Around 55% of products sold on Amazon are sold by independent merchants. Yes! They are sold by people just like you and me.
When it comes to starting an eCommerce business, Amazon FBA seems like a lucrative business model (if done right). You already have a daily traffic of thousands of hungry buyers.
But if you have to build a profitable business out of it & stay consistent, you need to find reliable suppliers for amazon FBA eCommerce.
“How good your suppliers do, is what your customers get in the end.”
Remember – A supplier can make & break your Amazon FBA business.
But finding suppliers is hard! Most of the good ones neither promote themselves much online nor are there any reliable directories that can come for our rescue.
On top of that, you must be having a lot of questions in your mind. Should I source the products from local suppliers? Or, should I find Chinese suppliers? How should I identify trustworthy suppliers?
Ok, wait… I got you covered!
In this article, we are going to look at –
- Benefits of Having a Reliable Supplier.
- Who Are The Good Suppliers?
- How To Find Amazon FBA Suppliers?
- How To Validate the Supplier?
If you stick with me till the end, I will also share my opinion with you on whether you should go for the local manufacturers or will going with the Chinese manufacturers be more profitable for you.
But before we go ahead, it is important to warm up our minds first. Let’s first take a look at how the Amazon FBA model works. If you already know, then take it as a recap. If you don’t, then it’s time to start diving in.
How Does The Amazon FBA Works?
Now there are 2 ways you can conduct business when it comes to selling on Amazon.
- Amazon FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant)
- Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)
Amazon FBM is your own way. You own the products to be sold & you yourself take care of storage, packaging, shipment, etc, once you receive an order on your Amazon product listing.
Amazon FBA is an initiative by Amazon to make things better for sellers as well as buyers. With FBA, we have a provision of stocking our products in Amazon’s warehouse. Once we receive the order on our Amazon product listing, all the tasks like packing, shipment, customer service & handling the returns are done by Amazon.
This gives a huge scope for eCommerce enthusiasts to use the facilities & start selling on Amazon without having any infrastructure & need to stock the products.
If you are amongst the same, the number one obstacle for you is – you don’t have your own supplies. You need someone who can supply quality products & ship them to the Amazon warehouse for you.
Here is where the need for having good suppliers rises. But why should you be extra careful while choosing the suppliers? Keep reading to find out.
Benefits of Finding Reliable Suppliers
Finding a good supplier will make your life a lot easier as an Amazon seller. Sourcing your product is not going to be a one-time task for you, especially if you’ve found your winning product. It is going to be a lifelong journey.
Or in other words, you will have to build a long-term relationship with them. And doing so will benefit you in the following ways –
- You can get credits from them in the future.
- You will keep up with the consistency with your supplies.
- You may get discounts & price drops from them in the future.
- Your business will keep going smoothly. Smooth Business = Constant Money.
Now that you know the benefits, it’s time to identify who actually are the good suppliers. Let’s look into it.
Who are the Good Suppliers?
I wish I could tell you that all the suppliers are good. But unfortunately, that’s not the case. Many of the Amazon sellers confess that the number one reason why they lost the FBA game was that they stumbled upon the wrong suppliers.
Thus, it is necessary to ‘inspect’ the suppliers first even before you get your products inspected (pun intended). This will increase your chance of winning the FBA game & eventually making more profits.
Following are the qualities you should look for in the suppliers which will ensure that your relationship can go a long way.
The supplier –
- Is a responsible person who is solution driven.
- Has a standardised approach towards the products.
- Does not sacrifice on quality.
- Is available for direct communication & is ready to face the customers.
- Is open for inspection.
- Follows the ethics & abides by the rules & regulations of the industry.
Only if you find these qualities in a supplier, should you think about conducting business with them.
How To Find Amazon FBA Suppliers?
Now that we know how the supplier should be, it’s time to wear our explorer hats & set on the journey to find the best ones for our Amazon FBA business.
For your convenience, I have listed below 10 different ways you can use to find a reliable supplier for yourself.
Let’s start with the simple & obvious one.
1. Find Reliable Suppliers with Google
Whatever problems we face in our life, our solution-seeking mode starts with ‘googling’. And when it comes to finding good suppliers for FBA, Google plays a useful role too.
