FotorCreated

Chinese Sellers on Amazon? Don’t worry (for now)

So I am pretty sure everyone read the news that Amazon is helping Chinese factories to get their brands listed on Amazon. It’s actually old news as the Amazon team has been on the grounds in China for a few years now.
Everyone is worried now which is understandable. One thing they definitely have advantage in is the price, but let me explain why that doesn’t matter.
Let me take off some of your worries right now and explain why this will not impact your Amazon business in a short time period and how you can prepare to be ahead of the Chinese sellers.

Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ’s)
Most factories have high MOQ’s and thats often because they need to purchase a certain amount of raw material from their sub-supplier. To do so they need orders. Bringing me to the next and most important topic, taking risks.

Taking Risks
Many factories won’t take the risk of producing for their own stock and try to sell it trough some sort of sales-channel. They do in some cases, but these items are mostly found on Chinese websites and Aliexpress or DHGate.com
When they sell on these sites, the packaging you get is probably in Chinese, as is the instruction manual.
A factory does not produce on their own risk and try to sell it somewhere. They always need a customer behind an order. Be it a large retailer, a small time buyer from the Philippines or the occasional Amazon buyer.
They don’t have stock of the necessary raw material or packaging because the longer they store it, it will get smudged, dirty and might not be possible to sell it anymore. I know this because I have been to 100’s of factories in my time in China here.
When you go to a factory you won’t find their own packaging or raw material on stock. They ALWAYS purchase the material once they have an order incoming.

It’s just not economical for the factory to purchase raw material on their own behalf. Margins are so low these days, they need to maintain cash flow for their customers. Sometimes they have some stock but that’s probably from a over-production or from a client who didn’t take the entire quantity. Sure some factories have good cash flow, design & marketing departments and they will sell on Amazon. Those are the ones that you can see now already. But they do not posses the knowledge on how to SUCCESSFULLY sell on Amazon (yet). I don’t know anyone in China who has taken a course on Amazon selling or listening to podcasts on how to be successful on Amazon. And most factories in China just won’t take the risk of investing money into their own product to sell it online overseas.

It is not within the Chinese culture that you take a risk for something that you don’t know is going to pay off. Chinese won’t create a listing on AMZ without knowing that their product will sell.
They always go after the sure thing (there are exceptions of course).

Quality standards
When a factory develops a new item and they get their first order for it it is likely a “naked” item with no standard whatsoever. The factory needs to rely on each customer’s input on what the customers needs in terms of quality.
A small importer in Thailand has completely different quality requirements than a large German retailer. The importer in Thailand may require nothing, while the retailer in Germany has all sorts of requirements that involves large investments on the suppliers side. Who do you think the supplier will rather want to work with? Exacly, the Thai importer. Because his quality requirements are low and not much effort is needed to sell the product. So many factories do not have the necessary quality standard on new products. Amazon is heavily investigating into products that do not meet current American quality standards and if your product does not comply it gets removed. There are of course established factories who have meet all necessary quality standards but they are likely comfortable selling to their existing customers.

Certification & Requirements
I often hear from suppliers when I ask for a certification of a certain product: “you don’t need that, other customers don’t ask and we don’t have it”.
Well excuse me but I will decide what my market and selling channel needs in terms of quality & certification. Amazon is cracking down on many sellers who don’t have proper certification for their product or in most cases they won’t even allow sellers to list products without certain certifications or test reports. After all Amazon cannot afford to be sued by a customer who for example bought a plastic product that comes in touch with the skin and now the clients has a rash because the plastic is made out of waste material and has high toxins and chemicals in it.

Innovative and trendy
I have yet to walk into a showroom of a factory and see something new apart from the occasional exception at an established factory with retailers or customers in the West. That is after living and working here for over 10 years. There are of course suppliers that develop their own products but in many cases they miss the product to market fit. They always rely on the input of a customer on how a design of a product or the functionality has to be. I read a report a few weeks ago that quoted Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina:

“I have been doing business in China for decades, and I will tell you that yeah, the Chinese can take a test, but what they can’t do is innovate,” she said. “They are not terribly imaginative. They’re not entrepreneurial, they don’t innovate, that is why they are stealing our intellectual property.”She added teaching innovation, risk-taking, and imagination “are things that are distinctly American and we can’t lose them.”

