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The Writer

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Sam Xia

Customer Manager

University of Dundee

10 Years experience in E-commerce focusing on order fulfillment and logistic management

Successful 1688 Dropshipping: A Comprehensive Guide from Zero Start

Updated: Jan 3

Table of Contents

Section 1: A Comprehensive Introduction

  1. What is dropshipping?

  2. How does dropshipping work?

  3. Benefits of using 1688 for dropshipping

  4. What is the difference between 1688 and AliExpress? Taobao? Alibaba?

  5. How is 1688 dropshipping workable?

  6. Challenges of sourcing from

Section 2: How to start dropshipping business from 1688?

7. Step by Step guide on Setting up an account on 1688

8. How to search for the proper product on 1688

9. Finding a reliable supplier on 1688

10. Adding Product Details from 1688 to Your Store online

11. Placing orders and customer service

Section 3: Tips for success in 1688 dropshipping

Section 4: Dropshipping Agents and Partners

12. The role of dropshipping agents

13. Collaborate with a trustworthy agent for better efficiency

14. Strengths of zqdropshipping


1688 dropshipping guide

Section 1: A Comprehensive Introduction

In the landscape of e-commerce, dropshipping has rapidly ascended as a favored business model for entrepreneurs eager to enter the online marketplace with minimal investment. It boasts several advantages, such as eliminating the need for inventory and reducing initial investment costs and risks.

Among the myriad of platforms facilitating dropshipping, has emerged as a powerhouse. This Chinese wholesale marketplace is renowned for its extensive product selection and cost-effective pricing, making it a go-to source for dropshippers worldwide.

Whether you're looking to diversify your existing online store's product offerings or starting from scratch, this article is your stepping stone to mastering 1688 dropshipping.

What is dropshipping?

Defining Dropshipping: At its core, dropshipping is a business model that allows entrepreneurs to operate without maintaining inventory, owning a warehouse to store their products, or even having to ship their products to their customers themselves.

Visualizing the Model: Imagine a virtual storefront where each sale triggers an order from your supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer's doorstep. A pictorial diagram here could effectively illustrate the dropshipping process.

workflow of dropshipping

Dropshipping is a streamlined form of retail business and retail fulfillment method where a store doesn't keep the products it sells in stock. Instead, when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party—usually a wholesaler or manufacturer— and has it shipped directly to the customer. As a result, the merchant never sees or handles the product. This allows the merchant to operate without a physical inventory.

The process involves three key players: the retailer (you), the dropshipping supplier (the one who provides the product), and the customer (your client). When a customer places an order on your online store, you forward the order details to your supplier, who then ships the product directly to the customer. Your profit is the difference between the supplier's price and the price you sell at.

How does dropshipping work?

When a customer places an order on the dropshipping store, the store purchases the products from a third-party supplier and has them shipped directly to the customer.

The Order Process: This involves a customer making a purchase on your website, after which you place an order with your supplier. The supplier then takes charge of the rest, packaging, and shipping the order directly to the customer.

The Retailer's Role: As a retailer, your primary tasks include setting up your online storefront, marketing your products, and managing customer service. You're the orchestrator in the background, ensuring a seamless transaction. Including a step-by-step flowchart could help clarify this process.

The retailer markets the products, takes orders, and collects payment, while the supplier fulfills the orders. This model reduces the risk and cost for retailers, as they don't need to invest in inventory upfront.

Benefits of using 1688 for dropshipping

1688 dropshipping

Before diving into dropshipping, it's crucial to understand what is. 1688 is a wholesale marketplace owned by Alibaba Group, the same company that owns AliExpress and Unlike AliExpress, which caters to international small businesses and individual consumers, 1688 is designed for domestic Chinese wholesale buyers, including businesses and individuals who want to purchase products in bulk. It's renowned for its extensive product range and competitive prices.

1688 is a popular platform for sourcing products from China due to its vast selection of products and competitive prices. The platform has more than 10 million suppliers, offering over 100 million products across various categories, including electronics, fashion, home and garden, and more. offers a significant advantage for dropshippers looking for affordable supplies. As Alibaba Group's wholesale marketplace, it provides access to a vast array of products at factory prices, which are often lower than those on other sites. This can translate into higher margins for your dropshipping business.

