Importing goods for sale is a profitable business model for many online sellers, but it is complex and can be a minefield of problems from poor product quality to shipments being held up at customs.
Many things can go wrong in the import/export process. There are several examples in private label seller Danny McMillan’s nightmare story about importing a shipment from China. Danny also covers everything he learned from the situation.
Thankfully, there is a wealth of knowledge and experience out there to help sellers import products from China. For this roundup we’ve selected our best importing articles.
Finding suppliers from China and beyond
China is the most common country for sellers to have products manufactured, often to sell under their own private label. The articles in this section cover how to find the right suppliers for your business, whether they are manufacturers, trading companies or sourcing companies.
To Alibaba or not to Alibaba?
For many sellers, when they want to source a product from China the first thing that comes to mind is Alibaba. Alibaba is the world’s largest online directory of Chinese suppliers, listing hundreds of thousands of factories and trading companies. The suppliers are not all vetted, so it includes the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Gary Huang is the creator of 80/20 Sourcing, teaching online sellers and small businesses how to find suppliers and import from China safely and effectively. In these articles Gary talks about how to use Alibaba wisely, and also how to find suppliers through other routes.
Getting the best out of your suppliers
Importing can be profitable and successful, but sellers often make big mistakes when dealing with their suppliers. Problems can be caused by not knowing who is responsible for what, not understanding the supplier’s position, and not knowing the product well enough to communicate clearly.
Mark Houng, a product sourcing expert based in Taiwan, has spent over 20 years helping businesses successfully import products from China. In this article he shares his top eleven myths about using Chinese suppliers.
One way to ensure your working relationship with your suppliers is healthy and profitable is to do a performance review. In this article, Gary Huang explains the benefits of applying an annual review strategy to your business relationships with your suppliers.
Product quality and compliance
Ensuring the products you import are of a high quality and meet the required health and safety standards is crucial to the success of your business.
In Private Label Product Liability: Don’t Get Burnt Importing from China!, Matt Thomas gives an overview of the alphabet soup of product regulations in the US.
The EU is something of an international superpower when it comes to product regulations. Our posts have included:
- Fredrik Gronkvist with a general overview of EU Product and Labeling Regulations.
- Ferry Vermeulen on the EU Declaration of Conformity: what it is, when you need one, and how you can draft and submit a compliant DoC.
- Fredrik Gronkvist again, on CE Marking for Private Labels and Brands: what CE marking is, what kind of products need CE marking, and who is responsible for compliance.
A product inspection can be an invaluable way to ensure quality and standards are consistent and your goods are being handled and packaged properly.
In this article Blair Quane discusses how to arrange an independent inspection to check that the products are being made to your specification, and how to take action if the quality is not what it should be.
That’s all for this roundup. I hope you’ve found it useful and I wish you the best of luck with your own importing projects.