How do I source products from AliBaba to sell in Australia?
For first-timers and newbies, how do you source products and select the best manufacturer to work with?
I've actually used AliBaba to find products. Firstly, to save you a lot of headache, make sure you do a thorough research on your product before you source for suppliers on AliBaba. This goes beyond knowing your target customer and product spec. Do research on the standards and regulations governing the product or parts of the product that you want to sell in Australia. For example, clothing has regulations on labelling, baby and kids’ products have more stringent regulations, as do organic items, etc. If you don’t get this right, your stock will be useless and unsellable in Australia.
When you’re ready to source for suppliers, you’ll find that AliBaba is not difficult to use. It’s free for buyers to sign up. You can search for products and shortlist a number of suppliers to contact. All items on AliBaba have a price range and a minimum order quantity (MOQ). The final price depends on the order quantity, customisation and other arrangements.
Or you can fill up an RFQ or request for quote form with your requirements, business and product details, price and MOQ. Interested suppliers will submit their quotes and you can check them out.
There are several things you need to know about the sellers on AliBaba. There are manufacturers and resellers on the platform, depending on what you need, whether a ready-made product which just needs labelling and branding, or a product made to your specification.
AliBaba have done a lot of work to vet the suppliers on their platform. Currently, they have two different type of suppliers, gold and verified supplier on AliBaba. Depending on the type of membership, they do onsite checks to ensure you are dealing with a legitimate business, check their certifications, business license and other credentials for you. They’ll also use independent third parties to check QC, production capability, etc.
Check the supplier page thoroughly, looking at their ratings, history, photos and other details. Most suppliers will have a trade assurance capability. A Trade Assurance means your order will be protected by AliBaba in case there is a delay in shipment, issues with product’s quality, mismatch in order and final goods, etc. When you’re dealing with a “Trade Assurance” supplier, you can easily raise a dispute if you are not happy with the final goods, quality, and production time if it differs from the contract, and AliBaba will refund your money if you are on the right side. Furthermore, when you place a Trade Assurance order, the money won’t be deposited straight to any of the supplier’s account, but the supplier’s designated bank account as required by AliBaba, to prevent employee fraud.
I’d suggest getting a sample first. Do several iterations of samples if needed before placing your order. Document everything and share pictures with your supplier. Always communicate with your supplier to establish a working relationship and trust. Skype if you can so you get a feel of what they are like to work with. It’s better to be dealing with one trade manager. If your contact person keeps changing, that will be difficult and may raise some red flags.
Once you’ve found the right supplier for you, make sure your contract is as detailed as possible. It should be made through AliBaba, and not offline through emails or phone calls because any offline transactions will not be protected by AliBaba in case of a dispute. And finally, you can pay extra to request for an inspection by an independent third party once the goods have been manufactured to give you a piece of mind before shipment.