The quote caused some outrage around China but the majority of Chinese people actually agreed with Carly Florina and posted on Chinese forums like Weibo (largest forum in China). Saying they need to be more innovative and take more risks sometimes. They weren’t offended and I think she didn’t want to offend them, but she did point out the weakness where they have to improve. And that cements my earlier statement “ taking risks” is simply not in their nature.

Customer Service
I doubt that Chinese sellers can manage the customer service from China. They would need to hire perfect English speakers and dispatch them completely to their Amazon business.
I can tell you that if I ask my suppliers to do so they will probably ignore me. It is considered an investment “not worth it”. At least as of today.

Marketing Strategies
It is very unlikely that a factory knows much about launching and promoting a product trough blogs, landing pages, Facebook promotions (Facebook is banned in China), review groups and so on that many of you have paid good $ amounts to learn.
But these are the channels that a new product needs when it launches or when it needs to grow. Otherwise your product just drowns amongst the competition and never lifts off to be in the top sellers.

Price Point
Yes, they do have advantage over the price. But that is not the key issue when you sell on Amazon. When a supplier quotes you a price of 5$ his own profit will probably be less than a $. And that doesn’t really give him an edge, because YOU (the experienced AMZ seller) has years of experience, PPC knowledge, Facebook followers, mailing lists, existing products with reviews & social proof etc. that the customer is willing to pay for when making a buying decision.

Legal Issues & Company Setup
It is not very easy to set up a company in the States for a Chinese company. To be really successful on Amazon you need a private label, have a trademark registered and a company set up.
Not many sellers from overseas will go trough this process.

Facebook pages
Facebook is banned in China. Sure they can get a VPN connection and go on Facebook but who are they going to promote to?
Build a Facebook audience with zero friends and followers? That is going to take a long time. Are they going to post on Facebook groups like The Amazing Seller or ImporDojo to post their products?
No. The last time a chinese seller promoted his product in my group I banned him. Not because his product wasn’t interesting or I don’t allow it but the way he did was pure spamming. Joined the group, no interaction at all, no feedback to other group members, simply wanting to promote his product to the group members without providing any real value to the group. So you can take one of the most important promotional tools for your new product (Facebook) already out of the equation.

Branding & Packaging
When I set up my own company (www.mandarin-gear.com) in late 2013 I had one goal. Affordable products at a great quality with excellent packaging.
What Chinese lack at this moment is an eye for design and western preferences when it comes to packaging. They also do not have properly translated instruction manuals on their own.
Sometimes they use their customers proof-read instruction manual when they sell to other customers but for new items they don’t have anything. Imagine what Amazon customers think when they open the box and can’t understand half of what’s written in there? How do you think that will affect the review? That’s why, whenever you buy a product in China always try to have a proper instruction manual. Check out my other post on this: http://importdojo.com/private-labels-packaging-differences/

English language barrier
Have you ever been on a Chinese website with English version? Yes? So you have seen the horrible grammar mistakes. This won’t change when Chinese sellers list on Amazon. Yes, they can now list their products trough a Chinese Seller Central account and it’s all in Chinese but that doesn’t change the fact that you need proper keywords and wording with excellent grammar when you want to list & sell your product successfully.
Suppliers simply wont be investing their money into proper English translation because they don’t believe in going the extra mile without knowing they will make a profit; so their listings will look horrible.
Would you buy a product when you don’t understand half of the text or description?

But they already sell successfully on Ebay and provide free shipping?
Yes, the Chinese sellers have taken on Ebay a few years ago and some are very successful. But only successful in terms of their sales and because the Chinese Government heavily subsizdes freight costs from China (China Mail).
I would say 20-30% of the items sold on Ebay from Chinese sellers are returned or the customers are unhappy with their purchase because of the quality of the product.

