Finding a reliable supplier is a tough job, as there are many options nowadays. We need to know both how to find them from different sources and, once we have found them, we need to know how to select them.
Hearing this, you may get a headache and not know where to start. Don’t worry. I am willing to share my experience to assist you. After reading, you’ll be better equipped to handle the situation.
Find Suppliers By Google Search
The Internet has transformed the traditional trade industry. Today, buyers and suppliers can communicate online without having to meet. You can find a lot of information about them on the Internet.
And it is best to start with Google, as it is the largest internet company with the most informative data.
How to find China suppliers on Google
You can add the following keywords when you search on Google with product keywords. Record the Chinese suppliers that appear in the first 100 search results (about ten pages).
It’s easy to determine if a supplier is from China because every website will have its company address on it.
How to test supplier from Google search
Google always values customer experience and they fight against fake and unsafe transactions. To some extent, the websites can pass Google’s test and appear in the search results are reliable.
But, there is no third party to guarantee the Google website. We need to learn some tips to determine whether the company is legitimate and trustworthy.
- You can send an email asking for their company information, business license, etc. It’s easy to find contact details on their website. A reliable supplier can often reply in 1-2 days or less.
- When you can see on their website their real address in China and photos of their offices, manufacturers, or team members. Or they post many pictures and information about their participation in trade shows. Then they should be more reliable.
Suppose a supplier takes good care of their website. It shows that they value the company’s reputation, making them more trustable.
Also, be careful dealing with a company that never posts anything on its website, as it could be a scammer or the family business of an individual.
- You can also use whois to check when the supplier registers the domain name. The longer the domain name has been reported, and they are still in business, the less likely they are a scammer.
Find Suppliers On The B2B Platform
Suppose you are an established buyer or have researched beforehand. You must have heard of Alibaba or other similar B2B trading platforms in China.
Especially Alibaba is the world’s largest foreign trade B2B platform and a great place to find suppliers. It connects millions of Chinese manufacturing companies.
You don’t have to worry about the transaction’s security or authenticity. As the members have already been screened and verified by the platform. It saves you a lot of time.
Enter product keywords, you will find many suppliers. But, be aware that a good ranking of the top six suppliers is usually based on expensive advertising fees.
So here at Alibaba, ranking does not equal strength, which differs from Google.
Two ways to find suppliers on Alibaba
One way we already know to find suppliers is by relying on keyword searches and reaching out to them one by one.
Another option is to use RFQ to send a purchase inquiry and wait for suppliers who view your inquiry to assess if they can fulfill your needs. If they can, they will respond to your RFQ and reach out to you.
Three ways to verify the suppliers on Alibaba
Competition is so fierce due to the concentration of suppliers on one platform. To manage this, Alibaba uses complex rules to determine supplier rankings.
Since ranking is not equal to everything, I would like to share some assessment tips:
- Look at the company’s years of experience; try to choose more than two years of suppliers
- Choose manufacturers rather than traders. Not all entities on the Alibaba platform are factories. There are also trading companies. It is important to differentiate between the two.
- The company with the introduction of the factory workshop video is more reliable.
Alibaba is currently dominating the B2B trade platform market. Other platforms must thus focus on specific areas to be competitive and stay in business.
Made-in-China is like this machinery products. They investigate and invite the best machinery manufacturers to join the platform. If you are in a related industry, visit Made-in-China to find suppliers.
Find Suppliers On Social Media
A supplier who wants to last will seek ways to let their customers know about them. You can find a supplier with an independent website, an Alibaba platform membership, and various social media accounts.
Facebook & Instagram & Linkedin
It’s beneficial to look for suppliers on social media. Not because only formal suppliers would run a long-time social media, but also because we can learn more about them from the content they share.
Enter product keywords, combined with some business keywords. Then you will be able to find relevant information published by Chinese suppliers.
Let’s take telescopic ladders as an example. You can search for the keyword “telescopic ladder supplier” on Facebook. It is easy to find the public pages of telescopic ladder manufacturers. You can also find many product information or manufacturer photos posted by the supplier.
In general, choosing suppliers that are still updating their content is recommended. Further, the decision can be made based on whether the content they post appeals to you.
