With continued growth of ecommerce, knowing that a huge amount of goods being sold on Amazon are highly being manufactured and imported from China and Asia, the competition has become stronger and stronger for Amazon Sellers. Today, there are even Chinese companies and Chinese factories who sell directly their products on Amazon. We can wonder if there will still be space for local importers in a few years…
I remember, 10 years ago when I attempted doing some small business by selling items on Ebay, already there were some Chinese and Hong Kongese companies selling products almost at cost.
Today, B2B platforms such as Amazon or Alibaba are so much crowded, and the competition coming directly from asian manufacturers themselves, it becomes more and more difficult for local importers and distributors to keep selling OEM products while having a decent margin.
They can not really fight on price point anymore. However, as you may know customer ratings and feedbacks remain a key point for people purchasing or not products. And this is where local Amazon sellers can make a difference. If they can not fight on the price, they can fight on quality and keep having proper feedback on Amazon so they can keep their pricing higher and avoid Amazon penalties.
There are no 1000 strategies do so. It comes back again and again to the same things: managing the supply chain properly, having hand on traceability and controlling the quality of your products before shipment. Below a few key points about how to manage proper import from China to sell on Amazon
0./ Identify strategic product
When considering which product to import from China and to sell overseas, there definitively are some products to avoid and some to prefer. For example, it is extremly difficult to try to sell a product already well ranked and with many sellers.
A potential way to choose a product is to attempt to choose a product which many people like but where sellers have bad feedback and rating due to quality issue. You can take challenge to get products which other people want but they don’t success to sell properly because those products have productions weaknesses, then you can place yourself as the sellers who sell the product without defective. It will ensure you decent margins
1./ Source your vendor properly
Finding the right vendor is a necessity but it is not always easy to do so. B2B market place such as Alibaba are full of intermediary which doesn’t always allow to have access the supply chain. Yet, to be able to control quality of your product, you have to be able to access each stake holder in your supply chain.
If you decide to use a sourcing agent based in China then I recommend to use a transparent sourcing agent to do the job so that you can get acccess the manufacturer and work with them to improve the quality of your product. Always make sure your agent audit really your chinese manufacturer before placing order.
2./ Patch the problems and improve product
You may find the Chinese manufacturer who supply the market with the product you are willing to sell. Once the supplier is identified, you need to identify the root cause of the quality issue which customers are mentioning in their ratings and feedbacks.
Once the root cause of the quality issue is identified, you need to work with the Chinese manufacturer and a quality consultant to find a way to make a patch to the cause. If it sounds difficult for you to do this, then you can ask a buying or sourcing agent to assist you in your procurement process. Normally, he would be in charge to review samples, and go to your manufacturer facility to identify the root cause and to propose a solution to your manufacturer. If your sourcing agent doesn’t do this, then change it.
Another way you can improve your product at cheap cost is by trying to improve the packaging. It really help to improve your customer first impression when they receive their products.
In short, you can take quality problem of others sellers to your advantage by solving those problems for your products. Hence you will be rated better than them on Amazon for the same product.
3./ Control quality by performing quality inspection
I probably repeat it too much, but you should perform some quality inspection under the form of Pre-Shipment Inspection at least before any shipment. Most of time, third party inspection companies will charge you per man-day of work for a certain quantity of product to inspect and for a certain number of SKU to inspect.
If you are on small order, then adding up all those orders to inspect may become costly in quality control fees because the third party inspection company will require you to pay for each manufacturer visited. Hence, the quality inspection fees will be a substantial part of your order value. In this case, a way to reduce quality inspection services fees is to make several suppliers to consolidate their order to one single supplier so that the inspection company may accept to inspect several order at the same location in once (mostly under the condition that your products are of same type).
4./ Take care of the packaging and logistic
Packaging is an essential part of your product for two reasons:
- It enhance the customer feeling to your product as it is the first impression a customer get with a product he buy
- It allows to protect your product during transportation and manipulation
Making sure your packaging is proper will help to avoid your product t be damaged when arriving at destination in your customer hand, hence avoiding negative feedbacks and useless criticism.
Be very careful about how your packaging and packing are made because transportation, travelling and other manipulation can damage your product easily during the supply chain.