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  • Writer's pictureBen Chu

How small importer or Amazon store startup get good deal from Chinese supplier management?

Updated: May 6, 2020

While everyone heads to gold rush for their Amazon business, there are many opportunities that people usually omit when working with Chinese manufacturer. In fact, the nature of small q

ty purchase for a startup B2C business does not easily help you get attention from any real manufacturer. No matter how they market their story, manufacturers love big order with little or no variety. If you are serious about supplier management, you got to work out something else. I never interested in starting an online store in Amazon, but if I were the owner I would be headache with how to manage a supplier on the other side of the world with my tiny little order quantity. You’ll not only worry about all the potential quality issues that might have, but also the chance that my hot selling item bid by a competitor who might probably come from the same source. The lack of purchasing power could cause problems that you might have to put a lot of effort into firefighting it. Does it still worth it? It should be a question for anyone who wants to start an Amazon store. Say, I got a source of a great and unique product, newly released by a manufacturer, and I want to capitalize on it and maximize my profitability. What should I do? Instead of overwhelming excited to already put it in my Amazon store, the first thing I would do is to negotiate a regional or ideally global (except locally in china, which is highly unlikely they would accept) dealership to represent the product. Yes, you will probably ask me why don’t I just put my own logo on it and just market it as my own flesh and blood. The answer is, this strategy might work well for bigger business and brand, or might still work for small distributor for private label back to 10 years ago, but not too easy nowadays. The manufacturer might be able to entertain you with a regular MOQ (which might already be a headache for startup store), but you are unlikely to be their priority. The less you get their attention, the less leverage you have when dealing with problems like delivery and samples. Not surprisingly, as a result, the buyer ends up frustrated and call their supplier scammer on some gossip group of Chinese supply management.

I suggest the concept of “representing a product” simply based on the fact that it suits the interest of your supplier. Most Chinese manufacturers have their little ambition of having their own brand presence in other countries. Working together toward this objective makes you a better customer. Want a picture and comments of how a local customer like your product? What about a 3% discount? Collaborative marketing does offer some real benefit to your supplier which in turn could become a card on your negotiation. Besides, you usually get better support, lower MOQ, and even available stock locally in your country. And with a little bit more of your purchasing power, you could carry both your and their brand in your channel to meet different customer needs without scarifying your dream of building your brand empire. As a golden rule of any negotiation, make sure your counterpart feel like they win the game. This example could have been a great illustration of the meaning.

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