I get contacted more and more often by Amazon merchants who have to source their products from China. And many of them are still learning the basics of successful procurement in a different country.
Quality control is a huge issue for these merchants for 3 reasons.
1. Shipping directly to Amazon
They often have to ship directly to an Amazon warehouse, which means they can’t see the products for themselves in their country. And Amazon doesn’t control quality (from what I was told).
If 50% of the products are defective (which sometimes happens in China), there is no mechanism to stop that batch from being shipped to customers.
Which leads to a disaster…
2. Visibility over quality issues
In the short term, customer complaints and returns are costly. But, in the long run, bad rating from dissatisfied users can kill a business in no time.
Here is the type of rating you want your products to have:
Here is what you don’t really want to see:
And I suspect there are even lower ratings. The reason they are hard to find, I guess, is that Amazon buries them to the Nth page. Which means flat sales.
3. Relatively small orders, at least at first
Most Amazon merchants are small operations and can’t give a 50,000 USD order to a Chinese manufacturer. Not only do they have cash constraints, but they also need to make small bets and test the market.
Unfortunately, China is not very small-business-friendly. I make a list of advice for small importers in this article.
At the very least, Amazon merchants should book a final inspection (before shipment). That’s the bare minimum if they want to avoid complete disasters.
If you are not familiar with that service, have a look at this infographic.
Maybe some readers can think of other advice for Amazon merchants?
Extra reading >> If you’d like to learn even more about QC, read our detailed Quality Control basic concepts post here.