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Text / Jin Yu
The first time Lin Zhi knew about 1688 was a group specializing in how to save money on Douban. When she was just graduated and was looking for a job, she found that there were few people around her. She was thinking about taking advantage of the “bonus” of poor information to join the “ground stall army”. She bought a lot of daily necessities from 1688, including 30 cents a box of make-up cotton swabs, 65 cents of waterproof bath cap, 1.75 yuan of 8 clips of clothes hanger, 1.9 yuan of hanging towel It cost less than 50 yuan plus freight.
The stall plan didn’t persist for a few days, but in Lin Zhi’s words, it’s OK. She learned about 1688, a “simple and unadorned” website, and regained the joy of buying and buying recklessly.
What is 1688? Simply speaking, it is a B2B e-commerce supply platform. It can be understood as a large-scale online wholesale market for enterprises to purchase goods. It is recognized as the rear of Taobao and the source network of many Taobao sellers.
This is a platform that individual buyers would not pay attention to, but after this year’s epidemic, it was labeled “cheaper than pinduoduo” and became the new love of the wool party. In May, a team named “1688 source factory excavator” appeared on Douban. In the group, ban friends shared their proud achievements and recommended 1688 stores. In June, 1688 topped the list of downloads from Apple’s app store for the first time. This popularity continues to this day. Not only Douban, but also the sharing of 1688 has appeared on mainstream social platforms. There are more than 20000 related notes in Xiaohong book, the “vane of exquisite girl’s life” next door, and the interactive data of popular notes are as much as 20000.
According to the data provided by 1688, by June 2020, the proportion of buyers aged 20-30 on the platform has increased significantly, from 30% in the same period last year to nearly 40%. Among them, the post-90s love to buy clothes and daily necessities, and the post-00s like to buy underwear, daily necessities and men’s wear.
What happened to this low-key shopping platform? How can it be popular among young people? This article will be from the buyer, the seller, the platform three angles to dismantle this unexpectedly popular shopping website.
After a few orders, Lin Zhi, who escaped from the stall army, seldom buys things on Taobao. She completely incarnates as a “1688 maniac”, saying that she enjoys the happiness of “making a difference” – spending less money to buy Taobao on 1688.
Search “toughened film” on Taobao, basically more than 10 yuan package mail. However, after searching for “tempered film” on 1688 and selecting “one delivery”, most of the goods displayed have a unit price of no more than 2 yuan, and the threshold is to start batch of 2 pieces, and another 7 yuan of postage is required.
Price comparison of steel film left / Taobao right / 1688
Mobile phone film is a consumable. Most buyers can accept two pieces of mobile phone film. Take the toughened film of iPhone XS Max as an example, the price of two films on CIF is 9.52 yuan, and the same money may not be bought on Taobao. The more the number of initial approval, the more obvious the price advantage of 1688.
1688 order price of two steel films in a shop
Some time ago, Lin Zhi wanted to start a commuter bag. She took a fancy to the carun klavn brand on Taobao. She saved the picture and searched 1688 for pictures / copied keywords. She found many shops that claimed to be the OEM of this brand. Most of them were about 150 yuan cheaper than the same model of Taobao stores.
The last two shops in 1688 claimed to be the carun klavn foundry
This type is the main target of the “wool party”: many factories / companies have opened 1688 stores and tmall stores / Taobao stores at the same time, that is to say, the certification subject company is the same company or affiliated company, in other words, the two stores are opened by the same boss.
Xiaoyu, the buyer, introduced in detail the skills of looking for the same source stores to the fuel finance department: check the enterprise information in the enterprise qualification of Taobao store or tmall store, and then enter the enterprise name into the search box of 1688 to find it.
For example, tmall’s “beau flagship store” is certified by Wenzhou Meili International Trade Co., Ltd. if you search this company on 1688, you can find the same source store baimeili’s official flagship store. Burning financial found that most of the same shoes price difference in 100 yuan.
Price comparison left / 1688 store right / tmall store
There is also a relatively hidden homologous shop.
According to the investigation, the certification subject of tmall’s “plant protection flagship store” is Fujian Zhihu Network Technology Co., Ltd., and that of “plant protection official flagship store” on 1688 is Fujian Duoduo cloud daily necessities Co., Ltd. Through Tianyan inspection, we can find that the authentication subject of the two stores is actually related companies.
Source / tianyancha
Jade on the same platform to find more than two small products Taobao.
Ruichang, the boss of plush toy factory, explained the reason to fuel finance and economics. The seller on 1688 is for wholesale volume, the buyer is professional, the price difference of 10 cents will decide the choice, and the quality will be abandoned decisively. “So in 1688 purchase, the highest sales volume is generally the most affordable.” He said.
Taobao is a display logic of thousands of people and thousands of faces. When the buyer searches, the system will display the baby according to the user’s tag. Generally speaking, there are behavior tags and feature tags. Behaviors include browsing, collecting and shopping cart, transaction, evaluation, etc., and the characteristics refer to gender, age, height, weight, etc. In short, Taobao will recommend products with a certain price according to the browsing habits and the price of the goods purchased before.
