Alibaba Template – Why Chinese Suppliers (Alibaba) Keep Ignoring your Inquiries?
When import from China, all you need to do now is go online, send out a few inquiries on the China wholesale websites, and wait for the reply! Well, at least that’s the way most importers wish things worked. As Alibaba example, we will guide how to use Alibaba template to send inquiry.
What Does Send Inquiry Mean on Alibaba?
Alibaba Inquiries are the messages you send to sellers about your product. This might sound like a simple step, but it’s an important part of the process. It’s where you show you are a serious buyer and get the sellers’ attention, and it’s where you make sure you find a reliable seller.
But, as many of you are painfully aware, the reality surrounding suppliers’ sourcing and price research are very different. Getting the supplier’s attention is one of the main issues when a new small businesses owner sourcing products from China.
It may sound ridiculous!
The buyer, should be the one fighting for attention rather than the supplier. However, Chinese suppliers do indeed have very good reasons to be somewhat picky. In this article, we will explain why Chinese suppliers don’t reply to your inquiries and how to use Alibaba Template to improve that.
“I am a buyer. Why should I persuade Chinese suppliers to cooperate with me?” This is indeed a sensible question. However, please put yourself in the supplier’s position for a moment: Chinese suppliers are accustomed to manufacturing products according to buyer’s specifications. This requires a serious commitment from the buyer. Suppliers listed on the e-Canton Fair and other B2B catalogs receive many inquiries every day. Like any business, they do everything they can to get out of the mess to avoid wasting time on leads that are unlikely to bring rewards.
How to Send Inquiry on Alibaba?
Once you have the Alibaba suppliers, Now comes the hard part– contact to them. You must be polite, professional, thorough, and assertive when asking suppliers questions. Now, that we know why Chinese factories don’t respond to your emails, let’s look at some tips to improve our response rate.
1. First Message a Alibaba Supplier
Planning detailed product requirements can greatly increase your response rate. So you’ve gone to Alibaba, or one of the online wholesale websites, and have found several suppliers you want to cooperate.
The next step is sending them a message introducing yourself, the product you are looking for, and your desired attributes.
If you don’t know what to ask, here is a basic Alibaba template you can use:
Alibaba Contact Supplier Template:
Subject: “I’m interested in [Product Name]” or “RFQ for [Product Name].”
Hello [Potential supplier] (Note: use their given name if you have it),
I’m (your name) the procurement manager for [company name], and I’m interested in receiving a quote for [product name]
Could you please give me more information or email me more information to [your email]
Pictures of the product and a photo of [product detail] (note: the detail can be anything; make sure it forces them to use pictures taken for you and not found elsewhere)
The Minimum Order Quantity
The price at the MOQ and [some other amount] (Note: I find that getting two prices for different quantities lets you know their flexibility on a price and helps in negotiations later on)
[the price to make any changes or customization that you want] (be specific on this part, but you can skip it if you want a product as-is)
What is the shipping cost of sending a sample?
What are the shipping terms?
The Closest port (note the port should be close to where they claim they are located if you’re dealing with a factory. If it’s too far, be cautious)
Thanks, I look forward to hearing back from you!
2. Additional Questions to Ask
The first time I talk to a supplier, I try to keep the list of questions short so as not to overwhelm them, but immediately after the first response, I prepare a second list of Alibaba template questions to ask.
These questions to ask Alibaba Suppliers usually vary depending on the potential supplier’s answers, and some are specifically related to the product.
What are the payment terms?
What payment options do you accept?
Do you have a Bill of Materials?
The shipping method, cost terms?
Can I get a quote for the product to be FOB as well?
What is the production lead time?
What are your sample terms?
Do you have a catalog?
How many years of experience do you have?
Can you add our logo to the product and/or the packaging?
What packaging options do you have?
I would not recommend using the Alibaba template for a free sample. If they review your inquiry as you are serious about doing business with them, they may offer the sample at a low price.
Alibaba Sample Request Template:
Thank your for your reply or I am an online retailer and interested in (Product name).
How much will it cost to have a sample sent express to (Your address)?
I am already selling a similar version of the same product with a lot of success and plan on scaling my business when I find the right product. I will need to examine the product and make sure it’s the right fit for my customer base.
Please let me know the sample price and expected shipping times. Thank you.
3. Shipping Related Questions
Not considering shipping costs is one of the most common mistakes first-time buyers make. Most people think that shipping is easy, but it is not.
The most common mistake is not knowing the trade terms and forgetting to negotiate which terms to use. The following Alibaba shipping template questions are a great first step to help you get started.
What are the shipping terms?
Can I get a quote for the item in both EXW and FOB?
Can you do DDP, and if so, can I get a quote?
Which port will this ship out of? Or What is the closest port?
What is the weight of the package?
What is the dimension of the package?
How many units per package?
4. Follow Up by Phone
This is where the “cultural differences” really stand out. Just because you sent an Alibaba template email to someone in China does not mean they are obliged to reply. Give them a call and let them know that you sent them an email so that they will take your email priority.
