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Alibaba RFQ ( Request for Quotation ) : Ultimate Guide 2020

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Alibaba is the globe’s largest index of factories as well as supplier platforms.

It provides a great assortment of services along with tools. These tools and services are accessible for taking your foreign trade to another level.

In this guide, we are focusing on the ways to locate the best vendors on Alibaba RFQ. RFQ stands for Request for Quotation. With this tool, we can have factories approach us and we can choose the best alternative.

We will also cover the way to utilize RFQ and interact with those vendors. This provides you with the best option to make sure of an ideal fit for your project or product.

What is Alibaba RFQ?

Alibaba RFQ is a facility given by Alibaba to customers for posting buying requests.

Also, the buyers can handle every quotation on the platform of Alibaba RFQ service.

1.How does Alibaba RFQ work?

Posting the RFQ from the customer’s end is very easy. You only have to join the Alibaba account, fill the RFQ registration form, and press “submit RFQ.”

When RFQ is presented, Alibaba experts will review it before posting or releasing it into the market.

Then, it will be matched with an ideal vendor.

The vendors will search for related RFQ as per the name and category of the product. If the RFQ interests the vendor, they will give you quotes via RFQ.

Afterward, you can assess, contrast, and direct the quotations.

2.Is it free to use Alibaba RFQ service?

Actually, there are 2 kinds of Alibaba Request for Quotation service. The first is a free RFQ service that lets at minimum 10 quotations from distinct vendors.

The other is Paid RFQ service in which the customer can select value-added services for an extra amount. The Paid RFQ is ranked as Quality RFQ in the market by Alibaba.

So the vendors will communicate in a stronger manner.

 3.What is the best benefit of Alibaba RFQ service?

The best benefits of Alibaba RFQ are:

  • Quicker vendor response. The RFQ attracts vendors to approach you and create 10-15 quotes in a few minutes.
  • Convenient cost comparison. You may check and contrast the quotations on a single page to assess them all.
  • Proactive vendor services. RFQ suppliers are proactive in competing for your orders. The supplier follows-up and tries to set up a great relationship with you.

4.Disadvantages of Alibaba RFQ 

With RFQ service, you will have no option to select the kind of vendor before quoting. You will know the companies’ offer you the quotes while getting the costs. You will see some quotes from third-parties as well.

Though, you get many quotations with RFQ, but with no supplier screening. It will be difficult for you to recognize if the quotes are the finest costs.

When you are unsatisfied, you need to launch one other course in RFQ. Till the time you get the one you really want to do trade with.

How do I use RFQ on Alibaba? 

Step1: Go to Alibaba RFQ main page

First of all, visit this page https://rfq.alibaba.com/.

Step2: Complete the RFQ form

While completing the form, make sure to take care of these things to attract suppliers.

a.Specify your product name or category, specifications, and quantity.

A short product category or name will make it simpler for vendors to locate your RFQ.

Also, do not opt for small quantities, good vendors will not get motivated for sending quotes.

b.Upload photos of products

It will be easier for vendors to see if they have the products in the pictures. Or if they need to create the same products you need.

 c.Request Details

Suppliers want to assess your buying demands. Make sure to give each other important details.

Step3: Submit RFQ

Choose one kind of RFQ that best suits your current requirements. After that, simply press “Submit RFQ” to submit your form.

Step4: Check quotations in the message center of Alibaba RFQ dashboard 

You will find all the vendor quotations and contact numbers in your messages. So start assessing them one at a time.

Step5: Select among suppliers and Contact Suppliers

After assessing the profiles and quotes of the suppliers, you can choose 2-3 to communicate with them.

Step6: Ask for Samples

Negotiate with them, ask for their samples for checking the quality.

Step7: Place your Order

When you find the best one meeting all your needs, go to that supplier and place the order.

How to do a good Alibaba RFQ?

 Alibaba RFQ Sample Template

The key to an effective Alibaba RFQ sample is to create quality content of RFQ. This is to allure quality vendors.

