How to Find High Quality Kitchen Cabinets Suppliers on Alibaba – A Step-by-Step Guide
Alibaba.com, based in China, is part of the Alibaba Group founded by Jack Ma in 1999. It is an online B2B eCommerce platform used by suppliers and buyers worldwide to expand the reach of their businesses. It is the largest supplier directory in the world.
Alibaba.com is designed to simplify the buyer’s sourcing experience through its various features, services, and tools. This online platform connects buyers and sellers from around the world. Alibaba.com serves businesses in over 190 countries and regions.
Alibaba.com is a trusted and secure platform used by millions of buyers and sellers worldwide. The platform brings together over 40 industries. The platform includes more than 5,900 different product categories.
Why should you use Alibaba?
Alibaba is basically an online directory for manufacturers who accommodate orders from individuals and companies. The main benefit of using Alibaba is you can buy almost anything from the platform’s listed manufacturers at a fraction of the cost you could get it elsewhere. You can find also almost everything you are looking for.
Pros of using Alibaba
You can gain access to countless global suppliers selling almost about any product you need.
The platform includes an extensive selection of niches with millions of products.
Suppliers are categorized based on supplier type, number of transactions, customer reviews, and response rate and time.
Products are organized well allowing you to find what you need fast.
Alibaba has the lowest pricing allowing buyers to make huge profits.
You can affordably have custom products.
You have more control over the packaging and shipping of your products.
Allows you to monitor the quality of the products you ordered before shipment.
The platform has a user-friendly layout and messaging system.
The platform is on a continuous expansion program allowing you to regularly have access to new products and suppliers.
Alibaba has a great relationship with the Chinese government, thus doing business with Chinese suppliers through Alibaba can be a breeze.
Risks of using Alibaba
Language and communication barrier because not all manufacturers have staff that speak and understand English.
Some products have huge minimum order quantities.
Product photos are not always what the delivered products look like.
Poor customer service
Longer shipping schedules.
Alibaba has a poor (Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating.
This does not, however, mean that you should scratch Alibaba off your list as one of the sources for suppliers in China.
How to research Alibaba Kitchen Cabinets suppliers correctly
Taking note of the drawbacks of Alibaba, it is important that you do thorough research on your prospective suppliers before making an order. You can start by filtering your initial search. This will eliminate some of the bad suppliers in your initial search.
Make use of all available filters to narrow down your supplier search
Alibaba has filters that can help you narrow down your supplier search.
There are different types of suppliers you will find in Alibaba.
A manufacturer is a company that produces its own products. The majority of the suppliers listed in Alibaba are manufacturers. Since you are ordering directly from a manufacturer or the main source of the products, you will be able to get products at very low prices.
The downside of ordering direct from manufacturers is they often have a very high minimum order quantity (MOQ) or the minimum number of units you can buy in one order/ shipment. This is so because they manufacture products on a per order basis.
Manufacturers on Alibaba rarely maintain stocks because most buyers order custom products with their own packaging including the logo of their company on the products and packaging. This results in very high MOQs.
Manufacturers typically cater directly to light and bulk wholesalers, as well as liquidators. These types of suppliers can afford to buy in bulk and maintain huge inventories. You will need to have a sizeable budget if you are thinking of order from manufacturers on Alibaba.
Most retailers do not have the capability to order in bulk; thus, they often find manufacturers unreachable during the sourcing process. There are, however, small manufacturers that cater to retailers.
Wholesalers can buy in bulk from manufacturers because they have the money and the storage space.
If your budget does not allow you to buy in bulk, you can buy your products from wholesalers. Wholesalers can afford to maintain a lot of stocks so you can still buy products from them at discounted prices.
Wholesalers work on the principle that the more you buy, the better the price or the bigger the discount.
Traders buy products from manufacturers for resell in smaller quantities. Traders typically sell unbranded and unrelated products. Alibaba suppliers who are traders will source products on-demand or as the orders come in.
Some Chinese traders on Alibaba cover niche products. This is ideal for businesses who are on a budget because there are no MOQs or at the least, very low.
Look for specific supplier types
You will be dealing mostly with manufacturers when sourcing products on Alibaba. Alibaba has some supplier filters you can use to avoid dealing with low-quality suppliers or scammers.
Trade Assurance Suppliers
Trade Assurance is a program offered by Alibaba that gives buyers the assurance that they will receive shipments of their orders on time. The program also guarantees that you will receive your products with the same quality promised by the seller.
If your orders are not shipped on time or your products do not meet the quality standards promised by the seller, you will get a full refund because Alibaba will pay for the products. Trade Assurance aims to establish trust between buyers and sellers. It also prevents you from getting scammed.
Trade Assurance suppliers accept payments directly through the payment portal of Alibaba. This gives you order protection.
When searching for suppliers on Alibaba, check the “Supplier Type.” Make sure it says “Trade Assurance.” Your search will then be filtered and will only include suppliers who are part of Alibaba’s Trade Assurance Policy.
Gold suppliers have premium membership Alibaba. This means they are suppliers who pay the platform monthly or about USD$10,000 per year to have the “Gold Supplier” status on their profile allowing them to extensively promote their products on the platform.
