How to order items directly from manufacturers?

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Joined: 02/05/2018 - 09:40
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How to order items directly from manufacturers?

I would like to ask if anyone successfully ordered non flashlight items directly from chinese manufacturers. Stuff that is available at Alibaba or Made-in-China, but usually has minimum order quantity. I saw there some specialty weightlifting bars for my home gym, that cost there around 40-50 USD a piece, but rebranded and sold at local fitness retailer cost around 250.

Some manufacturers are willing to sell one piece as sample, however I have no idea how they do shipping and what are its costs. If anyone has experience I would appreciate your input.

zoulas's picture
Last seen: 9 hours 9 min ago
Joined: 06/01/2020 - 08:35
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Selling cost money in ecommerce and staffing, software etc. Not everyone wants that extra work.

Last seen: 1 hour 57 min ago
Joined: 10/17/2020 - 10:16
Posts: 148
Location: Belgium

It will never hurt to ask IMO! I’ve asked the company “Gwunw” on AliExpress if they could sell me some empty plastic shells they use for some of their volt/amp-meters and they send me some with another item I purchased from them, without asking for some additional money! I explicitly asked if I should pay more but they declined Shocked So It really depends on the friendliness/willingness of the store owners, good luck!

Sunnysunsun's picture
Last seen: 54 min 56 sec ago
Joined: 08/09/2019 - 12:51
Posts: 630
Location: Toronto

Aliexpress is the consumer site without minimum quantities while alibaba is more for business to business sales. Try finding it on aliexpress instead?

Zappaman's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 8 min ago
Joined: 01/01/2018 - 23:27
Posts: 775
Location: Kansas

I’ve been a manufacturer, and I’ve bought some direct items from manufacturers (some in China too).

My experience is that you have to almost always buy in VOLUME to get better pricing. Economies of scale as mentioned above. IF you are buying a “sample” the seller is expecting a possible large order after your check it (whatever it is) out. So if you are “in the biz” you can sometimes get free samples. Sometimes they just send you stuff hoping you’ll like it enough to call them re. possible biz too, but you often need to be involved in a certain industry to get that kind of “swag”.

Now with China… I have bought some stuff as samples and also bought a “lot” large enough to qualify for better pricing. BUT, the devil in the details is often shipping costs. Larger lots are risky for the seller due to losses on larger (uninsured) lots they ship to the US. So instead of China post, they use DHL (or similar) which is much faster, insured AND expensive. My last 2 lb. box from China got here in a week- cost was close to $40.

Free shipping we enjoy from some Chinese seller’s at retail sites like BangGood, AE, etc. is priced WITH the mark-up from wholesale because they have to cover cost of biz + shipping. Shipping still is pretty cheap (to the US anyway) so this model works as small losses (on small shipments that are lost) can be absorbed. And, even with wholesale prices- you have to buy some volume to overcome that expensive shipping they have to charge due to the insurance on the package.

I recently bought some products about 30% under retail online pricing. I calculated the (break even) point at about $200. Meaning I could have bought the exact SAME stuff with free shipping for $200 as it would cost to buy it wholesale with DHL added in. Shipping is faster though AND the package is insured (to BOTH the company sending and myself- no lost package cost to them if it’s lost like China Post).

Thus, the price we pay for a few lights bought at retail has to cover China Post, marketing (retail costs), and a loss percentage (where we buyers usually get a refund- it comes out of the mfg’s pocket). So if you are Walmart, your shipping cost per item imported is pennies as they buy whole cargo ships at a time. But when you are just a BLF’er wanting wholesale (direct) pricing you ONLY get it if you buy enough to offset the costs on their end. And if they are smart… they won’t talk to you much unless you are ready to do “biz” Vs. buy one light.

I’m sure a lot of this is redundant and obvious, but having been on both ends this has been what I’ve experienced and I am HAPPY to buy lights sold direct (one at a time) from China while they are VERY affordable to any alternatives I’ve seen.

Last Point: I see costs going up on selling/shipping for the small guy trying to make a buck on sites like AE and BG. These sites are also starting to charge FAKE taxes, and the “coins”, “credits”, “coupons” and games don’t make the sellers there anything- they just make the circus owners money— as long as the novelty is being served (and eaten by us). Sick

So except for Conyoy… I won’t buy off these sites as the great deals we had a few years back are going away (and I hope Convoy starts their own direct site like Sofirn and a few others have so they can keep selling great lights for fair money). These mega “game sites” are off my list while I continue to support the true independents over there who are doing a good job delivery great stuff for fair prices— without all the BS.


Last seen: 2 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 02/23/2021 - 04:46
Posts: 1
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Everyone who has ever tried to find a Chinese vendor or factory using an online directory knows how time consuming it can be. It’s so hard to gauge product quality. The only advice here can be using Alibaba and GlobalSources.

Outlining the two poles of a choice with

zoulas's picture
Last seen: 9 hours 9 min ago
Joined: 06/01/2020 - 08:35
Posts: 979

Now with Amazon, they can sell your items and warehouse them. Of course they get a big fee for this. Amazon is loaded with small sellers that cannot afford a warehouse and they don’t have the know how for building an e-commerce site.