The difficulty of sourcing from China has increased significantly during the past few years. The majority of these difficulties are brought on by Covid 19 and the lockdown rules that have been implemented. There are now a few things you need to keep in mind and be aware of. Sourcing from China is no longer as simple as it previously was. This article will cover topics including how to start sourcing from China to sell on Amazon, if it's still a smart idea to do so, changes that have occurred in sourcing, and some of the difficulties you should be aware of.
Good idea to still source from China in 2022?
According to this World Population Review article, China has a 28% global manufacturing output. They are the top manufacturer in the world, therefore it makes sense that many Amazon FBA sellers select them as their source of supply. The ability to source from China is still there, but it is not as simple as it once was.
Currently, the country is closed. You cannot go to China and talk to suppliers and manufacturers about products as you did in the past. Naturally, this makes things a bit more challenging to source products from China nowadays. This means that you will need to make use of other sourcing methods such as online sourcing platforms. These online platforms are ones like Alibaba and Global Sources. We will take a deeper look at these online sourcing platforms later on in the article.
Sourcing changes during the pandemic
Lockdowns will still be a problem for China in 2022. Lockdowns might result in delays for your business. If a lockdown is in place and it prevents couriers from getting the products from the manufacturers and delivering them to the ports, your business may face serious difficulties.
Should you still source from China?
Even considering that you cannot travel to China at the moment and that lockdowns may cause your business delays, some people still prefer to source from china. For some it is still the number one sourcing destination. This can be due to a number of reasons. It might be that they can not find other countries whose manufacturing is as well equipped as China’s. Another possible explanation is that they do not think the lockdowns would continue too long and then endanger the nation, ultimately leading to the collapse of its economy.
If you think about it, the last explanation makes sense. China would not deliberately let the lockdowns continue for too long to eventually cause the country to go in a downwards spiral. Sourcing from China is still a valid option. You just need to be aware of the difficulties you could face down the road. You will need to come up with strategies for overcoming these obstacles, which is what we'll discuss now.
Where to find manufactures and suppliers
There are a few things that make an e-commerce business successful, and one of those things is having great products. Firstly you will need products to source from China before you can do anything. Finding a reliable manufacturer will undoubtedly be the first step on the journey. Because of everything that is going on it is a good idea to be aware of things that have changed in sourcing from China and other things that have stayed the same.
What has changed?
Things that have changed is the ability to travel to China and talk to the manufacturers. In the past that was the preferred route. Actually visiting the manufacturing warehouses, seeing how the products are made, talking to the supplier and meeting the employees. That for the time being is no longer an option due to the fact that China’s borders are closed to the public.
Trade shows like the China’s Import and Export Fair, better known as the Canton Fair will also not be an option, at least not the same way it used to be. The Canton Fair for 2022 will not be canceled, but it will be an online only event. The reason for this is that China has seen an increase of Covid 19 infections.
What has stayed the same?
Online trade show events might be an option. Nowadays, the biggest trade events, like Canton Fair, will provide online access to their displays. The event will begin on Saturday, the 15th of October. Although there have been conflicting reviews of the online trade show versions, it might still be worth checking it out. The upcoming online-only events might present it as an additional method of finding manufacturers in China.
Because of the restrictions, you can not travel to China yourself, but you can still use sourcing agents. You can hire a sourcing agent to negotiate with the suppliers on your behalf. The sourcing agent will be tasked with screening potential suppliers, monitoring the manufacturing process, negotiating with suppliers, acquiring samples, and dealing with any problems that may arise.
Another more recommended option is using online sourcing platforms. Some of these online platforms that are more well known are Alibaba and Global Sources. They still work well for sourcing goods from China considering everything that is currently happening. This is the primary method of finding manufacturers in China that the article will focus on.
4 methods of sourcing products online
Online sourcing platforms will be the simplest way to obtain your products from China to then sell on Amazon. Here are 4 sourcing platforms that you could make use of.
Global Sources is an internationally renowned multichannel B2B sourcing platform with their headquarters in Hong Kong. The Company was founded in 1971 and helped to connect verified sellers to legitimate buyers online and offline. Global Sources have also hosted trade shows but with the restrictions in China they now have online only events.
Many of the sellers listed on Global Sources have also sold their goods in offline trade shows hosted by the company. Therefore, it follows that their sellers are somewhat more screened than what they are on other sourcing platforms. The online platform also offers a wide range of products that are available.
