India Sourcing Trip by Megadi
12 - 19 October 2020 
New Delhi, India
How to Find India Suppliers for Amazon FBA Private Label
Finding manufacturers and exporters in India for your OEM or Amazon FBA private label product can be tricky as many don’t maintain updated websites and are not listed on supplier directories. 

One of the biggest pitfalls to avoid when sourcing from India is working with a manufacturer that has no export experience. 

Since there is a huge domestic market in India, many suppliers you find online will sell products locally. You want to avoid working with such companies as they typically don't understand the requirements and standards of overseas markets. So ensure you vet suppliers and do your due diligence before placing orders. 

You also might find that some suppliers are hesitant to cater to Amazon FBA private label sellers placing small orders. It's important to keep looking until you find the supplier that's right for your needs. 

The best and most foolproof way to find export-focused suppliers is to attend a sourcing trade show in India. 

This is why we designed India Sourcing Trip, a guided Learning, Sourcing and Cultural trip to the Delhi Fair, the biggest sourcing trade show in India for overseas private label buyers. 

Here are the various ways to find India suppliers described in this article:

1. Google 

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1. Google
Start by searching for suppliers on Google. Since all websites in India are in English, chances are you'll be able to find manufacturers and exporters for most products. 

Use search terms such as:

👉🏻 India <product name> exporter
👉🏻 Supplier of <product name> in India 
👉🏻 <product name> India manufacturer

Note that you may see wholesalers, trading companies and domestic-focused suppliers in search results, so ensure you vet suppliers to make sure they are genuine exporters. 

You will also see results from various supplier directories such as Alibaba or Global Sources, and you may need to go beyond page 1 to see actual suppliers' websites. 

At times, supplier directory pages in Google search results don't have high quality or genuine exporters. This is because these supplier directories are trying to rank for any and every sourcing-related keyword regardless of whether they have suppliers of the specific products on their website or not. 

I say this from experience, having worked closely with the SEO team at one of the directories. 
How to find Indian suppliers for Private Label
Most top search results will be from supplier directories. Dig deeper through search results to find real websites of suppliers and exporters.
2. Online Supplier Directories
You can find suppliers on third-party sourcing websites such as Alibaba, Global Sources and IndiaMart.  

Global Sources and Alibaba are the only two comprehensive export-oriented supplier directories. Both companies have offices in India and actively recruit suppliers for their websites.

Use the "Location" filter on search results pages of these websites to see suppliers from various countries. 

IndiaMart and other local websites have a large number of suppliers that cater to the domestic market (and you want to avoid those). There are a lot of trading companies, too and it’s sometimes difficult to identify real factories. 

Many of the trading companies on IndiaMart actually import products from China to sell domestically, so be sure to avoid those types of companies. 

Some exporters may also supply to the domestic market, but typically the percentage of exports is higher. 
Search India suppliers on Global Sources
On Global Sources, use the Supplier Locations filter in the left column.
Find India suppliers on Alibaba
On Alibaba, use the Supplier Location filter at the top of search results or in the left column.

How to Identify Manufacturers 

Here are some tips to identify manufacturers. These will not work 100% all the time as sometimes manufacturers will make some products in-house, and outsource other categories. 

It is also common for suppliers to outsource production or certain processes to home-based artisans, or village clusters.
 
👉🏻 Company name: Companies that have the words such as “trading”, “agent” or "wholesale" in their company name, are more likely to be trading companies.

👉🏻 Company profile: Read the company's profile and other information on their website. If they are a manufacturer, they will have information about their factory and production capability on their website. If they are an exporter, they will also have information about the key markets they sell to. 

Some might also have photos of export licences or export product certifications such as FDA. 

👉🏻 Product categories: If a supplier features a diverse range of products made from different materials (for e.g. wooden home decor and cushion covers) on their website or at a trade show, they are most likely trading in one of the categories and manufacturing the other in-house.

Exporter from India
Genuine exporters will usually display information about the overseas markets they sell to on their websites.

