1688 Dropshipping: The Ultimate Guide in 2024

by Stanley


Dropshipping has become a popular business model in e-commerce. It allows you to sell products online without holding any inventory. 

Instead, you fulfill orders by purchasing products from third-party suppliers who ship directly to your customers. Finding reliable suppliers and platforms is crucial for success in dropshipping, and one such platform is 1688.com.

1688.com is a Chinese online wholesale marketplace owned by Alibaba Group. It offers various products at competitive prices. 

The goal of this article is to guide you through the process of using 1688.com for your dropshipping business, highlighting the benefits and steps involved.

You’ll learn how to dropship from 1688.com effectively, the pros and cons, and tips for success. With the right approach, you can leverage 1688.com to source products and grow your online store efficiently. 

Stay tuned to find out more about making the most of 1688 dropshipping.

What Is 1688?

1688 dropshipping

1688 is a Chinese wholesale platform owned by Alibaba Group. It is primarily designed to serve the domestic Chinese market. Unlike other Alibaba platforms, 1688 focuses on providing a wide range of products to Chinese businesses and individuals.

Purpose and Target Audience

1688 aims to connect suppliers with buyers looking for bulk purchases. It is ideal for businesses, retailers, and shop owners in China who seek to buy large quantities of goods at lower prices.

Differences from Alibaba.com and AliExpress

  • Alibaba.com: Caters to international buyers seeking large wholesale orders. These transactions often involve complex import/export regulations.
  • AliExpress Targets individual consumers and small businesses worldwide. It offers smaller quantities and often supports direct-to-consumer sales.

Key Features of 1688

  • Language: The platform is only available in Chinese, so users must either understand Chinese or use a third-party agent for communication and transactions.
  • Pricing: 1688 generally offers lower prices than AliExpress and Alibaba.com, as it is tailored to the domestic market.
  • Shipping: Primarily ships within China. International shipping usually requires a third-party logistics provider.

Using 1688 for dropshipping can offer significant cost advantages and access to a broader range of products. However, it requires more effort in terms of language and logistics.

Can We Dropship from 1688?

Yes, you can dropship from 1688. This Chinese wholesale marketplace offers a great option due to its low prices. Many dropshippers prefer it over platforms like AliExpress and Alibaba.

Practical Steps

  1. Find an Agent: Use a service or an agent to manage your orders. These agents help with communication and shipping.
  2. Contact Suppliers: Ensure suppliers can manage dropshipping. This might involve them having experience with international orders.
  3. Order Samples: Always order samples first to check product quality.

The Pros and Cons of 1688 Dropshipping


  • Lower product costs: One of the biggest advantages of 1688 dropshipping is the lower product costs. Products on 1688 are often cheaper than on other platforms, which can help increase your profit margins.

Let’s take a look at the following screenshots below to compare the pricing of the same product on 1688 vs another wholesale sourcing website, Global Sources:

1688 pricing of pet bed

In 1688, this dog bed is listed for 52 to 82 Chinese Yuan per piece, which is equivalent to $7.17 – $11.31 only.

Global Sources pricing of pet bet

Whereas in Global Sources, the same pet bed is listed for $12.95 to $14.10 per piece.

  • Wide range of products and suppliers: You can access a vast array of products and numerous suppliers. This variety lets you find unique items that may not be available on other dropshipping platforms, giving you a competitive edge.
  • High profit margins: Lower costs can lead to higher profit margins. You can price your products competitively while still making a good profit.


  • Language barrier: The 1688 website is primarily in Chinese, which can be challenging if you don’t speak the language. Translation tools can help, but they are not always perfect, which might lead to misunderstandings.
  • Payment and transaction difficulties: Another challenge is payment. Transactions on 1688 can be complicated for non-Chinese buyers. You might need third-party services to make payments, adding to the complexity.
  • Longer shipping times and customs issues: Shipping can take longer, and there might be customs issues. This can lead to delays, affecting customer satisfaction and overall business efficiency.

How to Do Dropshipping with 1688?

1. Set Up an Account

To start dropshipping with 1688, first create an account on 1688.com. Use Google Chrome for automatic translation. Click the registration button and fill out the required details. Verify your email and phone number to complete the process.

You can find the registration button here (red box):

1688 registration

When clicked, you will be redirected to the sign-up page where you will choose to register for either a corporate account or a personal account.

2. Product Research

Finding profitable products is key. Use keywords in Chinese for better results. Google Translate can assist with translation. Focus on high-demand, low-competition products to maximize profit margins.

3. Communicate with Suppliers

Language barriers can be challenging. Use tools like Google Translate to communicate with suppliers. Start conversations with simple and clear questions. Building a good relationship can help in negotiating better prices and terms.

4. Place Orders

After finding a reliable supplier, place your dropshipping orders. Understand the minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirements. 

Some suppliers might be flexible if you explain your dropshipping model. Always double-check product details and shipping costs before confirming the order.

