The world of e-commerce has been booming in recent years, with Amazon leading the charge as the largest online marketplace. One of the most popular methods to source products for selling on Amazon is through Alibaba or 1688. Both these platforms connect buyers with manufacturers and suppliers, offering a vast range of products at competitive prices. In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the step-by-step process of sourcing products from Alibaba or 1688 and successfully selling them on Amazon.
1. Understanding Alibaba and 1688
What is Alibaba?
Alibaba is a global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform that connects sellers and businesses with manufacturers and suppliers for millions of products. It allows businesses to purchase products in bulk for reselling online or in brick-and-mortar stores. Most of the manufacturers on Alibaba are based in China, offering products at significantly lower prices than in western countries.
What is 1688?
1688 is another B2B e-commerce platform owned by Alibaba Group, primarily catering to the Chinese domestic market. It offers a wide range of products from various Chinese manufacturers and suppliers. For sellers looking to source products for the international market, Alibaba is the preferred choice, while 1688 can be an alternative for those seeking suppliers within China.
2. Finding the Right Product to Sell on Amazon
Conducting Product Research
The first step in your Amazon selling journey is to determine what product you want to sell. This involves conducting thorough product research to identify products with high demand and low competition. You can use SellerSprite to analyze products and their sales potential on Amazon.
When evaluating products, consider three main factors: profitability, demand, and competition.
- Profitability: Ensure that you can source the product at a much lower cost than you would sell it for. A good rule of thumb is the 3X rule: one-third of your sale goes towards product costs, one-third goes towards Amazon fees, and one-third is your profit.
- Demand: Check if customers are actively searching for and purchasing the product on Amazon. High demand indicates a better chance of success.
- Competition: Assess the level of competition in the market. If there is too much competition, it will be challenging to rank your product on Amazon. Aim for a balance between demand and competition.
The Easiest Formula for Finding a Successful Product
- Find a product with a top-selling product on Amazon that generates between $5,000 and $25,000 in monthly sales.
- Choose a boring category with low competition (avoid baby products, pet products, electronics, and supplements).
- Bundle the product with an accessory to add value and differentiate it from competitors.
- Find a reliable supplier on Alibaba or 1688 that can produce the product at a competitive price.
- Import the product using Amazon FBA and optimize your Amazon listing for maximum visibility and sales.
3. Sourcing Products from Alibaba or 1688
Searching for Products and Suppliers
Once you have identified the product you want to sell, head to Alibaba or 1688 to search for suitable suppliers. You can search using keywords related to your product and filter the results based on factors such as supplier type, product type, price, and location.
When browsing through the search results, pay attention to the following:
- Trade Assurance: Look for suppliers that offer Trade Assurance, a free service that protects your orders from payment to delivery. This ensures that you get your money back if the product quality or shipping time does not meet the agreed-upon terms.
- Verified Supplier: Opt for verified suppliers, as they have undergone additional checks and verifications by Alibaba or 1688. This reduces the risk of dealing with fraudulent suppliers.
- Supplier's Experience: Check the supplier's experience, certifications, and manufacturing capabilities. You can view their company profile and customer reviews to gauge their reliability and professionalism.
Requesting Quotes and Samples
Contact multiple suppliers to request quotes for your desired product. Be specific about your requirements, such as product specifications, order quantity, and shipping terms. Request product samples to evaluate the quality and compare different suppliers.
When communicating with suppliers, consider the following:
- Product Quality: Aim for high-quality products that meet your standards. Request samples to assess the quality before placing a bulk order.
- Communication: Evaluate the supplier's response time and clarity of communication. If they are slow to respond or provide unclear information, consider contacting other suppliers.
- Industry Experience: Assess the supplier's experience in manufacturing your desired product. Check their certifications, production capabilities, and product portfolio.
- Price: Compare the prices offered by different suppliers to ensure that you get the best deal without compromising on quality.
4. Placing an Order and Payment
Once you have selected a supplier, negotiate the price, MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity), and shipping terms. Send a purchase order agreement to the supplier to outline the agreed-upon terms. The supplier will then send you an invoice for payment.
