Skip to main content

Alibaba can be an extremely resourceful website but to have the best success you’ll need some tips and tricks. Successfully navigating through the Alibaba site can be challenging yet rewarding. If you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated, hang in there and keep reading. Investing time into being an Alibaba expert can pay off down the road. Alibaba is an online platform overflowing with suppliers offering private label products in China. If you’re exploring the Alibaba website you are probably thinking about or have already created your own business. Kickfurther can help small businesses secure funding for inventory. Kickfurther takes a unique approach to crowdfunding that allows business owners to secure inventory financing and pay back loans as inventory sells. While this may be your first time hearing about Kickfurther, they have funded over 800 deals with a 99.5% success rate. Keep reading to learn more about inventory business loans. Before securing an inventory loan, you’ll need to determine where inventory will come from. Keep reading to learn tips and tricks for using the Alibaba website.

Can you negotiate with Alibaba?

You can negotiate with suppliers on Alibaba. Afterall, in order to be successful in business you should have savvy negotiation skills. Suppliers on Alibaba usually list prices in range form, which can be confusing. However, you can use these ranges to narrow down which suppliers can provide the products you need  for a potentially fair price. Keep in mind that order quantity can impact price significantly. Once you have selected a few suppliers you can begin chatting with them about order quantity, needs, and pricing. Remember, you are probably dealing with someone in another country. To some extent, it can be beneficial to understand how they do business and what their cultural norms are. Alibaba suppliers are frequented by business owners in the United States so most of them understand how we do business. You should go out of your way to show respect for suppliers. Don’t be afraid to ask them for a sample of their products. They may ask you to cover shipping but most suppliers will be glad to provide samples. 

Types of Suppliers on Alibaba

Primarily there are two types of suppliers on Alibaba: manufacturers/factories and trading companies. While you can probably assume what the difference is we will clarify. Manufacturers on Alibaba manufacture their own goods. Manufacturers may offer lower prices but limited selection. If you are considering a factory, you’ll want to be cautious of quality. Some factories offer high quality products while others not so much. You may find that agents representing factories have broken English and may not be so accommodating. Trading companies on Alibaba may have higher prices but also more selection. Trading companies do not manufacture their own goods. Since trading companies source products to offer they may have better quality control than manufacturers. In addition, agents that represent trading companies usually have better English and customer service.  

Furthermore, Alibaba classifies sellers as Gold suppliers or non-Gold suppliers. The difference between a Gold supplier and non-Gold supplier is money. Gold suppliers pay for higher rankings, marketing services, and more. As a customer, you should realize that just because a supplier is a Gold supplier, they are not guaranteed to have quality products. The Gold supplier label does show that they are invested, but that’s about it.

How many suppliers should I contact for pricing quotes?

We recommend contacting at least three suppliers for pricing quotes. In addition to requesting three pricing quotes, you should request three samples as well. As we mentioned earlier, Gold suppliers or suppliers with the cheapest price may not have the highest quality products. It’s important to compare multiple suppliers and products to find the best value and quality. 

When filtering search results you should keep in mind that some suppliers may not respond. There are a variety of reasons why you may not get a response such as not having the capacity to take on new orders. This means you may reach out to more than three suppliers before you actually have three quotes. Creating an initial contact template can help produce better results and improve efficiency. If you create an initial contact template you should be clear and to the point about what you are looking for. In addition, you should make it easy for the supplier to understand as they may be a non-native English speaker. Coming across as a well established individual can help you earn respect.

While your communication is critical, so is the supplier’s communication. Be mindful of how easy a supplier is to deal with and what level of respect they show you. The supplier could potentially be an important business partner. Choosing a supplier that is accommodating and easy to work with is valuable. The supplier and the customer should be excited to business with one another. 

How to negotiate with a Alibaba supplier

Earlier, we recommend getting pricing quotes from at least three suppliers. Getting pricing from more than one supplier can help you determine the market price of your desired product. This right here is the key to negotiating with suppliers. You want to negotiate a price that allows you and your supplier to make money. Unless you know what it costs to produce the product you need, you should determine the market price by receiving multiple quotes. When negotiating pricing make sure you consider all aspects from custom branding to shipping. Once you have narrowed down your top two suppliers, you can compare the finer details of each supplier. 

Negotiating Alibaba shipping rates

When narrowing down which suppliers to begin conversations with, you should look over listing carefully. Beware of suppliers with the shipment term EXW as opposed to FOB. EXW shipping is usually much more expensive. EXW rates require the customer to cover the cost of freight from the supplier’s factory to your desired destination. While FOB shipping means the supplier will cover shipping costs to the closest Chinese port. With FOB shipping you are only responsible for covering sea freight. Suppliers that offer CIF shipping cover the cost of shipping from Chinese inland all the way to your desired port. 

Is it safe to order in Alibaba?

Ordering online always involves some element of risk. For the most part, it’s safe to order on Alibaba but you’ll want to verify the legitimacy of the supplier you choose. If this is your first rodeo with Alibaba you may feel intimidated and at risk. However, the more you use the platform this feeling should dissipate. To reduce your risk you can filter your searches to only show Gold suppliers, trade assurance, and assessed suppliers. If you have a shipping or quality-related dispute, trade assurance can provide protection. Trade assurance requires suppliers to follow a set of rules in the event of a shipping or quality dispute. 

How to safely ship your products once a price has been negotiated

Unless you are experienced with shipping products from China, you may want to ask your supplier to arrange shipping. You may still be responsible for the cost of shipping but at least you won’t have to make arrangements. If you plan to do a lot of Alibaba transactions you may want to invest time into learning about shipping options. Air shipping can reduce the risk of unwanted surprises. Most suppliers use DHL, FedEx, or UPS for air shipping. You should not incur a duty charge for goods shipped to the US value under $800. For shipments under 200 pounds shipping via air may be cost effective. However, for heavier shipments you may need to use sea freight to cut down shipping costs. Sea freight can be more complex and complicated but if you do your research you should be able to figure it out. Whether you ship items via air or sea, it can be costly. Air shipments usually arrive within 3-10 business days while sea shipments may take 30-45 days.

How to make a payment

If you have arrived at the payment stage, congratulations. The payment stage can either mean you are ready to request samples or that you have picked a supplier and negotiated a deal. To collect payment most suppliers will send a proforma invoice. While this may sound fancy, it’s no different that a regular invoice. To pay invoices that are around $5,000 or less, you can use Alibaba’s Trade Assurance. Alibaba’s Trade Assurance can guarantee that your items are shipped. However it does guarantee quality, despite what Alibaba claims. For larger invoices most suppliers will expect a 30% deposit prior to starting fulfillment. When the order is ready they will request the remaining payment. Suppliers typically prefer wire transfer payments but for samples they may let you pay via PayPal. 

Can you get scammed on Alibaba?

There will always be some who feel that ordering overseas carries a risk of fraud. While the opportunity to fraud on Alibaba technically exists,  it’s not likely. Some individuals may feel like they were “scammed” in the sense they received a much lower quality product than expected. When using Alibaba it’s extremely important to order samples before placing a real order. In addition, there are a few precautions you can take to avoid being scammed. . . 

  • Only order from Chinese companies
  • Stick to Gold suppliers
  • Verify the beneficiary and company name match when sending money via wire transfer
  • Start by ordering a sample or small quantity 

Need inventory financing before placing an Alibaba order? Apply online at Kickfurther today!

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap