As B2B platforms like Alibaba and e-sourcing have grown in popularity, small and medium-sized businesses now believe that sourcing in far-off nations is as simple as shopping on eBay.
It is evident that modern Internet-based technologies, including chat, social media, and B2B platforms, have provided a wealth of tools that may frequently be combined to effectively deliver the desired conclusion with reliable suppliers and goods.
However, perfect knowledge of them is necessary for improved performance, which necessitated increasing amounts of expertise with all of the options. However, this is insufficient because distant sourcing from China comes with a host of additional costs and potential risks.
Hiring Chinese buying agents who can act as your local representative might help you reduce the risks associated with procurement outsourcing in China. Using buying agents helps some of the most prosperous companies in the world guarantee product quality and delivery on schedule.
A sourcing representative will serve as your eyes and ears on the ground, ensuring that all of your orders meet your quality standards and are produced in accordance with your specifications and terms.
It is not as simple as searching online and contacting the first business you come across to hire a product sourcing agent in China. After all, you want a long-term partner, a group to which you feel confident committing your supply chain. You should take your time while choosing an agent.
Your initial request should be for their portfolio such as:
How many years have they been working in the field?
What are their specialties and services?
Where are their offices in China?
Check out their management group as well. Working with sourcing organisations run by westerners who speak your language and comprehend your working style is frequently a good choice.
A few top sourcing brokers have made a name for themselves in the field and formed alliances with regional manufacturers, vendors, logistical firms, auditors, and inspectors.
It is crucial to work with a local Chinese buying agent that is well-connected and who knows the market like the back of their hand. They should be knowledgeable about things like price swings, customs laws, clearances for particular nations, and other things as well.
The best sourcing companies in China will comprehend your desire to defend against wasting any money or resources. Order a sample first, then when you are happy, buy a small quantity to assess their uniformity and duplicating abilities.
After placing a test order, if you feel confident in the sourcing agents, suppliers, or manufacturers, place a larger purchase. You don't have to instantly order a big batch; you can select to add a little bit more frequently to each order.
A few different types of Chinese buying agent
Chinese sourcing agencies vary greatly from one another. There are three basic categories of Chinese buying agent, generally speaking:
1. Individual sourcing agent
These are mostly local people, not businesses, who have their own networks and market understanding of China. If you are fortunate, you might come across someone who excels in their field.
Beware, though, as individual agents frequently charge manufacturers commissions. Knowing this is crucial since they may support the manufacturer in disputes.
2. Sourcing agency
More sourcing agents, each an authority in a distinct field, are typically employed by sourcing agencies. As a result, they may serve additional markets and sectors and provide a wider range of product sourcing services.
3. Full-service sourcing company
A full-service sourcing company offers a wider range of services than a sourcing agency, which is the difference between the two. An excellent Chinese sourcing company can assist you with:
OEM or ODM services
In the long run, working with full-service product sourcing agents can help you save a tonne of time and money. You deal with a single business that handles everything rather than visiting various logistical suppliers.
Why should you go for a Chinese sourcing company?
A Chinese sourcing company can help any retail and eCommerce company. Join forces with a sourcing company if you identify with any of the following statements:
You have zero experience importing products from China
You need OEM, product development, or private labelling
You need extra services like inventory storage, order fulfilment, etc.
You like to purchase bulk items from China and then scale your business
You don’t speak the Chinese language and don’t have any local presence in China
You want to reduce the risk of buying from certain unknown suppliers
You need someone who can perform factory audits in China as well as quality inspection
You want to source from certain B2B websites such as Alibaba, 1688, or tap into Chinese local markets and trade shows.
Benefits of hiring a Chinese sourcing company
Working with a Chinese sourcing company has many advantages, especially if it offers full-service. A few most prominently are the following.
1. It saves time
With the help of a skilled sourcing agency, you can focus on what is actually essential to you—marketing and sales—while also saving a tonne of time and work.
You won't need to worry about any aspect of supply chain management if you work with a full-service sourcing firm. Your sourcing agency will handle everything, including product sourcing, branding, packaging, and fulfilment.
2. Matches you with the appropriate suppliers
Finding the appropriate suppliers is a further benefit of utilising a sourcing agent. Why do we use the term "appropriate"? Here, we refer to the vendors who provide the best price to quality and response times.
Scaling and expanding will be a lot simpler after you identify the appropriate and trustworthy suppliers.
3. Less chance of fraud
Using a sourcing agent will significantly reduce your chance of falling for fraud or being duped. Chinese sourcing agencies typically have ties to long-term suppliers for a variety of products through their trusted network.
Working with an agency is therefore undoubtedly advantageous in this regard.
4. Negotiating product prices
A sourcing agent's duties include negotiating reduced product prices. They are the finest at doing it! A sourcing agent can therefore assist you if you are not the best negotiator.
5. A local visibility and network
Chinese sourcing agents can locate the greatest prices because they are knowledgeable about the area, speak the language, and are natives. It is impossible for a foreigner to navigate the Chinese market on their own.
You can stay compliant with local laws and prevent translation problems in official export papers by consulting a local expert, such as a sourcing agent in China.
When producing a product in China, it is extremely crucial to have an agent that is fluent in the language. Most Chinese producers interact with locals and don't speak English or any other foreign languages.
6. Help with import, export, and shipping incoterms
Your chosen sourcing agent must be knowledgeable about export/import procedures and global business. They should, at least, be knowledgeable about shipping Incoterms and assist you with customs clearance.
7. Managing numerous suppliers
If you need to work with several suppliers, sourcing agents can also be quite beneficial.
For regular eCommerce companies that sell a variety of things, this is frequently the case. They frequently have to work with multiple suppliers. And without a sourcing agent, this can take a long period.
8. Taking charge of product development
If you are creating a new product, working directly with a manufacturing in China is considerably more difficult.
Your company will benefit greatly from having a local representative who can monitor manufacturing, conduct a factory audit, and speaks the local language.
9. Quality control and checks
When you require a third-party quality control provider, sourcing agents are an excellent choice because they are nearby and can quickly return or replace any defective goods.
Unfortunately, supervising Chinese manufacturers and controlling production while you are not physically present is extremely difficult.
10. Product and package branding
Next, whether you require white labelling, product branding, or branded packaging services, a sourcing company can be helpful.
11. Warehousing and inventory storage
A reputable sourcing agent would also provide inventory storage options and warehousing services close to your clients.
This is a fantastic benefit that will let you provide faster delivery times. A representative with American warehouses, for instance, can be invaluable for optimising your logistics if majority of your customers are there.
12. Order fulfilment and shipping
Finally, you are going to benefit from hiring a sourcing agent that can fulfil your orders and offers many different worldwide shipping methods.
In summary, following are the importance to find any reliable sourcing company for your orders in China
To reduce international cost of shipping substantially
To make sure of good quality of the purchased orders and hence create a great brand image
To reduce international transferring cost
To get constructive support on China supply chain management
Finally, with the help of a Chinese buying agent you can create a long-term business development.