Star Export House Status

You can also look for suppliers that have "Star Export House" status to confirm they are genuine exporters.

"Star Export House" is a government recognition given to companies that have exported goods/services for at least two consecutive years.


Companies are categorized as follows based on their export performance:

Status Category

One Star Export House
Two Star Export House 
Three Star Export House 
Four Star Export House 
Five Star Export House 

Exports in 2 out of 3 years

US$ 3 million
US$ 25 million
US$ 100 million
US$ 500 million
US$ 2,000 million
Export Star Certificate - Find India Suppliers
This is what a Star Certificate looks like. You can be more confident sourcing from a company that has this certification.
Star Export House Status - Find India Suppliers
Genuine exporters will usually display key certifications on their websites. In some cases, you can cross check the authenticity of the certificates on the issuing organization's website. 
3. At Trade Shows
One of the best ways to find export-focused suppliers in India is to meet them at B2B sourcing trade shows in India or other countries. 

Delhi Fair: India's Only Export-Focused Sourcing Fair

The Indian Handicrafts & Gifts Fair (also known as the Delhi Fair) is among Asia's largest gifts & handicrafts fairs, held twice a year since 1994 and is organized by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts.

Also known as the "Canton Fair of India", the Delhi Fair is the most important export exhibition in India, and a must-visit for anyone sourcing products from the country.

All exhibitors are export-focused and the products on display are in line with design preferences of consumers in the US and Europe, the two key markets for Indian exporters.

The fair features over 3,500 exhibitors spread over 197,000 square meters.

This is the fair we visit during India Sourcing Trip for Amazon and eCommerce sellers. 

Products You Can Source at the Fair

The Delhi Fair has product categories ranging from home decor, furnishings to gifts and fashion:

✔ Houseware, tableware, kitchenware & hotelware  
✔ Bathroom accessories
✔ Lawn, garden ornaments & accessories
​✔ Lamps, lighting & accessories
​✔ Furniture & accessories
​✔ Home furnishings & made-ups
​✔ Carpets, rugs & floorings
​✔ Bags, luggage & leather goods
✔ Christmas & festive decor
✔ Candles, incense sticks, potpourri and aroma
✔ Decorative gifts (including corporate gifts)
​✔ Cane, bamboo fiber, natural & eco-friendly products
​✔ Stationery and paper including handmade paper
​​​✔ Fashion jewelry, bags, scarves & accessories
Find unique products from India at India Sourcing Trip
India Sourcing Trip attendees at the Delhi Fair in India. This is the largest export-focused show in the country. 
Watch the video above to see highlights of the October 2019 Delhi Fair

Sourcing Trade Shows in Asia, Europe, US and Australia

Many of the established exporters in India exhibit at sourcing trade shows around the world. Look for such exhibitions in or near your city and you might find some suppliers from India there. 

Here are some shows around the world where you're likely to meet Indian exporters:

Asia
⚡ Global Sources Exhibitions - Hong Kong 
⚡ HKTDC Exhibitions - Hong Kong 
⚡ Hong Kong Houseware Fair - Hong Kong 
⚡ Canton Fair - Guangzhou
⚡ Yiwu Imported Commodities Fair - Yiwu 
⚡ India Trend Fair - Tokyo 
⚡ China International Furniture Expo - Shanghai 
⚡ Asia's Fashion Jewellery & Accessories Show - Hong Kong 
⚡ Seoul International Sourcing Fair - Seoul 

Europe
Autumn Fair - Birmingham 
⚡ Maison & Objet - Paris 
AFL Artigiano In Fiera - Milan
Heimtextil - Frankfurt 
⚡ Spring Fair - Birmingham 
⚡ Ambiente - Frankfurt 

North America
Sourcing at Magic Fair - Las Vegas 

Australia 
Decor+Design Show - Melbourne 
International Sourcing Expo - Melbourne 

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Leading Amazon FBA experts will help you find unique products during India Sourcing Trip
Find Amazonable products at India Sourcing Trip
4. Sourcing Agents
There are many sourcing agents in India (also known as buying houses) that maintain their own databases of suppliers. 

