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Jostler Posted on 15/04/2018 20:50
Buying from AliBaba
Evening Gents,

Have any of you any experience of buying stock from Alibaba?

As mentioned a few weeks ago Iím looking for a a way out of the corporate life and looking for options.

I have plenty of experience working with Amazon/eBay/ecommerce/marketing in general from a career working for global consumer brands.

Iíve made the decision in the past couple of week that the easiest way for me to go solo is put this experience into practice and launch my own brand, white label and then brand myself in my own packaging etc. Iíve found a niche and want to give it a go.

Question is, is there anything I should look out for before buying from Alibaba? Any tell tale signs Iím going to have trouble receiving stock etc?

Cheers, advice appreciated.
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Boro1964 Posted on 15/04/2018 23:00

Buying from AliBaba

I used to use Alibaba,but now I tend to use Aliexpress, I'm sure they are linked, I find things have got better since I started buying 12 years ago, If you don't receive items you can claim your payment back, it's similar to Ebay when putting a dispute in.
But if you are buying from the Far East the things to watch out for is that they will promise you the earth, saying they can make anything for you at exceptionally quality,
I've had electrical products wired incorrectly, my own packaging made upside down!!! poor quality items sent to me.
Also they will change the invoice to suit them, you may order products costing £5000 and they will say on the invoice it's worth 35UDS!! (They all do this)
You won't pay any customs duty, if they do this, so you need to tell them firmly you want the right invoice total being correct,
or you will end up with a lot of sleepless nights.
Work out all the cost of what you are buying, including, shipping, Customs payments and handling, and see if it's worth doing.

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TheFair86 Posted on 16/04/2018 07:50

Buying from AliBaba

Surely they can just email you an invoice for the correct goods value? Theyíll be changing the invoice so that it doesnít get stuck in customs and fees charged.
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Jostler Posted on 16/04/2018 08:32

Buying from AliBaba

Cheers guys!

Has anyone any experience of negotiating prices on there to any effect.

Also samples, how does the process work?
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daveybabey123 Posted on 16/04/2018 08:36

Buying from AliBaba

I try to stick to suppliers with minimum 3-5 years Gold status. Often you find the longer they have been around the better customer service they have. the language barrier can often slow down negotiations and also the time difference can quite often mean you don't get a reply until 8 hours later. Also don't accept the first price they give you, this is always negotiable (Think of it like being at a car boot sale). Last of all, make sure you always get a sample before you bulk buy!

Also in terms of delivery, i personally would pay a premium for a UK based freight forward company, we use Action UK. They have agents in China who ensure shipping goes smoothly.

we have made 3 or 4 orders so far and touch wood they have all been spot on!
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red_harrington Posted on 16/04/2018 08:58

Buying from AliBaba

I gave up with them, quality was appalling. And you have to pay for samples, and pay for shipping. A total waste of time and money in the end, we ended up using Polish and Latvian suppliers who were a LOT better and not so tricky to deal with ie no constant hassle bartering, bargaining and wrestling with fluctuating costs.
In a nutshell, look at East European options too, not just Far East. Good luck.
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Jostler Posted on 16/04/2018 09:05

Buying from AliBaba

Cheers Dave will look into freight forward options.

Red, where did you find the European manufacturers?
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red_harrington Posted on 16/04/2018 09:29

Buying from AliBaba

Just google it and look hard. With a bit of luck you will find one with a UK rep. [^]
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foomanboro Posted on 16/04/2018 09:55

Buying from AliBaba

I looked into this after your last post and my biggest issue with sourcing the product from like of AliBaba and such is the lack of IP protection. Is your idea unique and something that you may want to prevent others copying and scaling quicker than yourself? If so then this might not be the right route for you.
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Anton_Berg Posted on 16/04/2018 17:13

Buying from AliBaba

Intellectual property is theft, comrades.
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Badonde Posted on 16/04/2018 17:32

Buying from AliBaba

Hi Jostler.
I've been in this game for 13 years.
So far I have found 6 or 7 far eastern suppliers on Alibaba that I have been trading with successfully for a long time.
Typically you will pay 30% up front, then production can take 4-12 weeks. Ask for FOB shipment terms (Free on Board) when getting unit prices. This means the price for your supplier to get the container onto the ship. You should arrange a UK freight agent has been suggested on here already - they will liase with the supplier and manage the delivery of products to you (plus the paperwork).
Ask lots and lots of questions from your supplier (specs, finishes, performance etc etc). Research products online - European Amazon and Ebay (Germany/France) as well as UK.
Ask who else your supplier sells to (they might answer/ they might not).
I have always found far eastern companies don't like to provide samples....not sure if this is worries about 'timewasters' or what. But even my trusted suppliers drag their feet in providing samples. They will expect you to cover the sample item cost and postage cost. A few small package samples ahve cost me 35 to 50 USD in the past.
Good luck with your venture.
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Jostler Posted on 16/04/2018 17:41

Buying from AliBaba

Cheers Badonde a thorough piece of info!

As mentioned in my opening post, I have plenty of ecommerce experience and you could say Amazon is generally my bread and butter and I know what it takes to rank products / receive strong AMS ROI etc like the back of my hand - but for other peopleís brands.

This however is basically going to be me learning to be a product and sourcing manager completely alien to someone who has spent their career in Ecommerce.

Still exciting and definitely an area for further personal growth as a businessman!
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