How to Find a Manufacturer or Supplier for Your Product Idea

If you’ve been thinking about starting a business, you may have brainstormed some ideas of your own, like capitalizing on one of the many in-demand products already on the market. 

However, many entrepreneurs find themselves hitting a brick wall when it comes time to actually source products. Whether you plan on manufacturing something of your own or finding suppliers to purchase from wholesale, good products aren’t always easy to find.

In this post, we’ll look at the basics of sourcing a supplier for your next project. We’ll give you ideas for some places to search, and examine how you should approach suppliers and what to ask them when developing a product for your e-commerce business.

What is a manufacturer?

A manufacturer is any business that produces finished goods from raw materials. They sell these goods to consumers, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, and other manufacturers wanting to create more complex items. 

Manufacturers typically stick to one type of product. For example, you could work with a glassware manufacturer who creates glass bottles and jars. You could work with one manufacturer for boxes and another for plastic or natural products. 

Retailers often work with multiple manufacturers at once to create an inventory for their store.

Is a manufacturer a supplier?

Suppliers and manufacturers are pretty much synonyms. For the purpose of this post, when we refer to suppliers, we’re referring to anyone who has the capability to provide you with products and inventory. This encompasses manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors.

There are a ton of helpful resources online that you can find through Google. But before you begin, there are a few things you need to know and decide.

First, you should figure out what type of supplier you’re looking for. This will help determine the terminology you need to use in your research. Check out our post on ecommerce business models to help you get started. There are several supplier options, the most common being:

  • A manufacturer who produces your own product idea
  • A supplier (who may also be a manufacturer), wholesaler, or distributor who purchases already-existing brands and products
  • A dropshipping company that supplies products and fulfills orders of already-existing brands and products

Domestic vs. overseas suppliers

If you plan to manufacture or wholesale, when looking for suppliers you’ll need to decide whether you want to source domestically or from overseas. Overseas can refer to any location abroad. 

It’s a good idea to secure two manufacturers: one domestic and one overseas. Your local manufacturer can be used as a backup. So, if orders from overseas are late or incorrect, you can fall back on your local supplier. They are often more expensive, but it’s better to keep products stocked and customers happy than having them wait for overseas shipments. 

It’s often cheaper to source your products overseas, especially in Asian countries, like China, India, and Taiwan because of lower labor costs. But there’s a lot more to the decision than just the upfront investment and cost per unit.

Both domestic and overseas sourcing have their advantages and disadvantages:

Domestic sourcing


  • Higher manufacturing quality and labor standards
  • Easier communication with no language barrier
  • Marketing appeal of being made in North America
  • Easier to verify reputable manufacturers
  • Faster shipping time
  • High intellectual property right protection
  • Greater payment security and recourse


  • Higher manufacturing costs
  • Less product choice (there are many items that just aren’t made in North America anymore)

Overseas sourcing


  • Lower manufacturing costs
  • High number of manufacturers to choose from
  • One-stop services like Alibaba have made it easy to navigate suppliers


  • Lower perceived quality from customers
  • (Usually) lower manufacturing and labor standards
  • Little intellectual property protection
  • Language, communication, and time-zone barriers can be difficult to navigate
  • Difficult/costly to verify manufacturer and visit on-site
  • Longer shipping time
  • Cultural differences in business practices
  • Product importation and customs clearance
  • Less payment security and recourse

When working with overseas manufacturers and suppliers, it’s a good idea to hire a manufacturing manager. These contractors are locals who live near your manufacturers and handle negotiations, orders, and managing your partners. They can also be the in between for your business and freight companies. Think of them as the central hub for your overseas supply chain. 

If there’s an issue, the manager will work directly with the manufacturer to solve it. Managers also speak the local language, which helps improve communication and make production smooth for your business. 

Communicating with manufacturers and suppliers

Chances are you won’t use a manufacturing manager when starting your online business. You’ll have to communicate with suppliers on your own. There are three main ways to do this:

  • Skype calls
  • Email
  • WeChat

Look for companies that are responsive and eager to work together. If someone is slow out the gate with your emails and samples, do you want to trust them with your business? Probably not.

Finding your supply partners

Sourcing suppliers and manufacturers is a unique process but it’s one of the costs of starting a business. Trying to locate suppliers that are a good fit is a critical decision for your new business, and they aren’t always easy to find.

