How to Improve the Supplier Response Rate on Alibaba.com

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If you’ve ever tried to reach out to suppliers on Alibaba.com, you know how hard it can be to make them respond to your request for quotation.

That said, Alibaba suppliers often have good reasons for not responding to inquiries.

In this interview, Wayne Zhang explains what you can do to improve your Alibaba supplier response rate, which communication apps to use and much more.

Wayne, please tell us about yourself and how you got into sourcing

Oh my, unfortunately, I do not think this will be a type of an answer that packs in a lot of “Hollywood” like action, but just a plain simple reality. I used to work for a company that provided similar services to foreign clients from around the globe.

And, truth be told I worked there for a while, right after I graduated from University.

I studied commerce, and one of my foreign languages was English, so it seemed like a great idea at the time, and it was. My responsibilities included finding clients, going through their requests, find products at a price they requested, place an order and make sure the final shipment was sent out. So, I did everything from door to door, sort of speak.

I considered this to be a great start of my career because already back then I saw myself working in this industry for a long time because, in my opinion, it had potential.

I was right.

I learned a lot while working for my first company and it equipped me with a very valuable set of skills that eventually proved to be very advantageous in building my own business. I knew that I want to have my own company one day, so I worked hard, saved money and just went for it. Continue reading How to Improve the Supplier Response Rate on Alibaba.com

The Art of Finding the Right Supplier on Alibaba – By Gary Huang

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Gary Huang 8020 Sourcing

You can find a supplier for anything on Alibaba.com. There are often too many supplier, rather than too few. As such, you might find yourself trying to navigate between hundreds of different suppliers in the same product category – all with varying levels of expertise (or lack thereof).

Rather than flying to China and visit 200 suppliers, you need to use information available on Alibaba.com, to identify the supplier that is the right choice for your business.

And that is exactly what this interview with Gary Huang, founder of 80/20 Sourcing in Shanghai, is about.

Gary, tell us a bit about yourself and how you started 80/20 sourcing

I’m originally from the US and born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve been working and living in Shanghai since 2008. Some people say the sourcing is like a black box.

Since I am a 2nd generation Chinese American and being culturally and linguistically fluent in both cultures and countries – I have an unfair advantage in being able to do better business between China and the US.

I started 80/20 Sourcing because I saw that a lot of online Sellers and small business owners were struggling with sourcing products from China.

So I decided help online sellers and small business owners save time and money when sourcing products from China and to scale their online businesses. 80/20 Sourcing offers video courses, webinars, coaching, and free articles which can be found at www.8020sourcing.com. Continue reading The Art of Finding the Right Supplier on Alibaba – By Gary Huang

How to Utilize Freelancers for Your Ecommerce Business: By Mike Michelini

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Asian Freelancer

Managing RFQ procedures and day to day communication with your supplier, can be very time consuming. Especially when you consider the time zones. Before, the only option would be to hire a procurement agent, and adapt to their procedures (and perhaps even use their suppliers).

Or, setup your own office in Asia – which is not a realistic prospect for startups and small businesses.

But things have changed. Today, you can go on Upwork.com or Freelancer.com, and tap into a huge pool of freelancers, that you can pay by the hour or on a per project basis.

A Freelancer, that will likely be based in Asia, can keep up to date with your supplier, coordinate shipments – and even negotiate prices, while you spend your time doing something else (rather than calling your suppliers at 10 PM).

In this article, the Shenzhen based founder of Global From Asia (www.globalfromasia.com) shares his best advice for hiring and managing Freelancers, and how they can free up hours of work, every week.

How have you been using remote workers in your businesses?

I have been using remote workers on my team even before I read the Four Hour Work Week in 2007. It started with customer service for my e-commerce business when I hired “military spouses” who wanted to work online as their spouse (normally husband) was traveling often for work so they couldn’t get a “normal job”.

I was blown away (this is 2006) that I could have a work at home professional customer service rep help me at all hours of the day or night. These were “moms” based in USA (Kansas and Texas – Michelle and Janet – you rock) who really were moms of my business.

The hardest part about working with remote workers is the setup of tools and systems – which is a ton of upfront work.

Once you get a good flow with you and your remote team, it is like working next to them.

I have used remote workers for almost every part of my various businesses now for over 10 years – starting with customer service to graphic design, video production, web design, app development, community management, marketing – basically every kind of role except meeting clients face to face (waiting for the teleport technology to develop more for this).

Basically, if a task can be repeated, it can be delegated. If it can be delegated, 95% chance it can be done by a remote worker. The trick again is the upfront training and tools, and then the ongoing management. Continue reading How to Utilize Freelancers for Your Ecommerce Business: By Mike Michelini

Guide to Alibaba Gold Suppliers: What Importers Must Know

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Alibaba Gold Supplier

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What can you make of those Gold Supplier badges that dominate the search results of Alibaba.com? The Gold Supplier program is as misunderstood, as it is brilliant.

In this article, you will learn what a Gold Supplier is, and how you can the wealth of verified supplier data to make an informed supplier selection.

In addition, this guide also includes a complete overview of all the information you can find in each Gold Supplier’s TrustPass profile and trade information page.

What is an Alibaba Gold Supplier?

An Alibaba Gold Supplier is a paid member of Alibaba.com, the world’s largest manufacturer and trading directory. It’s still possible to register on Alibaba.com as a Free Member.

That said, the traffic on Alibaba.com goes almost exclusively to Gold Suppliers. In short, being part of the program is a basic necessity for suppliers in China, who want to be found by prospective buyers. Continue reading Guide to Alibaba Gold Suppliers: What Importers Must Know

Guide to China Supplier Directories: Alibaba, GlobalSources & AliExpress

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Supplier Wholesale Directory

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Alibaba.com is often synonymous with the term supplier directory. While Alibaba has become a household name, it’s not the only platform for finding qualified suppliers.