If you're new to sourcing from India, or are unable to find a suitable supplier, a sourcing agent will surely help make the process more efficient. 

Some agents specialize in certain categories primarily depending on where they are based and their proximity to production hubs. 

But many large buying houses have offices and representatives throughout the country and are able to source any product. 
India sourcing agent at India Sourcing Trip
A sourcing agent talking about eco-friendly products during India Sourcing Trip.

Do you Need a Sourcing Agent?

When you are ordering in larger quantities, it helps to work with a sourcing agent  who can find and vet suppliers, negotiate prices, place orders, conduct quality control and even help with logistics.

But if you have found a reliable supplier that is able to manage quality and deliver on time, you don't need to work with a sourcing agent. 

If your quantities are too small, however, agents may not be too keen to work with you because their fees are a percentage of the order value (ranging from 5% to 10%), and if it’s a small order, the fees might not be worth the time and effort they put in to finding and vetting suppliers. Many agents have a minimum order value they will help buyers source.

It is a catch-22 situation for new sellers - you don’t know how to source and could use the help of an agent, but your orders are too small for them.

So what do you do?  

Here are some options:

1️⃣ DIY your first few orders. It is actually not as scary as it looks. Go on to a sourcing directory such as Global Sources or Alibaba, search for the product, compare suppliers, send inquiries, and
to minimize risk, place a small order of about less than 100 pieces (may vary from product to product). 

Find a good freight forwarder who understands FBA requirements and work with them for labeling and shipping. 

Once you scale your orders, consider going via an agent to keep tabs on your orders, identify alternative suppliers and conduct QC.

2️⃣ Work with an agent for selective services and DIY the rest. This may or may not be possible depending on the agent but worth giving it a try. 

In the entire sourcing process, vetting suppliers is probably the most difficult thing to do remotely. 

Without actually visiting the factory or having someone visit on your behalf, it can sometimes be difficult to tell if a supplier is really a factory, and how reliable they are. Having an agent or an inspection company such as QIMA vet and audit the supplier you have chosen may give you more confidence in placing your order. 

Agents also have their own lists of vetted suppliers, and may be able to recommend companies to you from their own database. 

In such cases, you would pay a flat fee to the agent instead of a percentage of the order value.
Once the supplier has been vetted, you can go ahead and do the rest on your own. Again, many agents may not want to do this because they have the highest potential to earn when they manage your entire order. 

A sourcing company may or may not share information about the suppliers they source from.
They also often charge a retainer fee of a few hundred dollars before doing product research and compiling quotes. This retainer fee is adjusted when the final order is placed. 

Many big retailers and buyers sourcing products from India use buying agents to manage their sourcing. As an Amazon seller, as you scale production, it helps to outsource your sourcing so you can free yourself for focusing on other strategic aspects of the business.

Tips When Working with Sourcing Agents

1. Vet sourcing agents: While the majority of agents and suppliers you deal with (in China and India) will be genuine companies who want to legitimately do business with you, there are bad actors and fly-by-night operators who will try to cheat you. 

So the first thing you need to do is ensure you're dealing with a legitimate sourcing agency that has good references.

2. No exclusive agreements: You as a buyer don't need to sign exclusive agreements with your sourcing agent. Run away if an agent asks you to do this. 

3. Respect their time: Don't go and ask 5 different sourcing agents to quote prices, and never get back to them. Be considerate and pay them their fees if they have done research for you and provided you with quotes and supplier profiles.

4. Work with them as a partner: A sourcing agent's role is not just limited to finding suppliers and getting quotes. They are your representative in a country that you don't know much about. Work with them as a partner and an extension of your team. Don't simply bypass them after the first order to save a bit of cost. 

By finding the right supplier, mediating between you and the supplier, and managing your product quality, a reliable sourcing agent can help save you money in the long run. 

