Your store needs products at low costs, and Chinese suppliers can help you get them. Start sourcing products from China today with this guide.
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Back in 2007, China's total outsourcing market was worth $15.2 billion.
If you're an American consumer, you've seen products with the words "Made in China" written on them somewhere. This is because many companies source products from China to heavily cut production costs.
China produces a large array of different products on a mass scale, such as clothing, purses, games, and cosmetic products. While many of these items are on the cheaper side, there are also plenty of luxury options when sourcing products from China.
Are you looking to source products from China? Make sure to keep reading below for 10 steps you'll need to take.
1. Know the Products You'd Like to Create
Just like any business deal, it's important to know what products you'll want to create. Know what quality of product you're looking for, and understand who you're selling it to.
Are your buyers mainly students on a budget? Are they middle-class families with steady jobs? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you make your decisions.
You obviously don't want to sell super low-quality products that are easily breakable, but college students won't be buying luxury products on a mass scale.
2. Do the Research
Once you know the product you want to create, it's time to find a reliable supplier. This is where the research happens.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of scammers who will take your money without giving you what you're looking for. Check reliable global directories to find companies that will be able to mass-produce your products.
As you start contacting these different companies, do some research on who you're speaking with. Look at their LinkedIn or business profile on another site. You can even set up video chats to ease some nerves.
Hiring a sourcing agent will help with this process!
3. Don't Limit Yourself
It's easy to get excited once you find a supplier you trust. To keep on the safe side, it's best to have several suppliers in mind.
There are a couple of reasons you'll want to keep your options open. As easily as a deal can come together, it can also fall through. You'll want a back-up.
In addition to that, you may also discover your supplier isn't able to fit your desired timeline. Depending on how many products you're ordering and how they're being delivered, shipping and handling times greatly vary.
4. Consider Meeting in Person
As the details start coming together with your supplier, it's best to consider meeting face-to-face. Getting to China is expensive, but the meeting will prove worth it.
By meeting with your supplier in person, you'll be able to check out the production site for yourself. You can check to see if the site seems to be organized, efficient, and clean.
If you're hesitant about flying to China for a single meeting, do some research beforehand, and visit a few tradeshows. This way, you'll be able to meet a handful of companies.
5. Negotiate With the Supplier
For this step, you need to be confident in yourself and your product. Negotiate the best price for your business.
You'll want to negotiate the fees for production, the quality of your products, and how many products you'll be receiving. The more you order, the lower the price of each product.
Many Americans aren't not used to ongoing negotiations, but it's common in China.
6. Set Up Quality Control Inspections
It's best to get in the habit of setting up routine quality control inspections of the manufacturing plant. Unsanitary and poor working conditions is not only unethical to support, but it will also affect the quality of your products.
If your customers receive dirty, broken products, expect a backlash. Regular inspections help avoid this issue.
7. Work Ahead of Schedule
Because shipping times can take so long, it's best to keep yourself ahead of schedule. That way, you can immediately start selling and distributing the product as soon as you receive it.
Take time to work on marketing materials, ad campaigns, or product photoshoot details. It's also best to make sure you have all the needed materials if you're packing orders within the states.
There's plenty to get done as you wait for your products so don't waste time.
8. Test Your Samples
As you receive your samples, put them to the best. Wear the shirt or try on the lipgloss. Make sure it's exactly what you envisioned.
Guarantee your products are the right texture, color, size, weight, and quality. If something doesn't seem right, let the supplier know immediately.
Once you're confident in the product, give the supplier the go-ahead.
9. Always Be Straightforward in Communication
Throughout the entire process of negotiation, sampling, and production, it's crucial to keep a clear line of communication with your supplier. Not all companies have English-speaking representatives so it's important to be straightforward as possible.
Make sure everything is clearly documented in writing, and have extra pairs of eyes review all important documents. A simple misunderstanding could cost you thousands of dollars.
10. Continue Establishing Important Relationships
Once you establish a good relationship with a supplier, work to maintain it. You'll know exactly where to go when you want to put out more products.
It also never hurts to create multiple relationships with major manufacturers in China. There are unfortunate cases in which companies are forced to switch up their manufacturing source. These switches could be due to changes in policies or increased prices.
Never forget to give thanks where it's due as you work with people around the globe. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.
International Business: Steps to Take When Sourcing Products From China
Many companies are sourcing products from China. It can be a daunting process if you're new to the process. Make sure to read the above steps you need to take for quick help.
You'll need to find a reliable supplier through your research. Set up a clear line of communication with your supplier, and don't hesitate to have a few contacts in your pocket.
Are you on the hunt for sourcing services? We can connect you to reliable suppliers. Interesting in a FREE sourcing report? Drop us a line!