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Sites like Alibaba – Global Sources

Sites like Alibaba - Globalsources

Sites like Alibaba - Globalsources

By Manuel Becvar
By Manuel Becvar

Table of Contents

Introduction

You are probably asking yourself if there are sites like Alibaba. Yes – there are! And one of them is Globalsources. The oldest (and most professional) supplier directory in China.

There are several sites that are 100% legitimate and similar to Alibaba. Such as:

  1. DHgate

  2. Made-in-China

  3. HKTDC

  4. 1688 (only available in Chinese and catered to the domestic Chinese market)

And of course Globalsources. Personally I prefer Globalsources because I’ve also exhibited there myself as a supplier before (review here).

The other sites are absolutely legitimate as well but I have not used them much myself. Partly also because the supplier and product selection on Alibaba and Globalsources is just 10 if not 100 times as big and they’ve been on the market the longest.

I’ve made a review of Alibaba here, you can check it out

Hence I’ve also made a review of Globalsources in a video-screencast which you can find below. I hope it helps you navigate the site better. 

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. 

Happy sourcing,

Manuel 

 

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Sample communication with your suppliers. An in-depth guide

Sample communication with your suppliers. An in-depth guide

Sample communication with your suppliers. An in-depth guide (including template)

By Manuel Becvar
By Manuel Becvar

Table of Contents

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

  • Sample costs

  • Communication

  • Supervision

  • Remote sample approval

Disclaimer: Some of the products may contain an affiliate link and we may make a commission if you click on it at no additional costs to you.

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.

private label packaging
Time to get your private label sample

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.

HOWEVER, samples are usually 10-50% more expensive than the originally quoted price. It is a common practice to charge more for samples, as many of the samples need to be handmade for the customer, especially if you have some sort of modification request. So if you get quoted 100$ for a sample while the actual product cost may only be 5$ – don’t panic. This is completely normal. 

Another reason why samples are usually more expensive than the quoted price is that they want to see if you are serious & sincere about placing a larger order later.

I can tell you that from my own experience as a manufacturer. I get about 5 sample requests per week and all of them want it for free. If a buyer is not willing to pay for a sample I won’t send it to him because I will be thinking he just wants to get a sample and there will be no follow up order.

Sometimes suppliers have stock of their items. If you do not need to have any modifications done, or you just want to check the quality before asking for more, request a sample they have in stock. If they have stock, they usually charge the regular (MOQ) price.

Generally you also need to be aware of freight costs when sending samples. Even a small package like 1-3KGS (2-6lbs) can easily cost 50$ or more to the US for example. I recommend that you check out FedEx as their rates are usually the most competitive. 

Communication

In 17 years I have learned to communicate with Chinese suppliers in different ways compared to communicating with Western companies.

What is being said or promised on the phone/chat or email is not always being followed by the factory or the supplier. Often you will find that something you said or agreed on is being done completely different.

For example you ordered a sample of a certain product in a certain color & quantity but what you receive is completely different from what you asked/paid for.

Unfortunately the chain of command in factories is not always direct. So when your sales contact gives your sample order to his sample or engineering team there may be 2 or 3 people in between.

In between often some information gets lost. So eventually the person responsible for making your sample will receive different instructions that deviate from your original briefing. Often there will be no meetings held on projects from clients (like we are used to in the western world), but rather a quick email to another person that has not fully understood what you actually want or need.

Often there will be no message or notification that your project may be urgent or requires special attention. That might be a simple instruction, for example telling the sample team to make the sample with a US plug or adapter. No one has told the sample team and common sense is unfortunately not requested when being a worker in the factory.

Which brings us to:

Supervision

I can’t stress enough how important it is to supervise & monitor your order/samples or other projects that you have with your supplier.

Westerners work differently. We are more detailed and we expect people to have the same common sense that most of us have.

Information will get lost. You need to plan for it.

After each discussion on the phone/chat or email you should follow up with written and agreed on-points. Try to think of everything FOR the supplier and make it as easy as possible for him to follow up & complete your instructions.

Give him a “goodie” at the end of the email to advise him of the potential to be working with you.