5. Shipping and Logistics

1688 mainly ships within China. Use third-party agents to handle international shipping. Options like ePacket, China Post, and DHL are available through agents. Make sure the agent can provide reliable tracking and timely delivery.

Follow these steps to start dropshipping with 1688 and leverage the benefits of a large wholesale platform with competitive prices.

How to Select Reliable 1688 Suppliers for Dropshipping?

You need to consider several factors to find the best suppliers on 1688 for dropshipping. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Supplier Ratings and Reviews

Start by checking the suppliers’ ratings and reviews. High ratings and positive feedback from other dropshippers can help you identify reliable suppliers. This information is usually available on the supplier’s page.

Let’s take this supplier on 1688 for an example:

Supplier ratings on 1688

Enclosed in the red box are the details about the supplier–their star ratings, business tenure in years in 1688, return rate, and more. You can access this pop-up box by placing your cursor onto the supplier name. 

Length of Time in Business

Look at how long a supplier has been in business. Suppliers with longer track records are generally more reliable. You can often find this information on their profiles on 1688.

Product Quality and Variety

Evaluate the quality and variety of products the supplier offers. It’s important to ensure that the products meet your quality standards. Ordering samples can be an excellent way to verify this.

Communication Responsiveness

Effective communication is crucial in dropshipping. Contact potential suppliers to see how quickly and effectively they respond to your inquiries. Good suppliers typically respond within 24-48 hours.

Third-Party Verification Services

Use third-party verification services such as Alibaba Trade Assurance. These services can help you verify the legitimacy of suppliers and protect your transactions.

Expert Guides

Refer to expert guides for evaluating suppliers. Many websites offer detailed tips on selecting reliable suppliers on 1688.

How to Talk to 1688 Suppliers for Dropshipping?

When communicating with suppliers on 1688, clarity is key.

Using Translation Tools

To break the language barrier, use tools like Google Translate or professional services. This helps you understand and convey your needs accurately. You can also find browser extensions that translate entire web pages.

Building Relationships

Forming a good relationship with your suppliers is crucial. Be clear, respectful, and consistent in your communication. Regular check-ins show that you’re serious about your business.

Ask suppliers about their preferred communication methods and align with them. Some might prefer chatting on platforms like WeChat for more immediate responses.

Effective Communication Tips

  • Keep messages short and to the point.
  • Confirm details multiple times to avoid misunderstandings.
  • Be polite and professional.

Establishing good communication practices helps build trust, which is beneficial for long-term business relationships.

Communicating with suppliers on 1688

How to Pay 1688 Suppliers for Dropship or Wholesale?

Paying suppliers on 1688 can be different from other platforms. Here are the main payment methods you’ll encounter:

Payment Methods

  1. Alipay
  2. Bank Transfers
  3. Third-Party Payment Processors

Pros and Cons


  • Pros: Widely accepted, fast, secure.
  • Cons: You need a Chinese bank account to link.

Bank Transfers

  • Pros: Direct payment, no intermediary fees.
  • Cons: Longer processing time, may incur higher fees.

Third-Party Payment Processors

  • Pros: Convenient for international buyers, support multiple currencies.
  • Cons: Additional fees, might take longer to process.

Setting Up and Using Payment Methods


  1. Create an Alipay account: Go to the Alipay website and sign up.
  2. Link your bank account: Follow the instructions to connect your Chinese bank account.
  3. Verify your identity: Complete the necessary verification steps.
  4. Make payments: Use Alipay at checkout on 1688.

Bank Transfers

  1. Contact your bank: Initiate an international wire transfer.
  2. Details needed: Provide the supplier’s bank details and the exact payment amount.
  3. Confirmation: Wait for the bank to confirm the transfer.

Third-Party Payment Processors

  1. Choose a processor: Popular choices include PayPal and Western Union.
  2. Set up an account: Register and link your bank or credit card.
  3. Payment: Use the third-party service to transfer funds to the supplier.

Using these methods, you can manage your payments on 1688 efficiently and securely.

Tips for Successful 1688 Dropshipping

1. Effective Communication with Suppliers.

Regularly chat with your supplier to ensure product quality and timely shipping. Good relations can help in negotiating better deals and resolving issues faster.

2. Streamline Inventory Management.

Always keep track of your stock levels and stay informed about popular products. Use tools to automate inventory tracking to avoid running out of stock.

3. Stay Updated with 1688 Platform Changes and Promotions.

Knowing about new features and discounts can give you an edge. Follow relevant blogs and official announcements.

Work with agents

4. Work with Agents.

Many experienced dropshippers suggest working with 1688 agents to handle tasks like quality control and dealing with language barriers. This can help save time and trouble.

5. Offer Free Shipping Options.

Free shipping options can attract more customers to your online store. Look for suppliers offering free or low-cost shipping solutions to enhance your profit margins.

