If you find this step a little intimidating, you’re not alone. Many successful sellers today say they initially had no idea how to find or work with suppliers. However, with enormous advancements in technology, communication, and services to help facilitate international trade, it is truly a simpler process than ever.
We’ll walk through 3 steps to find and source your products to sell on Amazon
- Research and compare relevant suppliers
- Evaluate product samples and refine your product
- Order and ship your products to Amazon’s FBA warehouses
RESEARCH AMAZON SUPPLIERS
There are hundreds of thousands of manufacturers around the world that can create any product you can imagine. You’ll want to narrow your list of potential suppliers to those who can produce the highest quality product for you at the best price.
And there are a number of ways to find these suppliers.
Alibaba.com is the largest business-to-business platform in the world with a search function like Amazon’s to help you find relevant products and the manufacturers that make them.
Sourcing agents can help you source products with the best quality and price. They often speak the language in the country from which you are sourcing and may give you a competitive edge in finding more affordable pricing. You can find reputable sourcing agents online.
What you should look for in a supplier:
- High-quality products: Amazon shoppers care just as much about reviews as they do about price, so selling high-quality products is the best way to keep your Amazon reviews high and get continued sales.
- Experience: Look for a factory that has been producing your type of product for at least 3 years. You can see a supplier’s import history in the Supplier Database.
- Communication: Find a factory that is easy to communicate with and responds to you in a reasonable amount of time. (You can assess this when you initially contact them for a quote.)
- Price: You want a fair price for your products. A factory that quotes a much higher or much lower price than other factories could be a red flag.
CONTACT SUPPLIERS FOR A QUOTE
- Compare suppliers to create a list of 5-10 that you’d be interested in working with.
- Send an initial contact email to your potential suppliers. You can use Jungle Scout’s Supplier Database to find a supplier’s contact information or send a broad request for quotation (RFQ) out to several suppliers at once through Alibaba.com.
- Vet your suppliers based on their responses and communication to narrow down your list to your top 3 options.
EVALUATE AND MODIFY PRODUCT SAMPLES
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of suppliers to the ones who can offer you what you want based on your initial outreach above, it’s time to order samples. This is an important step to ensure you’re making the right investment and purchasing a quality product.
Order samples: You should expect to pay $50-$100 for a sample, and expect it to be sent to you by air. Once shipped, you should expect your samples within 1-2 weeks.
Jungle Scout Tip
When ordering samples, ask the supplier to send you more than one. That way, you can make sure their quality is consistent. Some suppliers will credit the cost of a sample to you if you end up purchasing a bulk order from them, so ask if that is possible at the time you order the sample.
Examine samples: Once your samples arrive, check them carefully for quality, specifications (all the details and features you requested), and utility (the product works as intended).
If your product isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, you may request modifications to the sample (likely for an additional charge). Modifications can include adding a logo, changing the dimensions, adding or removing components, etc.
Consider packaging and branding: Before you place a large bulk order for your product, think about whether you want to have branded packaging for your products (ie. the box or bag or sticker that encases your product inside Amazon’s boxes). If you want to, you should have the design ready for your supplier at this stage. The supplier or manufacturer you’re working with should give you the exact dimensions of your packaging so you can pass that information along to a graphic designer.
PLACE AN ORDER AND SHIP YOUR PRODUCTS
Once you’re satisfied with the product, you can select your supplier, determine the details of your order, and get your products to Amazon’s warehouses to start earning sales!
Some critical steps in this process:
- Price your products
- Establish pricing terms and methods and pay the invoice
- Run a quality inspection on your product before it gets to Amazon’s warehouses
- Decide on shipping (often working with a freight forwarder to simplify international shipping)
Your product will typically take anywhere from 2-6 weeks to manufacture.
As your products are being developed and making their way to Amazon’s warehouses, you can prepare to launch your business on Amazon.