Well there is a lot more to the sourcing and importing process than just searching a site for suppliers. I see too many people on forums like this who jump in at the deep end without doing adequate research. If I just gave out the names of a couple of safe B2B sites, some warriors, maybe even a lot of them, would go there, be delighted with the trustworthy suppliers they find, and start placing orders.
It is not uncommon for people to go off half cocked knowing almost nothing about what is involved in buying overseas. In effect they treat the overseas buying process as though they were buying from the corner store. Some even turn to me for help after they have ordered goods without knowing what to do about actually getting the goods delivered to them.
I have on my files tales of woe that include one who ordered a large shipment of bulky goods. Great price! The problem was, this person discovered that freight was going to cost several time the value of the goods and by the time she came to me for help she had already paid for the goods. I find it hard to believe how careless some people can be with their own money.
If someone intends going it alone without obtaining some guidance, they should at least think carefully about the project from start to finish. Here is a very brief outline. Intending importers should at least complete the first two of the following steps before starting to source products.
1. Market research. What to sell, how to sell it, are you sure you will be able to sell it, and what prices can you confidently expect to sell it for. That confidence must be based on thorough research, not just checking sold prices on eBay.
2. Determine what maximum landed cost is affordable in order to be competitive, making sure you take into account all selling costs.
3. Search for suppliers using a safe sourcing site. Don't just go to any site casually suggested on forums, because on some of them everything is not what it appears.
4. Avoid suppliers falsely claiming to be manufacturers. Most popular B2B portals have big lists of suppliers claiming to be manufacturers, but they are not.
5. Avoid buying from wholesalers because they soak up a lot of your profits. Buy only from manufacturers.
6. Conduct due diligence on the chosen suppliers.
7. Get quotes. Don’t forget freight.
8. Negotiate payment terms. Beware of W.U., and Telegraphic Transfers.
9. Ensure that all costs to your door are covered and that you have them in writing.
10. Obtain sample/s. Beware of freight ripoffs in this part.
11. If satisfied, place a small order crossing every t and dotting every i.
12. Pay deposit.
13. Pay balance as negotiated, preferably after the goods have landed.
14. Check the goods.
15. If all is well to this point, you are in business. You can do your test marketing and be ready to place another order.
Some may think I have set out everything they need to know, but there is much, much more. What I have written is not exhaustive because it takes me 133 pages to set it all out in detail for those new to importing. The purpose of this post is to answer the question as to why I don’t reveal my “secret” sites.
If you have never done overseas sourcing and importing before, just think is it worth spending a small amount as insurance against making a mistake that could cost you thousands? What I have written is the result of a lifetime of experience. My first job after college was with a big shipping company. I began exporting my own products to the Asia/Pacific region in 1978, and after selling that business I began importing in 1987.
I appointed franchisees in four countries and for 22 years until I retired they followed my methods and they are still doing so today with great success. I have been there - done that and my book provides the essential information resulting from that experience.
Here is a post made on this forum by a very experienced warrior: "ImportExport doesn't really plug his book, but you should buy it if you're serious. Listen, I have been importing since 2005. I've been to China a couple times, I feel like I'm pretty experienced with small order importing (i.e. not containers). I bought the ebook thinking if I learned something, great, if I didn't, he offers a money back guarantee.
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."