Alibaba and Account Preparation
Episode #1 of the course Fundamentals of importing physical products from China by Damir Serbečić
Welcome to the course!
My name is Damir, and I will be your guide in learning how to select quality and reliable suppliers overseas using the Alibaba.com sourcing platform.
Today, you’re going to learn what Alibaba is and how to get your buyer account prepared.
Alibaba is the world’s most popular B2B sourcing platform. It’s used for finding suppliers in China, India, and other countries where manufacturing is the predominant way of business.
Alibaba became the most valuable technology company in the world after raising $25 billion from its US IPO.
Over 80% of China’s ecommerce market is dominated by the Alibaba group. Specifically, in 2016, Alibaba processed over $248 billion of online shopping transactions through its various sites (the actual number is much larger, since the Alibaba platform is responsible for many transactions that happen off of Alibaba.com).
With over 2,000,000 suppliers from over 150 countries, you can say that Alibaba is a pretty solid platform for finding your next supplier.
How to Find a List of Suppliers
Navigating on Alibaba.com is easy because it’s essentially a search engine and marketplace blended into one.
Just like on any other major ecommerce marketplace, you can find suppliers either by typing a keyword in the search bar or navigating through categories.
Once you find a supplier who might be interesting for your business, the next step is to contact them directly using Alibaba or TradeManager (Alibaba’s version of Skype) in order to inquire, negotiate, and close a deal.
Some parts of the website that sell generic or wholesale products are standardized, so you can quickly order inventory in a couple of clicks, just like on any other ecommerce website.
However, when you deal with a manufacturer in order to develop a custom product, you should closely communicate with the supplier during the manufacturing process, to make sure everything is as you expect it to be.
Buyer Account Setup
In order to communicate with a supplier and order products you need to open an Alibaba buyer account.
1. Head over to the Account Setup page, and enter your business email address that you would like to associate with your Alibaba buyer account. Avoid free email clients such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail, and use only a custom domain business address. This will look more professional and suppliers will take you more seriously.
2. Confirm your email address by clicking on the link in the verification email you receive from Alibaba.
3. On the Account Setup page, enter a strong password, valid phone number, and location. Select Buyer field.
• Make sure your name and business is legitimate.
• Upload a professional image to your account.
• Have a valid phone number because some suppliers communicate through WhatsApp and Viber chat apps.
• Set up a simple website to showcase your current or future products. Some suppliers ask buyers for a website, so this adds an additional layer of professionalism when communicating with suppliers.
Unfortunately, there are many frauds on Alibaba. In the next email lecture, you’ll learn the steps for finding reliable manufacturers.
Talk to you tomorrow!
Have a nice day!
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