“How To Source Your Private Label Product In China, Without Getting Screwed By Alibaba Suppliers.”
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YIWU MARKET – 7 Sourcing Secrets For Wholesale Bargains
The Yiwu Market is the world’s largest wholesale market.
Featuring over 75,000 booths, 100,000 suppliers and millions of product samples, it’s the Mecca of Amazon FBA product sourcing.
Given its enormity, I bet you’ve already heard of it.
However, if you haven’t come across Yiwu International Market City, here’s your introduction.
Today, I’m going to explain to you exactly why this Product Sourcing Paradise matters to you. I’m also revealing my Top Seven Sourcing Secrets that will help you uncover wholesale bargains whenever you’re visiting a market to import goods from China.
What is the Yiwu Market?
The Yiwu Market is the world’s largest wholesale market. It features endless rows booths, brimming with brightly coloured samples, across five enormous floors.
It’s the one stop shop for over a million product samples, all of which are perfect for Amazon FBA Sellers.
While the Yiwu Market isn’t suitable for everything, including electronics, it is the perfect place to find non-customised, mass-marketable products.
All of the products are normally ready for shipment. So if you need two or three container loads of goods, it is one of the fastest ways to get them.
Unlike the Canton Fair or Hong Kong Fair, the Yiwu Market is open all year round. More, located in China’s Zhejiang province, Yiwu is incredibly accessible. It’s just a two hour flight from Hong Kong, or a two hour train journey from Shanghai. You can even visit the market virtually, thanks to sites like Yiwugo.
Covering over 5 million square meters of floorspace, the Yiwu Market covers more than 700 football pitches. So while there are more opportunities than you can count, it’s notoriously difficult to navigate.
Since moving to China in 2013, I’ve visited a lot of trade fairs, fake markets and the Yiwu Market. During each I’ve learned a lot. There are so many product sourcing opportunities at them, but these can sometimes seem impossible to realise.
That’s why today I am sharing my expert advice on how to find the best wholesale bargains when importing goods from China.
1. Find The Product You Never Dreamed Of
Whether you’re a first time Amazon FBA Seller or a seasoned sourcer, there will always be times when you’re searching for the perfect product.
Now, you can find great products with a lot of research and a bit of imagination. However, a trip to the Yiwu Market is the fast-track way to discover new products. Products that you could have never dreamed of
Showcasing the wares of over 75,000 vendors, the Yiwu Market offers a treasure trove of products. Products that in many cases have not yet hit the Amazon Market. That means that a visit to the Yiwu Market can really help you find products that will give your Private Label Business THE competitive edge.
Think back to the phenomenon of Fidget Spinners. These are the types of products you can discover before the competition at the Yiwu Market.
All it takes is the right Amazon FBA Seller to find them and have the confidence to deliver them.
If you visit the Yiwu Market, that seller could be you.
2. Don’t Rush Your Visit
If you’re visiting the Yiwu Market, make sure you don’t rush your visit.
Trust me, with over 75,000 booths and 5.5 million square meters to cover, you won’t be able to see everything in an afternoon. More, the Market is open from 9am to 5pm. 365 days a year. So there’s absolutely no excuse for keeping your visit short.
The reason it’s so important that you don’t rush your visit, is that you could risk missing a fantastic opportunity.
Remember, finding the right supplier and product takes time. You should never pick the first one you meet. To get the best results from your visit you need to review every booth, and get as many quotes as possible
I recommend spending two or three days at the market.
Taking your time also gives you a great opportunity to familiarise yourself with the region. If you have extra time, you can even use it to visit the factories of potential suppliers.
3. Time Your Visit Right
To get the best deals and the prices, you need to visit the Yiwu Market at the right time of year.
When is the right time of year? When other Amazon FBA Sellers are less likely to be there!
This is simple, but unless you live in China it probably isn’t obvious.
When Amazon FBA Sellers visit either the Canton Fair or the Hong Kong Fair, they will often spend a few days at the Yiwu Market too. This means that the prices offered by vendors will be higher, because there is more demand for products.
That’s why I recommend avoiding April and October when planning your visit the Yiwu Market. In addition to cheaper quotes from suppliers, you’ll normally find cheaper flights into Zhejiang and cheaper hotels in Yiwu
The less suppliers that are there, the more likely merchants are to have available factory space, the less competition from other suppliers, and the more likely you will find a good deal on your perfect product.
4. REMEMBER: Most Vendors are NOT Manufacturers
When you visit the Yiwu Market, remember: most vendors are not Manufacturers, they’re Trading Agencies.
The difference between a Trading Agency and a Manufacturer is simple:
- Manufacturers make goods and own their own factories.
- Trading Agencies do not own production facilities and instead source their products from Manufacturers.
