If you are looking to import Alibaba wholesale products from Asia, then this post will teach you how to use Alibaba the right way so you don’t get ripped off.
- But before you begin searching for Chinese suppliers, you need to be prepared. As a result, I highly recommend that you first…. Know What You Want To Sell – Alibaba is not a good place to randomly brainstorm potential niches.
- If you don’t know what to sell yet, then first consult my ultimate guide to finding profitable products to sell.
- Understand What To Expect When Sourcing From Asia – Alibaba is a search engine for Asian suppliers which means that you won’t find any US or domestic suppliers on the platform.
If you’ve never sourced from Asia before, make sure you check out my ultimate guide to sourcing from China. With that in mind, Alibaba is one of the largest databases of Asian suppliers in the world. And it is by far one of the best places to find China wholesale vendors online.
But because Alibaba is so large, it is also filled with unscrupulous suppliers who will sell you junk or try to cut corners on quality. This guide will teach you the right way to use Alibaba and avoid the headaches.
How To Ask For Samples
Tip #3: Trust Your Gut
Now the MOQ (minimum order quantity) will vary from supplier to supplier, but in general, you should be able to find a supplier on Alibaba that matches the size of your business. For example, when my wife and I first started our handkerchief store, we found vendors willing to sell us as few as a hundred units per order. But now that our ecommerce business is much larger, we primarily work with vendors with minimum order quantities in the 10’s of thousands of units to obtain much lower pricing.
If this is your first time using Alibaba and you are having problems finding the right supplier, don’t get discouraged. After all, there exists an Alibaba wholesale vendor for every business size.
You just need to know where to look. Both Alibaba and AliExpress are owned by the same parent company (Alibaba Holdings Group) so it’s very easy to get the 2 platforms mixed up.
But AliExpress and Alibaba are separate companies with completely different use cases. Here are the main differences between Alibaba vs AliExpress. First off, Alibaba is a Chinese wholesale directory of factories and trading companies whereas AliExpress is more like a Chinese version of Ebay. In fact on AliExpress, you can buy products in single unit quantities and factories often use AliExpress as a liquidation outlet for their products.
Review The Company Profile On Alibaba
As a result, the prices on AliExpress will be much higher than Alibaba and in general, AliExpress is not a good platform to find long term suppliers for your ecommerce business.
- Note: For more information about AliExpress, make sure you read my post on AliExpress Dropshipping and Oberlo Are Dead.
- Also, vendors on AliExpress will not allow you to customize their products (or attach your brand) so you can not private label products you find on AliExpress.
- Bottom line, Alibaba is the platform that you want to use to find wholesale suppliers for your ecommerce business.
- You don’t need to have a company or any special credentials to use Alibaba.
Tip #2: Don’t Be Intimidated By Your Vendors
You don’t need a sellers permit, a website, a corporation….nada. In fact, most Alibaba wholesale suppliersdon’t care who they are working with as long you buy in bulk, pay on time and order on a consistent basis.
Remember, Alibaba is just an online directory for Chinese suppliers and it’s up to you to negotiate price and minimum order quantities. Some of you have asked me in the past whether you need to have a custom business domain like [email protected] before contacting suppliers on Alibaba. And while it certainly helps for credibility, I’ve had students in my class use their gmail addresses and it’s worked out just fine.
Case Study: My Student’s First Experience Importing From China
I’ve been using Alibaba for over a decade now and I’ve never been outright scammed. As long as you follow the directions in this post, the chances of a Chinese supplier taking your money without sending you your products is extremely slim.
Tip #5: You May Not Get What You Expect
More likely than not however, you’ll run into quality control issues. In fact, your primary concern when buying from Alibaba wholesale suppliers is that you’ll receive poor quality products that don’t match what you expect. To prevent this from happening, you MUST follow the guidelines and best practices in this article when finding and ordering from Alibaba suppliers.
Tip #7: Always Obtain Samples
But rest assured, Alibaba is a legit company to buy from. Once you know which product you want to sell online, you should start by performing a search using Alibaba’s search bar.
- By default, Alibaba will display every single supplier in its database that sells the product you want to source.
- But many of these listings will be middlemen or individuals trying to make a quick buck and not real companies.
- As a result, the first action you should take is to filter out only verified suppliers (Gold suppliers) and vendors that support trade assurance.
- A verified or gold supplier is a vendor that has paid Alibaba a premium membership fee and you can use this badge to weed out lower tier suppliers.
- In order to be eligible to become a gold supplier, Alibaba performs the following checks.
- Onsite Check – An onsite check is a verification process where the supplier’s factory is checked by Alibaba’s staff to make sure that it’s legit.
- In addition, the supplier’s legal status is also checked to make sure it’s up to date.
- A & V Check – An onsite check is also performed by a neutral 3rd party as an added level of verification.
- There is also an additional company tier called an “assessed supplier” where a mainstream verification company like Bureau Veritas goes through and assesses the supplier for their production capabilities, their certifications, and their R&D abilities.
- An assessed supplier is the highest grade supplier that can be found on Alibaba.
What Is Alibaba?
I’ve attached a table for your review. Bottom line, working with only verified (gold) suppliers will greatly mitigate any risk of getting scammed.
Trade assurance is a free order protection service where Alibaba acts as a 3rd party escrow company.
- The supplier prepares the goods for shipment and you deposit your payment in a special account designated by Alibaba.
- As soon as the order is confirmed, the goods and the money changes hands.
- What’s nice about trade assurance is that Alibaba guarantees your money back in the event of a supplier failing to meet the terms of the order contract.
- This includes delays in shipment, quality issues and processing problems.
- Bottom line, trade assurance all but ensures that you will not get outright scammed by your vendor.
- Once you’ve filtered out the gold and trade assurance suppliers, you should pay specific attention to the price and minimum order quantities.
- In practice, the numbers you see on Alibaba are never set in stone and you can always negotiate more favorable terms.
However, the numbers will give you a general idea of the type of customer the supplier is looking to work with.
- For example if you’re just starting out, you’re probably not going to be working with a vendor that has a 20,000 unit minimum order quantity.
- Instead, narrow down the list of vendors to those who closely match your purchasing power.
- Once you’ve selected a bunch of vendors that you potentially want to work with, you should dig a little deeper and review their company profile.
How To Negotiate With A Supplier
Here’s what you should look for. Payment Methods – Most vendors are used to being paid by wire transfer.
- But if this is your first time importing, you might want to look for vendors that accept Paypal and credit cards.
- Transaction Level – How many transactions has the vendor conducted on Alibaba in the last 6 months.
- Response Rate – Is the supplier responsive to inquiries?
- You can also click on the company’s profile page to get more in depth information such as company size and annual revenue as well.
- As you can see, the information that can found on Alibaba is very thorough.
- There is a right way and a wrong way to contact Alibaba wholesale suppliers and it’s a lot like dating.
- The reality is that most suppliers on Alibaba are flooded with hundreds of inquiries per day.
- As a result, your correspondence must stand out among the pack and you must be concise and professional. Pretend that you are the supplier for a moment.
Alibaba Vs AliExpress – What Should I Use?
Would you want to waste time speaking with a customer who doesn’t know what they want. Would you want to work with a total newbie? The answer is no. As a result, you must project confidence and act larger than you really are. You should present yourself as a buyer or a director of a larger retail organization.
How To Choose A Supplier On Alibaba
Here’s a sample script that I use when first reaching out to a supplier. Hi Chou Su Min,. My name is Steve and I’m a buyer for Bumblebee Linens, a store in the US that specializes in handkerchiefs.