How to Import from 1688.com
Last Updated on January 26, 2023 by Chuks Amobi
In this article, you will learn all the steps on how to import goods from 1688.com to Nigeria or any other African country.
Before we start, I would recommend that you take a look at my similar good article – How to import from China. This will give you a general insight into mini importation.
Firstly, I would love to emphasize more on the term Mini Importation. I always let people know what it actually means rather than how it generally sounds.
To me, mini importation is not a business model. It is an activity of outsourcing and procuring goods from another country in a fewer quantity.
Just like how I explained in these articles How to import from China. and 1688 Mini Importation secrets, You have to understand that buying and selling is a real business that requires good accountability for it to thrive.
Enough being said, then let’s explore the steps in buying goods on 1688.com and importing to Nigeria or to any African state.
What you need to import goods from 1688.com to Nigeria
In this guide, everything I mention about importing goods from 1688 works for most African countries especially West and East Africa.
If you’re in Southern Africa, it does work but there may be some challenges in importation licence unlike in East and West Africa.
You can contact me for more information and assistance.
You need the following;
- Business Mindset
- Goods in mind to import from 1688.com
- Good knowledge of using the Internet to outsource online
- Good accountability skill
- Shipping company
Importing goods from 1688.com to Nigeria and selling them to your friends and family is a typical business.
Then having the mindset of extending who to sell these products to is more of a business thing. That’s marketing.
A good business plan includes market speculations, marketing, location, digital presence, logistics etc.
I have shared a realistic mini importation business plan in my previous article. Click here to learn more.
Having a business mindset offers you the idea of creating a realistic business plan. This plan will cover your goals for your business, how your business can meet those goals and possible problems and solutions.
Sometimes a business may not work as planned. It happens to every business person. However, not all businesses need to fail.
With the right mindset, plan, funding and scalability, businesses have a better chance of thriving.
Avoid being too expectant with mini importation. Do away with all those big figures you see online about mini importations. Of course, they might be real!
One can make 100% ROI selling a product but they can’t really tell you how much persistence and funding it has cost them to get to that milestone.
Mini importation and e-commerce are not MMM. A product may fail you but you need to keep testing for products, marketing and everything it takes to succeed.
Every business needs funding. Forget about the unrealistic figures people write online. They are probably hiding something from you in order to lure you buy their course.
Nowadays, things have changed. Having ₦20,000 as your initial and only capital for your mini importation doesn’t sound right.
Better still, this may work for you only if you selling to your family and friends on your WhatsApp.
That shows you’re not ready for the real business of buying, marketing, selling and scaling. I may not give you a rough estimate of how much you need to start your mini importation business.
You need funding on
- Outsourcing products if you would need agents
- Testing products
- Buying products from 1688.com
- Shipping, clearing and waybill if possible
- Landing page or an e-commerce store
- Advertising & copywriting. You need experts to do this to avoid wasting your funds
The above is only for those that want to do real business. If you wish to only sell to your roommates, school mates, family and WhatsApp contacts, then you don’t need them.
You are rather a side business type of person. No offence but that’s fine! You can start small and hone your experience.
Goods in mind to import from 1688.com
Of course, one should have what to sell in mind. When you have an idea about products to outsource on 1688 then you can continue the next step.
Good knowledge of using the Internet to outsource online
Now that you have found products to search on 1688.com, the next step is to use either of the product search tools on 1688. You can search for products on 1688.com through
- The search bar
- Image search
The search bar
It is a common way to search for anything. Just like the same we search stuff online on Google. What you need to do is to type what product you wish to search for on 1688.
This allows you to search image of products you wish to buy from 1688. It is very simple, click on the image icon then locate where you saved those product images to search. Finally, click on the red button.
Let’s assumed that you have found a product to buy, what comes to your mind will be “How do I order this product?”
These are what are involved in your next step;
- How to calculate the price of the products in 1688 to your currency?
- What does Bulk batch or pieces mean here?
- How to place an order on 1688.com?
- How they will ship my order to my shipping company?
- What does Express delivery mean on 1688.com?
How to calculate the price of the products in 1688 to your currency?
As in the image above, the price of the bag is between the range of ¥37 – ¥39. Price is dependent on the minimum order quantity (MOQ).
MOQ simply means the least quantity of a particular product one can buy. Since the least moq for this bag is 3 – 39, it means you can only buy from 3 quantities up. The higher the quantity, the lower the price. Please forget about the month attached to the bulk batch.
If you would be using agents to pay for your order then their standard rates for Yuan ( ¥ ) is between ₦52 – ₦54. It varies every day as the exchange rate fluctuates.
