If you are new to selling online and sourcing your goods from Chinese sources, you may not know what the Canton Fair is.
The Canton Fair is a trade fair held in the spring and autumn seasons each year. The first trade fair was in the Spring of 1957 in Guangzhou, China. It is the most well-known trade fair in China to most Amazon PL (Private Label) sellers. Like many people, I source a good amount of my goods from Chinese manufacturers and suppliers. I see many people go to the Canton Fair and come back in most cases with only a couple of new products. I also thought—similarly to the big US vendor shows—it may be hard to get any real business done other than a few key meetings.
This is when I started asking my mentors, who are in the tens of million a year in sales of all PL products on Amazon, and who wholesale at trade shows across the US, about going to Canton.
The resounding answer I received was “it is nice but I do not go anymore,” or “you should go once to check it out, but I do not go anymore.” This made me wonder why??
I started asking other sellers questions. And the number one reason why sellers stopped going to the Canton Fair was because of the lack of variety. What?! My mentors, the people who were years ahead of me, who’s businesses made my own 5-million-dollar-a-year business look small, told me they shop in other places. Now, I needed to know where and how this was possible. So, I asked if I could tag along on a trip and they agreed.
Quick note: I learned that they buy in January to sell in spring. AKA…these guys are buying ahead of the seasons just like big box stores (great lesson learned there). But I also learned why these guys shop in other major selling cities in China as well (and why we now go to other countries like Thailand for example). I take their advice to heart now for my own business and my clients’ businesses. Here are the top 4 things I learned from them:
In closing, Canton is a great show and should be attended by serious private label sellers at least once. With that being said, there are other, possibly even better alternatives for your business to source a good amount of products, in a bigger, better, faster and cheaper way.
Alan Basinger is CEO of GDW Inc and a 15-year e-commerce veteran. As well as a serial entrepreneur, sought after mentor, coach, and speaker, Alan is also is a serial giver. He’s on a quest to help 1,000 people become financially free through starting and running their own profitable e-commerce businesses.