10 online trading tips for the ecommerce beginner

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Looking at starting online trading for the first time but not sure where to start or what to look out for?

Alibaba.com have compiled a list of 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner to help you get started.

Covering the following topics:
1) Planning
2) Product sourcing
3) Verify your supplier
4) Get the price right
5) Choose your payment method
6) Get your goods inspected
7) Moving your goods
8) Quality control
9) Trade safe
10) Have fun!

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10 online trading tips for the ecommerce beginner

  1. 1. 10 Online Trading Tips Looking at starting online trading for the first time but not sure where to start or what to look out for?for the Ecommerce Alibaba.com have compiled a list ofBeginner 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner to help you get started. Covering the following topics: 1) Planning 2) Product sourcing 3) Verify your supplier 4) Get the price right 5) Choose your payment method 6) Get your goods inspected 7) Moving your goods 8) Quality control 9) Trade safe 10) Have fun!
  2. 2. 1 Planning Like any business, the most important first steps are taken in the planning stages. Without proper directions or a lack of goals, businesses can flounder and fail before gaining any momentum, and the statistics show that 85% of all new businesses in the Western world go broke in the first 12 months. So how do you stop your business becoming one of the statistics? The best place to start is to come up with clear, workable goals and objectives for your business. The goals should be realistic, specific, and have a deadline attached. Your objectives will define how you are going to achieve each goal, for example, what metrics you are going to measure, what tools are you going to use and what is the benchmark for success. Its also vital to identify your businesss strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, also known as a SWOT analysis. By analysing these characteristics you will get a clear idea of where in your business you should focus most of your efforts, and where it is likely to succeed. To bring your plan to life you need to identify what action steps need to be taken. This is where the following 9 tips come into play, so keep reading!2 Product Sourcing Once you have decided on the product/s you are going to sell through your ecommerce business, the next step is to get to know the customs requirements for that product. This will ensure a smooth process for your goods and make sure that they get cleared at the departure and arrival ports. Becoming familiar with the customs regulations of your product will also help you stay out of any legal trouble you might get into by selling restricted or illegal products. This is particularly important if you will be shipping your goods outside of Australia. © Alibaba.com Hong Kong Limited - 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner 2
  3. 3. 3 Verify your supplier Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of companies like Alibaba.com, fraudulent suppliers can still appear online. However, there are a number of steps you can take in your own research to help maintain the safety of your business. Your initial contact with the supplier should get the message across while offering as little information as possible. The less information you provide of yourself and your business, the less data potential fraudsters have to corrupt your payments. Do a search for your potential suppliers on Google and Twitter. Does anything look untoward or unprofessional? From the website you can check the About Us link and read up about the company, and if there is a phone number, pick up the phone and call them. You will soon get a feeling for how legitimate they are as a supplier.4 Get the right price The best way to negotiate the right price for your goods is to do your research beforehand. This way you are armed with a plethora of information and can negotiate on terms like quality of materials, the reputation of the manufacturer, and the general benchmark prices for your product. © Alibaba.com Hong Kong Limited - 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner 3
  4. 4. 5 Choose your payment method The risk of payment should be shouldered equally between the buyer and the seller, so it is up to you know exactly what your role is in the transaction, and the payment method that best suits both parties. Some popular payment methods for online businesses include: • Telegraphic Transfer or Cash Advance: This is the easiest form of payment and is typically used for transporting small quantities by air, or between buyers and seller who have formed a trustworthy relationship. The risk for TT payment is owned 100% by the buyer. • Letter of Credit: The LC is a guarantee given by the buyers bank that they will pay for the goods, provided that the supplier agrees to a set of clauses. The risk for LC is evenly shared between the two parties. • Escrow: A legal arrangement where money is payed to a third party and held in trust until the goods are delivered. This also has a very evenly shared risk between buyer and seller. • Document Against Payment (DP) or Bill of Exchange: This is when the exporter ships the goods and gives the document to their bank, who then forwards them onto a bank in the buyers country. This places the majority of risk with the supplier • Open Account: Basically the opposite to the TT, whereby the exporter only receives payment after the buyer has received and inspected the goods. The risk for these transactions is 100% with the seller.6 Get your goods inspected All buyers should be aware of the potential risks of buying sub-standard products for their business. The most popular way to avoid this pitfall is to have your goods inspected at the final stage before shipment. This is generally an efficient way to give you and your buyers peace of mind that you are both getting what you pay for. To set up an inspection process for your goods, talk to a professional in the country of your suppliers who has the capability and expertise to help organise quality assurance for your items. © Alibaba.com Hong Kong Limited - 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner 4
