The pet product niche is a popular one for many businesses, and why wouldn't it be? As long as people have pets, there will be a need for pet products. Around 70% of American households own pets, which is a trend that is continuing to grow.
While there's definitely a market for pet products, breaking into the pet product market is challenging. Businesses will need to work hard to find a product that works, establish a brand, and work on penetrating a very competitive niche. Of course, this all starts with making sure you have an excellent product, which means you need an excellent supplier.
Below, we'll take a look at the best ways to find pet product suppliers in China, as well as the benefits of outsourcing the search to a sourcing specialist.
Step 1: Research Online for Potential Pet Product Suppliers
For most businesses, the search for a pet product supplier in China will begin online through platforms like Alibaba. To narrow down your search, you'll need to filter the search terms not to find suppliers that specialize in pet products, but suppliers that specialize in the specific kind of pet product you want to source.
For example, if you are interested in sourcing pet shampoo, then you need a supplier that specifically has experience making pet shampoo (not just a supplier that makes general pet products).
Pet product suppliers are listed everywhere. However, it's important to find the right suppliers. Generally, sites like aliexpress allow you to search by niche.
For now, just note any supplier that appears to operate in your product niche and has at least a 4-star rating. After you have around 25-30 potential suppliers (if that many are available), it's time to start narrowing that list down.
Step 2: Narrow Down Options for Pet Product Manufacturers
You cannot choose a supplier only based on the star rating. It's a good start, but there are a lot of other factors you need to consider. As you look through your list and begin to make contact with potential suppliers to narrow down choices, consider some of the following questions:
- How easy can I communicate with them? If there's a significant language barrier (or other problems impeding communication), you shouldn't work with that supplier. To make sure you get products made to your standards of quality (and to make sure you can negotiate effectively), clear communication is key.
- How much specific experience do they have in my product niche? You may have seen a supplier that makes pet toys, but do they have experience making the specific kind of pet toy you want? The more applicable experience a supplier has, the better fit they will be for your business.
- For novel products or prototypes, what's their engineering capability? You may be interested in creating a unique product that's never been made. If so, you need to check that the supplier has the engineering capability to make, and alter, novel products or prototypes.
These simple questions will eliminate a lot of potential supplier choices. When you have your list narrowed down to a few promising candidates, it's time to ask about seeing some samples.
Step 3: Sampling
Never skip the sampling process when looking for a supplier or when having a supplier make a product for you for the first time. Samples are one of the best ways to vet a supplier, since it will show if they can follow instructions or if communication issues can't be overcome. It will also highlight inherent product problems that you and your supplier can work together to resolve.
Don't skip the sampling step, and if a supplier is reluctant to send samples (which is rare from high-quality choices), then you know to move on to another choice.
Step 4: Visit the Factory
If you were impressed with the samples you received, the next step is to visit the factory. Most businesses tend to skip this step, either because they don't have bilingual staff, they can't afford the cost, or they simply don't understand why it's important.
Visiting the factory has enormous benefits, and if you plan on making a large investment in production, visiting and inspecting the factory is one of the best ways to protect yourself. Visiting a factory allows you to:
- See the conditions of the factory
- Examine the quality of products already being made
- Sets the stage for you to visit during production (which is incredibly important)
- Create a better relationship with the factory, with a chance to create a relationship with the factory owner.
If you absolutely can't visit the factory, you can always request photos and videos of the facilities. It's still best to perform a visit by either yourself or a trusted third-party.
Step 5: Make a Deal
If you're happy with the sample, the factory inspection, and the price negotiations, you'll sign a contract and production will begin. This isn't the end of getting pet products from China, and your business will still need to prepare for:
- Quality control during production
- Shipping from China
- Clearing customs
- Final delivery
Kanary: Experts in Sourcing Pet Products from China
It is a time and resource intensive process to find a quality supplier you can trust in China for pet products. That's why many businesses look to get help from a sourcing specialist, like Kanary, to guide them through the process.
Kanary is an established sourcing specialist that has helped our clients source all kinds of products from China, including pet products. We offer expertise and benefits that are hard to find in our industry, including:
- Physical offices in the U.S. and China
- Bilingual support (Mandarin/English)
- Access to an established network of suppliers
- Expertise to find new suppliers that are a perfect fit for your needs
- Logistical support, including shipping and customs clearance
For pet products, we offer some specific benefits, including:
- Understanding where certain pet products are made in China, allowing us to create a network of suppliers just for your business
- Purchase planning for specific pet products
We would love to connect to see how Kanary can partner with your business. To reach out to our experts, fill out our online form, and we'll be in touch to start creating a plan to find the best pet product suppliers for you!