You might have a good idea for a new product you’d like to have manufactured in China. So you do a quick online search and come across some of the popular B2B marketplaces that look like what you need.
According to the blurb they’re all reputable suppliers of every conceivable product. They promise the world, but do they deliver?
From the experience of buyers all over the world, it seems not. Here’s an insight into what went wrong when buyers put their trust in manufacturing with one of the big B2B marketplaces.
#1 Bad Customer Experience
These websites have manufacturers in dozens of countries. Their idea of customer service and yours can be worlds apart. The relationship starts fine, and everything looks good for getting the products delivered on-time and within budget. But after a little while, your emails go unanswered and communication comes to a halt. There’s nothing you can do except start the process again, with another manufacturer or abandon your big dream.
#2 Poor Quality
If you survive the poor customer experience, you might regret the relationship didn’t crumble earlier because the delivered products are nothing like you imagined.
You might take the precaution of ordering samples before placing a large order, only to find defective products are mixed in with products that actually match your sample. Fake and infringement products are often sold via these sites.
There’s rarely any recourse. If you email asking for a refund or for a solution to fix the goods, it’s likely those emails will go unanswered. Many sea containers of products have gone to landfill because of inferior quality.
#3 Reputation of the Suppliers
Online marketplaces may quote tens of thousands of manufacturers are available to help bring your idea to life, but in reality that number may be far less. Multiple ‘manufacturers’ are likely based in the same factory.
Even if you decide you will only use a supplier rated gold star or five star, you aren’t guaranteed that the manufacturer is any better than one with a poor rating. Many of these sites charge manufacturers an annual fee for the highest star rating, so it has nothing to do with reliability and quality of products.
It’s easy to be sucked in by a low price, but you may find the price rises just after you finish the sampling process and just before you place your full order. A supplier can also advertise a cheap product price, but inflate the shipping price to make the bulk of their profit.
Many importers put all their faith in one supplier. When the supplier does the wrong thing with them such as increasing the unit price at the last minute, they have no choice but to go ahead or risk losing out on selling the product because of seasonality or a fad.
Another problem with these marketplace sites is importers don’t know where their products are coming from. Often importers will receive a good quality sample from one factory which pays another factory to mass produce an inferior product to maximise their profit.
#4 Copy Issues
These websites are notorious for taking a good idea and then manufacturing and selling the product themselves. You provide your idea or sample in good faith that customer confidentiality will protect it, but there’s no such thing. Chinese manufacturers are cleaning up their act, but without a Chinese trademark and contract, your idea is at risk.
Better Alternatives than Online Marketplaces
There is a better way to have your goods manufactured and delivered to Australia. Import agents like Vara Allied have established relationships with Chinese factories over several years.
Agents often use the same factory for multiple clients so the factory values the relationship with the agent knowing they'll receive future orders if they nurture the relationship. A novice importer can’t garner that same respect from a manufacturer.
Even if an agent needs to find a manufacturer in a new industry, they can call on a trusted agent on the ground in China who knows which factories are reputable and which ones aren’t. An individual importer doesn’t have the same links to reliable local agents.
If something does go wrong with an order, it’s more likely an agent can have it fixed or partly refunded because of the relationship than a business owner.
If you would like to know more about the manufacturing suppliers Vara Allied has established in China, call Vara Allied on (08) 6115 0118 or contact us online.