For example (content in BLUE are my notes for you):

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the talk just now. I would like to summarize the discussed points:

– Sample to be sent to ……. (your address)
– Sample needs to be in working mode. A non-working sample is not accepted, as the sample will undergo quality tests by my third party laboratory. (this part doesn’t need to be true but he will think twice before sending you a sample in poor condition)
– Sample needs to have a US plug (attach him a picture of a US plug-make it easy for him)
– Please make sure the sample is tested on your side before being sent out.
– Please attach your model number & supplier name-tag to the sample as I am getting many samples and would like to know who sent which sample. (this way you will not lose reference of which supplier made your sample if you order from more than one)
– Make sure you mention “samples of no commercial value” to the Sample Invoice (in order to avoid customs tax on samples at your destination).
– Etc.

Please give me a written confirmation of all discussed points and your understanding.

If the sample works out well and everything is as it is agreed on, expect an order of… pcs.

Best,
…..

Here a few more tips on communication & supervision with your supplier:

  • Give deadlines to suppliers that you both agreed on.

  • Set yourself reminders on your smart phone/computer that will help you to remind your supplier.

  • Make simple sketches & drawings of your requests if the supplier misunderstands you.

  • Have him confirm each step of your modification or request

  • Keep emails clear and with bullet points to make your requests stand out

For example I had difficulties in explaining my suppliers on a recent product that I developed what I would like to have changed. It wasn’t easy to explain via email or phone so I made him a simple drawing on a print out what I would like to have done:

Besides sending the drawing I explained in the email what needed to be done and I eventually got my correct sample after a few days.

If the supplier has completed the new sample, you could also ask your supplier to do a video call via Skype with you with the newly manufactured sample before he sends it out to avoid wasting more money & time.

Remote sample inspection

Alternatively you can also hire a third-party inspection company such as QIMA to have your sample inspected. This might come in handy in 2 cases: 
 
  • You’ve either already ordered a sample and now want to have a pre-production sample checked by quality inspectors. AND avoid another high cost for sample sending. 

  • Or you want to avoid time delays and high sample costs. 

  • Plus, the inspection company can take this sample to the final inspection to check if the production is exactly the same as the approved sample of yours. (why you ALWAYS need inspections is covered in this post).

Once you have a feeling on what you need to pay attention to it gets a lot easier and your sample orders in China will be a lot smoother.

I hope this helps!

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Read More »

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up for ImporDojo and get our free eBook “The Import Bible” – the complete starter guide to importing from China. As well as updates on blog posts and news around the eCommerce world. We’ll never spam and you can unsubscribe any time – its FREE to subscribe! 

TRAINER

How I started my own private label brand

How I started my own private label brand

How I started my own private label brand in 2015

By Manuel Becvar
By Manuel Becvar

When I created Mandarin-Gear I had a vision of creating a brand that will be recognized as affordable and high quality. But I was also in need of more customers and make them trust in “Chinese quality products”. I needed a product and a brand that customers could trust in terms of quality, service & follow up.

The idea was to be inexpensive but still offer high quality products.

When I decided on consumer electronics I looked at the manufacturers and what they offered. There were a few that had quality-products but lacked the marketing and sales part to become bigger or attract more customers. They were sitting back and waiting for customers to come. They also created products that didn’t fit the market. Apart from the standard items that sold well, they had a few innovative products but the finishing and quality was often poor or not attractive for big buyers.

So I started to talk to 1 of my suppliers about my idea and what I wanted to do. I didn’t want him to OEM or design something for me. I took his existing product and wanted to make it better and sell it myself. So the next step was to think on how to achieve that.

I didn’t have enough money to invest in designs, new tooling and heavy marketing. BUT, I could take the suppliers product and make it more attractive for buyers.

Proud owner

Disclaimer: Some of the products may contain an affiliate link and we may make a commission if you click on it at no additional costs to you.

Here is what I did as my first project, a Bluetooth speaker branded with my own private label:

– I requested to change the color of the product to a more appealing one

– I requested the outer material to be rubber finish

– I asked them for the added cost using a better driver & speaker to have better sound

– I asked my friend to create a layout/packaging for me based on my ideas. I knew nice packaging is effective.

– I prepared presentations & a PDF with nice photos and detailed descriptions

– I revised the instruction manual with proper content and grammar

When I thought about the packaging I wanted something that really stands out and people would love. So one day I went out grocery shopping and grabbed a product from a shelve in the store and saw the “nutrition facts” on the back of the packaging. 

This was something that could work! I gave the idea to my lay outing company and asked them to put the “nutrition facts” of my electronic product on the packaging. I put the essential technical information on it and came up with a few fun facts too. I also wanted it to be matte finish, so it looks like real high-end packaging.  Here is how it looks like on my products:

All this cost me little but I had a much more presentable product already. I took this step and did it for about 10 products which made my first catalogue. The catalogue you will find under this link is the current and updated one of 2015.

It really astonishes me that Chinese suppliers have so little knowledge of western trends and how customers perceive their products. The first sample I saw of that Bluetooth speaker looked so cheap because it was shiny plastic finishing.  When it came to my finishing I was really happy with the idea to have rubber finish. It gave the product a completely new look and impression of high quality.

Remember, this was all on paper. I didn’t actually ask the supplier for a new color sample, change the finishing, improve the sound quality or print my packaging. But, I did have to cover all these steps in theory to see if I can find customers based on my modifications. I did however ask for the costs for every process. Be it the color box print, the upgrade of the components for the product or the MOQ (minimum order quantity) needed for my specific color. When I got the first feedback from customers I made samples.

This process applies to pretty much every product. Be it a household appliance, fitness product, clothing, tool or whatever. The products are ready, but there are so many options to make a much nicer product out of an existing item. Think outside the box.

Look at a product from a supplier and think about what it would take for you as a consumer to buy it. But remember to keep it realistic and not to change the entire product in the process, probably involving too high extra costs.

This was the easy part. Now I needed to make sales.

Note: I did have help on the layout part because they usually charge for this kind of service. But you can ask your factory to make a layout for you. They should do it for free. Just give them your ideas and guide him until you are happy with the result.

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Read More »

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up for ImporDojo and get our free eBook “The Import Bible” – the complete starter guide to importing from China. As well as updates on blog posts and news around the eCommerce world. We’ll never spam and you can unsubscribe any time – its FREE to subscribe! 

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About the author

About the author

About the author

By Manuel Becvar
By Manuel Becvar

My name is Manuel and I was born in Austria in a little town called Melk. Asia has always fascinated me, ever since I can remember. I remember watching Bruce Lee and other Chinese movies as a kid and I always wanted to travel to the Far East.

My professional career started in 1998 when I worked for Austria’s biggest DIY retailer Baumax.

I moved to Hong Kong in 2005 when I was offered a position as an intern at their sourcing office in Hong Kong, with a staff over 200 people.

For the next 10 years I worked with some of the biggest retailers in the world, developing, sourcing, and finding new products for them. These retailers included: Metro, Rewe, OBI, Carrefour, Tesco, Wal-Mart, Amazon, Auchan, Lowes, Sears, Home Depot, and many others.

As you can imagine, the big retailers expect their products to do more than just conform to standards and regulations when they purchase them in Asia. They need to be of the highest standard and quality. These retailers cannot afford to have a product recalled due to quality problems or defective components. These products need to be top-notch.

In those 10 years I got to know all about the standards and product requirements, and additionally I gained a lot of experience and insight working with factories in China.

Not just that. I learned a lot about China, its culture, and its manufacturing facilities:

  • Where and how to find the best suppliers

  • How to negotiate and communicate with them

  • How to arrange business travel for my customers

  • And a lot more…

In the busiest seasons (April and October), I accompanied up to 30 buyers a month to exhibitions, factories, and showrooms to help negotiate, develop products, and follow up on the buyer’s requests after they were gone. I got to know all the tips and tricks for a successful trip to China..

When I eventually started my own company (Mandarin-Gear) I realised that many of my clients had no ideas about importing from China. I began to write a small guideline which quickly turned into a 65 page eBook – “The Import Bible”.

As my business grew and more and more people wanted more in-depth information on the subject I created ImportDojo. ImportDojo today offers you various help for free (eBook, blog) and also in the form of a paid course. The ImportDojo Masterclass. This course is aimed at making you a professional importer in a few days, using what took me over 10 years to learn.This course is a step-by-step guide walking you through the process of importing goods from China from the beginning to the end.

