I am going to start this blog post off by admitting that I have been ripped off on Alibaba.com.
I had just started selling stuff on Amazon and things could not have been going better. I got a shipment of Micro G Pens from the supplier and sold out of my supply in under a week on amazon.com. It was amazing. I was loving life. From me sending the email to the supplier to me selling out, it only took 2 weeks until I had made $500 profit on a $1,000 investment. I started to think things like “why doesn’t everyone do this?”, and combined with the high of selling out with naivety; I got greedy.
I was making insane margins, but since I was still green to the whole process, I thought I could make even better margins.
I moved away from what was working with the Micro G Pens and started trying to sell digital picture frames ( I mention in the Week 1 blog, stay away from electronics . I did not have my qualifications for a good product down and thought digital picture frames had crazy big mark ups. Not only did I want to sell digital frames, but I wanted to sell the largest ones they made. I was going to buy 18-inch digital frames, which only had one other competitor on Amazon.
I started to contact suppliers. The frames were going for as much as $300 on Amazon, and I was looking to get them around $75 a piece. I wanted to see who had the best possible prices, so I filled out buying request forms which look like this:
This is where I went wrong. This allows anyone to see what products you are looking for. I started receiving dozens of emails quoting prices on digital frames. One supplier caught my eye. They had a fancy website showing off their factory and gave me a price around $43 a frame. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. Christmas season was approaching and I was going to have the cheapest, biggest digital photo frames on the worlds largest retailer.
I got an invoice and wired the supplier the money. A day went by and they didn’t email me back. I started emailing them every day trying to get any response possible. I even emailed them saying “Oh no, we have already sold out of your product and we need to order 1,000 more”, trying to get their attention. No response.
I didn’t realize what truly happened until I started filling out a complaint form on Alibaba.com. Alibaba asked me for the companies Alibaba ID number and I realized they didn’t even have one…
So here are a few steps you can take so you don’t get ripped off
- Google the companies name, website and the email address they emailed you from
- Ask for a sample
- If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is