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Dropshipping & Wholesale Suppliers Discuss Dropshipping on/off eBay, Amazon, Shopify, Etsy and other platforms.

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  #1  
Old 07-02-2013
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Default How to research potential new suppliers

How would you guys recommend researching a supplier from alibaba that you have never dealt with before. They have gold status etc but I know that does not mean anything at all.

Tbh I have never dealt with any suppliers directly from alibaba so his is new territory for me.
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Old 07-02-2013
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With any supplier, I treat them like they were applying for a job. I am always asking questions about there product and operation. I check to see if it is easy to communicate with them. I also track how long their response back to my questions take.
Depending on the product, I will ask for samples.
The good thing is that when all is said and done and you work with a supplier, the money still goes into escrow.

Hope this helps???
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Old 07-02-2013
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Talk to them about their products, see if they reply fast and well

Order in a small amount at first, growing larger when you know you can trust them

Look at any feedback and any reviews

Google there name, and check to see if anything negative comes up on any forums.
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Old 07-02-2013
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Do not be swayed by the fact they has 'gold' status.

Check as much as you can off the Alibaba web site.

Pay attention to what the other two posted stated.

Interview them. They are doing you a favour by having you buy their goods. You owe them nothing. Make sure they earn the right to have your money.

Discuss whatever you think matters to you.

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Agree with everything said above.

Would add:

Make at least 2 sample orders, or 3, to check the quality of the product & consistency. Sometimes they send you better quality for the first sample, to hook you into making a repeat and larger order.

Check which shipping methods are available, if couriers, i.e. DHL, Fedex, etc are a problem or not available (if you're item isn't something as big as a washing machine or something) then ask them why not? Could be some underlying problems.

Ask what is the dispatch time, if it is more than 4-5days (as above, depends on the product, if it is something custom, its different) it usually means they are a middle man and go to a factory or their supplier to buy and then ship to you.

I would usually ask for a smaller and larger sample order quantity, example 10 and 30 (if product is ~ $10 a piece), to get a general idea of price per unit. You can figure out details like how far they are able to stretch and negotiate.

Check the english you get your replies in, usually the bigger and more serious one's either hire someone to deal with orders on ali, or are educated to some degree.
(this does not apply to every case) It gives you some security if there are any problem with the order, so you can tell them what exactly is wrong and how they can fix it.


Personally, would not spend over $100USD on sample orders. Depending on the price per unit. A lot of shady quality products are around, and if you want refunds, you must return it. Which is nearly impossible when they claim item was damaged in transit to them, or it never arrived.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by cookiecutter101; 07-02-2013 at 04:12 AM.
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Forgot to add:

Example, you want to buy apple cables, and there are 10 suppliers that you like with different pricing on alibaba.
Message all of them asking for sample quotes, and check response times, price, etc etc.
Sometimes you find real gems of suppliers this way. Some are willing to negotiate more than others.
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Old 07-02-2013
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Well I have made my first mistake. The moq was 300k and I have asked for a sample order of 50k to which hey have agreed.

This is like $1000 worth order.

I will start some digging now on google about the company.
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Old 07-02-2013
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$450 worth I mean. That's not to bad is it?

They are emailing me certificates of the company. I am not sure what these certificates are going to prove but this must be a good sign?
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Certificates are worth as much as the paper they are printed on.

You could also ask for references from some of their clients.

If you can get the moq for a sample order lower then try.

Good Luck on your quest.
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The certificates they email, mean nothing.
I'm sure it's not too hard to photoshop or even forge them in China.

The only way you know the quality is by having it in your hand and testing it.
If it's something that needs to be reliable or can break, test it thoroughly.

Example you buy some usb cables, they are made of crappy materials, 1week of use later they break. Your customers will not be pleased and it will end up costing you big time.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arshavin View Post
$450 worth I mean. That's not to bad is it?

They are emailing me certificates of the company. I am not sure what these certificates are going to prove but this must be a good sign?
Ask to do a skype face to face, if they make excuses tick them off your list of potential.

You can buy ready made certificates......LOL just add your details

Escrow is probably a good route
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Old 07-02-2013
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If they call you "friend" in their emails to you, then you are clearly a friend. At this point it is safe to send several thousand via Western Union for the latest counterfeit merchandise.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebayorbust View Post
If they call you "friend" in their emails to you, then you are clearly a friend. At this point it is safe to send several thousand via Western Union for the latest counterfeit merchandise.
Do I use my Blackberry or ipad for the transaction

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Old 07-02-2013
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Communicate with the seller - ask for samples - dont risk more than you can afford to lose for the initial transaction.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebayorbust View Post
If they call you "friend" in their emails to you, then you are clearly a friend. At this point it is safe to send several thousand via Western Union for the latest counterfeit merchandise.
Very good advice Now I know that I can trust that Nigerian man who said I won the lottery as well
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Old 07-02-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesNorth101 View Post
Very good advice Now I know that I can trust that Nigerian man who said I won the lottery as well
Don't you know it

He sent my check from the ministry of baptist jesus monte cristo Christ Jerusalem last week. But his brothers friend thrice removed was ill so I sent him about 30k back to help with the healing process.

When can you cash yours?

Since im going to be a 300k millionaire anyway, that 30k doesn't matter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjmixers View Post
Don't you know it

He sent my check from the ministry of baptist jesus monte cristo Christ Jerusalem last week. But his brothers friend thrice removed was ill so I sent him about 30k back to help with the healing process.

When can you cash yours?

Since im going to be a 300k millionaire anyway, that 30k doesn't matter
Well all I can say is I hope his brothers' friend thrice removed is OK

Its always the nice ones that get ill.

All I have to do for my money is send him 7,000 via Western Union. What could go wrong? I mean the last two times I did it, turns out it was a scam but third time lucky right?
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Old 07-03-2013
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Thanks for all the replies.

Is anyone familiar with having your goods delivered by sea? I have no experience with his whatsoever.

My supplier has said they will send but as soon as it hits the dock in the uk it is my responsibility. What should I be doing?
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Old 07-03-2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arshavin View Post
Thanks for all the replies.

Is anyone familiar with having your goods delivered by sea? I have no experience with his whatsoever.

My supplier has said they will send but as soon as it hits the dock in the uk it is my responsibility. What should I be doing?
Takes a lot longer. Want it sent via DHL ideally, FedEx second, EMS third (my preferences at least)

He means that if it does not clear UK customs, then you take the hit not him. If the goods are perfectly legal, nothing to worry about, although the fact that he says this makes me wonder. If they are dubious in nature, I would move on.
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I mean when it arrives at the port then it is upto me to have to have the goods delivered. I will need a freight forwarded i hunk but I have no experience with this.
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Really I think its only worth going by sea if you have containers worth of stuff, and your happy to wait a good few weeks for it to arrive. I am not anywhere near patient enough for that :P
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Old 07-04-2013
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You should talk to a freight forwarder or a customs broker. Years ago, I worked for a company that sold computer parts - non-branded and cheap - motherboards, memory, hard drives, etc. They received shipments by the San Francisco Bay and used a customs broker to sort it through customs and put it on a truck to be delivered. Of course, this company was in Chicago, which is why they used a broker.

Obviously, I don't know exactly how this works in the UK, but a freight forwarder or customs broker should be able to answer your questions. And JamesNorth101 is right, it does take weeks to arrive.
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