Our best articles on finding manufacturers, using Alibaba and other sourcing sites, ensuring product quality, and complying with regulations
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 and grouped them into four sections:
- Finding suppliers from China and beyond
- To Alibaba or not to Alibaba?
- Getting the best out of your suppliers
- Product quality and compliance
Step-by-step tips on buying from Alibaba, from finding suppliers and sending RFQs, to making a shortlist and using communication channels.
This post is by Gary Huang, founder of 80/20 Sourcing and an online seller on Amazon, eBay and Shopify since 2004.
As a private label business owner or ecommerce store owner, when you want to source a product from China the first thing that comes to mind is buying from Alibaba, right? Not so fast…
Alibaba certainly is the largest online directory of suppliers. However I always say that Alibaba is like the yellow pages. And there are hundreds of thousands of suppliers on there. And there will be the good, the bad, and the ugly.
So how do you separate the scammers and trading companies from the straight-shooting direct factories?
I’ve been based in China since 2008 and have worked with hundreds of Chinese suppliers. Alibaba is one of the tools I’ve used to source reliable suppliers, so I’d like to share some of my do’s and don’ts and help you buy from Alibaba successfully.
Ensure the quality is up to scratch when working with factories in China, with this product inspection primer for ecommerce businesses.
This post is by Blair Quane, Director of Remote Control CEO.
Most consumer goods are now made in China, from plastic toys for dollar stores to the latest iPhones for Apple. Chinese factories make products for brands and retailers of every type.
When you are having products made in China for your own business, how do you know if you are getting iPhone quality or dollar store quality? How can you make sure standards are consistent across different production runs? How do you know that the goods are being handled and packaged properly?
Unfortunately, you can’t really know these things unless you are standing in the factory all day, looking over their shoulder. What you can do is arrange an independent inspection to check that the products are being made to your specification, then take action if the quality is not what it should be.
We look at the best U.S. and U.K. websites for sourcing liquidation and clearance stock, with tips for buying profitable lots to sell online
Liquidation and clearance websites can look very profitable. On the face of it, you can purchase goods at huge discounts. But it’s risky too. Sometimes you are given very little information about the goods – or their condition – and you could end up with a truckload of items with little or zero resale value.
Research is key. Which are the best places to buy from? How do they work? What are the differences between them? How can you find good products and maximize your chances of success?
In this article I will discuss how clearance and liquidation websites work and discuss the best ones available in the U.S. and U.K. I have only included those which:
- Sell liquidation stock such as customer returns and excess inventory
- Sell business to business only, not to consumers
- Offer online browsing and buying
The sites are listed in alphabetical order. At the end, I’ll explain some common problems with buying liquidation stock, and give some useful buying tips.
Michael Anderson reveals how to build a hands-free dropshipping empire on Amazon through automation and integration
This post is by Michael Anderson the CEO and co-founder of Etail Solutions, a SaaS sales and supply chain management platform.
The dropshipping business model is tough and it can be a difficult one to make profitable. Despite getting wholesale pricing, your product costs are likely to be the same as many other sellers, if not more.
In addition, suppliers will charge a per-order fee ranging from $2 to $10 for storage, shipping and handling. By the time these costs have been factored in, sellers all too often find themselves in uncompetitive positions, very close to being unprofitable.
But, as you’re about to discover, there is a way to make the dropshipping business model work. In fact, a few dropshippers have turned this highly competitive, low-margin model into lucrative seven-figure-per-month businesses that practically run by themselves!
In this article, you’ll find out what it takes from an operations standpoint, to go from a handful of SKUs to a hands-free dropshipping empire. You’ll discover how to leverage integration and automation to drive up sales and purchasing volume at the same time as driving down costs.