You may have heard of Sourcing agents. Yes, sourcing agents play a role in controlling international supply chains. Although it may be ideal for new entrants in the wholesale buying business, it is not sustainable to use sourcing agents in the long run. The best way to go is to source goods from China as an individual.
Who is a sourcing agent in China? This is an agency or person representing the buyer to source products from China. Now, the good thing about sourcing agents is that they can help you find a reputable and reliable wholesale supplier for artificial plants, negotiate the price, follow up sample delivery and production, product compliance, quality control, shipping, and logistics. But these services come at a cost which you can avoid by sourcing as an individual.
They work with a team of organized players in the commerce supply chain such as shipping systems, warehousing, quality inspecting, and sourcing. They employ expert sourcing agents. This way, the sourcing company can serve different buyers and effectively integrate resources at the same time.
A sourcing agent can also be an individual you can hire full-time to source your wholesale artificial plants’ suppliers from China. This sourcing agent has one or two people working in a home office or small office. Most of these agents have many years of experience operating in an artificial plant’s wholesale sourcing company or trading company. You can easily find the sourcing agents on freelancing platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, etc.
What are the disadvantages of sourcing agents?
1. High prices
we’ve mentioned that most of them work with teams of professionals. These professionals need to be paid. Who bears the cost? The cost is transferred to their clients. Their services are tailored for people and entities with a lot of money.
2. They choose the manufacturer for you
This is a bad thing, in a way. When you hire an agent, they give you the options. But what if the options they give are not the best? You end up settling for less, whereas if you’d researched yourself you could have landed an exceptional manufacturer who fits your needs.
3. Some are fraudulent
Though not all, you may land a fraudulent sourcing agent who will land you in financial ruin. There have been cases of people getting conned by sourcing agents in China and have had to close their businesses.
Who needs a sourcing agent or sourcing company?
- People without experience in importing artificial plants wholesale
Sourcing overseas and large retail stores with a lot of money are the ones who prefer sourcing agents.
- Big supermarkets and retailers
We aren’t saying that a larger importer of artificial plants wholesale with lots of experience and funds don’t need a sourcing company or agent. Big enterprises need a sourcing agent to manage the supply chains. For instance, the chain supermarkets order large categories of artificial plants wholesale, so it’s difficult for them to source for suppliers while purchasing thousands of product categories for the enterprise. They require trading companies or individual agents to source some products, which may include artificial plants.
Sourcing as an Individual
We already mentioned that the people who need sourcing agents are the ones with little or no experience of sourcing from China. However, with time, you will learn the industry’s nitty gritty and go at it alone. Why go at it alone? Because you get more value for less. We’ve discussed this below.
Advantages of Individual Sourcing
It might prove somewhat difficult at the onset as it will be stepping into unchartered waters, traversing an aspect that one might not be overly experienced in. However, the internet enables any individual to learn and become good at something they have not endeavoured to undertake before. It is easier for an individual to partake in buying artificial plants by themselves in any part of the world.
Courier and freight services, tapping into the demand that purchases beyond one’s borders that have grown in leaps and bounds, have created packages that assist individuals in having their products from any parts of the world to their doorstep. Their platforms show lead times, delivery items, and give regular updates on the status of shipment. This then gives consumers ample time to plan how to receive and sell their merchandise well in advance.
E-commerce easily allows people to buy items online and have them shipped right to their doorstep with ease. Nowadays, individuals even prefer using such sites than going to a regular retail shop. The platforms equally enable individuals at relatively lower prices due to the numerous offers available on these platforms all year round. E-commerce has led to unprecedented sales in products, with artificial plants being no exception. Ali Baba, an extensive and diverse platform within the China and Asia sphere, is a good place for individual consumers to start.
1. You pay less
Sourcing agents charge fees for their services. These fees can be avoided if you go at it alone. The worst part about these fees is they are not inclusive of import costs, which you also have to carer for. When sourcing as an individual, you deal directly with the manufacturer, who will cater to some costs like transport costs to the container for shipping.
2. You deal directly with the manufacturer
Dealing directly with the manufacturer is good for your business. You initiate direct conversations, and it makes getting instructions to them easier and faster. When dealing with sourcing agents, you do not get the advantage of personal relationships. Additionally, the agents chose the manufacturer for you, so they take the power of choice from you.
3. You breed long term working relationships
Manufacturers prefer dealing directly with their buyers. This way, they get to know their preferences and how the client’s market is structured. With this knowledge, they produce goods tailor-fitted for their clients market and are able to change and adapt to situations as they occur. This is advantageous for the client and the manufacturer as it helps them close sales. Also, long term working relationships do make clients eligible for discounts.
If you’re new to the artificial plants wholesale business, get a sourcing agent. But don’t stop there; find your own way. Sourcing as an individual is cheaper and more beneficial in the long run. And at FEELREAL, we always welcome people sourcing from us in large quantities. We give you all the tips to use so that you may successfully source from China. Contact us today.