There are several reasons why 1688 is a great platform for dropshipping:

  • Competitive Prices

The main advantage of dropshipping from 1688 is the lower prices. As the products are sourced directly from Chinese manufacturers, the prices are much lower than those of Western suppliers. This means that you can offer your customers competitive prices while still making a profit.

  • Wide Selection of Products

You can find almost anything on, including electronics, fashion, home decor, and more. This makes it easy to find products that will appeal to your target market.

You can use filters and search tools on the platform to find products that match your specifications.

  • Quality Control

While there may be concerns about product quality when sourcing from China, 1688 has implemented strict quality control measures to ensure that the products meet international standards. Many suppliers on the platform also offer product samples for inspection before making bulk orders.

  • Customization options

1688 allows dropshippers to customize their products by adding their own branding or packaging. This helps create a unique selling proposition and enhances the overall customer experience.

Also, you get access to an extensive Chinese market brimming with products that may not yet be available on other platforms, presenting an opportunity for differentiation.

  • Direct Shipping

With 1688 dropshipping, the supplier handles the shipping process, saving dropshippers time and effort in managing inventory and logistics. Additionally, the majority of manufacturers already offer single-item dropshipping services or have very low minimum order requirements(MOQ).

  • Instant Communication

The 1688 platform provides instant communication tools, and suppliers typically respond to your messages within hours. This allows for quick responses to your needs.

  • Easy Integration

1688 provides APIs and plugins that allow dropshippers to easily integrate their online stores with the platform. This streamlines the order fulfillment process and enables automatic updates of product information and inventory levels.

What is the difference between 1688 and AliExpress? Taobao? Alibaba?

1688 alibaba

1688 is primarily focused on the domestic Chinese market and offers products at wholesale prices.

  • AliExpress: AliExpress is a global retail marketplace targeted at consumers worldwide, offering products at competitive prices. It is designed more for individual consumers looking to purchase products at retail prices.

  • Taobao: Taobao is a Chinese online shopping website, similar to eBay and Amazon, where individuals and small businesses can sell products directly to consumers. It is more focused on the domestic Chinese market.

  • Alibaba: Alibaba is a wholesale platform that connects businesses with manufacturers and suppliers in China. It is designed for bulk purchasing and international wholesale transactions, catering to businesses rather than individual consumers.

While all these platforms are based in China and offer wholesale options, they cater to different audiences and have unique features. Although local Chinese manufacturers can sell to international users through Alibaba, international logistics and multilingual communication come with additional costs, and not all suppliers have the ability to do so, resulting in manufacturers on Alibaba usually adding higher operating costs to the price of their products. While Aliexpress and Taobao are mainly retailer platforms, it is logical that 1688's manufacturer diversity and product prices are more advantageous among these four platforms.

In China, there are other industry-specific and region-specific wholesale platforms, such as Yiwugou and Huinong Net, but none are as comprehensive as 1688, which can meet most needs.

How is 1688 dropshipping workable?

Dropshipping on works by establishing relationships with reliable suppliers who are willing to provide quality products and fulfill orders on behalf of retailers. Retailers can browse through the extensive product listings on 1688, select items to sell, and then promote those products through their own channels. When orders are received, retailers simply place orders with their chosen suppliers, who then handle the fulfillment and shipping processes.

The process involves identifying in-demand products, negotiating with suppliers, and coordinating shipping directly to customers. You need to communicate effectively with suppliers, understand the nuances of the platform, and manage payments and shipping.

The process of 1688 dropshipping typically involves the following steps:

  1. Product Research: As with any dropshipping business, the first step is to identify profitable products to sell. Using, dropshippers can browse through a wide range of product categories and use various filters to find products that meet their criteria.

  2. Supplier Selection: Once a product is chosen, dropshippers need to find reliable suppliers on It is crucial to assess suppliers based on their reputation, product quality, shipping options, and customer reviews. This step is crucial to ensure a smooth and reliable supply chain.

  3. Store Setup: After selecting suppliers, dropshippers need to set up an online store or a platform to sell their products. This can be done using popular e-commerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, or even social media platforms like Facebook or Instagram.

