What is 1688 Dropshipping and How to Make the Best of It?

1688 dropshipping, a powerful Chinese marketplace, helps dropshippers gain access to a wide selection of products at competitive prices, potentially increasing their profit margins and enhancing their product offerings. 

The dropshipping industry is experiencing a significant shift, on track to shatter the $300 billion mark for the first time in 2024. This stellar growth represents a substantial 23.7% increase compared to 2024. 

What Is 1688.com?

16.88.com dropshipping is a B2B (business-to-business) online trading platform based in China. 

Unlike popular consumer marketplaces like AliExpress, 1688 caters primarily to wholesalers and manufacturers, offering a wide selection of products at competitive prices. 

The advantage within dropshipping from 1688 lies in connecting directly with suppliers and better negotiating bulk orders for possible discounts.

What is 1688 Dropshipping?

1688 dropshipping involves using 1688.com as a source for your dropshipping business. 

When a customer places an order on your store, you forward the order details and customer information to the supplier on 1688. 

The supplier then handles packaging, shipping, and delivery directly to your customer, eliminating the need for you to hold inventory or manage fulfillment. 

Why should I Do Dropshipping with 1688?

Dropshipping with 1688 has multiple compelling reasons, some of which are: 

Lower Product Costs

Since you’re sourcing directly from wholesalers and manufacturers in 1688, you can potentially benefit from significantly lower product costs compared to traditional dropshipping suppliers. 

These savings can translate into higher profit margins for your business. 

Wide Product Selection

1688 boasts a massive product catalog, offering a wide range of categories and items to choose from, allowing you to cater to a broader range of customer interests and potentially differentiate your online store from competitors. 

Potential for Faster Shipping

With suppliers located in China, some customers might experience raster shipping times compared to dropshipping from other locations. However, keep in mind that international shipping can still be subject to delays. 

How to Do Dropshipping with 1688 Step-by-Step?

To dropship from 1688, follow the steps below: 

  1. Research and Choose a Niche: Identify a profitable niche market with a demand for products readily available in 1688. 
  2. Set up Your Online Store: Choose a user-friendly ecommerce platform to build your online store and integrate payment processing options. 
  3. Find Reliable Suppliers on 1688: Use the search functions and filters on 1688 to locate suppliers ratings, minimum order quantities (MOQs), and communication responsiveness when selecting suppliers. 
  4. Communicate with Suppliers: Establish communication with potential suppliers to discuss product details, pricing, dropshipping arrangements, and shipping options. Negotiate for competitive pricing and inquire about any specific dropshipping requirements they might have. 
  5. List Products on Your Store: Once you’ve finalized your supplier partnerships, add product descriptions, images, and pricing information to your online store. Ensure product information is accurate and up-to-date. 
  6. Market Your Store: Implement marketing strategies to drive traffic to your online store and generate customer interest in your products. Use social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), and other relevant online advertising methods. 
  7. Process Customer Orders: When a customer places an order on your store, forward the order details and customer information to the corresponding supplier on 1688. Manage customer communication regarding order confirmation, shipping updates, and any potential issues. 

How to Pay For 1688 Orders?

Payment methods on 1688 can depend on the supplier. Common options include: 

  • Alipay: A popular Chinese online payment platform similar to PayPal. 
  • Bank Transfer: Direct bank transfers can be used for larger orders. 
  • Credit Card: Some suppliers may accept international credit cards for payment convenience. 

The Pros of Dropshipping with 1688

As mentioned earlier, 1688.com offers the potential for significant cost savings on products compared to other dropshipping suppliers. This can significantly boost your profit margins and allow you to offer competitive pricing to your customers. 

The wide product selection on 1688 allows you to cater to diverse customer needs and potentially stand out from competitors. You can find a wider range of unique or niche items that might not be readily available through other dropshipping channels. 

The dropshipping model eliminates inventory management and fulfillment, allowing you to scale your business more easily as your customer base grows. You can add new products to your store without worrying about upfront inventory investment or storage limitations. 

The Cons of Dropshipping with 1688

While 1688 dropshipping offers several advantages, it’s essential to consider the potential drawbacks as well: 

Language Barrier: 1688 is primarily a Chinese platform, so navigating the website and communicating with suppliers might require familiarity with Mandarin or the use of translation tools. This can create communication issues and slow down the process of establishing supplier relationships. 

Longer Shipping Times: Due to international shipping distances from China, customers might experience longer waiting periods for their orders compared to dropshipping from domestic suppliers. This can potentially impact customer satisfaction and require clear communication regarding shipping timeframes. 

Quality Control Challenges: Since you might not physically handle the products before they reach your customer, ensuring consistent quality control can be more challenging. Meticulous supplier selection and clear communication regarding quality standards are crucial to maintain customer trust. 

Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs): Some suppliers on 1688 might have minimum order quantities (MOQs) that you’ll need to meet. This can be a hurdle for new dropshippers with limited capital or who are still testing product demand. 

Why Sourcing from 1688.Com Is a Good Choice for Dropshippers?

Despite the potential drawbacks, 1688 remains a compelling option for dropshippers seeking a cost-effective and scalable business model. 

The wide range of products, competitive pricing, and potential for higher profit margins make it a strong contender, particularly for dropshippers who can navigate the language barrier and implement effective quality control measures. 

How to Select Reliable 1688 Suppliers for Dropshipping?

Choosing reliable suppliers is paramount for the success of your 1688 dropshipping business. 

Request samples from potential suppliers to assess product quality firsthand. Look for suppliers with positive customer reviews regarding product quality. 

  • Supplier Ratings and Review: Evaluate supplier ratings and reviews on 1688 to gauge their reliability, communication responsiveness, and order fulfillment history. 
  • Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs): Consider MOQs when selecting suppliers, especially if you’re starting and have limited capital. 
  • Communication: During communication with potential suppliers, assess their responsiveness and ability to clearly answer your questions regarding products, pricing, dropshipping arrangements, and shipping options.  

Tips for 1688 Dropshipping

Some additional tips on how to dropship from 1688 include: 

Communication is key. Maintain open communication with your suppliers to ensure smooth order processing, timely updates, and efficient problem-solving. 

While physically inspecting every product might not be feasible, consider implementing spot checks or requesting supplier quality control reports. 

Clearly communicate to your customers that you use a dropshipping model and set realistic expectations regarding shipping times. 

While you might benefit from lower product costs, factor in additional costs like shipping and potential markups from suppliers to determine competitive pricing for your customers. 

Excellent customer service is essential for building trust and repeat business. 

Don’t forget to respond promptly to customer questions, address any issues efficiently, and maintain clear communication throughout the order fulfillment process.