All you can do is to start with simple search queries like –
<product name> manufacturers in <country name> Suppliers of <product name> in <country name> <product name> <country name> manufacturer Wholesale “inventory” “<country name>” “xls” (or “csv”) <product name> *Supplier “inventory” “<country name>” “xls” (or “csv”) <product name>* Manufacturer “inventory” “<country name>” “xls” (or “csv”) <product name>*
This way, you will get the search results for the relevant product and from the relevant country. But it is not as simple as it seems.
Most of the time, the websites of the suppliers might not have the best SEO done. Thus, they might not rank on the first page. Also, a lot of marketplaces like Alibaba list down or indexes their pages for various search queries. In reality, you may just end up landing on an irrelevant page.
The solution to this is to not end your search on the first results page of Google. You need to keep on scrolling down, checking more search results, shuffling from website to website in order to find genuine suppliers.
To do Google search like a pro, these search queries will come in handy to you –
- Exclude a specific term with (–) ie. minus symbol.
- Use (“”), ie. quotation marks around a keyword to get the exact matching result.
- To search a particular website whose actual domain name you aren’t sure about, you can use site: followed by the word(s) which you think should contain the domain name.
- Use intitle: followed by the keywords which you think should be in the title of the website.
- You can search for the similar websites to a particular site which you already know by using related:
- You can use intext: or alintext: followed by your keyword to find only the website in which the content contains that particular keyword.
Using this advanced search method in Google will help you find the most relevant website results for the suppliers you are looking for.
If you want to become ultra-local in your search, you can even put the search query given above & replace the country name with your city name.
The best thing is, you will also get some Google My Business listings of the manufacturers or suppliers. You can contact them or even physically visit the business location.
2. Find Reliable Suppliers on LinkedIn
No, LinkedIn is not just a platform to apply for jobs. It comes in handy to do a lot more things. Amazon sellers can use this platform to find suppliers much easier than Google search.
Here is the step by step guide to finding suppliers for Amazon FBA through LinkedIn –
- Enter the type of product you are looking for the suppliers for in search. Eg. wooden toys, grocery, running shoes, etc.
- Select Companies in the filter & choose the Location where you want the company to be from.
- Specify the Industry as Wholesale to get the relevant results.
- You can choose the Company size according to the number of employees if you want to specifically find smaller suppliers or bigger suppliers. (optional)
Now you will get the search results for all the potential suppliers. But remember, I am saying here ‘potential’ suppliers. On LinkedIn, we cannot become fully sure whether everyone in the search results is going to be relevant suppliers for us.
So what we need to do now is to visit the LinkedIn profile pages of each and every company in the search result list. We can take a look at the profile details, their ‘About’ summary, how many followers they have, etc.
Also if the profile is active, the chances are high that they will provide their website link. Simply visit the website & try to see what products they supply, what are their policies & how you can apply for starting an account with them.
If you are searching for suppliers from Tier 1 or in some cases, Tier 2 countries or cities, the chances are high that you will find good results. Suppliers from smaller cities or towns might not be active or listed at all on LinkedIn.
3. Find Reliable Suppliers on Facebook Groups
Though Facebook is not a platform for traders or suppliers, almost all types of business exist here. The best place to find the suppliers for your Amazon FBA on Facebook is the Facebook groups!
You should start your search by finding Facebook groups directly or indirectly related to suppliers, distributors, wholesalers, or manufacturers. You can do so by entering the following keywords in the Facebook search –
Distributors <industry name> Wholesales <industry name> Manufacturers <industry name> Suppliers <industry name> Retailers <industry name>
You have to make sure that you have selected the ‘Groups’ option while searching. To be specific, you can also choose or enter the location from which you want the group to be.
Make sure that the group you join has a decent number of participants & is active enough. You can find the suppliers there as they will be posting related to the availability of the product once in a while in the group.
You can also post in the group & ask directly about what or whom you are looking for. You will surely receive comments from relevant people.
4. Find Reliable Suppliers from Local Trade Shows
Now I know these are not going to happen anytime soon after this pandemic, but surely Trade Shows are here to stay. They not only allow you to find local as well as global suppliers for your business but also offer an excellent opportunity to network with people from similar domains.
