A lot of people have been asking me about the Canton Fair lately, so I decided to make a post to really explain whether going to the Canton Fair is right for you.
As we all know, majority of the products you find on the shelves of American department stores tend to be made in China. So you know that China is a big player in the manufacturing of all goods, such as electronics, household items, sports and outdoors, etc. If you plan to sell a private labeled product on Amazon, you are most likely drawn to the idea of sourcing your product from China due to the alluring low prices, especially with the strong American dollar right now.
Personally, I think if you were really serious about starting an Amazon private label business, it would almost be foolish NOT to make a trip to the biggest trade show in the largest manufacturing country in the world. Whether you are new or a seasoned veteran in the business, getting a good understanding of how the industry works in China, and to experience the Chinese culture, customs and the way they do business, now that is something you can only learn when you are on the ground in China.
Here are some of the key benefits of attending the Canton Fair. I based this on my own experience, as I have attended the last two fairs, in April and October 2015.
A Great Place For Ideas!
Canton Fair is a place where hundreds of thousands of small to large retailers from around the world go to find product ideas each year. Only in recent years, a small percentage of online sellers started to attend this trade fair. In my opinion, it is a goldmine for getting new product ideas – which is the biggest roadblock for a lot of people starting a private label business.
Using a software like JS Pro to find product ideas and then going on Alibaba to source it, is what most Amazon PL sellers are doing these days. If you want to really separate yourself from the competition, you would want to get the first dip on new and exciting products that most of these other people do not have access to. That is the key to launching a successful winning product. Therefore, Canton Fair is an excellent place to get an early mover advantage.
How I Got Started
In fact, I was very much clueless like some of you when I first started this business. I didn’t know what I wanted to sell. It seems that whatever I can think of or that I could find on Alibaba; when I check it on Amazon, someone is already selling it. I was frustrated, and at times doubting myself.
So being the risk taker that I am, I decided to pack my bags and pay a visit to the biggest fair in China. I figure that even if I don’t find something there, it would be a great experience just to meet some manufacturers there and develop some sort of relationship. Boy was I glad to have made this rather spontaneous decision. Not only did I find my first product, which turned out to be my biggest winner. I proceeded to launch a whole line of products in the same niche. All this happened because I went to the fair, stumbled upon this product while browsing the isles, talked to the manufacturer in person, got to test the sample on the spot, and ultimately placed a trial order.
Key Benefits Summarized:
- Get inspired with new product ideas
- Access to “my secret recipe” – product catalogs
- Be the first to introduce a product to Amazon that’s not yet available on Alibaba
- Meet your potential supplier in person (handshake beats emails, trust me!)
- Establish the beginning of a long term business relationship with potential suppliers
- Test samples on the spot. No need to wait – save time and money from shipping
- Learn the culture, the people, and the way they do business (very different than American)
There are tons of benefits as you can see, but there are always two sides to a coin. We must also examine some of the cons of the Canton Fair.
- The financial cost of the trip.
- MOQ’s (Minimum order quantity) can be high so you must learn to bargain
- Going to a new exotic place where a lot of people don’t speak English can be scary! The people at the fair can all speak English, but that doesn’t mean the locals can.