Alibaba RFQ template 

The Alibaba RFQ sample should be concise with 5 paragraphs.

1.Introducing yourself and specifying the product in the first

Introduce yourself and specify the product you want to buy in the initial paragraph. Use your company’s name but write the para in the concise and clearest manner.

2.Specifying the quantity

If this is just for trying, you can mention, you will place the huge order the second time.

3.Talking about Packaging

 Certain vendors give a quotation of low cost at first, after that, they add packaging costs.

Hence, discuss the cost of packaging in the beginning. So they will not charge you extra costs later.

4.Asking about the Shipping cost

 If you tell your vendor that you have a freight forwarder, it displays that you are an expert buyer. So you will not be ripped off over the shipping cost by the supplier.

5.Detailing the address

If you like your vendor to assist you with shipping the products via sea to a certain place in your nation. Then the vendor’s freight agent will require a comprehensive address. To evaluate a precise shipping expense.

How to select the best RFQ Quotation on alibaba.com

The quoted cost is sometimes the last qualifying element when choosing a producer. A unit cost is formed on 4 elements that are:

1.Product Specifications

The material, function, dimension, and component of a product define its factory cost. Many Chinese producers work as OEMs. so most vendors can give long rundowns of ODM, products, or factory. They have a lack of internal quality standards.

The customer needs to communicate about the item specification when getting ODM items. So the quoted cost is not useful unless the vendor states every specification.

But they can leave spaces in the specifications to lower the unit cost. So pay attention.

When you get a cost that is very low compared to quoted by rivals, the cost is maybe based on a low-quality item.

2.Product Compliance

Creating goods in compliance with global US & EU regulations and standards is costly. RoHS elements are more costly compared to Non-RoHS elements.

They ensure assent with the FCC Part 15 or EMC directive.

The non-compliant item is more affordable compared to a compliant product. Chinese producers do not quote a cost based on compliant products unless you tell them.

3.Quantity

The more the quantity, the less the cost. But ensure that producers, not like wholesalers work on low margins. They contain less room for cost reduction.

The volume-based cost reduction pans out after reaching 5 to 6 times the requirement of MOQ.

 4.Shipping Incoterm

 The Incoterm explains at the stage the freight is moving from the customer to the vendor. The Incoterm is cost into unit price. It has a major influence on:

  • EXW

The customer must organize delivery from the factory as well as customs clearance. The producer handles the generation and owns no role in the delivery.

  • FOB

The vendor handles the delivery to the harbor of loading. Such as Shenzhen, custom clearance, or Shanghai. The customer must organize forwarding from the harbor of loading.

  • CIF 

The vendor handles the delivery to the destination. Such as Mexico or Paris. The customer must organize domestic forwarding as well as unloading.

  • DAP 

The vendor handles the delivery from the origin to the address. Such as your office or storehouse.

How to get more RFQs outside of Alibaba.com

Alibaba has not invented the RFQ process. This guide defines the way you can make the RFQ ready when vendors on other sites or at trading show up.

1.Creating an RFQ (Request for Quote) template 

The Alibaba RFQ template is the initial point. The info assembled throughout the procedure is useful. Like specs and info requests shown in Alibaba RFQ template.

So Chinese producers do not give more info, then. It depends on you to do the research before contacting the suppliers. The things you must include are:

A.Technical Specifications

The quoted cost is of no use when you don’t have an idea as per what requirements it is based upon. The cost relies on quality and quality relies on technical specifications.

Hence, the first step is to record the product specs that the vendor will quote for. You can do this in the following ways:

  • OEM

If you buy OEM (tailor-made) items, the bulk of the specs should be given by the customer. These specs should be added depending on the item. Design outline, dimension, form, model, CAD file, size table, photocopy, material & technical specs.

Every producer confines to some extent by its ability to reach dimensional tolerance. Also, their subcontractor’s ability to give certain elements.

