Going to trade shows is by far our favorite method of sourcing. I can tell you so many reasons right now why we prefer it over everything else, but I’d be getting ahead of myself.

Some of the trade shows I absolutely love going to are those hosted by Global Sources. Much like Alibaba, Global Sources is a frequented supplier directory on the internet. However, unlike Alibaba, Global Sources is usually thought of as having higher quality, vetted suppliers. Global Sources also runs a conference, the Global Sources Summit, which is one of the biggest events geared towards ecommerce sellers importing from China.

Our guest for today’s episode is Meghla Bhardwaj, Head of Content Marketing at Global Sources and organizer of the summit. Meghla is no stranger to the podcast; she has been a guest on Episode 63 and Dave interviewed her last year, which you can read about here.

Our conversation revolves around two topics: results of a survey carried out by Global Sources on trade show attendees and tips and best practices on how to improve sourcing.

Conversation points:

  • Results of the survey carried out on two groups: traditional non-ecommerce sellers and ecommerce sellers (the goal of the survey is to learn the top challenges importers are facing so that the Global Sources team can address their needs better)
  • How some importers don’t have a set agenda when roaming trade shows–they look for inspiration and new ideas instead
  • The advantages of attending a trade show over simply sourcing online
  • Supplier selection criteria of ecommerce importers
  • 3 things importers should do to improve sourcing
  • What to do to ensure quality
  • Global Sources summit event details

Global Sources Summit

The summit will run from April 18th-20th in Hong Kong, overlapping with the trade show that runs from the 18th to the 21st. You can reserve your spot here, and use the special EcomCrew discount code ECC100 to get $100 off your ticket price.

The summit will also have the following events:

  • Workshops – day before the summit, with topics such as Facebook marketing, Amazon PPC, and a beginners workshop
  • Mastermind
  • Break out sessions for beginners

Dave and I will both be speaking at the Global Sources Summit and we are definitely looking forward to it. We’d love to see you there and connect; don’t forget to use ECC100 when you purchase your ticket to get a $100 discount.

We will also be hosting our very first EcomCrew mastermind in Hong Kong. If you’ll be in Asia around this time, sign up for our mastermind here. We’d love to meet up and talk shop with you.

Resources mentioned:

MyEcomCrew
Global Sources Summit
Episode 63
Episode 86
Interview with Meghla

Thanks for listening to this episode! Until next week, happy selling.

Full Audio Transcript

Mike: This is Mike, and welcome to episode number 126 of the EcomCrew Podcast. Don’t forget you can go to EcomCrew.com/126 to get to the show notes for this episode. And today I have a special guest with me Meghla from the Global Sources Summit is going to be on the line with us today. She was a past guest on episode number 63. We’ll put that in the show notes; you can go back and check that out. She is just an awesome guest, an awesome person.

She is just so hospitable for speakers like myself at the Global Sources Summit. They put on an awesome advantage to us. She’s incredibly knowledgeable, been in the space for a long time, super awesome person. If you’re over there definitely take an opportunity to shake her hand. Just someone you definitely want to meet.

And Cameron also from Global Sources Summit was on episode number 86 a while back as well. So check that out as well if you’re interested in sourcing from Asia, sourcing from China, Hong Kong whatever it might be, definitely a couple of really good episodes, still good episodes to go back and listen to even though they are about a year old now. So without further ado let’s hop into the introduction here and then get Meghla on the line, looking forward to talking with her.

Hey Meghla, welcome back to the EcomCrew Podcast.

Meghla: Hey Mike thanks for having me.

Mike: No problem.

Meghla: How are you doing?

Mike: I’m doing great; it’s so good to talk to you again. I was just looking through my notes and you were back on episode 63, we’ll link to that on the show notes. And I’m going to be coming back to Global Sources Summit again in April, and we’ve been talking about that and coordinate my presentation and other things, and thought it’d be a great opportunity to get you back on the show today.

Meghla: Yeah, thanks a lot for having me. I have some exciting information to share with your listeners.