In this article, you will learn how to choose between the major platforms, including Alibaba.com, Globalsources.com, HKDC and Made-in-China.com

In addition, we will also take a look into wholesale platforms, such as Aliexpress and DHgate.

Alibaba.com

Alibaba.com, founded by Jack Ma in 1999, is the world’s largest supplier directory. Today, Alibaba is home to hundreds of thousands of suppliers in basically every industry.

Perhaps, Alibaba.com is too big for its own good. In the past, many buyers have criticized Alibaba for allowing scammers to list on their platform, while only siding with their suppliers in case of dispute.

As we have explained in many articles, things are not simple. In fact, importing goods from China would have been far more risky, without the supplier data provided by Alibaba.com.

Unlike many other directories, you can find verified company data for each verified supplier (also called Gold Supplier), such as the following:

a. Registered capital
b. Year of registration
c. Registered address
d. Legal representative
e. Business license number

Alibaba.com is also becoming so much more than just a supplier directory. A few years ago, they launched their Trade Assurance program, and offer a range of payment, sourcing and supplier audit related services.

Alibaba.com is here to stay, and the coming years will be very interesting, as they keep rolling out new services to importers.

In addition, more and more manufacturers and wholesalers in Vietnam, India, the European Union and the United States join what used to be the exclusive domain of Chinese companies. Continue reading Guide to China Supplier Directories: Alibaba, GlobalSources & AliExpress

How to Report Trade Disputes & IP Violations to Alibaba

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What do you do when a deal with an Alibaba.com listed supplier goes wrong? Perhaps you’ve received the wrong product. Maybe it’s damaged. Or, perhaps, you didn’t even receive any goods at all?

And, not to forget, what if you find your custom designed or private label product listed on Alibaba?

In this article, you will learn how to file a dispute on Alibaba.com and (hopefully) get your money back. But, you can only win a dispute if you have the evidence that Alibaba must have to decide in your favor.

Keep reading, and learn how to how win supplier disputes if you receive poor quality or damaged goods – and how to report intellectual property violations.

What counts as a trade dispute?

Many situations fall within Alibaba’s definition of a trade dispute. A few of the most common follow below:

  • The products are defective or damaged
  • The products are not as described (i.e., design, colors or functions)
  • The products were never delivered

However, many disputes are not about defective, damaged or incorrect items all. Many, if not most, trade disputes relates to quality or product compliance – something that makes it very hard for Alibaba.com to act.

Alibaba.com cannot act based on the buyer’s perception of good quality. Hence, a dispute can only be won if the buyer can prove that the supplier failed to deliver a product matching the description. Continue reading How to Report Trade Disputes & IP Violations to Alibaba

It’s Official! Content partnership between Chinaimportal and Alibaba

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Chinaimportal.com has recently signed an agreement with Alibaba.com to provide non-exclusive and exclusive content to the Alibaba Biz Club:

Starting on 2016-09-29, Chinaimportal.com will contribute content to the Alibaba Biz Club.

The Alibaba Biz Club is an information sharing platform by Alibaba.com, where you can find professional content from various service providers.

On Alibaba Biz Club, we hope that our content can find a new audience.

In addition, we will at times provide exclusive content to the Alibaba Biz Club, but more on that later

More information about our role and contributions will be revealed as we progress further.

Sourcing & Vetting Suppliers on Alibaba Using Available Data

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Alibaba.com is the most comprehensive database of, primarily Asian, manufacturers in the world. It’s also somewhat misunderstood.

While some expect it to be some sort of ‘one stop shop’, we prefer to see it as a comprehensive self service supplier database. In this article how to source and vet suppliers, using data available on Alibaba.com – including the Company Overview, TrustPass Profile and Third Party Supplier Assessment Reports.

Notice: This guide only explains how to make an initial supplier selection. In other words, a shortlist. Before moving forward, the suppliers must be verified. The sole purpose of the initial selection is to ensure that you don’t waste time on suppliers that are obviously not qualified.

1. Company Overview: First Step of the Supplier Vetting Process

The company overview is, unlike the TrustPass profile, not made of up verified information. However, it can tell enough to decide whether or not we should further analyze this supplier: Continue reading Sourcing & Vetting Suppliers on Alibaba Using Available Data

Alibaba Suppliers – The 3 Biggest Myths and Misconceptions

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You’ve heard the stories. Small businesses importing from China run into issues every day, and Alibaba is often (wrongly) blamed by buyers. But things are not always as simple as they may seem to be. In this article, we explain – and debunk – the three biggest myths and misconceptions about Alibaba.com, and its listed suppliers.

Myth #1: All Gold Suppliers are suitable for your product and quality requirements

We receive emails on a regular basis, from desperate importers that picked the wrong supplier online. Sometimes it regards payment frauds, but more often quality and compliance issues. This comes as a very unpleasant surprise for these importers, as they did their due diligence and picked a proper Gold Supplier. Continue reading Alibaba Suppliers – The 3 Biggest Myths and Misconceptions

Chinaimportal.com featured on Bloomberg TV

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Alibaba Group is going public this Friday on the New York Stock Exchange. That’s big news, as the Alibaba IPO is expected to become the biggest ever – raising around US$25 Billion. As we are not in finance, we’re not qualified to say anything but the IPO itself.

However, as leading experts on product compliance and supplier sourcing in China, we do have a few things to share on buying from suppliers listed on Alibaba.com. This week, we did get the opportunity to share our views with financial journalist Mia Saini, on Bloomberg TV. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to New York this time, but watch the video and learn why buying from Alibaba listed suppliers takes a lot more than simply pressing a “buy now” button.

Continue reading Chinaimportal.com featured on Bloomberg TV