Buying from Alibaba and selling on Amazon in 2021

Now, when you know How to start an Amazon FBA business and you already found your product it is time to source a product, and Alibaba is the right place for that.

In this post, I will share email templates, spreadsheets, and tips on how to negotiate, haggle, communicate with suppliers and how to source your product from Alibaba,  import from China, and sell on Amazon.

Finding the right supplier on Alibaba is the secret to being successful in the Amazon business. No-one here is going to divulge their exact source. It is your single most important asset when it comes to selling on Amazon FBA.

You can have all the capital, know-how, and resources in the world. But if you don’t have a source or a manufacturer, you are DEAD in the water.

 

How to buy from Alibaba and sell on Amazon

 

It’s the first step to a successful Amazon business, or ANY business really.

A restaurant is nothing without recipes, a blog is nothing without writers and a tech company is nothing without its programmers and engineers.

Same with FBA, if you don’t have a product to sell, you have no FBA business.

In this post, I’m gonna share spreadsheets, message templates, and a strategy for calculating which supplier is best.

 

Things to know when buying from Alibaba and importing from China

 

Alibaba import

 

Everything is negotiable with sellers from Alibaba.

 

Do not exaggerate when negotiating with a seller, your goal should be to get a fair deal, not a good deal.

You have to be careful though because if you keep pushing on price and they believe you won’t reorder without a lower price the factories WILL sacrifice quality to meet your price.

If they are forced to lower a quote then they might use inferior materials and with the Chinese unless you’re strict and clear on what you want then quality could be a real issue.

The best thing to do is to compare prices and to tell the supplier that there are other manufacturers offering this product at competitive prices. Quality and profit margin is more important than getting a good deal in my opinion.

I learned not to push too much in price since I have had already quality problems.

The key to avoiding this is to specify the quality you expect for the product, this is very important, size, color, materials, tolerances… with this information on the table, you can negotiate better prices.

You don’t want to get a better price at the expense of lower quality.

For small initial orders, I usually offer 60% of the first quoted price.

In general, I get the best price after the 2nd reorder because by that time they feel that I will be a long-term customer and I normally get 30% off of the initial quote.

Try to find the original manufacturer instead of the many middleman companies that are out there.

Unfortunately, in my experience, this was pretty tough since there is not much info out there for most of the companies so one doesn’t know whom to trust.

Once I got lucky ordering from Aliexpress and one of the products I purchased had the manufacturer’s information (Website, phone) inside of the packaging.

I was able to negotiate a very significant reduction in price with the manufacturer (something like a 60% price reduction compared to Aliexpress, for an expensive $70 product.

Do you use Aliexpress to test the Amazon market first?

It is definitely possible, not the best course of action though.

In order to find a niche that is good on Aliexpress, you need to dig extremely deep and weird, and even then it’s a long shot. That’s why I always enter the market set up to succeed. If I’m ordering 15-20 units then that isn’t possible.

That doesn’t give me enough units to do giveaways, get reviews, run PPC, get custom packaging made, and definitely doesn’t allow me to get to page 1. My entire plan is based on the fact I’m going to get page 1. And if I do make it to the page, I need to have enough stock. With 20 units, my hands are tied and I can’t be successful.

If you still want to use Aliexpress, here is the spreadsheet you can use, plus you can use Ali Inspector (it is a paid tool).

Ali Inspector is a powerful dropshipping tool and it is a huge time saver when it comes to Aliexpress,

NOTE: Ali Inspector is included in AmaSuite 5

Tip on finding the original manufacturer. Use https://www.1688.com/ rather than www.alibaba.com, you will find mostly factories, and very few trading companies (because who the hell needs trading companies if it’s all domestic?).

If you look at the pictures, they will have faded white words on there. Google it, then find the factory page, then find the phone number. Usually, it will be the factory.

 

1688

 

Knowing the real value – you should have quotes from multiple manufacturers before doing this.

Otherwise, what are you basing your asking price off of?

Also, factor in that they are also doing business. You can’t expect them to offer you a price at their cost.

They also have to make a margin.

Consider that the margin you allow for them can result in non-monetary perks/benefits down the road.

A good manufacturer looks to create a relationship, not just a transaction.

 

How to avoid fraud scams when buying on Alibaba and importing from China?

 

 

 

Some people on Alibaba steals ideas, designs, and original pictures. Source: Imgur

 

Finding suppliers is easy, the hard part is finding Mr.Right. Keep in mind that there are suppliers on Alibaba who will try to scam your money so always be vigilant and trust your gut feeling when sourcing for suppliers on Alibaba.

If you get scammed, it might completely discourage you from further dealings with foreign trade companies. Actually, fraud is something that everyone has heard about, even you just do business with local companies.

It can never be completely eliminated, but it can be minimized.

