So, you’ve decided on what products you want to import and understood the process, responsibility, and regulations involved in the import industry – if you haven’t, do check out our previous posts. Now, the next step is finding the relevant suppliers, which requires a tiny bit of effort. You must choose your supplier well, as it will add clarity to the process and transparency about the origin of the import.
Here are a few points to note when choosing your supplier:
- Variety of Suppliers
Essentially, you need to decide which kind of supplier suits your needs best.
- Manufacturers: produce specified products depending on your requirements. Manufacturers offer the best rates but usually ask for high quantities.
- Distributors: Do not sell directly to consumers and instead sell to wholesalers or retailers, making them the contact point between manufacturers and buyers.
- Wholesalers: Buy in bulk from distributors and sell to retailers
- Drop Shippers: Do not stock inventory, but look for orders and get manufacturers to ship directly to buyers.
While wholesalers and drop shippers are easier to find, it’s always more cost-efficient to find a supplier that is more directly in contact with you. Furthermore, the increased accountability between suppliers working directly with you can act as quality control.
- Type of Supplier
Suppliers can be located domestically as well as overseas. It’s a common misconception that suppliers are only found overseas.
Domestic suppliers bring their own benefits with them. They speak your native language, making communication easier and the opportunity to have face-to-face interactions. Overseas suppliers, on the other hand, can offer reduced manufacturing costs when you buy in bulk from them.
It is important that you and your supplier are a good fit for each other since the importer-supplier relationship can vastly impact business outcomes. Here are a few aspects you should look at when looking for a potential supplier:
- Accurate, authentic product information
- High-quality packaging, product quality, and pricing.
- An organizational environment that harnesses productivity, efficiency, and creativity
- A good relationship with a key contact where communication is open and objectives are clearly aligned.
- Ability to Keep Up with the Demand
You need to make sure your supplier can keep up with customer demand. Research their production capabilities and observe details such as the number of employees and annual sales. Surveying retail stores to check the availability of the product you want to import can also help you figure out whether the potential supplier can cope up with the customer demand. However, the best way to confirm would be to ask the potential supplier directly.
*Pro-tip: Check the supplier’s advertising trends to get an idea of their capacity. If they have a great social media presence and focus on PR, it’s quite likely they can keep up with the consumer demand.
In conclusion, we’d just like to include a super important tip: ask for representative samples! Representative samples will give you the tangible knowledge of the merchandise, as well as the commitment and work ethics of the potential supplier. While it may mean you have to use some money, it will be better to identify and solve potential risks with the samples, instead of on the actual import.
As always, IZZI Logistics has got your back. Being in the import industry for 10 years now, we know all the inner workings and can take care of all the aspects on your behalf – making the entire experience incredibly smooth and hassle-free.
Keep your eyes peeled for part 5 because – *disclaimer* – it has everything to do with restricted goods and licenses (a critical segment of the process that can literally make or break your business).