  4. Product Listing: Dropshippers need to create attractive product listings that effectively showcase the features and benefits of the products they are selling. High-quality product images, detailed descriptions, and competitive pricing are key factors in attracting potential customers.

  5. Order Fulfillment: When a customer places an order on the dropshipper's store, the dropshipper then purchases the product from the supplier on and provides the supplier with the customer's shipping details. The supplier then ships the product directly to the customer.

Challenges of sourcing from

While there are benefits to using 1688 dropshipping, there are also some challenges that dropshippers may face:

  1. Language Barrier: As primarily caters to domestic buyers in China, the platform is predominantly in Chinese. Dropshippers who do not understand Chinese may face challenges in navigating the platform and communicating with suppliers. Utilizing translation tools or hiring bilingual assistants are common solutions.

  2. Quality Control: Ensuring product quality can be a challenge when sourcing from suppliers on It is essential for dropshippers to thoroughly vet suppliers and request samples before committing to a partnership.

  3. Shipping Times: International shipping from China can sometimes result in longer delivery times compared to sourcing products locally. This can impact customer satisfaction and may require effective communication with customers regarding expected delivery times.

Section 2: How to Start Dropshipping Business from 1688?

Step by step guide on setting up an account on 1688

Step 1: Access the 1688 Website

Navigate to the homepage. Since the website is primarily in Chinese, consider using a browser that offers translation to English or your preferred language for easier navigation.

Step 2: Locate the Registration Link

Look for the registration link. It is usually labeled as “免费注册” (free registration) on the homepage. Click on this to begin the account creation process.

open 1688 account

Step 3: Choose Account Type

Decide whether you want a personal account or a business account. A personal account is suitable for individual buyers, while a business account is ideal for companies and may require additional verification.

A personal account is fine if you want to just scan and purchase products.

Step 4: Agree to Terms and Conditions

Read through the Terms and Conditions of and check the box to agree. It’s important to understand the platform’s rules and policies before proceeding.

open 1688 account

Step 4: Set Account Details

Create a username and password for your account. Make sure your password is 6-20 characters, combining at least two of letters, numbers, and special characters.

Enter your mobile phone number in the space provided. This will be used for verification purposes. Ensure that you have access to this phone as you will receive a verification code via SMS.

Click on the submit button to complete your registration. You may be asked to complete a captcha to confirm that you are not a robot.

You can use the image below to complete the registration.

open 1688 account

Step 5: Verify Your Phone Number

Then you will get a verification code sent to your phone. Enter the code you receive into the designated field on the website. The verification code is valid for 15 minutes.

open 1688 account

Step 6: Complete the Registration

open 1688 account

Now you can log in to the 1688 website with your new account. Please note that if you need to purchase products, you also need to fill in your information, open an Alipay account, and bind it. Your shipping address is required too.

How to search for the proper product on 1688

  • Searching for products on 1688

Before you begin sourcing products on 1688, In-depth market research is the foundation. Use advanced analytics and market research tools to identify profitable niches and product trends.

Once you have identified your niche, use the search bar on 1688 to find relevant products. Make use of keywords and filters to refine your search results. Take your time to compare prices, quality, and supplier ratings before making a decision.

If you have product photos, you can also look for similar products by image search.

  • Evaluating potential products

When choosing products, it's essential to consider their quality, price, and demand in your target market. You can also order samples from your agent to ensure that the products meet your expectations before placing a bulk order.

  • Pricing and Profit Margin Calculation

Calculate your pricing strategy carefully to ensure that you can cover all costs, including product cost, shipping fees, marketing expenses, and your desired profit margin. Keep in mind that 1688 prices are wholesale prices, so factor in additional costs like packaging and branding if necessary.

Finding a reliable supplier on 1688

After finding a desired product, you may have several supplier alternatives to choose from. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating trustworthy suppliers.

Years in business and rating: Consider the length of time the supplier has been in business and their transaction history on the platform. Look for suppliers who have been verified by 1688, indicated by a TUV badge or similar credentials, which suggests they have been vetted and are recognized as high-quality suppliers.

