Its important to conduct proper due diligence when conducting a transaction, most especially online. Fraud is an inherent risk in any business dealings, either trading online or offline. One needs to do due diligence when dealing with manufacturers and suppliers on Alibaba and other similar trade portals. one of the challenges to overcome will be the diversity in cultural perceptions and language barrier.I know how difficult it can be when negotiating and communicating with suppliers on Alibaba. There are lot of things to better your chances of having a good experience with the Chinese people, but it requires some energy. I have decided to share some tips with you based on my personal experiences and researches.
Carry out a research on the product you intend buying. Check out the market selling price, the varying levels of quality of the product, common substitutions etc. you have an adequate knowledge about the product before proceeding into negotiation with Chinese suppliers.While sourcing for supplier, it was suggested using Google translate to convert the product name to Chinese and using the Chinese term to search Alibaba or other Chinese trade portals. Chinese List price is always cheaper compared to the English list price. For example, the English list price for a football jersey was $15, whereas the Chinese listing was $7. Always Conduct an extensive research!
The greatest challenge of buying from Chinese Manufacturers/Suppliers remains Language. The language barrier is very real. Chinese speaks little or not English at all. They frequently use translation programs to translate, and in most cases mis-translate e-mails. This can make the negotiation process a little frustrating. Always use simple and straightforward English. make use of numbers and bullet points as they can be easily be translated without problems.
When searching for a supplier, keep your initial email contact clear and straightforward. Tell the supplier the exact product are seeking, your expectations in terms of quality, pricing details, cost of sample unit and including shipping to your address.
2. What is your minimum order quantity (MOQ)
3. What available colors do you have?
4. What forms of payment do you accept?
Contact many suppliers and request for samples. At times, I get 5-10 samples before choosing one. sure it will cost me money but its probably one of the most important decisions you will make in the business.
As with any business negotiations, always be ready to take a walk. If the price isn’t fair enough, walk away. From my experience, Alibaba suppliers would follow-up relentlessly, they will send an email with a better price few days later.
Completing all these steps and point can help you have a good business experience and avoid being scammed. Remember, there is no replacement for common sense. If something feels weird, walk away. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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