We started with some simple fabric samples and ended up with fire joggers… Let’s break down the process of sourcing and ordering an Alibaba merchandise item:
To do this, we’re going to use the 5 steps in the buying process as a guide.
See the original Ordering and Sourcing from Alibaba Twitter thread below or scroll to read the expanded version now:
The 5 Steps to Sourcing and Ordering Merchandise From Alibaba
Step 1 — Recognition of Needs or Wants
For Korova merchandise, it’s not about making a profit. It’s about offering cool stuff our fans will like for affordable prices.
Step 2 — Searching for Information
We searched on Alibaba for
- “mens sweatpants”
and picked 6 vendors with nice stuff.
Step 3 — Evaluation of Choices
We contacted the 6 chosen vendors directly, asking to purchase samples. Of the 6, only 3 had solid English skills and we had good communications. The others were either asking a lot of irrelevant questions or unresponsive to our messages.
We spent $200 on ordering 2-3 samples from each of the 3 selected vendors.
These were fabric swatches. Criteria were primarily shipping costs and ease, with no sample cost more than $15.
Examples of pricing below…
Step 4 — The Purchasing Decision
We picked the vendor whose stuff we liked the best and ordered 1 of everything they make that was relevant. That cost $250.
Once we identified which style we wanted, we sent a super-detailed mock-up for quoting.
After some back and forth, we realized they couldn’t do the tags we wanted, even though they were on the samples. We lost a week in communication, but no sweat; we updated the design.
Here’s the full order. The order cost was $1,530 with shipping for 100 units.
Including all our sampling costs we were sitting at $19.80/unit.
Step 5 — Evaluation of Purchase
Once the order arrived it was photoshoot time.
Flatlays, gels, plus graphic design in post production.
We priced at $38. That’s 2x sourcing costs, and we break even after costing the time for photo/design.
This isn’t hard. And it’s not limited to clothes. Everything is on Alibaba. You can go cheap, premium, sustainable, electronics, furniture, you name it.
Search, sample, communicate. The global economy is SO easy to access.
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Thank you for reading this guide sourcing and ordering from Alibaba!
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