Where to source inventory?

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Hi,

I'm curently selling on Amazon using FBA, but I find it's difficult and time consuming to source inventory online that can bring me a reasonable profit margin.

So you guys here who are sourcing online, can you share some experiences in how to source? what tools or services do you use?

Thank you very much!

P/s: I live outside the US so online arbitrage is the only option for me.
#fba #inventory #source
  • Profile picture of the author Importexport
    Online arbitrage is a very poor option in my opinion, due to the low profits that can be made.

    I have many of my book users who buy direct from overseas manufacturers, mostly in China, and they sell the products at very high margins on Amazon FBA.

    Some get the supplier to send the goods direct to Amazon (which I don't recommend) but most use a prepping service to receive the goods from the supplier, and check them, repack if necessary, and forward them on to Amazon.
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    Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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    • Profile picture of the author miken2014
      Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

      Online arbitrage is a very poor option in my opinion, due to the low profits that can be made.

      I have many of my book users who buy direct from overseas manufacturers, mostly in China, and they sell the products at very high margins on Amazon FBA.

      Some get the supplier to send the goods direct to Amazon (which I don't recommend) but most use a prepping service to receive the goods from the supplier, and check them, repack if necessary, and forward them on to Amazon.
      Where can I get your book & how much does it cost?
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    • Profile picture of the author miken2014
      Where do I get your book -what does it cost
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      • Profile picture of the author Importexport
        Originally Posted by miken2014 View Post

        Where do I get your book -what does it cost
        The words in blue in my signature below are a live link to my website. The book will cost you $97.

        Here is part of a post by a warrior:"The book is worth more than he charges for it. If you really want to get serious about it, I guarantee you, his book will save you a boatload of troubles or money."
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        Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    Do not limit yourself by saying that online arbitrage is your only option. As he mentions above the method of buying direct from the middleman can produce very good.

    Some people will also do well with buying from wholesalers. With wholesalers you will need to search to find the right product with a good profit margin. It takes some work.
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    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      Originally Posted by DWaters View Post

      Do not limit yourself by saying that online arbitrage is your only option. As he mentions above the method of buying direct from the middleman can produce very good.

      Some people will also do well with buying from wholesalers. With wholesalers you will need to search to find the right product with a good profit margin. It takes some work.
      A small correction: I don't recommend buying through middlemen. You need to buy direct from the manufacturer. That is where the really big profit margins are.
      Signature
      Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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      • Profile picture of the author chrisfreitas
        Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

        A small correction: I don't recommend buying through middlemen. You need to buy direct from the manufacturer. That is where the really big profit margins are.

        but once you got the goods from china at a good price i feel thats the easy part. The HARD part is selling it ....
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        • Profile picture of the author Importexport
          Originally Posted by chrisfreitas View Post

          but once you got the goods from china at a good price i feel thats the easy part. The HARD part is selling it ....
          Absolutely right! There is no point searching for suppliers unless you have done your research and found products that you know will sell, you know that you can sell them, you know how much you can sell them for, and what are all of your costs, including eBay, Amazon, PayPal, Postage etc. etc.

          If warriors can work that out, I can teach them how to buy those products direct from the overseas manufacturers, buy them at amazing prices, and import them without having to learn all the rules and regulations.
          Signature
          Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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          • Profile picture of the author felixcohen
            Originally Posted by Importexport View Post

            If warriors can work that out, I can teach them how to buy those products direct from the overseas manufacturers, buy them at amazing prices, and import them without having to learn all the rules and regulations.
            The problem is finding direct manufacturer because for example Alibaba where everyone is now is full of trading companies masquerading as manufacturers. Manufacturers are those who delegate dealing with outside world to trading companies and focuses on internal production. So unless importer visits trade fair and/or factory personally and build to build relations he should not expect to find $2 product on Alibaba for $0.30c that could be gotten from real manufacturer. Actually it can be possible to get that price but only with large quantities like on GlobalSources B2B sourcing platform. Just be ready to ship container.

