Home – New Forums Selling online Huge minimum orders with Alibaba…impossible to get smaller orders?

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  • #988583
    Vivienne
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    Hello,

    I’ve been contacting manufacturers through Alibaba to try and get a few samples made up of a very simple product.
    That part is ok but the minimum order of 1000 is not (at this stage).

    Does anyone know if this is an obstacle that I won’t be able to overcome or would aliexpress perhaps be better for much smaller orders?

    Thanks!

    #1167883
    LucasArthur
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    Hi Vivienne,

    Hope all is well…

    Not really sure there is enough information to give a definitive answer… What i mean is, you mention you are wanting to get something simple made up.. Does this mean you want your own design or production of something very specific to be produced for you?

    If so does this mean moulds need to be made, templates etc etc?? if so this may be why MOQ is such and if this is the case i am not sure 1000 is that much for a complete production?

    Or are you buying something readily available with no alterations? if so, you should be able to get around this.. What one of the issues are is that you may not be speaking to the factory and they agent you are speaking to also has an MOQ to be viable with said supplier.. or better still, may be the factory and they are flat out and dont want to do the order for such small quantities (to them it may be small) – if its high turnover factory they may want to focus elsewhere?

    Some more info may provide better answers,,,,

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1167884
    LucasArthur
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    ps.. i would not define 1000 as being huge in the eyes of the manufacturer and also depends on items.. hope that makes sense?

    pps.. always try and put yourself in the suppliers shoes.. also, be polite, advise sample order (if readily available item) and want to build long term relationship..

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1167885
    Vivienne
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    The item that I want made up is only a simple type of thing made of either PVC/vinyl/canvas with a zip.
    Alterations would be minor, like colour and slightly smaller/bigger.

    I realise it still requires time and effort but I’m hardly getting a jet engine made up!
    I’m happy to pay whatever is asked of me for samples but I can’t risk ordering 1000….some places want 3000 or more!
    I can’t imagine everyone starting a business will go into huge debt etc especially when it’s in the very early stages.

    #1167886
    LucasArthur
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    Hi Vivienne

    Certainly understand… Sometimes you will find some will make a ‘prototype’ (not sample) of an item at a higher cost.. The cost to them, which is why they impose MOQ’s, is around machining – colour switches etc etc and is timely for them :(

    Most overseas manufacturers, and other people with expertise please chime in, is that they work on VOLUME to make a profit. Their margins are based on volume to be profitable :)

    May its the wording of what you want that may be creating the gap.. EG; i bring furniture in from there and am always asked to increase my MOQ, i understand though that they also have MOQ’s imposed on them from people such as material suppliers that they outsource what they cant do themselves, therefore they pass this on to you the buyer so they do not get stuck with excess stock.

    I have found personally meeting my suppliers to be the best way to begin negotiations.. That is in my case, and also tends to go a long way in building a long term committed (well the best you can get with os supplier) relationship together – for profit…

    Maybe if this is not an option, you may want to seek the help of a trade partner in China or Hong Kong who may be native and can engage in common language to get message across and negotiate on your behalf.. If you have not come across him already, there is a gentleman on the boards known as Johny who it may pay to have a chat too… Johny is a regular on here and is a trade agent who seems to deal with your type of situation from Hong Kong (people buying out of China needing local expertise and negotiating skills).. Please note i am not affiliated with Johny, just come across lots of his posts on here and appears quite knowledgeable from his posts..

    Anyways, it is a challenge.. dont give up, you will achieve what you need.. may just take a little more time..

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1167887
    LucasArthur
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    Hey Vivienne

    How funny is the timing of your post.. allow me to explain…

    Just a moment ago (literally was the last thing i did before typing this message) i have just finalised the purchase of a SINGLE item (remember i do big pieces) from my supplier in a very special fabric which normally imposes a MOQ of 5 pieces..

    It took me about an hour to finalise, thanking them for trying to help, saying how nice it was to deal with her regularly and how appreciative i am when they go out of their way to assists me in my plights… My contact referred to her Boss, of which i got a favourable outcome :)

    Now, the easy part is although the fabric is unusual they are not required to retool anything or change something that they already produce.. All they need to do it change the fabric of the chair (or buy they fabric they need) and use it on this one item.. I am very grateful.

