Product sourcing can be a challenging task especially for start-up businesses. For one thing, the entire sourcing and importation process can be intricate. Having the items delivered in its destination country, especially if you are sourcing and importing from China, is another hurdle to tackle. There may also be communication problems especially if they only speak their native language.
China is a huge country also known as a sourcing and importation hub among foreign businesses. There are millions of suppliers and manufacturers foreign businesses can transact with, depending on the nature of their business. However, expect there will always be challenges you will encounter while transacting with Chinese suppliers (aside from the ones mentioned above).
However, you can learn from the following tips the best ways to source products from China, avoid bogus suppliers, make your business flourish, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Sourcing products from China
As mentioned, finding a Chinese supplier is a challenging task. It requires extensive research and background checks to ensure you only deal with a trustworthy source. Transacting with a legitimate supplier will also help your business thrive in the long run.
Expect some kind of challenges in your business. After all, there are no perfect business operations even if you look for each business around the world. Nonetheless, you can overcome it as long as you know how to handle it. Here are some tips that can help you when sourcing products from China:
1. Do your research.
If you want to save a lot of money on your supplier, make sure to deal with a direct manufacturer instead of trading companies. However, most B2B e-commerce websites have more trading companies than actual manufacturers. At the end of the day, you would want to deal with a company that is honest with their clients.
From that point, you can’t be able to trust companies that do not mention their true business nature. On a side note, trading companies are also reliable product suppliers in terms of variety and smaller MOQ (minimum order quantity).
A trustworthy supplier will ensure that your business runs as smoothly as possible and one that you can create a long-term relationship with. Also, make sure to research and confirm whether the company is indeed legitimate and one that can fulfill your business needs.
2. Hire a sourcing agent.
A sourcing agent can help you a lot in dealing with Chinese suppliers, much more if the agent speaks their native language. More often than not, Chinese suppliers may increase the product costs if they learn they are dealing with a foreign business owner. That is why your sourcing agent should know the roundabouts of Chinese product sourcing and importation process so you can make the best decisions for your business.
3. Ask for samples.
This is important especially if you intend to sell the product for the first time. To do that, you should inspect the product first for any quality issues before proceeding to order in bulk. Ideally, you should ask for samples from at least 3 to 5 different suppliers, taking note of importation costs, shipping and delivery lead times.
Meanwhile, some experts advise not to use the word “sample”, but use “initial order” instead. If you order only one or two samples, some suppliers would think you are not serious dealing with them or you do not have enough money to invest on their products. This is actually one step in establishing working relationship with a potential client.
4. Find more than one potential supplier.
Having more than one supplier can help a lot in case your primary supplier encounters issues that may affect your business. Make sure you also do your research with the other suppliers to ensure no future problems you may encounter with them in the future. Regardless of how many suppliers you have, it is important to establish good working relationship with them all.
Where to find Chinese suppliers
In reality, looking for Chinese suppliers can be a tedious task. For one thing, there are thousands – or even millions – of suppliers and manufacturers in China. On the other hand, China also offers more edge as compared to other suppliers around the world due to the former’s cheaper product and labor costs. That said, it can be a great decision for businesses to source their products from China.
But first, you might ask where you can find the right supplier for your business. Here are some locations where you can find a potential supplier to deal with:
1. Search Engines and Sourcing Platforms
This is one reason why Google and other search engines were invented in the first place. The Internet is a huge virtual place where you can search for anything you need, including product suppliers. Whether it’s Google, Bing, Yahoo, or other search engines there is, these can surely help with your search for a potential business supplier.
On the other hand, there are also sourcing platforms that can help you find a Chinese supplier. These include known sites such as Made-in-China.com and Alibaba, where you can sort through thousands of suppliers. You can even filter the results so you can determine whether the supplier is a trusted and legitimate one. Likewise, these websites also offer protection for buyers against fraudulent transactions. Nonetheless, searching for a trustworthy and reliable supplier still lies in your own hands.
2. Trade Shows
Another avenue to search for legitimate Chinese suppliers is through trade shows. Among popular supplier trade shows in China are the Canton Fair, which is held twice year in Guangzhou, and the East China Fair held in Shanghai one a year. For other upcoming trade fairs that cater to other industries, you can go through China Sourcing Fair.
If you don’t have time to travel to the other side of the world, there are US-based trade shows you can attend to. One example of trade fairs featuring Chinese suppliers is the International Consumer Electronics Show which is held in Las Vegas. However, you may not get the best deals out of these trade shows. Hence, it might be better if you can take time to attend trade fairs straight from China.
3. Social Media
While only few suppliers have social media presence, it is nonetheless a great platform to find a potential supplier. For one thing, a lot of people nowadays log in to their social media.
Likewise, many businesses also have their own social media page, so finding a supplier via social media seem to be a logical option. Among social media platforms you can find Chinese suppliers is via LinkedIn or even Facebook.
The above list is some of the best places to find a Chinese product supplier. While these sources are already proven and tested in terms of finding a supplier, it is still best to do extensive research and background checks so you will transact only with a reliable and trustworthy supplier.