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How to source products from Alibaba? – 6 Steps Checklist

If you are into Ecommerce, Amazon FBA or Dropshipping you must have faced problems while sourcing products from Alibaba. You might have landed on a low quality product, a fake supplier, trust issues with suppliers, etc on your first deal. In this article I have addressed you question like “how to order from alibaba”, “how to buy from alibaba” and “buying from alibaba”.

How to place order on Alibaba?

Most of the beginners who are just starting out their ecommerce journey face issues with placing orders on Alibaba.

I am going to be giving you Alibaba checklist- Six things that you must do before you placing your order on Alibaba.com

So keep this article handy by bookmarking it, so that when it comes time for you to place your order, you may require to refer to this article again and review it just to make sure that you’re checking off all these boxes mentioned in the checklist below.

It’s very important you follow the steps below because we want to make sure that we’re protecting you from illegitimate suppliers but we also want to protect your brand by only sourcing the highest quality products from the top suppliers.

1. Only Select Qualified Suppliers

First thing you need to check is to only select qualified suppliers, well what makes a qualified supplier?
Here are the four things that you can review to find qualified suppliers on Alibaba:

A. Understand Alibaba's Badge System: 

At Alibaba they’ve got a bit of a badge system, you might see two badges- Gold supplier and Verified supplier. The gold supplier badge means that the supplier has paid a membership fee but what’s more important than that is the verified supplier badge which means that the supplier has been audited by a third party either online or offline and so their production capabilities, their system management, their products all of that has been audited and verified.

That’s going to give you more peace of mind knowing that the supplier is who they say they are and they are a trusted supplier. So this is helpful because when you’re searching for a product on alibaba.com you’re going to see thousands of products that show up and they’ve got a filter system where you can check and select only verified suppliers to be displayed and that’s going to help narrow that list down.

B. Choosing an Experienced Supplier

now the second thing you need to check is how many years has the supplier been a supplier on alibaba.com. Now this is helpful because there are some suppliers who have been on alibaba.com for only one year or two years and maybe they just haven’t been there for long enough and they haven’t received much demand for their products as they hoped and then all of a sudden they decide that they no longer want to be displayed on alibaba.com

That’s not helpful for you because you want a supplier who’s been around for a long time, one who is experienced because that gives you certainty that if three years from now when you want to place an order again they’re still going to be around. So I recommend only looking for suppliers that have at least three years of experience selling on alibaba.com, anything below that should not be preferred by new business owners. It’s still worth to possibly contact them and finding out more details if they are new on Alibaba but still there are plenty of suppliers who have 3 to 10 years of experience selling on alibaba.com 

C. Supplier should accept Trade Assurance

The third important point to note is always choose suppliers who accept trade assurance. Trade Assurance is a type of insurance that Alibaba provides for your order and I highly recommend that you take advantage of this feature. So whenever you want to place orders through alibaba.com, use trade assurance which will give you peace of mind and hassle free delivery experience. This sort of assures that you will receive what you have ordered.

How Alibaba trade assurance works?

Whenever you buys any good with trade assurance, you will be sending money to Alibaba and Alibaba will be holding that money until you receive the products from the supplier or until the supplier dispatch the product and update the tracking information.

It’s kind of like ‘Escrow‘ which refers to an agreement where a third party holds money or an asset on behalf of the other two parties in a transaction.

D. Check or Compliance Certification

The fourth thing that we need to check is compliance certification for customs clearance. Depending on what products you wish to import you may need certain certifications in order for those products to clear customs. For example if you’re going to sell electronic products in the US you’ll need an FCC certificate and so the suppliers often can provide these certifications and you can check to make sure that they have those in advance. I do recommend looking into that if you have sortlisted what products you want to source from alibaba.com

Check in advance what kind of certifications are necessary for clearing customs in your country and sure that these suppliers are providing those certificates in advance.

2. Communicating with Suppliers

The next step in the checklist is to communicate with these suppliers. Alibaba.com has its messaging system kind of like an instant messaging system which helps you to stay organized with all of these suppliers that you’re going to be contacting. It’s messaging feature is better than doing person chat on WeChat or WatsApp as its help you keep you chat organized and makes easy to refer to previous chats, product links & catalog. 

What things you need to communicate with the suppliers?

First of all you can introduce your self and your business, then ask for the actual price of the product. The price listed on Alibaba.com when you are searching for products is not how much the product is actually going to cost you. Sometimes they are accurate but usually the prices are a bit lower because the suppliers want to attract your attention. So, if you want to get an accurate quote, you have to reach out to the suppliers and ask them directly.

How to get an accurate quote?

First of all you should ask them what their MOQ. MOQ stands for minimum order quantity: This is the minimum number of units that you need to order from the supplier. MOQ varies from supplier and the product. This is something that you can absolutely negotiate, sometimes it’s a little bit difficult to negotiate on price but you certainly can negotiate on the MOQ order. You could even suggest, if you would be willing to pay more per unit as you don’t want to place such a large inventory for your first order. So ask them about ‘what the minimum order quantity is’ and then ask them for the pricing tiers.

Larger the quantity of your order, the cheaper the cost per unit. They do that to incentivize you to place a larger. The pricing tier will give you a better idea whether it worth it to get a larger order at this time or cost savings is worthwhile now. 

The next thing you can ask is about customization. If you are private labeling a product chances are you’re going to want to put your brand name on the product packaging and possibly customize it a little bit. Ask them about the details of that and in particular you want to find out the cost. The price that they quote you might not include the additional cost to put your brand name on the packaging or to customize the packaging. So inquire about those details because you want to make sure that the quote that you’re getting is going to be as accurate as it can be. 

The last thing you should ask them is about the packaging cost. Usually the supplier will include free packaging which is very basic it’s just something very simple that just comes with the product

free of charge now you can usually upgrade the packaging each supplier has you know different options some suppliers have more packaging options than others but it’s good to see what those options are because maybe the basic packaging is just horrendous looking and you just don’t want to sell that on amazon and then you prefer to pay a little bit extra to upgrade that packaging or perhaps the packaging that it comes with is is good for now good enough for now let’s go with this don’t need to pay the extra cost so ask them these questions because this is going to get you a much better idea of you know exactly how much this product is going to cost you but what’s also valuable is to start to build the relationship with the supplier communicating with them and seeing you know are they answering all my questions are they willing to work with me how quick is the response time

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digitalsunilsah

Blogger | Digital Marketer | Dropshipper

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