Never has it been easier to source product for your e-commerce business from anywhere in the world. The internet has opened up easy communication lines between entrepreneurs and manufacturers in all of the main manufacturing hotspots all over the globe.
China is the epicentre of e-commerce product sourcing and you will be able to find a supplier for almost anything you can think of here. However, there are many other Asian countries that have great offerings, and even local US companies are viable options for your product sourcing.
The question is how do you find them?
We have summarised five great options for sourcing product that takes much of the legwork out of the process.
This is the best known marketplace for your sourcing needs. Alibaba has become a global juggernaut for linking manufacturers with business owners. Any type of product you can think of will be available in this marketplace.
Don’t let the large Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ) scare you off. Everything is up for negotiation and you will have plenty of options available to find the right fit for you and your business.
The quality of supplier you deal with is very hit and miss and it will take some legwork to find someone you can work with, but it is the quickest and easiest method for finding what you are after.
This is the retail arm of Alibaba. Why would you pay the higher prices here rather than through Alibaba? The answer is in the MOQ. If you want to test your market with a range of product then this is a great way to do it.
You can also get a feel for the level of quality that a supplier is likely to produce for a larger personalised order down the track if you find a winning product.
You will find higher quality suppliers with Global Sources, but they are also likely to be more expensive. They may not be as responsive to your enquiries if you do not come across as a serious business prospect.
If you sound like an amateur then you will be ignored very quickly with many suppliers on here, and you will need to be talking large MOQs for possible orders also.
Not a primary source for products, but you may find the odd listing for another merchant who is looking to liquidate stock. Rather than discount the product to move it on they may list it on Ebay in one listing for hundreds or thousands of items.
If you can find something to pick up below cost, and are prepared to do the legwork to market and sell each item then you will find the value of the parts being more than the sum. So a bargain can be had that could turn into a great revenue stream.
Another site where you are likely to find liquidators rather than manufacturers. Worth checking in with for the same reasons as Ebay. You may be thinking that anyone liquidating has a dud product, but keep an open mind.
Perhaps they have cash flow issues and need funds for a short term opportunity, perhaps the owner is ill and needs to close down, or getting divorced and the business is being sold or split up. You never know the story behind it, and those who are persistent can pick up some profitable deals.
So jump online and start sourcing. If you can’t find what you are looking for you can always jump on Google and start a keyword based search and see what you can come up with. Or you can look at hiring a sourcing agent.