Mike: Yeah definitely, and the biggest and the main reason I really wanted to get you on here was a survey that you guys do. I love data and talking about like what are the people who are up to and stuff like that. So if you could just jump right in and tell people about this survey that you guys conducted, and then we’ll talk about a couple of really interesting findings that you guys have from that.

Meghla: Absolutely. So there are two surveys that I want to talk about. And these are surveys that Global Sources does internally to try to understand what challenges importers face when they’re sourcing from China so that we can address their needs and launch services to specifically cater to their needs and to address their challenges. So these are internal surveys that Global Sources did.

We generally don’t release or publish findings from these surveys, but I thought it’d be interesting to share a few insights to your audience so that they can kind of learn from other buyers and learn how other buyers source, and improve their own sourcing processes simultaneously. So the first survey I want to talk about was basically a focus group that we did with small groups of mid-size and basically non retailer suppliers. So these are not really e-commerce sellers, they’re traditional distributors, retailers.

And this round table discussion was done at our trade shows. So talked to about 30 to 40 buyers, and they were small groups of ten that we had these discussions with. So a couple of interesting points that came out and these are not really ranked as such. So one of the questions that we asked them, how do you source at trade shows?

So some of the things that came out of that was somebody said that they really look for new ideas at trade shows instead of having a specific agenda. Now this is I think very interesting because both approaches work I think. So you can either go into the trade show and you know what products you want to source, and that will help you be more efficient. But at the same time, you also want to be looking for new products that are out there and just kind of seeing if there’s anything interesting that you find or if there’s a profitable product. So I thought that was really interesting.

Mike: Yeah so just real quick my thought on that. It’s interesting that people take that approach. I mean I’ve done both. I mean when I first went out to China and Hong Kong for my first experience out there, I was really just only looking for new product ideas. And I found that when we go there with product ideas in mind, we basically go out there twice a year now, and we have a list of specific products whether it’s 15, 20, 30 products whatever it might be that we’re looking for.

And inevitably as we are walking up and down the aisles we’re finding other things out there. But I personally think that it’s better to have a game plan and to try to be focused especially if you’re at something like the Canton Fair where the scope is just so big. The Global Sources stuff is a lot more focused, which is actually good especially if you know that you want to be in electronics or fashion, some of the things you guys put on. But in some of these larger fairs, it can be just so overwhelming. The next thing you know like you think you’re there looking for battery chargers, the next thing you know you’re walking out there with wine glasses or something.

Meghla: Absolutely. Yeah so that was one thing and then another finding was that these buyers they find it hard to identify new products. So what they said that there were too many companies, manufacturers, and trading companies selling similar products. And it’s very overwhelming to identify what products are really new. And so that’s one of the reasons we try to curate products in our trade shows especially at the gift and home trade show. You’ll find a lot of curated innovative products.

So this is not something new that we’ve identified and we’ve done surveys in the past. This has always kind of come up as one of the main challenges buyers face is the identifying new products launched by suppliers in the market.

Mike: Yeah and like you said it’s hard to identify the trading company from non trading company. One thing that I found — I have a couple of questions now that I’ve kind of developed on my own. So first of all I just flat out ask, a lot of trading companies are honest about it. They’ll just tell you yeah we’re a trading company, and they’re fine with that. But others will kind of try to hide that fact or shield it. So I’ll typically ask like where is your factory located, how many people do you have working there?

And the question that I ask as a follow up to those two things is can I come visit there this week, or I’m in town in China, can I come visit? If they are a trading company they get like really put off by that, because they’re like oh my gosh, like this guy is actually going to come visit. And that’s usually when they start stuttering and will kind of reveal that they’re actually a trading company.

Meghla: Absolutely, and sometimes you get to have to look at the products that they offer. Maybe it’s the products that they’ve posted on their website, or the products that they have at their booth at the trade shows. So typically manufacturers would have similar types of products, whereas trading companies would have a wider range and different types of products. I think that’s another way to kind of identify manufacturers.

Mike: I agree. I mean if they have everything under the sun kind of in their booth, that’s a pretty big red flag that they are a trading company.

Meghla: Absolutely yeah.