It’s easy to get frustrated when you hit dead ends or brick walls, but in most cases, it just requires a little more patience and perseverance to find the perfect partner for your new venture.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us:

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

Guideline to sell your products or services

The way you approach selling can make a huge difference to your chances of winning new customers and making sales.

You need to do as much as you can in advance to find out about the customer and their needs. Good sales techniques can help you reach the right individual, overcome any objections and close the deal.

1. Developing a sales strategy

Ensure you know as much about your target audience as possible

  • Check you understand what your target customers do, what products they need and why, what key benefits they require and when, where and how they buy.
  • Keep an eye on key trends in your market, such as changes in buying patterns and the activities of competitors.

Decide which customers in particular you want to target

  • Be clear how much each potential customer is worth to you. This allows you to determine the time and effort you should put into selling to each one.
  • Aim to focus most of your efforts on customers who will provide the most profitable business. Only sell at a loss when the deal will bring in more (and profitable) business from that customer in the long term or could attract new business from others.

Decide which sales methods to use

  • A mixture of methods might well be appropriate.
  • Direct sales methods include face-to-face, direct mail, telesales and ecommerce.
  • Selling face-to-face is best for high-value sales and for complex products or services that require demonstration or explanation.
  • Direct mail, telesales and ecommerce are more cost-effective options, especially for lower-value products.
  • You might use an intermediary, such as a retailer or wholesaler, to enable you to sell goods to individual consumers. In this case, you will need to focus your sales efforts on selling to the intermediary.
  • If you want to sell your product or service overseas, you might wish to consider using a sales agent.

Establish your sales forecasts

  • Map out monthly sales targets for the year ahead.
  • Try not to be over-optimistic. Initial sales of a new or untested product or service may take longer than expected.
  • Monitoring actual performance against your forecasts can help you identify potential problems and areas for improvement.

Remember the importance of generating repeat business

  • It is far cheaper to sell to existing customers than to generate new business.
  • There is a huge range of software available to help you keep records of dealings with customers, including free versions.

2. Planning your approach

Identify decision-makers and other individuals who influence purchasing decisions

  • Your aim is to talk with individuals who have both the budget authority and the need to buy your product.
  • Looking at a company’s website or having a brief conversation with a receptionist can often reveal information about a business and who you need to talk to.

Before making contact, be clear what you want to achieve

  • For example, do you want to make a sale, set up a meeting, or simply ensure that the customer will be receptive to future contact?
  • Some large companies and public sector organisations invite selected suppliers to tender for business. Your aim will be to ensure that you are invited the next time they are buying your sort of product or service.

Prepare your pitch

  • Be ready to sell the benefits your product or service offers for this particular customer.
  • Anticipate and be ready to handle objections.

3. Getting access

If you are telephoning a customer, follow a few basic rules

  • Ring at the right time. People are naturally more responsive to calls in the morning.
  • Get the crucial first 30 seconds of your pitch right. If you fail to prepare your opening carefully, you have little chance of interesting the customer in what you have to offer.
  • Check you are speaking to the right person. Ask what involvement he or she has in making purchasing decisions.
  • Always get your customer’s name and give your own, too.

Get receptionists and assistants on your side

  • Be friendly, not pushy. Ask them to help you. Make a note of their name and use it the next time you call.
  • Part of an assistant’s job is to prevent unwelcome sales calls getting any further. Explain the benefit the customer will get from taking your call or giving you an appointment.

When you make contact with decision-makers, treat them considerately

  • Check that you are talking at a convenient time. Be ready to keep your call short.

Engage the customer’s interest

  • You need to establish right away that you are not wasting the prospect’s time.
  • Introduce yourself and establish the basis for talking. For example, “Did you receive my email?” or “X suggested I call you”.
  • Briefly outline the key benefit your product has for this particular customer.
  • Ask if the customer is interested in what you have said so far. If the answer is yes, go on to ask more questions. If not, ask if your product or service might be of interest at a later date.

Be prepared to be persistent, particularly if you do not already have a relationship

  • If you get an immediate brush-off, try to keep the conversation going. For example, if you are asked to put something in the post, say that you would like to send something tailored to the customer’s specific needs.
  • If customers say they need to think about it, ask what their concerns are.
  • Stay focused on what you want to achieve. If you want a meeting, ask for one. Suggest a time and a place. Customers prefer and are less likely to cancel meetings on their own premises.
  • Use each time you make contact to build your understanding of the customer. Record useful information including details of the customer’s circumstances and needs. For example, about budgets and the names of decision-makers.