    Awesome, it can be done although is always product specific and based on relationships from time to time…

    Let us know how you go..

    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1167888
    Little Birdie Marketing
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    I am in kind of the same boat as you! But my minimum’s are much lower. It is a lot to risk isn’t it?

    Anyway, my suggestion is to not only rely on China (what did the crazy lady just say)!

    All I am saying is the China loves big volume, but you might find other countries maybe be a little more expensive but will do lower minimum’s for you. That is what I have found in my few weeks research for my new business!

    Otherwise, I am not sure if this is applicable to you and your industry but once you have the sample, treat it like gold, love it, market it, promote it to your potential customers and get pre-orders before you go to manufacture (again, not sure if this is doable in your industry)

    Good luck!

    #1167889
    Vivienne
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    Thanks Kellie,

    I’m a bit confused about pre orders. Is that when a customer places an order and pays for an item that’s not yet available?
    Would this not cause frustration for the customer?

    I’ve managed to find a couple of suppliers that will do a minimum of 500. Still high for me but I’ll see what quotes I guess. I realise I need to take somewhat of a risk.

    Thanks for the advice guys.

    #1167890
    Johny
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    Jason,

    Thanks for the mention.

    I am actually starting to write a series of stories on LinkedIn about sourcing in China. Hopefully it will help people to better understand why things work the way they do etc.

    Only just got going and hope to write one or so a week until I run out of ideas.
    (Which probably won’t take too long.)

    First couple start here:-

    https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140703042358-169973897-global-product-sourcing-will-my-business-benefit?trk=mp-details-rr-rmpost

    #1167891
    help4bis.com
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    There are some options….

    Like mentioned… Pre-Order you be surprised how many times this happens, generally with already manufactured goods though. So that is where you are different. But some of our customers have no stock of the stuff they sell, they are more a broker than a shop in my view. But that is beside the point.

    You mentioned the materials used, but what is the actual item. Is it clothing of some sort?

    Option 1.
    – Ask the supplier/manufacture to provide some sample products, like SimplyReplica mentioned it is about building a relationship.

    Option 2.
    Crowd funding…. chuckle…. advertise you want to sell xyz product and the first 200 customers get it for 50% discount if they pay upfront, subject to availability. Money back guarantees for of course. You might not make money on the first 100 but at least you have some money to “sponsor” remainder stock which you can sell with a profit. (it takes generally 3yrs for a business to turn a profit).

    Option 3.
    B2B funding, see if there other businesses that are interested in selling the same goods or items. You can either sell it to them at your determined wholesale cost.

    Option 4. Do nothing :-).

    Just something to think about if you have not already. Outside the box….(what box? ;-))

    #1167892
    nev
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    Maybe try. makemea.com au

    Sent from my HTC Desire using Tapatalk

    #1167893
    Vivienne
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    I’m now at my wits end!

    I have contacted a few places that advertise a minimum order of 500, 100 or 300. I get an email back stating that the MOQ is actually 1000 per colour!

    That’s fine as I understand that’s their requirement but I’m beginning to think I may need to look within Melbourne to have s few of these things made. Is that even an option here?
    I’d rather pay more per item for 100 or so than order 1000 and take a huge risk.

    Does anyone know where I could look to find professional sewers? I hope that’s what they’re called!

    Thanks

    #1167894
    Johny
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    Hi Vivienne,

    A couple of things that may help with the understanding of all of this for you and others that may be reading:-

    1. Factories in China do not generally hold stock of materials. For every order they have to go out and buy it. They either buy it from the material manufacturer or they buy it from the local market. For small quantities in several different colours, it will be more expensive and they too may have to adhere to MOQ’s. So if they have to buy enough material to make 1,000 pcs then they will pass that on to you. And each colour is treated separately so its not several colours making up that 1,000 pcs.

    2. The quantities and pricing shown on Alibaba product pages can’t be trusted. They often show these lower than the real ones in order to get you in. They call it marketing, I call it lieing. But I can’t be too critical because it is not restricted to these sites. The only way you can know is to contact them directly.

