In this comprehensive step by step tutorial. I will take you through what it takes and what is involved to find products, import from China, sell on Amazon and build an eCommerce business that can be scaled into the millions of dollars every year.
But first, why should you listen to me? and how is this blog post all of a sudden your saving grace?
Both good questions.
Firstly it isn’t just this blog post that you will need to read and study.
This website is, in essence, a complete course into how to launch and build an eCommerce empire importing from China from anywhere in the world.
The blog post you are reading is what’s known in the blogging game as “pillar content” and everything you need to know will either be on this page or linked to additional pages for you to open and study.
Either way, you have landed in the right place.
eCommerce is exploding!
Finding products to import from China and learning how to sell on Amazon is an amazing opportunity.
It’s never been more accessible than ever to source products and set up shop.
Who am I?
My name is Danny Guerin and I have been selling products and building my eCommerce empire for over 10 years and boy has it changed!
I also have 5 star rated eCommerce training courses on Udemy.com and am a successful serial web app entrepreneur.
But it didn’t use to be this way.
My very first business ventures were at school. I used to be the highest earner on the playground selling cigarettes and sweets to my schoolmates. Learning to import from China, how to sell on Amazon and other cyber marketplaces were the stuff of comic books.
My supplier was the owner of Trinity Stores, a shop down the road, who would have sold his own mother if it had made him a profit never mind cigarettes to a child.
Looking back it’s easy to laugh at my small time hustle but what I was learning has kept me making money in some way, shape or form my whole life.
Years later my first big import from China was in women’s fashion jewellery (‘jewelry’ if you’re from the US).
Watching the some of the girls I worked with spend hours scrolling through jewellery websites credit cards in hand.
If there was a rule book when I made my first women’s jewellery import from China,
I pretty much broke it in half!
- Having barely seen the products online (just a couple of pictures).
- Knowing nothing about the factory (found them on Google).
- Worst of all I paid by transferring the money by credit card (with little to no protection)
- and I had no idea how I was going to sell whatever was sent to me.
I don’t think I even had an Amazon Seller Account nevermind knowing how to sell on Amazon.
Now, this was kinda back in the wild west days of importing and was really a game for big businesses who could afford to make very large orders and import from China regularly.
These days all that has changed and once you know how the process of finding and importing products over from China it’s easy to repeat to your heart’s content.
I’m sure you’re having some of the same worries I had…
- What should my first product be?
- What should I buy? will it sell?
- I’ve heard people get scammed?
- How do I find suppliers I can trust and communicate with them?
- Do I need to learn Chinese or go to China? Whats the process to import from China?
- How do I sell my products? Do I need a website?
- Where do I start!?
All these questions are completely legitimate and are either what I asked myself or I have been asked by many others over the years.
The good news is there has never been an easier, safer and more lucrative time to start to import from China or other countries and build your business.
This is why I decided to put together this step by step guide giving you everything I would do if I was starting out from zero.
If this is the first time reading this post, please read it from start to finish (preferably taking action along the way) as just reading parts of it will only cause confusion.
This is a process and once done, can be repeated and scaled easily.
So without further ado, let’s get cracking!
“The cowards never started it and the weak died along the way”
– Phil Knight
There are few things we need to get out of the way first.
- This is not a get rich quick scheme. It takes work, time and effort as this is a business and will to a certain extent require your constant attention. If this was an easy quick buck everyone would be doing it.
- I don’t owe you anything. I am more than happy to answer questions and have a chat but as I’m sure you understand I’m a busy man who also needs to make. Although I do love to help people as much as possible, a certain amount of initiative and tenacity will be required.
- This blog post is going to be huge and will link off to many other pages on this website and around the web. So please bookmark and make full use of the table of contents. I have video courses on Udemy which I often offer discounts and coupons for so be sure to sign in the box below.
- This is a skill. Learning to find products that make money. Learning to see a deal, strike a deal and sell are all skills. If you work hard and are not afraid of failure then those skills will come pretty quick and so will the results.
I know what I’ve just typed might seem a bit harsh and abrupt but I see too many people just looking for the handout. If you want to get rich tomorrow then go buy a lotto ticket.