4. Asking questions

Whether you are selling face-to-face or over the phone, asking questions is essential if you want to understand your customer’s needs. Do not attempt to sell at this point.

Make the customer want to answer further questions

  • Start with questions to which you know the answer will be yes. For example, “Are you interested in reducing your production costs?”

Find out the customer’s situation

  • Use open questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. For example, “How do you plan to reduce your production costs?”
  • Ask questions that uncover problems the customer may be experiencing that your solution will address.
  • Then explore the value of finding solutions to those issues, before showing how you can address them.
  • Try to establish what the customer’s business would be worth to you.
  • Show your understanding of the customer’s field of business. For example, “Now that you are getting orders abroad, distribution must be more of a challenge.”
  • Encourage the customer to ask you questions.

Listen to the answers carefully and take notes

  • Check you have understood the customer’s needs by summarising in your own words what has been said.

5. Selling the benefits

Once you understand what customers are looking for, show the benefits they will get from buying your product or service.

Emphasise the benefits your product or service offers – not the features

  • Features describe what a product can do. Benefits explain what these features can do for the customer.
  • A feature is an attribute of the product or service, such as size, design or simply what it achieves. A feature of a new PC might be that it has a processor speed of 3.6GHz. The benefit might be that it lets you do things twice as fast.

Match the benefits to the customer’s needs

  • The same product may be sold differently to two different customers, according to their priorities.
  • For example, if you are selling a car, you might stress the benefits of its safety features when selling to parents, while focusing on style and design when selling to a non-parent.
  • Try to quantify the benefits, perhaps by stating how much money a customer could save by using your product or service.
  • Stress the knock-on effects your product’s benefits could have. For example, “If your accounting software was easier to use, your accounts staff could spend more time chasing debtors.”

Produce evidence to back up your claims

  • Photos, cuttings, research reports and testimonials all help reinforce the point.
  • Mention other customers and their comments.

Be prepared to discuss rival products

  • Provide proof of the advantages you offer.

6. Handling objections

Do not be put off by objections – they can be a sign that the customer is interested. Make sure you handle them in a direct and positive way.

Show the customer that you take the objection seriously

  • Listen carefully to find out what the customer really means. For example, “The price is too high” could mean “It’s over my budget sign off” or “I’d buy it if you gave me a discount”.
  • Summarise what you understand the objection to be.

Isolate, test and address objections

  • If there are several, clarify what each one is before tackling them, one at a time.
  • Test each objection. For example, ask: “So, if I could satisfy you that delivery would be reliable, would you place an order?”
  • If an objection is valid, address it and then ask if you have satisfied the customer’s concerns.

The most common objection to making a purchase is price

  • Try to find out exactly what aspect of price the customer is unhappy with before deciding how to respond.
  • Demonstrate the savings your product or service would bring.
  • Sell the full package you offer, including your reliable after-sales service and the fact that there are no hidden costs.
  • Explain how payment terms, credit or financing could make a deal possible.
  • If the individual you are negotiating with does not have budget authority for the level of spending you propose, ask your contact to refer you to someone within the organisation who can authorise the purchase.

Ensure you have responses ready for other common objections

  • You will soon begin to recognise what these are for your particular product or service.
  • If doubts are voiced about quality, explain how your product meets the customer’s specification and stress your quality control procedures.
  • If the customer says it has an established relationship with an existing supplier, try to make an opening for your business. Emphasise the benefits you offer and suggest the customer tries you out with a small order.

7. Closing the deal

Create a sense of urgency

  • Try to convince the customer that your product is needed now. Link a quick sale to meeting the customer’s own needs and deadlines. For example, “If you book the holiday now, we can get you the best rooms in the hotel.”
  • Do not falsely state that a product will only be available for a limited time in order to get consumers to buy there and then – this is illegal.

If the customer makes buying signals – stop selling

  • Typical buying signals might be: “When would you be able to deliver?”; “What other colours do you have?”; “That would be really useful”; “This is just what we need”.
  • If you do not stop selling, you might go on to talk yourself out of a sale.

Take responsibility for closing the sale

  • The simplest way may be just to ask, “Can I take your order now?”
  • Take your cue from the customer. For example, if he or she asks about the price of a product, say “So is that the product you would like to buy?”
  • Propose alternatives. This makes it more difficult for the customer to say no. Ask, “Would you prefer it in green or blue?”
  • When only one objection remains, make closing the sale conditional upon removing this obstacle. For example, “If I can guarantee to bring the delivery date forward to meet your schedule, will you place the order now?”
  • Once you have asked for the sale, stop talking. Your silence encourages the customer to think things through and reach a decision.

