Product sourcing proves to be very challenging even for businessmen with enough experience, not alone the newbies, as it is not so easy to source the right products of good quality at good prices, and make great money out of them. To make your business more successful, you need to keep learning and accumulate more sourcing experience. Here I share with you some common ways and tips for product sourcing.
1. What is product sourcing?
Briefly, product sourcing is buying the good-quality products you want from a reliable supplier at a good price, and then you resell them. Generally, the product sourcing process involves the following steps:
- Product and market searching
- Contact and select suppliers
- Order samples from suppliers
- Place an order
The steps may seem simple, but actually, it costs time and requires skills to really grasp how to source products. As “product and market searching” and “selecting suppliers” are the two most important steps, many importers may have difficulty in the two steps, especially the second one. I explain them in detail below.
2. Product and market searching
You need to make sure the products you buy have a good demand market. That means you have to research what kind of products are in trend recently, or what products your target customers are asking for. The aim is to find a profitable product with selling points such as practical value, fashion style, and emotional resonance with users. Here are tips for you.
Research products that are in trend recently.
To get the information, you can analyze your competitors, and check the reviews on social media and major supplier sites.
If your business is not big enough or you start your business for a short time, I recommend you choose the products which are already sold in bulk in the market. Compared to selling a new product, selling established products can ensure returns and save time.
However, newbies should choose trendy products or small-profit products carefully. The former sometimes is competitive, and the latter builds profit on a huge number of customer orders.
Find products that meet target customers’ needs.
You have to figure out what your target customers really want. For example, if you plan to source fishing rods, you can ask fishing lovers for some advice on appearance and function.
In the process, you still need some e-commerce tools to help you find the proper product. For example, if you are a seller on Amazon, you can use such tools as Google Keyword Planner and Jungle Scout.
Take Google Keyword Planner for example. This keyword research tool shows the search volume on Google. And the data tells how much the product you type on Google is needed by the customers. What’s more, you can set up the period such as the past month, three months, a year, etc.
Read JingSourcing’s product monthly report for sourcing idea.
If you have decided on product categories, the next step is to find a reliable supplier to buy your products. In practice, you can find suppliers through online platforms, sourcing companies, and offline ways. I introduce the three sourcing methods in detail below.
3. Find suppliers through online platforms
Sourcing products through online platforms is one of the common ways. There are different suppliers, such as wholesalers, manufacturers, and dropshippers online to meet your needs. Here are two methods to find suppliers through product sourcing websites.
Use the Google search
If you type as suggested in the below picture in the search box, Google will show you hundreds of results. I advise you to check the top pages for search results. You can choose the good ones from the organic search results and advertisements for further contact and evaluation.
However, sometimes it is hard to identify whether the supplier is reliable or not, and there is no third party to ensure it.
Use Alibaba or similar B2B trading platforms
Alibaba and alternative platforms are reputable wholesale platforms with a sea of products and supplies. I take sourcing on Alibaba for example, you can select the suppliers such as Trade Assurance and Verified Supplier by ticking in the small squares.
If you want to find a reliable manufacturer, you can input the product name and choose the Verified manufacturers below. It’s also very convenient for you to find a specific product you want, as some platforms support the image search.
What’s more, the B2B platforms work as a third party to protect the buyers’ profit. For example, Alibaba has trade assurance to ensure product quality, payment security, and on-time shipping. The search interface may vary from different platforms, but you can find the suppliers you want.
If you plan to wholesale from China, you can find suppliers on wholesale websites such as Alibaba and DHgate. And if you want to dropship from China, you can find a dropshipping supplier from dropshipping websites such as Banggood and AliExpress to help you send products to your customers.
For example, if you find a silicone baby plate supplier which is a manufacturer on Alibaba, you can buy the silicone baby plates in stock directly and add your logo.
Besides, you can ask the supplier to make a new mold and manufacture unique silicone baby plates for you. In this way, your products can be more competitive compared with buying products in stock directly.
Are you ready to source good-quality products from China?
4. Find a sourcing company
Sourcing companies work like a bridge between you and the suppliers. They help you to source products out of reach. As we all know, product sourcing is not easy. If you don’t have enough time, effort, or experience to do it by yourself, finding a reliable sourcing company to help you arrange everything can be a good choice
A reliable sourcing company can help you select the best supplier. Sometimes, the professional sourcing agent in the sourcing company will find 10 potential suppliers for your one product, and then choose the best one for you. What’s more, sourcing companies have great manufacturer resources which you can’t find online, so the price and quality are often better than you source products by yourself.
If you source products with a small order by yourself, most suppliers may be too busy to help you. However, sourcing companies can help you as they have their supplier resources.
And the sourcing company can save you communication costs. The sourcing agents from a good sourcing company have no language barrier with you and the suppliers. It’s easy for them to make price negotiations and discuss product sourcing details.
