Alibaba is China’s – and the world’s – largest online commerce company, hosting millions of merchants and businesses.
Alibaba helps connect wholesalers based in China with businesses around the world. It allows companies to identify a manufacturer abroad, and have products made and shipped.
These products can be availed off at a fraction of North American prices, helping companies here make big savings in their production process.
If you’re looking to import products from China, you really should consider using Alibaba to help you find the right supplier for you.
If you’ve never used Alibaba before, don’t worry about it. In this post we are going to show you how to become a smart importer. We’ve put together this easy to follow guide to help you find the best suppliers on Alibaba.
Go to the homepage and type in the specific product you are looking for. Let’s say you’re looking for bookmarks.
This will show you a vast list of all the product listings and available suppliers. Generally, thousands of different products will show up. Although, not all of these products are unique; this is because most suppliers list their products multiple times to get attention. You will need to filter further.
Click on the ‘Suppliers’ tab instead of the ‘Products’ tab.
By clicking Suppliers instead of Products, you are able to filter the results so that you can see and compare central suppliers as opposed to their products. Your results should be significantly lower than before, although it is probably too high to effectively manage.
Click on “Gold Plus Supplier” or “Trade Assurance” to filter further
You can easily filter your results even more by checking off the ‘Gold Plus Supplier’ which will present you with cheap and highly utilized suppliers. You may still have a number in the hundreds. In this case, it is suggested that you click the ‘Trade Assurance’ tab to narrow it down even more. Only do this if you have too many suppliers to manage, though, as lots of suppliers don’t actually become assessed, and many products will not have thousands of suppliers. This should narrow you down to a number in the double digits.
How Do I Find the Best Suppliers on Alibaba?
Unfortunately, apart from the ‘Trade Assurance’ feature, there is no effective way to separate the good suppliers from the bad ones. So you’ll need to do this part on your own by contacting and communicating with your suppliers directly.
Email Your Supplier
In order to effectively communicate with your suppliers, you have to present yourself a certain way when you email them. Outline what your company does and what products you are looking for. The idea here is to create a sense of authority so that your suppliers are under the impression that you are a large business with many employees. To get the most responses, you will need to make a claim about your company’s sales stating that you are making over at least $1 million– even if you’re not. It is also important that you emphasize that you want to maintain a strong and profitable partnership with them, as this is something Chinese suppliers look for. Generally, Chinese suppliers choose to work with massive enterprises, as it calls for more profit and will most likely disregard small orders.
It is also important to outline in the email the product specifications, such as size, quantity and colour. *Do not* give them a minimum quantity amount, as this indicates to suppliers that you don’t have too much money to play with, which limits the chances of them wanting to work with you.
Don’t forget to ask any questions that you need the answer to. This is where communication becomes key. Be sure to ask questions about pricing and payment methods, as many suppliers may not want to receive money via alternative payment platforms such as PayPal. Although most supplier will want you to transfer their payments through a bank, not all of them mind.
Ask For a Sample Product
When you have narrowed down which suppliers are within your budget and provide what you need best, ask them to send you a sample of the product. This way, you can make your final decision based on the quality of the product at hand after you have ironed out all the other details.
- Stay away from suppliers who over-inquire about your company: If you feel that a supplier is asking you too many questions about how your business operates as opposed to the order, it would be in your best interest to simply disregard them. They are attempting to figure out more about your company to see if you are highly profitable, and they are most likely not going to work with you anyway, so might as well kick them to the curb.
- Consider speaking with a business consultant. By investing in a foreign business consultant who is more familiar with the market than you are, they’ll be able to review the suppliers you’ve chosen and guide you in the right direction to help you make a choice.
- If you don’t like Alibaba, there are other website you can use like made-in-china.com
Best Way to Pay Chinese Suppliers
When paying off your Chinese partners, it is important that you take into consideration the speed of payments and the nature of your business relationship. Most companies will grow fedup and cease doing business with you should you not pay them on time. Try to make it your goal to keep them happy, because your alliance is dependent on it. That’s why it is incredibly beneficial to invest in an alternative platform to make cross-border payments, such as REMITR, to ensure that you are making fast and easy transfers.
Banks can take up to weeks to process a payment, and your business partners will not appreciate having to wait that long. There are also substantial communication barriers when figuring out what bank they are with and what information you need.
When you register with REMITR to make international invoices, you are saving nearly 90% more money than you would be going through a bank, and the speed of the payment is much, much faster.