You can’t refund the item to the seller, you won’t send the item back to China, will you?
And even if you can, are you going to leave a positive review?
Amazon doesn’t work like that and everyone has to pay the local shpping costs in the US. So while the Chinese seller can send in his product at a cheap rate he still has to pay the local freight costs. And what stops you from getting good shipping rates from China? Most suppliers will offer you the same rates they get when sending goods overseas.
Also you can’t just list everything you want (there are restricted categories and legal compliances to be met) and whenever there are returns the clients will leave a negative review.

Amazon won’t hesitate to ban the sellers account immediately if the return rates are as high as 20-30%. Amazon has a strict policy when it comes to customers satisfaction and the way I see it not many Chinese factories can comply with their “basic” product on Amazon without having input from overseas buyers on how to improve the product.

Now having said all that, there are suppliers out there who already sell on Amazon and there will very likely be more in the near future who are capable of all the above especially with the help that Amazon is doing in China now.

But those are are only a few and “we” all have a headstart, the understanding of the marketing, promotional strategy and how the Amazon machine works best.

Eventually Chinese factories will figure all these things out but I am giving this at least 5 years. Essentially what is happening now (or has been happening in the last 2 years) is that a retail giant (Amazon) is trying to teach an entire army of manufacturers why they should sell on Amazon. This is a tremendous project and will take some time. In 5 years, survival of the fittest will have set in so now is the time to step up your game and be among those survivors. One of the most important tasks ahead of you now is to master the import trade so you can compete not only in marketing & sales on Amazon but also price wise.

So here are some important steps for you to remember:

  • Improve your product quality based on reviews
  • Pay a little more for better quality and regulations-compliant products
  • Develop your own products and packagings and make them exclusive for you on Amazon
  • Build or grow your brand with cross product selling and larger assortments
  • Build or grow your audience (Facebook, mailing lists etc.) and be ahead of the Chinese competition
  • Build relationships with suppliers for the long term and become one of their largest customers so that they don’t have to sell on Amazon themselves

And most importantly: Learn the import/export trade from the inside out
What else can you do? Step up your import knowledge and learn the entire import/export business from the inside out so that you not only have advantage over the Amazon marketing & sales process but also know as much about importing/exporting as the Chinese do.
Check out ImportDojo’s Masterclass, teaching you the in’s and out’s of sourcing from China here:
http://importdojo.com/importdojo-masterclass/

Happy sourcing :)

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How to find the “perfect product”

This is a guest post by one of ImportDojo Master Class members’ (Thomas Albiez) and his partner (Gil Francis Lang)

I have been working with Thomas from the beginning of his FBA venture and he just listed his first product boasting incredible numbers in the first few days. He has started his own blog focusing on FBA for the German speaking market and has been documenting his journey along the way (www.privatelabeljourney.de).

The blog is in German, so if you are German speaking or if you use Google translate plug-ins you can get the site translated. I definitely recommend you to check it out. He was kind enough to translate one of his latest blog posts about “finding the perfect product” into English for you guys. So without further ado here is his guest post:

About the Author: We (Gil and Thomas) are active entrepreneurs in the German speaking FBA market. We run a Mastermind Group as well as a Blog (PrivateLabelJourney.de), a Faceboook Group and a Youtube Channel. If you speak any German or like Google translated content, please feel free to check us out.

Our background to start things off:

We started with the good old dream of living a financially free live and being our own boss, whenever and wherever! Through a lot of trial & error and with plenty of help from amazing people we discovered how to quickly build highly profitable brands on Amazon. Everything we teach, comes from two guys that were starting the same way that you did as entrepreneurs with a dream! 

Proven methods to quickly find the perfect product to improve upon, to bundle or to just market better.
Especially in the early stages of creating a successful AMZ business, we get asked the same question a lot: „How do I find the perfect product to source from overseas.“

People are looking for guidelines and specific help on finding their first product. They are typically not sure what to look for or they simply cannot decide what product might work for them.