What’s more, sourcing companies aim to offer good service to clients. They make the choice that benefits you. For example, if you ask a manufacturer to develop a new product and make a new mold, the manufacturer will do it directly for you as long as your pay enough money. And they won’t think about the reasonability of opening a new mold though it’s very costly.
As for prof sourcing companies, they will consider a series of things for you:
- Is it practical?
- Will the product price you sell be very high?
- Can the customers afford it? Can the product sell well?
- Do we have another practical solution?
JingSourcing is exactly the professional sourcing company we mentioned above. We can help you do all things about product sourcing like selecting suppliers, making price negotiations, following up production, quality control, testing, packaging, shipping, etc.
Let JingSourcing help you source products.
5. Find suppliers offline
If condition permits, you can also source products offline by visiting trade shows, exhibitions, and conferences. You can know lots of retailers and suppliers with whom you may do business later. And you can get the idea for sourcing product categories, as the suppliers often show lots of new products you have never seen before.
Major trade shows usually take place in industrial clusters of larger cities and last several days. Here I take the Canton Fair – one of the trade shows in China for example. If you have time to visit China in Spring and Autumn, you may participate in China’s biggest trade fair.
There you can see all kinds of products shown by suppliers. There are buyers from all over the world such as Europe, the US, and Russia. And over 200 countries attend the trade show.
Visiting the industrial clusters is a good choice on regular days. There are many wholesale markets in the industrial clusters. If you visit these places, you can see a huge variety of products in a building with many floors. It’s convenient to compare products and prices, as one floor of the building or all of the building is sometimes crowded with shops that sell almost the same product categories.
For example, if you visit Guangzhou wholesale market, you will find that the watch wholesale markets are mainly concentrated in the Zhanxi Watch Market and South Watch Center, the two buildings. If you plan to wholesale watches in Guangzhou, It’s enough to choose the best watches by visiting the two watch wholesale buildings.
If you have time to come to China one day, you can’t miss other wholesale markets in Shenzhen and Yiwu. JingSoucing company is next to the Yiwu market. Therefore, if you want to source from China, you can contact us.
Let JingSourcing help you source products.
6. How to evaluate suppliers?
You have many methods to find suppliers, but the most important thing is to evaluate them and find the most reliable one.
Even if you can’t visit the suppliers, you still can check the suppliers online for information such as the certifications and how long the supplier has been founded. If you find your suppliers on the sourcing platforms such as Alibaba, you can also check the reviews below for reference.
The aim to select suppliers is to buy good quality products at good prices. And it’s impossible to buy very high-quality products at a very low price, as we have known that you get what you pay for. So there is a skill to balance the quality and the price. If the price your potential suppliers offer is almost the same, you can select the best supplier by checking the quality of the product samples.
Once you choose the right supplier, you can place a trial order and ask the supplier to arrange delivery if they have products in stock, or you wait until the factory finish production. At last, you receive your goods and resell them to your customers. Until then you finish the whole process of product sourcing.
After the first one or two trial orders, you can consider whether the supplier can be a long-term business partner. Except for the product quality, you also need to pay attention to the supplier’s communication attitude towards you. If the supplier replies to you promptly and warmly though your order is not that big, you can identify him as a long-term reliable supplier.
7. Tips for product sourcing
Learning from the success
Learning from your successful competitors and successful business cases of your business is a good way to accumulate good experience, saving your time and effort. You can learn a lot through studying your successful competitors like:
- Where do they source the products?
- Do they buy from a known supplier or not?
- What kinds of products are selling well in the e-commerce shop?
- Do they manufacture their private label products in the factory or buy white-labeled products?
As for packaging, you can buy their products and analyze how they are packed or read customer reviews.
You should also study your own business to help you learn from your strengths and avoid mistakes. If one of your products is proven to be very successful, you should analyze the reason and apply the pattern to other products.
I don’t recommend you copy everything from your successful competitors. It can be very competitive as others can also learn what you copy. You need to keep learning to find the way suitable for you.
Having a plan B
As the proverb goes: Don’t put all your eggs into one basket. So don’t pay too much attention to one product. That is too risky. The product may be successful now, but what if it will be unpopular tomorrow, let alone if it fails to be popular at the very first. Diversify your products in the store after the first time product sourcing.
For example, if one type of camping tent in your store is selling very well recently and you want to place a second sourcing order. It is safer to buy some other outdoor camping products and some indoor products in case the tents or the camping series become unpopular.
Having a plan B ensures that failures of one or two products will not affect your business.
As you have learned above, product sourcing is key to your successful business, but it’s not easy even for experienced businessmen.
We are a leading sourcing company in China, dedicated to helping our clients source good products from China with the most competitive prices and offer reliable shipping services. If you need help with product sourcing, please feel free to CONTACT US.