All you need to avoid fraud is a little precaution, observation, and knowledge. I have been using Alibaba for a while. There are 10 golden rules that I always follow when buying on Alibaba, although these methods don’t guarantee a 100% safe transaction.

  1. Google the company which you are interested in and check their website. Does it look legit?. You can add the word “scam” to the search keywords. It is possible that past cases of fraud by that certain company have already been described on the Internet and listed on someone’s blacklist. If they are real companies, you can find their export records from many export data’s websites, such as import genius, tradesns, tradesparq, panjiva, etc.
  2. Only buy from gold suppliers and look for suppliers with Trade Assurance
  3. Shop around. Is one supplier way cheaper than everyone else? If so they should probably be avoided.
  4. Pay attention to e-mail addresses. What is their email? Is it “@gmail” or “@companyname”? An e-mail sent from [email protected] should make you think twice, as special economic zones don’t use free e-mail accounts…
  5. See if they are professional. If they are a real manufacturer, their quote is usually detailed and professional. Try to ask more professional questions. Think twice If their reply is not professional.
  6. Onsite Check and Assessed Supplier are important, but not 100% necessary.
  7. Always request a sample. Every sample I have received they have provided for free if I paid for shipping.
  8. Before you have anything sent to you, ask for pictures. If what you get does not match up with the pictures, ask for a refund through PayPal using the pictures as evidence.
  9. Ask for customer references. It is impolite to ask for customer references at the beginning, but after they quote, you can do it before you pay. To be on the safe side, you can contact the references to learn more about how they work.
  10. Make a factory tour. If you have Chinese friends, you can ask them for help. You can pay them to visit their factory and take some videos for you. Of course, if money allows, and the project is big, you can find a cheap flight and visit the factory in person.

 

Avoid buying and selling counterfeit products

 

Alibaba is not a legitimate source for branded products. Alibaba is meant for generic goods where you research to ensure that the item wasn’t patented by a brand already.

It’s not a legitimate source to purchase branded inventory from because if you see something branded available on Alibaba that belongs to a national brand, these are counterfeit goods that could land you in jail if you decided to sell them.

An example for people that may be confused out there and sourcing branded goods from Alibaba. This is an item on Amazon that sells for a lot of money.

 

 

This is a counterfeit example of that item on Alibaba WHICH YOU SHOULD NOT PURCHASE TO SELL ON AMAZON!

 

 

I feel like there are likely people out there that have gotten extremely confused from going through the “guru courses” teaching them to source from Alibaba and create their own private label product to sell on Amazon FBA.

I am starting to see more and more people selling truly counterfeit goods and I hope you aren’t doing it because you’re confused.

As an example, this is not a legitimate product to private label.

 

 

That’s truly a knockoff of a LEGO product from a couple of years back. Even though you saw it available on Alibaba and you’re trying to sell it as your own brand, you are selling counterfeit items and infringing upon the Intellectual Property of LEGO.

Although you’re getting sales now, you’ll likely find yourself in a huge lawsuit down the road. The same goes for items like this.

 

 

Just because you’re putting your own brand name on the product doesn’t put you in the clear. You are purchasing counterfeited items where large worldwide brands hold the patents, trademarks and licensing to and trying to sell them under your own brand.

You can’t just make an exact copy of an item from one of the major brands and try to private label it as your own, even if the original brand has discontinued the item.

That’s illegal in the United States or anywhere else.

Even if you are not selling on Amazon you could and should use Jungle Scout to get product ideas. If the item is profitable on Amazon, it’ll be profitable outside of Amazon too. Here’s my Jungle Scout review

 

How should I pay for samples on Alibaba?

 

Use PayPal but send as goods and services…they’ll charge for the service fee but that’s ok.

Use PayPal for payments up to around $2000, then start wiring from bank accounts.

After multiple transactions ask if you can go back to PayPal and send money as friends to save money on fees on both sides.

The sample should be the cost of your wholesale product + 25USD for the first kg and about 6.00 per kilo after.

You should most likely be paying around 50.00 for this sample if it weighs under 5-6lbs.

 

Which Alibaba item is becoming saturated on Amazon?

 

An item that every second new seller recently tried to source on Alibaba. 

A Newer version of the garlic press. A good place to look would be on Facebook review groups.

There you could see all the new stuff coming out and look for patterns.

 

How do you negotiate with a seller on Alibaba?

 

Contact a minimum of 10 suppliers with short, clear, specific, concise questions (Write short, clear, emails.