Good communication and quick response: Assess the supplier's responsiveness to inquiries and their proficiency in communication. Clear and timely communication is essential for effective collaboration.

Product quality & customer feedback: Evaluate the quality of the supplier's products by examining detailed product descriptions, and images. Positive customer feedback and a good reputation can be indicative of reliability.

Sample and return services: Request samples to personally evaluate the quality of the products. Check the supplier’s policy on returns, refunds, or exchanges in case of issues with the products received.

Other offers: such as MOQ, customized production, payment options, delivery speed, etc.

By considering these factors, you can more effectively filter through suppliers on 1688 and select one that meets your business needs while minimizing risks.

Adding product details from 1688 to your store online

There are three ways to display product information on your online store.

  1. You can take photos and edit product information by yourself.

  2. Integrate product pictures and information from suppliers and third-party agents.

  3. Use the plugin or 1688 tool to automatically synchronize product details on your store.

Remember to adjust prices with your margins.

Placing orders and customer service

Once a customer places an order in your online store, the next step is to fulfill it via 1688. You don't need to deliver it in person, but you do need to sync the order information to the supplier.

Manual ways: Log into your 1688 account and navigate to the supplier's page to manually input the order details, ensuring they align with your customer's specifications.

Order system: When you have an automated fulfillment system, the order will be fulfilled by suppliers without any manipulation.

Third-party extensions & Apps: There are many third-party extensions and apps that can help you complete your order.

Direct order: You may opt to purchase items in bulk, store them locally, and handle shipping yourself.

Customer service will include:

Handling returns and refunds: Clearly define and communicate your return and refund policies to customers, ensuring they align with those of your suppliers on 1688.

Tracking orders: You should sync the tracking number from the supplier to the customer.

Quality control and order inspection: In case of damage or product quality problems found in the delivery, you should have a report and deal process with the supplier accordingly.

Dealing with customer inquiries: Make sure any customer inquiries are promptly responded to and consistent with the supplier.

To complete the payment, you can open an Alipay Business account (for international users) and search for 1688 suppliers who offer cross-border dropshipping services. In case this is not possible, you may require an agent who can manage the payments and transhipping. Please refer to section 4 for more detailed information.

In the next section, we will delve deeper into the strategies for successful dropshipping on, including tips for overcoming sourcing challenges and maximizing profitability.

successful dropshipping

section 3: Tips for Successful 1688 Dropshipping

To be successful with 1688 dropshipping, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Customer Experience

Focus on providing an exceptional customer experience through personalized service, prompt responses, and proactive problem-solving.

  • Dealing with Returns and Refunds

Develop a clear policy for handling returns and refunds that protects your business but is also fair to your customers. Decide whether returns will be sent to your address, a local return center, or directly back to China.

  • Quality Control

Implement strict quality control measures, possibly through an agent on the ground in China.

  • Building Supplier Relationships

Establish strong relationships with suppliers for better cooperation and potential perks.

  • Legal and Tax Considerations

Understand the legalities of importing goods from China, including taxes, customs duties, and regulations in your home country.

  • Marketing Strategy

Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes SEO, PPC advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, and email campaigns.

  • Scaling Your Business

As your business grows, consider automating processes with software solutions designed for e-commerce and exploring new product lines or markets.

  • Technology Integration

Use e-commerce platforms and dropshipping tools that can integrate with to streamline your business processes, from inventory management systems to order tracking solutions.

  • Analytics and Performance Monitoring

Regularly monitor your business performance using analytics tools. Track key metrics such as conversion rates, average order value, and customer acquisition costs.

  • Analytics and Improvement

Regularly analyze your sales data, customer feedback, and market trends to optimize your product offerings and improve your business strategy.

  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation

Stay informed about e-commerce trends and best practices. Be prepared to adapt your business model as the market evolves.