One of the biggest retailers and e-commerce enterprises in the world today is Alibaba, which was established in 1999. Alibaba is a bit more well known than Global Sources even though Global Sources have been around a while longer. When it comes to sourcing platforms, Amazon FBA sellers tend to have a particular fondness for Alibaba, but with Alibaba there are some things you need to keep in mind and be aware of.
Due to the fact that Alibaba has such a large list of suppliers on the platform, there are some extremely outstanding and some, not so outstanding suppliers on there. The task falls to you to separate the good apples from the bad ones.
Docshipper Tip : All that the icon “gold supplier” means, is that the supplier has paid a fee to Alibaba to have their products listed as a premium listing. The gold icon does not necessarily indicate that it is a good supplier. DocShipper is a logistic company that streamlines your sourcing process. We are able to assist you through every step of the procurement process. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, and a specialist will get back to you as soon as they can.
If you want to identify the suppliers of other successful businesses to use yourself, Amazon FBA sellers might look at the United States custom import records. Compared to the first two ways mentioned above, this method is a little different. You will also need an additional tool, such as Import Genius, for this procedure. You can use this technique to learn who one of your competitors' suppliers is. Based on this knowledge, you can assume that a supplier would typically produce high-quality goods if a successful company used them.
Docshipper Tip : This strategy won't necessarily work every time. Businesses have ways to stop their import records from being made public. So, don't rely on this approach too much, but know that it exists. DocShipper is not just a 3pl service provider that offers sourcing services. We have a range of services available such as logistical and shipping services. We are able to assist you with whatever sourcing needs you require. If there are any questions, feel free to contact us and a professional will be able to assist you.
1688.com is a website owned by Alibaba and has become somewhat popular with Amazon FBA sellers. With this website, there are a number of things you need to consider and be aware of. When you open this site, the first thing you'll notice is that it's entirely written in Chinese. The simplest solution would be to simply use Google Translate, but anyone who has used Google Translate in the past will be aware that it does not provide the most accurate translation.
Some of the suppliers on 1688 might not even have an export license and that means they will need to make use of third-party companies to ship you your products. The suppliers are legally not allowed to ship you the goods because they do not possess an export license. They will need to make use of a trading company, but this will mean more costs for you to cover.
Some of the products advertised on 1688 might not be of the finest quality. This is due to the fact that 1688's products are produced for the native Chinese markets. Products made for the domestic Chinese market are typically of lower quality than those produced for the international market. 1688 is not the ideal choice for sourcing goods from China due to all of these factors. You would be better off using 1688 for research purposes like price comparison and product pricing rather than to source goods from China.
How to find a reliable supplier : Basics of Chinese Product Sourcing for Amazon FBA Sellers
Sometimes, it can be a difficult process finding a reliable supplier. For this reason, having guidelines you might adhere to in order to get the greatest results is a smart idea.
Step 1 : The Right Mindset
You need to approach supplier selection with the proper attitude. You're looking for a supplier you can work with in the long run. Selecting a supplier requires more work than simply choosing one from Global Sources. They must be an appropriate fit for your company. Get to know the provider you want to work with and become familiar with both their positive and negative traits.
The supplier is the one that will provide you with the high-quality products you require. Sales can be lost by selecting a supplier whose performance is mediocre, or who is frequently linked to issues. You're seeking a supplier who possesses the qualities your company needs. It's crucial to think carefully about this.
Step 2 : Start with a RFQ
What is a RFQ? A RFQ is a request for quotes. An RFQ is comparable to the initial meeting with the supplier. This is where a few things happen. The first thing that happens in a RFQ is the introduction. This is the step where you introduce yourself and the industry in which your business operates. Next is where you describe the product that you require and are interested in. Include as many specifics about the product as possible. Lastly is the step where you ask all the important questions you have about the supplier.
Response times are typically increased with a decent RFQ. A well-written RFQ aids in your evaluation of potential suppliers by enabling you to understand what kind of supplier they are. Here are four tips to creating a decent RFQ.
Be specific about what you want
It's crucial to be specific in the RFQ about your wants and needs. It also helps the supplier take you more seriously if you are a newer or smaller company because he can see that you actually know what you want and require. Being specific in the RFQ is important because this way the supplier can quickly see and determine if he will be able to help you or not.
Have your questions numbered
Your request for quotes will be much clearer if your questions are numbered. It's an excellent technique to pose several questions as opposed to merely including them in your RFQ. In this manner, the supplier is able to identify precisely which one of your inquiries he is referring to. It simplifies processes and presents a more professional image.
