Tips For Finding and Dealing with Great Suppliers - Amazon FBA EP123

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Welcome To Episode #123 of the Amazon FBA Private Label Show Podcast!

In this episode I share my tips for finding and dealing with great suppliers for my e-commerce business.

Listen to this Amazon FBA Podcast!

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Tips For Finding and Dealing with Great Suppliers - Amazon FBA EP123

Once you find a great product that you want to start selling on Amazon FBA you need to find an equally great supplier that can make it for you. Using a bad supplier can result in poor product quality, missed deadlines, poor communication and ultimately poor product sales.

The search for finding a great supplier can be a frustrating and time consuming process. Randomly searching sites like Alibaba, Global Sources and Thomas Net aren't always effective as there are often lots of bad suppliers to weed through. It is essential that you find great suppliers for your e-commerce or Amazon FBA business to succeed.

Here are my tips to finding a great supplier:

If you are using Alibaba, Global Sources, Thomas Net etc...

  • Look to see how long the supplier has been in business. Try to avoid suppliers without a long track record of business.
  • How much business is a supplier currently getting?
  • How well are their websites put together and organized?
  • If you are using Alibaba check to see if they are a Gold Supplier, have an Onsite Check completed, accept Trade Assurance
  • Check the company profile pages to further inspect the business

A quicker and more efficient way of finding a supplier is to search the import records of top sellers.

  • Make a list of the top players in your niche and search to find their company and brand names.
  • Use sites like Panjiva.com or similar to search import records
  • If you have the Jungle Scout Web App then you now have this functionality built in. Use it to save tons of time.
  • If sellers are consistently using certain suppliers for a lot of order then that is a good sign.
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Once you have a list of 3 - 5 potential suppliers to work with you need to start reaching out to them. You need to test them and see how well they respond to your inquiry. This is all about narrowing down to find the right supplier that is gonna meet your needs and be easy to work with.

I usually have a set list of questions that I send to each supplier. Here are some of the basic questions I like to ask. It's also important that you number the questions as it makes it easy for the supplier to read and respond to you.

Sample Questions

  1. How much are samples? Is the sample fee refundable with an order?
  2. What are the different packaging options you offer?
  3. Can I customize the product and private label the product?
  4. How long does it take for a typical order to be completed?
  5. What are the payment options you accept?

Once you send off these questions you just now wait to see how they respond. If you don't get a response then cross them off your list. You are simply gauging their answers and communication here.

As I progress with the communication I may start to talk to them about price and MOQ information.

  • How much per unit for 500, 1000, 2000, 5000?
  • Tell them you want to place a "starter order" of a relatively small quantity to test their product and services. If everything goes smooth then you will place larger orders.
  • Always frame everything as Win-Win for both parties. If you are going to start negotiating lower prices then explain your reasoning and how it would benefit them long term.
  • You can check sites like 1688.com for potential pricing comparison.
  • It's worth noting that being to aggressive on pricing can backfire on you if you don't have any rapport built up.

Here are some important points to always keep in mind:

  • Ask them if they have a full product catalog/PDF they can send you. Many times the supplier won't have a fully updated website as they are adding new products all the time.
  • Kindness goes a long way so be kind!
  • Always have clear communication and avoid using slang
  • Focus and tell the supplier that you want to build a long term business partnership that is mutually beneficial.
  • Build rapport with your supplier representative
    • Ask them personal stuff about themselves
    • Praise and compliment them often
    • Share personal stuff about yourself with them
    • Share any fun pictures or videos when necessary
FINAL NOTE:

It's often the goal of many sellers to want to find the supplier with the lowest prices. From my experience that isn't always the best idea as many suppliers will cut corners on materials and packaging to compensate. I am usually willing to spend a little more money per unit if I know the supplier can deliver exactly what I am asking for in a timely manner. I will also be willing to spend more to work with certain suppliers if I know dealing with them is going to be easy. So price is important but don't sacrifice quality because if you do that could lead to poor product reviews and a poor customer experience.

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If you haven't yet watched my video "How To Find A Product To Sell In Minutes" then please do that as well.

Check Out How To Find A Product To Sell In Minutes

RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

For all other resources and tools that I use in my Amazon business please see the resources link.

Alibaba – This is one of the main sites I use for sourcing products to sell on Amazon. It’s a portal to get connected with suppliers and the site is improving all the time.

Global Sources – Similar to Alibaba this portal is a very high quality site to find products to source. It isn’t as well know as Alibaba but certainly should be part of your tool belt when looking for new products.

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146 episodes available. A new episode about every 14 days averaging 33 mins duration .