When most Amazon sellers think of sourcing products, the first country that pops up in mind will definitely be China. Though it’s true that China provides a wide variety of products for eCommerce sellers, it doesn’t always mean you SHOULD source products from China. Some Chinese products are less suited for Amazon businesses, especially if you’re just starting out with a limited budget.
I will be introducing you to the top three types of products that you should not source from China in this post. Hopefully, you will avoid such products the next time you make a decision as to what to import from China for your Amazon business.
#1: Complex products
Amazon business sellers (especially small start-ups) should avoid importing complex products from China. The primary reason these are unsuitable is that it may be hard to maintain the quality standards for such products, and on Amazon, quality is all that counts. Other than that, complex products tend to be more expensive, and unless you can find a supplier who offers good quality at a reasonable price, it’s best to stay away from them.
By ‘complex’ products, I mean consumer electronics, watches, jewelry made from high-value materials, and items made with multiple materials. Such products often require many different parts and materials which must be sourced from multiple sub-suppliers. An example of a complex product is an electric bike. There are many different parts that need to be sourced and assembled properly for the bike to work, which can be quite challenging. While a Chinese supplier can likely source these parts for you, your transparency into who they source from and the quality level of their materials will likely be limited.
Other than that, miscommunication can often lead to quality issues in finished products. For example, your supplier could misunderstand product specifications, how it will be used, or the production processes they need to follow. And unfortunately, resolving such product quality issues with suppliers can be quite expensive. You may end up spending more money on repairs or replacement of these faulty units than the product itself is worth! And trust me – you will not want to find yourself stuck in this icky situation, especially if you are tight on cash for your business.
#2: Labor-intensive products
The second type of product eCommerce sellers should avoid sourcing from China are labor-intensive products. These products might include garments, shoes, luxury goods, and handcrafted products.
Again, the danger of importing such products is that there may be a greater tendency for quality issues. Labor-intensive products often include items that need to be handmade or contain parts that need to be handmade. The problem lies herein: one simply cannot assure their customers that all such products are consistent in quality. Take, for example, a hand-knitted sweater. You cannot guarantee customers that a similar piece of the sweater will not have some human errors across various batches of production. In comparison to something machine-made and produced with injection-molded parts, these products tend to have less consistent results. That inconsistency between your products and your competitor’s products may just become the determining factor for your success on Amazon.
Another concern when importing labor-intensive products is higher labor costs in China. China’s minimum wages have increased over 60 percent since 2011 and now range from $200++ to $400++ per month. This increase in labor costs has eroded profit margins on some products for Chinese manufacturers and eCommerce sellers alike. As such, finding a supplier in China to produce labor-intensive products at a competitive rate is much harder than it was 10 or 15 years ago. Many eCommerce sellers will find themselves much better off saving the money to spend on other aspects of their businesses, such as doing product modifications, engaging influencers for marketing, managing their social media accounts, etc.
#3: Counterfeit products
While this may seem like a no-brainer, you will be surprised how many eCommerce sellers are still importing and selling counterfeit products from China. Let me reiterate this now: there’s NO FUTURE in importing counterfeit products, even if you can make a good profit from them.