But if you want to start a legitimate business and change your life…
Let’s move on.
What Do You Initially Want To Achieve?
There are some choices and considerations that you need to look at before moving any further.
Doing this will save you a lot of time and expense later down the line. Having a plan that you can stick to and execute, even if it’s just a rough direction will give you a distinct advantage.
The reason for this is once you start using websites like Alibaba in conjunction with product research tools, marketing tools and branding options. Everything can get overwhelming and daunting very quickly.
It’s better to have a direction of what you want to achieve now even if you are not sure than to just wander aimlessly and achieve little to nothing.
The first item your plan should include is what do you want to achieve in this business?
I have two friends who partnered together and sell two private labelled products, they import from China and sell on Amazon.
Each product does about 10 sales a day and they are netting about £10 ($16) a sale. This makes them about £5000 ($8000) a month and is extremely hands off.
This obviously is a lovely amount of money to be making every month and enables them to go travelling and live the life they want with a huge amount of freedom.
Because they only sell on Amazon and use fulfilment by Amazon its pretty much a passive income.
On the other side, I have another friend who has several fully established brands with websites, marketing campaigns and now two with physical shops.
He has blossomed from selling on Amazon into creating an empire that sells in over 40 countries through multiple different channels. His lifestyle is his business and he is a very busy man that lives for it.
There is nothing to say you can’t start small and work your way up to this but the point is to have a plan as to where you want to go first.
Then you can reach that goal have a result that you can be proud of and then either expand further or enjoy what you’ve created.
The process of getting products to market from end to end can be divided up into four parts.
1/ product research
This is by far the most important part of the whole process. Without a carefully chosen product that fits practical criteria and makes a good margin your business may never take off. Not to worry though I have two deep-dive tutorials on the subject and also some other ways to get your feet wet looking for products.
2/ Finding a Supplier
To import from China for any sustainable period of time with the same products comes down to your new factory meeting a certain set of standards. When looking for a factory to work with you should be very selective as this relationship could blossom into an amazing business or give you an expensive headache. We cover every step and consideration you should take in this post and ones linked to it.
3/ Product Curation & Manufacturing
Once you have found your factory and approved their samples it’s time to work with them and other businesses to bring everything together. This could very well be getting your logo printed on the product and packaging. Getting packaging made for the product. Having the process inspected by an independent company. Working with your new supplier to get the product manufactured and ready to import from China or the country they are based in.
4/ Shipping & Distribution
Like all the other points there are plenty of variables for how you want this to play out. But the main two are getting the products shipped to your home/working address or directly into Amazon FBA and sell on Amazon marketplaces. We will cover each of these and their requirements later on.
As I’m sure you understand everyone who reads this will have a different plan and ideas for what they want to achieve with their new products and it would be impossible for me to cover every variable so if you have any questions or want more information please put it in the comments below.
Check out the pdf below that covers the general process. This pdf is part of the FREE importer start-up kit available in the opt-in box below.
VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t be one of these people!
Don’t buy counterfeit tat. If this is something you are looking at doing please don’t. It’s a bad business, it’s illegal and it’s just not what we’re about here at Source Ship Sell.
Don’t give suppliers your personal email address. To say the Chinese like the hard sell is an understatement. Your inbox will be stuffed in minutes and unusable for years. Set up a new Gmail account for all your product sourcing business activities.
Don’t buy in bulk from a factory until you have tried and tested them using our processes.
Don’t buy a lot of inventory at a time. Factories will try to get you to commit to large quantities but try to only order 100-200 units at a time to start with and see how things go.
Don’t do business with a factory that refuses to ship samples. This is a standard practice especially when you import from China, without seeing and testing the product you should never part with your money.
Don’t buy from a company that doesn’t accept PayPal or Trade Assurance. These services are there to protect you and if a factory is refusing to use them it usually means they have had too many complaints and been cut off or are just scamming people. Avoid.
Stick to the plan and if you are unsure about something ask in the comments at the bottom.
