E Commerce Sourcing
More and more online sellers are taking advantage of the low overhead costs and high profit margins that importing can yield. If you’re interested in introducing importing into your E-Biz product sourcing strategy, international trade fairs can provide you a rich resource for unique new products and quality suppliers.
An International Trade Center
One of the best places to attend a trade fair is China, a global go-to country for importing. In addition to offering extremely low manufacturing costs, China is improving in the technological complexity and design of the products it can supply. The advantages to attending a trade show in China are numerous:
1. You have the opportunity to meet overseas manufacturers and suppliers face to face. This is particularly important because business in Asia is very relationship-driven. Talking to suppliers in person does a great service for starting those business relationships out right. It can help both sides feel comfortable working together across the globe much more effectively than an anonymous email.
2. You have the confidence of knowing you’re talking to real, legitimate suppliers. Always check a show’s web site to see what measures they take in qualifying their exhibitors. We work closely with intellectual property rights organizations to ensure there are no violations, so our buyers feel can safe, knowing they’re not sourcing products with potential legal complications.”
It’s also worth noting that exhibitors make a real investment to participate in a show, even beyond the cost of booth space. They spend serious money building their booths, bringing out their products, and committing employees to represent them. That kind of substantial commitment acts as an additional filter to weed out fake suppliers.
3. Chinese manufacturers often wait to unveil their new products until the trade shows, due to concern over their designs being copied by competitors. Attending gives you a first look at their innovative new products, even before they’re available in their catalogs or on their web sites.
4. Many shows include seminars designed to instruct retailers on the issues involved in importing. While attending a show will provide you with an invaluable importing education, these seminars can answer a lot of questions that may come up throughout the experience. Rather than just studying concepts, you’ll get hands-on learning as you have the opportunity to put those concepts into practice.
Westerners may find it easier to attend a trade fair in Hong Kong than mainland China – particularly newcomers with very little importing experience. For U.S. citizens, traveling in Hong Kong doesn’t require a visa, and the vast majority of folks speak English, making it less of a culture shock. Since most taxi drivers speak English as well, getting around without an interpreter is also less of a challenge.
Regardless of where you attend a trade fair, as you begin learning to import, it’s a good idea to take things slowly. You’re crossing borders, languages, cultures and customs, so you have to expect complications to happen, and just learn from them when they do. The key is to over-communicate – communicate more rather than less. Make sure everything is clear between both parties and expectations are set as clearly as possible. Once you’ve figured all that out, importing offers huge opportunities to find great products to sell through your retail channels.