Next to the knitty gritty knowhow that people naturally lack in the beginning… there often is that missing spark, that will lead to things starting to roll.

How to create that spark is what we are going to discuss in the upcoming blogpost. So sit tight!

Start with this!

“The be aware of products around you method”

It’s all about awareness. If sourcing & AMZ is always in the back of your mind, every little thing you see or do might remind you of a product that you could create and source… to solve a problem or meet a need in the market.

Try to take a pen and paper with you for several days. Write down, what you have bought, what you saw others buying and every little thing that comes to mind during that period of time. Golden moments are when you think “hmm this would be much better if…”

You can check your notes later and compare with products that are sold on Amazon.

“The Junglescout method”

I am sure you are familiar with Junglescout.

If not, here is what it does: Junglescout it is a Google Chrome extension that will pull out data from Amazon listings that you are currently on.

This amazing piece of software will then enrich this data with revenue information. Basically telling you, how much people are selling for a certain list of products. Also it will tell you how hard competition might be.

We use Junglescout a lot just to brainstorm for new ideas.

Because here and there, if you search for a „keyword“ there is no single type of product that will show in results but rather a list of products that will solve your problem. Say you search for „car wash“, amazon results will show wax but also sponges, sprays and similar products used to wash cars.

With Junglescout we can compare revenue data real fast to find possible products to source.

“The list method“

There are several people that provide extensive list of scraped bestseller data for different categories. It is basically the same as on profitspotlight.com or the tool AMZ Nuggets

What you do here is search for products with less than „300“ reviews, costing between $12 and $35 and are sold a lot (US Market).

The results will give you a good idea of what types of products might work very well.
We are not saying you should source all of those products, but it will be a good starting point to look for more products.

The same thing applies to these large excel sheets a few people are selling. Just choose lightweight products in a good price range that sell a lot and you are ready to find your next best product.

“The supplier search method”

A method that we use extensively. If you find a good supplier and are very happy about how everything is going you should not forget to ask them what else they are selling. Also ask them what is selling really well to your market. Have them send you a catalogue or an offer sheet with their 15 best selling products.

Often,a supplier will sell 20 to a 100 products pretty well and since you have other items from him/her, it might fit with your other products. So just go ahead and ask :-) .

“The Spy on Sellers Account method”

Thats probably a common method most of you already use.

Oftentimes when we find a very promising product, it tells us the seller did something right. Might be he did other good products as well and since many sellers use their account to sell all sorts of products, it can be quite the treasure cove!

Be aware that some seller only sell garbage, you don’t want to spy on them… Use Junglescout to confirm profitable products they are selling.

“The review group method”

This method is a little more advanced.

It uses a reversed engineering approach to find new awesome product ideas. On different platforms such as tomoson.com or all those facebook-review groups where a lot of private label sellers are putting up their review deals.

So these products are FBA products from sellers that were researching and some of them might be exactly the necessary push you needed to get your brain juices flowing!

Look at these products that people are offering on these platforms and get inspired but don´t just copy stuff, think about what you can improve or change on those existing items, think about your target group…what will they appreciate?

“The get lost on Amazon method”

A lot of great ideas start to develop the old-school way!

Looking around on AMZ, browsing from category to category and from one product to another. (Careful you can spend hours doing this….without even noticing)

Dive in deep and just let yourself flow…get lost…get crazy :-)

You will soon realize that there are endless possibilities to sell successfully on Amazon. You will find products you have never heard of and discover items that you thought no one would buy. Use Junglescount on the items that you think might have potential.

“The PPC Research Method”

If you already have a product on Amazon, I am sure you are running PPC Ads. If not, you definitely should!

I suggest you take an approach and use a lot of keywords to test the waters. And by a lot we usually mean 500 to 2000. To get those keywords use Google Keyword Planner, AMZShark and SeCockpit.

While you improve your campaign and constantly delete underperforming keywords, you see what kind of keywords stick and drive sales to your listing. Those keywords might also be some related product name, not even a direct keyword for your product…

And that´s exactly where you can get ideas of products to source!