Introduction to Alibaba.com
Finding products really comes down to these 3-steps:
When starting to look for products there are many wholesale directories to choose from and if I’m being honest all but one of them is a complete waste of time. In fact, a lot of them are borderline scams. They are quick to take your money and give very little in return.
Thankfully the biggest and best directory in the world is here to help and will very quickly become your new best friend.
Alibaba.com is ENORMOUS and has hundreds of millions of products listed.
I have used Alibaba to source and import from China on every single one of my products and highly recommend you do the same. I also recommend that you stay well clear of nearly all other directories out there.
Check out my comprehensive tour of Alibaba in the video below.
To summarize what was said in the video:-
Alibaba is massive and pretty much has every type of product you could ever hope to look for.
Look for Gold Suppliers that have had an onsite check and have a number of years trading history.
Always use a supplier that takes PayPal or preferably Trade Assurance. DO NOT TRANSFER FUNDS DIRECTLY!
Make sure the factory offers samples. No samples, no deal.
When looking at product listings you want to see lots of images and information about the product. If a listing looks empty and the images are lacking and dull then I would look elsewhere.
When looking at products, if any questions pop into your head be sure to write them down. You might forget later when communicating with your chosen supplier.
There are some limits on what you can sell that will save you some headaches and a lot of expense in the future.
Check out these videos taken from my paid tutorials to help keep you on the right track when selecting products.
Get The Infographics From These Videos Here:
Let’s Start Brainstorming!
The way I do this is to get a large pad of paper in front of me and just start writing whatever I’m thinking of or what I am looking at on the internet.
There are loads of great websites out there that can help get those inspirational juices flowing!
The first being Alibaba, as you have just seen their product catalogue is massive! and if you just start to click through to listings and onto related listings you can find some great ideas.
Be sure to always keep the Alibaba tab open so that when you are looking elsewhere you can check the prices.
Amazon Best Sellers
The next place I go to is the Amazon Best Sellers page. This page weirdly enough is not accessible through the main site and is best to get to through Google.
Just type “Amazon Best Sellers”
and look for the result with the ‘zgbs’ in the green URL.
This will take you to a page that lists all of the top 100 best sellers on Amazon in every category and sub-category.
I will niche down into these and try to find some gold nuggets off the beaten track.
Once you have selected something on the bestsellers lists, click through and then head to the “Customer who bought this item also bought” in the product listing.
You will often find products that are just as popular here but are more off the beaten track and still get really good sales.
The website marketplace called flippa.com has recently launched an FBA (Fulfilment By Amazon) seller section where already established Amazon sellers can sell their private label businesses.
This could provide you with good inspiration for products and you will be able to see their sales figures too.
The key is to stay off the beaten track. Products like phone cases, watches or anything else is just too saturated and you will not be able to compete.
Once you have got a good list of potential products down its time to get serious with product research.
I have created two product research methods. One is the premium method which uses a specialist software called Jungle Scout. This tutorial will take you step by step through the whole process and by the end, you will have a winning product to move forward with,
The second is the free method and should cost you absolutely nothing to implement. the catch is that it is more work and the figures your getting is nowhere near refined as Jungle Scout. But it is still extremely effective and if you are on a budget is a great option.
Identify & Contact Chosen Suppliers
So by now, you should have a chosen product to import from China or at least narrowed it down to two or three.
Now is the time to make initial contact with factories and order some samples.
Instead of looking for products we are now looking for factories and as we did earlier with search criteria, we will do the same here.
When typing into the search for your supplier you want to select the following: Gold Supplier, Onsite Checked, Assessed Supplier, Trade Assurance.
This should narrow the search results down quite a bit and will leave you with the safest options available.
We now have a list of our prime potential suppliers depending on how many there are you want to pick out the best 5 or 6 to message.
Look at their listings to see how this is done. See if they are a factory by checking the company details and if there are photos of their operation.
Look at the quality of the product listing are there good photos, is there plenty of product details and do you get a good feeling about it?
Contact the good ones
Send an email to the chosen few via the internal messaging service on Alibaba or you can use your own email. But remember to use the email you created especially for this otherwise your inbox will be nuked!
