Read to Know How to Buy Products in Small Quantity from China



Many small start-up companies strive to learn how to buy from Alibaba to start any small business, importing small quantity of things from China. Most of them lack relevant knowledge and think that it is as simple as finding a Chinese supplier, purchasing things at a low price, shipping them home, and reselling at a higher price in their local market.

However, importing small number of goods from China directly is never easy. You will run into a variety of issues, such as shipping expenses that are larger than the value of the product or your order falling well short of the minimum order quantity of the supplier. In some cases, you may have to abandon your brilliant concept to start a new firm.

In this article, an attempt will be made to cover how you can avoid mistakes and know about how to buy small quantities from Alibaba, as well as some of the other issues you can encounter.

Minimum Order Quantity

Those small business companies who are interested to enter a business must understand the concept of minimum order quantity. To function as proficiently as possible and increase revenue, wholesale distributors generally impose various laws and limits.

They use minimum order quantity method, also called MOQ. This technique has an impact on both sellers as well as buyers in the Business-to-Business (B2B) market, so it is crucial to understand how to use this metric to your advantage, regardless of which side of the transaction you are on.

Let us start by delving into the definition of minimum order quantity in the wholesale distribution market.

What do you mean by minimum order quantity?

A wholesale minimum order quantity (MOQ) of a supplier is the smallest number of units that can be purchased at one time. The term "minimum order policy" is often used to describe this concept.

Suppliers to prevent them from spending resources and time on orders that would yield very little return put this restriction in place. This approach is simple and is used almost by all wholesalers all around the world.

To make this concept clearer, just imagine Company Cloth, as a clothes retailer, placing an order for T-shirts with a certain Supplier.

Company Cloth is looking to add a new t-shirt type to its seasonal assortment. They have no idea how well the collection will sell because it has never been sold before. They go to China supplier, their go-to wholesaler, to see what the smallest possible order that they can make is.

The supplier informs them that there is a minimum order quantity of two hundred shirts. Companies must purchase a minimum of two hundred shirts for every order unless they can arrange a different price with the supplier.

A few wholesale distributors may allow buyers to purchase a small number of sample T-shirts to ensure that it is exactly what they want. However, they will most probably need to pay the retail price rather than wholesale rate.

What is the importance of MOQ?

Most business owners want to make the most money possible. While considering wholesale manufacturing and distribution, the number of units of any product is created and maintained in stock determines a lot of profit maximisation.

You must be calculative with your MOQs to maintain a healthy cash flow and develop your wholesale business.

Why set an MOQ?

Minimum order policies are established by wholesale suppliers and producers to ensure that they make a profit on each order.

Often, when you produce more of something, less it will cost. This must deal with labour expenses, raw resources, and physical capital, among other things.

Producing 10 units of a certain good, for example, may result in a loss, necessitating the production of 30 to break even. It does not make sense to sell 10 units if they will lose money.

That is the reason why this minimum order policy was implemented.

How Does Alibaba Work?

Let us now try to understand how to buy from Alibaba. Whether you are looking for huge or small quantities, Alibaba is the finest place to look for Chinese suppliers. However, if you are purchasing a smaller quantity (less than say USD 400 per item), Alibaba vendors will most likely be unable to assist you because their MOQs are typically larger.

You may be able to pay a higher price for things, and suppliers may be willing to sell to you. Otherwise, you will have to resort to AliExpress. Let us try to know how to buy from Alibaba express.

There is no use spending time to convince them that you would buy a large number in future and that this is just a trial. Because Chinese suppliers hear this from clients all the time, and it never works.

Alibaba is a marketplace where businesses and individuals may buy products directly from manufacturers at wholesale cost. For the most part, it is not an internet store for the typical shopper.

An entrepreneur must first identify their target market. An entrepreneur can choose a product category for browsing to select a niche.

Alibaba sells everything from apparel, textiles, and accessories to machinery, industrial parts, and tools.

You will need to contact numerous vendors once you have found a product you wish to buy and know how to buy from Alibaba safely. You will want to accomplish three things in your discussion with suppliers:

1. Determine how responsive they are.

2. Work out a price.

3. Establishing a deep bond with them.

After you have agreed on a price, you will be able to place your order. Soon after, the merchandise will arrive, and you will be able to begin selling online.

Can anybody place an order to Alibaba?

Yes, Alibaba accepts orders from anyone. Alibaba is considered the largest supplier directories in the world, allowing anyone to place a direct order with a manufacturer. However, you must keep in mind, Alibaba is a marketplace for manufacturers who will engage with both individuals and businesses.

They are essentially an internet directory of producers from whom you can contact and purchase goods. Price, minimum purchase quantity, shipping choices, and even sample costs are all negotiable.

IST_24519_37036.jpgPros of procuring from Alibaba

  1. Alibaba offers the best wholesale prices, allowing you to make more money.

  2. There are millions of products available in a wide range of areas.

  3. The capacity to create your own unique products at a reasonable cost.

  4. Assess credible suppliers quickly and easily by looking at their supplier type, transaction volume, response time, feedback, and rate.

  5. You have greater control over the packing and shipping of your products, allowing you to give a better client experience.

  6. You can check the quality of all the products before they are given to the consumer, which can assist in reducing the number of refunds.

Cons of procuring from Alibaba

  1. On some products, the minimum order can be hundreds of dollars. With a larger upfront cost, the entrepreneur purchasing from Alibaba assumes the risk.

  2. As the brand name of Alibaba products is not officially licenced, entrepreneurs risk facing legal action if they sell them.

  3. The product photographs are not necessarily representative of the final product. As a result, entrepreneurs who get products will not be able to sell and hence, they are frustrated.

