Questions to Ask Your Potential Alibaba Suppliers

Alibaba is a great online platform to look for potential suppliers from Mainland China.
But what questions do you need to ask potential Alibaba suppliers?
Today we show you what they are…
Let’s say you’ve completed your search for the best potential suppliers. Making contact with them is next. Suppliers, especially Gold members, include an immense amount of information on Alibaba. In Alibaba, there will always be a few unanswered questions. These questions include those about the supplier, product, payment, and shipment. Not only does asking give you answers, but it identifies the potential scammers as well. Here are some of the most common questions you can ask to check:
Questions about the company/Alibaba suppliers
When asking questions in Alibaba, everything must be in order. If you’re thinking of asking a potential supplier, start with their company first. If anything confuses you about their Alibaba profile or minisite, start from there. Here are other Alibaba suppliers questions you can ask:
  • Do you have other company names aside from your company name in Alibaba? (In case you’re thinking of cross checking company facts online)
  • When was your company established? (Try to find a seasoned company that has more than 10 years’ experience. This will assure you that they’re experienced in dealing with different customers)
  • What’s the complete address of your company/factory? (This is important for buyers whom are planning to seek third party inspection services)
  • Are you a trading company or a manufacturer? (Trading companies are mostly middle men while manufacturers own the factories, hence lower prices)
  • How many employees does your company have at the moment? (Companies with more than 300 employees usually charge lower)
  • Do you have experience in transacting with businesses from (your country)? (This assures you that their company has shipped to your country without any problems. You can find this on the supplier’s Alibaba profile. But if you can’t find the transaction within 6 months, ask)
  • What certifications does your company have? (In case they didn’t include this on their Alibaba profile)
  • Do you have an Alibaba minisite or a company website I can check?
  • What are your main products? (If the company has a wide variety of products. If they do, it’s also possible that the supplier is a trading company aka a middle man which you must avoid savings-wise)
  • Do you have pictures of your company, office, factory, finished products, or employees I can see? (In case you find identical pictures from another supplier on Alibaba)
Questions about the product
After asking your Alibaba suppliers details about their company, ask about their products. Not all suppliers give out specific details about their products. Some may provide them, but are incomplete or confusing due to poor grammar. Most suppliers are responsive to product inquiries as long as they see the eagerness in your questions. Here are some product questions you can ask your potential supplier:
  • What is your lead time? (This is another way of saying, “How long until my order gets done?”)
  • Do you accept customized orders? (This is a good determinant to see if the supplier manufactures the product themselves)
  • What other materials will you be using for the product?
  • What material is the (specific part) made of?
  • What is this product’s measurements in ft./in./cm/mm?
  • What is this products weight in kg/g/mg?
  • What materials will you be using to package my orders?
  • What are the care instructions for this product?
  • What certifications does this product have?
  • Does this product have any possible harmful materials? (Because not knowing will cause you more problems if it gets held at customs)
Questions about payment
Payment schemes are among the major aspects of Alibaba. Because of this, Alibaba has made it a point to make payment easier for buyers and Alibaba suppliers alike. If you’re curious about payment alternatives, ask away. There’s always a good chance that a potential supplier can agree to your payment terms when large orders are involved. If not included in the supplier’s Alibaba listing, ask for the following:
  • What payment schemes do you accept?
  • Will you accept another form of payment?
  • Can I get an invoice?
  • Do you issue receipts?
  • If I’m not satisfied with my item, will you issue a refund?
  • Are tax fees included?
Questions about shipment
When it comes to shipment, there are a few things you need to ask your supplier. These questions must have something to do with the schedule, cost, and mode of shipment. Feel free to ask your Alibaba supplier of the following:
  • How long will it take you to package an item?
  • How long before you ship the item/s?
  • What material will you be using to pack the item/s?
  • What’s the cheapest shipment option?
  • What’s the safest shipment option?
  • What’s the fastest shipment option?
  • Which courier will you be using?
  • What is the standard cost per kilogram including shipment by air cargo?
  • What is the standard cost per kilogram including shipment by sea freight?
Asking your potential supplier specific questions is a vital part of every business partnership. It eliminates the need for business partners to fix issues over misunderstanding. The key to great communication lies within being considerate and precise. So, express questions and answers in simplified English as much as possible. By following this, you’ll have a better experience at finding good and honest suppliers.
Do you have more questions in mind that you’d like to ask suppliers? If you do, please feel free to share it in a comment below. For more eBay and Alibaba tips and tricks, please visit our blog today.
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