Mike: And that’s not always a — just real quick, I mean that’s not always the end of the world. I mean we actually work with a couple of trading companies. It is hard to find factories sometimes, and the trading company might have the relationship and so be it. But typically there’s extra margin in that process, and it’s better if I can pick one or the other, I prefer to be working directly with the factory versus having a trading company inserted in the middle there.

Meghla: Yeah absolutely. And sometimes even if you’re working with a manufacturer, it’s possible that they are sourcing some products from another manufacturer, so they’re not manufacturing the product themselves in-house. So I think that’s also important. If you want to source from a manufacturer, make sure that they’re manufacturing the product that you want in-house.

Because I feel that there’s no clear distinction because they are a manufacturer that manufacture some products in-house, but they trade in other products. Whereas some trading companies they might have invested in factories and they have better control or in fact invested in or they may even own some factories. So I think what you really want is for the companies to be very open and clear about what their business type, is and what products they manufacture in-house, and what they sub-contract.

Mike: Yeah and that’s really good advice, cool. So was anything else said at the survey that you guys found interesting?

Meghla: Yeah the other thing is that a lot of these guys they really source at trade shows. So they said they source about 80 to 100% of their products at trade shows and one to 20% is online. Now of course there’s a bias over here because these buyers were interviewed at a trade show. So they are trade show lovers. But it was interesting to know that they perceive suppliers at trade shows to be of higher quality.

And there’s also the trust factor because they feel that these supplies have invested for exhibiting at a trade show, so they’re more kind of reliable than real because they have met these suppliers face to face. And also the ability to… sorry.

Mike: I completely agree with that. I’m in the 80 to 100% sourcing at trade shows. I’ve never actually sourced anything from Alibaba or online. I’m a big relationship person. I find that China to be the wild, wild west kind of mentality a little bit. And I want to see, touch, and feel the product and talk to these people.

And if I can actually go visit their factory and establish one on one relationship, obviously it’s not possible in all circumstances. But the pictures on Alibaba are just pictures, and they can come from anywhere. And the product that is physically in someone’s booth is actually the product. So I prefer to do that in person.

Meghla: Absolutely, and the other thing I like about trade shows is that you can really touch and feel the products, so you can really tell what the quality is. Or if you’re sourcing online, you’re just looking at a picture. Of course you can get samples from the factory but then that’s a longer process, whereas at a trade show, you can just walk from one booth to the other and touch and feel products from different suppliers. So I think that’s another advantage.

Mike: Yeah and I mean I can think of a few different products that I might use our gel pens as an example. I mean like you go to one of these sourcing fairs, and they literally can be one 100 to 200 maybe even 300 different people there exhibiting like the exact same or very close the exact same product.

And the subtle difference is the one that’s like 5 or 10, or 15% better shines above the rest. And it’s easier to go around and touch 200 of those products all in one or two days at the trade show versus trying to order 200 different samples off of Alibaba or something online. So I find that to be another big advantage for products that are exhibited in deep breath at these shows.

Meghla: Absolutely. I think another advantage is that if you’re new to a product line, it’s easier to do research; it’s easier to identify aspects of the product that are important that affect the price. It’s sometimes difficult to do that online, but when you’re at a trade show you can just ask the supplier, hey, can you do this in a different material, how will that affect the price? And then you go to the next supplier and kind of say that, oh, can you make this product with this material.

So you’re kind of doing research, I mean you talk to a few suppliers asking the “dumb questions,” and then you go to the third supplier, and you basically understand the different aspects of the product, and you can talk more intelligently like a more experienced buyer.

Mike: That’s so funny you said that. I thought I was the only one that took that route. There’s so many things I can think back to on this exact thing because we were looking at some knives at one point like we want a really high quality knife and not just tell you like you 440 steel versus 420 or whatever it might be. And then the next one you walk in you’re like you guys have 440 steel for this knife? It’s so funny but I’ve done the exact same thing, that’s so funny.

Meghla: The other thing is that many of the suppliers only exhibit at trade shows, and they have very limited presence online. So if you’re attending a trade show, then you kind of have that advantage over sellers that are only sourcing online. And then a lot of the products like new products are not often put online, because suppliers fear that the products will be copied in just a few days. So usually launch new products at the trade shows.