The details you want to know are: what is their MOQ (minimum order quantity)? Their payment and shipping policies, sample policy, a price list or product spec sheet.
These details the sales agent will have to hand and answers multiple times a day so don’t be scared to ask.
I normally send this email out to suppliers but it obviously varies with each product I import.
Feel free to add or delete whatever you need to but try to keep the contents the same format, the Chinese like you to be specific in your requirements.
Just copy and paste into your email composer
Hi there, My name is Danny from Craft Kitchen. We are looking to purchase Silicone Oven Glove for the US market. Please see attached photos. Our primary sales channels will be online. We estimate up to 20,000 to 30,000pcs annual purchase volume once fully established and after a trial order of 500 sets plus samples for evaluation. Specifications:
Size - 9in x 5in (22cm x 13cm)
Should have cloth sleeve
In colours Orange, bright green and purple.
High Quality required.
Do you manufacture silicon oven gloves to this specification? If so, please provide the following: 1/ Photo, specifications and shipping quotation 2/ Are you a manufacturer or Trading Company? 3/ What is the lead time for samples and trial order? 4/ Can we add a logo to this item? If so where can the logo be added? 5/ What is the sample cost including shipping, by express to the USA? Appreciate your reply. Thank you. Danny Guerin Craft Kitchen
Now you have sent out your emails you need to see who responds and in a timely manner.
Check out this post on Interacting and negotiating with suppliers.
At this point, they are competing for your business and have no idea who you are. If a factory takes two weeks to respond now what are they going to be like once the deal is done?
Always try to haggle on the price there is always room for movement and you should try to get some discount wherever possible. Don’t be shy to do this as it is very much in Chinese culture.
Please do not try to negotiate or haggle on the sample price. This would not be a good look for you, whatever the sample price is plus the shipping, should be paid without question.
For the record, most suppliers will offer the sample for free and you pay the shipping.
Check out my video taken from The Beginners Guide To Importing course
Test The Samples
At last, you get to see the product and things are starting to get more fun now. I will usually get samples from 3/5 suppliers that made the shortlist but I never just get one.
Once you have received your samples you should run them through a barrage of tests.
See if they are strong enough, well made, waterproof (if required).
Furthermore, weigh and measure them if you are going to be fulfilling the orders yourself and need to calculate the postage.
Sell The Samples
Selling the extra samples will help gauge the market and see how quickly they sell.
Also, recoup expenses and learn the basics of how to sell on Amazon and eBay if never done before.
Do not sell the sample you have just beaten the crap out of with tests, keep it for future reference.
If you are going to import from China regularly, use samples when communicating with factories over design needs, measurements, packaging. It also good to use when answering customer questions.
Working With MOQ’s (minimum order quantities)
Factories naturally want to sell you the biggest quantities of goods, it’s their business.
But they also don’t want to lose your business either and will make huge efforts to accommodate your needs.
When starting to import from China the quantities ordered will be low, it’s my experience that suppliers are quite flexible.
Sometimes though it can’t happen for whatever reason.
If this is the case I would check, Alibaba Wholesale.
This is a completely separate section of the Alibaba website where you will see MOQ’s that are a lot smaller. Be aware that sometimes this makes the price go up so be sure to check your margins.
Another good place to look is AliExpress. This is Alibaba’s sister site and is kinda like the Amazon version of Alibaba. You can buy single quantity products on here as well as larger amounts. This is good to get small quantities over, then communicate with the supplier later when ordering higher amounts.
Be aware again the prices could well be higher.
Import From China – Your First Order
Once you have tested the samples and have selected a factory it is time to make your first order.
There are many accounts online of people ordering thousands of units and import from China straight to Amazon.
This, in my opinion, is reckless. Your first order should be as small as possible. This depends on the factory and your communication, but usually, a few hundred units are acceptable for your first order.
This is great because you can start selling and shipping them yourself which minimises the risk.
The last thing you want is to send 2000 units straight into Amazon and they’re wrong, faulty or even worse. This will sink you before you have started to swim.
