How to Source Shopee Products from China

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In this piece, we will try to look into the ways Shopee Sellers can source their products from abroad, particularly in China, and we will look into the possible ways the products you import can be sold here in the Philippines

When we speak of Shopee Sellers, we will also include those not based in the Philippines because Shopee Philippines also welcomes sellers located overseas to sell locally.

Why choose Shopee?

But first, a quick recap of Shopee in the Philippines.

We all know by now that Shopee has become one of the top online marketplaces in the Philippines, and will continue to do so as e-commerce continues to surge.

Online customers and bargain hunters are drawn to Shopee’s competitive prices, rewards, shopping and product promos, discount schemes, etc., while sellers continue to flock to the marketplace due to ease-of-use of the platform and a seller-friendly education hub that gives all the important information should you decide to join as a Shopee Seller.

Here’s a fun fact: An industry report from Statista.com said Shopee is now the country’s leading e-commerce platform, with more than 54 million users every month.

In terms of sellers, a report said Shopee has more than 300,000 active sellers, and in terms of downloads, the Shopee app has been downloaded more than 21 million times. These figures are from a few years ago – and by now, the numbers could be significantly higher.

We might think that Shopee has been in the Philippines for many years now but has only been around for less than a decade.

How do you set up a store in Shopee and become a Shopee Seller? Thankfully, there are a lot of resources from Shopee itself should you decide to become a seller. You can navigate the app or a web browser depending on your preference and take it from there. 

You can create your profile and select your business name or store name. A quick tip: try to create a catchy name and make a good logo to go with it. Spend some time creating a good description of your store, the items you sell, shipping information, etc. Use good photos and videos to catch customers’ attention

We will not discuss the other steps here because ample information can be found in the Shopee app, which is easy to follow.

However, let’s focus more on the products that you might want to sell. So first, there is a step where you list your products. This is important to know because there is a list of products that are not allowed to be sold on Shopee.

All across the countries that Shopee is present, the products you cannot sell will include; animal and wildlife products; artifacts and antiquities; used cosmetics; counterfeit currency and stamps; credit and debit cards; currency or credits including, without limitation, digital currency or credits, and stored value cards; drugs, medicines (prescribed or non-prescribed), and drug-like substances; firearms, weapons, replicas, and stun guns; and alcohol, although there is an option for sellers to get a valid license that should be approved by Shopee.

So outside this list, you can pretty much sell everything, as a Shopee Seller. 

A good rule of thumb is to do a bit of research to find out what the popular products are. In the Philippines, fashion and clothing will always be on the top of the list, along with consumer electronics, and sports and fitness products. Beauty products are a sure hit, along with food and beverages.

How do you source products from China?

After you’ve set up your virtual shop in Shopee, the next step—perhaps one of the most important—is how to source your products.

In this piece, we will look at sourcing products from China, perhaps the most popular and biggest source of online products, at least in the Philippine market.

Perhaps the first you should do is create a list of products that you plan to sell. This list will also serve as your reference when you are now ready to source said products. You might need to spend a bit of time determining what to sell and try to lessen the guesswork, as much as possible. Conduct a bit of research, and if possible, do a market study to have an idea of what products are in demand. 

Now that you are ready to source your products, there are a few things for you to consider including the following: 

Finding suppliers

Thankfully, there is always Google, Bing, or Yahoo that you can use when looking for Chinese wholesale suppliers.

One good idea is to go directly to online sourcing platforms including Alibaba, Made in China, and Global Sources, among others which can connect buyers to suppliers in China.

You also need to make sure that you are dealing with a manufacturer and not a middleman, should you decide to buy from Chinese suppliers. Although middlemen are also necessary depending on the product, it is best to go directly to the factory, as this reduces the cost of the products.

Fortunately for Shopee Sellers, Alibaba, Made in China, and Global Sources have rating systems for suppliers which might prove useful.

Verifying suppliers

This might be a bit tricky and will need your time and effort. You will need to make sure that the supplier is the manufacturer, and determine if they can deliver. Asking for company information, identifying the factory addresses, registration records, product sampling, etc. are all useful for you to verify your potential supplier.

You will also need to know how product pricing goes in China. We all know that items are cheaper in China, compare to other sources. The downside, however, is that cheaper might mean that manufacturers are compensating in terms of raw materials, for example, for them to be able to offer their products at low costs. So the adage “ You get what you pay for” might be applicable here.

You will also need to coordinate with the supplier on payment terms, packaging, and shipping terms, among others.

Mind the communication gap

Talking to Chinese suppliers might be a bit of a challenge when it comes to communications. There is after all a language and culture gap, and not all manufacturers have English-speaking representatives, which might result in misunderstanding. One good tip here is to tap representatives who might be able to communicate much more effectively with locals.

Tap a 3PL firm

Thankfully, Shopee has its Shopee Supported Logistics or third-party logistics providers that have integrated their system with Shopee. These firms (the list is found on the Shopee website) can handle both local and overseas orders. 

This might be more applicable for Shopee Sellers outside the Philippines who might be interested in shipping their items in the country from China. 

For example, Shopee Sellers can tap 3PL companies based in Hong Kong that can help sellers operating in the Philippines. These 3PL firms will help sellers with their warehouses and other options in the Philippines, should you decide to import items.

3PL companies operating in the Philippines can assist sellers with services, including customs clearance in shipments from China to the Philippines. Service rates are usually competitive, and most 3PL will commit that items coming from China will reach the sellers’ warehouse in the Philippines.

3PLs will also tap shipping partners to make sure shipping is painless and, at the same time, cost-effective.

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