How to Source Your Products Efficiently without Endangering Your Capital -- With Manuel Becvar
December 16, 2015 60 min read
Do you fully understand where your products are coming from? How are your relationships with your manufacturers? And what fallback plans or contractual contingencies do you have in place with your suppliers? There needs to be a fruitful and trusting relationship between you and your supplier for both of you to grow, so today we're sharing our interview with importing expert Manuel Becvar as he shares his best practices for product importing.
In the Thirteenth episode of Skubana’s E-Commerce Mastery Series where we invite experts of their respected fields to share their best practices for success, our host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz of InspiredInsider.com interviews Manuel Becvar of ImportDojo.
Essential Product Importing Lessons Learned:
- Valuable sources and locations to find a supplier
- Markets to explore and analyzing the competition as a way of product selecting
- Why you shouldn't worry about Chinese sellers as competitors.
- Common Mistakes to avoid when dealing with manufacturers
- The importance of establishing contracts and contingency plans
Raw Transcript: Manuel Becvar of ImportDojo
"Biggest personal mistakes that I made was not really working organized and not having checklists, having control mechanisms in place that make you help to, that help you to control your suppliers and keep track of everything. So for example, also doing proper background checks on the supplier, just trusting blindly and I was very young back then. So I definitely a lot of...but the most common mistakes, I think, are just not doing your proper research and not working organized with the suppliers and not following up properly. Not calling them once in a while to check on the status of an order maybe or a sample ,for example." (00:03:47)
"Yeah, it's true but I realize that not everyone can do that but I would never place an order online to a supplier that I don't even know, you know? Of course, I will, if I can't go visit him, I probably have him send me company presentations, I want to see at least the clients that he works with. I'd probably send an inspector to the factory before I place an order. I'm not sending inspectors to every factory. I don't go to every factory before I place an order. Just before I really place an order, I need to be absolutely sure through thorough background checks and having either visited or sending an inspector there or I am absolutely sure because they got a lot of references from other clients, something like that. So when you're ordering online, from overseas the biggest mistakes I think are not doing thorough background check, you know, a lot of people just buy through Alibaba and they think because a supplier has three year gold membership, it's safe to buy with them. It's not, you know? You can simply buy this membership with Alibaba, so." (00:14:59)
"Too much competition, for example, if you take smart phone accessory like a treble charger or an iPhone charger, you know? First of all you need to make sure that the iPhone charger has certification otherwise when you sell it and the Apple products actually tell you when you, for example, you want to charge iPhone with a very cheap charger and iPhone, I think pops up and says, "This is not a original," I don't remember the exact pop up, but it says, "This software will not be compatible." So that's because the supplier doesn't have certification and they are not allowed to sell Apple products." (00:33:25)
"Yeah, like I said, having a mailing list helps a lot. Obviously, it takes a long to build a mailing list. Well, you know, go through the usual procedures like send it to friends and family, use the [inaudible 00:55:43] groups, use Facebook groups, even use the paid Amazon seller, the professional Amazon reviewers, you know? There is a couple of people on there that you can approach obviously, you need to give it really for free and but, yeah, get social proof first and then go heavy on PPC. Wait for maybe 15 to 20 to 25 reviews and then switch on PPC and go heavy on the budget, you know? Don't be shy to spend $50 or obviously more a day on PPC. And, you know, all the while, if you haven't done it yet, start building Facebook pages or a fan page or start building a mailing list, you know? Try to get your customers' emails so you can retarget them for your next product." (00:55:28)
"One of my biggest issues in the beginning was I took too much money out of my business, you know? I kind of still live the same lifestyle, I had when I had a monthly paycheck. Going on trips, eating out and so on. So I took money out of my business and that stalled my growth. I was working harder and harder and harder, you know, but I was taking out too much money. So that's an advice, I would give to people who are starting out. Leave the money inside, maybe start this is a part-time job and leave the money you make on the side. Leave that in the business and reinvest it." (01:02:20)
Be sure to utilize this real insight from a real marketing expert to help your e-commerce business grow and succeed. Stay tuned - this will be an ongoing weekly series featuring a variety of e-commerce experts looking to provide you with hard-won knowledge free of charge.
Also, for more info on importing from China check out our guide on funnel sourcing techniques.
Work Smart. Sell More.
Written By Chad Rubin
Chad Rubin is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Skubana, a multichannel e-commerce software the enables brands to unlock growth by unifying their back-office operations.