In the March Expo special edition livestream of The Growth Academy, Alibaba's Min Yang spoke with sourcing experts and business leaders Fernando Herrera, Brandon Schlichter and Kian Golzari about the trends and approaches covered in Alibaba.com's 2023 Sourcing Strategy: Become Essential and Thrive.
The panelists took an in-depth look at how to use these strategies in construction, vehicle parts and accessories, and real estate, and shared helpful tips about how to keep demand for your business high when consumers are spending less. Trends they explored include:
Finding business ideas and niche products.
Social media is a great resource for finding and tracking trends, and researching the interest behind these trends can help produce new ideas or outlets for your business. "It's easy to get on something like TikTok or YouTube or Facebook or Instagram, and find out where the trends are," observed Schlichter. "It's easy to get on there and start seeing trends, and then looking at the trends but then what’s the next thing, what is a trend behind the trend."
Finding quality suppliers to fulfill your needs.
"The most important [part of the buyer's job] is the filtering process," stated Golzari. "How do I align with a supplier which adds the most value to my business?"
This includes finding the right supplier based on your business size and experience, and testing out the products you’re interested in to make sure that they fit what you’re looking for in your business.
"You stay competitive by providing value to your customer," shared Herrera. "There's always that price war — everybody wants to be the cheapest, the most affordable. But at the end of the day, it’s just a race to the bottom — nobody wins if you’re just price fighting with everyone. I think if you focus on providing better value, it really creates that customer loyalty and trust."
Positioning your business to take advantage of market conditions.
There a number of challenges in the marketplace, especially in the home-building industry, that can impact the success of businesses in the coming years. But if you make choices too early based on what is expected to come while not preparing in the event of a different outcome, you lose the ability to pivot if the market changes.
"I get so much input from people that never took on risk over the past 10 years since we came out of the last recession," Schlichter said, "and the people who were willing to take on risk to make sure there they were positioning themselves right in their business, they've done astronomical over the past 10 years."
Learn more in this replay of Alibaba's March Expo special edition.