Flipping Through Product Pages on Alibaba
But there are soooo many! If you thought having an entire aisle for cookies at the grocery store was dangerous, just wait till you dive into the wonderful and overcrowded world of Alibaba. Searching for something like "bluetooth speaker" turns up 830,000 results, "kitchen utensils" brings up 300,000 results, and "car parts" reveals 600,000 results. This can quickly turn into a headache.
Pro tip: browse general categories, write down ideas, specify those ideas, and think of useful keywords to locate those ideas.
Now that you have some direction, it's time to start the real searching!
Let's try "bluetooth speaker." Quickly flicking through the first page of results gives me some ideas. I decide to look for "small battery-powered bluetooth speakers." 830,000 results immediately drop to 611.
Next, check the boxes for "Trade Assurance," "Gold Supplier," and "Assessed Supplier." Results drop to 30. With 3 extra words and 3 clicks, we've narrowed down our search by 99.99%!
Let's take a look at the first 4 results
Useful Listing Information
Looking at any of the results, we can immediately see:
- MOQ (minimum order quantity)
- For these 4 products, 1 manufacturer will let you order just 1, 2 require you to order at least 1000, and 1 requires you to order at least 2000.
- Note: this can be negotiable, but don't expect something with MOQ=2000 to drop to 5. A reasonable expectation might be a 50% reduction.
- Price per piece
- Note: this can also be negotiable
Looking farther to the right, we can see some useful information about the supplier.
- The number of years that the manufacturer has been a "Gold Supplier" (read more about that in Part 2 - Basic Ways to Protect Your Money)
- "Transaction Levels" are "based on an accumulated score awarded for total online transaction volume and amount"
- The number and dollar value of the transactions they've had over the last 6 months
- "Response rate" tells us how often they respond to customer inquiries
For all of these, higher is generally better. If a company has been on Alibaba longer, handles more transactions, processes a higher volume of sales, and responds more frequently to customer inquiries, these are usually good things for us buyers.
Compare that to a product that I found by randomly clicking around on Alibaba and then selecting page 23:
Here, there's only 1/2 diamond for transaction level, 1 transaction in the last 6 months, worth only $5,000. This is not necessarily a bad product, but you better know what you're looking at and who you're talking to if you plan to make a purchase from them. Less information is generally riskier.
Check out Part 4 - Plunging in Product Pages to learn gain a fuller understanding of some of Alibaba's product pages and available data!