Once you have picked a niche and product, your next step is to find a supplier to provide you with the product you wish to sell.
There are several desirable traits of a supplier:
- Low and sustainable price
- Flexibility in product design
- Ability to fulfill large orders
- Reliability in fulfilling orders
- They sell other products within your niche
The best place to find suppliers with the above traits and more, is www.Alibaba.com
Read on to learn 5 key tips which will help you succeed when searching for a supplier!
1. Speak to LOADS of suppliers
It may be tempting to put all your time into one potential supplier, and if they can give you everything you want then to go with them. Right? Wrong.
It is the classic case of you don’t know what you don’t know. Even if the first supplier seems fine, they may be other suppliers out there who will offer you a lower price and more design options. In fact, any of the aforementioned desirable traits could be vastly improved by another seller!
Your best bet is to send an identical message out to loads of suppliers (I typically go with 20), and see what they all say. That way you know if you’re being duped into paying more, or if there are better suppliers out there.
2. Talk about price LAST
Another amateur move that is very tempting when new is to message a supplier and immediately ask for a price. Don’t do it.
The price they give is likely to change once you talk more about where you want it posted, what changes you want to make to the design, the order size and frequency etc anyway.
Instead, talk specifics. Make sure they can deliver to your FBA warehouse. If you need them to put your brand on the product – make sure they can do it! What sizes and colours do they offer? Do they have any other products? What batch size is their minimum, and what’s their maximum order size?
You may want to go really deep into the specifications of the product. Can it be microwaved? Does it need batteries? What materials is it made of?
What’s more, talking about price only after establishing the specifics gives the impression you are a big company, which might make the supplier consider offering a cheaper price when the topic does arise just to secure your custom! Which brings me nicely to my next point…
3. Make yourself out to be bigger than you are
Suppliers are more likely to be flexible and more likely to offer a better price if they think they’re working with a big company. Make sure they think you are HUGE!
How do you do this? Don’t write:
I am interested in your product and would like to buy some! Let me know!
Instead, write this:
Dear prospective supplier,
My name is Alex and I work in sales for Project Fulfilment.
We have shortlisted your product as a potential option. Can you please provide us with the following specs to get started:
- List a
- Bunch of
- Really good specs
- As per my last point
- Don’t mention price!
Look forward to hearing back and potentially establishing a business relationship.
Alex of Project Fulfilment
What a difference – right? The reply to each of those messages will most likely be COMPLETELY different.
4. Check with 1688.com
Here is a secret that only a very few Amazon FBA sellers know.
Alibaba sellers? They get their stock from the Chinese equivalent of Alibaba – 1688.
When searching for a seller of a product on Alibaba, check on 1688 as well. Translate the product you want into Chinese and search it on 1688. The price you find on there for the same product will be the price that your Alibaba seller is paying.
Therefore, the price on 1688 is most likely the lowest price your Alibaba seller would consider selling to you at in order to not make a loss.
If your product is selling on 1688 for the dollar equivalent of $2 per item, but you’re being offered $5 per item on Alibaba, the chances are you can push them down to a cheaper price. If you’re being offered $2.50 per item, it looks like you’re already getting a great deal!
This tip could really save you thousands when finding a supplier for your product. Make sure you do this!
Only after actioning the four tips above, do you even think about discussing price!
Take action – good luck!
I hope this post has helped you – it certainty helped me. Using the advice above allowed me to save an incredible amount of money when selling on Amazon. Seeing as the money you pay your supplier is pretty much your only cost, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible whilst getting a high quality product.
The next step is to ask the supplier for a sample to be sent to you for your professional photos and so you can decide if the product is right for your sellers page.
As always, if you’d like any advice or simply want to chat, leave a comment below and I’ll make sure to reply!