PART 2 – CHOOSING YOUR SUPPLIER
Here is my second part of my guide to help others sell through Amazon FBA. In this section, we will be trying to find the best product and manufacturer for you to buy from. At this point, I have assumed that from your research we spoke about in Part 1, you have already chosen the product you want, and just need to find where to buy it. Most people tend to find manufacturers in China, since they offer quality products for very competitive pricing. However, you are not just limited to China, especially for certain products like a vitamin or supplement where you would only want to buy from the USA.
So what product you go with will determine where you should start looking. I will use China as the example for this, but my advice is to take some time to research through a Google search and look at all the options you have. You never know, you might find there is a great manufacturer right in the US that offers competitive pricing which will cut down on turn around time and shipping costs, a big plus.
So, the one place you will want to start where everyone seems to go is Alibaba.com. They offer by FAR the most variety when it comes to products to research and buy. There are some other sites to check out as well such as Ali Express or ttnet but usually Alibaba has it all. I typically start there and search for my product adding words like “premium” or “high end” to help narrow down the search, as the results can be overwhelming. Again, really take the time here to find the best, highest quality product that fits your needs, and especially your potential customer’s needs (again you should have this information already from reading your competitors good and bad reviews).
Once you have identified your product, see if there are other companies that are offering the exact same one. If so, that typically means that you are dealing with sellers and not the actual manufacturer. You really want to make sure that you are dealing directly with the manufacturer. If not, you risk having a “middle man” that will end up just charging you more in the end, and there is no need for that. The goal here is to seek out a solid and honest manufacturer that makes high quality products that you can build a long term relationship with. This is super important and often overlooked. You are going to be trusting this company with your money and your reputation, so please make sure they sound reputable. I personally make sure and call them on the phone, I want to hear their voice and know that they really exist. Sometimes the language barrier can be difficult but they typically speak enough English to get by.
One other trick to keep in mind here. Most manufacturers want you to buy a lot of product up front in order to receive a discount to have them work with you and make it worth their time. I have found that there is always room to work here. Typically I ask them how much more it would be per product if I only did “X” amount of products (this is whatever you can afford and feel comfortable with). They usually end up only raising the price a few cents, nothing ever too significant. But now, at least I am not committing to a ton of products for my very first order. Sure, I might be paying a little bit more, but that small amount is worth it to me for my peace of mind. This will all be negotiated when working with your potential manufacturer.
Make sure before placing your order you have determined your final price, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) they are willing to provide you, shipping options, and their turn around time from order placement to ship date. One thing to keep in mind when shipping. Typically China has great shipping rates for air freight. Take advantage of this. This is one of the reasons you chose a product that is not oversized or too heavy. You want to stay away from freight shipping, as the turn around will be way too long. Just make sure you work out all the shipping details and costs, including any custom fees with your manufacturer beforehand.
Please note. Make sure that your manufacturer accepts either credit card or allows you to use PayPal. A lot of times they try and have you just wire transfer the money or even use Western Union. Do NOT do either of those, that to me is a big red flag if that is all they offer, and you should find another manufacturer. The only thing that you might have to do, but it’s worth it, is to offer to pay any credit card or PayPal transaction fees that are incurred. But I have found if you do so, they usually don’t have a problem. One other option might be to use Payoneer or WeChat, both work in China.
*A possible reference for any China Sales:
I have personally been to China a few times now, and had the pleasure to meet some great contacts along the way. One in particular is someone I currently use to be my “boots on the ground” so to speak. He acts as both my Chinese Supplier and QC manager. So now, if I ever need to get a quote for a product I have researched and I am very serious about, I can ask him to go find me the highest quality manufacturer and get me a quote. And, once I place an order, he will go check to make sure everything is running smoothly and that once ready to ship, the products are all in good condition to help alleviate any potential issues due to me not being there myself. Sure, there is a cost to this service, and I feel it is well deserved. And, since he speaks the language, he has a much better chance of negotiating a better deal than I ever could get, so it usually ends up becoming a wash anyway as for what I end up paying in total. Win win!
If anyone is interested in his service, please feel free to reach out to me directly (only serious inquiries please) and I will try and put you in touch with him.
Once you have finalized all of these details with your manufacturer, you are ready to place your first order and start working on some other things while you wait for them to ship. That will take us to Part 3 which I will talk about FBA services and how to build a good product page through Amazon Seller Central. Good luck out there!