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The Official Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace



The Official Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace

Brad Schepp, Debra Schepp

ISBN: 978-0-470-57311-2 December 2009 288 Pages

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The official guide to making a bundle buying and selling through, the world's largest online B2B marketplace is the world's leading global business-to-business online marketplace. People around the world use it every day to import and export products for big profits. But newcomers are often overwhelmed by the sheer number of products and the quantity of information available.

The Official Success Guide shows you how to ramp up your business or build an entirely new business, using the brand and web site as your supplier. This practical guide provides simple answers for complex questions, from navigating the site, to finding products at the right price, to branding, and much more. Plus, the book includes best practices for importing, locating and vetting suppliers, and protecting yourself against online fraud.

    • An answer-packed guide  for all your questions about doing business through

    • Officially licensed and supported by, this is the only guide you need

• Includes inspirational profiles of people who have used successfully to launch new businesses or revive old ones

    • The first and only step-by-step guide to using effectively gives you the opportunity to make real money online. Here, you'll find a wealth of inside information that will help you use safely and profitably.

Foreword Jack Ma, Founder of xiii

Acknowledgments xvii

About the Authors xix

Preface xxi

Part I The Opportunity 1

Chapter 1 Opens the Door to Global Trade 3

First a Little History 5’s Corporate Goals and Values 8’s Six Core Values 9 Today 16 Corporate Structure 17’s Programs, Tools, and Events 18’s 2008 e-Business Champion of the Year: Gene Rumley 22

Chapter 2 International Sourcing: This Isn’t Kansas Anymore 25

International Sourcing: Your Challenge and Promise 25

Your First Sourcing Decision 26

Let’s Put First Things First 27

Get a Tax ID Number and Register Your Business 28

Develop Your Product Idea 29

Build Your Prototype 38

Create and Test-drive Your Business Plan 39

Create a Business Calendar 42

Product Sourcing Basics 43

Calculate Your Budget 43

Safety Checks for Sourcing Products 44

Sourcing Internationally: New Challenges and Rewards 47

Leaving Kansas: Opens a World of Opportunity 48

Importing Your Products 51

Chapter 2 Checklist 52

Chapter 3 Keys to Successful Importing 53

Your Education Begins 55

Your Partner’s Responsibilities and Your Own 56

Terms You Need to Know 57

Standards, Certifications, and Regulations 62

Partners Who Can Help You 63

Who Are the Major Players? 64

Can You Keep It Simple? 68

Chapter 3 Checklist 69

Part II Putting to Work for You 71

Chapter 4 The Web site 73

Let’s Start at the Home Page 74

Trade with the World 77

Keep Scrolling 79

Inspirational Success Stories 79 Partners 79

Don’t Underestimate the Bottom of the Page 80

Let’s Get You Registered 81

Download TradeManager 85

A Tour of’s Links 85

Buy 86

Sell 87

Community 88

My Alibaba 94

Help 94’s Search Engine 95

Chapter 4 Checklist 97

Chapter 5 Finding Business Partners 99

You Are the Boss, So It’s All Up to You 100

Education through Experience 101

Establish Realistic Expectations for

Your Suppliers 101

Set Criteria for Your Products Themselves 103

Build In Your Own Safety Checks 104

Fraud: Forewarned Is Forearmed 104

Qualify and Identify 105

Qualify and Legitimize 106

Let’s Find Some Manufacturers 110

Searching for Partners 110

Posting a Buying Lead 112

Those First Few E-mails 117

Vetting Prospective Partners 118

Do You Like Their Attitudes? 118

Quantify Them to Qualify Them 119

Communication, Communication, Communication! 121

Should You Travel to China or Anywhere Else? 123

Chapter 5 Checklist 125

Chapter 6 Working with Your Suppliers 127

A Two-sided Partnership 128 Can Help You Learn 129

Getting Your Products Right 135

Get Graphic 135

Ask for Samples 135

What to Do When Things Go Wrong 138

Chapter 6 Checklist 140

Chapter 7 Closing the Deal 143

Getting the Details Right 144

Your Pro Forma Invoice 145

Payment Schedules and Options 149

Spread Out Your Payments 151

Wire Transfers 151

Escrow Services 153

Letters of Credit 153

Shipping Details 155

Forge Good Relationships 155

Bill of Lading: The Final Document 156

Chapter 7 Checklist 157

Chapter 8 Safe Trading 159

Educate Yourself 161’s Safety & Security Center 161

Safe Trading Forums 170

Other Web-based Resources You Can Use 172

Keeping Your Computer Safe 175

Security Help Available through 176

Create Your Own Sign-in Seal 177

E-mail Fraud 177

Trojans and Viruses 178

Protecting Your Computer 178

Chapter 8 Checklist 181

Chapter 9 Keeping the Pipeline Full 183

Your Customers Will Change Your Business 184

Your Partnerships Will Change Your Business 186

When You Are Ready to Travel, Get In Touch 187

Your Expertise Will Change Your Business 188

What Will You Do with Your Expertise? 190

Turn Those Tables and Sell to the World 190’s Selling Links and My Alibaba Selling Tools 191

Now Is the Time to Consider a Paid Account 196

Your Uncle Sam Stands Ready to Help 196

Chapter 9 Checklist 198

Part III Success Stories 201

Gene Rumley—Bell Performance, Inc. 203

Valarie Moody— 209

Allison Taylor—Jack Webster, Inc. 213

Mary Miller Pembleton and Gregg Pembleton—Thumball by Answers In Motion, LLC 219

Joshua Crumbaugh—Platinum Mortgage, Inc. 223

Valerie Johnson—Big Feet Pajama Company 229

Index 235