The language barrier is very real). You can use this introduction email template:

Hi, My name is Peter Koch and I am the production manager for DollarSanity, I need your help with the following. We would like to sell garlic press but we need the best possible price and MOQ information. I am happy to send you a picture as an example. We need a target price of $5 in order to make this order work. Please advise if you can make this happen. Please let me know prices for 200, 500, 750 and 1000 runs. Where in China are you located? Are you an agent, factory, or trading company? I need you to advise best possible price and also give me at least three other options of similar items that you have so that I can review them with my boss. Any qualities you can send us to pick from would also be helpful. Please send us quality standards. Also its company policy that we don’t pay for samples so I need to make sure you are able to provide me with samples. We need to check the quality of the product and make sure we are happy with the sample before we place an order. We are really looking to build stronger partnerships with new factories / and or agents. Thank you, Peter Koch

Or, you can use this template…

Dear, I hope you are having a great day? My name is Peter Koch and I am the buying manager of DollarSanity. We are a Importer/Buying Office and are operating in the USA. I am writing to you today to inquire about the product I saw on your website. It is the garlic press that I am interested in. Could you please give me the following information: 1.Unit price based on 1000, 500 and 200 Pieces? 2.Minimum Order Quantity? 3.Production lead time? 4.Payment terms? 5.The type of samples you provide and shipping options (production / top of production)? I need you to give me at least three other options of similar items that you have so that I can review them with my boss. I would then evaluate and get back to you as soon as possible. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me. Best regards, Peter Koch

After they respond you’ll send them 2nd email template…

Hey Lee, Thanks for your response. Just wanted to give you an insight to how we work. When working with a new supplier we need to build a relationship. Therefore; we do a test orders before scaling up. You have to understand if we buy 500 units and there are problems it affects the relationship with our clients. This is how we work:

  1. We purchase 15-20 samples as a way to see the consistency of the production and pass onto our clients for initial orders from them.
  2. We place a test order of 200-300 units to ensure everything is perfect.
  3. We scale up and repeat order and grow our relationship.

I understand it becomes more difficult if we were making bespoke changes to the product or require special packaging. Please can you let me know the following:

  1. Your best price for 15 – 20 samples to land at our address in the US by air?
  2. Does your prices for the 500 include our logo and labelling?
  3. What is the weight of the individual item with polybag?

I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Regards, Peter Koch

3rd email template for Alibaba suppliers…

Thanks for coming back to. I have attached our spreadsheet for remaining quote details. I have completed most of it, would you mind just filling the blanks please? Once I have all the information I can arrange meetings with my bosses to discuss further. I would like to thank you in advance for your time in dealing with my enquiry. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback. Regards, Peter Koch

When your suppliers all complete the spreadsheet you can then copy and paste it into one and start the process of negotiating a better deal.

80-90% of suppliers will fill these out despite they get so many inquiries a day, and you think they wouldn’t bother going through all of that…

The rest either resend their quote and add to the body of the email or they just add to the body of an email.

You need to judge the rapport thing as going in the cold won’t help.

If you are doing 15-20 suppliers it saves a whole heap of time. I can’t stress enough the cultural importance and shooting the breeze before going in on what you want.

Be very polite and very professional at all times.

It is an industry built on negotiating the penny of the pound.

The bigger the order often lower the price.

Like in all walks of life you have good honest people and emotionally bankrupt ones.

Some will work off the basis of building longtime relationships and others just think of tomorrow. See it as a way to weed these out.

The good thing about email is you can get feedback here or other places before you respond.

My advice to you is to do what I did. I picked a product I had no interest in and spend time dealing with a load of suppliers right up to the point of agreeing on the first wave of terms.

This was a great opportunity to see problems and get a grip on how it works.

I learned a lot from this and built out spreadsheet templates to speed everything up.

I went through all the shipping process for quoting and snagged a load of issues there also. All very insightful. I still learning now 🙂 at first, I danced around it with what if’s as it was daunting.

I can’t recommend enough the process of just jumping in and doing it. Here one more product profitability spreadsheet you should use.

 

When negotiating with a supplier on Alibaba to purchase a new product and import from China, what are some common additional questions you ask?

 

  • what percentage of your exports go to the US (or wherever you’re importing in to). Important to understand if they have experience selling to your market
  • do you understand FBA packaging requirements
  • does the product meet the country’s certifications (if applicable)
  • do you offer DDP parity
  • what product is your factory best at producing?
  • what is your turnaround time?
  • what are your payment terms for new customers
  • do you use SINOSURE service

In summary, there are a lot of sleazy suppliers on Alibaba, but there are also a lot of legit suppliers that would love to work with you.

Do everything you can to protect yourself in case of a scam, but don’t let it paralyze you to the point that you are not willing to pull the trigger on anything. Good luck!

 

Useful tools and resources

 

Here are some tools I personally use for my Amazon private label business:

Full disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links and I will get a commission if you purchase through them.