5. Consider Hiring a Local Sourcing Agent
Since most Chinese suppliers do not speak English well, you can always rely on a local sourcing agent to represent you in China and negotiate for you. Many companies provide this service, such as supplyia Sourcing agents. We will ensure that you get better contracts and prices that match your import budget.
Finally, if you really don’t have the opportunity to get feedback from the supplier, or your product is unique, and your supplier is a monopoly, or, if you are a state-owned enterprise, visit China and personally meet the supplier is the best solution.
Skill for Alibaba Contact Supplier Template
There will be cases when you genuinely don’t know much about the product as it might be a new product you are looking for. In such cases, try to get at least 1 or 2 quotes before sending messages in bulk to Chinese suppliers.
The first couple of suppliers will give you a lot of product info if you ask the right questions and allow you more prepared when you connect with other suppliers.
Another benefit of the second quote is that when suppliers feel you know the product & the industry, they tend to quote you lower prices. If you act like a complete newbie, they are more likely to offer you higher quotes. Suppliers have the skill of identifying inexperienced importers from a distance.
Finally, The idea will help you understand the nuances of the Chinese supplier’s products so that you can choose more likely reasons for the price difference between suppliers.
8 Reasons Why Chinese Suppliers Didn’t Reply to Your Inquiry
1. Your inquiry is too vague to make you look like an outsider
Not long ago, I found a comment from a Chinese sales manager in a forum. He explained why they were too passive to answer most of the inquiries:
“I am also a supplier. It would help if you informed some professional questions about your products, such as your raw materials, packaging, national regulations, and whether it is OEM.
As a supplier, I only respond to a specific Alibaba inquiry. When your question is very broad, it is difficult for the supplier to understand and follow up with you. Describe the product you are interested in detail. “
The easiest way to distinguish opportunists from real buyers is to look at their exact understanding of the product.
It is crystal clear and easy to follow. A professional buyer knows that it is unrealistic to ask suppliers to quote their entire product line. Instead, you start with some models and work from there. You also provide highly clear product specifications and allow suppliers to fill in the gaps. In this way, you show that you know one or two things about the product in question. This is the kind of buyers that Chinese suppliers are looking for.
2. You describe yourself as a (too) small buyer
So, you have just started your own online store, and you lack business experience before. Well, you have to start somewhere, but there is no reason to tell your Chinese supplier. Chinese manufacturers are not entrepreneurial incubators. They want serious business now, not five years later. Let’s make another comparison:
This is true. Although the order quantity required for these two inquiries is the same (300 pieces), the impression is entirely different.
First of all, China is a hierarchical society, and the people respect authority. It doesn’t matter if the company’s senior purchasing manager happens to be the sole owner and employee or if the “e-commerce department” is a simple Shopify store. The key is that you give the impression that you are a valuable customer. This is a must if you want to attract attention.
3. You only contact a few suppliers
Purchasing means finding the best products from Alibaba’s best suppliers. Given Alibaba’s enormous supplier resources, you may want to build a shortlist of potential suppliers by Alibaba contacting template, so you have a wider choice. You shouldn’t limit yourself to a few suppliers at all.
4. You sent the inquiry at the wrong time
Don’t expect fast replies during Q4 around Christmas time. Make sure it is not a Chinese holiday, such as Chinese New Year, National Day, etc.
5. Your email may have entered the provider’s spam folder.
To prevent your email from ending up in the supplier’s spam folder, you may want to avoid subject lines that sound misleading, especially if it has spam trigger words such as urgent, money order, dear friend, order now, promise you, etc.
6. You are not sure about the product you are looking for.
Before finding the right supplier, you must first identify the specific product you are looking for and always make sure that the email you send is to a supplier that provides a specific product.
7. The quantity is too small, and the supplier is not interested.
Although we encourage you to negotiate with suppliers, a too low MOQs/price will immediately discourage them. It is okay to ask for the minimum order quantity (MOQ), but if you require a product with a minimum order quantity of 150, then your inquiry may be ignored.
Solution: Ask in the initial Alibaba template email whether the minimum order quantity is negotiable (maybe you want to make an initial order before mass purchase to test the quality of the supplier’s product), but don’t immediately put forward a lower number. Most suppliers are willing to lower the MOQ, but not to an absurd level.
8. Poor supplier reputation
You may come into contact with low-quality suppliers who are more concerned about large orders than winning repeat customers because low quality will be discovered after the first order is completed.
If you are serious and use the above Alibaba template tips to format your inquiry, you need to find some high-quality suppliers interested in your order. This can also prevent you from being cheated or receiving inferior products.
Contacting Alibaba/Chinese Supplier Conclusion
Salespeople responding to these emails will always see the same Alibaba template, so take some time to personalize it and make it your own. This will help it stand out from the crowd. Another thing is that English is almost certainly not the first language of the person you are talking to. So make sure you use clear and direct language while making sure you get your point across.
If you treat contact with suppliers as a “sales process,” you will find that making some adjustments in your approach will have a huge impact on your response rate.
Now, If you have better Alibaba template to contacting Chinese suppliers, please share in the comments below. If you need a product sourcing service in China, please kindly contact us.