If you are starting an online business and looking for a perfect supplier, chances are you have considered sourcing in Asia, particularly, buying from China. The reason China is very popular for overseas sourcing, mostly for new entrepreneurs and small businesses, is because of the lower manufacturing cost, very competitive prices, and high number of suppliers to choose from. In this post, we will guide you in shopping from the most popular China online shopping platform for businesses – Alibaba.com.
What is Alibaba.com?
If you are looking for a supplier in China, you may have come across with Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com is the leading platform for Global Wholesale Trade. Through its B2B trading platform, it connects millions of suppliers and buyers around the world. Small businesses can benefit from the vast network of High-Quality Global Suppliers trading in Alibaba.com, listing various products at factory prices.
How do you order from Alibaba on your own?
1. To buy products on Alibaba.com, search the products you are looking for on the search bar, type the specific product or any keyword associated with it.
What details to check out on product page?
Unit Price. First thing to check is the unit price. For the image above, a unit of this item ranges from $0.1-$3.5 per piece. This means that the product is being traded for as low as $0.1 to as high as $3.5 per piece, which varies depending upon the quantity of the item you are ordering. Thus, if you are buying online at MOQ, you will normally be charged at the maximum price.
Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ). MOQ is the minimum number you can place for a specific product. In the example, the manufacturer accepts a minimum of 100 pieces per transaction.
Seller Support. When sourcing with Alibaba.com, you have a choice whether to place an order online or to directly contact the supplier yourself. Placing your order online can help you track your orders and refund your payment if a dispute arises. It’s safer to shop with sellers which support Trade Assurance, a “free service” by Alibaba dedicated to instill trust between buyers and suppliers. Buyers will have recourse in the event of quality-related issues or shipping delay.
Examples of what’s covered are:
- You purchased 1,000 units but received 990 only
- You purchased 100 units of a specific device but 30 pieces do not work properly
- Your supplier agreed to offer CE certificate for your order, but failed to provide it
- The supplier fails to ship the goods on time, according to contract details
- The supplier ships the goods, but the delivery is later than the time specified in the contract
- The supplier ships the goods, but the goods are seized by customs due to supplier error
Payment Options. You can see on the product page the different payment options which the seller supports.
Contact Supplier. Click this button to send an inquiry to the supplier.
Chat Now. Click this button to chat with the supplier in real time using TradeManager.
Contact by Phone. Contact the supplier by phone using the number listed in the Contact Details section.
Here are few things to inquire when getting in touch with the supplier:
- Minimum Order Quantity
- Pricing for Samples
- Production Pricing
- Production Time
- Payment Terms
How can you safeguard yourself among scams and low quality products?
Check Supplier’s Profile. Alibaba supports a verification service which ensures sellers are legally registered companies. This is accomplished by Alibaba and/or by independent verification companies. Be sure to visit suppliers profile information to check verification status, e.g. A&V Check, Onsite Check, Assessed Supplier.
A&V Checked suppliers are Gold Suppliers who have passed authentication and verification inspection. If supplier is A&V Checked, all legal business licenses and contact persons are verified.
This is a verification process for China Gold Suppliers. The supplier’s company premises are checked by Alibaba.com’s staff to ensure that onsite operations exist in the location. Meanwhile, the suppliers’ legal status and other related information are confirmed by a third-party verification agency.
There is independent and impartial third-party verification of your prospective suppliers. This means Alibaba commissions several agencies based on their international reputation and proven credibility to test the claims made by suppliers. Assessed Supplier includes Assessment Reports, Verified Videos and Verified Main Products.
This means that the supplier has paid membership to host its store on Alibaba. Gold suppliers are also verified suppliers, and you can easily distinguish them among others with their Alibaba Gold Badge on their profile. The number in the badge represents the number of years the supplier has been operating on Alibaba.
Request Product Samples. If you have doubts about the quality of the product, it is best if you could contact the seller and ask if they can send you a product sample. It may cost you some money but it’s less risky than buying outright.
Be sure to communicate with the supplier, ask questions, check verified information. Being extra careful in sourcing your product may cost you time and money, but can turn risks to rewards.
How to Buy on Alibaba.com with an Agent?
Using Alibaba Agent is an alternative way you can buy in Alibaba that is safe, and hassle-free than buying on your own. Alibaba Agent is a China Buying Agent and has vast experience in transacting business with China suppliers and with international shipping. Here’s how you buy on Alibaba with Alibaba Agent:
- Go to Alibaba.com and then copy the product link of your chosen product(s).
- Sign up with Alibaba Agent at www.alibabaagent.com, and start your order.
- Simply specify the product link(s), quantity, color, size or other specifications, shipping method and payment method. Alibaba Agent will do the rest of the work for you.
Because of the potential rewards, it is easy to see the reason why many small and medium enterprises would want to buy from overseas suppliers in Alibaba.com. You just need to be very careful; start with small purchases, then expand later after you have a list of suppliers that you trust. You may also avail the services of Alibaba Agent for safer and more convenient shopping with China Global Suppliers in Alibaba.com to optimize your shopping experience. This may entail additional cost but the rewards you can get are far greater. Happy Shopping!