When you are starting an eCommerce business or looking to build a new brand it’s important that you have a source for great products.
Product sourcing can be a tedious task, but through this tutorial I am going to show you some places you can source these products from, how to brand them easily and some workarounds for you if you’re low on funds and need a cheap sourcing solution.
First, let’s look at a few places you can easily source products for your business.
There is no surprise here and you’ve likely already heard of this site. This is a huge Chinese company and they have thousands of businesses ready to connect with you.
Many of the companies on Alibaba offer custom branding manufacturing. You can easily browse their entire site via keyword and you’ll typically find almost anything you need here.
The companies that sell on Alibaba are world-wide and you can even search by country for your product. So if you’re concerned about what country you need to order products from this makes it easy.
Alibaba has many safeguards in place to help you avoid scams and issues. I’ve only had one issue ever arise on Alibaba out of dozens of successful orders.
HKTDC is a Hongkong marketplace. However, unlike Alibaba, they do not have merchants from the world-wide landscape. In fact, they only offer 3 regions; China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Of course, they ship to buyers world-wide so you can still easily order from here.
I have personally never ordered anything from this site as I’ve always found a cheaper supplier on Alibaba. However, I know many other people have had great success sourcing products for resale from here.
DHgate is another big wholesale marketplace. Just like the other wholesale and manufacturer marketplaces the more you order the cheaper the overall price of your products will be.
I believe the products here are all sourced directly from China.
This is a big directory of potential manufacturers at MFG.COM. These guys especially excel at sourcing the following categories:
- CNC Machining
- Die Casting
- Injection Molding
- Die Casting
- Investment Casting
- Injection Mold Making
- Metal Stamping
So if you fit any of the above needs this is a great place to start your search. Of course, if you do not need manufacturing but would like already full created products that you can just re-brand then Alibaba is still a better bet.
Private Label Sourcing
If you’re strictly looking for private label sourcing to create your own brand(s) .
Google It! Bing it! Search…
If all else fails just type your keywords + private label, white label, wholesale depending on what your needs are.
You can use any search engine to do this and it’s really easy to find what you’re looking for this way.
I have one very cool company I found last year that I’ve ordered thousands of dollars in products from. Guess where I found them? Yep, search engine search. It works.
How To Contact One Of These Vendors
When you’re looking to source products and you’re contacting a potential business that has a product you’d like you’re most likely going to be emailing them.
Here is a quick breakdown of what you should ask them in an email to save time. Trust me you’ll want to do these things because you’re likely going to be exchanging numerous emails with them anyway.
Always ask a company the following questions.
- What is your MOQ. MOQ = Minimum Order Quantity. Some companies have very small MOQs, some have extremely high MOQs.
- How much is your cost per item? Always keep this simple at first. I know other people advise to ask what discount you can get for ordering more than the MOQ but save this for later so you can move the price down even cheaper.
- How long is production time? This is important because some companies can be ready within weeks, others take months. This is also something that is important to know at the start so you can adjust your plans accordingly.
This is what I personally start with. After they contact back I always follow up with the question:
- Can I order a sample with my logo on it? If there’s not a place on the product to put a logo I ask:
- How much does it cost to add packaging with my logo on it?
This keeps the dialogue going and also it doesn’t overwhelm the merchant. If you send an email to a company that reads like a book, you may not even get a reply.
I advise keeping it short and sweet and if you can get the vendor on a 3rd party tool like Skype, that’s even better!
Skype allows you to have discussions with the vendor in real time, saving you a lot of time and headaches along the way.
One last note on a sample. It’s critical that you get a sample before placing an order. I’ve read horror stories where people have ordered thousands of a product and when the product arrived it wasn’t exactly what they thought it was going to be! Don’t get stuck wasting money; get that sample even if it costs you $100 for one sample.
What To Do If A Company Has A Large MOQ
After you get a sample and it’s time to get into ordering your products sometimes MOQ can be a real issue.
Sometimes when you’re looking for a good place for product sourcing a company will get back to you with a large MOQ. Though it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when this happens you can always try what I do when this happens and I don’t want to lay down too much money at first.
I always ask for a sample batch. If they can’t make a sample batch with my logo on them I just ask for a blank sample batch. Since I am selling these online having a logo on/off the product isn’t a make or break issue.
Often times a company will gladly supply 50-100 units with a slightly higher cost. The trade off is worth it especially if it helps you get the product created.
Here is how I word the question to them.
“I see you have a large MOQ. However, since this is my first order with you is there anyway I can do a simple test batch. If these sell extremely well for me, I’d be more than happy to come back on the next order and order your MOQ. This would mean a lot to me. I want to do business with you for the long term and this would really help me get my foot in the door with you.”
Giving them the reason mentioned above it explains why you’d want to start with a smaller order at first. Without an explanation the company might not feel as inclined to help.
You’d be surprised how well this works. I’ve ordered products in batches of 50-100 where the company wanted an MOQ of 1000-5000.
Of course, I’ve always come back and purchased their MOQs later after I’ve vetted the products if they’ve sold well.
Go use the sites and methods I’ve shown you above to get good product sourcing right from the start.
If you have any questions just make sure to ask.