When it comes to sourcing products and materials from China, many people look to Alibaba, the world’s largest B2B marketplace. There are lots of products to choose from, ranging from consumers goods, materials and everything in between. The thing is, would you trust the same marketplace, where someone can source replicated high-end consumer goods such as watches and bags, to source products for your business to be used by your customers? Despite Alibaba’s appealing charm, it isn’t the best place to find reliable and skilled manufacturers. If you’re considering using Alibaba to source products and materials, here are some things to consider.
Companies on Alibaba focus on short-term results
One reason why you can’t find the best manufacturers in Alibaba is that most businesses that are listed concentrate more so on generating short-term contracts or results. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t any trustworthy manufacturers or suppliers from Alibaba. It simply means that these suppliers or manufacturers tend to focus on short transactions, and not necessarily on building a partnership. Instead of simply selecting any online supplier, you need to find a manufacturer that offers various services for your business. Manufacturers go through tedious processes in order to manufacture products. Most of the companies found on Alibaba aren’t really manufacturers. They are usually either trading companies or wholesalers. Neither of these have any control over the manufacturing process, they merely on-sell the product to customers through Alibaba. The lack of control limits customization and quality insurance, as you have no direct contact with the manufacturer.
Alibaba Ranks companies based on their spending
According to Retail News Asia, more than half of Alibaba’s profits are sourced from advertisements and keyword bidding within its platforms; Alibaba, Aliexpress & 1688.com. This simply means that companies who pay Alibaba more money are ranked higher on their search engine. Basically, Alibaba also works as advertisers, and companies who want to be more popular can simply pay fees to be included on the first page. Meaning that you won’t be able to tell if these companies who paid advertisement fees are legitimate.
This method of ranking can place some of the best manufacturers on the fifth or sixth page, which could be easily overlooked. In addition, you shouldn’t rely on third-party certifications. This is because the certifications they show are only based on qualifications set and shown on Alibaba. Businesses gain access to the search engine for a certain fee, and it only verifies the trade name and business address. This can make it very easy for unreliable companies to appear legitimate.
You may not be getting the best prices
When it comes to looking for manufacturers, your business needs a clear sourcing strategy. It simply isn’t about searching Alibaba for possible products that you can sell. You should be mindful of the specific needs of your business. Since companies in Alibaba are focused on short-term transactions, you may not really be getting the best deal in terms of price, quality and delivery.
Companies that are on Alibaba also tend to charge higher prices for their products. This is because they have expenses for their Alibaba advertisements, English speaking staff, and many others to maintain their status on the website. You, the buyer, will most likely shoulder these additional costs.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to follow is to be smart when it comes to finding and choosing the best manufacturer for your business. Don’t rush into making decisions, contracts or any other agreements. Don’t try to get rid of the process and find the quickest and easiest way by looking for a manufacturer on a website that doesn’t really put you first.
The best manufacturers aren’t on Alibaba
Apple’s factory is located in China, and this is a clear indication that you can find big brand manufacturers in the country. But why can’t you find these manufacturers listed in Alibaba? Although it is easy to find a wide range of products and suppliers on Alibaba, the most renowned manufacturers aren’t listed. This is because renowned manufacturers cant be found in Chinese websites.
Companies on Alibaba are also only interested in small-scale production, while renowned manufacturers are targeting long-term production and client relationship. This means that if you are looking for a long-term partnership with a reputable manufacturer you may need to try an alternative sourcing method, like an agent or company.
Huge companies like Apple have a different set of standards when it comes to evaluating quality. They have certain compliance audits that need to be passed. The big brand supplier or manufacturer is sophisticated compared to small-time manufacturers.
Why choose a sourcing company to help?
It doesn’t matter if you are just a company that is starting out. At the end of the day, if you are interested in sourcing out products from China, you will need a manufacturer to work with. While Alibaba may be one of the largest online marketplaces to find a manufacturer, it isn’t exactly the place to find the best and most reliable one.
A sourcing company can help you find the best manufacturer for your business. They don’t just offer services, but they are experts in making sure that you get high-quality products for your business. This way, you can reduce costs, and generate more savings for your company. You can sell your products at a more affordable and reasonable price, which will also contribute in increasing overall profit. You will have more opportunities to invest and expand your business.
Giovanni’s passion and interest in global sourcing and trade gives him insight and understanding that most would miss. His love of research mixed with his background in business makes for an interesting read.