The aim is to take away all your worries and doubts and help you to take your business to the next level!

Do you still worry about your importing business sometimes? Wouldn’t it be nice to have it run like you have been running it for a long long time already?

Of course it would. Business feels great once routine settles in. This is exactly the point I want to get you to and with this case study you can see a complete product launch that starts from finding the right product, the right supplier and shipping it to Amazon, promoting and selling it.

Every little step is documented with a video (over 50 video tutorials) in my newest Case Study that shows my screen and you can even listen to me talking to suppliers.

Best thing about this, I’m using my own money and will try a lot of different things so you can see what works and what doesn’t and learn all this without running your own trial and error experiments.

If you don’t sell yet, simply sit back and watch the whole process and you can leave all your worries and anxiety behind.

Feel confident to launch your own business and become financially independent or simply make your existing import business more efficient. This is it! Can’t be easier!

Starting with Alibaba, you’ll get to know about importing procedures, dealing with factories, finding your products, inspecting and shipping your goods, and finding out what legal import requirements your products need.

Where am I now? Besides operating this course I run a consumer products company that provides the latest gadgets and products to customers all around the world. You can check me out at: https://manuelbecvar.com / https://importdojo.com

 
At the Amazon Business Bestseller Congress 2018

Interviews and appearances around the net: 

HELIUM 10 PODCAST INTERVIEW

Privatelabeljourney (Podcast interview in German)

Privatelabeljourney (Guest post in German)

FBA Allstars (Podcast I did for FBAAllstars)

Globalfromasia (Podcast interview I did for Globalfromasia.com)

Sourcefindasia (Podcast interview I did for SourceFindAsia)

AmazingFBA (Podcast Interview for AmazingFBA 1 of 2)

AmazingFBA (Podcast Interview for AmazingFBA 2 of 2)

I have also been featured on a couple of prominent sites like webretailer.com:

http://www.webretailer.com/lean-commerce/sourcing-trip-china/

http://www.webretailer.com/lean-commerce/ecommerce-predictions-2017/#/

and mywifequitherjob.com:

http://mywifequitherjob.com/manuel-becvar-import-dojo/

Public Speaking

I was invited to speak at the Global Sources Sourcing Summit in April & October 2016 as well as April 2017: https://smartchinasourcingsummit.instapage.com/

Global Sources Sourcing Summit October 2016:

I spoke again at the Global Sources Sourcing Summit in October 2016. You can view the video here: https://www.facebook.com/globalsources/videos/10154589512079785

At the Sellersummit 2017 in Fort Lauderdale, Floria, US. 

I spoke about launching a product on Amazon and the entire Sourcing process that comes along with it at the Privatelabeldays 2016 in Hamburg, Germany:

Privatelabeldays 2016 (Germany’s largest Amazon Seller Conference):

http://privatelabeldays.de/

Amazon Business Academy Meeting in 2019, Innsbruck, Austria. 

Starting my independent sourcing operation

I also run a sourcing operation together with my business partner over at Asiainwest.

We can help you with a variety of things. Among them a la carte sourcing, full service sourcing, photography, sample consolidation and lots more: https://importdojo.com/sourcing/

On this website you will also find:

  • 100+ video tutorials of

  • Secrets to importing from China

  • Entirely free lessons & advice

  • Weekly updates with tips & tricks to importing, private labels and much more

I hope you enjoy reading all details and invite you to become part of our community. I hope it will help you the same way it has helped many others.

Enjoy,
Manuel

You might also like

Blog Updates
Manuel

Is Alibaba safe?​

The most asked question I get are “how to avoid being scammed by a supplier” or “how do I make sure this supplier is legit”? Especially on platforms like Alibaba – the biggest of its kind. This begs the question, is Alibaba safe? 

Read More »

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Sign up for ImporDojo and get our free eBook “The Import Bible” – the complete starter guide to importing from China. As well as updates on blog posts and news around the eCommerce world. We’ll never spam and you can unsubscribe any time – its FREE to subscribe! 

ImportDojo

Contact Info

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