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How to find a reliable supplier for a small business or e-commerce merchant on Alibaba?

Hangzhou, China - March 25, 2018: The main building in the headquarter of Alibaba group in Hangzhou. Alibaba, founded by Jack Ma, is the biggest e-business company in China.

1. Are the certified companies with “TrustPass Profile” on Alibaba reliable?

“TrustPass Profile” is an in-depth certification issued by SGS, TUV, Intertek, and other internationally renowned third-party certification bodies. The certification process includes product certification, a 3-minute factory audit video, and comprehensive verification of the company’s production line, equipment, product development, and productivity. A “TrustPass Profile” is generally issued to two types of companies: manufacturing plants and traders. So, what is the difference between them?

Manufacturing plants: For most processing and production enterprises, the common business type is OEM&ODM for large B2B orders, which has good productivity advantages in a certain industry and category.

Disadvantages: For small enterprises or e-commerce merchants who need “small volume, multiple batches”, manufacturing plants don’t have a variety of product categories, and the MOQ (minimum order quantity) is relatively high. Local factory sales staff are often slow to respond to your requests because they don’t speak the same language as you and don’t know how the whole supply chain works.

Traders: They usually have rich product categories and are able to provide more flexible product customization services. Nowadays, traders are finding it harder and harder to make profits based on information gaps. Instead, they focus on providing professional services. Therefore, when you have product customization needs or small order needs, traders will respond more quickly. In general, they are very familiar with all aspects of the supply chain, and when you need a product quote, they will quickly give you feedback on product details, delivery time, logistics, after-sales issues, etc. within 1-3 days.

Disadvantage: Due to the advantage of flexibility they can offer, trading companies usually charge a fee for service.

2. How to find the most suitable supplier on Alibaba as a small business or e-commerce merchant?

Whether it is a certified company or a paid member on Alibaba, these are never the factors to identify a reliable supplier. Instead, we should find the right supplier through the following dimensions.

     1. Choose suppliers with a long certification cycle on the platform, preferably more than 3 years.

     2. According to the categories you need to purchase from, choose companies in industrial clusters (for example, small household appliances- Zhejiang, household small goods – Yiwu, etc.).

     3. It is important that you need to find out whether the supplier can meet the requirements of your product quality, as well as the MOQ and price.

     4. Don’t just focus on manufacturing plants. If you are a small business or an e-commerce merchant, importing from traders is more recommended.

     5. Find a supplier with a trade assurance to protect the security of your payment.

If you are a small business or an e-commerce merchant, there is no need to spend a lot of time distinguishing between factories and traders, which is not very helpful for your business. It is wise to choose a supplier who can offer reasonable prices and MOQ and take your orders seriously enough.

I hope this article will help you better identify the right supplier for you. If you have any questions, please post a comment below.

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