How to send an effective inquiry on

How to send an effective inquiry on

Feb 3, 2021

4 min read


You’re finally ready to turn your product idea into a reality. You’ve done your research and know the exact specifications of the product you want to source and you have a price range in mind that fits your budget. Now all you need is a seller who can bring your product to life. The first step? Finding a seller on and sending them an inquiry.

What is an inquiry?

Inquiries are the messages you send to sellers about your product. This might sound like a simple step, but it’s an important part of the process. It’s where you show you are a serious buyer, and it’s where you make sure you find a seller you can trust. You can reach out by clicking “Contact Supplier” on the product detail page.

Sellers receive a large number of inquiries every day. Rather than spending time on every inquiry — understanding your design, calculating the price, providing a quotation — they need to prioritize the ones that look the most promising and legitimate. That’s why you need to include specific information that gives the seller a reason to respond to your inquiry and take you seriously.

Demonstrate that you are a serious buyer with a legitimate business

Introduce yourself and describe your business to demonstrate that you’re a serious buyer. They have a right to know a few things about you — what is your business? What’s your role? Where is your business based? Make sure you’ve also completed your profile and have a professional email address for your business.

Describe in detail the product you want to source

It takes time for a seller to put together a quotation. If a buyer doesn’t provide clear product details, why should the seller spend time calculating the price? This is why it’s crucial to provide detailed information about the product you want to source, including:

• Specifications

• Packaging

• Any other critical points (for example, safety, branding, and quantity)

• Photos

Ask questions to determine if the seller is a good fit for your business

It’s your responsibility to make sure the seller is trustworthy and can meet your needs. Be specific and ask questions to help narrow the field, including:

• Price per certain order volumes

• Obtain copies of certifications if applicable

• Available units/stock

• Shipment origin

• Obtain shipment dimensions and weight

Once you’ve sent out your inquiries, you can keep track of conversations with sellers in the Message Center under My Alibaba on the top menu. If you’re on the mobile app, you can also use real-time translation tools and a video chat feature (available between US-based buyers and China-based sellers) to make your communication easier.

It’s important to include all the information above when sending an inquiry. This makes it clear to the seller that you’re a serious buyer interested in sourcing a product from them and that you're not just wasting their time. If you leave out certain details, you run the risk of getting ignored. That’s why you need to get your inquiry right from the start.