Pay for your order using one of the available payment methods on Alibaba or 1688, such as bank transfer, letter of credit, escrow, PayPal, or Trade Assurance. Ensure that you use a secure payment method to protect your funds in case of any issues.
5. Shipping Products to Amazon FBA
After placing your order, arrange for the shipment of your products to an Amazon FBA warehouse. You can either:
- Ship your products directly to Amazon.
- Ship your products to your home or a third-party warehouse and send them to Amazon in smaller batches.
For most sellers, shipping products directly to Amazon is the most cost-effective option. To do this, use a service like Amazon Global Logistics to arrange for the shipment of your products from the supplier to the Amazon warehouse.
6. Creating and Optimizing Your Amazon Listing
Before your products arrive at the Amazon warehouse, create your Amazon listing to ensure that it is optimized for maximum visibility and sales. Include high-quality images, a compelling title, detailed product descriptions, and relevant keywords.
Use Amazon's Brand Analytics search tool to identify popular search terms related to your product and incorporate them into your listing. Optimize your listing for both desktop and mobile devices to ensure that it appears professional and appealing to potential customers.
7. Launching and Promoting Your Product
Once your products are live on Amazon, focus on launching and promoting your product to drive sales and improve your product's ranking on Amazon. Here are some strategies to consider:
- Amazon PPC Advertising: Use Amazon's pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform to promote your products to potential customers. This will help increase visibility and drive targeted traffic to your product listing.
- Promotions and Discounts: Offer limited-time promotions and discounts to incentivize customers to purchase your product. This can help boost sales and improve your product's ranking on Amazon.
- Social Media and Influencer Marketing: Leverage social media platforms and influencers to promote your product to a larger audience. This can help generate buzz and drive more sales to your Amazon listing.
- Email Marketing: Build an email list and engage with your customers through email marketing campaigns. Offer exclusive discounts, product updates, and relevant content to keep your audience engaged and encourage repeat purchases.
8. Building a Catalog of Products
To maximize your profits on Amazon, consider building a catalog of multiple products within your niche. This will allow you to diversify your product offerings, cater to a broader audience, and increase your overall revenue.
When expanding your product catalog, focus on:
- Product Bundling: Bundle your products with complementary accessories to add value and differentiate them from competitors.
- Product Variations: Offer your products in different colors, sizes, or materials to cater to various customer preferences.
- Expanding into New Niches: Explore new product niches with high demand and low competition to broaden your product offerings and increase your revenue potential.
9. Maintaining Product Profitability
To ensure the long-term profitability of your products, focus on:
- Continuously Optimizing Your Listing: Regularly update and optimize your Amazon listing to maintain its visibility and appeal to potential customers.
- Monitoring Competitors: Keep an eye on your competitors and adjust your pricing, promotions, and marketing strategies accordingly.
- Improving Product Quality: Continuously work with your suppliers to improve product quality and address any customer feedback or issues.
- Expanding Your Distribution Channels: Consider selling your products on other e-commerce platforms or through your own online store to increase your revenue streams.
10. Ensuring Safety and Compliance
When sourcing products from Alibaba or 1688, it is crucial to ensure that your products meet the safety standards and regulations of your target market. This includes:
- Quality Control: Work closely with your suppliers to ensure that your products meet the required quality standards.
- Product Certifications: Ensure that your products have the necessary certifications for your target market, such as CE, FCC, or RoHS.
- Avoiding Counterfeit Products: Be cautious when sourcing branded products from Alibaba or 1688, as they may be counterfeit. Selling counterfeit products on Amazon can lead to account suspension and legal issues.
- Adhering to Amazon FBA Requirements: Ensure that your products and packaging comply with Amazon FBA requirements, such as labeling, packaging, and shipping guidelines.
Selling on Amazon using Alibaba or 1688 can be a lucrative business opportunity if you follow the right steps and put in the necessary effort. This comprehensive guide provides you with a solid foundation to successfully source products, create optimized Amazon listings, and launch your products to drive sales and profits. Remember to continuously monitor your competition, improve your products, and expand your product catalog to maximize your success on Amazon. Happy selling!