You need flexibility when assembling the set of item specs.

So leave a few spaces for the vendor to mention. This should not be an issue if these specs are explained and mentioned beforehand.

  • ODM

Making specs for (private-label) ODM items is not the same as the OEM process. You get a ready-made spec product with ODM. hence, give guideline specs or reference items for the vendor to match with other ODM products. Chinese producers contemplate ODM items as uneven product templates.

You cannot leave spaces, so specify fix quality specs, write “gap” specs for the vendor to fill in. Also, include reference items, material specs, tooling lists, and formats.

Before starting the order, make sure which one you want to opt for. Either for OEM or ODM.

B.Applicable Standards & Regulations

Checking compliance with global (RoHS, CPSIA, or REACH) needs technical skills. As well as compliant elements and materials. This costs money with compliance analyses and certification means.

A compliant item is costly to create compared to a non-compliant item.

So if you do not state the compliance requirements in writing. The vendors will not give you accurate quotes.

C.Supplier Information & Order Terms 

The aim of the RFQ procedure is to get a functional cost and item info. That is sufficient to decide a supplier to work with.

Also, know about the firms in the procedure, and the order standards they offer. The following info is required to specify by the suppliers.

  • Company info – the capital, address, and contact person.
  • Compliance docs – technical files, test reports, and info of conformity.
  • Company certificates – social compliance, standard certificate, and audit report.
  • General terms – MOQ, ODM and OEM sample, and making time.
  • Payment terms – bank account, MOV, Payment plans.

2.List suppliers and send RFQs

Now, let’s talk about vendor selection. You will not find any hidden supplier network. Chinese producers, similar to other businesses, like to be located by prospective customers. This is how you locate them.

Globalsources.com

An expert in the industry. It is more powerful compared to Alibaba.com. It has many industries, in particular, electronic, but more limited in many sections.

HKTDC.com

 This is a directory that lists famous and well-known Hong Kong companies. Their trade fairs are top-notch compared to their directory on the web.

Trade Fairs

When you meet your supplier in person, this is the best method to make the primary supplier choice.

Sourcing agent

 When you hire a sourcing agent that is reliable. You will have a list of famous and trustworthy suppliers. Hiring a sourcing agent is effective in many ways, such as:

  • You will know the suppliers who respond and communicate well.
  • Your agent will only introduce you to suppliers who have compliance certificates.
  • Your agent will be able to give them a sample of their products.
  • Your agent will have many backups for you ready (though it won’t be needed).

3.Gathering price information

Here is a list of important things that you need for moving things forward:

  • Start with a phone or Skype call. Also, follow up and send your Alibaba RFQ file. In the end, ensure you make a deadline.
  • Continue sending reminding notifications through Skype or email.
  • When they send you the first draft, and if it is not perfect. Like some gaps or missing info. Ask them for revisions to the point you get satisfied and have everything in detail.
  • Store the info in a document.
  • Get a Chinese translator if you need extra assistance.

No doubt, it is an exhausting procedure demanding lots of work. The only means to get the info is to apply the process we have described to get the right supplier.

The FAQ for Alibaba RFQ Service 

1.Do all suppliers listed on Alibaba respond to RFQs?

 No. that depends on every vendor if they quote via the Alibaba RFQ service. Most suppliers don’t. So you must utilize the Alibaba RFQ template as an additional sourcing strategy.

But don’t make it your only way to find suppliers and obtain quotations.

2.Can Alibaba guarantee that I get high-quality products?

No. the RFQ service is a wonderful arranger. But it depends on you that you send the vendor everything to the factory. For instance, you need to give clear product specs, agree to the sales contract.

And then follow up with a quality check and lab tests. If you want the best, keep checking everything yourself instead of relying 100% on Alibaba.

3.How do I know I’ve been quoted as a market price?

When you put all related info like quantity, technical specs, compliance specs, and incoterms. You will get accurate unit costs. But we suggest you opt for 2 to 4 vendors in the Alibaba RFQ process.