At the previous India Sourcing Trip, one sourcing agent was able to reduce the price quoted by an exhibitor for an attendee by about 30 percent! 

5. Product specialization: Some sourcing agents specialize in certain product categories depending on the experience of their founders, or proximity to production hubs. 

For example, a sourcing company with operations only in south India will not be a good fit for sourcing say brass home decor items, which are primarily produced in north India.

Of course, larger companies may have offices and representatives in various locations throughout the country. 

6. Some agents get a commission from suppliers: Sometimes agents will get a commission from suppliers they place orders with (this happens in China and India). However, a genuine agent is less likely to do this as their reputation is at stake. 

There's not much you can do about this except ensure you work with a reliable and reputable company. 
Amazon sellers meeting India sourcing agents at India Sourcing Trip
An Amazon seller from Australia meeting with a sourcing agent at India Sourcing Trip.

List of Sourcing Agents and Service Providers

At India Sourcing Trip, we have vetted sourcing agents and service providers that you can meet with and start working with immediately. 

These are companies that we have met with personally, and have got references from other Amazon private label sellers.

NOTE: While we have vetted these companies to the best of our abilities, do your own due diligence when working with these comapneis. The organizers of India Sourcing Trip and the author of this article take no responsibility of the actions of these companies. 
5. Export Promotion Councils
There are a number of export promotion councils in India for various product categories. They usually have a database of exporters that they can share with importers. 

These councils are registered as non-profit organizations under the Companies Act / Societies Registration Act of India. They perform both advisory and executive functions, and they are also the registering authorities for exporters under India's Foreign Trade Policy.

Some councils have lists of their exporters online, or you can email them to ask for a supplier list, which will typically have thousands of exporters. You may or may not get supplier contact information on the lists, and at times the contact details and supplier profile info is not up to date.

If the list has only company names, you can try doing a Google search to find their website. 

The advantage of getting a list from these councils is that you can be certain these companies are exporters. If you email the councils, response may be slow. 

Here are a few of the key councils: 

👉🏻 Basic Chemicals, Cosmetics & Dyes Export Promotion Council
👉🏻 Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council 
👉🏻 Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council 
Export Promotion Councils - Find suppliers in India
You can search for exporters on the website of Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts. It may be difficult to tell what product categories suppliers focus on just by looking at the info here, but at least you have a list to start with.
Summary
While there are a number of ways to find Indian exporters online, attending a trade show in person is the most efficient way to meet with thousands of suppliers at a time and see a huge variety of products. 

Sourcing fairs are a great way to discover new products to source. Walk down the aisles and you might find an exciting new product you wouldn’t have thought about sourcing.

In addition, you will be prioritized by suppliers over buyers they have only dealt with online.  When they meet you at a trade show, suppliers know you’re a serious buyer as you have invested the time and money to visit a physical exhibition. 

Expect better prices, attractive pricing terms, and shorter lead times.

If you are looking for suppliers in India and are excited about the sourcing opportunities there, join us on the next India Sourcing Trip

You will be able to learn insider sourcing strategies from leading export professionals at a one-day conference. 

Plus, top eCommerce coaches from the US, UK and Australia will guide you at the Delhi Fair and help you find Amazonable products. If you are an Amazon FBA seller, this trip will help you identify unique and differntiated products to stand out from the competition. 

Watch the short video below to learn how you can benefit from attending India Sourcing Trip
 
This article is written by Meghla Bhardwaj, Founder of India Sourcing Trip and The Asian Seller.

Meghla has been working in the Asia sourcing industry for over 19 years. She has visited hundreds of factories in India and China and has a deep understanding of manufacturing and sourcing processes.

She is the founder of India Sourcing Trip, a unique guided Sourcing + Learning + Cultural tour to the Delhi Fair. The trip is especially designed for Amazon and eCommerce sellers looking for unique products to private label.  

Meghla also runs a podcast called The Asian Seller for Amazon and eCommerce sellers, especially those based in Asia.

You can reach her at info@indiasourcingtrip.com

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