It’s funny, some of the bigger companies at trade shows, they have this room behind their booth where they only take buyers that they think are really interested in sourcing products. I’m sure if you’ve been invited to be in some of these back rooms.

Mike: I haven’t ever actually been on like a back room type thing, but all the boos have like these like sliding doors like underneath, like where they exhibit the stuff. It’s like usually like they keep the packaging or something down there, and I’ve had things like suddenly mysteriously appear from like down there like in a hidden spot, and like how about this? I’m like, how come that wasn’t on the shelf? It’s the exact same thing; well we’re afraid that this is going to get copied, because it’s brutal in China. I mean it doesn’t take long for them to find something and copy it over there.

Meghla: Yeah absolutely.

Mike: Cool, so what other things have come out of the survey?

Meghla: Yeah so another thing that came out was certifications are really, really important for these buyers to short list suppliers. And some of them told us that they felt their suppliers were a lot more knowledgeable about certifications now than there were maybe three to five years ago. But verifying certificates is an important challenge that they’re facing, because there is this issue of is this is certificate real, is this an original certificate?

So I think that’s one thing that these buyers are really focusing on trying to do stricter QC on the certifications itself that suppliers are displaying either on their website or at trade shows. So I thought that was interesting and something that…

Mike: You’ve seen an issue with like people saying they have UL certification or like FDA certification whatever it might be and then not actually having that?

Meghla: Yes, yes.

Mike: Interesting okay. Definitely it’s something that obviously double, triple check before you place the order then?

Meghla: Absolutely.

Mike: Cool.

Meghla: And then you have just a couple more points over here. So, some of the top challenges that these bigger buyers face, one is communication. I thought that was interesting because I mean these are more experienced buyers so you would think that oh they’ve come up with some way to improve their communication. But communication is still a big challenge for these buyers. And then pricing is another challenge. So some of them told us again the prices are going up in China because of the EPA regulations, currency exchange, and then demand from local Chinese consumers is going up.

So that’s another reason for overall prices to go up. So this is something that I think sellers need to be aware of. You could experience higher prices from your suppliers.

Mike: Yeah, we’ve definitely been getting a lot of the EPA and labor and or exchange rate pricing going up justifications over the last year. And it’s tough because prices in the United States aren’t going up. These are things that — everything on Amazon or just seems like online is slowly but surely heading towards this race to the bottom pricing.

So we work hard on developing products that have more defensibility and more intellectual property built into them and less of a straight up private label type product. But even still I mean you can only sell your improved product for so much more than market rate. And if that market rate continues to go down while pricing pressures from purchasing overseas continue to go up, it’s not the best position to be in.

Meghla: And I think the EPA crackdown has also been causing a lot of delays. I don’t know if you’ve experienced that as well. But I’ve heard buyers say that of course there’s the Chinese New Year element also, but I think overall the sourcing cycles are slightly longer, and lead times are actually longer.

Mike: Yeah, we haven’t actually had a problem with that. But I think a lot of it is that from the most part, the factories that we work with, we visited, and we haven’t worked with factories that look like that they’re going to be violating any type of EPA standards. And this was before the EPA thing was even an issue, and it wasn’t — we weren’t thinking from an EPA perspective. But we want to — I prefer to be using a factory that is a little bit more ethical as far as how humans are treated.

And the work environment, I want to feel good about how my product is being made. It’s not just about us making money as a company is not are our number one goal. And I’m not sure how many Chinese factories you’ve toured, but there’s a big disparity between the factories that have good work environments and ones that don’t. And some of the ones I’ve seen that have bad work environments are just utterly depressing. And the thought of me selling something that’s made in those types of factories isn’t very appealing.

And as it turns out, those are also the same factors that are now having EPA issues and other problems. And so luckily for us because of these other factors we got lucky that we’re not dealing with the EPA delays part of it as much.

