One of the best ways to supercharge your sales as an online seller is to import products from China and then re-sell themoverseas, especially in the United States. Using the Amazon FBA program you can ship the items straight from China tothe Amazon warehouses and let them take care fulfillment for you (or you can also do aliexpress dropshipping). This article will present some insider tips on how to make the process as smooth and easy as possible – maximizing your profits, whilstminimizing the headaches.
Never start out with an order from a supplier that you’ve never worked with before
It is best to start out with the minimum order that you can,even if it means that you’re going to have lower profit margins. While you successfully work with the supplier and have stock successfully shipped, you can then work up your orders to higher quantities.
Some people will be really tempted to put down a lot of money, so that you can get a lot of inventory, so that you don’t run out of stock and that you have higher profit margins. When you’re starting out and learning this business,I believe in minimizing your risk as much as possible – keepyour first batch of orders between $500 and $2,000. In fact,sometimes you can go even lower than $500 for your minimum order.
This is on the assumption that you’ve already ordered a test product for them: any supplier worth your while should be willing to send you a test product, keep in mind you’re going to have to pay for at least the shipping, but it’s well worth it – make sure you get a test product before you work with any supplier. Keep in mind, it’s really easy to produce one unit of very high quality, it’s another thing to be able to go from producing one very high quality unit to producing 200 and it’s even harder to go from producing 200 to producing a thousand.
The good news is that most suppliers aren’t going to have any problems with maintaining quality, so you’re not going tohave any issues, but by starting out small and gradually increasing your quantity size, you do safeguard yourself just in case that supplier doesn’t work out. So again, minimizeyour risk by starting small.
Do your due diligence
Another way to safeguard yourself is by doing due diligence with your supplier. If you’re using Alibaba to find your supplier, make sure you’re looking at suppliers with good reviews. Obviously if they have bad reviews – avoid them.
When you find a supplier that looks interesting, make the effort to actually take their phone number and call it and ensure that someone picks up the phone. You might think this seems really obvious and it is but trust me – most people don’t even bother to give the respective supplier a phone call and simply rely on email communication.
Check their address on Google Maps – make sure that there is a factory at the address that they gave. If there isn’t a factory there, the chances are you were talking to a middleman and you were not getting the wholesale product freight and you were missing out on potential profits.
Deal with the manufacturer only, do not work with a middleman who was re-selling you the products at an inflated price and obviously the very best thing that you can do is to work with suppliers that people have already recommend to you. This way you can trust them from the get-go.
The next big advice I can give to you is to build a relationship with your supplier and your representative – become their friend. If conversely, they were rude to you, would you wantto help them?
On the flipside, if someone was nice to you and treated you with respect don’t you think that you would want to help them more? So be nice to your representative and be friendly. One cultural quirk is that while Chinese suppliers will expect you to be friendly with them in their communication, they will also expect you to be formal in the way that you communicatewith them.
They also like hearing directly and clearly that you appreciatethe products that are being produced and that you’re happy with the service that they are providing. Chinese businessesare focused on building long-term relationships with you,they want to have long-term clients (typically their long-term clients are the top shopify stores) and to work with you into the future so they want to know if you are happy with them – tell them that you are.
Another big tip for you: communicating with your Chinese supplier will not be anywhere near as hard as you think, I see a lot of misconceptions out there on this issue. The language barrier is much smaller than most people realize. If you’veeither been concerned about the language barrier and you’ve lived it hold you back – don’t. The thing is that every supplier in Alibaba has representatives in their factories that speakEnglish. They are there to help you through the process, so don’t worry about needing to speak Mandarin, it is simply notthe case at all.
There are some things that you can do to minimize the language barrier:1. Use short paragraphs and get straight to the point2. Do not use slang3. Don’t overcomplicate your language: There is AmericanEnglish, British English Australian English and so on.Do not assume that your representative knows your particular type of English, so don’t use country specific phrases and isms.4. Get your spelling right. English can be very confusing.Let’s just take the example of the word “to” – that has so many different spellings and different meanings, you could spell like: “two”, “too” or even “to”. Each these different words has different meanings, but they sound the same. Make sure you spell out the word that you mean to say to avoid any confusion.
Finally, the last piece of advice that I want to close this article off with, is that in China yes does not always mean yes. One interesting cultural quirk is that in China suppliers don’t like saying no to you. If you ask a supplier question and you sense hesitation in the yes, then make sure that you ask them the question in different ways and multiple times to ensure the answer is really yes. If they give you a maybe, it almost always means no, so keep that in mind.