“How To Source Your Private Label Product In China, Without Getting Screwed By Alibaba Suppliers.”
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New Importers Make These MISTAKES When Importing Products from China
Six years ago, I moved from Germany to Shenzhen to begin a China product sourcing journey of a lifetime. I’ve made a lot of mistakes over the years. It’s been enlightening. So enlightening that I’ve started to recognise patterns, seeing new importers repeat the same mistakes when importing products from China over and over again.
Now while these mistakes are obvious to any seasoned Amazon FBA Seller, I know they’re not clear when you’re just starting out.
Looking back to when I ran my own Sourcing Agency, I met new clients facing these challenges daily. Eventually, I became frustrated for them. That’s because despite having fantastic product ideas, without my help they were finding it impossible to get their Private Label Businesses off the ground.
So today, I wanted to share some advice. If you’ve just started your own Amazon FBA Business, do yourself a favour and read on. It will save you a lot of time that you just can’t afford to waste.
Realistically, realising these mistakes can be the difference between launching a successful product and shelving your business ideas for good.
1. Cutting Corners
The first most common mistake I see new importers making is cutting corners during the sourcing process.
The challenge here is that it’s easy to cut corners in a lot of different ways. Whether it’s sending your prospective suppliers single emails, containing long lists of questions, or its only getting quotes from five suppliers.
There’s no simple way around this. You need to invest time in finding a supplier, and making sure they are the right supplier for you if you are going to import products from China successfully.
This means getting to know them over Skype, asking one question at a time and getting a full answer rather than bombarding them, and being less confrontational and demanding when you are first communicating with a supplier.
Professionalism may seem laborious, however it is the quickest way to find a good supplier that you can work with. Instead of relying on endless emails, use a Product Inquiry Sheet to set out your product requirements clearly.
Although using a Product Inquiry Sheet can take more time than writing an email, it’s the most effective way to get potential suppliers to provide comprehensive answers about your requirements.
Do yourself a favour and get my Product Inquiry Sheet template for free. Don’t miss out. You get it when you sign to my latest free Web Class.
2. No Appreciation of Cultural Differences
Where are you from? Australia, the United States, England or even Germany?
Have you ever been to China?
If you have, you know that the culture is dramatically different.
However, if you haven’t, take my word for it. I’ve lived in China for over six years, and there are cultural customs that still surprise me.
If you conducted business abroad before, remember, cultural differences are not just relevant to social settings, there are also cultural differences in the way people conduct business.
When you speak to a Chinese sales representative, remember that they will not have had the same life experiences as you, or have the same understanding of working relationships. So you need to be understanding and encouraging when you are communicating with suppliers. If they don’t understand something you are explaining, take time to explain it differently.
Your sales representative probably does not work on the factory floor. It’s more than likely that they will have never seen your product. Remember this when you have a complaint about your product. While it can feel like it takes an exceptional amount of time to get your points across, you have to be patient when discussing product requirements with your Chinese partners. They’re human and sometimes they will get things wrong.
Top Tip:If you are unsure you have communicated something about your product or requirements clearly, go out of your way to clarify it. Any ambiguous agreement may be lost in translation, and have been interpreted by your Chinese supplier in ways you least expect.
3. Setting Unrealistic Expectations
I’ve seen this so many times. First time Amazon FBA Sellers who think that they can get exactly what they want without compromise. It creates unrealistic expectations that you will never achieve.
You need to be honest with yourself. Is your first product actually realistic.
Consider these questions about your product now:
- Are you trying to source a customised product?
- Is your Private Label Business Logo a must?
- Do you plan to have a tiny minimum order quantity of 100 units?
- You aren’t willing to negotiate but still expect the best prices?
- Are you talking to suppliers for the first time, expecting to find better deals than seasoned China Sourcing Agents?
If you are trying to any of these things, you need to reconsider your product and your approach.
As a first time Amazon FBA Seller, most of these goals are unachievable.
Instead, consider your first product as a test.
This is part of your training to become a successful Amazon FBA Seller. The only way you will become a successful Amazon FBA Seller is if you manage to source your first product. The only way you will manage to source your own product is if you start with realistic goals.
So, instead of trying to source a customised product, with fancy packaging, at an unrealistic price, change your approach. Instead, source a product that is simple and non-customised.
I had a lot of trouble sourcing my first product. I wanted to do all of these things. It wasn’t until I spoke to a Sourcing Agent, that I realised my goals were unrealistic for a first timer.
At this stage, if you aren’t confident that what you are trying to achieve is realistic, it probably isn’t.
Top Tip:If you’re having trouble finding a realistic product, consider working with a Sourcing Agent. Getting their advice on what you could improve about your product is a great way to start your Amazon FBA Business the right way. If you’re serious, learn about the sort of questions you should be asking your Sourcing Agent now.
4. Too Big To Succeed
No doubt you’ve seen the videos. Amazon FBA Gurus who are telling you that you can make make $1,000,000 with your Private Label Business in the first month.
I hate to break it to you, but they are wrong.
Now, I’m not saying that Amazon FBA Selling isn’t a lucrative business. If you find a great product, do the necessary work, and commit to your business there’s every chance that you will succeed.
It’s just not realistic to think that you’re going to within the first month.
Now, while starting small may not seem like the most attractive option, particularly as it’s not going to get you rich in a matter of weeks, it is the most sensible option.
Remember, if you start with a non-customised product, without changes to the logo or fancy packaging, it will be cheaper for you to source, while also being quicker to launch.
Starting small is not missing an opportunity. Instead, starting small is a way to gain experience in importing goods from China fast, and allows you to build a platform for future expansion.
5. It’s Not Just About The Product
Now, while I always recommend that sellers take their first products seriously, remember that when you’re selling it, your success will not be down to the quality or uniqueness of the product alone.
You don’t need to have the fanciest product listed to make money on Amazon.
Your listings can instead can make a good product competitive. Use low competition, long tail keywords to build a niche in the market. Make your product shots more professional than your competitors.
Think about the last time you bought a product on Amazon.
If you needed copier paper, new towels or a mobile phone charger, did you really care if the product was branded?
When buying non-customised products, most people don’t. They care about the quality of product being up to their expected standard, the price and the reviews.
Do your research and make sure you get this right.
Take One Small Step Today
Avoiding these common mistakes is easy now you’re informed, but extremely difficult when you’re not.
To do this successfully, you may need to reassess everything you thought you knew about importing products from China. But trust me, as a seasoned Amazon expert, I know what I’m talking about.
Starting small and realistic today will help you grow your business into a bigger entity tomorrow. It’s better to conserve your savings on a product is realistic, rather than chasing a unicorn and finding yourself broke.
What will you now do differently as a new importer? Is branding still as important to you?
Let me know what has worked for you, and whether there are any bigger mistakes that you’ve encountered importing goods from China.