One of the easiest ways to increase your profits is by cutting costs. For example, negotiating with Alibaba suppliers can increase your profit margins and improve your efficiency.
However, contacting Alibaba suppliers is not as simple as sending emails and asking for information, as in Alibaba, there are effective ways to negotiate with suppliers and there are bad ways.
Today, I’m going to share the 6 tips for contacting Alibaba suppliers, plus inquiry templates and the questions to ask suppliers.
How to Contact Alibaba Suppliers Effectively?
Dealing with suppliers on Alibaba has its good and bad points. Today I will share 6 tips for contacting Alibaba suppliers:
#1. Don’t use the product drop-down list to search for suppliers in the Alibaba search
When you first visit the Alibaba.com homepage, you will notice a drop-down menu on the left side of the search bar. It defaults to Products.
If you search for a product, Alibaba will display all listings for that product. Alibaba does not consider whether the seller of a product makes the product or not.
Customization will not be possible for suppliers who do not manufacture their products.
Let’s say you have conducted product research and found that your customer wants a copper French press. All your competitors sell in silver.
You go to the supplier and ask if they can make the product in copper. They won’t, because they don’t manufacture the product.
Please use the supplier drop-down menu to search for a supplier in Alibaba search. Select a supplier from the drop-down list.
The supplier search results will more likely include suppliers who can create custom products for you, rather than just selling you the products they have.
#2. Don’t search for products using the Ready To Ship product type
If you are searching by product and not supplier, as I said above, then you will see the Ready To Ship option that you do not want to click on.
Ready To Ship means that the supplier is willing to ship the product to you as-is.
This is great if your business is a wholesale business, or if you only need a few French press kettles as Christmas gifts for family and friends. However, it is not for private labels.
Before contacting them, please do your research to find a reliable supplier. You will first need to search for your main keyword on Alibaba.
Then you will see two boxes: Trade Assurance and Verified Supplier. You should check both boxes and Alibaba will reload your page every time.
Trade Assurance is a contract where the supplier pays 30% in advance and 70% when the job is completed. You cannot guarantee that 70% will be sent back later.
These funds must be sent to an “escrow” account, i.e. an account held by a third party. In this case, Alibaba will act as an intermediary escrow holder.
Verified Suppliers are verified by a third party working for Alibaba.
In order to be validated, suppliers must submit proof of their operations, capabilities, network, and extensive other paperwork. They are as legitimate as the supplier.
Here you may learn more about Trade Assurance for details below:
Complete Guide: How to Use Alibaba Trade Assurance?
#3. Do not contact potential suppliers through the “Start Ordering” button
Selecting “Start Ordering” only makes sense when you are ready to order from a supplier.
If you want to earn passive income from your own private label, this is not an option for you.
Please contact potential suppliers via the “Contact Supplier” button.
Use the “Contact Supplier” option to talk directly to a representative.
It is similar to sending an email, but it is through the Alibaba website.
You will receive an email notification for each response sent to you by the supplier. You can also attach example pictures, etc.
#4. Don’t ask your supplier too many questions in the first message
If you ask your Chinese supplier three questions, you will usually only get one answer. Due to the time difference, these conversations can last for days.
Asking just one to two questions at a time may need to wait also, please understand that building your business is a long and rewarding journey.
After a few messages, you can ask your supplier to fill out a form asking for information about pricing, etc.
A good supplier will complete at least half of the form. If they leave a section blank, a good supplier will explain why.
#5. Don’t negotiate on samples
Most legitimate suppliers are happy to fulfill sample orders.
You will have to pay a higher price per unit of the sample compared to buying in bulk. This is the price of validating the supplier’s process.
If you try to negotiate for samples, you will look like a beginner. Sample costs are not one-time cost. Instead, consider recurring costs that have a greater impact on your bottom line.
#6. Don’t use a lot of crap when communicating with suppliers
If you are working with a supplier from China, their English may not be strong.
Make sure you are as simple, clear, and direct as possible. Because clarifying misunderstandings is a waste of time.
They don’t care if your employer is IBM or Main Street Local Store No Two. Chinese suppliers will work with you as long as you are confident and assertive in your position.
Write as if you were talking to another person. Suppliers are just like you. They have real jobs to do.
Treat them like people. Ask them about their day. It’s always a good idea to stay friendly.
What Questions to Ask When Contacting Alibaba Suppliers?
You will have to ask many questions to Alibaba suppliers. It will secure the transaction and make the whole process transparent. They are:
- What is the name of your company?
- Are you a third-party supplier or direct manufacturer of your products?
- Where is your company located in China or any other country/region?
- What is your company’s status in China?
- Do you have a business license?
- Are you verified on Alibaba?
- Which more well-known brands do you work with?
- Do you have certifications related to your company?
- Do you have Gold Supplier status with Alibaba?
- Do you allow trade guarantee orders?
You can ask questions related to your products. These questions will determine product quality, sampling, and related factors. They are:
- What is the quality of the manufactured product?
- What materials are included in your products?
- Do you allow product samples?
- Are your product samples free or paid?
- Is your product packaging customized?
- Do you license the copyright status to the buyer?
- Do you allow custom product features in your products?
- What are the product sizes?
- What is the production duration for 100 units of inventory?
- What is the minimum order quantity?
Inquiry Templates for Contacting Alibaba Suppliers
It’s always great to communicate with your suppliers about the production process. These are the exact templates for what to say when you contact Alibaba suppliers.
Subject: “I am interested in [product name]” or “Inquiry for [product name]”
I am glad to know your name and address on the Internet. I am very interested in your products. I would like you to send me details of the various product lines, including sizes, colors, and prices, as well as production samples in other details.
If your prices and terms meet my requirements, I will be happy to establish a business relationship with you.
I look forward to receiving your early reply.
Subject: “I am interested in [product name]” or “Inquiry for [product name]”
Dear Sir or Madam.
My name is [name]. I run my Amazon store. My main product is …… I have a new product planned and I saw that you have this product on your website. I would like to ask for some details about your product, as listed below. [Attach your product photos]
Is it possible to put our logo on your products or product packaging? If so, what is the minimum order quantity and cost? [Attach your logo]
If possible, I would like you to include all the information we require in one document. Thank you.
I look forward to receiving the information.
How to Contact Alibaba Suppliers FAQ
1. How can I contact Alibaba suppliers?
You can contact Alibaba suppliers by clicking the “Contact Supplier” button on the product page or in the company overview section.
Or, you can use RFQ to request quotes from multiple suppliers with faster response times.
2. What do you ask Alibaba suppliers?
Before contacting a supplier, it is important to list the questions you need to answer.
Otherwise, you may waste a lot of time communicating, only to find out that they are not a good fit for your business.
It’s best to start with the most important questions that need to be answered so you can quickly rule out any suppliers that aren’t a good fit for you.
3. Why should you ask questions of different suppliers?
There are many benefits to doing this. You can know the supplier’s authenticity.
No more exploring quality products by getting some information from the supplier. In addition, you can see the shipping cost and refund process.
4. What is the best way to contact verified suppliers?
Alibaba chat system is the safest way to get in touch with your suppliers.
In addition, you can find the company’s social media pages to get more information about their business.
How to Contact Alibaba Suppliers Conclusion
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some things to consider before contacting Alibaba suppliers.
Please use our templates above as examples of sending a good first message and consider the questions we suggest asking and all the other issues that need to be considered.
We are Yansourcing, a leading sourcing company in China, dedicated to helping our clients source products from China at the most competitive prices. If you are interested in importing from China, please feel free to contact us.