Feb 21

Sourcing goods from China to resell in Western countries can mean huge profits. At the same time, many end consumers choose to buy products from Chinese online retail stores as they can save really much by bypassing the various levels of middle men. However, it is never easy or hassle-free to trade with Chinese suppliers before trust is established. This post is going to talk about the major concerns over doing business with Chinese suppliers online and a few small recommendations on how to cope with them.

Payment Security

Payment MethodsThe biggest concern is about the security of payment: Which payment method do I use? Will my money go forever while my order never arrives? If the product I receive does not work as described or is damaged, can I get my money back?, and so on. We all know that paying by credit card is the safest option as we can file a chargeback on the purchase if we are not satisfied for whatever reason. Or, at least we should use Paypal to make the payment as it is an internationally reputable payment service provider. Nevertheless, we have to face the fact that most Chinese suppliers, especially smaller ones, have great difficulties in applying for credit card because of the strict government regulations and criteria. As a result, while being the least safe to buyers, Western Union and wire transfer are the most popular payment methods accepted by the vast majority of Chinese sellers.

If you pay direct to the seller by either of them, your money is completely exposed to any potential risks. Anyway, to minimize such risks, you use transaction websites like AliExpress.com (similar to eBay) as such they provide payment protection service – money is sent to the sites first and then released to the suppliers after items are received. Of course, you are encouraged to choose suppliers who provide safer payment options as possible as you can. Generally, bigger China-based online stores all accept Paypal and credit card payments: Lightinthebox.com, DinoDirect.com (also see DinoDirect Alternatives), Milanoo.com, FocalPrice.com, to name just a few. If you really want to try smaller Chinese online shopping websites that only accept Western Union or wire transfer, we would suggest you start with a fairly small order first to test the water before you build up your order over time.

Quality & Name-Brand Products

The quality issue is the second biggest concern. Made-in-China products tend to be viewed as poor quality, partly because they are extremely low priced. In our experience, it all depends. Comparatively speaking, products offered by more world-renowned companies are better in quality as reputation is what they are striving hard to gain and maintain in order to keep long-term business relationships with buyers. However, it does not mean that all small suppliers sell inferior quality merchandise. On the whole, apparel and accessories have less complaint in terms of quality while consumer electronics, computers and communications products have more.

When the prices are too good to be true, you should heads up. Bear in mind that most name brand goods offered by mainland China are either replicas or fakes. Don’t expect that you can get an authentic Apple iPad for only $100. Unfortunately, some people do believe they can. Chances are these people end up posting bad reviews against the sellers after they received the goods, claiming that they were ripped off by scams.

Electronic Gadgets

Image courtesy of Lightinthebox.com

On the other hand, generic goods from China are relatively free of brand problems, quality made and high-margin. These products don’t have to be labeled with a brand name in order to sell well on the global market. Besides, they are usually offered at unbeatable prices, enabling resellers to earn great revenues.

Returns, Exchanges & Refunds

Almost all legitimate Chinese online shops indicate their policies of returns, exchanges and refunds clearly on their sites. In case you have any problems regarding the goods you purchase in the future, do remember to read carefully every detail of the policies before you place an order there. Besides, you can also contact their customer service representatives to confirm every aspect you are interested in. Overall, the return shipping fee is on buyers when a return or an exchange occurs.

Besides the major concerns mentioned about, there are various other minor concerns about shopping online from Chinese suppliers. Anyway, most Chinese sellers are honest, integrate and hard-working. In order to attract more repeat customers, they are doing their best to provide quality products and services. Just bear the concerns in mind and be cautious when dealing with China’s suppliers. In addition, we highly recommend you do some research to see if the supplier you want to trade with is a scam or not. You can give them a trial call, for instance, to confirm that the company does exist and provide real services to global buyers. Searching the web for reviews of the supplier can also help you make a better judgment. One of our previous post may help too: Must-Read Tips for Finding Reliable China Online Stores

Should you have any other concerns, just leave your comment below. We will be glad to help if they are not beyond our knowledge and experience.

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