6. Verify Your Suppliers.

Always verify your suppliers. Check their ratings and reviews. A reliable supplier means fewer headaches and happier customers. Use trusted methods to authenticate their credibility.

7. Consider Sourcing a Wide Range of Products.

1688 has numerous suppliers with varied offerings, allowing you to diversify your store’s inventory. This can help you meet different customer needs and increase sales.

How Can NicheDropshipping Be Helpful with 1688?

NicheDropshipping can help you with 1688 dropshipping in several ways. We offer professional services that simplify the process of sourcing, quality checking, fulfilling, and shipping products from 1688.

Sourcing Products

Finding reliable suppliers on 1688 can be tough, given the language barrier and the sheer volume of options. 

NicheDropshipping’s team can identify the best suppliers, ensuring you get quality products at competitive prices. We handle all negotiations, making it easier for you.

Quality Inspection

Worried about product quality? NicheDropshipping conducts thorough quality checks to ensure products meet your standards before being shipped. This service reduces the risk of receiving defective items, which can lead to customer dissatisfaction.

Order Fulfillment

Managing inventory and orders can be complex, especially if you have multiple products. NicheDropshipping takes care of order processing, packaging, and shipping. 

We ensure that products are delivered to your customers efficiently and in good condition.

Logistics and Shipping

1688 primarily serves the Chinese market, which means international shipping can be a hurdle. NicheDropshipping bridges this gap by coordinating logistics, ensuring timely and cost-effective shipping to your global customers.


Overcoming Common Challenges

Common challenges in 1688 dropshipping include language barriers, quality issues, and handling logistics. NicheDropshipping provides solutions for the following:

  • Language Barriers: Our local team communicates with suppliers in Chinese, removing language obstacles.
  • Quality Issues: We perform stringent inspections.
  • Logistics: We manage international shipping, making the process smooth and hassle-free.

FAQs about 1688 Dropshipping

Dropshipping from 1688.com involves understanding its legitimacy, comparing it with Alibaba, knowing shipping options, and determining product availability. Learn how to integrate 1688 with Shopify for a smooth dropshipping experience.

Is 1688 Legit?

Yes, 1688 is a legitimate platform. It is operated by the Alibaba Group, which is well-known globally. The platform has gained trust for providing quality products and reliable services. 

Many eCommerce experts and industry reviews support its credibility as a trusted dropshipping source.

Is Alibaba the Same as 1688?

No, Alibaba and 1688 are not the same. Both are owned by the Alibaba Group but serve different purposes. 

Alibaba.com targets global businesses, while 1688.com caters primarily to the Chinese market. 1688 often offers lower prices than Alibaba and focuses on domestic transactions within China.

Can 1688 Ship to the USA?

Yes, 1688 can ship to the USA. However, direct shipping is not always available. You may need third-party logistics providers to facilitate the shipping. 

Using these services can ensure your products reach international destinations efficiently. 

What Products Can Be Purchased from 1688.com?

1688.com offers a wide variety of products. You can find electronics, clothing, home goods, beauty products, and more. 

The platform supports numerous categories, allowing you to source almost any item you need for dropshipping. 

Examples include wholesale apparel, consumer electronics, and home essentials, showcasing the vast range of products.

How Do I Import from 1688 to Shopify?

To import from 1688 to Shopify, follow these steps:

  1. Use a tool or app designed for 1688 and Shopify integration.
  2. Install apps like Oberlo or Importify.
  3. Search for products on 1688.com.
  4. Add desired products to your Shopify store using the app.
  5. Manage orders and customer service through your Shopify dashboard.

You can find step-by-step guidance through Shopify’s own resources and third-party app documentation to streamline the process.

Summing Up: Navigating Your Journey with 1688 Dropshipping

When diving into 1688 dropshipping, thorough research is a must. Start by selecting the right products that meet your market demand. Utilize Google Translate to help with this.

Connecting with a reliable 1688 dropshipping agent is crucial. They help you buy and ship products, overcoming the challenge that 1688 only ships within China. Agents facilitate smooth purchases and logistics.

Effective communication with your suppliers ensures quality products. Always verify your suppliers’ credentials to avoid potential scams. Look for ratings and reviews before making purchases.

Don’t forget to consider customs when importing products from China. Proper documentation and knowing your country’s import regulations can save you time and money.

Taking advantage of these tips can streamline your dropshipping experience. If you’re ready to begin sourcing from 1688, submit a sourcing request now to start your journey.

About the Author

stanley nieh ceo


Over 10 years of experience in foreign trade
Helped 2k+ customers improve their dropshipping businesses

5 thoughts on “1688 Dropshipping: The Ultimate Guide in 2024”

  1. Thanks for your comprehensive illustration. How can I open account with 1688 platform? after which,how can I get the contact number of sourcing agent like Nichedropshiping company?

  2. Does dropshipping charge of shipping less quantity goods high,low or moderate compare to the cost price of the goods from the supplier?if no then how serious and quickly do you respond to less quantity goods for dropshipping?


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