The success of your business depends on many factors but a main one is the quality of your products. That's why choosing the right supplier is very important. Over the years, we have had to contact international suppliers on several occasions and we've found that there are 3 key questions you MUST ask a vendor before deciding to work with them.
1. What is your MOQ?
MOQ- Minimum Order Quantity.
Find out the lowest amount of stock you can purchase from the vendor. If you are a small business just starting out, and you find a vendor that you like, you’ve gotten to know them, seen videos and images of their stock and you love the quality, but then just as you’re ready to purchase, you find out their minimum order quantity is 300pcs… As a small business, purchasing 300pcs is not ideal cost of space wise so you’ll have to start again from scratch with vendor research. This is why when you first get in touch with a vendor, you must ask them what their minimum order quantity is.
Many vendors offer discounts when you buy large amounts of stock at once. The more you buy, the more you save. Let’s take a clothing vendor as an example. When you buy between 1-10 plain shirts, they may charge £3.50 per shirt. But, when you buy 20+ shirts, the cost per shirt reduces by 50p making each shirt only £3. A lot of vendors do this to ease you into purchasing larger amounts of stock as it works out cheaper per item for you and they get to sell more of their product.
2. Do you offer samples?
Sample order- A small order (1-5pcs) of a product that you want to buy a large quantity of.
Some vendors allow potential customers to make a very small purchase to test the quality of their products before deciding to buy a large quantity. Ordering a sample is sooo important. You need to test the quality of the products you will be selling before making them available for purchase. You only get one chance at a first impression so keep getting samples from different vendors for as long as you need to until you find the quality you are looking for.
The last thing you want is to happen is you ordering £500+ worth of stock just to find out the quality of the products is subpar and the products cannot be resold.
Fun fact: Some vendors offer free samples. They usually just ask you to cover shipping so do ask them if they offer free samples!
3. What are your unique selling points?
USP- Unique Selling Point.
A vendor should be able to tell you what differentiates them from their competitors with ease. They should be able to tell you what's so great about their company and the benefits you will receive from choosing to work with them as well as how their products, quality and process differ from others.
Some vendors will offer to video call you to show you their factory, process, examples of their products and anything else they think you need to see/ know. Video calls are great but, do ensure you have some sort of written communication with them (Email, Whatsapp, iMessage etc) so you can refer back to the messages later when deciding whether you want to work with them or not as you may not remember everything they tell you during the video call.