Whether taking your first steps into the world of online entrepreneurship or hoping to take your existing business to the next level, the opportunities to make your brand international have never been better. Before you do, though, you'll need to master therealm of global sourcing.
Without the right suppliers, vendors, and products, your business model cannot succeed. Therefore,building a solid plan of action is essential. Follow the steps below fordomestic and international progress.
Related:C Larboard Consultant
Identify The Needs of Your Business
Every business is unique, which is why understanding your brand requirements is anessential prerequisite of tackling theglobal sourcing process.
When analyzing the individual attributes of your business and the potential product sources that may be best suited to your company, these contributing factors should help guide you towards the mostpractical and financially viable solutions:
- What territories does the business want to target?
- Which types of products are to be sold?
- Does the brand already have a robust domestic reputation?
- How much capital is available?
Ultimately, you'll never find the smoothest pathway unless you establish the intended destination. Following this, you can start to consider your options.
Study Your Industry's Distribution Channels
Research and preparation are fundamental features of finding the formula for success. When looking to expand the business into international arenas, understanding thevarious distribution channels is arguably themost crucial factor of all.
The three main channels are as follows:
- Direct distribution channels, which are where your website sells directly to the consumer.
- Indirect business to retailer distribution channels, in which you sell to a store that then sells to a client.
- Indirect distribution channels including wholesalers, which is where you sell to a wholesaler, who then sells to the retailer, before finally selling to the consumer.
There are pros and cons to consider for each option. In some cases, your industry mayhave restrictions on the path it must take. For example, companies that deal with alcohol are prohibited from selling directly to the consumer or retailer in some countries.
Ultimately, you need tolist each country that you wish to reach before looking at the legalities and logistics of the available distribution channels.
Need advice on global sourcing? Check out how C Larboard can help you
Reach Out To Manufacturers
Whether you manufacture domestic products in-house or not, products made for international markets will likely bemanufactured in the designated country. After all, this avoids a lot of hassle – not to mention the expenses – of importing and exporting. So, you will need toteam up with a reliable manufacturer.
There areseveral places to find potential manufactures, including:
- Directories such as Maker's Row, Kompass, or Sourcify.
- Google searches and social media searches.
- Referrals, either from your contacts or business forums.
When reaching out to manufacturers, be sure to ask for proof of their credentials while alsoenquiring about their turnaround times andproduction volume limitations, includingminimum orders.
Similarly, you may want to use a manufacturer like C Larboard that can produce a wide range of bespoke goods within a related field. After all, any prospective partnership must benefit your company as well as theirs.
Contact a Wholesale Supplier.
Having products manufactured specifically for your business can be a long and tedious process. Many new companies view this concept as along-term aspiration rather than something for the immediate future. Therefore, contacting a wholesaler may be the best solution at your disposal, not because wholesaling allows you to source products at a cheaper cost, but because your time to market will be much faster.
When contacting a wholesaler, be sure to ask the following;
- Are products continuously available for repeat orders?
- Are order fulfillment elements included?
- Can packaging be tailored to your brand?
- Do the costs include delivery charges?
- What are the min and max order quantities or MOQ’s?
- Do they offer drop shipping services?
Wholesalers can be identified through various methods. Before committing to any wholesaler, you mustcheck the reviews to confirm that they are capable of handling your product sourcing requirements.
Conduct Keyword and Product Research
It's pointless finding a product at a reasonable price if it isn't destined to sell. Therefore,analyzing domestic and international markets is crucial. The contrasts may mean that some products are better suited to one market rather than another.
Once you'velisted the right products, you can think about the search termsthat are used by consumers in this market. Not only will this aid your subsequent marketing endeavors, but it may help you sourceproducts by choosing variants on the key phrases that have been left untouched by consumers and retailers. This is a particularly good way to grab a bargain.
Try B2B Marketplaces
As a new entrepreneur, you may assume that all other brands within your industry are direct competitors. They aren't.B2B marketplaces are anexcellent place to sourcenew products. Whether you plan to repackage them with your branded materials (when it's legal) or resell as a distributor, after all, several popular sitesallow third-parties to sell their goods to other businesses through wholesale operationsincluding:
- Amazon Business
Once again, when sourcing products this way, it's essential toverify the quality of the products as well as thespeed of the service. Nonetheless, it can be a great way to handle your global sourcing challenges.
Astrong network of contacts is undoubtedly one of the most potent assets at any company's disposal, especially when looking at the prospect of international sales.Experts, particularly from other industries, canpoint you in the direction of trusted brands that they know. In turn, it canhelp you source the right goods through wholesalers, drop shippers, manufacturers, and independent craftspeople.
Whether looking for wholesale goods, white-label goods, or bespoke products, thefollowing sources are all great for networking:
- Online business forums and directories
- Online business seminars
- Real-worldbusiness networking events
- Real-world promotional days
Curious about wholesale suppliers, vendors, and products?Contact C Larboard today
Go To a Trade Show
Business trade shows are excellent places tobuild strong working relationships in various aspects of the operation. As far as global product sourcing is concerned, it offers a wealth of potential benefits that online interactions simply cannot match.
While it does requireone-time travel to the destination, the following benefits are assured:
- You gain a chance tosee products in person.
- You canask as many questions about products and the supply processes.
- It's a chance to see whether other brands are interested in the products.
- It's a chance toanalyze consumerinterest.
A trade show also offers the opportunity to haggle on prices or discuss mutually beneficial moves. In some cases, it may be possible tofind retailers that can stock your proposed goods.
If you want toachieve the very best results in your global product sourcing endeavors, you must follow a winning action plan at all times. Only the highest levels of consistency will guide you to the desired outcomes. So, be sure to remember these factors:
- Never rush the decision. If you buy bad, you'll buy it twice.
- Always factor in the tax and duty implications and otherhidden costs in each territory.
- Seekfull transparency from any distributor, wholesaler, or manufacturer.
- Usesecure payments that show thecurrency exchange rates.
- Be ready to have another supplier on standby.
If you're a little concerned about a prospective supplier, why not place a small order to a friend or relative in the desired location. This can be the litmus test that will provide answers one way or the other.
Theright choice of product is an integral ingredient in the recipe for business success, not least when trying to reach a new demographic or audience. Whether you plan to sell items to consumers, retailers, or wholesalers, you must not overlook this part of the process for a single moment.
Ultimately, no two businesses are identical, and you must find the path that is suitable for your endeavors. While most business owners will inevitably test the water with a small selection of ideas before committing fully to a specific product sourcing strategy, conducting the right levels of research in advance should make the process far smoother.
When you have the right products, other aspects like marketing should fall into place.