Let’s assume that you want to buy 3 pieces of this bag, it will cost you ¥39 x 3bags = ¥117. If ¥1 is equal to ₦53, the cost of the bags will be ¥117 x ₦53 = ₦6201. This means that each bag costs ₦2067.
How to place an order on 1688.com?
There are two options to place an order on 1688.com. It is either to place the order directly on 1688 website or use an agent.
Placing orders on 1688.com website
If you successfully register on 1688, then you need to have a good understanding of Chinese characters and a verified Alipay account.
Having a good knowledge of Chinese characters means that you will be able to understand every field during checkout.
These fields include identifying provinces, city and districts in China. Sometimes, your translator may fail to translate those fields. That is where you use your instinct.
Provinces, city and districts are what your shipping company will provide for you. Just like delivering to a customer in Lagos, a seller needs customer’s state, town and possibly region in Lagos.
Placing orders on 1688.com using agents
If you do not have a verified Alipay account, the only option for you is finding agents that can help you place orders on your behalf.
What you need is to provide them with the links of the products you wish to buy. They may charge per link or generally what is up to them.
How to get the contacts of your suppliers
Supposing that you don’t want to use agents to place orders for you. You want to contact these suppliers yourself then find Alipay merchants to help you pay them on your behalf.
At least you will save a few naira. This is what you will do to get their phone numbers and possibly chat them up on wechat.
In the image above, I have highlighted three places to get your supplier’s phone number. The need for the phone is to contact them through wechat then place order with them.
If you are using a mobile phone to browse 1688, make sure you switch your browser to Desktop view. To get to their contact page, click on the contact menu. Make sure you add China’s dialling code ,+86, before saving the number.
For the case of this very seller, the number will now be +8603125273325 or +8613603126097.
Good accountability skill
This is no way technical than normal arithmetic. I have come across people that needed me to buy on their behalf.
Normally, 1688 agents only collect links to products and your money, place orders on your behalf and walk away. But instead of following the same standard, I do something different.
Despite showing them how to calculate the cost of products in Naira, how to calculate the cost of shipping from China to Nigeria including waybills and finally evaluating the total cost price of each product when they finally receive it.
But I had a serious problem with them. The energy I used to contact different Chinese suppliers plus the challenges in translating Chinese characters to English ended up mostly with “I must drop some items” “My money didn’t reach lol” “Hmm, I will pay you back after I receive my items”
I guess you probably know how it feels like. So, for you not to be in the same shoe with them; know your budget, identify products within your budgets, calculate the cost of the items and the shipping costs before looking for who to pay on your behalf.
That’s what serious-minded business people do. I have written a complete guide on how to handle the costs of buying and shipping your item to Nigeria. Click here to learn more about it
How they will ship my order to my shipping company?
Before making advances to placing orders, you must have contacted shipping companies that will handle your package from China to Nigeria.
Ask your shipping companies everything you need to know. Compare and contrast. Give your supplier your shipping company’s Chinese address. Then make sure to include your shipping mark as well.
How long will it take my package to enter Nigeria?
It depends on your shipping option. The common shipping methods are Normal Air Cargo and Express shipping.
Depending on what your shipping agent charges. Of course, you have to ask them in order to be sure. This is a rough shipping charge;
Express takes about 3 to 4 days (Express is not available at the moment)
$8 to $9 per kg
₦700 per kg for clearing in Nigeria
Normal Air Cargo takes about 7 to 14 days
$7.7 per kg
₦500 per kg for clearing in Nigeria
Express shipping is somewhat twice the price of Normal Air Cargo. Ask your shipping agent questions. If you are not satisfied, look for another one.
How do I find good shipping agents?
No shipping company or agent is specially good to everyone. Sometimes you might be luckier than other persons that have used the same agent.
To find a shipping company, you need to do some research on Google, nairaland, mini importation groups and friends. Then try by yourself and evaluate your own experience rather than what other people say.
What does Express delivery mean on 1688.com?
Express delivery is simply what it will cost supplier to send your orders to your shipping agent’s Chinese address. It is commonly a delivery fee sellers like Jumia charges their customers.
Express delivery is not a shipping charge from China to Nigeria. It is a local shipping fee within China. The fee can increase if the location of your shipping agent is far.
I hope you found this article useful. Do me a favour and share this on your favourite social network or even to a friend that needs it. Let’s spread love.
Nevertheless, I can help you with everything mini importation, building your mini importation online store, online marketing.
I can also order and pay your supplier on your behalf. Contact me via WhatsApp or Call – 07082111555.
If you would love to join my mini importation course and mentorship program, I can answer you at any time of the day. Simply contact me.
CEO & Founder at Freightya. He loves sharing useful information for small business on importation. He is unbiased in his thoughts. For importation, mentorship, feel free to reach out to Chuks.