When it comes to retail shopping, there are reputed websites like Amazon and eBay that buyers can stick with. However, when it comes to buying safely online for wholesale purposes, there are many caveats to watch out for. Due to the size of the trade and accompanying risks including issues with product quality, shipping methods, and payment protection, not many websites enable seamless wholesale trade between buyers and sellers.
In fact, not many websites have the necessary features that buyers can use to safely buy from sellers around the world. This has led to wholesale being stuck in the last century as retail e-commerce has zoomed continuously with the growth in technology.
When it comes to shopping wholesale globally, there are a few important rules to follow to ensure your safety as the buyer of goods.
We have coined these rules as ‘Golden Rules’ to make you aware of their importance. You should keep these Golden Rules in mind whenever you shop globally.
Rule #1 Verify the Credibility and Reputation of the Seller
The credibility and reputation of the seller are of utmost importance. You need to ascertain if the seller is who they really say they are. You also need to know if they are capable of delivering on their promises.
This involves cross-checking information like company name, physical address, previously completed trades, buyer reviews, etc. Even on an established wholesale website like Alibaba, it is not easy for buyers to verify the credibility and reputation of sellers.
There are hundreds of questions like this on Quora, where buyers are looking for ways to judge the genuineness of the seller.
Even if buyers search and find a lot of useful information on sellers, they are still not 100% confident in the trade. This is a scary proposition for wholesale buyers from around the world. This is one of the main reasons why they prefer trade shows. In a trade show, they can confirm the credibility and reputation of the seller before committing to trade.
However, with such vast advances in technology, it shouldn’t be a problem to verify the credentials of sellers across the globe. There is a big list of things to check, but it can be done from afar without the physical presence of the buyer.
List of things to check for in a seller:
- Company name (Registered Name)
- Official website
- Company address / Physical location (verified through Google Maps / private investigators)
- Publicly available phone number
- Online reviews
- Certificates of quality, awards, and accolades
- Email / Chat responses (courtesy, promptness, etc.)
Rule #2 Use Secure Payment Methods
There have been many horror stories of buyers losing a lot of money using insecure payment methods for wholesale buying. Beware of sellers who ask for and insist on the bank transfer or direct wire transfer. There is no payment protection for buyers on bank transfers and direct wire transfers of money. If you get scammed, it is near impossible to get the money back.
A step up in security is to make payments to sellers via credit card. You can dispute your transaction if the seller tries to scam you. Better security would mean payment through PayPal where buyer’s protection is assured. You get the assurance that your money will be returned to you if the seller doesn’t make good on the trade promises.
The ideal security set up to aim for is secure escrow protection where your money is locked in an escrow and only released to the seller upon confirmation of receiving the product and verifying product match as per product descriptions.
Rule #3 Inspect Product Quality Before Shipment
One of the problems that wholesale buyers face when buying from other countries is that there is no way for them to know the quality of products shipped to them. They have to assume that the product is as described based on the positive reviews of the seller.
However, by ensuring that the product quality is as mentioned, buyers get peace of mind knowing that they get what they are promised. The case of smoke alarms all over eBay and Wish that failed to detect smoke is a stark example of what can happen if product quality is not ensured. To ensure product quality, inspection companies from the seller’s country can be hired to check the quality of products before shipping.
Rule #4 Ask Questions
When in doubt, ask. Do not assume and proceed with your purchase decisions. Ask questions if you need more clarification. Genuine sellers appreciate questions regarding their products. They are happy to provide more information to customers looking to make purchases.
A lot of buyers skip clarifying their doubts and assume that a product will meet their requirements. Always take the time to clarify your doubts regarding wholesale goods. You get more confidence in the seller and the trade when your doubts are clarified. So, ask questions.
Remember, there are inherent risks in wholesale buying. But with good security practices, you can ensure your trades are seamless and highly rewarding every single time.
Rule #5 Beware of ‘Too Good to Be True’ Deals
When a deal looks too good to be true, it means that you have to exercise caution with the trade. Buyers regularly fall prey to unbelievable and insane deals, only to realize after making payment through an unsecured payment mode that they have been scammed.
Don’t fall victim to ‘too good to be true’ deals online. It is better to clarify if the deal really is an extraordinary deal before grabbing it.
Rule #6 Keep Records
As an online wholesale buyer, it is important to keep records of all communication, files, and bills between you and the seller. You need records to prove your case against the seller in case of a trade dispute. Without adequate proof of no wrongdoing on your part, you cannot successfully dispute a transaction with a wholesale seller.