  • Jungle Scout: The most powerful and most popular Amazon product research tool. I’m using Jungle Scout and I think it’s a very good starting point for product research and should save you money in the long run by using it to choose the right product!
  • Fiverr: Photography, listing copy, keyword research, logo creation, product design
  • ShopifyYour brand should always have an online presence and with Shopify, it is easy to create your own online store
  • Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator: Check various FBA costs and your product profitability
  • Google Trends: Is the product seasonal?
  • Xero: accounting and bookkeeping
  • Alibaba: Product sourcing
  • FeedbackGenius: Send out automated emails
  • Ignite: If you’re looking for a tool to help you optimize PPC, then Ignite is a candidate. As time passes and data accumulates this tool will make suggestions to raise bids, add negative keywords, move keywords to different campaigns, lower bids, etc. These suggestions were eye-opening to me.

 

Further reading:

76 thoughts on “Buying from Alibaba and selling on Amazon in 2021”

  1. Hi Peter,

    Thanks again for all the valuable insights and information for being an FBA. I have been researching from last few weeks and your writings helped me a lot to proceed further in the process. I would appreciate if you could spare your valuable time to guide me for the below:

    I have the following queries regarding the Proprietorship registration :

    1)Does registering under proprietorship will register my business and company name as well? If not then what is the process for registering the same.

    2)As I’m staying in a rented house, what are the implications of this? Can I change the address in future? What is the process? Can I give permanent address as well during registration which in other state.

    3)The business will include importing/exporting from overseas, so do I need any further registration for that?

    4)Is it compulsory to have your own company before selling online?

    5)Do I need to register my company name before selling online? Where to register it and what is the process?

    6)What is the validity of the Proprietorship registration?

    7)Will I receive PAN card in company name or TAN will serve the purpose? Does MSME registration registers the retail companies as well?

    8)Is MSME required for online retailing? If not then how can I register the company name?

    9) Under Proprietorship registration , do I need to open a current account on Proprietor name or company name?

    Thanks in advance!!!

    • I’m not a lawyer and I am not sure how much my answer will help.

      I honestly think at your stage to wait until you make a lot more in net income at least 40-50k annually and then open up an S-Corporation. An S corporation would provide you ample tax savings. You could pay yourself a reasonable salary and then take the rest of the money as a distribution allowing you to bypass self-employment taxes on the distribution amount.
      So as of right now I would encourage you to continue operating as a sole proprietorship, do a good job managing your bookkeeping and possibly create a DBA (doing business as).
      What products are you selling? is there really any liability involved? Are you selling books or items that can pose some sort of liability
      The biggest benefit of having an LLC is in the name – limited liability. When you sign the Terms & Conditions for Seller Central, there’s an important clause that specifically states Amazon has no liability for any damages or harm caused by a product sold via FBA; it’s all assumed by the seller (you). If someone buys a candle and they burn their house down, they’ll likely sue Amazon, you, and the manufacturer.
      If for some reason you are held liable, the LLC will protect your personal assets (house, car, etc).

      But, as I said I’m not a lawyer so take this with a grain of salt.

  2. Hello Peter,

    Thanks for taking time to provide this insightful information.

    I am in the process of contacting suppliers and negotiating terms with them.

    I wanted your opinion on dealing with a trading company vs a manufacturer. I know most gurus say to only go with a manufacturer but it doesn’t seem that black and white to me.

    Firstly, even when a company is a verified trading company on Alibaba, if I ask them outright they almost always say they are also a manufacturer. So does this make them untrustworthy right away?

    Secondly, if a product is straightforward and requires very little customization is it that bad ordering from a trade company if they offer competitive pricing compared to a manufacturer? (I also find their communication and responses are also better compared to a manufacturer.)

    They are also a gold supplier, have TA and onsite verified.

    Best regards

  3. I don’t get the mindset about trading companies, really. Trading companies buy big quantities at low prices, and hold stock for you. You will also not get good responses from factories unless you are ordering a lot. Manufactures might not want to deal with you directly unless you’re placing large orders. You might be able to get better pricing from a trading company anyway.

    Don’t disregard a trading company just because you see them as intermediary cutting into your margin. Sometimes they represent factories with unique items that don’t have an online presence. I manufacturer some product, that use many different electronic components (require several manufacturers). For this particular product I always go through a trading company so I can get good prices while not having to write up 50 different emails and prepare 50 different invoices. This supplier is the easiest to work with, and gives me incredible prices despite they are a trading company.

    My last piece of advice: The logistics of the operation are simplified with trading companies. Until your large enough to increase order sizes, diversify factories, and hire additional help I’d recommend you stick with a trading company.

  4. Hi Peter,
    First, I have to thank you for this most excellent read! A lot of useful tips hiding here.

    I am in the first steps of creating a private label – I found some product categories in Amazon were multiple items look the same just with a different label. Even the pictures look the same, and in Alibaba.com as well. So I figured I will create my own logo, tweak the design a bit and have a go at it.

