over time.
Pros of Buying Products on 1688
- You won’t have to worry about losing your money as each deal is secured and protected by Alipay.
- No importation document, license, or permit needed.
- You don’t need to negotiate or contact a supplier before you can order products.
- Some 1688 suppliers don’t charge for express shipping.
Cons of Buying Products on 1688
- The website is primarily written in the Chinese language.
- It is not easy to navigate as every product details and description are written in the Chinese language.
- 1688.com has no option for selecting free shipping or courier service.
- 1688 suppliers have records of selling poor quality products.
- Most products on 1688 are not correctly named.
- Some suppliers don’t understand English language.
- You can return products after arriving in Nigeria.
- The only secured payment gateway is Alipay.
- The customer service officers only speak Chinese.
Advantages of Buying from 1688 platform over Alibaba platform
- 1688 is mainly for the domestic market while Alibaba is mainly for international business trade.
- 1688 offers you local Chinese prices, Alibaba offers you ‘foreigner prices.
- Stock information isn’t always accurate on 1688.com
- The MOQ restriction on 1688 isn’t as big as Alibaba, as on 1688.com, you can order just 1 quantity or piece of a product at wholesale price and do not restrict to 1 color or 1 size etc.
- If you want to get a sample first before you order in large quantities, you can easily get samples of different products in smaller quantities on 1688 unlike Alibaba that you will have to convince the supplier.
- One of the biggest issues in choosing 1688 over Alibaba is that it can be hard to make payment on 1688.com. i.e if you don’t have a verified Alipay account, then your next option is make use of a procuring agent.
Let’s review the major reasons Nigeria prefer to buy products on 1688.com.
Why do Nigeria people like to Buy Products from 1688.com
Nigerians prefer to buy products from 1688,com because they can purchase small quantities of goods at wholesale prices, unlike other international eCommerce stores like Alibaba, Aliexpress and Amazon.
Just like most student that are into mini importation are buying products at wholesale price on 1688.com, Trading companies in Nigeria also buy products from 1688 and sell them to wholesalers in Nigeria.
How to Access 1688 Website
You can access 1688 by making use of 1688 mobile app or browser by visiting https://www.1688.com. The 1688 mobile app is not recommended for international buyers as the app is written in Chinese and can not be translated into the English version.
How can I translate 1688 website to be English?
The best browser to use to access this website is Google Chrome browser as it can directly translate webpage content into English language. You just right-click on the webpage and you will find the option to translate the website language.
All Chinese translate to English except pictures, and prices.
To access the 1688 website through Chrome browser, visit 1688.com on the Chrome browser. 1688 website will open, allow it to translate, or wait for a notification to pop up asking you if you want to translate the website to the English version.
If yours is not translating, download the latest version of the Chrome browser and wait for each page to load each time you open a new webpage on 1688. Sometimes, the translating process may stop on some pages.
You only need to refresh the webpage. If your browser is not loading after trying the above, you can do the below step to refresh the webpage and translate it.
Right click one side of the webpage, a drop down will show up, just like below image, click on translate to English.
Click on the chrome browser menu icon (the three dots at the top-right of the browser, a drop-down will open, click on more tools, a sidebar will show up, then click on task manager, a small board will show up, click on End process, then reload the 1688 webpage.
The webpage will reload and ask you to select another language, select any other language apart from English, then click on translate, then go back again to change the language back to English.
How to Create an account on 1688.com
How to Search for Products on 1688
After sign in into 1688, you need to search for the product or go through the products on the website. Allow the page to translate, you can then type the product name into the search bar.
We notice that it is not easy to search for products available on 1688 website by using the product name as the Chinese didn’t name their products very well.
You can use any of the following ways to search for products on 1688 if you are looking for a specific product.
- Using the translated product name
- Using product picture
- Browsing through products category
- Using Aliexpess or Alibaba product name
1) Using the Translated product Name
You will need to translate the product name to Chinese with google translate since you know what you want to buy. Search for “google translate” on your browser, when it load, input the english product name then select the Chinese language to translate your product name, then copy and paste it into the 1688 search bar.
You have to keep in mind that the Chinese product name should be used in 1688.com’s search. English product name will only bring fewer products or related products.
2. Using Product Picture
If you already have the product picture, you can use it to search for the product by uploading the product image. To use the product image to search for a product on 1688, click on the camera icon, then upload the image.
It will display the product with different suppliers selling the product at different prices.
Searching for products with the product image can sometimes show you products related to it and not the exact product you are searching for. Sometimes, due to bad network in Nigeria, the camera icon might not appear on your phone or laptop sometimes.
3. Browsing through Products category
This is also an easy method to search for product on 1688 if you don’t have any idea of what you want to buy. This is when you click on the category button on the website to search for the product under the category on 1688.
4. Using Aliexpess or Alibaba product name
This is when you search for the product you want to buy on Alibaba or
Aliexpress, when you locate the product, you will copy the product name as prescribed on the website, then paste it into google translate, then copy and paste the Chinese product name to 1688 to search for the product.
You can also use the product pictures gotten from any of the two websites to search for the goods on 1688.
You can do this to get a product at a cheaper price if you use a PC (laptop).
After using any of the above methods of searching for products on 1688, go through different prices and select the one that is affordable for you.
Download or screenshot the product image, then use the product image to search again to get a better price. Place your mouse cursor on the product image (don’t click) to see the price of the product.