“The sponsored products method”

Don’t forget to take a close look at sponsored products while you browse for some keywords.

If you are getting lost deep in Amazons listings, you will constantly see somehow relevant sponsored products.

They are there for a reason. They get advertised because they are selling well!! So you can find a very good product just looking ad sponsored ads.

Why should you search for new products on a regular basis?
After launching your first product you should keep on searching for new great stuff! Why is that you ask?

Per our understanding, there are mainly two methods to successfully run an FBA business these days.

1. You either have a few products in more competitive markets and put a ton of cash and energy into improving and promoting those products.
2. You have a series (lets say 10 or 20) of products in a less volume less competitive niche. While you have very little competition, you might still make 1k per month profit off of each product. So it is really not that irrelevant.

If you are just starting as a side business, the second method is the way to go!
In regards to your private label… you just don’t have enough knowledge, money and feedback to really play with the big boys but you should create it none the less and grow it along the way as private labelling is the only real profitable way to go.

The perfect product

Enough with all those methods, what should your first product be? Are there important criteria?

Everyone is looking for the perfect product BUT not everyone knows what the perfect product should be!

Common doubts about a product are:

• There might be too many sellers already
• Competition is large
• The product is seasonal
• The product cost is too high to start
• You have a rough time finding a good supplier
• The packaging might be difficult

The list goes on and on.

BUT at one point you have to pull the trigger.

Just realise that the sooner you start the better. You will learn a ton and improve over time. You most likely won’t make a killing with your first product, but you will get there step by step!

There is no “100% perfect product”… that we promise.

But that shouldn‘t stop you from taking action and getting things going with sourcing from overseas. If you have done your homework, it is time to start now!

Launch and learn. Everything is progress.

sellerdojo

Podcast Interview with SellerDojo

I recently got interviewed by SellerDojo and I wanted to let you guys listen in on the (49mins) episode.

SellerDojo are the guys behind AMZshark and they have just started this podcast. I was honoured to be the first one they interview for their podcast. Here is the link to the podcast directly:

http://sellerdojo.libsyn.com/interviewing-manuel-from-importdojo-on-sourcing-products-from-china

If you don’t have time to listen all the way through, just browse the show outline below to find which spot to listen.

Begin Show Notes: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In this episode the SellerDojo meets ImportDojo and we have a party talking about ninja tips for sourcing from China. Manuel, the ImportDojo Sensei, has been living and working in China for over 10 years, with 17 years in the sourcing business. He has his own brand, sells to retailers, is a supplier, and does FBA on Amazon. Enjoy this episode as we talk about everything from Alibaba tricks, demystifying electronics, and the Canton Fair.

Show Outline:

Opening & Manuel Introduction, his history in working with suppliers for Austria’s largest retailers. And his internship in the Hong Kong sourcing office.