The best thing about Trade Shows is that you are able to meet a lot of suppliers face to face in person. This is a very good opportunity to start building a relationship with them from the first meet. You can also use this opportunity to make a judgment about which supplier will be suitable for you with the way they communicate & showcase their products.
You need to keep a few things in mind before visiting the tradeshows to reap maximum benefits from them. You should –
- Do your research about who all will be there at the show prior to your visit.
- Product research is something you should have already done in order to avoid getting confused.
- Be clear on what you are actually looking at. Number of people & activities happening in the Trade Shows might overwhelm you.
- Stay focused but be open to explore new things. You never know what you must be missing.
You will be able to meet a lot of sourcing agents in these trade shows which will not only be limited to your locality but also will be international-level suppliers. So great for you if you are looking to promote your products on Amazon for other countries or want to import products from other countries to your home country.
Following are few popular Trade Shows which are held around the world in different countries which you should consider visiting once –
- Delhi Fair (Delhi)
- Global Sources Exhibition (Hong Kong)
- India Trend Fair (Tokyo)
- Maisen & Objet (Paris)
- Sourcing at Magic Fair (Las Vegas)
- International Sourcing Expo (Melbourne)
5. Find Reliable Suppliers using Jungle Scout
This tool will come to your rescue if you want to avoid the middlemen & agents and straight away want to reach the manufacturers & suppliers directly.
Jungle Scout has recently launched something called ‘Supplier Database’ which is really a goldmine for Amazon FBA sellers. This feature will not only help you find the verified suppliers but will also allow you to locate the niche-specific suppliers.
How does the Jungle Scout work to Find Suppliers? Here’s a step by step guide –
- LogIn to the Jungle Scout.
- In the Menu section on the left sidebar, click on ‘Find Suppliers’.
- You will get sub level options. Select ‘Supplier Database’ from it.
- A page displaying the title as ‘Source Your Product’ will appear. Enter the name of a product / company / supplier in the search box & hit ‘Search’.
- You will get a larger database displaying the same. You have to filter your search as per your needs in order to get the specific ones.
Just like that, you will have a list of thousands of national & international level suppliers. Didn’t this save you a lot of time?
Though this tool offers Supplier Database, it is not just about it. You will find a lot of other information like databases of product photographers, Amazon SEO experts, etc. You can also use this tool to conduct product research & validate the ideas. It is like a magic wand for Amazon FBA enthusiasts.
Now Jungle Scout isn’t a free tool. To avail of all its premium features, you need to buy its premium plan. But considering all the hassles & time it might require to find such a database & considering all the other amazing functionality Jungle Scout has, the investment is totally worth it.
6. Finding Suppliers from Online Marketplaces
This should be a no-brainer. Alibaba, Indiamart, Global Sources, etc. are very popular amongst Amazon sellers. These marketplaces have many active suppliers, manufacturers & wholesalers listed which are easy to search, validate & connect with.
What you need to be careful about is that there are also a lot of traders & agents listed on these marketplaces posing as suppliers or distributors. You need to avoid them. Especially when it comes to Indiamart, a lot of suppliers there simply import the product from China & sell them in India or other countries in bulk.
Even while you’re searching for suppliers on Alibaba, you will come with many such suppliers who are actually traders. If you fall for them, you might get the same products for a much higher price than what manufacturers can offer. Also it is necessary to use the ‘Location’ option to conduct the search to get relevant results.
While choosing suppliers on Alibaba, to be extra sure about the trustworthiness & credibility, make sure you choose only the suppliers listed as ‘Gold’ level Suppliers & those who have Trade Assurance with Alibaba.
How to conduct the search for particular products? Well, just visit the marketplaces & research. Everything is pretty self-explanatory once you land on such websites.
7. Getting Supplies from Sourcing Agents
Now if you’re having a hard time finding suppliers from anywhere else, there are third-party product sourcing agencies that might help you.
These sourcing agencies are also known as buying houses. What makes them extremely useful for us is that they maintain the databases of all the possible suppliers sorted with the type of products they deal with.
If you are someone who is just starting out and have completely no idea about how the product sourcing goes & what are the things you should keep in your mind, these agencies will definitely make things easy for you. All the processes will be much smoother given that you are clear on what you want.