    3. I agree with pretty much everything Jason has said. The only issue that maybe needs to be expanded on is relationships. For an initial order of 1,000 pcs of what I assume is a relatively cheap product, the factory isn’t even worried about relationships. Initially they expect you are shopping around and saying ” I am looking to built long terms relationships” at this stage translates to, “maybe I’ll talk to you again if I go ahead or if I haven’t found anything cheaper”. The proof of relationships is in having done business over a period of time. (Shameless plug: I am actually writing a post about relationships on LinkedIn next week)

    I am currently arranging to have some baby clothing made in China and the total quantity is 600 pcs in various sizes and two different colours.. Arranging an order for this quantity is like having teeth pulled.

    There are times when China is not the best option and small quantities can be quite expensive when you add in all the other costs such as getting them shipped etc. There will be factories that will do it, but most aren’t interested in that quantity. Plus you are coming into the season the priority is larger orders for Christmas.

    So looking for more local alternatives, or other countries, at least in the early stages is not always a bad idea. But sorry I can’t help with that.

    #1167895
    LucasArthur
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    Johny, post: 194851 wrote:
    I am currently arranging to have some baby clothing made in China and the total quantity is 600 pcs in various sizes and two different colours.. Arranging an order for this quantity is like having teeth pulled.

    Hilarious.. a quote i often use.. LOL.. Love you Johny.. LOL

    Also, to add.. One factor that is paramount with China that i have personally found is that your long term relationship is only as good as the money your spend (ok invest!)… As Johny says, initial order placing to a manufacturer is like “yup, seen you before, you shopped, you asked, you queried you bought nothing.” or “you asked, we helped, you never returned = we lost out :(

    What i got distracted with when saying those quotes, is that manufacturers see your minimums as your commitment to your business as well..

    We recently assisted a clothing buyer/seller locate some nice ranges.. thinking they were interested in long term relationships and stocking a considerable range… After much discussed and introductions to long term friends/contacts i had we soon realised that this ‘enterprise’ was a hobby and when they were discussing products in the 10,000 unit range.. We soon established it was 100 of this colour, 100 of this, 100 of this and so forth..

    After a few minutes understanding through conversation that this was the intended plan from the outset and intention to ‘pull the wool over all involved eyes” we soon parted ways.. There was no monetary gain for me and i knew my contact (known for years) would be trying to please this buyer for me, although he would have made negligible profits if any after all the fussing around…

    We eventually suggested they buy on aliexpress (higher cost but lower volumes) or deal directly with manufacturers that sell stock ranges that some keep on hand (not many around though) or buy stock not acquired from some purchases that was left in warehouse as overruns (hard to find in my experience)…

    Oh boy, i have rambled yet again.. Vivienne, dont give up.. If you are just testing the waters getting a 100 or so of ANYTHING made in china is hard (well not everything if large items) to achieve… As Johny says, no stock is kept on hand (generally) and all materials are bought as required – which means they also have MOQ’s placed on them so they are in fact passing these on to you, potentially..

    Go local made, source some Aussies stuff if needed.. or look in Thailand or Philippines or maybe even Vietnam – oops or India maybe?

    All the best, let us know and NEVER give up on your dreams.. just push through, invest some time and work around it.. grin and bear it, you’ll be right..

    Cheers
    Jason

    Jason Ramage | Lucas Arthur Pty Ltd | E: [email protected]   P: 61 3 8324 0344    M: 61 412 244 888
    #1167896
    Anonymous
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    Vivienne, post: 194844 wrote:
    I’m beginning to think I may need to look within Melbourne to have s few of these things made. Is that even an option here?
    I’d rather pay more per item for 100 or so than order 1000 and take a huge risk.

    Does anyone know where I could look to find professional sewers? I hope that’s what they’re called!

    Thanks

    Hi Vivienne,

    I’m not sure if it’ll be helpful as I don’t know what it is you want made, but one of the forum members here offers contract sewing. They’re based in Northern NSW, and if you’d like to check out their website, it’s at http://www.lahay.com.au.

    Let them know that we sent you!
    Good luck,
    Jayne

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