Now, this isn’t always a problem. It depends on whether you want to work with a Manufacturer or a Trading Agency.
While I do normally recommend that Private Label Businesses source their products directly from Manufacturers, if you’re just starting out, there can be real advantages to sourcing from a Trading Agency.
These advantages include lower Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs), more accessible services, and staff who are more proficient at speaking English.
However, if you are sure that you don’t want to work with a Trading Agency, here’s how you can spot them.
Spotting a Trading Agency Disguised as a Manufacturer
At the Yiwu Market, it can be very difficult to determine whether a vendor is a Manufacturer, or a Trading Agency masquerading as a Manufacturer.
Even when you ask a vendor whether they are a Manufacturer, it is not uncommon for Trading Agencies to lie.
Here’s how I spot them:
- If the vendor has a lot of products, it’s probably a Trading Agency. Manufacturers focus on a single product with a number of variations, made out of a single material. Trading Agencies don’t make products, so they will have a wide range of samples.
- Visit the vendor’s facility. When in Yiwu, you can visit vendor’s sites. When you visit somewhere, make sure you Google it, and consult a Sourcing Agent to confirm that the manufacturer is legitimate.
Top Tip: Be careful. Some Trading Agencies are extremely crafty and may take you to visit a factory that they do not own. I have found some that go as far as hanging their supplier’s business with banners bearing their company logo. A great way to avoid situations like this is to work with a good Sourcing Agent.
5. Plan To Succeed
Planning is the best way to ensure you have a successful visit to the Yiwu Market
If you already have a product in mind, use Yiwugo to research suppliers before you arrive. Yiwugo is a fantastic index of all of the suppliers at the Yiwu Market and their products.
Researching suppliers on the Yiwugo is simple.
First, register – don’t worry, it’s free – and familiarise yourself with the layout of Yiwu International Trade City at the Buyer Entrance. At Yiwugo’s Buyer Entrance can discover which products are based in certain locations by reviewing each district
You can also use Yiwugo to generate listings of all the suppliers of your chosen product. If you’re searching for a specific product, let’s say gloves, enter gloves into Yiwugo’s search function and Yiwugo will return over 400 suppliers.
Many supplier listings offer immersive 360 degree photographs of their booths and list exactly where they in the Yiwu Market. They also list supplier’s contact details, so you can get in touch with them ahead of your visit.
Importantly, the listings on Yiwugo also list each vendor’s product’s prices. Note that these are listed in Chinese Yuan, or RMB which you will need to convert into US Dollars. Don’t forget that these prices are a guide. Tou should be looking to negotiate them down when you speak to each supplier.
It’s suprising, but the listings on Yiwugo are so good, you can explore the whole of the Yiwu Market without travelling to China.
Top Tip: Don’t be put off by supplier email addresses that contain numbers. This is extremely common in China and does not indicate that something is a scam.
6. Record Your Visit
Before visiting the Yiwu Market, make sure you have the following:
- 1 notebook
- 1 handheld stapler
- Multiple pens
- 1 charged phone
That’s because even if you have a fantastic memory, there’s no way you’re going to be able to remember everything you see. So to get the most value out of your visit, make sure you keep detailed notes
I recommend that when you visit each booth, you keep a record of the following information
- Supplier name and contact. If possible get a business card from the supplier and staple it to the page in your notebook with the relevant notes.
- A short summary of the product your interested in.
- The Minimum Order Quantity.
- The cost of each product per unit.
- Your quality impression of each product. This means what you think about the quality of the product offered by the supplier.
Once you have all of these details, don’t start negotiating on price. Instead, just move onto the next booth.
That’s because Yiwu Market isn’t the right place to close a deal.
While vendors will try to get you to go into negotiations, they do this because it’s you’re vulnerable, and often overwhelmed by your surroundings.
If you are interested in a working with a supplier, be polite, but don’t commit. Send them an email after your visit, once you’ve finished your visit instead.
7. Use a Sourcing Agent
Foreigners in China never get the best prices. Period.
That’s why once you’ve developed a comprehensive list of potential suppliers, I strongly recommend that you work with a good local Sourcing Agent.
Provide them with your list of suppliers, an explanation of the product you want and the price you’re going for, and let them approach the suppliers on your behalf.
Normally this will help you achieve much better prices. The Sourcing Agent will also flag any problems that you may not have spotted about the suppliers.
It can seem like an unnecessary expense, but using a Sourcing Agent will save you more money than you spend. That’s because Sourcing Agents normally take around 5% commission, but will often save you as much as 20%, delivering to you a net saving of 15%.
Discover a Wholesale Bargain
Now you know why you should go to the Yiwu Market, why not start planning your visit?
Have you already been to the Yiwu Market? If so, what are your top tips for fiding the best prices when importing goods from China?
Let me know in the comments below!