  5. 5. 7 Moving your goods There are various ways to get your goods from A to B, and determining the best logistics for your business will depend on the quantity, size, frequency and location of your products. The first step in preparing to move your goods is to talk to a Freight Forwarder. These are professionals who take care of the important aspects of shipping your goods, and can help you get all of the transport information you need including shipping rates and routes, booking cargo space, and preparing all the documents you need as an importer. The Australian Government has a handy resource here http://www.austrade.gov.au/Finding-freight- forwarder/default.aspx, which directs you to the right places for finding a Freight Forwarder for your business.8 Quality Control As an importer, there are a number of areas where you should conduct Quality Control checks. This helps enormously in providing a smooth supply process and reduces the number of customer complaints once the end product is delivered. In turn, this increases the authority of your business as a trustworthy shop, generating more confidence in your customers. ISO accreditation is a good indicator of a suppliers commitment to quality control. The International Organisation for Standardisation is the worlds largest developer of standards and works in partnership with the World Trade Organisation. Shipment inspections are another great way to maintain a high standard of product for your customers. Talk to the export agency in the country of your supplier to organise an inspection manager, who can provide regular checks and reports on the quality of your goods. © Alibaba.com Hong Kong Limited - 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner 5
  6. 6. 9 Trade safe All of the negotiation and communication in your business will be done online, so it is vitally important make sure you are protected from every angle. Some tips to ensure your protection include: - Confirm the contact address, phone number and email addresses of all your business partners. If any details dont match up, or if you see anything fishy, investigate the company further. - Before you start trading, its a good idea to take a short trip to the country of your suppliers and meet your partners in person. - Request a sample of any new goods you will be importing. Many reputable suppliers will offer these without too much trouble, and it will give you assurance of the quality of the product you are buying, before you commit to the deal 100 percent. 10 Have fun! Once everything is planned, checked and inspected, online trading can be a fun and profitable way to do business, so keep your wits about you and enjoy it! These are 10 of the most important steps to getting your business started online, however if you need any more details, Alibaba.com has a number of resources to help you out. Just contact us and wed be happy to help.About Alibaba.comAlibaba.com (HKSE: 1688.HK) is the global leader in e-commerce for small businesses and the flagship company of Alibaba Group. Founded in 1999,Alibaba.com makes it easy for millions of buyers and suppliers around the world to do business online.© Alibaba.com Hong Kong Limited - 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner 6
  7. 7. Alibaba Australia’s Social Media ChannelsFacebook: Facebook has over 10 million active Australian users per month so becoming an active participant with the Alibaba Facebook Page willhave benefits for any proactive business.The Alibaba Facebook Page boasts instant downloads of the Business Starter Kit for sourcing products and finding quality suppliers. You’re able to viewvideos, Alibaba Upcoming Events, member testimonials and exclusive promotions and event invites.LinkedIn: The LinkedIn Alibaba Group will connect like-minded members, provide a new stream of potential suppliers and foster stronger relationshipswith existing members. The Group allows members to expand into their professional LinkedIn network, using an already trusted global brand.Twitter: Get fast and instant facts from Alibaba, by following our Twitter profile alibaba_ausWe’ll be ‘tweeting’ our own flavour of AliFacts with useful and helpful reminders for your Australian on-line experience in buying and supplying.Here’s a recent ‘tweet’ highlighting what a local Adelaide business is doing: “An Adelaide hair salon is using Alibaba.com to grow its business & helpcancer patients look & feel their best http://ow.ly/629r8 “YouTube: The Alibaba Australia YouTube Video Channel is a growing member showcase of success stories and testimonials. To get a taste of the sort ofmember stories you could also be a part of, check out THIS VIDEO.Participating allows for expanding your market reach and to tell the world about your products and services.Alibaba Blog: The Alibaba AU Blog provides tips for the online trading beginner, setting up a successful online business, advice in finding the rightproducts from the right suppliers for your business and information on how best to optimise your product line and process.Access the latest trends and products in Australia’s online trading industry by subscribing to the blog. Join Together For Greater Success Alibaba is firmly dedicated to rapid growth within the Australian market and, more importantly, our partnerships with Australian members. Like any strong and long-term business relationship, your success is our success. Please do check through each of the Alibaba Social Channels we have put together and join those that align to your business and personal objectives. Can We Spread Your Word Too? If you have a successful sourcing / business story to tell, we would love to hear from you via our Social Media Channels. We like to promote success stories via Testimonials, Press Releases and in general, our Social Media Channels - please do let us know your story.© Alibaba.com Hong Kong Limited - 10 Online Trading Tips for the Ecommerce Beginner 7

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