Here is the thing – you don’t go and marry someone from a dating website, based on their online profile, because certain people have been know to ‘stretch the truth‘. You wait until you actually meet them, get to know them first and then form a relationship.
The same applies for online supplier directories. Anybody can create a profile, upload any image and claim to be anything. The proof is in what they actually do, not say. Once you go through a period of communication, sampling and testing you can work out pretty quickly if they are a ‘Fabio’, or the real deal.
Buying Safely on Alibaba
We encourage our clients to use B2B importing websites to find products and manufacturers. But to start an import business using a manufacturer you have not met or independently verified can be very high risk.
Treat a business relationship just like a personal relationship – go on a few dates, find out more about them before you start holding hands…. sorry, I mean get married and decide they are a long term partner/supplier.
Five Steps to Safe Importing with Alibaba
- Get independent verification of the supplier – ensure the standards, current customers and export market claims check out. For products with mandatory Australian standards this is an essential step in covering your risk exposure
- Manufacturer or trading company? It can be difficult to distinguish between these two from Australia. Some trading companies openly claim to be manufacturers when in fact they are not
- Inspect the factory – check out their equipment, staff, systems and products produced
- Get samples and road test – ensure the product matches your requirements and endures the harshest tests
- Secure a long term supply partner – that is flexible to your changing requirements for lower order quantities, branding, packaging and changed supply requirements
Here is the key. Take the supplier information posted on Alibaba at face value, until they can prove the claims they make. Learn how to import from China online safely and profitably first, before you get married, sorry I mean place a commercial import order.
The Basics of Safe Importing
Sourcing Online – Is Alibaba Safe to Buy From? My Import Label
Is Alibaba Safe to Buy From? – Tips and Checks