            Competition-wise, everyone sources on same online platform but there are many products that are not found on online. Competitive edge hold proactive importers who are present in China or have their trusted eyes there.
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            • Profile picture of the author Importexport
              Originally Posted by felixcohen View Post

              The problem is finding direct manufacturer because for example Alibaba where everyone is now is full of trading companies masquerading as manufacturers. Manufacturers are those who delegate dealing with outside world to trading companies and focuses on internal production. So unless importer visits trade fair and/or factory personally and build to build relations he should not expect to find $2 product on Alibaba for $0.30c that could be gotten from real manufacturer. Actually it can be possible to get that price but only with large quantities like on GlobalSources B2B sourcing platform. Just be ready to ship container.

              Competition-wise, everyone sources on same online platform but there are many products that are not found on online. Competitive edge hold proactive importers who are present in China or have their trusted eyes there.
              The example you give, Alibaba, is one of the worst places to go looking for manufacturers. I never recommend them, but I do recommend safe sites where you can be sure you are dealing with manufacturers.

              That is why one of my book users posted on WF how they found a product for $1 and sold it for $25. They bought direct from the manufacturer. It is possible to do this without visiting China. I know because:
              • Very few of my successful newbie importers ever visit China.
              • Very few of my franchisees who bought franchises of my former importing business from me in 4 countries ever visited China. They followed the same sourcing system that I now teach in my retirement.
              • Huge numbers of manufacturers are direct exporters and I teach how to find them.
              • Those of my book users who do visit China know from what I have taught them that there are tricks used by traders who take you to factories pretending they own the factory. My students know how to detect those tricks.
              • They know how to ignore the huge MOQs quoted by suppliers and instead by using my techniques they negotiate small orders at ex-factory prices.
              • They know it is not necessary to buy container loads to get good prices.
              • They know better than to source on the same platforms like Alibaba and Global Sources.
              • The only trusted eyes in China that I advise my book readers to rely on are several 100 year old European inspection services, and that is only for bigger orders.
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              Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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              • Profile picture of the author felixcohen
                The fact is same "secret" manufacturers are present on Alibaba as well so what is the point in searching other platforms?

                What is there to follow if they bought your importing business? There is no need to reinvent the wheel and trach buyers how to source when they already expect to buy your turn-key business where they have already have suppliers, contacts, etc.

                You can't know if trading company pretends to be manufacturer unless you get official 3rd party report which many do not have. But these reports are not always showing many details and are marketing tool to reassure unexperienced buyers.

                Sometimes without interpreter and a trusted one I should say even tricks won't help...

                Reputable and factory with employed quality standards will not talk to you if you. Small orders will be taken care by smaller factories at best and small workshops at worst that mostly do not have standards in place so there is a risk management to be done especially when they send you "golden" sample to gain your business and after placing your order your discover quality issues. Depends on product's nature but some type of quality check should be done by someone before you wire balance payment. Or best bet is trading company that
                can get you MOQ no problem with inflated prices and do quality checks for you provided they are reliable.

                100 year old European inspection services are only good for container loads which is out of scope of new importer.
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                • Profile picture of the author Importexport
                  Originally Posted by felixcohen View Post

                  The fact is same 1. "secret" manufacturers are present on Alibaba as well so what is the point in searching other platforms?

                  2.What is there to follow if they bought your importing business? There is no need to reinvent the wheel and trach buyers how to source when they already expect to buy your 3. turn-key business where they have already have suppliers, contacts, etc.

                  You 4. can't know if trading company pretends to be manufacturer unless you get official 3rd party report which many do not have. But these reports are not always showing many details and are 5. marketing tool to reassure unexperienced buyers.

                  Sometimes without interpreter and a trusted one I should say even 6. tricks won't help...

