As e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Shopify, and Jet continue to grow, third party sellers are looking for more products to source and sell online as well. By far, Alibaba is the largest available public China sourcing database of potential suppliers in the world. But with this massive online “city of factories”, comes potential risks and possible scams.
Alibaba, while still the 800 pound gorilla, has seen a bit of a decline in market share lately due to both competition and the fact that Taobao, an ecommerce platform owned by them was added to the “blacklist” by the United States Trade Representative arm of the government.
However, it has been a recurring theme with Alibaba, and when Jack Ma, Alibaba’s founder, boasted in 2014 that fakes were often “better quality and better price than the real names” — it didn’t exactly bode well for Alibaba’s chances of staying off the Blacklist
1. YOU are NOT the Main Alibaba's Main Customer
2. Avoid Non-Gold Member Suppliers
3. Avoid Sourcing Electronics
4. BEWARE: Alibaba Gold Member Status is for Purchase
For example, we have a whole post on the Trade Assurance designation and how it plays out in a real life experience.
5. Do Your Own Research
6. Do a Good Old Fashioned Reference Check
7. If Anything Feels "Off", Move on to Another Supplier
8. Validate Your Product First
One way to help ensure supplier integrity, quality, and viability is to first validate your product. Guided Imports offers a very cost effective way to get a full cost analysis and validation report for your prospective product.
9. Hire Professional Help
After spending dozens of hours just sourcing one product, many successful sellers realize one important fact: their time is money. They would rather spend that time building their brand and marketing their product than they would trying to figure out the Chinese sourcing, negotiating, manufacturing, and quality control puzzle. Thus, they hire a full service agency to handle every aspect of China sourcing.
We’ve been working with Chinese factories for a long time, and we recommend giving Jing Sourcing a shot for product sourcing.