“High cold” seller
Lin Zhi describes 1688 as “simple and unadorned”, which means that it is like an undeveloped virgin land. Now it has become a minority scenic spot, and naturally it has exposed “shortcomings”.
Most of the goods do not support single purchase, and there is an initial order quantity. For example, there are 2 pieces from the auction, and many goods are from 10 pieces, 50 pieces, or even 1000 pieces. The price is based on the quantity, that is, the interval price. The higher the starting quantity, the closer the price is to the ex factory price. In 1688, the price difference between 50 wholesale items and 2 wholesale items can be nearly doubled.
Ruichang reminds individual retail buyers that the price of 1688 goods is mostly cheaper than that of Taobao, but don’t blindly think that the price is also cheaper, because it is often non postal. If you only buy one or two pieces, especially the goods with low unit price, plus the freight of 6-8 yuan, it is not sure whether the price is lower than that of Taobao.
Why can the two platforms generate such a big freight difference? Fuel finance learned from a small commodity merchant on Taobao that Taobao stores could issue 20000 orders a month at least and 100000 orders more in peak season. They could talk about the freight cost about 2 yuan a single with the express company. And 1688 stores mainly wholesale, Ruichang said, a month also about 600 orders, the freight price is basically 6-8 yuan.
Experienced wool party members will generally “apply for distribution”, which is a very troublesome function that can be issued on behalf of others on Alibaba platform, and needs to be approved by the seller in the background. Many 1688 sellers admitted that the general situation will not pass.
Apply for distribution button on 1688
The most lethal customer service and after-sales service make complaints about the 1688 most important points.
“1688’s customer service will not be like Taobao’s and tmall’s customer service, but will be a lot colder. The main difference in service is that the product introduction on 1688 is for wholesale customers. It mainly introduces customization, wholesale and production lines. Unlike retail stores, the products are more exquisite, there are more gifts and activities. ” Zhuo Xuxu, the channel general manager of Desai group, a leather shoes manufacturer in Wenzhou, said that in addition to 1688, the company also built platforms such as Amazon, express and eBay.
A person in charge of a clothing factory mentioned that if there are refined and large drawings and exquisite copy in the goods description part of the store, it should be carefully selected. “Because it’s not really the manufacturer’s style.” He said.
More than one 1688 individual buyer reported to the fuel finance and economics department that the 1688 merchants basically didn’t care about people. The goods sold were not returned or exchanged, and there was no freight insurance. The service of repatriating damaged goods depends on whether they are old customers with large historical orders. In contrast, the service provided by Taobao stores is more in place.
“After sales in 1688 stores are very unfriendly, especially for individual buyers.” Lin Zhi recalled that she once called to urge a seller to deliver goods. The first time the other party said she was playing mahjong, and the second time she was asked to “call later”.
Like Taobao, 1688 also has the option of “apply for return and exchange”, but the rules are completely different. Anyone who has shopping experience on Taobao knows that after “applying for return and replacement”, if the merchant does not respond within the specified time, the application for return and replacement will be automatically passed, and the buyer can enter the return and exchange process. However, after applying for return and replacement on 1688, if the merchant does not pay attention to it, the application will always hang up.
Guan Jie, a seller who works as a OEM for big brand cups on 1688, tells ran finance and economics that the sellers on 1688 are used to the big orders of enterprises, and their attitude towards individual buyers is basically “love to buy or not to buy”. Some of the consignment and distribution for scattered customers have to be opened in order to adapt to the rules of the platform. Of course, the more important reason is to grab traffic.
The evaluation system can not be compared with Taobao. “The commodity evaluation on 1688 is basically the same as the default praise, and there are no pictures. Unlike Taobao, there are even graphic evaluation.” A pinduoduo seller with 1688 as the source of goods said that small white buyers should not hold too high expectations for 1688. A complaint of bad comments will not affect the loyalty of old customers, and has little impact on factory sellers from the mechanism.
As for the “application for distribution” function mentioned above, the merchants who mainly focus on wechat or Taobao will probably pass, and even some women’s clothing sellers will guide their customers to place an order with caiyuanbao (an app of Alibaba that serves social e-commerce groups such as wechat merchants and purchasing agents). Different from other factories and stores with large quantities of orders, the after-sales system of these businesses is relatively perfect. This point can also be seen from the shop’s three scores, which are generally higher than the average of peers, and are more suitable for individual buyers.
Women’s clothing, building materials shop three score comparison, women’s clothing class is generally higher than peers
The above is also the reason why 1688, which has been in the supply chain business for 20 years, has not been “out of the circle”. However, with the emergence of 1688 out of the circle, some “routine merchants” have appeared on the platform.
The brand name of Adolf shampoo was changed to Yunliang Adolf in 1688.
