If you are in wholesale, you need suppliers. One of the most popular ways to find these is to visit Alibaba.com. Alibaba is one of the most popular platforms for online retailers looking for distributors. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you find the right Alibaba suppliers for the products you want to sell on your online store.
Step-by-step guide on how to find Alibaba suppliers
If you are looking for suppliers to add to your inventory, or just dropshipping suppliers, you need to visit Alibaba.com first. Then go to the search bar and enter the keywords for the product that you want to sell online. An extensive list of products is displayed. Of course, it is still difficult to find the right supplier now. So it’s time to filter the results:
- Check ‘Trade Assurance’ – This means that you are covered if the products you have ordered are not shipped on time or if your products do not meet quality standards
- Verified Supplier Check – This means that the seller is assessed, certified and / or inspected by independent third-party institutions
- Filter by “supplier country / region” – each Chinese province is known for its specific product categories – selecting the suppliers with the highest number of suppliers is often a safe choice
- Filter suppliers by ‘minimum order quantity’ – at the beginning you may want to buy small quantities like 10 or 100 pieces to test the product
Now is the time to take a closer look at Alibaba suppliers. You can hover over the different icons to see some quick facts. If it’s available, take a look at the top 3 markets too. This is important because suppliers with a lot of experience in Europe often also know the specific requirements and regulations of a country. It could save you a lot of time, stress and penalties in the future!
Take a look at Alibaba Suppliers Top 3 Markets. That saves you a lot of time and trouble.
Scan the product page
When you think you’ve found a good Alibaba supplier, click on the appropriate product page. Now check out everything there is to see. For example, find out how long the supplier has been a Gold Member and how long they have been a Verified Supplier. If he has one for five years in a row, it can be assumed that that supplier is not cheating on you. But also check other things on the product page to see if this Alibaba seller is someone you want to do business with:
- Is the price in a reasonable range?
- Can your desired minimum order quantity be achieved?
- Are the payment terms acceptable? (Can you pay with PayPal?)
- Does the product match the supplier’s portfolio?
- Does the supplier offer good quality product photos? You can see the product in detail)
Check the certifications for selling in Europe
One very important thing to check is the certifications that are available. Do a closer look for RoHS, CE & FCC. RoHs certification (“Restriction of Hazardous Substances”) is required for most European countries. It prohibits certain dangerous substances in the product. The CE (“Conformité Européene / European Conformity”) is a certification for Europe to meet general standards. You really need this if you want to sell (dropshipping) in the European Union! And the FCC (“Federal Communications Commission”) is a required certification for electrical products and also a standard for the USA.
Check that the supplier has the necessary certificates to sell in Europe.
Take a look at the company profile
If you still have a good feeling about the supplier, take a look at the company profile and review all the information available. Also, visit the website to see if the products he sells there are the same as the products he sells on Alibaba. For example, if he sells smartwatches on Alibaba but mainly sells home decoration items on his website, you can assume that he doesn’t produce the smartwatches but only has them for resale. And it’s better (and often cheaper) to do business with whoever makes the smartwatches.
If everything looks good, try contacting the supplier and asking about things like:
- A price
- The minimum order quantity
- The delivery time
- Certification available
- Which customers does he sell this product to?
- Start-up time
- available colours
- Terms of payment
Now try emailing a request to two or three other suppliers. This way you can easily compare them and have a backup if a supplier doesn’t respond to you.
For more detailed information on how to find a supplier on Alibaba.com, watch the following video from ImportDojo: