When someone says ‘Alibaba’, the most common thing to pop into merchants’ mind is what a goldmine it is for sourcing products. But before you throw a wad of bills in the air and shout, ‘Open, Sesame!’, RepricerExpress has a few tips on the best ways to source products from Alibaba.
Know Why You’re Looking at Alibaba in the First Place
There are plenty of places to source products from, but Alibaba consistently makes the tops of many merchants’ lists. Why? Because this business directory is huge, it features a ton of sellers, and you can find just about any product you want — and for pretty cheap prices, too.
But it takes a smart seller to source products from Alibaba the right way, as newbies can find themselves taking unnecessary risks and/or being taking advantage of some of the more unscrupulous merchants on Alibaba. We want to leave a good taste in your mouth, so let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.
Do Your Due Diligence Before Putting in an Order
The best and worst thing about Alibaba is that pretty much any old person off the street can set up shop online. This makes it easy to get started and connect with eager sellers, but it also means there probably aren’t as many checkpoints as should be in place to ensure you don’t get ripped off.
As much as we hate that this goes on, there are sellers on Alibaba that are happy to take your money and run. Keeping that in mind, there are a few things you should have on your checklist before submitting a gigantic order.
- Gold Supplier Membership: Becoming a Gold Supplier on Alibaba means the merchant has to be registered in their local business administration region, and that Alibaba will have verified their status. It’s not a perfect standard for sussing out the trustworthy ones, but it’s a really good start. Beware of fake Gold Suppliers, too.
- Further Research: If you’re running a company and holding interviews, then part of the process is Googling each shortlisted candidate. And if you’re going to be handing over hundreds or thousands of dollars, why wouldn’t you do the same with Alibaba sellers? Take a bit of time to Google their name, website, email and anything else that can ensure they’re legit.
- Sample: Good sellers will give you a sample when asked. Shady sellers…probably won’t.
- Common Sense: Listen to your gut and remember that healthy profit margins take time to build up. There are no get-rich-quick schemes, so be wary of things that seem too good to be true.
Before you get too sad about all the potential downsides of Alibaba, know that there are also many, many good aspects to buying from there as well.
The Perks of Sourcing Products From Alibaba
Because Alibaba is Asian-based, with a heavy Chinese influence, an undeniable fact is you’ll be getting products for much cheaper than you would in Europe, North America or Australia. It’s simply a result of much cheaper overhead and manufacturing costs, which are passed onto the products’ prices.
As well, Alibaba merchants are far more motivated to capitalise on a sale in more places than European or North American merchants, who may have become a bit spoiled in being able to deal with larger businesses and bigger orders. So if you’re a small merchant who’s looking for just 100 pieces instead of 1,000 or 10,000, then you’ll find many doors open for business.
Just remember that when you’re sourcing products from Alibaba that you’re versed (or employ someone who is) in the cultural, customs clearance, import and ship processes and communication differences.