Amazon Sellers – Sourcing from China @ 2016 Canton Fair
Just 18 Days until the doors are open and floods of buyers enter the halls of the Pazhou exhibition complex in Guangzhou for the 119th Canton Fair. Yes, folks it's buying season for many and while the numbers from Europe and the USA have dropped in recent years there will still be hordes of buyers and sellers of everything from everywhere!! Many of the buyers these days are in their own wolf pack of 1 – “The Amazon FBA seller”.
So today let's shift focus from traditional business models and look instead at the phenomena that is the Amazon FBA seller at the 2016 Canton Fair. Before we really get into it here are some key takeaways for you today:
1. Why Amazon sellers will visit the 2016 canton fair? Plus 2 great offers to help you do that.
2. The 21 Brains Sourcing App you must have.
3. Links to what you can trawl at the fair.
4. Issues with buying, that you need to be aware of and overcome.
5. Where you can find reliable assistance.
6. Guide on attending the canton fair.
Very quickly for anyone who doesn't know, FBA = fulfillment by Amazon. So basically you can buy goods in China (doesn't have to be China of course) and have them shipped directly to Amazon's warehouse, from here they can provide:
- Fulfillment (deliver the orders that you receive online direct to your clients)
- Customer Service relating to your orders.
A super service & logistical feat, it's too easy! The truth is, that is the easy part, remember the company with probably the world's most sophisticated logistics network just did that for you.
Ok with the back slaps and definitions out of the way what happens is that Amazon sellers descend on the Canton Fair in search of new products and ideas to make them stand out from the crowd and really be the product that kills it for them and makes the 6 million dollars they've been dreaming about or reading about (not all the methods are for everyone but it's interesting). It is true, you can make this much but you are not guaranteed just because you turn up! It's a step by step road to success but at least a possible one that ultimately you control - you will get out what you put in. Amazon FBA doesn't really change that rule for me.
Finding the right products is an important part of your success but really it's all about selling afterall the term is "Amazon seller"....not Amazon buyer or Amazon product quality control in China guru! That said to help on your sourcing missions download this incredibly user friendly sourcing app from 21 Brains. Take notes, images, make projects and export all information on the fly. A super handy tool!
Here are some quick reasons why it's a must for many Amazon sellers to visit the 2016 Canton Fair.
- Check new products & trends.
- Access to thousands of suppliers under 1 roof.
- Get ideas for new private label products from pure exposure.
- Have face time with suppliers.
- Save time discussing product customization with suppliers.
- Be treated more seriously than your competitor's alibaba.com enquiries.
- Negotiate terms, order quantities and better pricing.
- Opportunities to be unique.
Some people argue if you are new to Amazon FBA or PL (Private Label) then the Canton Fair is not the place for you since MOQ's will be too high, I think they are not entirely correct and that it's more a negotiation. Many suppliers are readjusting their own models in your favour and especially if you are trying to create a product that is a bit more bespoke/customised. Good products will allow a fair margin for both the supplier and the Amazon seller. If you are coming to the 2016 Canton Fair here is a list on product categories linking to more specifics on the fairs official homepage. Also dont miss two spectacular offers from Found.
Phase 1 April 15-19th, 2016
- Electronics and Household Electrical Appliances
- Lighting Equipment
- Vehicles & Spare Parts
- Hardware & Tools
- Building Materials
- Chemical Products
- Energy Resources
- An International Pavilion
Phase 2 April 23-27th, 2016
- Consumer Goods
- Home Decorations
Phase 3 May 1-5th, 2016
- Textiles & Garments
- Office Supplies, Cases & Bags
- Recreational products
- Medicines, Medical Devices and Health Products
- An International Pavilion
So yes, there is a lot to see. The fair can be such an eye opener and idea generator that it's not hard to understand why around 170-180K people attend each session (one in April one in October). That part is kind of a given and the ease of actually delivering a product as mentioned at the top is pretty easy. So let's talk about the hard parts. How do you know that the product you are interested in buying is compliant for your market? It's too easy to get caught up in the fact you might be able to buy something for USD 10 and sell it for USD 50 and somewhere along the line forget that you have a responsibility to ensure what you are buying and selling is compliant for the market and safe for your customers. If you buy items for children you have a serious obligation to ensure the goods are produced free from lead and other toxic substances, free from potential choking hazards. If you are buying electronics again you have a responsibility to ensure compliance and that the products, you sell are fit for purpose and cannot shock or injure the consumer.
Here is a quick list to think about that could be helpful for you to address some important details.
1. Request test reports and certificates from suppliers (verify same).
2. Consult with an engineer and or a compliance expert.
3. Understand materials used and specify your requirements.
4. Consider the implications of higher risk items (per my examples above)
5. Do 3rd party lab testing.
6. Make quality plans and inspect your orders.
7. Consider a recall plan.
8. Take deliveries to your own premises for a final inspection and then send to Amazon.
So once you have your compliance and responsibility ducks in a row it's time to sell and be the best seller you can be!! That's the name of the game BUT you must maintain product quality, continuity and not suffer any huge surprises with your deliveries from China. Any issues could damage or derail a huge amount of effort that you put into your business including those fun buying trips at the Canton Fair in China.