                  7. Reputable and factory with employed quality standards will not talk to you if you. Small orders will be taken care by smaller factories at best and small workshops at worst that mostly do not have standards in place so there is a risk management to be done especially when they send you "golden" sample to gain your business and after placing your order your discover quality issues. 8. Depends on product's nature but some type of quality check should be done by someone before you wire balance payment. 9. Or best bet is trading company that
                  can get you MOQ no problem with inflated prices and do quality checks for you 10. provided they are reliable.

                  11. 100 year old European inspection services are only good for container loads which is out of scope of new importer.
                  Felix, you have totally misunderstood what I do. You have jumped to a lot of wrong conclusions.

                  I have numbered in red those points that I want to comment on.

                  1. I have never mentioned "secret manufacturers". Also not all manufacturers are listed on Alibaba.There are many that only list on other sites.
                  2. I don't sell any importing business. I don't sell any business at all. What I offer is a practical, no-nonsense, no fluff guide teaching how to safely source products from China and other other countries, and how to import them without having to learn all the rules and regulations.
                  3. I have never offered a "turn-key business" with suppliers, contacts, etc. on this or any other forum. Back in 1987, I started an importing business, selling the products B2B. That business grew so fast that I sold franchises to cope with the expansion. I had successful franchises operating in 4 countries. When I became seriously ill and I had major heart surgery I sold that business. That was a turn-key business in which my franchisees averaged 4 times the average wage in their countries, but I have not operated that business for years now. All I do now through my book, is to teach safe sourcing and easy importing.
                  4. You do not always need a 3rd Party report to tell if a trading company is pretending to be a manufacturer, but a report by a trustworthy inspection company show all the details you need and will definitely tell you of the company is a real manufacturer. Some of those reports contain as many as 16 pages and it is necessary to read it all.
                  5. The reports you refer to that are "marketing tools to reassure unexperienced buyers." must be the verification reports prepared by Alibaba and they are in fact useless.
                  6. The tricks I referred to were not tricks to be used by my book readers. They are tricks used by traders. This is what I said: "Those of my book users who do visit China know from what I have taught them that there are tricks used by traders who take you to factories pretending they own the factory. My students know how to detect those tricks."
                  7. It is true that some very large manufacturers don't want to be bothered by small fry, but I know manufacturers employing as many as 6,000 people and they are happy to deal with small importers.
                  8. You are right, provided the value of the order is high enough to warrant the cost of inspection. There are other ways to be sure that you get consistent quality. It is unusual for any of my book users to report quality problems.
                  9. There is absolutely no need to pay a lot extra by buying from a trading company just to get a smaller order accepted and to get them to do a quality inspection. Traders' profit margins will cost you a lot more than paying for an inspection service. I have taught hundreds how to order less than the big MOQs usually quoted.
                  10. "provided they are reliable" !!!! How do you know if a trader is reliable?
                  11. The 100 year old inspection services I refer to have inspection fees per shipment starting at $250. If you go to the out of date Chinese inspection service listings on Alibaba you will find that many of them charge a lot more than that.
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                  Use emotions and perceptions to build a great brand. Ask me about my book LabelsThatExploit. For safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally, see https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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  • Profile picture of the author RahimaMal
    Hmm www.dhgate.com is a good one. Better than ali baba in my opinion. But as the members above have mentioned, there are other ways to source inventory offline. Don't limit yourself to just online. There are plenty of things you can buy real cheap in your local area and sell it for way more on Amazon & Ebay.
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    Once the sourcing part is completed I always feel that the selling is the easy part as Amazon really does that. If the product is priced properly and the competition is not excessive the products should sell from their site.

    ie - my mistake in my post above, I typed "middleman" but I obviously meant "manufacturer" which of course is really a better source since the middleman is non existent and your potenital for a good profit margin is much better.
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  • Profile picture of the author whitelist
    I use this guy who is now my personal friend. He manufactures all my products. Pm if u want his number. He is the owner of the company.
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  • Profile picture of the author miken2014
    Where can I get your book & how much does it cost
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  • There are several people who will try to sell their services by charging you a hefty commission. The best way however is to use Alibaba. Order sample first and then go for a big order and dont use Western union.
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