Also, you will know if the quoted price is not the same as the market price by the following points.

  • The product is not made with similar product specs.
  • The vendor did not include the cost in the compliance specs.
  • The vendor quotes a cost depending on the huge quantity. But the competitors offered less cost.
  • The vendor gives the EXW cost.

 4.Should we communicate our target price when we ask for a quotation?

Yes, you are free to negotiate the target cost, but after cautious attention. The unit cost must be based on the last research or on the marginal calculations.

Producers do not like price reduction, so do not give them a very low target cost. This is not a genius strategy. You will get nothing if you give an unrealistic price.

Also, you get the things you pay for. So try to have a realistic cost and quote the price you think is reasonable for you and the supplier.

5.How do I close an RFQ on Alibaba?

 Follow these 3 simple steps to close the Alibaba RFQ account.

  1. Sign in to My Alibaba Message Center. Now press the drop-down menu and switch the page to RFQ.
  2. Choose the RFQ you like to close.
  3. You can now close your selected RFQ. (If you cannot close it, this means it is expired. So the supplier will not see it as well).

6.What should I do if my RFQ has been rejected?

First of all, check the reason for it. To do that:

  1. Go to the Message center and locate the relevant RFQ.
  2. Press the title to see the reason in detail.

Now, edit it before submitting it again.

  1. Confirm the email address of your Buyer Profile.
  2. Fill in the key info for your request like material, photos, size, and so on. Add details where you think needs to be filled.
  3. The requested product might be restricted or banned. Get in touch with the brand owner or remove the brand’s name from the Alibaba RFQ.
  4. Do not keep submitting many RFQs at once. Wait for the first to get the quotes.
  5. The order quantity may be lower than the MOQ. Adjust it and then submit again.

7.What kind of RFQs aren’t accepted?

The RFQs that are not accepted are the following:

  1. Not sent from the verified email address.The order requests that are not sent from a validated and verified email address. The email address of the buyer must be verified prior to posting the buying requests.
  2. No mention of essential info.Necessary info such as product name mentioned in the subject line. Or other item details mentioned in the body part, for example, size, place of origin, type, color, variety, or any other specs. The more you mention the info, the better it will be for your supplier to understand your needs.

Also, there may be some specific specifications in some industries.

  1. Confined or banned products (which include trademarked or branded products). It is recommended in a great manner to get in touch with the owner. Or even authorized dealers of any trademarked or branded item to purchase it.
  2. The buying requests are copied from the very product.
  3. The order quantity is less than MOQ. Everyone knows Alibaba.com is, in fact, a wholesale organization, a great MOQ or minimum order quantity orders are more likely to be preferred. Also, take this into consideration that MOQ will differ based on the type of the product.

Conclusion

In the end, we would like to give you some suggestions. To find the best supplier among many RFQ vendors. Opt for producers rather than the trading firms.

Because trading firms have a mixed portfolio of products at high prices. Whereas producers produce the products and have lower costs. Choose suppliers with a good reputation in the market.

Also, those that are situated in the business cluster of many product categories.

Choose experienced suppliers with great communication skills. They will help you by answering your queries and give you genuine recommendations.

To be specific, balance the price with quality. If you are happy with 2 to 3 quotes, you may get in contact with the vendors. To begin asking for a few samples to check the quality.

After that, you can get more detailed attention before deciding on one vendor to operate with.

We hope you find this guide useful and informative. For further queries and suggestions, don’t forget to drop a comment below.

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FOUNDER’S NOTE
LeelineSourcing will always help you buy cheap and good quality goods from China.

sharline leelinesourcing founder


About the author

Sharline is the founder of LeelineSourcing.com. With 10 years of experience sourcing in China, She loves to share knowledge and ideas in sourcing bussiness.She writes only the truths which others are normally not willing to tell. This makes her posts distinguishable from other import & export articles.

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