Many products in the two platforms contrast, the details are the same, the goods are not necessarily the same. Guan Jie revealed, “some 1688 stores are operating in reverse, taking advantage of people’s perception that 1688 is the cheapest platform. They focus on following up on Taobao’s hot money, and directly use Taobao map. However, the actual quality is not the same, or from pinduoduo and Taobao to purchase goods, set higher prices and earn price differentials.”
Generally speaking, due to the large market and miscellaneous goods, most of the suppliers are manufacturers. The service and after-sales system do not face the C-end. If individual buyers want to find the expected cheap and good goods, they need enough patience and time to compare prices.
From here, it is not difficult to understand the relationship between 1688 sellers and Taobao sellers. 1688 sellers belong to manufacturers, and most of them are manufacturers. Taobao sellers can be understood as distributors or brand merchants. The early Alibaba e-commerce system was actually composed of Alibaba platform (1688) and taobao.1688 built a B2B domestic trade supply chain. Taobao’s original intention was to build a C2C trading platform.
We should know that in the past, a product needs to go through these links: raw material supply chain, manufacturers, merchants and consumers. Now consumers abandon the intermediate dealer link and directly find manufacturers to place orders. What do you think of 1688?
In the eyes of Wang Hai, vice president of Alibaba, “many young people come to 1688 for personal retail consumption, unlike Taobao, tmall or other retail platforms. They may take a look and feel that” made in China is really amazing. ”
Of course, the so-called “out of the circle” is not only the sudden rational consumption after the epidemic, but also the unknown 1688.
In April, 1688 launched the “foreign trade zone” to help foreign trade enterprises expand the domestic market and provide financial support; it also launched the night market plan to cooperate with specific cities to set up night markets. In June, 1688 launched the “push the city out of the new” plan, established the “new wholesale city alliance”, built 14 new wholesale cities throughout the year, and claimed to help foreign trade factories in the million industrial belt realize digitization.
“In addition to 1688, other platforms, including retail ones, will do whatever they have.” Zhong Jialiang, the person in charge of Guangdong Jinhui knife and scissors Co., Ltd., said to fuel finance and economics. This is an export enterprise engaged in OEM for shuangliren, WMF and other brands in the hardware industry. Previously, it had 30-40 million foreign orders every month. Affected by the epidemic situation this year, it has been unable to receive foreign trade orders. Instead, it has produced and sold its own brand knives in the domestic market.
Pinliu is a six-year-old store on 1688. Wu Yong, the person in charge, said that the business had been to B all the time. In recent months, the business of to C had to be done, but it often sent wrong orders, and the freight was high, so the delivery service capacity could not keep up with it. “To C business does not say to make money, it must be a loss, but now we can only use this part of the loss for flow. Suddenly one day we encounter a large number of customers, we will make a profit.” He responded.
“For the moment, I don’t think the future will be any better.” Wu Yong frankly said that those who can do B will not be C, and those who can be big B will not be small B. However, in the current environment, if businesses do not embrace C end, there will be no flow. Moreover, C-end can pull distribution, that is, small B, from C to small B.
However, Wang Hai also showed his attitude on behalf of 1688: Bloggers push strategies, young people find 1688 in this way, which is a very interesting phenomenon, but don’t want the user experience to be confused. 1688 never deliberately caters to young people or C-end buyers. Sellers also hope to make big orders on 1688, not consumers. “This does not mean that we have turned a blind eye to the needs of consumers. The Taobao special edition launched by Ali is a model to help factories do retail business. The merchants on the special price edition and the factories behind 1688 are all factories in the industrial belt.” He said that Taobao’s special edition is 1688 of to C version.
After the epidemic, when the more “smart” individual buyers met with factories and stores eager to export to domestic sales, and with the help of the platform, it was not difficult to understand the phenomenon of 1688 going out of the circle. The 1688 order strategy circulated by the Maoists on the social platform has been summarized into the following four items by fuel finance and Economics:
First, although the unit price of high-frequency consumables, such as socks, earrings and mobile phone cases, is low, compared with the freight, Taobao is equivalent to a 50% discount; the second is to find source sellers, such as socks, woolen clothes and other knitwear in Zhuji, garments in Shenzhen and Guangzhou, daily necessities in Yiwu and Taizhou, and Yongkang in Zhejiang Hardware, Chaozhou ceramic utensils, Dehua tea sets, Nantong home textiles, etc.; third, according to the seller’s data, in addition to the buyer’s evaluation, it is best to select shops with a turnover rate of 20% or above, with a bull’s head logo (equivalent to the tmall store on Taobao, 80% of which are owned factories) and have a long opening time. Fourth, in order to reduce the time cost of unnecessary shopping, you can search for goods at the back With the four words of “one consignment”, the threshold of purchasing goods is relatively low.
With a few words to describe 1688, Lin Zhi sent a message: let Taobao girl cry.
At the request of the interviewees, Lin Zhi, Xiao Yu, Ruichang and Guan Jie are pseudonyms.
(statement: This article only represents the author’s point of view, not Sina’s position.)