Meghla: Totally agree with you. So I remember a couple of years ago as I was touring furniture factories in China. And we went to this factory, I can’t remember the city, but it was a smallish kind of factory. And for furniture, they need to soak wood and cut wood. So the woodworking workshop, there’s usually a lot of sawdust that’s kind of flying around. So we went to this small factory, went to the woodworking workshop and it was difficult to breathe in there. There was just so much saw dust everywhere. I couldn’t stay in there for more than a couple of minutes. I don’t know how the workers are working there.

And then we went to another factory the next day that was a Hong Kong invested factory. And their woodworking workshop was just so different. They literally had these pipes at the desks where the wood was being cut and sawed to sup away the sawdust even before it went up a couple of inches, and the environment was just so clean. So yeah I totally agree with you. I mean in China there are just so many different types of factories and it’s always good to visit the factory before you place an order.

Mike: Yeah, and again it’s not always feasible, but we’ve been lucky to be able to do that for the most part for ourselves. And my test is basically like if I don’t want to be in this room right now, then I don’t want to buy the product. It’s exactly what you were saying. I’ve been in places where I couldn’t breathe or left there feeling like really ill from just poor air quality or chemical smells or whatever, and then I’ve also left factories there that could actually pass OSHA standards from within the United States. I mean they are incredible. I mean so yeah the disparity can definitely be pretty wide there.

Meghla: Okay so then the other survey I want to talk about is an online survey that we did of e-commerce sellers. So these are like Amazon sellers or newer sellers that are sourcing from China and they’re primarily selling offline. So we asked them the challenges that they faced when sourcing from China. So the top three challenges were, the number one challenge is finding trustworthy and reliable suppliers.

And then the second challenge is product quality, so basically ensuring product quality when sourcing from China. And then the third is minimum order quantities are too high. So yeah I thought that was interesting especially product quality. I mean I don’t see price over here as a top challenge. So I thought that was good, because I feel that a lot of e-commerce sellers, they really focus on the price instead of quality and finding reliable suppliers.

So I was kind of happy to see that getting lower prices or getting the suppliers to reduce the price is not one of the things that e-commerce sellers are focusing on. They’re focusing more on getting reliable suppliers and focusing on product quality. So year I think that was interesting.

Mike: Yeah definitely. Two out of those three things are definitely my pain points. I mean finding suppliers is tough for me. Again we have a lot of standards that we’re trying to adhere to. So I already mentioned we’re looking for a good work environment for the employees that are making the products. That’s a tough standard here too. We’re looking for suppliers that are reliable and this goes with the quality, can make quality products in a sustainable way. So I mean it isn’t just on the first order, but like order after order the reliable.

The MOQ thing for us is less of a factor. I mean we’re several years into this; we’re racing towards hitting ten million this year in sales. So we’re typically not ordering anything MOQ anymore, but we talk about this in our course. If you’re just getting started, this is an incredibly important factor, because you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket so to speak. So you would rather take your money and spread it out over more products and be ordering at the MOQ level. And just so people know, that stands for minimum order quantity.

And factories seem to be pushing back on this more and more as they get busier and are a little bit less thirsty for new business. They’re just like we’re not going to be bothered for 100 unit minimum order quantity or 1,000 units or whatever it might be depending on the product. So I do think it’s becoming a bigger and bigger challenge.

Meghla: Yeah and another question we asked them was what are their top supplier selection criteria? So the number one criteria is high product quality. Again I was happy to see this because it’s just so important to focus on quality nowadays when you’re selling at Amazon, right? So that’s number one. And then the second is capability to meet packaging and labeling requirements. So that’s not a surprise because I mean Amazon has set specific requirements.

And then the third one was effective supplier communication. So it was interesting to see communication was a challenge for bigger buyers, more traditional buyers, as well as e-commerce sellers. I think this is something that everybody sourcing from China has been struggling with.

Mike: Yeah, I mean we have a couple of issues on the whole here. I mean first of all my wife speaks Chinese, so that always helps with communication. And the bottom line is if we’re having a hard time with communication in the sampling phase and things like that, then we just end up not working with the factory, because it’s going to get worse after you place the order once they have your money. So we keep that in mind.

