If you want to build an ecommerce website, figuring out what to sell online is always a challenge.
Sure, there are a number of really good ecommerce solutions to help you build your website nowadays, and you don’t even need to know how to code.
But even if you get an online store set up, what in the world are you going to sell?
If you already have an idea of what to sell, do you know how to purchase the products from a cheap and reliable source?
Finding a reliable supplier to purchase your products from in order to resell at higher prices sounds straightforward, but you probably know, it’s not always that simple.
FINDING A RELIABLE PRODUCT SUPPLIER CAN BE SCARY
It’s a lot of work to build and grow a business.
Not only do you have to worry about what to sell online, how to market your products, set up your ecommerce website, managing a team (when you start to grow), dealing with business administrative stuff, you also have to worry about the suppliers of your products.
Are they reliable enough to send you good quality products? Will the shipment be on time? Will they take your money and ignore you?
Those are all legitimate concerns, and can be a huge barrier to getting started especially if this is the first time you are trying to build a business.
You’ve probably heard from some people to just go to Alibaba.com and find a cheap supplier. “It’s just that easy.”
Bad news – it’s not THAT easy.
THERE ARE GOOD, AVERAGE AND BAD SUPPLIERS ON ALIBABA.COM
It’s well known that Alibaba is the world’s biggest marketplace for business owners to source products.
They have thousands and thousands of wholesalers ready to sell products to business owners such as yourself, at low, wholesale costs.
These wholesalers or manufacturers are able to sell products to you at a much lower cost because they can produce the products in bulk volume (amongst a few other reasons).
A lot of them are also very experienced in selling to overseas buyers such as yourself.
To earn profits for your business, you have to be able to buy your products at low costs, then sell them at higher price points so you can earn a profit margin. Don’t forget, you still have sales & marketing, operating expenses and taxes to pay. Then you get to keep what’s left.
The bad news is, not all suppliers on Alibaba are good. As with all marketplaces, some suppliers are inevitably good, some okay, and some are bad.
Here are a few things (amongst many) that could potentially go wrong if you pick the wrong supplier:
- The products do not arrive on time
- The quality of the products is not up to par
- Not all the products you paid for were delivered
- The products are delivered to the wrong address
- The supplier is a middle person and not the actual wholesaler. So they are “padding” the prices and may even make promises they can’t keep
- You end up transferring all your money to scammers who have set up accounts with Alibaba purely to scam businesses
Here is a good discussion about some advantages and disadvantages of sourcing products overseas.
When you’re trying to launch an ecommerce business, those are some headaches you really don’t need.
So what can you do?
BIGCOMMERCE APP TO HELP YOU SOURCE GOOD SUPPLIERS
One effective tool to help you narrow down from thousands of suppliers on Alibaba, down to a group of “verified” suppliers, is to use BigCommerce’s Alibaba.com Wholesale App.
BigCommerce has partnered with Alibaba to make sourcing of products a bit easier for you.
If you use the App (click here to see the actual App), it will show you a smaller group of verified suppliers that have demonstrated strong track records of doing business with end business owners in a reliable and ethical way.
(Click to watch an overview video of how BigCommerce’s App can help you find reliable wholesalers through Alibaba.com)
Not only does this significantly reduces the risks of your product sourcing process, this App can also save you a ton of time (without having to scroll through thousands of suppliers) and can help reduce your stress levels. This App is integrated directly into your BigCommerce store, and you can contact the verified suppliers with just a few clicks.
Another advantage is that if you source your products through the Alibaba.com Wholesale App, all orders placed are backed by Alibaba’s Secure Payment services. So your payments to the suppliers are not released until you are satisfied.
This definitely helps remove financial risks from your business.
CONCLUSION – HOW TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO SELL ONLINE
In addition to helping you build a solid, comprehensive ecommerce website, BigCommerce’s Alibaba.com Wholesale App can help you find verified suppliers so you can purchase products through them in a safe and reliable way.
This can really remove a big burden off your shoulders, as building a business and dealing with all sorts of other aspects of your business is tough enough.
If you’re just getting started, BigCommerce’s App can give you ideas of what products to source reliably online, then you can turn around and sell them to your end customers.
If you already know what to sell online, or if you already have an existing ecommerce store, you can compare your existing suppliers with the verified suppliers through the App, to see if you can find better, more reliable suppliers.
For sure, deciding on what to sell online is not a simple process, as there are other considerations such as how big is the potential market, who are your competitors, if the product is trending up or down, etc.
Here is a good discussion on some of these concerns to better equip you with some ideas to help you move forward.
At the meantime, BigCommerce has made this process a lot easier for you.
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