Doing business overseas is all in a day’s work for today's global entrepreneur. But no matter how experienced you are as a business owner, transacting business with companies thousands of miles away can be a little nerve-racking. What if you never get the products you ordered (and paid for)? What if the 500 pairs of jeans you ordered to sell on your website show up with one leg shorter than the other? Or what if your order is exactly what you wanted, but it arrives on January 15 instead of November 15, so you miss out on holiday sales?
Alibaba.com, the global marketplace that matches buyers, sellers, manufacturers and distributors from around the world, has an answer. The company’s Trade Assurance program protects your business from poor-quality products, late shipments and products that never arrive at all. Recently, Alibaba has made some improvements to the Trade Assurance program to make it even more valuable.
How It Works
Here's how the Trade Assurance program works:
Start by searching for a supplier on Alibaba.com. You can easily identify the suppliers who participate in the Trade Assurance program by looking for the Trade Assurance seal on their profiles. Their profiles will also show the amount of Trade Insurance coverage they have, so be sure to match the coverage to the size of your order.
Next, look at the ratings and reviews other users have provided for the suppliers you are considering ordering from. You can also see their transaction history. All this information will help you select the supplier that best fits your needs.
Once you have chosen a supplier, you'll enter into an online contract with them on Alibaba.com. This contract will set out the terms of your purchase, including delivery date and quality standards that both you and the supplier agree to. This contract is the basis for your Trade Assurance protection.
Once the contract is completed, you’ll pay the chosen supplier, using a secure designated account on Alibaba.com. The supplier then ships the product to your business. Once you receive the goods, you’ll confirm receipt of the product and that it meets the agreed-upon standards; then leave a review about the supplier so other users can learn from your experience.
How do you determine if the product quality is acceptable? In the past, Alibaba required inspections to be done at the manufacturer's location before the product was ever shipped. But this could be a hassle for buyers. Now, Alibaba has improved the process by removing this requirement. Instead, you can have your shipment inspected after it lands, using one of the three major global inspection service providers, Bureau, Veritas or SGS—the choice is up to you. Their report will determine if the shipment meets the quality standards.
What if the shipment doesn't meet the standards you have set? It's easy to get a refund when you purchase with Trade Assurance. Just file a dispute request on Alibaba.com. Alibaba will use the contract and inspection report to determine if the seller has breached the purchase contract. If so, you will get a refund up to the Trade Assurance covered amount. The process works the same way if you never received the shipment at all, or if you receive it after the agreed-upon date.
Trade Assurance is free for the buyer. Already, over 50 percent of Alibaba’s China Gold Suppliers have become part of the Trade Assurance program, meaning you can trade with them in complete confidence. More suppliers are joining the program every day.
Alibaba.com already makes it easy for businesses of all sizes to find and work directly with manufactures and distributors from around the world. With Trade Assurance, Alibaba.com is moving one step closer to its goal: expanding from a directory or marketplace to an all-in-one sourcing platform where buyers can trade in confidence using safe payment solutions, including finance and logistics options.
Learn more about Trade Assurance