  • 3:35 – What did you learn and what sparked your interest to get into your own Amazon and sourcing business?
  • 4:35 – About Manuel’s brand, Mandarin Gear and also Import Dojo.
  • 8:05 – What advice do you wish someone had told you when you first began sourcing from China?
  • 10:20 – What types of products do you source? Because I know many people avoid things like electronics or moving parts, but I see that you don’t shy away from them? Why is that?
  • 13:25 – Manuals ninja rule of thumb: nothing lower than 30% margin (after fees etc)
  • 14:00 – What category would you go into if you were just beginning?
  • 14:30 – What sourcing sites do you recommend for importing from China?
  • 18:15 – What is Global Sources and how is it different?
  • 20:05 – Tips for paying suppliers in China. Small orders and big orders etc. Paypal, trade assurance, and inspections.
  • 22:25 – Sourcing certain product categories based on their location and Province in China. How to use Alibaba’s search filters to determine and find the right suppliers in the right location.
  • 24:30 – The 3 reasons it’s important to find a supplier in the correct Province.
  • 25:45 – What are the biggest mistakes you’ve ever made in sourcing and selling?
  • 27:30 – How should buyers navigate the many parts of the long negotiation? What about large sample fees? Or transaction fees?
  • 28:45 – How to get a refund / reimbursement on sample costs from your supplier.
  • 29:15 – Why there are sometimes large transaction fees, especially with PayPal.
  • 30:30 – How to ask your supplier to refund sample fees once you place a larger order.
  • 31:20 – When first vetting suppliers, what essential questions do you ask every time? And which ones are deal breakers?
  • 33:45 – Once you’re happy with your samples, then let’s talk about customs, freight forwarding, how to get your inventory, do you send to yourself, or to FBA? What’s the process?
  • 35:00 – Manuel’s rule of thumb for calculating landing price to FBA warehouse. Tips for shipping directly to FBA.
  • 37:30 – Pretend you are starting over tomorrow. What niches do you think look most promising? What do you wish you were in now?
  • 38:50 – The niche Manuel thinks is really promising in the future.
  • 40:45 – All about China’s giant expos, Canton fair, and other niche fairs in order to find trends and new products.
  • 43:20 – What’s an interesting trend that you’ve noticed from within the supplier industry in China that most people outside don’t know about?
  • 46:40 – What’s one weird lifestyle habit / skill you’ve gained which you think helps you as an entrepreneur?

Hope you enjoy this podcast and would love to hear your feedback in the comment section below.

Please share on social media if you have the chance :)

All the best and happy sourcing,

Manuel

CE Steele pl v

Private labels & packaging differences

Private labels & packaging differences

 

Introduction

The obvious and most profitable way to create sales is a private label with a nice packaging.

In German we say “Eine gute Verpackung ist die halbe Miete” which literally translated means “ A nice packaging is half the rent” or in other words with a nice packaging you “win half the battle”.

Meaning that a nice packaging will convince your customers to buy your product by 50% already. That saying even goes when you are selling online and your customers won’t even see your packaging.

BUT say you sell online and your customer receives your item and he sees the nice packaging he sure will give a better review just because the packaging is nice already.

Note: Even if you sell online, you should put a picture (high resolution) or even a 3D-rendering picture amongst your product listing so that customers can see your packaging.

It is even easier if you sell offline (in retail stores). Just think about it, how often have you made a decision buying a product because the packaging was nice.

Look at Apple’s packaging.

Nice and clean, no fancy colors, UV coating (the logo and product), clear and to the point descriptions with high resolution photos. They got me, I buy their products also based on their packaging.

Now lets look at the different options in packaging’s.

 

Differences in Packaging

 

You basically have 3 options:

– Private label packaging (color box or white box with private label sticker)

– No name packaging

– White box

 

Private label packaging:

Read more

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4 ways to avoid being scammed by a supplier

The most asked questions I get are “how to avoid being scammed by a supplier” or “how do I make sure this supplier is legit?

To be honest with you the easiest way to make 100% sure is to go visit the factory but I realise that most of you won’t be able to do so.

The goods news is there are ways to figure out if a supplier is legit or not without going to China. The bad news is that some of these options will cost you some money.

Here are my four proven ways of researching a supplier. I will go into detail for each one of them.

1) Factory audits

2) Alibaba research

3) Certificates & reports

4) Skype call

 

1) Factory audits

A factory audit is where you hire a Third-Party Inspection Company to conduct an audit at the factory’s facilities.

This way you can make 100% sure your supplier is legit.

Be aware that not all factories allow you to perform an audit at the location which is in turn already a huge red flag.

If they are willing to undergo an audit straight away it is a good sign already. You don’t necessarily need to perform an audit but announcing to a supplier before you order that you will conduct an audit already gives you some idea on what your supplier is up to.

Lets take a look at the procedure when booking a factory audit. There are many Third-Party Inspection companies out there and I mention them in a few posts (TUV, SGS, Bureau Veritas etc.) but I always use Asiainspection because they are efficient, cost effective and reliable. There are companies out there who charge half the price but you don’t have a convenient interface/dashboard online that lets you do the booking trough their system. Most of the cheaper Inspection Companies have only email/phone conversation bookings available.

