Purchase Tips and Best Practices

You may meet some difficulties on sourcing products, controlling the item quality and arranging shipping, and the following tips may help you make the purchases easier and better.

1. Product Searching Tips
a.)Usually you need to input Chinese keywords on 1688.com and Taobao.com to search the products as the search engines in these two sites are designed for Chinese. If you use an English keyword to search for the product, the search result will only list those items with the specific English keyword included in the item title, while the related items with corresponding Chinese keyword will not be listed at all. 1688.com and Taobao.com's search engines are not having automatic translating function.

b.)You can use FSC's item searching bar to start the search. The searching bar can be found in top of every page, like this

Product search bar image

 You can input an English keyword and select the source site to search for the products. FSC's searching bar will automatically translate the keyword into Chinese and bring up the related search result from the source site you selected. It makes the searching much easier for you. Alternatively, you can also sign in FSC's member center and start the search by clicking the "Product Search" link in the right column to go to this page: http://freeshoppingchina.com/page.php?action=productsearch

c.)Sometimes, you may find that the search result is listing those items completely different from what you are looking for. Yes, this sometimes happens. It's caused by the automatic translation difference, which means the machine's translation is not 100% accurate and sometimes it gives a different translation especially when the keyword is having multiple meanings. Don't be frustrated, you can just simply figure out some synonyms and try again, and usually this works for you. If you are still having difficulties on it, you can send an email to service@FreeShoppingChina.com with the keyword and item descriptions to ask for help getting the right search result.

d.)If you find the search result is listing too many similar products to the one you want, you can also try adding more descriptive words into the keywords to narrow down the searching result. This is typically the same way we are doing when searching on Google.

2. Product Risk Control Tips
a.) Find the average price and avoid too cheap supplier
When searching the products, you may find that the same or similar products from different suppliers are with similar prices. However, sometimes, you may find some supplier is offering an unbelievable low price which may surprise you. Nobody is insane, there must be a reason, probably there are some problems on the goods or the supplier is just listing a false low price to attract buyers to get more chances of sales lead. Therefore, it's suggested that you find the average price of the product you are sourcing and avoid extremely low price supplier who may probably be trouble makers. However, if the supplier is marking a very large MOQ with low price, usually it means the supplier is factory supplier and they only accept order on demand with large MOQ.

b.) Read the description
You must read the item detail description carefully to understand what the item is or if there is any difference from what you think of it before. This is definitely a vital step that I don't need to explain too much.

c.) Send inquiries
For some professional or special items, you may feel the information on the item detail pages are not enough or you don't understand it. You can list all your questions and concerns into a list and send to FSC. FSC will help you contact the seller to get the answers for you ASAP. But be aware, the reply can not be instant so you need to list all your questions and concerns together into a list so that we can make it easier and efficient.

d.) Purchase samples
FSC can help you inspect the products' surface, however, you may still want to learn more information about the products' functions, materials, workmanship and more, especially for large wholesale orders. Therefore, it's always suggested that you purchase samples before placing large orders, except that you know the products very well.

3. Shipping Tips

There are different shipping options depending on your orders. If you want the parcels to be shipped to your door, China Post, DHL, UPS, TNT, ARAMEX and more can be selected.  China Post includes the following service options: EMS, Air Parcel, SAL, Airmail small parcel, Epacket. The speed of the options are different. For large volume/weight export and import orders, you may probably need to consider a third party shipping forwarder company's sea cargo and air cargo service. Besides, there are also some limitations from the shipping companies. Liquid, cream, battery, knives, magnets, chemicals and other sensitive items are prohibited by most of them. The following are suggestions on different parcels:


a.) Small personal parcels(under 2kg)
Airmail Small Parcel from China Post is suggested. If you want to receive the parcel ASAP, you can also consider EMS from China Post with higher cost.

b.) Small drop shipping parcels(under 2kg)
If the destination is one of the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Australia, it's suggested that you use China Post Epacket which takes about 7-10 days to get delivered, as long as there is no branded item or sensitive item inside. To other countries or if there is branded items inside, you can use China Post airmail small parcel or EMS.

c.) Wholesale parcels without branded item or other sensitive item
Usually wholesale parcels will be above 2kg and the shipping fee will be higher. For parcels between 2-10kg, we suggest you use EMS, Air Parcel and SAL from China Post. However, if the parcels are above 10kg, it's suggested that you consider DHL, ARAMEX, UPS, TNT and other commercial express companies which is cheaper. (Be aware, any branded item or sensitive item is not accepted by any commercial express company like DHL, ARAMEX, UPS, TNT.) We don't list all Commercial shipping methods on our site, if you don't find it, you can contact our customer service for more details.

d.) Parcels with branded items
If your parcels are including some branded items, you can only ship them via China Post as personal parcels. The options of EMS, Air Parcel, SAL from China Post can be selected. If you are having third party shipping forwarder who can ship them with cheaper prices, you can also request FSC to hand over your parcels to your shipping forwarder.

e.) Large volume/weight export and import orders
Usually you need to find a third party shipping forwarder who offers cargo services. You can consider their Air Cargo, or Sea Cargo(LCL or FCL). Additional customs declarance and clearance jobs related cost will be needed. You may probably have experience on it if you run regular import business, or you need to learn more about the details from the forwarder company. FSC side will help you make the purchases and collect the goods and ship to your forwarder's warehouse to finish our jobs.

4. Consolidating Tips

Different orders from different suppliers can be consolidated and shipped together to make the shipping easier and save shipping cost. You can select the orders and submit a shipping request in FSC's system to consolidate the orders according to your needs. And the followings are some advice on the consolidation.


a.) Consolidate orders according to your shipping plans

If you are a regular buyer, you can consolidate the orders and organize your shipments according to your shipping plan. When you see that some orders have not arrived in FSC's warehouse, you can simply leave them there for next shipment.


b.) Consolidating for customs reason

Sometimes, the destination customs may have some limitations like total parcel value and item quantity. You may need to plan the consolidation well to make the total item value and item quantities under the limits. If needed, you can also split one order into several small parcels to ship to different receivers to walk around the limits.


c.) Consolidating for urgency
You have purchased a list of products and all are arrived in FSC warehouse, and some of them are urgent while others are not. You may probably want to consolidate the urgent ones to ship them together via DHL or EMS, and consolidate the others to ship via Air Parcel or sea freight to save cost.

If you still want to check more tips and limitations of the purchases to make better deals or import business, please continue to learn more here:

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