I certainly do – especially from the well of the best worldly bargains that are Chinese wholesale websites (all the ones that are under the umbrella of Alibaba – Aliexpress, 1688, TaoBao, TMall & many more). The main problem with shopping on these websites is that it takes absolutely ages for the parcel to arrive (I’m talking WEEKS & WEEKS!). That’s why some of the niftier ones amongst us have started buying items in bulk on Chinese wholesale websites, customising them or using them to craft handmade items and re-selling them on Depop, Etsy, eBay or even their own blog shops. This gives you a perfect opportunity to dabble into the world of online sales without spending too much of your own money to start with & it makes your customers happy because the delivery time is cut down to a fraction of what it would be if bought directly from China (plus you’ve also checked the quality of the product so your customer doesn’t need to fret that their beautiful fully lined skirt turns up looking like a tea towel). Seems pretty easy, right?
No matter what you’re after when shopping on Chinese wholesale websites the key is to know your marketplace; know what’s available and where. Don’t necessarily stick to what you know the best (Aliexpress) as many Chinese sellers also use TaoBao, 1688 or TMall and chances are the products there will be a fraction of the price you’d be paying on Aliexpress to start with. Spend an evening doing your product research – go on various websites and search for your key words, compare them in amounts (usually talked about as ‘lots’), do a brief price breakdown so you really understand how much you’ll be making – and do take your expenses & also delivery prices into account.
It’s very easy to be put off websites that are not in English. Giving up so easily means that you might be missing out on some tremendous bargains! Install Google Chrome – translate – boom! All websites that are under the Alibaba umbrella are built in a very similar way – if you’re used to Aliexpress then searching around TaoBao won’t be a problem for you. Your main category bar is on the left (including everything from fashion to beauty and homewares) and then you’re really going by the images.
I also recommend opening a new tab with a currency converter on hand. After a few searches you’ll get the gist of it – one pound is currently about 8 Chinese Yuans so divide the numbers you’re seeing by 8 and you’ll get an approximate price for your selected item. It’s also worth mentioning that a research on pricing here in the UK is worth doing too. Have a browse on eBay, Depop & Etsy to see how much similar items are selling for and whether there is anyone selling these particular items already. This will give you a good idea of how healthy the market is & what your competition is.
Common sense is an obvious tool to use on websites which are written fully in English and have comprehensive review sections. You can easily read what the dimensions of the product are, what the weight and material is. In the review section you will find first hand feedback from customers usually posting photos of the products they’ve received. I can guarantee you that you’ll struggle with websites which are written fully in Mandarin. That’s when Superbuy – the clever middleman, also called the shopping agent – comes in. Superbuy is a China based company which acts as a middle ground between TaoBao, 1688, TMall & you. You order via Superbuy instead of the wholesale website directly, your items arrive to the shopping agent first – they get checked for quality & then re-send to you with a currier of your choice. There are many advantages for those using Superbuy versus those buying directly from the wholesale websites.
✒️ Superbuy is based in China therefore the items arrive to them very quickly. If there is something wrong with the items or they are incorrect then you can action this immediately and get a replacement sent out to you straight away.
✒️ If Mandarin is not a language you can speak then Superbuy can translate whole listings for you. You simply just copy & paste the link into the shopping agent.
✒️ You will see a clear ranking of sellers – you even get a pop up if there is a suspicion that the seller is selling counterfeit products which can happen quite frequently on these websites.
✒️ You can ask Superbuy to haggle on your behalf. I’ve never actually tried bringing the price down on any Chinese website before however when you’re stocking your online shop and buying in bulk this can come pretty handy!
✒️ Superbuy offers packaging removal & tag removal – this makes it easier for you if you’re customising your products, adding your own labels, perhaps adding bits & bobs to it and repacking it. It also makes your package lighter therefore the postage will be lower.
✒️ You can pay via Paypal which is not possible on the majority of Chinese wholesale websites.
✒️ Superbuy provides a 24/7 customer service so if you’re panicking that your order hasn’t arrived/something went wrong you can always message them & get a reply straight away.
✒️ You can also search for items via Superbuy directly which is super convenient.
💭 This blog is in collaboration with Superbuy however I have been studying online sales recently because I aim to open a little Etsy shop on my own. I have taken an online course as well as have researched A TON of options on how to go about this in the most profitable way. I hope you find this useful!