Taking your time, keeping it simple and starting slowly is the safest and best way to go.
Luckily you have access to 3 huge sales channels and can get selling products and receive that all-important customer feedback.
I recommend starting with eBay, sell on Amazon and Facebook Marketplace this should give you more than enough exposure.
Out of all these sales channels, learning to sell on Amazon is the most important.
When adding your products to sell on Amazon creating an awesome listing is essential. Check out my video on this below:
Learning how to sell on Amazon essential to the success of your eCommerce business. For now though get an Amazon Seller Account and just get started. You will never learn the platform until you make the first steps and these are the most important.
Out of all these sales channels, learning to sell on Amazon is the most important.
Learning how to sell on Amazon essential to the success of your eCommerce business. For now though get an Amazon Seller Account and just get started. You won’t learn how to sell on Amazon until you make the first steps, these are the most important.
Would you like more details on how to sell on Amazon?
Check out this link to a Udemy course I run – |CLICK HERE – Ill even throw in a discount 😉|
Within two months you will know if you have got a winning product or its back to the drawing board.
Whatever the case, you will have an awesome experience in sourcing, shipping, selling and the whole import from China process.
If you have followed everything in this article and website, you should be doing well and things are looking good.
Find more products to import from China and scale this baby up!…
After a while of selling jewellery, I realised that Facebook ads were the future! I managed to get my product photos from the factory, they were really professional looking and made my ads shine!
The sales started coming in quick, I was running the whole operation from home whilst working full time.
It got crazy pretty quickly.
I remember queueing at my local post office with a giant sports bag full of fashion jewellery orders. The lady who worked there hated me. 🙂
Amazon and eBay were flooded with jewellery so the best option was Facebook ads and cut out the middleman.
Looking back, if I had known how to sell on Amazon and eBay I could have still made some sales.
Some places you’ll get more sales, do your research and keep tabs on where your sales are coming from.
You should be fine selling in all the marketplaces if the product research was done correctly.
Here’s what I would do and it will more than likely work for you too:
List your product everywhere and Learn how to sell on Amazon!
The marketplaces will vary on location, the main ones are Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping, Facebook Marketplace and classified ads sites. Each new channel will get you a few more sales for a very little cost.
Fulfilment By Amazon
As you may have noticed by now… I love to sell on Amazon! And for good reason.
Amazon’s marketplaces are the biggest and busiest in the world. To truly capitalize on this you will need to put your products into the Amazon Fulfilment Network.
This will give your products massive exposure and furthermore you’ll get next day shipping in your home country.
Advertise on Amazon Ads and eBay. This has had great results for me and I continue to advertise nearly everything I sell to this day.
Brand & private label yourself
This is a course in its self and the next stage once you have mastered how to sell on Amazon.
Adding a brand to your products gives them much more value and customer loyalty. Decide on a brand name that resonates with your target audience which will increase customer loyalty and sales.
Taking It To The Next Level
You should now be selling a good amount if you follow the information on these pages.
So what’s next? Well, there are two main options available…
The first is to import from China again with all different product lines and build a portfolio.
Or Create a brand around your product and sell related products with your company logo on them. Have packaging designed, and get a website as an official home/shop for your brand. This allows more opportunities with branding, you can register your trademark and take your product lines to the next level. Learning to sell on Amazon well will give limitless opportunities and income.
Amazon loves branded products and gives sellers brand recognition, new tools and advanced tutorials on how to sell on Amazon. This has increased my sales by up to 40%
This is just a birds-eye view of how to import from China and the processes involved. I really hope that it points you in the right direction
Make It Happen
I hope you found this article useful, on your first import from China educated and easier. If you combine all the other free resources on this website you will be able to move forward with confidence.
Finally, the only thing for you to do now is to…TAKE ACTION!
Therefore soak up as much information on this website as you can and check out the FREE webinar in the box below.
This very webinar helped change my life years ago and can do the same for you.
Whatever it is nothing will happen if you don’t make it happen.
I wish you all the very best and would love to hear your feedback and experiences in the comments below.
Good luck, and talk below!