Meghla: Yeah so I think those are the points that I wanted to highlight from the survey.

Mike: Cool, so I want to add a couple questions here of my own, things I had written down here. When you came on the podcast last time, I remember asking you just like things that you could do in 2017 to improve sourcing in China just like tidbits. So I’m going to re-ask the question again, 2018 style what are three things you think people can be doing to improve sourcing in China?

Meghla: Yeah I think the number one thing that I would say people should do is take control of product quality. And I think that this is just so important nowadays when you’re selling on Amazon, and there is just no way that you can’t take product quality for granted or depend on your supplier to ensure product quality. So I think e-commerce sellers really need to take product quality very seriously.

And there are a couple of things that can be done to improve product quality. So I feel that many times suppliers don’t produce the product according to the specifications given by the buyer because of miscommunication, because the buyer expected something but the supplier misunderstood and thought it was something else. And most of the time this is because the instructions given by the buyer were not very detailed and were not specific enough.

But I think that’s the first thing that you can do and that would really help improve your product quality in the long run. Make sure that your specifications, the technical details; instructions are really, really, really very clear. Communicate everything in a QC or a product checklist document. Don’t send instructions in emails. Emails tend to get lost. The sales reps are dealing with so many clients at the same time, and it’s really easy for them to miss an e-mail or two.

So make it easy for your supplier to understand your product requirements and your product specifications. Also I think that just get on the call, get on Skype or just pick up the phone and call them. Sometimes Chinese people who can speak English, they tend to be more comfortable with written rather than spoken, but it doesn’t really hurt to call your supplier. And I’ve seen that suppliers tend to mislead buyers less if they’re on the phone and they tend to you know be more open about your order status or anything else. So just pick up the phone and talk to them.

Mike: Yeah. I think that good. The other thing that I find is a good way to communicate with people in China is WeChat. Obviously it’s not as good as getting them on the phone, but having them available via WeChat is just a good way to constantly be in communication with your Chinese suppliers.

Meghla: Yeah absolutely. And then other things like never let your supplier fill in the gaps. So your product specification list should be extremely comprehensive. And don’t take anything for granted, don’t think your supplier should know. So just as an example, if you want something blue, don’t say I want blue, specify what [inaudible 00:28:12] you want for that product so that that is just one example of the types of details that you need to give to your supplier.

And then if there are any industry terms that you need to be aware of, make sure that the supplier is aware of the terms that you’re using right at the beginning. And then once you’ve created your product specs document, I think it’s really helpful to go over each item with your supplier to make sure that they understand everything. I think that really helps. So another thing that you can do is tell your suppliers early on that you’ll be conducting inspections. And this I think really helps minimize problems later on. And if possible include this in your purchase order and tie it to payments.

So what you can say is that 30% of the payment will be done in advance, and the remaining payment will be done after the pre-shipment inspection is done. And I mean another way to ensure quality is really to do a pre-shipment inspection. I think I see more e-commerce sellers doing inspections now than there were maybe two years ago. So I think people do realize the importance of pre-shipment inspections more now than they were previously.

Mike: Yeah, and this is something we just never skip. I don’t know why people skip this, but we get every order inspected and we let people know way in advance. I think that’s another good piece of advice you just gave there because if the manufacturer knows it’s coming and you tell them in your PL, or you tell them early in the process, the chances of them cutting corners are going to be much lower.

Meghla: Yeah absolutely. And the other thing is and I don’t know if you’ve already experienced this, so quality fade. This is a common phenomenon that buyers that have been sourcing from China for a couple of years start experiencing. This really happens when you’re sourcing from the same supplier for a couple of years, and over time you’ll see a decline in the quality of products from that supplier. And for example let’s say you are importing yoga mats for a couple of I don’t know years from a supplier. And you start receiving complaints from your buyers that there’s creasing or cracks of the yoga mats for example.

So yeah I think this is an issue that e-commerce sellers should be aware of that quality fade is a common problem in China. And just be aware and make sure that you’re really communicating with your supplier very closely, talking to them about quality issues, keeping your QC and product checklist up to date, and always do a pre-shipment inspection. I think that’s so important.