By following this guide meticulously, you'll be well-equipped to establish a successful dropshipping business using as your sourcing platform. Remember that success in dropshipping requires dedication, adaptability, and continuous optimization.

dropshipping agent partner

Section 4: Dropshipping Agents and Partners

The role of dropshipping agents

An agent is a middleman who helps you bridge the gap between the suppliers and your customers, particularly when dealing with large marketplaces like

Dropshipping agents provide a variety of services on your behalf that are crucial for streamlining the dropshipping process and ensuring the success of a dropshipping business. Here's a list of what dropshipping agents can do for dropshippers:

Product Sourcing: Agents help find products at competitive prices by leveraging their network of suppliers and manufacturers.

Supplier Negotiation: Agents communicate with suppliers to negotiate better terms and prices, and prioritize order processing.

Quality Control: They conduct inspections to ensure that the products meet the required quality standards before shipping.

Branding and Packaging: Agents can assist with branding services, including label customization and packaging design, to help establish a strong brand identity.

Order Fulfillment: They manage the order fulfillment process, from packing to shipping, ensuring orders are dispatched promptly worldwide.

Shipping and Warehouse: 1688 Dropshipping agents negotiate better shipping rates and can offer faster delivery options and overseas warehouse storage by optimizing logistics.

Inventory Management: They keep track of inventory levels to prevent stockouts and overselling.

Return Management: They handle returns and exchanges, which involves coordinating with suppliers and managing logistics.

Payment Processing: Agents can facilitate secure payment transactions between dropshippers and suppliers.

Customer Service: Some agents provide customer service support, acting as intermediaries in resolving customer issues.

Market Research: They can offer insights into current market trends and product demand to help dropshippers make informed decisions.

Translation Services: For dropshippers sourcing from non-English speaking countries, agents can provide translation services to overcome language barriers.

Automatic System: Connect your online stores and automatically fulfill your store orders.

Marketing: Professional photography and video-making for your products as requested.

Bulk Purchase: You can order a combination of products through dropshipping agents instead of buying them separately.

By leveraging these services, you can focus on scaling your business while minimizing the complexities of international sourcing and fulfillment. There are many agents available on the market, including ZQdropshipping, Supplyia, Leeline Sourcing, SupDropshipping, and so on.

Collaborate with a trustworthy agent for better efficiency

To find a trustworthy 1688 dropshipping agent, you must start by conducting thorough online research. You can find forums, blogs, and websites dedicated to dropshipping where you can get recommendations and information. An agent with years of experience and a good reputation is more likely to provide reliable service. Verify the range of services offered by the agent. Before committing to a long-term relationship, consider doing a trial run with the agent for a small number of orders to evaluate their service delivery firsthand.

Then, establish clear communication channels, set clear objectives, and utilize collaborative tools to ensure both parties are aligned. Trust, respect, and a willingness to adapt to each other's workflows will further enhance this collaborative effort, leading to a more streamlined and successful dropshipping venture.

Strengths of ZQdropshipping

ZQdropshipping stands out in the dropshipping industry for its comprehensive range of services tailored to the needs of e-commerce businesses.

Experienced Management: A team with extensive expertise in e-commerce, order fulfillment, logistics, and international trade.

Global Logistics: Efficient warehouse management and fast global shipping capabilities to ensure customer satisfaction.

Product Variety: Access to a wide range of products, meeting the diverse needs of different market segments.

Streamlined Fulfillment: An optimized order fulfillment process that aims to reduce costs and improve efficiency for dropshippers.

Customization and Branding: Services that allow for product customization and personal branding options to enhance market presence.

Quality Control: Rigorous quality assurance measures to ensure products meet the required standards.

Supplier Relations: Strong relationships with suppliers to secure competitive prices and product availability.

Customer Service: Dedicated support for resolving issues and maintaining smooth operations.

Market Adaptability: The ability to quickly adapt to market trends and demands, keeping their partners competitive.

Technology Integration: Utilization of advanced technology for inventory management, order tracking, and data analysis to support informed decision-making.



1688 dropshipping offers entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to source high-quality products at competitive prices directly from Chinese suppliers. With its wide selection of products, competitive prices, and reliable suppliers, it's easy to find products that meet your requirements and offer them to your customers at a competitive price. By following the steps outlined in this article and working with a reliable agent, you can start your dropshipping business with minimal investment and scale it as you grow.

Keep learning, keep adapting, and leverage the power of 1688 to grow your e-commerce empire.

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