    Most gurus I reviewed warned from ordering an original or high quality product and getting a counterfeit one. However, I am looking at it from a different angle – what if I order a product from Alibaba with my private label, thinking it is just a generic product/design, but it would actually turn out to be a copy of some original/trademarked design? I assume in this case the trademark owner would sue me.

    Am I correct? and if so, how can one deal with this? should I purchase a specific insurance for these cases?

    thanks in advance

    • Yes, they could sue you but guess what it isn’t black and white… Law suits are extremely expensive. You are not going to get sued unless you are wildly successful in making money infringing the patent or you already have enough money to be a target. Majority of the time the infringing party receives a cease and desist letter, they stop the infringement, life goes on because even when a patent exists, it’s rarely black and white. IP lawsuits often drag on for years and do not necessarily end in a verdict that is favorable for the patent holder.

      There are nearly 6 million registered patents in the USA with approx. 350K added each year. See here:
      https://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/taf/cst_all.htm and there is no one expect small businesses and sole traders to hire patent lawyers to parse through that body of patents for each and every little product idea they want to try.

      My piece of advice is if you know something is a rip-off, you shouldn’t sell it. If you don’t know, you shouldn’t waste your time finding out if it already exists. If you want to be sure, ask your supplier about patent and include that info in a contract with them.

      PS. You can only get a design patent if they have a technical feature that’s unique. I.e. you can’t patent clothing designs.

  5. Hi Peter, I am about to enter into the candle making business and went to Alibaba for pricing on containers, etc. I appreciate all the resourceful info you have placed here and on Reddit.com. If I’m looking for natural resources and products how would you suggest I go about ensuring I’m not getting some watered down version. For example, I would like to create luxury candles so of course it’s quality as well as the packing. I’m looking for marble candle containers but how would I be able to tell if the quality of marble is up to par? That’s just one of many questions I have but I’ll leave it here for now. Thanks Again

    • If you are buying from China you absolutely must have someone do some quality assurance for your products before you full pay and before they ship. Overall, quality control on your side is very important when dealing with Chinese suppliers (or any suppliers). In my experience, they don’t have a very good sense for details and often try to cut corners etc.

      Check does your supplier have Trade Assurance and Supplier’s Trade Assurance Limit (this to see how much money Alibaba is willing to protect you with).
      You’re covered with Trade Assurance as long as you are specific on your final specifications. I mean, super specific. Every single standard and certification should be listed. The exact nature of your product should be listed. Dimensions, material, color, use, and “must have features” should all be listed. Noting how many of your products must be intact and sellable should be included (e.g. 2450 of 2500 units should be sellable). Be super detailed, really specific, so that if you need to enact trade assurance, you get it. Don’t be nebulous with your technical specs.

  6. If you are buying from China you absolutely must have someone do some quality assurance for your products before you full pay and before they ship. Click on your supplier’s profile, check are they using Trade Assurance and Supplier’s Trade Assurance Limit, this to see how much money Alibaba is willing to protect you with. You’ll be covered with Trade Assurance as long as you are specific on your final specifications. I mean, super specific. Every single standard and certification should be listed, the exact nature of your product, color, material, dimensions, use, “must have features” etc. all should be listed. Note down how many of your products must be intact and sellable should be included (e.g. 490 of 500 units should be sellable).
    Be super detailed, I mean really detailed, so that if you need to enact trade assurance, you get it. Don’t be nebulous with your technical specs.

  7. Hi Peter,

    Your article is very insightful and has got me to be excited abut entering the world of handbags.

    1. If the manufacturer sends me a sample picture of the design of the handbag but I saw a competitor with a similar bag design. I want to change the colors of the design. Is there a possible I will be sued by company for copying the design of the bag. I am looking for a manufacturer on Alibata so I can sell the handbags on Amazon. Would the manufacturer tell me my competitor has a copyright on the design? I don’t want to get sued.

    2. What are the first steps you did to get copyright and patent rights for your products? Do I need that to produce these bags with my logo on it?

    3. Any advice on buying handbags and selling it on Amazon? Thanks!

  8. Hi peter;

    First of all, great post.

    However, as a Chinese businessman, I agree with you mostly. But about using 1688 instead of using alibaba, I don’t agree. There are as many trading companies on 1688 as there are on alibaba. The reason is, there are too many factories in China that don’t know how to use the internet or don’t bother to use it. And also, it’s much easier for trading companies to fake themselves as factories on 1688 than alibaba.

    To distinguish it, just follow the following simple rules.
    1, look at the business names.
    If there are words like “trading” “import and export” “wholesale”, then the supplier is probably the middleman. If there are words like “商行” “批发”“档口”, then the supplier is probably the middleman.

    2, check out the product catalog.
    If the supplier has a very broad product catalog, it’s probably the middleman. Factories or manufacturers will only have several models of the same or related categories.Middlemen have a lot of products from across different categories.