Agree actions and confirm these in writing, including timescales

  • Confirm that you have understood correctly what the customer wants.
  • Give your customers good after-sales service, so that they will want to buy from you again.
  • Confirm your terms of trade including your terms of credit. This will minimise the risk of late payment and subsequent cash flow issues.

Wrapping up

We at ShopShipShake have been working with businesses like yours with fulfilling experiences. We offer one-stop services, including an efficient supply chain, over 10 thousand of China’s suppliers, and more.
With a successful track record of over 20,000 clients, we are sure to deliver your orders requirements. Let’s get in touch to build, sustain, and grow your businesses.

If you would like to know more details about us, please contact with us:

If you are interested in cooperating with us. Please register on:

Skills for selection of e-commerce products

If I ask you, what services will be involved in the whole trading chain of e-commerce? “Logistics”, “collection”, “advertising”, these basic services, you are sure to open your mouth. Even under the general trend of compliance and branding, “trademark registration” and “intellectual property” can also be mentioned. But if you mention “product quality inspection” and “product certification”, you may not know much about it.

In fact, to return to the essence of business, quality products are the prerequisite for everything. Cross-border e-commerce is no exception.

E-commerce platform: Products with certification are better sold

When Chinese goods are exported overseas through cross-border e-commerce, they must not only facilitate the operation of cross-border trading chains through logistics, payment and other services, but also follow the access rules and compliance requirements of target markets and ensure the safety of products to ensure that products will not be recalled or stranded at customs.

In fact, even for the same category of products, countries have different access rules and compliance requirements. For e-commerce sellers, the compliance requirements of the destination country are only the first pass into the target market.

Of course, in addition to the target market policies and the hard rules of the platform, consumers will also care about the product qualification certification and the test standard that the product meets when they buy products on the e-commerce platform, especially the products related to mother and baby products or related products that have direct contact with human body. Therefore, the more endorsements sellers have, the stronger the sense of trust consumers have when making purchase decisions.

Seller: Pre-sale quality control

The market, platform and even consumers have their own standards and requirements for product quality. For sellers, high-quality products are also the key to win in the fierce market competition.

Different channels: product testing demand

Due to different development stages, target markets, categories and scales, cross-border e-commerce sellers have different demands for product quality inspection, testing and certification services.

For e-commerce platforms with proprietary business:

Some e-commerce platforms not only provide sales channels for sellers, but also take goods from suppliers and sell them on the platform with labels, which is often referred to as “self-operation”. Conduct some inspection, test and audit for the suppliers of products on the e-commerce platform with its own business. Ensure the quality of the platform’s own products and brand credibility.

How to select good products for cross-border e-commerce platforms?

ShopShipShake said 7 out of 10 is selection and 3 out of 10 is operation. How to do a good job in product selection is the priority among priorities for many brand owners to take a good brand to the sea. The selection process should be supported by detailed market research and data analysis rather than individual subjective judgment. So, how to make a good selection?

1. Do in-depth research on market demands and trends around you

There are 233 countries and regions in the world, including 197 countries and 36 regions. Each country and region has different cultural customs, living habits, shopping requirements, aesthetics, language expression and so on. The first thing we should do is to do a detailed research and analysis of the target market. Through research and analysis, we can basically determine the direction and preferences of the market, understand the real needs of consumers, and achieve “stable” selection, in order to greatly reduce the risk of going to sea.

2. Relevant to product itself

The product itself quality is good, the quality is qualified has the guarantee, can obtain the consumer’s good opinion easily. Among similar products, the quality of various products is uneven. The key to how to stand out and avoid selective elimination is to improve product quality and “please” consumers.

3. Products should adapt to cross-border logistics and transportation

Different from domestic transportation, cross-border e-commerce logistics takes a long time and costs a lot. In the process of transportation, customs detention, product loss, product damage and so on are easy to occur. Due to different logistics transportation cycle is different, some 3.4 days, some may need a month or more before delivery. Therefore, the selection of products to consider the size of the product, shelf life, the degree of extrusion resistance, temperature changes around, packaging logistics costs and other factors.

Tips on e-commerce selection: Keywords search options; Different market selection; Data observation and selection; Customer reviews selections.