Does Anyone Actually Order From These People???
There is no denying that business is being done through online social media. This is one of the benefits of our online presence and the connections we make there. Truly, there is a new world of opportunity these days.
In this rant, I'm going to address an old topic that has been covered in depth before, but now appears with the twist of greater visibility via social media—suppliers/manufacturers selling direct and distributors buying direct. The global marketplace has made working with an overseas factory more commonplace. This has become more prominent with the rise of companies like Alibaba (to name one of many), allowing factories an easier way to connect directly with both distributors as well as end-user buyers. You have heard it before: the existing lines of distribution in our industry continue to be blurred.
Call me old fashioned, but as a distributor, I think there is a benefit to working with suppliers with whom we have established a relationship ... especially as it relates to fulfilling large orders. Many suppliers offer direct sourcing options and I consider any additional cost working with a credible supplier as insurance for something going wrong and having it taken care of.
What I find interesting is the number of overseas factories who "troll" for business on the web and in social media forums. There is nothing wrong with this on face value, but with so much at stake, doing business with an unknown entity seems risky. You probably have an overseas address along with a gmail address or generic address as your connection point and an international phone number. But what do you really know about that company? Are they legit? Are they CPSIA compliant? Are they a sweatshop operating on slave labor? How can you have a level of comfort in feeling that things are being taken care of and that commitments will be fulfilled as requested? Do people really chance doing business this way now?