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How to Choose the Right Supplier

Updated: Aug 4, 2021

Many e-commerce sellers and entrepreneurs source their products from overseas...and there are good reasons for that. To name a few - availability, selection, and price. There are a plethora of suppliers to choose from, an insanely diverse array of products to choose from, and all at a relatively reasonable price tag. But there is one key to any successful products-based business: QUALITY. Sure, you can get each unit at a great price but is the quality up to the standard your customers expect? This is where the rubber hits the road.

If you are a new seller or are simply sourcing through a new supplier, your ability to find and deliver quality products to your customer is of utmost importance. Quality control must be at the center of your business.


It is definitely wise to order samples for any product you are sourcing because photos and videos will never inform you of a product’s quality quite like the hands-on experience will. You have to touch and feel a product to determine its level of quality. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Does it feel cheap? This is hard to quantify sometimes but we all can sense it.

  • Are the materials the supplier used to make it sub-par? Are they what you asked for?

  • If it has moving parts - do they feel as if they could break easily? If not, will they last?

Ok if it passes your initial test and the quality is where you’d like it to be - can the supplier produce that with consistency? In a large order “a few bad apples” can lead to customer dissatisfaction, bad reviews, and ultimately a bad reputation for your business. Some imperfections are to be expected - we don’t live in a perfect world... but what is a reasonable defect rate? 1- 2% is a pretty standard estimation and this shouldn’t necessarily raise any red flags for you. If that number is any higher than that, you might want to reconsider going with that particular supplier. It’s just not worth it.

So, what are your options to ensure that your customers receive high caliber products in great condition over and over?

  1. Inspect the factory and the products yourself.

  2. Hire a third-party quality inspection company.

A trip to China or India is usually not feasible for most sellers that live on the other side of the planet. So let’s just move on to option #2 and focus our attention there. Hiring an independent third-party inspection company is a great way to go. Being independent, they are also impartial which is key- having no vested interest in either party. They can therefore make objective observations and give an honest verdict based on the requirements.

There are 3 steps in the quality control inspection process:

  1. Pre-production inspection

This is done before entering into mass production. The manufacturer produces a single unit of the product and it is inspected according to a list of criteria and expectations from the seller. The manufacturer can then adjust and modify based on those clarifications. This gives both the manufacturer and the seller a chance to spot at any defects and remedy them before being produced en masse.

2. In-line (or in process) inspection

When the manufacturer has produced 20% of the order, the products are then inspected again to see if there are any further issues. If it is found that there are defects or problems, both supplier and seller can problem-solve how to circumvent them for the rest of the batch as well as modify those already produced (if possible).

3. Final inspection

Also known as a pre-shipment inspection, this phase is where inspectors will randomly select a portion of the batch to examine when production has reached at least 80% completion. It is the seller’s last chance to find any last issues before the products are boxed up and shipped out. There is a great advantage to spotting any potential issues before they reach their which point it is most likely too late to do anything about.

Would you like someone to help you with this? Going through this whole process can be daunting. Let Ally Sourcing help bridge the gap for you. Let us be the experts that find high quality products and suppliers so you don’t have to be. Then you can focus on what you’re good at -- building your business.

At AllySOURCING we have:

-a network of vetted and trusted suppliers across the globe

-close relationship with a team on the ground you can trust for quality inspection

-a proven history of sourcing stand-out quality products with high customer satisfaction!

Interested in learning more? Click Here and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

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