In an increasingly globalized world, it’s likely you’re sitting with your business on one side of the planet and your supplier on the other (most probably China). It’s also likely you don’t see any reason to go visit your supplier, maybe because you feel you’ve established a good relationship with them or maybe you have just found your ideal supplier online. Regardless of which phase you are in with your supplier, it is important to meet them face-to-face. Here’s why:
- New Beginnings
Either you’re just starting to look for suppliers or you’ve just begun interacting with them, either ways, you should test out the water before diving in. If you found/are looking for your supplier online, it will definitely save you the trouble and cost of travelling but here’s what you’re missing out on.
Firstly, you have no idea what the quality of the product is going to be. Without being able to touch and feel and see it first hand, you won’t be able to tell if the colour, material, and other factors are exactly as you imagined them or required them to be. This could be a huge problem for you if you order without first seeing the product.
Secondly, you have to build an understanding with your supplier. This could take more time when done digitally, not to mention the huge room for error. Expectations can be misunderstood and will take longer to resolve. If you meet your supplier face-to-face first, you can settle several issues immediately such as payment plan, order quantity, delivery time and interval etc.
- Getting to Know You
This is the stage where you’ve known and dealt with your supplier a few times. You have established the basics with them and have a flow when operating with them.
Chinese people operate on the concept of guan xi. Guan xi essentially means building a relationship or a connection that allows for mutual trust. Although guan xi may seem like a vague concept that might not be worth investing your time and resources, it could be what helps you get a lower price on your next order.
By meeting your supplier face-to-face regularly and building a relationship with them, you are opening doors for yourself and giving your business a chance to grow.
- Established Relations
This is the stage where you’ve been working with your supplier for a couple of years. You have a good working understanding with them and are comfortable with the dynamic.
Chances are that if you’ve been in business for a while, you’re ordering larger quantities which means there is a higher risk of defective products. Curb that risk by visiting your supplier on a regular basis. Make sure you communicate the importance of quality to them and ensure the production line meets all your standards.
Get your ticket before 31 January and save US$200
Do I always have to visit the supplier at their factory?
Absolutely not. You can ask them to meet you halfway and find a common ground that works for both of you. Trade shows like Global Sources’ is a great place to meet your supplier. Chances are they will be participating at these trade shows. This allows you to check out other products and suppliers as well.
If you’re an eCommerce seller and are planning a trip to visit your supplier in Hong Kong and/or China, make sure you check out Global Sources Summit for Amazon and online sellers.
What is Global Sources Summit
Global Sources Summit is a 3-day conference for online and Amazon sellers sourcing private label products from China. The conference will be held 27-29 April 2019 in Hong Kong.
The Summit is co-located with Global Sources Lifestyle and Fashion products sourcing trade fairs so you can also meet thousands of China suppliers at the same time.
The Lifestyle show covers the following product categories: gifts & premiums, smart toys and gadgets, home decorations, office supplies, among others.
The Fashion fair will feature exhibitors in these categories: fashion accessories, fabrics and apparel, and more.
Use the code SS100 for US$100 off