How to find international suppliers for Amazon FBA

This is a guest post from Hammad Nafees, Content & Outreach Specialist of ZonGuru. ZonGuru is an all-in-one Amazon toolkit that helps private label sellers with product research, niche evaluation, competition analysis, listing optimization, inventory tracking, customer review acquisition, and running day-to-day operations of their Amazon business. Their tools provide data from across 10 Amazon marketplaces, including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Australia, Germany, and India.

What’s the most important part of building a successful Amazon business?

Some would say acing your PPC campaigns. Others might side with listing optimization, and the list goes on. But for us, sourcing takes the win. It can literally make or break your product.

The price point, quality, sales, and profit margin of your product — all are dependent on where you source your product from. If you source a cheap, low-quality product, you might get a higher profit margin, but your customers will be quickly disappointed, sales will drop, negative reviews will crop up, and your store will ultimately crash.

Similarly, if you source a high-quality, but expensive product, you’ll either have a high price and won’t be able to compete in the market, or have a low margin and may not make enough to keep your business afloat.

Therefore, the better your sourcing, the better your chances of success.

So, what options do you have when it comes to sourcing a product for Amazon?

You can go local and find manufacturers in your country/region, or you can search internationally. While working with a local supplier may seem to have the advantage (i.e., lower communication barriers, keep track of production more easily, faster turnaround times, and, of course, convenience), most successful sellers actually source their products from overseas.

In this guide, we’ll talk about the benefits of international sourcing and some places to source from.

Benefits of international sourcing

Businesses thrive with international suppliers. Just like local production, overseas sourcing has its own benefits. Below, we’ve highlighted the ones you can’t overlook.

1) Cheaper rates

Let’s kick things off with everyone’s favorite perk: saving cash on their purchases! Reduced production costs are one of the prime benefits of global sourcing.

Many foreign suppliers and manufacturers offer their services at a competitive price due to cheaper labor, especially in low-cost regions. This can be a great way to maximize your business’ bottom line if you’re on a tight budget.

By cutting down on expensive production and labor costs, you’re able to allocate that money elsewhere.

Additionally, you can assure yourself of the quality standards of these products by pre-ordering samples. This is crucial, especially for selling on a marketplace like Amazon, where quality control is a high priority.

Besides these, there are other aspects that tip the scale in favor of sourcing overseas.

2) Access to technology

Often, businesses are forced to outsource because domestic suppliers lack cutting-edge technology or specialized knowledge to stay competitive.

Most sourcing destinations have devoted significant portions of their finances towards manufacturing. Their production plants are equipped with the most up-to-date technology globally, which plays a vital role in maintaining the quality standards of products.

3) Greater variety

Some countries  simply have better resources, both in terms of labor and raw materials, to make products that may not be available elsewhere. From exotic footwear to bamboo cups, you can find anything and everything.

You can also ask suppliers in these countries to personalize your product according to your specifications, which helps you establish your USP while selling on Amazon.

4) A wider pool of potential suppliers

Everyone wants to get hold of quality products while spending the minimum necessary. This is where you can leverage different online marketplaces and handpick suppliers that meet your requirements.

No need to rush into making a decision. With international suppliers, the ball is in your court.

5) More resilient logistics

When you have multiple suppliers you can rely on, your business is more flexible and resilient to disruptions in the supply chain. Instead of going completely out of stock if one global region is cut off from your warehouses, you can start sourcing additional units from your alternative suppliers.

You can also optimize your global logistics for speed and cost. For example, if you’re seeing that shipping lanes from a certain country are delivering more quickly, you can shift to that manufacturer temporarily until other congested routes clear up.

Where to find suppliers internationally

Now that you know how sourcing internationally can benefit your Amazon business, let’s dive into where to source your products from.

With over 193 countries on the world map, you have plenty of options to find what you need. But which ones are best for international sourcing?

Well, we have a list to help you out.

1) China

Probably the most popular sourcing destination. China offers an extensive variety of products you can have manufactured at cheap rates. Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of this manufacturing giant.

Pros:

  • Mass Market
  • Expansion capabilities
  • Cheap manual labor
  • One-stop solutions like Alibaba make it easy to sift through suppliers
  • Production leader across all sectors

Cons:

  • High U.S. tariffs
  • Chinese suppliers have become competitors rather than manufacturers in recent years for Amazon sellers
  • Language barrier

Websites for finding Chinese suppliers:

If you feel sourcing in China has become saturated, or you’d prefer venturing into a more niche market, here are some other countries you can shop in:

2) Vietnam

Located in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is an up-and-coming sourcing hub for many Amazon suppliers. It can be cheaper than China if done right. Here are the benefits of choosing Vietnam:

  • Its geographical location: Vietnam has a large number of seaports, which provides shipping convenience and helps avoid shipping woes.
  • Multiple trade agreements: Vietnam is a politically stable country with numerous positive trade relationships. This means trade is faster and smoother compared to most countries.
  • Fit for small businesses: Since Vietnam has a developing market, local factories and manufacturers are open to accommodating small orders, which makes it an excellent choice for small and medium-sized businesses.

Vietnam is famous for exporting goods like textiles, clothing, leather items, footwear, plastic and rubber items, wooden products, furniture, headgear, and briefcases.

Websites for finding suppliers in Vietnam:

3) India

Known as the home of exotic spices, India is much more than that. It’s earned a name for itself in textiles, metal tools, chemicals, jewelry, ceramic cookware, and footwear. Let’s look at why you should source from India:

  • Skilled labor: India has a large workforce, with most of them both experienced and skilled. This means you gain a shorter lead time and relatively less hassle regarding the end product.
  • Easier communication: While communication in other Asian countries could become difficult at times, that’s not the case in India. English is a widely spoken language in the country, and most of their contracts are in English as well.
  • Access to raw materials: In India, raw materials are abundant, so the goods are more likely to be authentic with low costs.

Websites to find suppliers in India:

4) Thailand

The Thai market has steadily grown over recent years. With many trade agreements and a booming infrastructure to facilitate trade, it’s a market worth checking out.

  • Strong network of factories: Thailand has a large network of factories, warehouses, manufacturing units, etc., that cater to a variety of goods.
  • Quality production: Equipped with the latest technology, modern machinery, and skilled workers, products sourced from Thailand are commonly of high quality.
  • Ease of business: Not only does Thailand have good trade relationships, but the local people are respectful and value others’ time and commitments. You can easily find long-term suppliers in Thailand.

A huge chunk of Thailand’s exports consist of rubber, fishing products, machinery, automotives, jewelry, handmade goods, and more.

Websites to find suppliers in Thailand:

Conclusion

We’ve discussed the benefits of international sourcing, countries you should look out for, and a few marketplaces to help you get started.

After reading this blog, we hope you’ll be able to make informed decisions on which country to source from, knowing how it can cater to your Amazon business needs. Find your destination, research suppliers on the marketplace, negotiate your price, and start selling.

Ready, set — source!