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Sourcing FBA products from India: A good viable alternative to China?

Today I’ll be providing an alternative to sourcing Amazon products from China. Indeed, you can start sourcing FBA products from India through what I share in this guide.

Whilst most private label Amazon USA sellers I know still buy products from China (including myself), there is an increasing number who are looking elsewhere. There are numerous alternative countries including India where sellers are finding opportunities to diversify their brand range and reduce risks.

This has been compounded by the further tariffs that Trump has imposed on China-made products. It really is time to look beyond China for sourcing profitable products to sell on Amazon.

Advantages of sourcing from India for FBA

There’s some distinct advantages over China that India provides.

These include:

  • Unique product offerings not found in any other country or trade show. Some products are handmade and command higher prices in both retail and eCommerce marketplaces.
  • No trade import tariffs are due to no trade war with the US. Sure, this could change in a few years. But for now, Trump is cool with India.
  • Placing smaller test orders is something that many beginners are seeking to do. Since there’s a good volume of handmade products, suppliers are happy to go for a lower MOQ.
  • Brand protection and copycats is one major fear that new sellers have. Luckily, Indian suppliers just aren’t up to speed and generally won’t copy you or your designs. That said, still, file those trademarks and get EBC.
  • Communication is easier through India than the Chinese. English is the second official language and many are fluent. Many sellers know the frustration of the Mandarin-English language barrier.
  • Easier available of materials such as jute, wood, bamboo, and cotton is yet another key reason why sourcing FBA products from India is a wise move. Fewer delays in your supply chain can only be a good thing.
  • Helping people out of poverty is a key aspect why I choose to sell on Amazon. I’m looking to work with non-profit organizations that seek to employ those from disadvantaged communities.

The main point I wish to get across is that there are simply much fewer people sourcing from India than China. Plenty of the Amazon courses I’ve featured simply teach sourcing from China. Since 80 to 90% of sellers source there, it leaves prime opportunity for the early-birds.

Types of products found in India

Now, let’s get into the exciting part: What can you find in India to sell on Amazon? Plenty.

India’s main exports include vehicles, chemicals, iron, steel, machinery, pharmaceuticals and further industrial products.

That said, there’s plenty of smaller textiles for eCommerce sellers on Amazon. You’ll find wood, ceramic, metal, leather and eco-friendly products.

Sourcing FBA products from India

Let’s examine what you’ll find:

  • Fashion products which include jewelry, precious stones, accessories, bags and scarves
  • Leather products including shoes, belts, bags, wallets and unique products for horses/equestrian, both leather and normal nylon.
  • Home furnishings like curtains, placemats, cushions, duvet covers, bed covers, rugs, table clothes and more
  • Food like rice, spices, tea, coffee and lentils. I know a seller who made a fortune selling tea on Amazon

India is emerging to sell tools, based on their large mining operations and precious metal inventory. This is a space to watch. They’re also becoming more experienced selling sporting goods, though China still wins in this regard.

Discovering Indian suppliers for FBA

Most suppliers don’t maintain their catalogs. Often, their relationships are based on family ties, especially as you’ll find Indians around the world.

But if you’re looking to start sourcing Amazon FBA products from India then you’ll have to do some leg work. It’s simply harder than China.

Three instant online supplier directory recommendations are Global Sources, Alibaba and IndiaMART.

You can attend domestic trade shows. Most vendors aren’t exporting and cater to the domestic market, meaning (generally) cheaper prices.

I’ve used the services of sourcing agents. I understand that no one wants the ‘middle man’ but they’re very helpful and have their own databases of reliable suppliers.

In many aspects, finding suppliers so you can start sourcing Amazon FBA products from India is much like sourcing from China. You’ll find them, there’s just more work involved. I do recommend a trade show to build relationships.

Actually, let’s expand more on that.

Effective Amazon FBA sourcing from India

It’s very similar dealing with Indians as it is dealing with the Chinese. As I highlighted, in some cases it’s actually easier. But there’s still scams and issues that can arise.

Sourcing Amazon products from China
Plenty of Indian factories and warehouses are prepared to help Amazon sellers

With that in mind, we can safe-guard ourselves. These tips for sourcing from India are worth while reading.

You’ll really need to build a strong business relationship over the long term. This will take some time. After a few orders, they’ll trust you and you’ll trust them. Just like in China, it’s normal for them to want to know you on a personal level.

There’s a strong need to ask specific questions when negotiating product specifics. They don’t like saying ‘no’ to any question, much like my experiences dealing with the Chinese.

Don’t be afraid to find a new supplier at any time if your existing contact isn’t working for you. There’s plenty of factories in India keen to help start manufacturing for your Amazon brand.

Lastly, just be nice. Westerners are typically known as rude in Indian customs. You’ll need some degree of patience. It’s a chaotic place and you’ll be overwhelmed on your first business trip.

Sourcing from India has its complexities but also many similarities from China. The only way to gain experience is to take that first step. I’ll go first.

Finishing up

If you’re looking to differentiate yourself from the thousands of ‘me too’ products and sellers sourcing from China, then India is a strong and viable alternative. Many eco-friendly and sustainable products can be found here.

Whilst there’s some challenges in finding reputable suppliers, there’s also true opportunities. And some real upsides that many sellers are ignoring.

As they say, the early-bird gets the worm.

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After doing this for 10 years, I’ve learned that online success doesn’t come cheaply, easy or fast. It’s merely consistent work, day in and day out and the rewards are certainly worth the grind.