Lets take a look at how you can book an audit with a factory online trough Asiainspection.

Login into your account and click on “BOOK NOW” and then click on “Factory Audit”. This is how it looks like:

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.04.28 am

 

 

 

Next thing is you need to start inputing general information such as your reference, the requested audit date etc.

You also need to let them know if this is a first audit or re-audit. Then they will take extra care for issues that you can input later.

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.05.26 am

 

 

 

 

In the next mask you input the factory’s detail, contacts and addresses where you want the Inspector to go. The system also stores this information and makes it easier for you next time you want to audit or book some inspection at this factory.

Read more

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Do you have what it takes to start your import? 10 steps reality check

Starting your business from the scratch is not as easy as you might think. Trust me, I have been there.

Even if a friend of yours has a successful importing company and he is making millions, at some point he was probably close to bankruptcy and did not know what to do next.

Everyone starts off the same way; there is no get-rich-quick scheme that works. Well, none that I know. Your expecations are often not what reality will have in store for you.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Especially when you’ve been working on your project for months with no results.

For me, the less money I had the more creative I got.

I was thinking of ways to make money I had not thought of before but at a certain point it was suddenly so clear to me. Things started to roll and I wish I had a guide to tell me what to do.

With the IMPORT BIBLE and the following checklist you have a guide on what you need to consider and questions you should ask yourself.

1) Do you have it in you?

  • Are you motivated enough?
  • Are you ready to work longer hours than ever before?
  • Do you have real passion about your project/business?
  • Do you have the financial means to pull this off?

If you answered any of the above questions with NO then it probably isn’t the right time to start your own business.

2) Reality Check

Don’t fool yourself; having your own company is the hardest work there is:

  • No guaranteed salary at the end of the month.
  • No one is there to push you or give you directions.
  • Are you organized enough?

I hope you realize that from now on you will work harder than ever to achieve financial success.

3) Experience & Resources

  • Are you experienced enough in your industry?
  • Do you have the technical and basic skills to succeed?

Read more

sport dv

Alibaba Hacks: The most efficient way to find suppliers on the biggest sourcing website

Get some insights how to sort, filter and find suppliers in the most efficient way.

Watch the video for all details or read the article below to understand the process.

Never miss any updates. Subscribe to our newsletter now.

Today you want to source for an action camera, similar to the GoPro cameras.

You can start by going to the main page of Alibaba.com and input “action camera” in the search option.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.31.50 pm

Ok, so you found 106,946 products. At this point you want to filter your results for the most relevant suppliers. You will definitely want the suppliers to be:

Gold suppliers:

This is a paid membership from Alibaba for the supplier. They get featured and can put up a lot more items in their catalogue (among other functions).

Onsite Checked:

The onsite operation of the factory has been checked by Alibaba and a third party confirmed its legal existence.

Assessed suppliers:

This is a third-party assessment usually done through a testing company to verify various parts of the company. This includes machinery, staff, engineers, workers, certification, and much more.

After you have filtered for this you are down to 8,258 products:

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.32.26 pm

Insider tip:

Now you filter down to the relevant manufacturing province. Why? Because each province in China is specific for different product categories.

Read more

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Alibaba Hacks: The most efficient way to find suppliers on the biggest sourcing website

Get some insights how to sort, filter and find suppliers in the most efficient way.

Watch the video for all details or read the article below to understand the process.

Today you want to source for an action camera, similar to the GoPro cameras.

You can start by going to the main page of Alibaba.com and input “action camera” in the search option.

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.31.50 pm

 

Ok, so you found 106,946 products. At this point you want to filter your results for the most relevant suppliers. You will definitely want the suppliers to be:

Gold suppliers:

This is a paid membership from Alibaba for the supplier. They get featured and can put up a lot more items in their catalogue (among other functions).

