Since the Coronavirus pandemic has hit China’s manufacturing hub, as a retailer there’s already a good chance that you are already feeling the effects of the production standstill. And unfortunately for all retailers, with China being the largest export market worldwide, the ability to source products will become increasingly difficult, no matter your location. As more and more people are practicing social distancing, we will be seeing an increase in online orders – which means that some retailers will need extra stock to keep up with the demand.
Since China’s production is in a standstill, how can you mitigate against it? Unfortunately, you cannot, at least not completely – an alternative solution would be to source products outside of China – Alibaba.
This doesn’t mean that it’s a perfect solution since there’s no guarantee that these suppliers aren’t sourcing products from China themselves- but, it’s a good starting point for developing a contingency plan.
Despite it being a Chinese website, it’s worth making a note that Alibaba’s suppliers are located all over the globe – in fact, you can simply filter them by country. So, if the only reason you’re considering alternative sites is that you’re looking for suppliers out of China, we wouldn’t recommend cutting Alibaba from the list – although you should definitely make sure you’re protecting yourself as a buyer.
Before jumping in, please note that this is by no means a complete list of supplier directories
In this blog post, we’ve put together a list of alternatives to Alibaba and Aliexpress – the two leading platforms in China used for wholesale trade as well as some additional opportunities for finding reliable suppliers.
Let’s start off with eSources
You can start off with a Free membership – but note that you won’t have access to eSource’s entire supplier list. If you would like to access all of their suppliers, you will have to consider getting a membership.
For complete access, you will have to subscribe to their premium membership, that starts at £20/month or you can pay £50 for half a year and £75 for a whole year of membership
Please note that not all suppliers that are listed on eSources are verified, but you can easily find out if a supplier is verified or not by simply looking out for the site’s TradePass icon.
Fortunately for you, there are no subscription fees for buyers, only the suppliers are charged to be listed on the website.
The site has a strict verification process, it verifies each supplier address before allowing them to list their products on to the site and they also encourage buyers to report sellers if they notice any fraudulent activities.
If you are reading this article from the US, then we would recommend using SaleHoo
For a $67 annual fee, you will be granted access to all of SaleHoo’s suppliers. The yearly annual fee also gives you access to a member’s only forum and the SaleHoo Market Research Lab, where you can see what products are in high demand.
They also provide a security screening for all of their suppliers, making them a great option for inexperienced sellers.
As a buyer, you don’t have to worry about any fees, as the service if free. While not clear how ThomasNet verifies their suppliers, they do pride key information for each, including the supplier’s location annual revenue, the year the company was founded and also the number of employees.
When browsing their directory, you are also given the option to filter your searches by location and quality certifications, for added peace of mind.
We’re not done with the list of our recommended suppliers yet – TradeIndia is India’s largest B2B platform supplier platform. You do not have to pay any fees as a buyer – you can browse through the supplier database for absolutely free.
We don’t know much about their verification process, but the information they provide can help you get an understanding of each supplier’s credibility.
Finding suppliers outside of Alibaba can be difficult, but it is important to build a strong relationship with your suppliers, no matter where they are based – establishing and maintaining good relationships with them is crucial for ongoing business success.
Maintaining a good relationship with your suppliers not only allows you to negotiate better rates, but it also allows you to minimize costly issues such as not receiving a warning on products that are being discontinued or delays in supply.