Additionally, it makes it simpler for you to refer to the questions that the supplier did not address in the follow-up message with them.
Pictures say more than words
Pictures are a good way to show what you are exactly talking about. With most overseas suppliers, English will not be their first language. Using pictures in your request for quotation indicates more clearly to what you are referring to. It makes the whole process just simpler and provides less confusion.
Common mistakes to avoid
When starting to source products from China, a lot of new Amazon FBA sellers make the mistake of asking important questions but at the wrong time in their RFQ. Questions such as asking about the Minimum Order Quantity(MOQ) or for a lower price on the products are important questions, but not questions you ask right off the bat.
These are queries that you discuss with the provider at a later stage and then negotiate about them. Those questions get discussed after the supplier has a clear indication of what your needs are. A lot of suppliers manufacture high quality products that are not the cheapest because of that, and just asking for a lower price could just upset them. Wait for the appropriate time to discuss and negotiate such topics.
Step 3 : Reach out to as many suppliers as possible
The first supplier you see will most likely not be the best supplier for you and the one you end up choosing. A much better approach than simply selecting the first supplier you come across is to compile a list of suppliers who can satisfy all of your needs. So begin by compiling a lengthy list of manufacturers who can provide what you need and satisfy all of your criteria. The goal at this point is to find as many providers who can meet your needs as possible.
Let's say you have looked at all the sourcing methods available to you and decided to use Global Sources as your online sourcing platform. These are some of the things you need to look at to find the right supplier for your business. Firstly is the product, the product you are looking for and the providers that offer this product.
The second step is to determine whether the providers who do carry the goods you're looking for are good suppliers. Looking at the supplier's level of platform experience will help you determine how to proceed. Even if having a lot of experience does not mean that a supplier will be a good one, it does indicate the following. It demonstrates that the supplier's company has endured for a considerable amount of time and has not yet encountered legal issues.
Let's examine a case in point. In this instance, the item you are searching for is a smart watch. Naturally the place to start off would be by typing "smart watch" into the Global Sources search bar. Now the search for a smartwatch that matches the criteria selected will begin.
When a product is found that matches all the criteria, the supplier’s name is not added immediately to the list of potential suppliers. Instead, it is a better idea to first look at the supplier's platform experience, and if the number of years is satisfactory, his name is added to the list of potential suppliers. These are the two factors that need attention. Now continue with this until there is a large list of suppliers or until there are no more providers to choose from.
Step 4 : Keep records of supplier responses
This is the step where you keep track of everything and cross some of the providers of the list. After you have acquired a lengthy list of suppliers that you can contact you will need a place to store all that information. The recommended approach here is to create a spreadsheet where you are able to keep an eye on all the information you are interested in. Things that will go into the spreadsheet are things such as the names of the suppliers, the products that match the preferred criteria and a link to that particular product listing. After the suppliers have been contacted, their responses will also be added to the spreadsheet to keep tabs on.
Here is a list of three tests that you can conduct to help with crossing off the names of some of the providers on the possible supplier list.
Product Quality Test
This test is to see if the supplier’s quality of the products are up to certain standards or not. One thing to note is that a manufacturer can manufacture different quality products. Meaning some of the products can just be better quality than others. This method does not always mean that the quality of the products will be good or bad, but it gives you a general idea of what to expect.
This is a test that is conducted before samples are requested from the supplier. The idea of this quality test is to check the supplier’s export’s history, to see what you are able to find or not find in this case. To see if the supplier has exported some of his products to countries such as the United States or European countries. This could suggest that the company's goods may be of better standard.
Globally, there are differences across nations in the product quality levels. Product quality requirements are typically higher in nations like the US or Europe where they are manufactured. Accordingly, it is safe to assume that the manufacturer's products are of greater quality if the provider exports his goods to nations with higher quality standards.
If the products you are aiming to sell are generally cheaper products that are made at a lower quality this test is not really relevant, but if you intend to sell more higher quality products this quality test can give you a better indication of what to expect.
Supplier Core Skills
This one is not really a test, it’s more looking for clues and hints about the supplier’s core skills. Core skills that you want in your supplier. These are things such as their responsiveness, their demeanor and how meticulous they are. A provider who is difficult to reach in the event of an issue is not someone you want. In order to discuss the current problems and have them fixed, you are seeking for a dependable supplier who is accessible and attentive. You may be able to learn more about the type of provider you will be working with by looking at their core skills.
