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11 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping From China

  • 5 min read

shipping from china

11 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping From China

11 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Shipping From China

New sellers often make the same mistakes when first starting off. Here are common mistakes new sellers make when shipping from China.

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Are you about to start a manufacturing deal in China? Are you a seller shipping goods from the country? If so, you do not want to make mistakes when dealing with such a complicated and costly process.

Shipping from China does not have to be complicated, but there are some pitfalls. Read on for our 11 must-know tips when shipping from China.

1. Account for All Costs

When shipping from China, either by air freight or ocean freight, you need to account for all costs. As well as the overseas transportation, you also have to pay a number of other taxes and customs fees. These inspections can happen in China and at arrival in the destination country.

When bringing in a whole container, the volumetric weight can add to your costs drastically. Always keep a contingency for this and account for it in your budget.

2. Not Checking Product Safety Regulations

When importing any product, you need to check its compliance with safety regulations in the EU and US. Unfortunately, some of China's products do not align with the safety guidelines set out in these countries. This can lead to sales bans, major fines, and a warehouse filled with stock that you can not sell.

3. Sign off on Samples

Many people importing want it done quickly. However, forging a sample for the sake of speed is a recipe for disaster. You could end up with a substandard product not fit for sale.

Asking for a sample may take longer, but it is a lot less risky. Once you have it, it can be tested and you can decide on any changes. Once signed off, you can rest assured that your product will be a quality fit for sale.

4. Get Your Inventory Right

Under or overordering stock can lead to a lot of problems. Firstly, carrying too much stock can lead to losing money if you fail to sell what you have. Secondly, too little stock will mean that you struggle to fulfill orders.

To do a rough estimation, calculate your website traffic per month. Compare your average industry conversion rates, and see how many sales you are likely to make in a month. Work out how much you need from this.

5. Import Unique Products

It is extremely easy to order mass-produced products from Chinese websites. These items are not likely to sell in Europe and the US, because they are not unique. Anything you import needs to be original and of value.

6. Prepare the Manufacturing Agreement Carefully

Your manufacturing agreement needs to be airtight. An agreement should define the manufacturing requirements, payment records, and quality control expectations. All of this must be stressed to the company you are working with.

Even then, linguistics can get in the way or be misconstrued. You do not want to leave any place for ambiguity in your contract. This ensures you always have a backup document if something should go wrong.

7. Track Competitors

When working out your costs, you need to be able to compete with others who are buying and selling the same products. This means undercutting them on price. To ensure that you can do this, you need to do some research.

Check others who are selling the same or similar products online. Look for reviews and quality ratings, then check the price. Compare it against all your other costs and see if it is cost-effective to compete in this market.

8. Sacrificing Cost for Quality

The lower the price, the more likely it will be that quality will also lower with it. Start by ordering a sample, and checking that control is stringent.

If you are negotiating the price on an order, then make sure that as that price goes down, the quality stays the same. For this, you will need checks and an agreement put in place.

Hire an inspectorat the other end to ensure products are good before they go out. They can go through the quality checklist for you before anything is signed off.

9. Don't Rush the Shipping From China Process

When finding a supplier, take your time and check their credentials as you would any other business. Ask other professionals to see if anyone does business in China and if you can get recommendations. After this, do some research online and open up a dialogue by email.

Once you have this, you could even arrange a video call. If they do not speak English, then they may be able to source a translator to help out. Finally, if your time and funds permit, arrange a visit to their factory or facilities before you commit to doing business with them.

10. Not Comparing Similar Products

Many people believe that all similar products are essentially the same item. This is not true. Even with the smallest, simplest of items, there can be massive differences in quality from factory to factory.

Once you commit to getting a sample, check similar ones from other suppliers, even if they give you higher quotes. They may provide infinitely better quality products, which may be easier to sell to your demographic.

11. Not Seeking Help

China is a very different place from the US and Europe. Not only does it have a different language and customs, but it also has very different ways of doing business. Laws, particularly regarding copyright, are totally different, as are standards and expectations.

Navigating this yourself can be done, but it will cause stress and could end up in your paying out more than you expected. Instead, get some help on the other side. A middle man will be better poised to lay out your needs and expectations.

Do Your Research

In summary, when shipping from China, you need to do your research. Do not rush the process, or you may end up with a huge quality issue or products that are not fit for purpose.

If you are looking for the best deals and quality, then let us help. Guang Zhou Agent can be your representative in China, finding the best factories and businesses to work with. Contact us today and discuss your needs, so we can get your business off to a flying start.