In May 2023, LinkedIn announced the shutdown of its entire China business. Chinese suppliers are focusing more on Facebook or Instagram. Of course, you can still find some suppliers on LinkedIn, but there are too few.
Youtube & Tiktok
Videos are more visual than pictures and harder to fake and embellish. One of the advantages of finding suppliers on Youtube is that they are real.
TikTok has been an emerging video content platform for the past two years; you can also try to find suppliers on it.
Find Supplier By Visiting China
Suppose you are cautious and believe more in what you see with your own eyes. Why not come to China to find suppliers in person?
This method has many benefits besides costing a bit more. You may get lower prices and better products from these direct suppliers.
I would like to give you some practical tactics for finding suppliers from the following sourcing methods:
- Do research and visit suppliers.
- Trade fair.
China telescopic ladder industry cluster
China has the world’s most complete industrial chain. Different regions have different advantages. Thus, the development process forms a characteristic industry cluster.
Take the telescopic ladder, for example. Yongkang City in Zhejiang Province is known as the hardware capital of China. Over 85% of the country’s telescopic ladder factories are located there. The remaining are distributed in the northern cities of China, Hebei, Henan, and Shandong Province. Very few in Guangzhou, Guangdong.
With high-quality Ningbo Port, Zhejiang Province is with developed transportation and smooth trade. Due to well-developed hardware industry, a complete industrial chain, and many skilled workers. The telescopic ladder factory of Yongkang City has the strongest comprehensive strength.
Inland cities such as Hebei have low labor costs and are suitable for buyers who care about price.
Guangdong has advanced technology. Some high-technology telescopic ladders are produced in Guangdong. Suitable for purchasers with high safety and technical requirements.
When you make a factory visit list, think about which place’s factory is more suitable for your needs. Because these three regions are far away from each other. If the factories you choose happen to have all three places, it will be a very tiring trip!
Trade fairs in China are divided into comprehensive exhibitions and professional exhibitions.
Comprehensive trade fairs are rich in exhibits. You can find a wide range of various products there. Canton Fair is one of the most famous comprehensive exhibitions in China.
And professional exhibitions only show a single category of products. You can find many different suppliers of hardware products at the China International Hardware Show.
If you are engaged in the hardware industry, going to the China International Hardware Show is more suitable than the Canton Fair.
Tips to Check Reliable Suppliers
During the search process, you have already screened out the wrong suppliers. Most of the remaining ones are regular. Now you should focus on whether they’re worth long-term cooperation. You can filter them by the following:
No matter what, professionalism is the first concern. A professional salesman should be very familiar with the products he sells. Only then can he better recommend the right products to his customers. And solve customers’ doubts, including product specifications, cost, and knowledge of product certificates…
Besides, a good salesman can help customers to solve many problems and unexpected situations in the trade process. Such as booking and delivery, import and export considerations, etc.
Timely communication can improve efficiency, reduce errors, and make your orders more smooth.
It also has a positive effect on your mood. Imagine when you contact your supplier, and he responds to you promptly every time. Every problem you have can get resolved. You will definitely be in a good mood.
Whether a supplier is responsible or not can be seen from how he treats and handles orders that go wrong.
I have a Middle Eastern customer working with me for many years. He talked about his reasons for changing suppliers. He said that he received questionable quality products in every order when working with his former supplier. At first, the supplier would offer compensation. Later, they started to shirk their responsibility. They thought the problem was not with the product quality but with the shipping. He felt they treated both the product and the customer irresponsibly, so he switched them out.
A good supplier understands the win-win situation and is willing to take responsibility for his mistakes. He would rather make himself unprofitable because of some unexpected problems with order than make you suffer unreasonable losses.
Some countries have certification requirements for importing. Choosing a supplier with certification can save a lot of trouble.
And suppliers with certificates can prove the quality of their products and their emphasis on customer needs.
Finding a reliable supplier is like finding a lifelong partner. Online or offline, you must use various methods to find and identify. Anyway, I hope this article could help, and you can find the best one.
You can also share your stories and experiences in the comment section below to help more people.
Gokulad is the leading ladder supplier in China. We have helped many wholesalers, Amazon sellers, and supermarkets purchaser customized products. If you need any help, please get in touch with us.