The interesting thing about online buyers is they are extremely
price sensitive. A survey done by Forrester Research shows that
73 percent of surveyed online buyers expect prices on the
Internet to be cheaper than in stores. No wonder auction
marketplaces are thriving. Among the most popular auction
marketplaces growth of eBay is especially notable! Its market
share is growing at roughly twice the pace of the over all
market. So, its only natural if you like many other wannabe
entrepreneurs thinking seriously to start an eBay business.
Say, after spending long hours on the eBay and doing much
research offline and online, you finally have come up with a
niche category of products to sell. But, there is one little
problem! You dont have a slightest clue where to get regular
supply of this product for wholesale price. Often, entrepreneurs
with great product ideas fail to materialize their dream business
plan just because they are unable to find a right supplier. How
to tackle this problem?
Finding a local supplier
Success in any trading business depends not only on how good you
are in selling, it also relies greatly on your ability to source
the product at right cost. If you have a fairly large list of
products that you are considering to work with you have a variety
of options to choose from. You may start your eBay auctioning
business based on local liquidators, closeout dealers, government
auctions, newspaper classified or Drop-shippers
(http://ezine.rusbiz.com/article/39). But to start a real niche
business you need to find a constant source supplier, which could
be a manufacturer, a distributor or a wholesaler. Obviously,
Internet is the easiest place to get the initial contact
information. Try http://www.thomasnet.com/ or
[http://www.tgrnet.com/] – both websites are good information
sources for industrial products manufacturers.
Bear in mind that many manufacturers simply aren’t able to handle
small orders and don’t sell products directly to retailers. Some
times, the minimum sales lot is way too big for a small start-up
company to manage. However, even if the manufacturer does not
sell directly to retail levels, they will provide you with
information on their products and refer you to their wholesaler
or distributor companies, which will be in a position to cater
For some category of products, your best option is to attend
trade or industry shows in order to locate a supplier. Check out
websites of some exhibition centers in your vicinity and find one
or two trade shows of your area of interest. Make sure that
participants of the trade show are distributors and wholesalers
as oppose to large manufacturers. After all, you need to find a
supplier who will agree to work with your initial small orders.
Trade journals or publications of your related field also could
be a great source in your quest to find a supplier. Trade
journals publish information on industry trend, articles on major
players, various industry related event schedules such as trade
shows, and often carry classified sections. Sometimes, they also
publish specialty issues such as a buyer’s guide or a who’s who
issue. You may consider getting those issues by contacting the
Professional and trade associations similar to local chamber of
commerce and other groups offer a variety of services, which are
extremely useful to members and general people a like. Promotion
of the industry and its products and referral services for buyers
trying to find specific products are some of the services that
they offer. You should not hesitate to contact these
organizations for help.
Competition in worlds largest electronic marketplace is fierce!
If you have to buy products from a middleman, you may find that
your prices are not workable at all. What to do? Since most of
the consumers products are imported any way, you may consider
outsourcing your product from a foreign country. Today, thanks to
globalization importing products are no longer as difficult as it
used to be! If you are trying to buy a labor-intensive product,
the best places are probably China which is the hottest at this
time, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Bangladesh and some other Asian
countries. If you are looking for medium quality electronics and
computer parts, your options are China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore,
etc. For high-end designer products Italy, Germany and France are
your best bet. For intellectual property related products, Russia
and other Eastern European countries are still a paradise.
There is a good chance of finding a supplier through online B2B
portals. If you are looking for a supplier from China you may try
http://www.alibaba.com and [http://www.globalsources.com]. Two of the largest
trade leads aggregators on the Internet. For products from India
you may try searching the database of both http://www.indiamart.com and
http://www.trade-india.com. For products from Russia and other CIS
countries http://www.rusbiz.com is a great option.
Here are the steps you must take in order to import products
Locate several suppliers either through online resources or by
contacting Trade Commissions of respective countries.
Contact the suppliers and see if they are in a position to
deliver the right product. Make sure that the suppliers are not
your direct competitors. Many foreign suppliers are actively
selling products through eBay.
If you find their price and quality of the product are
acceptable get several samples. It is very important to give them
an exact copy of the product you are looking for. Without a
prototype you might end up getting something far different than
Work out your cost, which include buying cost, packaging,
shipping, insurance, customs duty, excise duty if any, financing
and handling charges, etc. You may also incur other expenses
depending on products and your location.
Check out your supplier. If possible make a trip to visit the
supplier. Ask for references. Contact their bankers if necessary.
Importing requires absolute due diligence.
Check with a logistics consultant about shipping and exporting
rules of the country.
Contact a customs broker to verify latest duty and other
regulations related to importing of this particular product.
Dont forget to consider product life cycle, shipping time,
seasonality of the product and other characteristics specific to
Importantly, do your homework! You can sure make money by
importing and selling goods on eBay. Thousands are already doing
this. But, the key to success relies on your entrepreneurial
spirit, due preparation, sound judgment and hard work. If you
think you are ready, go for it!