Retail Arbitrage 2.0
The idea of purchasing products at a low cost from China and selling them for a high price in America seems simple. It's that simplicity that has lured many people into "AliWorld." Alibaba and Aliexpress have a product selection that is incomparably larger than almost anywhere else. The potential to lower your product prices while simultaneously increasing profit margins is an unmistakable draw. But I'm sure for many a sinister thought remains: how can I trust that my money won't just disappear into the hinterlands of China, never to be seen again?
There are many things you should do to protect your money, from using a credit card (better fraud protection), setting up a PayPal account (low risk payment option), and doing your due diligence (proper research, requesting samples, etc).
There are also some quick and easy ways to narrow down your search to the (likely) safest results.
When searching for products on Alibaba, you can immediately see curious-sounding some check boxes.
- "Trade assurance" helps buyers in the event of shipping and quality-related disputes
- If a supplier does not meet the requirements for shipping time or product quality agreed in your contract, you can open a dispute. If you can't reach a solution with the supplier and the supplier is found to be at fault, Alibaba.com will provide you with a refund for your covered amount.
- Can protect your pre-shipment or post-shipment amount (depending on what you choose)
- "Gold supplier" is a premium membership for suppliers. Ultimately, being a gold supplier on Alibaba doesn't mean too much to you as a consumer.
- "Assessed suppliers" are those factories that have been inspected by top global agencies like Bureau Veritas.
Narrowing Alibaba Search Results
By selecting all 3 of these, the number of results in our search dwindles significantly.
With 3 simple clicks we dropped from 13,535 products to just 1,277 (a 90% reduction). While this will undoubtedly remove many perfectly good products and suppliers from your search results, the added safety and reduced options can certainly be helpful, especially for beginners!
Stay smart and do everything you can to protect your money. Happy product hunting!
Continue onto Part 3 - Filtering Results at a Glance to learn some easy ways to separate the trustworthy suppliers from the riskier ones.
For more details about supplier assessments, see below!