When you're looking for suppliers overseas, there's a lot to consider. One way to take some of the headaches off your hands is to enlist the services of a buying agent. A buying agent is someone who negotiates on your behalf to find goods for you to resell. They may source the goods, negotiate prices and basically make sure you get what you want at the best possible price.
But while buying agents can save you a lot of time and hassle, their assistance comes at a cost, which cuts into your profits. One way to handle the tasks of a buying agent yourself, without spending a ton of time or money, is to use Alibaba.com to handle sourcing.
Here's a closer look at some of the buying agent duties that Alibaba.com can help you with.
Finding suppliers. Alibaba.com can connect you with millions of suppliers in 240 countries and regions selling products from 42 categories. Yeah, that sounds overwhelming, right? Well, calm down. You don't have to page through 2 million search results (unless you want to). You can sort suppliers by a wide range of criteria and categories to narrow down your list of possibilities. You can also post details about what products you are looking to manufacture or buy, then sit back and wait for suppliers to find you.
Inspection services. When you're buying products from an overseas supplier, the whole thing can seem pretty hazy. Without making constant (and costly) trips to China, how are you going to ensure that the factory you're enlisting is what it says it is, that the product is really being made to your specifications or that it's being packed correctly for shipment so that it won't be damaged in transit? This is why Alibaba offers Inspection Services. You can order inspection services from reliable, professional third-party inspectors and inspection companies at the Alibaba website. You can choose from a range of inspection services to meet your particular product's requirements and quality standards, including inspection pre-production or factory audits, inspection during production, random inspections and container loading inspection. The inspector will visit the manufacturing and/or port facilities anywhere in China and make reports including pictures to certify that the goods being produced and shipped meet your quality standards. You simply order the type of inspection you want, pay Alibaba's escrow service, and receive a full report from the inspector.
Secured payments. Sending payment overseas is another element of the supply chain that can be nerve-wracking, especially when you're working with a new supplier. You might worry that you'll make a payment and never get the goods, or get inferior or damaged products. Alibaba.com's escrow service offers both the buyer and the seller peace of mind. Instead of paying the seller directly, you pay the escrow service. Your payment won't be released to the seller until you've received and are satisfied with your shipment's inspection report. The seller knows they won't be paid unless they deliver on their end.
More buying power. Negotiating with suppliers can be difficult for a small company with limited budgets. Boost your status and your negotiating power by tapping into e-credit lines from Alibabacom. Qualified buyers can get an e-credit line of up to $2 million to purchase products on credit from suppliers in China. Payment periods can be as long as 120 days. With more money available, you've got more room to negotiate or to take advantage of great opportunities. Plus, the longer payment time enables you to manage your business's cash flow more effectively.
With Alibaba.com, you can source just about anything from anywhere!