    There are more tips on how to distinguish them, you can check my post here.
    https://tech-bulk.com/how-to-use-alibaba-to-find-your-supplier/

  9. Hi Peter,

    Thank you for the wonderful guide along the templates. In the do’s and don’ts of products sourcing from Alibaba and selling on Amazon I’d like to share some key points to keep in mind:

    1: Differentiate between a trader and manufacturer to find the right supplier.

    2: Negotiate with your supplier, keeping in mind there are more things to negotiate besides the price of the product such as quality, payment terms, delivery time, etc.

    3: Keep a check on the quality of products. You can protect yourself from a varying number of problems by making a written agreement and have supplier’s acknowledgement.

  10. Hello, Peter.
    🙂
    Thanks for the advices. I do have a question, since I have never bought from China, never sold online aything…

    For an instance, I wanted to buy coffee mugs. When I see a supplier on Alibaba saying “1,000 pcs. minimum order”, and the price is $0.8 – $1.4, I assume the bigger price is for the minimum order.

    Question:
    1,000 X $1.4 = $1,400

    What other expenses are there besides that? Taxes, customs, VTA în China?… Alibaba comision? Shipping? Maybe taxes when the mercandise enters the US?, when it arrives at Amazon?

    What should I expect the total cost to be to have it the mugs în Amazon’s warehouse and ready for selling?

    Thank you.

  11. Hi Peter,

    Do you have an example of a purchase agreement/order when placing an order from an Alibaba supplier? Do you use your company legal name or your Amazon seller name in this agreement?

    Also an unrelated question.
    Can you explain the difference between display name and brand name when setting up seller central account? Does the brand name represent one product or does it reflect a range of products in one niche.
    I assume the logo is based around one product or should it be reflective of the seller (display) name?

    Thanks

    • Forget about contract tamplate. If you wanna contract I recommended to consult with a lawyer in the city where you are doing manufacturing or buying the product from becuase for China contract has to be in Chinese (or bilingual) complete with company stamp, otherwise it’s nothing more than piece of paper.

      Display name is a name of your store and you can have only one (sold by … and Fulfilled by Amazon) – https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200306540. You can have several brand names, depending how many brands you want to launch. You will decide how many products you’ll have under each brand name. Logo should be related to the brand name.

  12. Hi Peter,

    Thanks for your reply.

    So you don’t think it’s a good idea to write up a p/o to the supplier going over the particulars of the order? (e.g. specs, delivery date, cost etc..)
    I figure that way both parties have a clear understanding of expectations.

    • As I alredy said few comments above. You have to be very specific on your final specifications. I mean, super specific. Every single standard and certification should be listed, the exact nature of your product, color, material, dimensions, use, “must have features” etc. all should be listed. Note down how many of your products must be intact and sellable should be included (e.g. 490 of 500 units should be sellable).
      Be super detailed, I mean really detailed, so that if you need to enact trade assurance, you get it. Don’t be nebulous with your technical specs.

  13. Hey Peter,

    Thanks again for your detailed responses.

    Would you recommend signing up on .CA or .COM for setting up a seller central account for Amazon FBA? (.CA is $10 cheaper)
    I’m in Canada but my focus is selling to the US market.

    Any advantage to signing up on either one?

    • Us is much larger – 10:1 comparing to CA. Sure, CA has less competition. If you are focused on US sign up for .com and later you can expand.

  14. Hello Peter ! Thanks for valuable Post. Right now I`m in Uzbekistan and going to start my Business on Amazon. I provided the address in the US where I lived and going to send the products to the FBA.
    Could you lease give me some suggestions on doing that ?

  15. Hello Peter. I am considering selling on Amazon but I am confused. Is there a way to sell straight from Alibaba to Amazon where I don’t need to add a logo or do I need to add my own logo? Also, how does it work if someone is selling the same product as me? if you could respond that would be great!

    • Straight? You mean drop ship? You can skip logo part but I don’t recommend it. You can sell on someelses listing as long as it isn’t gated listing but then you’ll compete for the Buy Box and that means less money for both of you.

  16. Hi, Peter thanks for the valuable info and making the time to reply to all the comments. I have some questions regarding shipping and selling on Amazon in general. Normally once you have your product sourced, do you send directly to Amazon even for your first shipment? if so how do they even know it is from you? I am guessing once you have all info, you would register that directly with Amazon and Alibaba would note your detail in the package?
    Also, have you ever come across a product that doesn’t sell at all? is it expensive to store product on Amazon?

    • Recently, Amazon put in place a new TOS which says it will only recognize barcodes generated by the number 1 global provider, GS1. So, the only reliable codes are from GS1 but those eBay codes still work and their price is way cheaper.

        • Probably will but Amazon explicitly tells you that you need a valid GS1 registered UPC and can remove your listing (product) if you don’t. It is a risk and it is up to you.

