China is the manufacturing hub of the world. Sourcing from China is extremely cost effective and can be that X-factor in bringing success to your business. But how do you source from China? Don’t worry, you don’t have to travel there. All you need is a reliable ‘Sourcing Agent’ in China.
What is a Sourcing Agent?
Sourcing Agents are nothing but people who are based out of China and who have an eye for business. They do the sourcing on your behalf, keep a check on quality, handle the logistics and all other associated work. Since more and more businesses are sourcing from China now, sourcing agents are a trusted resource nowadays. Today, even the most experiences businesses and the biggest companies are taking the help of sourcing agents.
Advantages of using a sourcing agent in China
Quality Control: The biggest problem people face while importing products from a foreign country is the quality. Keeping a check on quality is not easy. A sourcing agent does just that for you. He is your eye and ear in China. He is your person and will work for your benefit so that you don’t have to compromise on anything.
Overcoming the cultural barrier: No one expects you to learn Mandarin for running your business. And we all know how proud the Chinese are regarding their culture. A sourcing agent is a Chinese person who speaks fluent Mandarin. Naturally, the manufacturers feel free to communicate with them rather than a foreigner. This removes any communication barrier that may exist between you and the manufacturer.
Cost effective: Consider the cost of hiring a sourcing agent versus setting up your own office in China. The former will be much more cost-effective. Plus, since the sourcing agents speak Mandarin, they can do the price negotiation with the manufacturers on your behalf. As a result, you will be able to get your products at a cheaper rate than your competitor who does not have a sourcing agent. How cool is that?
Often small-scale businesses do not import products but rather source from local suppliers because their quantity is simply not enough for importing. Many sourcing agents work specifically with small businesses taking orders of as low as $200/item. Going with them will bring economies of scale to your business.
Things that can go wrong without a sourcing agent
People often wonder what can go wrong if they don’t hire a sourcing agent. Well, according to us – many things. First of all, you could lose all the money you have paid to the manufacturer. Often people pay money and the product never arrives. Even if the products arrive, they can be damaged, faulty or not the thing you want. You will be able to do nothing since you have never seen the person. Moreover, sending money to an unknown person has its own risks, considering rampant monetary frauds going on all around us. You might have to deal with customs. Customs clearance may take days and cost a lot. If this happens in China, you will have no control over it since you are located in a different country. A sourcing agent can help you in this and take a headache off you.
Learn from those who have done it
People who already use sourcing agents highly recommend it to others. People have experienced 80% reduction in problems like miscommunication with the manufacturer and logistic issues. They have also told that since a Chinese person communicates, the manufacturers feel more at ease. Cracking deals becomes easier.
Why not go with an e-commerce portal?
Many businesses prefer to source their products through e-commerce portals like alibaba.com or Amazon instead of tying up with a sourcing agent. But we recommend sourcing agents. Why? Because all the products you sell may not be from the same manufacturer. You will then have to interact with multiple manufacturers who may or may not understand your language. Soon you will find yourself going crazy with this task and your mailbox full of communication with them. This will get in the way of your main task i.e. handling the business.
The product prices that you see on e-commerce portals can often be brought down if a Chinese speaker negotiates. This is a great advantage and works in the favour of a lot of businesses.
A sourcing agent will handle the logistics on your behalf. You won’t have to face a scenario where five suppliers ship out five different things for you. Instead, your sourcing agent would send one consignment containing five products. You will be able to save on shipping and import fee.
Finally, there is the concept of the quality check which we have already discussed before in this article.
How should you choose a sourcing agent?
As mentioned earlier in the article, sourcing agent is a thriving business in China, thanks to the global demand of Chinese products. Therefore choosing which sourcing agent is right for you is no easy task. Choose a company which has a team rather than going with a particular individual. Having a team will ensure that you don’t have to depend on a specific person. Rather you will have many people looking after your concerns. Moreover, go with a company which has a repute so that your sourcing agent cannot vanish in the thin air one day. Another important thing to note is that the costing that your sourcing agent gives you should not have a hidden cost and charges.
Sourcing agents are a boon to a business. It helps a business, small or large to get the benefit of cost-effective Chinese manufacturing at a reasonable price. It really is a win-win situation.