How to negotiate wholesale prices on Alibaba.com
Feb 3, 2021
5 min read
As a buyer on Alibaba.com, you are presented with thousands of choices when you are sourcing a product. That’s one of the reasons you come to Alibaba.com, after all! One of the first choices you will make is whether you want to create a product from scratch, or work with a seller that already has all the options laid out for you. On Alibaba.com, these two types of products are called “customized” products and “Ready to Ship” products.
“Ready to Ship” is the designation given by Alibaba.com for products that are also known as “stock” or “as-is” goods. These are products that are very simple for buyers to order and receive fast. There is little to no back-and-forth about customizations, no price negotiations, and no payment and shipping negotiation. It’s all predetermined and completely transparent for fast, easy sales.
All products that are designated “Ready to Ship” on Alibaba.com have to fit several criteria:
1. They must be available for immediate purchase with light or no customizations. That means you can place it in your cart on Alibaba.com and buy it on the spot, without ever speaking to the seller directly.
2. They must showcase the shipping fee upfront.
3. They must showcase one non-negotiable price upfront.
4. They must leave the production facility within 15 days of the order being received.
Sellers who offer Ready to Ship products may provide several options or light customizations. Light customizations could include several predetermined colors or sizes you can choose from, or the ability to place your company’s logo on the item.
There is a time and a place for both Ready to Ship and customized orders, but there are several unique benefits to buying Ready to Ship products:
Speed: You receive the goods relatively fast. These are guaranteed to leave the facility within 15 days, and from there you simply have to wait on the shipping method. There is also no back-and-forth necessary with the seller, which can cut weeks or even months from the order process.
Transparency: The cost and shipping terms are provided upfront, so you know exactly what to expect.
Consistency: Because the products are mass-produced, you can expect them to be of similar quality.
Seller verification: All sellers who provide Ready to Ship items have passed the Business Verification process on Alibaba.com, so you know their business is legitimate.
Trade Assurance: All Ready to Ship orders come with Trade Assurance, the Alibaba.com order protection service.
Secure payment: Payments must be made using a method offered on the Alibaba.com platform, which helps ensure payment security.
Products on Alibaba.com that do not fit the rigid standards of Ready to Ship products are all called customizable. Not all products you see listed on Alibaba.com will have unlimited customizations – the seller may still only have several options for customizations or not be able to make customizations at all. You may also look through a seller’s catalog and decide you do not want to make any changes to their product, but these are still designated “customizable” on Alibaba.com.
Some products on Alibaba.com are highly customizable, however. They can receive alterations at any level – from packaging to the product itself. There are thousands of ODM and OEM manufacturers on the site who can make nearly any product you can imagine.
Variety: With customized products, you have many more options - you can create a product that has never existed before, or make changes to something that already exists. The options are nearly unlimited if you can find a seller who is willing to work with you.
Unique offerings: Selling a custom product can provide you an edge in the market if you give potential buyers something no one else can offer.
Pricing: When you buy a custom good, you can enter into a price negotiation with the seller, which can lead to favorable pricing for you.
Shipping: You may have a preferred Incoterm you’re comfortable with, or a reliable shipper you trust. When you order customizable products, you can discuss more shipping options with your seller.