Mike: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.

Meghla: Okay, so I think that’s one thing that e-commerce owners need to do in 2018. Just take control of your product quality. And the second thing I would say is collaborates more closely with your suppliers. Whether you want to reduce costs or improve overall quality, or if they’re any other performance metrics that you want to improve, then I think it’s really important to work together with your supplier.

For example if you’re developing a new product, then instead of just going to the supplier and saying, hey, this is what I want, discuss this with them, discuss the specifications and the requirements and reach an agreement on what’s possible and the various milestones for the deliverables for that product. So I think that’s really important.

Work together with your supplier, build that relationship with your supplier, a long term relationship gets them guanxi. I think that’s important. I mean people kind of — some people say that guanxi is not really important in China. But I am a believer in guanxi. I don’t know what kind of experience you’ve had Mike, what are your thoughts are on guanxi and kind of building the relationship with your supplier?

Mike: Yeah, I’m a bit I mean there’s a reason we’re over there twice a year, right? I think that it’s super important. I think that this goes with anything, any business dealings of any kind, relationships are super important, and we put the effort in for sure.

Meghla: Cool. And then the third thing I think is if possible visit your supplier. I think a lot of e-commerce owners are sourcing online. And that’s fine when you’re starting off. Of course it’s not always possible to — profit margins are low, we understand when you’re starting off. So it’s not always possible to go to China and visit your factory. But as much as possible I think visit the factory. It’ll really help you understand your suppliers, and what kind of manufacturing capability they have.

And you can pedal work through any quality issues or concerns you have for that product, and discuss new product development. So I feel there’s a lot that can be accomplished when you visit your suppliers. So if possible once a year or twice a year so visit your supplier.

Mike: Yeah I mean again like I said, it’s not always feasible. It’s definitely for us it’s a time commitment, it’s a financial commitment, it’s an opportunity, a loss commitment potentially, what are you going to do with it? What else could you have done with your time back in the office? But again we’re getting close to hopefully hit ten million dollars in sales this year, and that’s selling product. And if you don’t have good product and your relationships with your manufacturers, then that’s a really good way to sell a whole lot less or have more problems. So we put the time in and work on that for sure.

Meghla: Cool. Yeah so those are my top three things for 2018 mike.

Mike: Awesome. Cool so unfortunately we’re already running out of time, we’re actually over. But I still want to talk to you about real quick Global Sources Summit. Obviously I’m excited about it. I look forward to going over to Hong Kong a couple times a year and being able to be a part of the Global Sources Summit. And I’m competitive, so I do a good job the best I can with my presentations, and I try to one up it from even last time and do another great job for you guys. So I’m really looking forward to it.

But the thing that’s really cool, I mean I’ve been over there – this will be my third time, every time you guys are always doing new things and making it better. Let’s just talk real quick about some of the new stuff you guys are working on because I’m a part of it, I’m going to be a part of it. So I’m really excited about it. Let’s just tell people real quick what you guys are up to.

Meghla: Absolutely. So one of the things that we’ve done this year is we’ve launched workshops. So this is the first time that we’re doing workshops. And there are three workshops that we have on the day before the summit starts. So there’s one on Facebook marketing. That’s being conducted by Zack Franklin. And then there’s another one on Amazon PPC and AMS. This is being conducted by Sean Smith and Taylor Ventura [ph]. And then we have an interesting workshop for beginners that’s going to be conducted by Katie Robinson.

So I’m really excited about the beginner’s workshop. Of course the summit is mostly targeted at advanced sellers and intermediate sellers. So, most of the topics that we cover are for advanced sellers. But at the previous summit, we did have a few beginners as attendees, and one of the feedbacks was that a lot of the topics were too advanced for them. So this time we have some content specifically targeted at beginners. And so this workshop is going to be really interesting, because KJ is going to walk people through the process of how to identify products, how to do your supplier selection.