Then go through the products and select the affordable one. You will see different prices for a particular product as 1688 is not only met for manufacturers again, but there are also trading companies and middlemen trading on the platform now.
1688.com Product Guide
Since 1688 is wholesale eCommerce marketplace with thousands of products listed by different suppliers, each supplier on 1688 has minimum products you can buy per product listed on their store on 1688.
Suppliers set prices with minimum products you can order, some suppliers allow buyers to buy 1 pieces of their products while some minimum order quantity (MOQ )start from 3 batch. Open the product page to view the product MOQ.
If there is a product you like but with MOQ you can’t affordable, you can chat up the supplier to reduce the MOQ.
Check Express Fee of product Listed on 1688
To view the express fee you are going to pay your logistics or procuring agent, open the product page and scroll downward to see the logistics location of your supplier and the default express fee.
Click on please choose to select your logistics or procuring agent location to know the estimated express fee you are going to pay.
You can increase or decrease the order quantity to know the estimated express fee for the total items you want to buy.
How to convert Yuan (Chinese Currency) to Naira
To know the current rate of Yuan or RMB (Chinese currency) to Naira, just type “Yuan to Naira” on google, it will show you the current exchange rate but noted that the exchange rate changes now and then, sometimes it will not be correct.
The best way to know the current exchange rate is to ask in forums, social media groups, or from an exchanger in Nigeria.
How to Purchase Products on 1688
We discovered two ways to purchase from 1688
- Using Procuring Agent
- Personal Purchasing
1. Using Agent
This is when you contact a procuring agent in Nigeria or china to help you by products from 1688.com. This same agent will be the one to purchase the goods on your behave, cross-check the goods, package it and send it through your or their logistics to Nigeria.
This is the best method so far that you can use to buy from 1688 as you can easily purchase without any stress. See our guide on how to buy products from 1688 using procuring agent.
2. Personal Procurement
This is the process of purchasing products directly from 1688 website by yourself without the use of any agent. This involves you purchasing items from 1688 just like Alibaba, then use your logistic to ship it to Nigeria.
How to know Product Weight on 1688.com
To know the product weight of the product you want to buy on 1688, open the product page, click on the blue arrow to view the product detail, scroll downward to see the product weight.
On the product page, you can also select your logistics or procuring agent location to view the weight of the product.
How to Source Quality Product on 1688.com
- Check if the product supplier has bullhead beside the name. This means that the store is certified by Alibaba Group, making it much more credible and trustworthy.
- Check the product feedback made by other buyers to know if the product meet other buyers expectation. On the product page scroll downward and click on Comments to view the product feedback.
- Ask about the product from members in the importation forum to to if the product is of high quality.
- Check the product review online.
- Don’t buy product you don’t know anything about.
- You can request video of product from vendors to check the size, physical appearance if their is not on the store page.
- One tip is not buy the cheapest product because if they sell it at a low price, it should have differences in quality with respect to other products.
- Buy a few products as samples to verify that the product quality meet your expectations.
How to Communicate with Suppliers on 1688.com
Most 1688 suppliers don’t speak English as 1688 is more of Chinese market and most of their customers are Chinese. You can make use of Aliwang wang, Wechat and gmail to chat 1688 suppliers up before or after buying products.
You can copy the contact number and add the supplier on Wechat to negotiate.
You can also click on Contact information on the product page to see more information about the company.
If you can go through stress of translating words, then you can make use of Aliwangwang to chat and negotiate with supplier. To use Aliwangwang, click on the blue emoji to connect with the product supplier.
How to Pay Suppliers on 1688.com
Another alternative payment gateway you can use to pay supplier is to use Wechat but it is not as secured as Alipay as you will be paying directly to suppliers.
You can’t make use of your credit cards to buy products from 1688 and Moneygram and western union are not secured and not recommended for payment.
How to Reduce Product Shipping time on 1688
You can buy products from suppliers who have their stores in the same location with your procuring agent or logistic warehouse which will allow the products to reach the agent or warehouse within 24 hours you ordered it or your procuring agent ordered it.
Search for the product you want to buy, after the search page has loaded, click on Area to select your logistics or procuring agent location.
It can be hard to find some suppliers who have their store around your logistics or procuring agent location which is a major disadvantage.
How to check 1688 Supplier’s information
To see any 1688 supplier’s selling details, open the Vendor (Supplier) home page. Click on Company profile to learn more about the supplier. You can also click on Contact information too to see the supplier contact number, address, and business information.
1688 is a platform that offers relatively low prices for their products. The main challenge is that is China-based and most, if not all, of the sellers only speak in the Chinese language. But otherwise, their services are pretty good.
That’s it. we hope this guide helped you learn how some important things you needed to know about 1688.
- How to Buy Products from 1688 using Agent (Complete Guide)
- How to Find Trending Products to Sell Online (Ultimate Guide)
- 13 Best Platforms to Sell Online in Nigeria in 2020
- Flutterwave Store: Free eCommerce Store to sell your Products Online in Nigeria
- How to Create an Online Store in 2020 in 8 Steps (With Pictures)
Now, Over To You
What did you think of our guide on how to purchase products on 1688.com and the shipping to Nigeria?
Or if you have any questions that have not been covered in this guide about importing products from other China, ask in the comment section, we will give you an answer.