With Alibaba being the biggest B2B marketplace in the world, and having millions of listings for suppliers to choose from; finding the product you are looking for is easy. The hard part is finding the right supplier amongst the many listed. Alibaba is based in China, the world’s leading manufacturer. Sourcing from China thus needs a trusted and efficient sourcing agent that simplifies order fulfillments and deliveries. Importing from China is an intricate process that involves a lot of paperwork and there being too many scammers, counterfeit products and middle men who want to take your money, you need to know how the safe ways of sourcing from Alibaba to avoid losing money.
Why Import from China?
The main reason is to benefit from the low manufacturing costs, this leads to lower prices on goods compared to most parts of the world. Suppliers in China are also open to work with small business and can offer competitive prices for small orders, this is because they are many suppliers and competition is high. Many products are also exclusively produced in China and one stop sourcing and shipping services like Alibaba have made it easy to navigate through finding suppliers.
However there are downsides too in sourcing from China, these include: customers perceiving that the products are of low quality thanks to some scam middlemen, importation and custom clearance problems, a longer shipping duration and little intellectual protection because some suppliers don’t respect patents.
You can bypass all these problems by outsourcing with reputable sourcing agents like ChinaDivison where all the trouble is taken off your shoulders because they take care of all importation aspects and save the customer time and money.
Guide to Sourcing from Alibaba
Being the largest e-commerce platform in the world, searching for a product leads to millions of results, this makes it hard for one to choose what is the best option; thus sourcing from China via Alibaba needs careful analysis. To get the best from Alibaba consider:
1. Contacting the supplier first
Talk to customer support about the product they offer and see if you can negotiate for a better price, in Chinese business culture everything is negotiable, use that to try get a better price. Once you have talked to different suppliers decide which suits your needs better. Ask for samples of the product to check for quality, get as many samples as possible before choosing because at times there might be newer models that haven’t yet been put up by the supplier or products that have been discontinued. When making contact; be a specific as possible, this way your supplier knows what you want and will not try to convince you to buy cheaper low quality products.
2. Find reviews about the supplier
Alibaba has a verification process for suppliers, and there will be verification badges on different products that should assure you that the product you are sourcing is of high quality. Visiting the factory yourself to verify is the best option if you are planning to place large orders. Alternatively you can pay for third party services that visit the factories on your behalf to verify the quality and the supplier. This helps in avoiding middle men who mostly will source for substandard quality products so that they can make big profit margins. Read reviews and research about the supplier; the best usually have a gold member status. Reviewing also tells the buyers if they are dealing directly with the manufacturer or a trading companies acting as middlemen. Trading companies usually have lower Minimum Trading Quantities (MOQ); if the buyer wants a large order, trading directly with the supplier will be cheaper.
3. Follow up and find the supplier’s product selection
If the product you are sourcing makes the bulk of the supplier’s catalog on Alibaba then chances are that you have a specialized supplier that will deliver quality. Keep constant communication and follow up to know more about the supplier and familiarize with their process.
4. What are the payment options?
There should be options like PayPal or Escrow with money back guarantees incase quality isn’t met and the product has to be returned. These two options are safer than wiring money or using Western Union which is a one way payment. The buyer should feel safe working with a supplier and many payment options are indications of a supplier that can be trusted. If the supplier insists that policy states that they only accept wiring money you are most likely being scammed.
Importing from Alibaba with China Sourcing Agents
As discussed earlier importing from China can be a lot of work. Finding the right agent to cater for all the sourcing from China needs is the key for having a smooth import process and timely deliveries that will save you on cost. Outsourcing importation to agents simplifies the task because they handle the process including legal services on the customer’s behalf.
Experienced importing agents like ChinaDivision simplify importation to a mere click, you create an account, create an online inventory with the help from the executives, then source for a product with the option of delegating to the agent and afterwards set up your inventory. Warehousing is offered free of charge for 30 days with affordable charges afterwards. When the product arrives it is checked against your order to confirm that the specifications are met and any discrepancies get reported so you can sort the issue with the supplier.
With agents the products need not be packed and shipped to you, you can receive orders from other customers and the agents will pick, pack and ship the products to your customers directly according to the specifications you give. These specifications include adding logos or notes on the products and this saves a lot on costs. What follows is the seller validating addresses and monitoring inventory.
Outsourcing importation from China to agents also sees them managing returns and minimizing inventory loss by ensuring proper handling and delivery while shipping.
Advantages of Importing though Sourcing Agents
* The customer is guaranteed saving on money and prompt delivery.
* workforce expenses are greatly reduced because products are sent directly to your customers.
* Returns are managed on the seller’s behalf.
* The seller can do business without physically handling any product, Warehousing costs are also greatly reduced.
Sourcing from Alibaba and importing from China therefore should never be a worry, partnering with dedicated importing agents; any online business can expand into new markets. The world is a global village now and geographical boundaries shouldn’t be barriers into accessing new markets. Sourcing from Alibaba is a good venture for affiliates who want to run their own business. No order is too small or too large because the agents have large warehouses and advanced warehouse management systems that guarantee smooth control of the importation process.