He is in fact even getting one of his suppliers to attend this workshop. So you’ll be able to talk to a supplier directly. And then the other interesting thing is that he will take attendees to the show floor, and he will actually walk them through the process of identifying products on the show floor. And then they’re going to come back into the workshop after the show floor tour and talk about the products that people identified and kind of do a product roundtable. So he’s going to be giving feedback on, oh this is a good product, not a good product, profitable. So I think that’s really interesting.

And then the other thing that we’re doing is apart from the workshops, we’re bringing the mastermind back. We had these masterminds for advanced sellers last year, and people thought it was really valuable. So it was a two hour mastermind, so we’re extending that to three hours this time. So I think that should be interesting. And then we also have breakout sessions for beginners. I think there’s a lot of good content for beginners specifically at the summit this time.

And of course, really excited about your topic Mike. So you’re going to be talking about your 2018 blueprint for launching number one new best selling products on Amazon. So, pretty excited about that.

Mike: Yeah it should be fun. I was trying to think of a topic I could do that would help me have the number one talk again. So it can be really competitive, so I was like what can I do that adds a lot of value to like everyone in the room, because as you said there’s some beginner, intermediate, and advanced people there, and something that can appeal to everybody and be super actionable and something that I haven’t spoken about elsewhere before.

So challenge accepted. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve already been thinking about the presentation. It’s only about a month and a few days away. So it’s coming up quickly. What are the exact dates for everybody just so they know and where can they find more about Global Sources, somewhere if they want to join us over there in Hong Kong?

Meghla: Yeah so the summit dates are April 18th to the 20th in Hong Kong, and the workshops are on April 17th. And the summit overlaps with our trade shows in Hong Kong. So this is I think a great opportunity for people to not only attend the summit and learn all about e-commerce and sourcing, but also immediately start sourcing, start to meet suppliers on the show floor. So the summit like you know it’s on the second floor in the conference rooms, and then two escalators down is the trade show, with thousands of suppliers.

So I think that’s one benefit of really attending the summit, it’s basically one trip and two events. So yeah the trade shows also start on April 18th, and it runs through the 21st, and the co-located trade shows are mobile electronics and gifts and home products. And if people want – so you can go Globalsources.com/summit to get more information and to buy tickets. And we also have a discount code Mike for your audience. So they can use the code ECC100 for $100 discount.

Mike: Awesome, well that’s cool ECC100, pretty cool. So Globalsources.com/summit and you can definitely see us there in April. And then we also have an e-commerce mastermind. It’s a one day event and you can just e-mail us at [email protected] if you’re interested in joining us for that. It will be Dave Bryant and myself in a room with whoever is over in Hong Kong that wants to join us for that event.

You can ask us more for tickets and pricing on that. It’s going be a pretty slick group of people that will be joining us for that as well. So, looking forward to Hong Kong. It’s one of my favorite places in the world to go. I look forward to the Hong Kong part. I don’t look forward to having to cross the border and going to China. But Hong Kong I’m looking forward to.

Meghla: Yeah looking forward to seeing you Mike.

Mike: Cool. Well thank you so much for hopping on again. We’ll see each other in person in just a few weeks. And yeah it should be a great trip.

Meghla: Yeah, it should be fun. All right cool.

Mike:  Talk soon. Thanks so much.

And that’s a wrap. Again I want to thank Meghla so much for coming on the EcomCrew Podcast today. Looking forward to seeing her in just a few short weeks over in Hong Kong. And just as a reminder you can go to EcomCrew.com/126 to get to the show notes for this episode. And if you’re heading over to the Global Sources Summit, Meghla popped to surprising me there. We have a discount code which I didn’t even know existed, ECC100. Get yourself 100 bucks off of the Global Sources Summit which is just awesome.

So EcomCrew.com/126, let’s hear from you in the show notes with a comment, concern, question, whatever. And don’t forget also, we have the EcomCrew mastermind over in Hong Kong on April the 21st. If you’re going to be over there and want to join us for that mastermind, just shoot us an e-mail at [email protected], we’ll get you the information for that. It’s invite only, and we’re looking forward to getting EcomCrew listeners over there for that. So until next week everybody, happy selling, and we’ll talk to you then.