  17. Hi Peter,

    I have a question regarding Alibaba communications. I have recently contacted a few suppliers for sourcing a product but some of them have reached out to me via other methods (i.e. e-mail, WeChat, etc…). Could I still continue with the conversation and quotations there or is that a red-flag?

    • That’s a common practice. Just make sure you use reliable payment options like PayPal or Alibaba Trade Assurance.

  18. Hi Peter,

    I have been operating an e-commerce site and shipping everything myself and I am now looking to expand by using Amazon. I am lost on buying from Alibaba then sending products to Amazon for fulfillment. Can you clarify the process please?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Jane,

      It is simple. You send your products in bulk to Amazon fulfillment center and then Amazon store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and they pick, pack, ship to your customers just like any other fulfillment company.

      Hope this helps.

  19. Hi peter
    can you please help me with your china supplier details on how to reach him

    secondly most i have US detail only to register in amazon?

  20. Hi Peter,

    Thank you so much for your article it is so much help. I am in the very early stages of setting up a sport apparel business so at first my orders will be small. I have a couple of questions….

    1] when I buy on alibaba and then sell on eBay , can I sell the product as my own or do I list the brand that made it on alibaba?
    2] I found some nice items I want to sell in my store, seperate from eBay, and now have seen someone in my country (Australia) selling the same product at the same price I would have paid the person on alibaba (they are also in Australia) on eBay . How do I compete with that price?
    3) is it possible to get a manufacturer to give me exclusive rights to a product? I am guessing I would have to buy a lot of the item?
    4) Do the MOQ listed have to be of the same size? Or are they spread across different sizes?

    Thank you so much

  21. Hi,

    I am planning to buy from Alibaba and resell items in USA.
    For example:
    100pc for 2$ = $200

    From the comment that I rode above, there are no Taxes and Duties to pay when the value is under $800, correct?

    My only cost would be shipping from USA port to my door if the supplier is a FOB, correct?

    What legitime paper that I need so the items would be shipped to me from the USA port to my home?

    Thank you.

  22. What are “customer references”? Like who else the supplier is selling to? What would I do with this information?

  23. Wow Peter,
    You are incredibly patient with all the questions. How long have you been doing this? Feel free to message me directly to answer. Does it seem like everyone and their dog is getting into this? At what point does the market become over saturated?

    • Hi Mike,

      I have been selling on Amazon since 2014 and no, Amazon is not saturated but some markets on Amazon are saturated.
      The consumer trend is just beginning when it comes to online shopping.

      Cheers…

  24. Peter, Thank you for a great article. I found a supplier on 1688.com. However, they are not familiar with amazon fba packing requirements. This is my first product. Would you recommend working with this supplier or should I go with suppliers from Alibaba who understands the requirements? There is a significant price difference between both.

    • Have it inspected at the factory before sending it to the Amazon warehouse. Inspection companies charge $200 to $300 a day for inspection, some even only $100 for a batch of 50 units.

  25. Hi Peter,
    A few more questions if you don’t mind.
    1. Have you ever worked with Sri Lanka suppliers? If yes, what was your experience? If not, would you recommend to try or better to do business with Chinese suppliers?
    2. Would you recommend getting Fedex or UPS account? Many suppliers ask for it for shipping samples.
    3. What is the proper way of dealing with selling sets of products on Amazon? Basically, I want to sell a set of 4 bowls. Do I need to ask supplier to pack them in set of 4 in one poly bag or not? I read online that sets need to have a sticker ‘Sold as a set. Do not separate’. I couldn’t find much info on this on the web. I hope you can clarify.
    Thank you for your answer.

    • 1. Never. I don’t have experience with Sri Lanka suppliers
      2. Get quotes from both of them
      3. I know some are sending without labeling but I would use the sold as a set sticker, even if it fairly obvious that they aren’t sold individually. What is obvious to you isn’t obvious to everyone else (E.g. warehouse worker). Here is the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jHlK5vXCXs

  26. Hello Peter,

    You area amazing and thank you so much for information.
    One question I would like to ask you is..If I buy anything straight from aliexpress or ebay and sell if as exact means exact pictures, exact product, their logo, will that get me in touble thought Amazon or by owner of that product?

    I have seen you answered similar question but would you be able to comment once again on this.

    Thanks

  27. Hello Peter, this was extremely helpful.

    Thank you for posting this and helping us get started.

    One question about Alibaba, I purchase bulk from Alibaba get it sent to my location and label and code it up and then I ship it out to amazon?

    Or is there a way to have them send it straight to Amazon?

    Thank you.

  28. Hello!
    My name is Monica, I’m in USA and I’m trying to import a product from China. Right now they are giving me the cost of units and it is a EXW price, should I request a FOB or CIF price instead?
    Thanks for your reply
    Kind regards
    Mónica

    • Depending on the volume. If it’s small volume (samples) stick with Ex-Works, otherwise request FOB quote. Your forwarder can pick up goods EXW, ask them for quote also, so you can compare FOB and Ex-works quotes.

