How To Buy Inventory On Alibaba
Updated: Mar 10
Alright, fellow e-commerce trailblazers, let's talk about one of the most crucial decisions you'll face when starting your business - finding a reliable supplier. Now, I know it might seem like a no-brainer to head on over to Alibaba and start browsing their listings. But hold up, 'cause there's a catch. Almost 50% of those listings are added by traders who like to inflate prices and sell to you at a premium. And let me tell you, that's not gonna do wonders for your profits.
So, what's the solution? You gotta identify the actual supplier on Alibaba, my friends. And that's no small feat, let me tell you. You gotta do your research, ask the right questions, and make sure you're not getting taken for a ride. Plus, you gotta ensure that the product you're ordering matches the quality advertised on the platform. It's a lot to juggle, but trust me, it's worth it.
And hey, if you're interested in getting a sample before you commit to a full order, that's a smart move. But make sure you understand the process first. There's a lot to consider, from the cost to the timing to the shipping logistics. And let's not forget about private labeling, packaging, and barcoding services - those are all options that many Alibaba suppliers offer, and they can really elevate your business to the next level.
So, bottom line - when it comes to choosing the right supplier for your e-commerce business, there's a lot to consider. But fear not, my friends, 'cause I've got your back. Keep reading, and I'll give you all the helpful insights you need to navigate this complex world like a pro.
Finding “real” suppliers
A crucial factor you gotta consider when evaluating a manufacturing business in China - the name of their business. That's right, folks, in China, the name of the supplier's business carries major significance. So, what should you be looking for? Well, it's simple - make sure the name includes one of the four coastal cities where most exports originate from. Those cities are your key to success, my friends.
Why is that, you ask? Well, it all comes down to shipping costs. If you purchase from manufacturers or traders located inland, you're gonna be hit with some serious shipping costs that can really eat into your profits. But by sticking to coastal cities, you can minimize those costs and streamline the import process. And trust me, that's gonna make a world of difference in the long run.
So, when you're searching for suppliers on Alibaba or other similar platforms, keep this in mind. Don't get swayed by flashy listings or impressive-sounding names. Stick to those coastal cities, and you'll be well on your way to success in the world of e-commerce.
When evaluating a supplier's business on Alibaba, it is recommended to look for businesses located in one of China's four coastal provinces: Guangdong, Jiangsu, Shandong, or Zhejiang. Next, examine the supplier's profile and identify their business type, which is usually specified on Alibaba. There are two primary business types to consider: manufacturers and trading companies.
It's worth noting that a trading company may operate as a small business in a rented office, as indicated by the listed street address on their profile. In such cases, they may not be involved in large-scale production of commodities. Hence, it's crucial to carefully scrutinize these details before finalizing a vendor.
By taking these factors into account, you can opt for a vendor that is more likely to furnish the caliber and quantity of products that your e-commerce enterprise necessitates.
Trading enterprises commonly acquire commodities from fabricators and resell them to patrons. They accumulate profits by inflating the product's value. Nonetheless, you can circumvent this supplementary expense by transacting directly with the fabricator.
To spot producers on Alibaba, search for vendors whose business variety is indicated as "manufacture" on their profile. Another approach to detect fabricators is through their corporeal configuration. They incline to have more extensive infrastructures and specialized machines to create commodities.
When evaluating a producer, pay scrupulous attention to their commodity catalogues and depictions. This will endow you with a conception of the commodities and procedures they concentrate on. By transacting straightforwardly with the fabricator, you can eliminate the middleman and conserve finances, thereby augmenting your e-commerce enterprise's profitability.
Price And Seller
Alright, so you've found a supplier for your product, now it's time to get down to brass tacks and negotiate the price. The thing is, you want to make sure you're getting a competitive price, because even just a small discount of one measly dollar can save you boatloads of cash on each and every order. And let's face it, that's cash that's going right into your back pocket every single month.
But hold up, cowboy, before you start hammering out the details, you gotta make sure you come in strong with a killer opening message. You can't just go straight for the jugular, you gotta play it cool and take it slow. Start by buttering them up a bit, tell 'em how happy you are to meet them and how impressed you are with the quality of their product. But then hit 'em with the hard truth - their price is just too damn high.
Here's where the real negotiation begins. You gotta name your target price, which should be a couple of dollars lower than the average price you've seen on Alibaba. Then ask them, with all the charm you can muster, how they can get closer to your target price. Some suppliers might try to play hardball and say they can't lower the cost, but that's fine. Just make sure the cost on Alibaba is accurate and that you've taken any customization into account.
Oh, and one last pro tip - do this negotiation at night if you're in the United States, because while it may be dark and gloomy outside for you, it's daytime and bright as hell over in China. That way, you can make sure you're getting their full attention when you need it most.
Alright, so you're in a hurry and you want to get those responses flying in faster than a bullet train. The trick here is to start the conversation at night, my friend. That way, when you hit that "Contact Supplier" or "Chat Now" button, you'll get those answers back at lightning speed.
Once you're in the conversation with your supplier, it's gonna be smooth sailing from there. You'll come straight out of the gate and ask them to lower the price, and they'll either say yes or no. And hey, if they say no, that's okay, you can just move on to the next supplier and keep the ball rolling.
But if they do say yes, well then, you're in business! Now, you might wanna ask them about the cost of shipping a sample over to the United States. That way, you can get a better sense of the overall cost and make sure you're not getting ripped off.
So remember, start that chat at night, ask them to lower the price, and get those samples shipped over faster than a cat on a hot tin roof.
