E-commerce is a great way to sell your products and earn money online. It seems to be one of the most convenient ways to sell and resell and interact with other merchants. But right at the start, you immediately encounter problems such as:
- What products should I sell first?
- How do I know which product will sell?
- What are the products that will fit their market?
- How do I find a trusty supplier and negotiate with them?
- How do I avoid scams and low-quality products?
Or simply, “How do I get started?”.
Luckily, you are not the only one who went through that point where you are starting your business from scratch. The point where your mind is running in circles and no clear path to tread into. Where things are getting complicated and confusing. And to add up, you are dealing with people halfway around the world, with different cultures and languages.
So here are some of the secrets and tips the will help you to become successful in your sourcing from Chinese suppliers.
Basically, here is the summary of what to do:
- Find a good product – This means that you should think, brainstorm, research and decide on what product/s to import and sell.
- Finding a good supplier – Once you are done in deciding on what to sell, you need to find a great supplier as a source of your product. It could take some research and deep digging to find them. You should also ensure that you are not dealing with a scammer.
- Sell some samples – Before going big, you should place a small order to test and validate your product. This is one of the most crucial steps in starting your business.
- Scale it up – Finally, when you’re done validating your product, you can now safely bulk your order quantity and making changes to differentiate your products.
Step 1: Finding a good product to sell
Finding a great product to sell is the first place where most starting entrepreneurs get stuck on. Some never even made it out of this stage. If you don’t know what you are doing, there is a good chance you will be lost in the abyss of product research.
Finding products to import and sell comes down to a 3-step method:
And it is self-explanatory.
The goal you should set here is to find the perfect product with the best and trustworthy supplier. So before you find your supplier, you should know what product to find.
Here’s on how to find products:
- It should be small and light – You should always consider the fact that size really matters. You should put in mind that you have deals halfway across the globe. No one wants to buy a furniture or a television set that is to be delivered from across the world. You should have something that is cheap to ship around because shipping will greatly affect your profit margins if you are not careful.
- Simplicity is beauty – This means that you should have a product that is simple to manufacture and has a high margin of error. Don’t indulge in products that are hard to produce and fragile. You should keep your costumers happy by providing them high-quality products.
- Keep it affordable – Aside from the risk of having a larger capital, higher priced items are usually harder to ship and deliver, require higher quality control and will really magnify the mistakes when you are just starting out importing. So keep your price at a certain range where you can handle any possible mistakes and outcomes.
- Don’t go seasonal – Your products should be timeless and based on consistency. Yes, you earn more money in selling winter clothes and Christmass essentials but it is only during the most wonderful time of the year. No one wants to have a ton of worthless things in their inventory.
Step 2: Finding a good supplier
Now that you are done on deciding what product to sell, you should now consider finding a stable and trustworthy supplier. One great suggestion when sourcing products in China are Alibaba. Alibaba is the largest online marketplace in China.
Things to do are:
- Searching your product with the right filters – You should already know this. All you have to do is search your desired product then editing the filter to “suppliers”. You can also add additional filters such as “Gold Supplier”, “Onsite Checked”, “Assessed Supplier” and anything that you want to add. In this way, this will narrow your options to your own specifications.
- Contacting the good ones – Now that you have narrowed your options, you have to find the good ones. You can do this by contacting them and get some more additional information. You should ask for their MOQ or Minimum Order Quantity, payment and shipping policies, sample policy, and their price list or product spec sheet. Just don’t use your personal email to avoid spams.
- Talk to them – Now that you’ve contacted them, you should see who responded. You should look on how serious they are taking your business. Keep in mind that you are their customer and at this point, they have no idea if you are looking for a $100 or $100,000 order. You should take into consideration their customer service for this will greatly affect your business in the future.
- Getting the samples – Now let’s say that there 2-3 potential suppliers, you should order samples to be shipped directly to you. Take note of the shipping time, cost, damage and etc. Test every sample to different conditions to ensure quality.
Step 3: Selling some samples
Now that you have your product and your chosen supplier, it is time to validate and test your product if it fits your desired target market. You can do this by selling your product through existing sales channels. You should invest a couple hundred bucks to buy 5-15 pieces of your product to get started. This way, you are not risking too much capital. Some suggestions for sales channels when starting are Amazon, eBay, Craiglist.
With this, you should notice pretty quick if you are earning money and identify the problems that you encountered.
Step 4: Larger Scale
The last step in starting your own business. Now that you are done with the three previous steps and you have validated and tested your products, it is time to level up your business.
Here are the things to do to scale up:
- Advertising – It is really a good idea to do advertising with programs such as Amazon and eBay.
- Listing your business on other sales channels – When you list your products on other channels, you have a free little bit of growth in your business.
- Brand yourself – You need to find a good brand name that is attracting and represents the market that you are selling to.
- Aim for recurring revenue – The key to earn revenue is earning off buyers from pre-existing channels to your own list and database. This way, you can market to them for free on demand rather than losing contact with them after their first order.
Now that you have known some of the tips in starting your business, you should always remember that hard work, creativity and determination will always put you to where you want to be.