      I don’t recommend CIF, it’s a trap with lots of hidden costs.

  29. Hello Peter, so im buying from china and reselling. Im located in California and i know i need a resellers license. It asked me “Purchasing items from out of state for use in California without paying tax” i don know if i should check that and will i be paying more taxes since China isnt charging me taxes? Also do i need an Employer Identification Number ?

    • I’m not a lawyer or tax person. I would consider seeking advice from an local lawyer. Proper advice may save you from headaches and money. Ignore all the legal advice you read on the internet.

  30. Hi Peter,
    Do you need authorization to sell name brand, like NIKE? Let’s say, if you get a good deal of Nike shoes from a clearance event and you want to resell them on amazon, do you need permission from NIKE company in order to sell your NIKE shoes you bought?

    • You need to be authorized reseller to sell an item as “new” because only then you can transfer manufacturer’s warranty to the customer. You can list and sell “like new” though.

      Be careful with those clearance items. Unlike eBay, Amazon customers expect new items to be in perfect condition.

  31. Hi Peter! So many helpful information here! Fantastic!!
    I also am looking to purchase from Alibaba and brand/no brand and sell but on ebay. I was dealing with a few suppliers already or traders probably.. Went as far as receiving their order draft and that’s when I stopped. There was an info about tax and custom charges already but id like to ask more. Is it possible that out of a less then $174 order i will b charged a big amount of money for custom? One web site i think global market was called also has manufacturers traders wholesalers from China. I once tried to check how much would be of costs for my location and the order looked ok until they added some extra $1500! Would you have any idea about that? Is it just i have to check very well what my custom charges are here ? But if the charge is astronomical then are others placing orders and how? I am terrified of making a mistake there so i am holding up on ordering from Alibaba..

    • You won’t make a mistake by contacting your local forwarder. They should know all hidden fees you are not aware about.

  32. i have a question,amazon still need bar code on the product.but there was no code on it,where I need going to get these?
    And I saw there was so many products on alibaba with no brand ,is that mean I can create brand on amazon for that item?thanks~

    • People still buy them on EBay but the only legal way is to get them from GS1.

      Yes, you can and you should create your own brand.

  33. Hi Peter, many thanks buddy for helping struggling people out there. You are doing great Karma.

    I left the UK and living in India. Could you please give me a step by step guide to become successful with Amazon India.

    1) Apart from Jungle Scout, do you recommend any other tools or business expenses in this business?

    2) Do you have an up to date 2019 course on India Amazon Fulfillment?

    3) How many units for one product should I start off with?

    Many thanks Peter for your valuable advice.

    Ram

    • 1) Inventory Lab, Unicorn Smasher, Sonar, Helium 10

      2) No, I don’t sell in India

      3) Depends on demand for the product

  34. Hi Peter! So many helpful information here! Fantastic!!…,,
    I am planning to buy hardware items from China very soon….I will have a full container…I will have 8 different suppliers…..can I leave my container at 1 supplier the largest…about half a container
    …..and have the smaller ones ..the 7 others ship to that suppler until the container if full? Would there be a charge for that or do you see any problems with that? Or what’s the best way in doing that?thanks

  35. Hi Peter! So many helpful information here! Fantastic….
    I live in Toronto CANADA and will be importing from China a full 20 ft container of hardware stuff from 8 Different suppliers…..
    I was wondering if I can leave the container at the largest supplier. Maybe 1/2 container and let the 7 others suppliers ship their stuff there to full the container there…would there be a cost for getting this done or that is a normal procedure?
    Or can you advise what is the best way in doing this so no confusion?i just want my container to leave from one spot straight to the port or does every have to ship and load at port?please advise…thanks

  36. Hey Peter!

    Really appreciate the detailed post above with some pretty damn good consolidated information on importing from China.

    Just wondering if you could possible share with us, who would be a reliable freight forwarder besides FedEx and DHL (Those guys are damn expensive) To sell on the US Market the freight prices may seem right as all product do sell at a much higher rate than the other Amazon Marketplaces (Even at the cheapest prices).

    So was wondering if you could share the forwarder than you use or that you know are trustworthy. We’ve heard of many forwarders that dupe buyers with extra charges and what not. If you cannot share for some reason then probably if you could guide me where to look, then that would be pretty helpful.

    Once again, thanks so much for what you have already shared above.

    Thanks again!

  37. Not sure if this will get answered but I’ll ask anyway.

    Whenever I contact the suppliers on Alibaba using similar questions in your email templates, I get responses that have pretty much nothing to do with my questions. It’s usually just a couple of words from them. I know there is a language barrier because most of them are Chinese, but do you actually get legitimate helpful responses to what you say?

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