Onsite Checked:

The onsite operation of the factory has been checked by Alibaba and a third party confirmed its legal existence.

Assessed suppliers:

This is a third-party assessment usually done through a testing company to verify various parts of the company. This includes machinery, staff, engineers, workers, certification, and much more.

After you have filtered for this you are down to 8,258 products:

 

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 2.32.26 pm

 

Insider tip:

Now you filter down to the relevant manufacturing province. Why? Because each province in China is specific for different product categories.

If you find a few suppliers (compared to hundreds in other provinces) on Alibaba in a certain region it is almost 100% certain they are a trading company. They either buy this certain product from somewhere else to round up their product catalogue (95% in all cases) or they are really manufacturing it.

But even if they are manufacturing it in their region they are likely less attractive in terms of prices, less experienced in manufacturing this product and their raw material suppliers are also somewhere far away. Ultimately making them less competitive.

There are several reasons why you will find suppliers for a specific product settled within a province.

  • The infrastructure for this product is good. Meaning there are a lot of suppliers in the area supplying components for the suppliers end-product
  • The workers in this area are skilled in producing this specific product. Making it easier to manufacture the end-product. Most likely, this also improves the overall quality.
  • The province has favourable tax rates for the factory on certain products.

Now lets look at this again. Even though you didn’t know the province and where the product is mainly manufactured you can get some insights on this very easily:

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samples

Sample communication with your suppliers. An in-depth guide

I ll cover three topics in this post about sample management:

  • Sample costs
  • Communication
  • Supervision

Sample costs

Once you have settled on a supplier for your new product it is time to purchase a sample.

Most suppliers will charge you for sending a sample. There is usually no way around this unless you have worked with the supplier for a longer time.

Even for me, being here and dealing with suppliers on a daily basis I can’t guarantee that I don’t have to pay for a sample.

Here are some Insider tips to “try” to get a sample for free.

  • Introduce yourself as an assistant of a large company. Suppliers tend to smell money when a large company is interested and are more likely to give away samples for free.
  • State that if the sample is OK you will place a large order
  • State that you have especially chosen this supplier to be your exclusive supplier for this product and he has the chance now to do business with you.
  • Ask him to put the sample cost on top of the official order that may follow if the sample is what you are looking for.
  • State that it is company policy that you/your company don’t pay for samples and if he wishes to do business he should agree to your sample terms.
  • Split the costs. Offer to pay for either the samples or the freight costs.

If none of these work I recommend you to agree with the supplier to deduct the sample costs from the official (larger) order. At least this way you save the sample costs if you decide to order from this particular supplier.

Be wary of sample costs in general

On one occasion I was sourcing for a textile accessory. The item itself can be made for approx 2 USD.

I screened around 10 suppliers and eventually narrowed my selection down to 5 suppliers. They were all in a similar price range.

When it came down to ordering samples one of the suppliers (who was also the most expensive) asked me for a sample fee of 100 USD to be transferred to his bank account. That didn’t make sense.

I immediately knew it must be a trading company with no factory background.

They probably outsource the work to a factory because they have no own facilities. Eliminate suppliers that have high sample costs right in the beginning.

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Advantages doing business in China

So why should you visit China or do business there? Honestly, so many reasons! Here are 8 reasons for you:

1) You will want to see the production and how your product is being made. It’s a great experience.

 

2) If you want to develop your own products you may want to do so in person with the factory.

It may be difficult to handle trough email.
Details are often misread or misunderstood in emails, especially when they are of a technical reason. A simple meeting with a supplier can solve many problems and obstacles.

 

3) See the real factories and not the trading companies behind Alibaba’s “curtain”.

 

4) Meet the people you have solely been dealing over email so far.

Get to know each other and perhaps even become friends.

 

5) Get the best prices and negotiate prices one on one. Believe me, negotiating with someone face to face will get you further than any email.
Over the phone or email I have been told so many times that this is the last price they can do. Being at the factory a few days later and convincing him in person that I need this price and his business depends on it made him agree.
This also applies to claims & compensations

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