When you first get in touch with the supplier, pay note to how responsive they are. Look at their manner, which is their attitude, availability, and willingness to give you the information you need. Do they give off the idea that, should an issue happen, they will be able to provide assistance when you need it? Is the product sample you requested delivered or does a different one arrive at your door after you have requested one? This demonstrates how meticulous they are. While mistakes can occur, you're looking for a professional that is at the top of their game and rarely makes errors that can be easily fixed.
The Manufacturer or Intermediary test
Sometimes when browsing through Global Sources and Alibaba or other sourcing platforms similar to them you might come across an Intermediary. An intermediary, in this case, is someone that buys the products from manufacturers and then lists them on Alibaba or Global Sources. The intermediary just buys and then resells the products and acts as a middleman of sorts between you and the actual manufacturer.
There is a simple test to determine if the supplier is an intermediary or the manufacturer of the products. Normally a company that manufactures products has a common variable throughout their goods. Meaning that the company manufactures and specializes in a specific material, most of the products they produce will likely be made from that material. You should be able to see that specific material throughout the manufacturer's product line.
If you come across a supplier that has a large number of different products available that are constructed from a range of various materials, that may be an indication that he is not the manufacturer and simply an intermediary. This is due to the fact that, ordinarily, no single facility is capable of producing such a wide variety of goods made from various materials. Be careful that you’re not interacting with an intermediary and thinking that it is actually the manufacturer when in reality that is not the case.
Step 5 : Don’t forget product samples
Product samples are a step that you do not want to forget about. They are very important and are the last step to determine if the supplier is the right one for your business. This is your chance to see the manufacturer in action. Your chance to inspect the quality of the product first hand and determine if it is indeed the item you want to source and then sell on Amazon.
Think of product samples as interviewing somebody for a job. You have already looked at all the information on the CV, and everything sounded impressive, as things naturally do on paper. But now is the time for the candidate to actually show how they perform. You will not hire the first person that shows interest in the job, you will first interview them. Talk to them and get a sense of their character, their strengths and weaknesses. Then after all that, there will likely be a test for them to show their abilities. This is exactly the same with product samples. This is the supplier's chance to show you that they are the correct man for the job.
You should keep in mind that the supplier may do a similar process as you do when determining whether or not to work with him. Perhaps the supplier is unwilling to cooperate with you. It's possible that the supplier believes you are too new or that your company is too small to meet some of their requirements. Simply be aware of this, but don't let it worry you; your task is to select the best provider for your business.
You should now be well-equipped to begin sourcing goods from China as a new Amazon FBA seller. Recognize that sourcing from China is still a realistic and excellent choice. Along with knowing what online sourcing platforms are accessible to you and what to watch out for. In addition, this article provides examples of how to locate potential China suppliers. What to do and what not to do once you find the suppliers, how to then screen them, and how to determine whether they are the best possible fit for your company.
Just conduct thorough research, take your time while choosing the ideal supplier and remember to order those product samples. They can be the deciding factor if you should work with that supplier or be on the lookout for a different one.
FAQ | How to Find Products in China for Amazon Sales in 2022
Why is a RFQ important?
A RFQ is significant since it functions as the initial encounter with the potential supplier. It is one of the crucial phases in evaluating the supplier to determine whether or not you should source from him. You can also get a sense of the type of supplier you are dealing with from the RFQ. The RFQ is your opportunity to ask all the important questions you have for the supplier.
Are online sourcing platforms the best ways of finding suppliers in China?
The best method for finding suppliers in China all depends on preference. Online sourcing platforms are definitely a more simpler approach now to finding suppliers in China because of the fact that China’s borders are closed to the general public. There are other methods such as using a sourcing agent but that may have additional expenses. Online sourcing platforms are the more recommended approach for now.
What is a MOQ?
MOQ is the minimum order quantity. The minimal amount of goods you have to order from a supplier in a single order. A MOQ can either be determined by the quantity that is ordered or the overall order value. MOQs are established by suppliers to prevent wastage of resources on purchases that produce very small to no profits.
What is the cost for product samples?
The price of product samples is not fixed. Each supplier has a different price for product samples. The supplier might ask for double the unit's cost or even more in some circumstances, while in other circumstances, the supplier might offer you free product samples.
DocShipper info: Do you like our article today? For your business interest, you may like the following useful articles :
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