Netsale Asia

Verify your supplier on Alibaba, 1688, Tmall, Taobao (Part 1/2)

Dear future businessmen, 

Haven’t found your next booming product to sell online? Then look no further, because with Netsale, we connect you to millions of suppliers from China, providing pretty much anything you can imagine. Via 4 main channels that are dominating the E-commerce market: Alibaba, Tmall, Taobao and 1688, finding and estimating potential profit on a product has never been easier using Netsale’s built-in translation and metric system. 

However, the process between discovering a product and selling it is not easy at all. Among an astronomical amount of online suppliers, a reliable manufacturer can be hard to spot. Today, we are going to save you the trouble of scrambling through these sites for hours just by using this article – an ultimate guide to verifying a supplier on Alibaba, Tmall, Taobao and 1688.

Differentiate the four platforms

  • Alibaba: A B2B (business-to-business) wholesale marketplace for global trade, with English interface. 
  • 1688: Under the same corporation with the same B2B model as Alibaba, but 1688 is catered for China users with a wider range of products and better pricing.
  • Tmall: A B2C (business-to-customer) platform for legally registered brands and companies. 
  • Taobao: A giant C2C (customer-to-customer) market for both individuals and businesses to sell their products. Metaphorically, Taobao is like a bustling street market while Tmall is your typical shopping mall. 

If you are clear with each platform’s features, let’s get into business and find the right supplier!

For wholesale buyers (Alibaba, 1688)

Undoubtedly, B2B platforms like Alibaba and 1688 offer the best price possible if you are buying in bulk. Commonly there are 3 types of suppliers:

  • Trading companies: These companies have close ties to the factories to purchase goods and then resell for a profit margin.
  • Wholesalers: Also resell products like trading companies, but wholesalers deal with import/export and warehouse matters to save time, effort and money for you. 
  • Factories: They exist in the marketplace but are really rare to come by. Doing business directly with manufacturers means you get the lowest quote, although you usually have to handle the logistics by yourself.

Alibaba suppliers

Alibaba’s product description with store information on the right side

When clicking on a product, the supplier’s information is displayed on the right side. Here are some details you should be looking for:

  • Gold Supplier: Suppliers must pay an annual fee to Alibaba to have this logo placed on their profiles. While the badge is arguably only for Alibaba to earn more money, it does eliminate low-effort fraudsters and scammers. 
  • Trade Assurance: With this program, your orders are protected until you receive your products. If there is anything wrong with the shipment or the product itself, Alibaba will accept full liability and solve the conflict with the supplier on your behalf.
  • Years listed: The more time a supplier has been on Alibaba, the more likely they are reliable manufacturers. 
  • Company name: If the supplier’s name includes “Trading” or “Industrial”, chances are that they are just a reseller, not a factory.
  • Ratings and reviews: All the numbers that matter is in this section – ratings, transaction level, response time, response rate, etc. for you to have a perception of their product quality and customer service.
  • Supplier Assessment: As shown in the table, there are three levels to this assessment. The process is conducted by a third party inspection company. 

Alibaba’s verified information table

Besides, you can still learn more about the supplier using the company profile or put in a direct request.

1688 suppliers

Purchase goods through 1688 can be tricky as most suppliers only communicate in Chinese, but you get more choices and better prices. The supplier’s information display is kinda similar to Alibaba’s, so this is when Google Translate comes in handy. Also, we have prepared for you a complete guide to checking a store’s authenticity as below, so no worries!

1688 store information

1. Company profile: The type of information you need depends on what you are going to sell, however, there are some basic data that should be covered: Year of establishment, location, production ability, facilities, etc.

2. Years of operation

3. Contact method: How to communicate directly with the supplier’s representative.

4. Official Weibo account

5. Trade medal: There are five levels of this trade medal, given based on the supplier’s trade amount during the last 30 days. The more stars you see, the bigger the firm is operating.

1688’s trade medal description

6. Supply level:

1688’s supply level chart

Compare to the trade medal, supply level provides a more insightful view on the supplier’s operation scale as 1688 takes the number of buyers and fraud transactions into the algorithm as well. Suppliers are ranked by monthly revenue into 3 main levels (Star → Diamond → Crown) and 15 sublevels as below:

  • Star level: 0 – 10.000 RMB
  • Diamond level: 10.000 – 8.000.000 RMB
  • Crown level: 8.000.000 to more than 500.000.000 RMB.

7. Business model 

8. Location: For you to estimate the shipping fees. 

9. Ratings: Listed are customer rate on “Product as description”, “Response rate”, “Delivery time”, and “Customer return rate” respectively, indicates whether the score is higher or lower than the average number of that category. More statistics can be found if you click on the numbers.

That’s it for today, see you in the next part as we will cover 2 retail platforms: Taobao and Tmall!

Verify your supplier: PART 2

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