How to Source the Best Products for Amazon sellers

November 23, 2022

How to Source the Best Products for Amazon Sellers

You’ve done the research and have narrowed down on a product(s) that you believe will elevate your online selling game to making six figures in a year. That’s amazing, but your work isn’t done yet. The next crucial step is finding a supplier who can willingly ship your products at a reasonable price, so you make a profit. You also need to ensure that the supplier can supply products that meet the quality standards set by Amazon.

Finding a supplier to supply the best products is easier said than done. Do you turn to a local manufacturer or source for cheaper products overseas in countries like China, like many Amazon sellers, or do you hire an Amazon FBA marketing agency to help?

In this article, we’ll look at how Amazon FBA sellers can source the best products that meet Amazon’s quality standards and the best factors to keep in mind when choosing a supplier. 

Sourcing Products from China and What that Means for Your FBA Business

Sourcing Products from China

China is the world’s top manufacturing hub and the top product-sourcing destination for many Amazon FBA sellers. While you can source products from other countries, China represents the lion’s share of all manufacturing worldwide. There is a reason for this – sourcing products from China is cheaper than anywhere else. The low overhead costs help Chinese manufacturing companies reduce their manufacturing costs, which most countries can’t compete with.

Sourcing products from China is a no-brainer. One of the key aspects to remaining relevant on Amazon is competitive pricing. Sellers have to ensure their products are priced at the lowest if they are to make significant sales. That’s why most sellers have no other option but to turn to China. 

The only problem – Amazon is very strict on the products they allow to be sold on the platform. Sellers selling sub-standard products are a reflection of Amazon. This can't happen on their watch for a platform built entirely on providing the best customer experience.

To be successful on the platform and ensure you don’t run into trouble with Amazon, you need to ensure that all your products meet the standards set by Amazon. There’s nothing wrong with sourcing products from China or any other country to sell on Amazon. The problem is that maintaining quality control for your products is harder when you source overseas than locally.  

To ensure you are getting quality products from China, consider the following:

  • Conduct a supplier audit to ensure that the products meet Amazon’s standards. This will help you reduce non-compliance, safety, and quality risks, plus cost volatility while guaranteeing customer satisfaction with your products.
  • Request a product sample before agreeing to a long-term partnership with the supplier. This will allow you to test the product to ensure that it meets the minimum standards of Amazon and your target audience.
  • Establish quality control by having a third party inspect the product to ensure it meets all Amazon FBA standards. Establishing quality control also attracts high customer reviews and ratings once you guarantee high-quality products. It also helps avoid unethical suppliers whose only concern is making money rather than delivering high-quality products. Finally, establishing quality control will help prevent errors in the labeling and packaging of products. These errors might force you to dig deeper into your pocket to sort out your supply chain issues.

How to Find the Best Product to Sell on Amazon

How to Find the Best Product to Sell on Amazon

China may seem like the ultimate product-sourcing destination, but it’s not the only way to remain competitive on Amazon. So, where else can you source the best products for your FBA business?

#1 Expos, trade shows, and exhibitions 

Tradeshows, trade expos, and exhibitions are great ways to source for products because you come face to face with actual suppliers and manufacturers. The sheer number of leads at these events ensures you have plenty of choices. You can also test the product at the trade show and strike supply deals that suit your budget and product needs. 

Before attending a tradeshow, do your due diligence. Not all tradeshows and expos are worth attending. When you narrow down an event, have a solid plan or exactly what you are looking for so you are not distracted by the plethora of choices.  

#2 Use online and retail arbitrage to source products

This involves walking into a brick-and-mortar store or scrolling through other online marketplaces looking for products selling for less than on Amazon. It’s not uncommon to find a certain product retailing at a much lower price than on Amazon. Product prices differ from one marketplace to another due to issues like products not being as popular or an excess of a certain product, thus forcing suppliers to lower the price to unload them and make space for newer inventory. 

When shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, you want to look out for discounted products and clearance bins to find products you can flip for a profit on Amazon. Online platforms like eBay, AliExpress, and Alibaba are goldmines for many Amazon sellers. However, they are not the easiest to navigate since it means most of the time dealing with actual manufacturers who will only take large orders.

#3 Source products from wholesale suppliers 

If you don’t have the capital to start a private label line, you can sell products from other brands through wholesale suppliers. Wholesalers usually buy products in bulk from authorized brands and resell them to FBA sellers. Since wholesalers purchase the products in high quantities, the per-item price is also low, and they pass these savings on to businesses buying from them. 

The only problem is that most manufacturers have a minimum order quantity which, most of the time, requires you to invest heavily. Also, manufacturers mostly sell to businesses, so you will need to register a business to work with them.

#4 Design and manufacture your own product line (private labeling) 

Many Amazon FBA sellers use the private label business model since it guarantees success over other means. Private label products are products you design on your own, manufacture, and brand. Private label products allow you to build your online business from the ground up through a brand that you can scale in the future. 

Private label products come directly from the manufacturer unless you have the financial muscle to manufacture the products yourself. Most of the time, you’ll need to approach a manufacturer with a product design idea and negotiate a deal that helps you make a profit. The manufacturer will manufacture your product in bulk. This method allows you to customize the product, and there’s the assurance that it will meet Amazon’s quality standards.  

#5 Use a third-party product sourcing agency

Products sourcing agencies help take the stress off the sourcing process by handling the bulk of the supply process. These third-party agencies find suppliers on your behalf and import the products at a low cost. Using a product sourcing agency ensures quality control. They don’t come cheap, but the commission you pay will prove worthwhile when the orders start coming in.

Things to consider when picking a product supplier 

Things to consider when picking a product supplier

Product price is the main thing on almost every supplier’s mind. You want to make the most profit by sourcing the cheapest products. However, consider other factors like product quality and supplier efficiency, especially if you are sourcing overseas. You also need to consider other costs like freight costs. Sometimes your local supplier might be cheaper when considering costs like packaging, shipping, customs clearance, and taxes.

All in all, here are a few things to consider when picking a product supplier:

  • Always double-check the supplier. Not all suppliers are reliable; a simple Google search will tell you if you’re dealing with a legitimate company. It's your job to ensure that the supplier adheres to the local standards and has the necessary clearances and safety certificates before sourcing the product. You also need to look out for possible patent infringements.
  • Diversify your search and get in touch with multiple companies. Never stick with a single supplier, so narrow down to a few companies before settling on one.
  • If you are starting a private label, ask for a prototype or sample of the product before placing a large order to ensure the product meets Amazon’s quality and brand standards.
  • Figure out the logistics, ensuring you factor in costs like freight charges before partnering with a supplier. You also need to find out how long the supplier will take to produce an item and how long it will take to reach you. The last thing you want when you start selling is to run out of inventory without a clear idea of when the next shipment will arrive.  
  • Understand the product to the last detail, especially with complex items like electronics. Amazon is competitive, meaning there is room for mistakes or second guesses.

Summary  

Unless you’re planning on starting a private label brand, you will have to look into domestic or overseas manufacturers and suppliers for your inventory needs. Whatever route you choose, ensure that your supplier can ship products on a large scale or work with an Amazon marketing agency that can help. Most importantly, ensure that the products meet Amazon’s standards and those of your target market.

A reliable supplier is experienced in your niche, has the production capabilities to meet your quantity demands and scale up when required, has established quality standards and certifications, is willing to send you samples, and offers you a good deal. 

Look out for red flags like very low pricing, non-responsive, lack of product niche experience, haven’t been in business for long, and aren’t willing to send samples or produce certificates and licenses. Where you source products for sale on Amazon will ultimately make or break your Amazon FBA business.

How do you source products? Share your methods below!

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