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What is the ONE THING we have learned from being in the product importing business for more than 35 years? Whatever you do:
- Assume nothing – all the time!
- Take nothing for granted – all the time!
- Be skeptical – all the time!
OK, so that’s three things but, you get the point.
Here are two things we hear on a regular basis that lets us know there may be a problem on the near horizon:
- “I can trust the ‘Gold’ Suppliers on alibaba.com”.
Can you really? Whom are you trusting? Have you met them personally, face-to-face? Are other companies, people that you know first-hand, also working with them, and vouching for their reliability and integrity?
Even the Alibaba.com website urges caution when dealing with any of their listed suppliers: “While Gold Supplier membership is not a guarantee of safety, these suppliers have passed an A&V process that increases the chances of a safe and positive trading experience.” Sure, they don’t say you should NOT trust these suppliers, but they do urge caution – even for suppliers who receive the “Gold” designation – for which they pay.
Do you know what a “Gold Supplier” is, really? Well, if you pay the price Alibaba charges to be a “Gold Supplier Paying Member”, guess what? You too can be a Gold Supplier. In fact, more than HALF of the “Gold Suppliers” on Alibaba.com are actually the middleman, not the manufacturer. So, not only are you going to be paying a higher price, you have no idea who you are dealing with. (Click here to read more from Alibaba.com, answering the question, “Are ALL Gold Suppliers trustworthy?”)
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Remember, you have no idea who you are meeting online; nor do you know who you are sending your money to.
- “I will only buy from ISO certified factories.”
It sounds good, to buy only from factories that have received ISO Certification, right? After all, this means that they comply with standards set forth by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO); more than 18,000 standards, including the factory management environment, methods of production, and production quality.
Unfortunately, this designation was created to develop the absolute minimum standards for production of goods in international trade, and is quite easy to come by in poorly regulated markets like China. Half the time, there is no one going out to inspect the factories; the owner or management simply fills out a form.
In China, a factory’s certification has little to do with the certification of its products and, ultimately, does not guarantee much.
As with so many things, what it comes down to is this: If you do not have the experience to find a product supplier you can trust, you need to work with someone who does. We are trusted mentors and coaches to entrepreneurs who want to sell products online, because we’ve been there and done that – successfully – for more than 35 years.
**Stay tuned for our next post in this series… How NOT to Find an Importer You Can Trust.
If you’re looking for the help you need to find a reliable supplier to sell the perfect product online, contact us today