Sourcing from China Tips for Amazon Sellers

This is a guest post by Evangeline Chang from NextSmartShip

Wholesale Sources

NextSmartShip is an order fulfillment company based in Shenzhen, China, providing simple and reliable services for global eCommerce shops and crowd-funded campaign. Services include eCommerce fulfillment, crowd-funding fulfillment, Amazon FBA prep service and sending subscription boxes.

Sourcing products from China and selling them on Amazon used to be an easy way to make money about 10 years ago. Sellers can still get products under 10 dollars and sell on Amazon for 10 times the price. But as the market becomes more saturated and Amazon’s restrictions become greater, running an online business is getting harder and harder. Here are some tips to help Amazon sellers whose manufacturers are in China get things right.

Make data-based decisions when doing product research.

There are tons of products on Amazon, it’s a very competitive market, because I mentioned, selling on Amazon used to be the easy money. However, there are still great opportunities if you choose the right products to sell, the products with great margins and less competitive market. But trust me, the gut feeling is not your friend when deciding what to sell. Maybe about 80% of small businesses fail because they were guessing what the market wanted. You need to be more industrious and get a bigger view. Research the market, get more big data, analysis the data and list the tasks you can achieve and the ones you can not handle for now. Then, maybe after knowing the marketing better and getting some expert advice, you will be more sure about what to sell.

Get one or two “bait item” and order them in bulk.

There is a marketing trick called “bait and switch sale”. Many retailers have a strategy of choosing a best seller to sell at a super low price, then customers (potential customers) will enter the website immediately after seeing the promotion information. Once they entered the website, they may be attracted by other products, as a result, they pay for a lot of items in the shopping cart, not only the “bait item”. Since the whole purchase activity happens around the bait item, there will be a lot of orders for this item, it’s better to buy them from suppliers in bulk so that you can keep this marketing campaign running and get more margins. (Editors note:  This only works on Amazon by bundling).

Negotiate the purchase through a suitable platform.

Everyone knows Alibaba, but it’s not the only platform to source products from China. The advantage of sourcing or wholesale platforms is that they will do some screening for suppliers. Only qualified suppliers can enter the platform, and the platforms will show how long this supplier has been in the industry and credibility. But different suppliers have different priorities in supplier selection and cooperation policies. You need to select the most suitable platform according to your budget and product characteristics.

Platform Advantages Disadvantages
Alibaba 1. World’s biggest2. Comprehensive range of suppliers and products Lots of counterfeits
DHgate 1. Lower minimum order quantity (MOQ)

2. Safer payment: only passes payments when the buyer confirms receipt

shipping is slow to the USA, Canada, Europe, etc.
Global sources 1. Regular Hong Kong trade shows, help companies to do sourcing in China face to face The website is not as fully-functional as Alibaba
AliExpress 1. Dropshipping friendly2.  Low minimum order quantity (MOQ) either companies or individuals can be a supplier, some scams.


Consider involving a third party to do the quality control.

The advantage of involving a third-party order fulfillment company in the process is that they can inspect the products more carefully and fairly. More than that, if cooperate with an order fulfillment center in China, they can help you get smoother communication with the supplier, which will be particularly helpful when problems like poor quality and wrong quantity happen.

Get a flexible order fulfillment solution to save the budget.

As all the Amazon sellers knew, use FBA service will give your listings a lot of benefits. But when your manufacturers are in China, it will be harder to make sure that they do everything right, because Amazon FBA has a lot of policies to ensure all the goods are “ready to be fulfilled” when they arrived their warehouses, otherwise you have to pay for their preparation service, which is quite expensive for some eCommerce starters. In fact, there are companies in China to provide FBA preparation services, their existence is to make sure your goods will perfectly meet the FBA policy, and more than that, they are more affordable and the shipping solutions are more flexible, which can scale with your business or provide different shipping methods according to your changing needs.

Pay more attention to branding.

There are a lot of competitions on Amazon, including your suppliers. If you only sell the products, your manufacturer can sell them too, then what’s the meaning of your existence? Amazon will treat your items and theirs as the same, and with no doubt, they will beat you with the low prices. Establishing a brand is hard work, but the returns are very decent. When it comes to branding, the first word that comes to people’s mind is marketing, in fact, order fulfillment is an important link as well. Besides the decent product inspection, there are more things a dedicated order fulfillment center can do to improve your brand image.

– Custom packaging: pack items in beautiful packages and add cards in them, ensures consumers will show it to friends for recommendation purposes.

– Kitting: put two or more items (with different SKU) into one package to, clear long-term stock items and carry out a variety of marketing activities, such as sending scheduled gift boxes to old customers for remarketing purposes.

– Personalization: Sometimes your customers need to put their number on a mailbox or add name initials on bags. Personalization service will be an important part of holiday marketing.

NextSmartShip is an order fulfillment company based in Shenzhen, China, providing simple and reliable services for global eCommerce shops and crowd-funded campaign. Services include eCommerce fulfillment, crowd-funding fulfillment, Amazon FBA prep service and sending subscription boxes.

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  1. I purchased in past,how do I recover?

    1. Author

      One of the major downsides to buying from China is that you have no recourse when things go wrong. It helps to have a good agent. I use Bruce Wang at
      [email protected]. A good agent will prevent you from getting into bad situations.

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