There are many opportunities when you receive small Alibaba Express orders.
If you grasp them, maybe you can increase the value over time, but if you fail to make the most of them, you may lose the chance to maximize their potential.
We have a gifts importer from Canada. They source many beautiful yet inexpensive products from China, but the factory in China requests a minimum order of more than 2000pcs. The Canadian customer complained to us: ‘Such an order is ok for Wal-Mart, but to us, it is a little difficult to place such a big order.
We need time to promote some styles of products, it is impossible to place a big Alibaba Express order before we know if there is a market for these products.
Many export factories make strict limitations regarding small orders so as to not be involved in the trouble which small orders sometimes bring. For example, they request a minimum order amount or request a special payment.
For example, an electrical company may stipulate the following: the minimum amount cannot be less than 1000pcs; the payment should be T/T in advance if the value of the order is less than USD10000. But if the manufacturers considered the development potential of small orders, maybe they will see extra benefits from them.
The high cost is the main reason why exporters don’t like to accept small orders. One company which consigns us to export toys, received an order in May.
This order was very complicated. It included 15 different styles of Alibaba Express products, all in one container and the average amount per style didn’t exceed 300pcs.In terms of production, one style needs a production line which has to be adjusted frequently.
In addition, if the salary of workers is based on the number of pcs produced, they will be paid half working like this compared to doing batch production. The earnings are very low, and the average output is 26% lower compared to batch production. The director of Alibaba Express’ sales department said: “we finally finished this order through working overtime, but the workers felt very tired and the company feels tired too.
Considering the above example, should we pay attention to small orders? Yes.
There are many opportunities with small orders. Our boss has been involved in foreign trade for more than 20 years, and he often says: “Small orders are like volcanic rock-no one can know what it will be after cooling”.
Maybe a small order is just a trial order from a big buyer. By limiting your acceptance of small orders, you may lose an important chance at client development.
If you have been involved in foreign trade for a long time, you will find sometimes big buyers will place small orders as well.
The background of small orders is different depending on the buyer’s situation.
Small Alibaba Express orders may come from small companies, or come as special orders from large companies, for the purpose of developing new products. Most of small orders are placed by small companies, but the above purchases by big company are also very common. It is market’s requirement regardless of the size of the order.
After ‘9.11’, the retail market in United States was really suffering. No dealers can assure their sales plan will be fulfilled 100%, except for popular and cheap merchandise.
Only those Alibaba Express factories who have the latest products, multiple functionality and follow international trends closely, will win customers in a highly competitive market.
The customers will be small buyers, but they may be well-known as well.
Large companies, such as Wal-Mart and Target, seldom place orders with new companies. Generally speaking, their long-standing suppliers get the order. If these suppliers can’t manufacture in their own factory, or if the price is too high, other suppliers will get the order.
Most of the suppliers of these large companies are famous traders and they control large quantities of goods in order to meet these massive company’s’ requirements.
When the Alibaba Express order is placed by a Wal-Mart, all the goods should meet the company’s requirement.
These kinds of orders need follow a long period of cooperation and mutual trust and most of them are large orders.
Presently, Wal-Mart and Target have realized that purchasing which is dependent on middleman will result in higher costs and loss of benefit from the purchasing process, hence it is very hard for them to maintain their compete advantage of ‘everyday low price’.
Therefore, they establish procurement centers in China to attract and select a number of China suppliers which, in turn, become their supplier base.
During this time, there always comes some small order, and request suppliers to finish it on time.
And after complex analysis of quality and cost, Alibaba Express decides to whether they need to change their current suppliers.
These kinds of orders are part of the selection process, but it is small orders the manufacturers dream of. WALMART will place 5-10 billion small orders per year, which is only 1% of total orders, but the quantities are also very amazing.
If the manufactory accepts such an order, it indicates that this company has attracted big buyer’s attention and their current product/s is in line with market trends.
When they get these business opportunities ahead of other suppliers, they should be congratulated.
I’d like to assert that production environment and capacity are two decisive factors for big buyers. What Alibaba Express buyers need is an excellent production and development supplier base to meet the requirements of the market.
The process will be very long, and suppliers need to survive this competitive environment and keep growing.
The potential of small orders can’t be ignored, but small orders are always placed by new customers, and some exporters find it difficult handling them. And small orders from new customers may bring some problems, such as arranging production, export terms and payment. Hence, exporters should seriously consider small orders.
First, determine whether the Alibaba Express buyer is a serious buyer.
Second, analyze the advantages and disadvantages the small order brings. Finally, consider the potential of this order; will it bring a larger order in the future?
One customer from South Africa ordered 30 boxes of different styles for a remote-controlled car and the total quantity is less than one container. If you calculate the cost according to a full container, we will have little profit, but this amount is less than 1 container.
If we accept this order, not only will we lose profit, but we will also incur operational expenses.
But after examining our correspondence, I think this Alibaba Express customer is a serious one, and as I am trying to develop a new market in South Africa, I accepted this order.
We have now established a long-term business relationship with this customer, and he places an order to us every month. We are also consigned to purchase chinaware and resin crafts. Annual orders are approaching 20 40# container.
Additionally, some cooperative agencies of large super markets, such as the consignment purchase merchandiser of WALMART, will try to find suitable suppliers which can develop new items.
During this time, Export Company will receive their product samples, these samples maybe made in United States, and maybe made in China.
In the beginning, the Alibaba Express order is small, but the frequency of order will be amazing.
At present many export companies can produce high quality products, but less in term, of support of new technology. This kind of factory, if they receive any inquires, even if it is a sample order, need to pay attention because it may bring them great business opportunity.
The main responsibility of some procurement agencies is to find qualified Alibaba Express suppliers. But these procurement agencies may be not be familiar to most manufacturers.
So, manufacturers should maintain a positive and confident outlook, study the order and win buyers by putting their best foot forward.