Before going to the Souring Agents, you have to keep few things in your mind –
- Find sourcing agents who deal in the specific category of products which you are looking for.
- If you are looking to export or import products for selling on Amazon, then look for the global level sourcing agents.
- You need to pay a little bit extra (as a commission) compared to if you directly get in touch with the suppliers.
Finding sourcing agents is quite easy & you can simply conduct a simple search on Google or a local business directory.
8. Finding Suppliers from Product Labels
This is not a sure & shot way of finding the suppliers you are looking for, but what’s wrong with trying? Whenever we order things online or buy them at the local store, the first thing that we tear & throw it off is the packaging or the labeling.
But if you are someone who is in search of finding the suppliers for similar products, you shouldn’t do that. The label can be a lead for you!
All you need to do is to inspect the package or the label carefully & look for ‘Manufactured by’ words on it. If the product is white-labeled or even privately labeled, there is a high chance that the name of the company that manufactured or supplied it will be mentioned.
If the contact of the company is given there, your search is over! If not, you can simply head to Google & start searching the contact details of the company & connect with them once you are successful in doing so.
But again, this is just a casual way to find the details of the manufacturer of a particular product. Many times, you might not be able to find the actual manufacturer through the label. Also, the method might not be practical enough if you are looking for suppliers for a variety of products. Still, as I said, what’s wrong in trying?
How To Validate The Supplier?
Finally found your potential supplier. You are excited to make a deal with him. You think your problem is about to end. But wait. Finding a potential supplier is just the first step. Validating the supplier so that his reliability is assured is the next important step.
Here are the things you should do in order to validate & finalize the supplier for your business –
- Check out all the necessary certifications from the supplier (this will depend on from where are you sourcing & what are the product types)
- Check the website & history of the supplier on the marketplace.
- It is best if the supplier is in the market for more than a year.
- Check whether the product page description is given in detail & what are the order terms of the supplier.
- Finally order a prototype or an order with a smaller sample size. Only if you find the quality satisfactory, go ahead with the supplier.
Remember – Get your company registered first & use your official email address while connecting with the supplier. This will make them assured that you’re a serious business owner & not someone random just trying to enquire.
Local vs Chinese Suppliers for Amazon FBA
As I promised to shed some light on whether you should go for the Chinese Manufacturers or stick with the Local ones & what’s my opinion about the same, here is what I have to say.
China has always dominated product supplies when it comes to mass production. This results in cheaper products & greater margins. But times have changed recently and the trading scenario has slightly changed after the pandemic.
When sourcing your products from your local country, it is always the best practice considering the encouragement of local production as well as the time it will require for shipping the stock. But the issue is, a lot of so-called ‘local suppliers’ listed on the online marketplaces & directories are actually traders who source the product themselves from China & then distribute it locally.
Also, another thing is that, if the local manufacturers are a small scale business, the cost of production might even be slightly higher than the Chinese manufacturers, which may result in a lesser margin for you.
So my opinion is clear. If you find authentic manufacturers locally and get the products for reasonable prices from them, then hands down, prefer the local suppliers. They will be easy to deal with & the process will be much simpler.
In case the local sourcing doesn’t work, turning towards Chinese suppliers will be your only option. You might get good products for much cheaper rates, so it won’t be a bad idea to go with them.
Find Amazon FBA Suppliers For Your Business Today
So as I said right in the beginning. A supplier can make or break Amazon FBA business. So you can understand the importance of finding the right ones for your business.
A supplier is not only necessary to fulfill your stock. People are going to receive, experience & consume the products which the suppliers are sending. People are going to judge you on the basis of that.
Moreover, dealing with the suppliers requires a lot of time & energy. A lot of money is to be invested. You cannot afford to let things go wrong. Thus, using any one of the above methods to find a reliable & trustable supplier will help you to conduct your business smoothly, open scope to scale up massively in the long term & of course help you gain your deserved profits.
Let me know in the comment section below regarding what other methods you have tried to find trustworthy wholesale suppliers for your business & how it worked.
Also if you have any queries regarding eCommerce, feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org & I will be happy to answer.