Starting a business on Amazon through the Amazon FBA program is a unique opportunity. Not only are you able to sell your products on the world’s largest e-commerce platform, but also you are able to lean on Amazon for your product fulfillment needs. Fulfillment By Amazon, or FBA, is a business model where you provide the products, and Amazon stores it for you, handles the picking and packing of your orders, then takes care of shipping, customer service and product returns if needed. Building a brand on Amazon and utilizing their FBA services eliminates the need for a warehouse, a team of employees, or a selling platform. Becoming a seller on Amazon is much more feasible when you are sharing responsibilities with Amazon’s team. However, there are still a handle of responsibilities you as the seller will have to take care of. One of those things is inventory.
As an FBA seller, you will need to choose a product to sell and find someone who can make it. This means that you will need a supplier/manufacturer who will make your products for you. In most cases, these manufacturer’s are located in China, or somewhere overseas where you can manufacture goods for a lower cost. You’ll establish an agreement with the manufacturer you choose, and then together you’ll coordinate how the products will be shipped to Amazon Warehouses. Everything else is handled by Amazon, meaning you never have hands on your inventory and are only responsible for keeping your products in stock. Although this seems relatively simple, finding a manufacturer as well as communicating effectively with them can be difficult.
Why is it oftentimes challenging to locate a good manufacturer and communicate with them? For one, there are thousands of manufacturers overseas, and some of them are not reputable or reliable. It is up to you to verify that the manufacturer is a good pick, meaning that they are responsive, timely, have a good track record and they manufacturer high quality goods. It can be difficult to communicate with manufacturers that are overseas due to language barriers and time differences between your region and theirs. For this reason, clear communication and flexibility is vital.
While it can be quite challenging to find and communicate with a supplier, the difficulties can be mitigated with the right strategies and communication. Black Caiman Media is here to help. Keep reading for the key tips and tactics to utilize when finding and communicating with your manufacturer.
How to Communicate Effectively With Your Supplier/Manufacturer:
- Narrow down your supplier search to only those who are verified and have positive reviews. In order to avoid scammers and unreliable sources, you’ll want to do some research on the manufacturer’s that you are considering. Look for a verification badge on the website you’re using, do a google search on the company and look into any reviews that may have been left about their services. This should provide you with a good understanding about whether or not the manufacturer is reputable.
- Ask for high quality images of the product(s) they are offering. When language barriers exist, visuals can be really helpful. Ask the supplier to provide you with high quality images of the product at several different angles. Ask for a video. If you are looking for the product to come with any special features or additional add-ons, send them pictures to reference and see if they have that available in stock. Images are a great way to make sure that you’re both on the same page.
- Order a sample product first before placing an order. Before you go forward with a manufacturer and purchase a large order of products to be shipped to the Amazon Warehouses, it is impertinent that you first order a sample. A sample product is a single product that is shipped to your door so that you can examine it and make sure that it is what you want. Inspect the quality, features, dimensions and weight of the product. This will let you know whether or not the product meets your standards. In most cases, you will be responsible for paying the shipping cost of a sample. This is usually around $30-$40, and it is well worth the price. A sample is not something to overlook when searching for a supplier.
- When messaging back and forth with a manufacturer, ask one question at a time and use direct language. Whenever there is a language barrier involved in a communication sequence, it is best to keep things as simple and direct as possible. Asking one question at a time and using direct language is key to avoiding misunderstandings between you and the supplier. If there is a misunderstanding, finding a visual to represent what you are saying is an effective secondary option.
- Be detailed and descriptive. Providing your manufacturer with specific details about the product you’re looking for will help them understand exactly what you need. When communicating with a manufacturer, be descriptive and detailed with your request – this will absolutely work in your favor!