Gold suppliers have been verified by Alibaba to have commercial and industrial capabilities. They have made it a personal commitment to provide reliable products and services.
There are no scammers in Alibaba’s list of Gold Suppliers because of the large amount they need to pay the platform.
Dealing with a Gold Supplier does not mean that you will always get a reliable supplier. There is always a remote possibility that you will stumble upon a supplier with cheaply made products.
To filter your search to only Gold Suppliers, check on “Gold Suppliers” on the “Supplier Types.
An assessed Supplier is one who has completed an external verification by a third party (Supplier Assessment). A Supplier Assessment includes inspection of the company and factory.
Assessed suppliers on Alibaba have additional detail about their business performance and capabilities. The Supplier Assessment can be difficult for sellers and suppliers to achieve, but it is a good way to fact check a particular seller on Alibaba.
Assessed Suppliers are the best suppliers to do business with because they are also China Gold Suppliers. Taiwan Gold Suppliers, and Hong Kong Gold Suppliers whose factories have been inspected by a third-party inspection company. These inspectors offer information for the Factory Audits of Alibaba including:
Verified Main Products
To filter your search to only Assessed Suppliers, check on “Assessed Suppliers” on the “Supplier Types.
Knowing who you are buying from is one of the most important considerations you should always bear in mind when finding high-quality kitchen cabinet suppliers on Alibaba.
Reviewing Alibaba kitchen cabinets suppliers
It is important to review the Alibaba suppliers on your list to make sure the one you choose will bring value to your company.
It would be great if you know of someone in China who could validate the suppliers on your list. It would even be better if you could go to China. However, most buyers believe that going to China defeats the economies of scale.
There are ways to validate a supplier on Alibaba from where you are (remotely). The thing to remember is, you need to have an efficient system of evaluating, selecting, and reevaluating suppliers you are thinking of doing business with.
How to verify a company's background?
Doing an on-site check is still the best way of conducting a background check on a company. Check the company’s website for information on:
Status of ownership
Company and/or factory location
Photos of operations
Certifications from partners, subsidiaries, or contractors
Most, but not all of this information you will find in the supplier’s website.
Google company name + “scam”
Google is the best source of information for anything under the sun. A legitimate company will have a basic presence on the internet and no one posting warning signs about them in forums.
To check Google if the supplier you want to do business with is a scam or not, open Google and search” [company name] + scam.” You can also try “[company name] + dishonest,” and other variations.
Many buyers who had a bad experience with a China supplier will often leave a comment about their bad experience on the web.
You can also further search Google to find other information to prove that the China supplier is not a scam. One such information is if the company has participated in any trade shows recently.
Participating in a trade show are investments China suppliers make to gain new customers. Repeated participation in trade shows also means the supplier is earnestly building relationships with customers. Scam companies do not do this.
Supplier outreach to your shortlist
After you have created a shortlist of kitchen cabinet suppliers based on your research on the internet, you will need to verify the authenticity of your research. This can be done by speaking with the Alibaba supplier and asking questions, asking for an actual sample from the supplier, and checking on customer testimonials and reviews.
Questions to ask your Alibaba kitchen suppliers
Reach out to the suppliers in your shortlist and ask these questions:
What are your payment details?
You need to know how much per unit you will have to pay for the products you are ordering. You also want to know if the supplier is offering any bulk discount. You need to get a quotation in writing because, more often, the price listed on the supplier’s website is higher than what it will offer you.
You also need to know the supplier’s terms and manner of payment. Are you required to make a down payment or full payment and what mode of payment they accept?
Are there other costs other than the direct cost of the products?
Other than the direct cost of the product you are ordering, some suppliers charge delivery fees, fuel charges, duties and taxes, and restocking fees for returns. It is best to be aware of these additional charges because they are part of the total cost of the products you are ordering.
When might prices change?
It is common for a supplier to have price changes at any time. The clause, “prices are subject to change without prior notice,” is often included in quotations. Any change in prices can affect your business so it is important to know until what time the prices quoted to you are applicable. Something like, “prices are valid for 30 days” is a good reminder.
Do you have a refund policy?
It is important to know if the supplier’s return policy so avoid any conflicts should the need arise.
Do you offer guarantees?
It is important for your company to know if the supplier offers any guarantees for their products. Guarantees offered can come in the form of a money-back guarantee or replacement of defective products.
In order for you to offer a good return policy to your customers for defective products, you should know about the kind of warranties your supplier will be offering you.
How do you handle disputes?
You will want to know about how the supplier handles disputes should you be unhappy with the products or shipment delays. If these situations will affect your business, will the supplier help you solve the problem?
It is important to get this information from your prospective supplier so you can better assess your options.
Alibaba is one of your best sources for finding high-quality kitchen cabinet suppliers with the best possible prices. Knowing the right way to source and buy from Alibaba can allow you to get the best deals.
Finding suppliers on Alibaba is not easy. However, knowing how the platform works and taking advantage of its tools can work to your advantage. You will not only find the best suppliers of high-quality kitchen cabinets, but also the supplier that offers the best possible price.