You will tell them that you would like them to prepare a sample order for you and send you the "PI" so that you can pay. Before you pay for the sample, you should ask them to send another "PI" for the first inventory order. Make sure their price for the first order is the same as what you negotiated before you pay for the sample. Otherwise they will raise the price once you're ready to order your inventory.
Listen up, my friend, if you're serious about this e-commerce game, you gotta be willing to put in the work. That means ordering not one, not two, but at least three or four different samples from different manufacturers. Trust me, you don't wanna put all your eggs in one basket, 'cause if that one sample ends up being a dud, you'll be stuck in a months-long nightmare of ordering sample after sample from different suppliers.
But don't worry, this process doesn't have to be a drag. You can make it rigorous, fast, and complete all at the same time. In fact, you might even wanna talk to several suppliers all at once during the same evening. That way, you can compare and contrast their offerings and make sure you're getting the best deal possible.
But here's the thing, if those suppliers aren't responding to you right away, well then they're probably not gonna respond to you later on down the line if you have an issue with their product. And that's a big red flag, my friend. So don't be afraid to move on from 'em and keep looking for that perfect supplier. After all, there are plenty of fish in the sea, and you're bound to find the right one if you keep casting your net wide enough.
Getting The Merchandise To Amazon
Once you've got your product all picked out, it's time to start thinking about your initial inventory order. And let me tell you, you don't wanna skimp on this one. In fact, I'd recommend ordering anywhere from 500 to 1,000 units to start with. Now, I know that might seem like a lot, but trust me, it's gonna be worth it in the long run.
Here's the thing, if you run out of inventory, you're gonna lose a whole lot of the progress that you made in the beginning. And on top of that, those sneaky hijackers might just swoop in and take over your listing. And nobody wants that, am I right?
So, make sure you're in it to win it, my friends. Don't start and stop, don't generate sales and then drop down to nothing. That's not just detrimental to your business, it's also something that Amazon doesn't like to see. So make sure you're keeping up that momentum and staying on top of your game.
And hey, when you're making that initial inventory order, why not go ahead and get your logo and graphics printed right on the packaging? Most suppliers will include this service if you're ordering over 1,000 units. And let me tell you, having those graphics all set and ready to go from the get-go is gonna be super important. So don't wait, get 'em printed and get 'em on there ASAP.
Let's talk barcodes, shall we? 'Cause trust me, this is some important stuff you don't wanna overlook. When it comes to barcodes, you're gonna need a separate one for each variation of your product. That means different colors, different sizes, you name it - if it's a variation, it needs a separate barcode.
And listen up, 'cause here's where things get really important. You gotta make sure you're providing the graphics for the packaging and the barcodes for each and every variation of your product when you're making that initial inventory order. And don't forget to specify that the packaging should be done individually for sale on Amazon FBA. Most manufacturers will be happy to do this for you, so you don't have to worry about dealing with an Amazon FBA preparation warehouse or service.
Now, here's where some people might get tripped up - you don't wanna send your inventory straight to Amazon's warehouse, especially not right off the bat. No sirree, you wanna have that inventory sent straight to your own house. That way, you can make sure everything is in order and ready to go before you send it off to Amazon. And hey, here's a pro tip for you - Amazon will even send a truck right to your house to pick up your inventory. How's that for convenience?
When you're ordering your inventory, you might think you're done paying once you've tallied up the sales price minus Amazon fees minus inventory costs. But hold your horses, 'cause there's more to it than that.
Here's what you gotta keep in mind - taxes and fees can add up fast, especially when you're importing stuff from China to the good ol' United States of America. And let me tell you, those fees don't mess around. Your inventory is gonna be held up at the port until you've paid up on those pesky "vat" fees. And what's a "vat," you ask? Well, it's basically a tax you gotta pay to get your stuff into the country. And let me tell you, it's not cheap.
So, how do you calculate these fees and make sure you're not caught off guard? Well, it's time to do some online research, my friends. You gotta search for your product's "HS code" and do your due diligence to find out exactly what it's gonna cost you. And remember, you gotta take into account factors like quantity, weight, and value. So buckle up and get ready to do some digging, 'cause the last thing you want is to get hit with unexpected fees and have your profits take a major hit.
Now, let's talk about sourcing agents. You might be tempted to hire one of these folks to take some of the pressure off, but here's the thing - be careful. Many sourcing agents come with a fee schedule that requires you to keep paying them to source your product. And that's not all, my friends. It's often the case that they won't even give you the source of the products they've manufactured. So you're left in the dark, with no idea how much they paid for it or where it even came from.
And here's the problem with that - if you want to take over the sourcing of your product, you're gonna have to go through this whole process all over again, without the help of your sourcing agent. So really, what's the point? You might as well skip the middleman and start this process on your own from the get-go.
Now, I know this whole thing can be intimidating. But trust me, you've got what it takes to handle it. So roll up your sleeves, get your research game on point, and dive into the world of e-commerce sourcing with confidence. You've got this!
At Amazon FBA Business In A Box, we will have a video call and screen share with you when we begin. You can be there when we talk to the manufacturer in the first place to order your samples, order your inventory, and create your graphics. We provide professional photography of your product and inspect your sample from right here in Asia. Dealing with that and taxes is our business. Don't try to do this alone. Higher us at FBAbusinessinabox.com today. We will help you set your business up in the next couple of days, then give you support and follow through for the next six weeks while you get your product and list it on Amazon’s website.
See us on YouTube to see how we recommend you get reviews. If you hire us to deliver the Business In A Box, we will include reviews on your product, brand registration, and coaching down the road so that you can be confident of overcoming any issues as they arrive. See you on the other side. Let's get this started!