  4. When it comes to buying from China, several niches have their own set of challenges that enterprises must overcome. For example, clothing sizes in fashion are frequently in Asian sizing rather than American sizing, resulting in apparel sizes that can be too small for your target population.

  5. Some of the items you ordered may be defective or broken when they arrive. Also, after their 2nd or 3rd shipment, some businesses encounter issues with product quality.

  6. You cannot begin selling on the same day that you place your order. This may cause delays in the sale of your home. Furthermore, if you are selling out of your inventory, then it may take some time to replace things, which makes clients unhappy.

4 Tips to Safely Buy from Alibaba

If you like to know how to buy from Alibaba safely then the following tips can be quite handy for you.

1. First, validate with AliExpress

Before you go ahead and place your Alibaba bulk order, double-check that your product and niche are both valid.

If you decide to open a yoga store, you may start by drop shipping some of the things you like to offer.

Alibaba is perfect for seasoned business owners that have already proven their products.

If you are trying Alibaba for the first time, you might be putting your company at risk unnecessarily.

2. Look for reputable suppliers

If you want to buy on Alibaba with the least amount of risk, check all the boxes under the category of supplier types.

  • Trade assurance: goods are delivered on schedule, and products are thoroughly inspected before being shipped.

  • Gold suppliers: are pre-qualified and must pay a high charge to get this designation, which deters scammers.

  • Assessed supplier: a third-party inspection was performed on the supplier, and a report is available for download.

While ticking these three options will not totally safeguard you, it will put you in a better position as compared to if you choose vendors at random with no guarantee.

You will also want to look at their reviews and ratings to see how good they are at what they do.

3. Avoid buying branded products

To market their products, all these well-known brands require permit.

Unfortunately, while Alibaba frequently sells knockoffs, selling licenced products can lead to legal action.

This rule does not have any exceptions. As a result, do not sell branded goods.

Also, keep an eye for things with unique designs. It is difficult to keep up with all the latest version of video games or film characters. If a design of a product appears to be excellent, it may simply be a licenced product.

We hope with this info you will now know how to buy from Alibaba safely.

Choosing a Product

As there are millions of things to choose from, navigating the website of Alibaba to find products to sell might be difficult. You may have seen recurring trends in the types of things you should sell while choosing a niche.

Let us imagine you have a vacation blog that you would like to monetize by selling travel-related merchandise. Scratch-off travel maps has become very popular, as you may have seen. So, you go to Alibaba to look for them.

Minimum order quantity vs. price

Some travel maps demand a minimum order of 500, while others require only one. Do you only ask for product samples with bigger quantities, or do you stick to those with the lowest possible minimum quantity? 

You will notice that while some of the trip maps appear to be identical, they are sold by different vendors and at varying rates. When someone ordered from AliExpress in the past, he made the mistake of ordering the cheapest items.

He was selling a blanket at the time. Unfortunately, the cheapest product featured the thinnest material, which resulted in a slew of complaints. When he chooses a higher-priced version of the identical product, however, the material was thicker, which buyers appreciated.

The essential takeaway here so far as how to buy from Alibaba is concerned, is never making decisions only based on product pricing. Lower prices frequently imply lower quality.

Select the right filters for suppliers

Another thing to know while trying to know how to buy from Alibaba express is, narrow down your possibilities, start with the filters at the top. Because let us face it, there are just too many varieties to sort through with 849 options to choose from.

To reduce your supplier risk, investigate Gold Plus and Trade Assurance suppliers under supplier types.

Because of your product listing efforts, you have 36 listings. A cursory glance reveals that some of the listed products do not match the minimum order requirement, reducing the product pool even further.

There are approximately 20 products from which to choose. You can further narrow it down by selecting the top 5 styles you believe your target audience will enjoy. Then you can go to the following stage, which is contacting vendors for sample requests.

You can also use the samples for taking the product shots and determine, which product converts the best, so you know which one to order in big quantities.

IST_24519_20056.jpgContacting suppliers from Alibaba

When you arrive on a product page, you will notice a prominent orange button that is labelled “Contact supplier” that allows you to contact the vendor before placing your order.

Before you begin your order, you do not need to contact the source. However, it is a good idea if you ask some questions to gain more information about the goods.

Besides knowing how to buy small quantities from Alibaba, it is important that you must also evaluate the quality of your merchandise once they have arrived.

Here are some pointers to keep in mind when assessing inventory:

1. Examine and test every product

Look for rips or tears in clothing if you are selling it. This is especially crucial if it is lace. When it comes to apparel, double-check the measurements to be sure they are correct.

If you offer any products that are made of felt, wood, or sticky substance, be sure they are free of dust and filth. You should also check for any stains of ink.

You should also check to determine if each product includes all the necessary components. If you are selling items that come in several pieces, double-check that each item has all the pieces.

2. Do a count check

If you ordered 300 items, double-check that you received all of them by counting them. This can be a problem if you have a lot of orders.

When only 5 items are ordered, it is easy to notice if one is missing. If your inventory happens to be in the range of hundreds or thousands, though you should double-check that you got all you paid for.

3. Examine product packaging

While you may prefer to have your products properly packaged in your own unique packaging, this is not always possible. You should keep an eye on how your products have been packaged. Here are a few questions you might wish to consider:

  • Is each item packaged in plastic, bubble wrap, or a box?

  • Were the things well packaged? (Depending on how they arrive, this could be a red flag.)

  • What is the best packing for your customers based on the packaging that you received?


Finally, while considering how to buy from Alibaba you must consider whether Alibaba is the right option for you. If you are just starting out as an entrepreneur, drop shipping products from AliExpress would be a better option.

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