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(01:00) Tony is a brand owner and wants to order a product with ten variations. He doesn’t know which will sell the best and wants to order a small number of samples (only 20 pieces each) but is struggling to find factories that will do this even if he offers more money.
Many people have this similar problem. They want small quantities for samples and the factory wants at least 1,000 units. For a small run, many factories don’t want to add your logo or change colors. Today, we’ll cover how you can get these micro-quantities without relying on large MOQ’s from suppliers.
(02:20) Many people fail because they don’t research thoroughly enough. For example, you might see a variation of a competitor’s item that’s selling well, but you didn’t see that the competitor ran a promotion, so you based your decision to place a large order on incorrect data. Launch all the variations to see what happens in the market.
(03:30) Nils’ first point: skip the logo and customizations on your product this time around. Get it without a logo, packaging, or modification. Ask the supplier for a test order or use AliExpress and order small quantities there. It works like Amazon: choose the product you want and you get a price based on your quantity. That’s more expensive but it’s very fast.
(04:40) Ensure that your products have the same description. Don’t use any advertisements for the first one or two weeks to see what sells. It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t fit your criteria. You’re only testing the variations now and can make those customizations later. For now, you’re looking to discover which variation is the winner.
(05:35) Second point: if you insist on packaging, you can use AliExpress to place a small order to buy your own packaging. You can’t get the exact dimensions you want, but you can sometimes choose metal boxes or poly bags in various sizes. You could also buy stickers and stick them onto the box or bag.
(07:00) Third option: you can order your product via AliExpress without a logo, but you can get your packaging exactly how you want it. Packaging is cheap if you order in large quantities. You can go to a supplier and develop packaging with your chosen logo, material, dimensions, and with foam inside, but you’d need to buy different quantities.
You could order 1,000 pieces, use a small portion of that for your first batch, then find a warehouse in China to store it, or perhaps the factory could store it for a month or two until your product order batch is done. You could ship your product to the packaging factory and they will pack it there.
(08:55) If you want to take it even one step further and have your logo right on the product or packaging, order a large quantity of packaging, order via AliExpress, then have it modified in your country. Some of Nils’ customers and clients want to engrave on the product. He uses a company in Hamburg that modifies everything on a per-order basis. You can send them all the test order various and they can engrave, print, or stitch your logo on the existing packaging. They can then prep and ship to Amazon.
(10:20) One last option: another platform of Jack Ma’s is called Taobao. This is the Chinese form of eBay or Amazon, except there are many more products there. Everything produced in China is sold there. Factories themselves sometimes sell there. They’ll produce goods for customers and any products that don’t pass quality control are listed there.
The factory might duplicate a few extra copies of your product and list them on Taobao. You can buy some big shoe brands for 1/3rd of the retail price. This happens to everyone and happens everywhere. Trading companies also list on Taobao.
(12:30) Taobao is useful to order products in small quantities. This platform doesn’t have a sales ranking as on Amazon but has sales numbers for the last 30 days on every listing as a form of social proof. Competition is huge, everyone competes with price and fakes these numbers. Factories pay private persons to order the product, they ship empty boxes and get lots of 5-star reviews from those fake buyers.
The sales numbers and reviews are inflated, but after ordering, you might get a reject product that didn’t pass quality control in the factory. There are whole agencies that focus on fake reviews on Taobao.
(14:45) Here’s one interesting way you can use Taobao to validate your pricing: if you want to sell a product but you aren’t sure about the margin, type in Chinese on Taobao. Calculate those prices into US dollars to see if it makes sense to buy a product directly from the factory. The Taobao prices match up pretty well to what you’d pay a factory for 1,000 units.
If a factory quotes you 5 dollars per product but you find it for 4 dollars on Taobao, you can show them this proof and pressure them to drop the price. They might tell you that there are added costs such as adding a logo, but if they have the margin to sell it on Taobao, they have the margin to lower the price for you.
(16:00) Let’s come back to the question: how can you get very small quantities with your logo and packaging? You could hire an agent (or local agency) to communicate in Chinese with suppliers. They could locate an agency on Taobao as opposed to finding a factory supplier. They could engrave things, prototype, and modify your packaging.
(17:00) If Tony doesn’t like any of the earlier suggestions, find a local trading agency, have them order the product, add the logo to the product, and go with AliExpress for the packaging. This takes more time but is a way to order small quantities, still have margin, and get all those customizations.
(17:40) Nils’ recommendation is to go with AliExpress to order small quantities, skip branding, for now, add them into metal boxes or poly bags, and use stickers to get your variations for testing.
If you have a question, go to EasyPeasySourcing.com/ask to ask a question. We also just started the Facebook group, so look on Facebook for “Easy Peasy Sourcing.” Join it and you can ask more questions there. We can discuss stories and share all the best hacks and tricks for sourcing in China.
We’ll alert you about new episodes and you can decide to tune in or not. We’re always looking for feedback, so if you like (or didn’t like) this episode, let Nils know in the comments below, what we can do better and what you like. Have a great day, and bye.