If you’re just starting out on your e-commerce journey and plan to sell yoga products on Amazon or even your own online store, you might be afraid to buy abroad.
Or you may not know about customs when you email suppliers or suppliers, such as in China. As a result of daily communication with yoga mat suppliers in China, I decided to create an in-depth guide for you on how to effectively communicate with overseas vendors or suppliers via email.
Even if you’re talking to vendors on Alibaba, this communication template might come in handy. So let’s get started.
Assuming you’ve found a yoga mat supplier, it’s time to contact them. (Here’s a complete guide on how to find yoga mat suppliers safely on Alibaba.)
Once you’ve identified a vendor for your new yoga product, you may want to prepare first and have a communication template ready that you can send to multiple vendors.
Introduce yourself professionally to each yoga mat supplier
. When I first contact a supplier, it usually goes something like this. You can copy this section and use it for your first contact:
My name is….. My name is…. (Manager/president/buyer, etc.)
A limited company/company. We are a (please fill in your company’s business, e.g. importer/purchasing office/wholesaler/online store) operating in (please fill in your country).
You can also visit our website: www. …
I am writing to you today to inquire about the products I have seen in your company
You can give me the following information: You can fill in the detailed information in the attached quotation, or send me your quotation as the first step.
Unit price is…. Canonical block
Minimum order quantity
Existing certifications (CE, RoHS, FCC, GS, etc.)
Production of replacement mold
Then I will evaluate and get back to you as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanks and best regards.
Reduce the burden on yoga mat suppliers
Notice I’ve got the model number ready for them? This is for the convenience of yoga mat suppliers. Typically, there are hundreds of products on their website/Alibaba profile.
So if I just email them and say, “I’m interested in your yoga mat,” they might get confused because they probably have more than one model. So I mentioned the actual model displayed on their website to save both of us time.
Also, if you notice, I will send them the Excel quotation I prepared. I call it my shopping list. It helps me organize things more easily.
I do this because if you email 15-20 suppliers, you might get a different quote from each supplier. Now in many cases, suppliers send their own quotation format, but 50% of suppliers fill out their own documents. This really helps me compare apples to Apple’s offers.
You’ll see that I’ve pre-filled most of the information to make it as easy as possible for the vendor to fill in the information. All he needs to do is fill in:
Project number (this is a blank version, otherwise I will fill it in)
Number of main boxes
Minimum order quantity (MOQ)
And possible gross and net weights
Rinse and repeat
Perform this step with multiple yoga mat suppliers, as this is not good when you start relying on only one vendor. Don’t say it’s the first time you’ve contacted a vendor on Alibaba. This could put you at a disadvantage in future negotiations.
For easy reference and tracking of your quotes and vendors, I recommend creating a folder on your desktop. Call it “Alibaba” “Procurement” or whatever you can easily associate with it. Create subfolders for each vendor. Create folders within each subfolder, such as “Quotes,” “Vendor Profile,” “Certificates,” and so on.
Also, I found that some vendors did not read your full email. So point out the model you’re interested in and ask them for a specific quote.
Sometimes you will receive a simple email with a PDF table of contents asking which item you are interested in. It can be irritating, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. Politely reply that you are “looking for a specific quoted model…”
It is not necessary to use these forms when first contacting a supplier. Many people won’t actually fill it out because doing so obviously takes time. However, I recommend that if you have narrowed down the list of vendors, you should ask them to fill out your records. Keeping clean records is crucial for follow-up.
Ask questions and follow up
As you begin to narrow down your list of yoga mat suppliers, be sure to ask lots of questions about their business and products: Ask for copies of their business licenses and company and factory standards (e.g. ISO-9001)
Ask which LABS/third-party companies they work with. Be cautious if they only work with Chinese testing or inspection companies. Request factory or company display photos (PDF/PowerPoint) and sample products.
You can ask anything that makes you feel more comfortable doing business with them. Ask who their customers are and where they are. Be careful if they don’t have any customers in your country, as they may not have experience dealing with regulations and standards in your country.
Ask them. If they are already similar to your competitors or similar to your industry, this is a good sign that they can meet your requirements.
Send a supplier profile so they can fill in the details. They should include production capacity, how many workers/employees/engineers there are, major customers,
Needless to say, you need to get samples to check and verify quality before you invest a lot of money in inventory. I have prepared a detailed guide on how to order samples.
Finally, if something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Be on the lookout for prices, suspicious payments, or communication that doesn’t look right. It’s never too late to stop talking and find other suppliers. Tip: When you ask a vendor a question or format your email, it is best to ask in a paragraph or bulleted list so that they can easily understand your request and needs. Ask the vendor to answer each of your “key questions.”
Once you have started a dialogue with multiple yoga mat suppliers and have a good idea of their prices, minimum order sizes, and payment terms, you can start negotiating with them. Here are some negotiation tips:
It is assumed that once you place an order, you negotiate the price regardless of whether you are below the supplier’s minimum order quantity. Take your original offer and reduce it by 20%. Inform the factory of this target price and let them know that you want to order at your (20% discount) price.
In most cases, the supplier will not agree to your new target price, but he may lower it by another 5%. In 80% of cases, unless your quantity is really low, he will go further down from the original offer. At the same time, tell him that this will be the first trial order and if successful, a larger order will follow.
In addition, it is common for suppliers to give you a price based on a certain number of orders. Let’s say the quantity of 1000 pieces is $10. Sometimes suppliers will give you 2-3 different prices for different quantities.
If you plan to order an item, you should have a general idea of how to negotiate when you ask a supplier for a quote. 2 times (2000) or even 3 times (3000) the expected order quantity when asking for a price. This is a strategy I use to determine the price range.
If I do order this item at the quote in the future, but I am below the supplier’s required minimum order quantity, I will assure the supplier to keep that price so we can get started.
I will also mention that this will be a trial order and if all goes well I will order the price based on the initial minimum order quantity.
Maybe the supplier will not give you the price of 1000 pieces, but he will give you the price of 2000 pieces to show his support. This works most of the time. A supplier will always want to support you because they need to fill their plant with orders, even if their margins are reduced, just to keep production running and cost-effective.
Weighing your options
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices to a few yoga mat suppliers, you’ll want to weigh all your options. Keep in mind that this is not always about price and minimum order size.
It’s also a gut feeling you should get when communicating with suppliers. Did he answer eagerly and quickly? Did he follow up on your question in detail, or did he just send snippets?
If you find it difficult to communicate now, imagine what it will be like to work with him once the order is placed. Make sure you eliminate the suppliers with the least potential and the most problems now!
That’s all for now! If you find this guide helpful, share it or leave me a message if you have any questions.