As a purchasing agent and procurement co-ordinator for Canadian and U.S. companies, I wanted to share some very frustrating issues we as buyers face.
I will primarily discuss dealing with sellers who advertise their services and goods on Alibaba and specifically China.
Here are the issues that will absolutely derail your sale and potential wholesale accounts with some of the larger retailer and wholesalers in North America.
1. Your item price on your listing on Alibaba does not match what you offer after contact.
a. After finding the right product for our clients, the very next thing we look at is price.
If we like your advertised price we initiate contact, expecting a formal quote that is the SAME price and not higher. THIS APPLIES TO SAMPLES AS WELL. If on the quote we all of a sudden see double the price or even 10% higher, I throw the quote to the garbage.
2. You expect an FCL order before the product is evaluated through a sample purchase.
a. We all want to sell quantity. However, you will find it very hard to convince anyone to purchase an FCL before they physically inspect your products. Therefore, you need to be prepared to send out a LOT of samples. Don’t even suggest a Full Container Load to the client before offering samples. Imagine going to a new car dealer which you have never worked with and buying the first car on the lot from a catalog the sales man gives you, without seeing it, test driving it, etc. etc. It will not happen. W
b. Whether you ask for payment for the samples or not is up to you, but in our eyes if you claim to be a manufacturer, we expect that you will have samples on hand. This applies to everything from furniture, electronics, food ANYTHING.
c. Price the samples fairly. Don’t double the price or triple the price if you charge for samples. In North America it is very very common for large manufacturers to send samples at no charge to wholesalers. It is part of their marketing and promotion budget.
If you do offer free samples, make sure you research the company you are sending them to, so you do not waste your money and product to some random person asking for them. Ask for their website, any professional associations they are part of etc. etc. If they do not have any of that charge them regular price for samples.
These two above problems can be solved very easily by sellers. DISCLOSE ALL TERMS ON YOUR LISTING. In your listing details specify your terms. If you have quantity pricing say it; If you do not offer samples, say it; If you don’t take escrow for sample orders, say it; If you charge for crating product (which you should not by the way), say it etc etc.
Guys, what all of the above says, is be truthful from the very beginning, don’t try to sneak extra charges or terms just prior to signing the agreement, expect to send or sell a lot of samples before a big fish shows up.
Till next time,