Manufacturers and trading companies are not the same. Manufacturers have their own facility to produce office furniture. Trading companies do not. They buy finished goods from manufacturers and retail them at a higher value or more expensive price. So, how do you know if you are communicating with a manufacturer or a trading company? Here are some factors you should look out for:
- Specific Product Line-Up Or Niche
If a company carries different and unrelated products in their Alibaba store, that’s a red flag. A real office furniture manufacturer should only have one niche. For instance, if a seller offers computer accessories and other miscellaneous items on top of their furniture collection, then they are obviously a trading company. Reputable office manufacturers will only sell what they make.
One advantage of cooperating with a direct office manufacturer is they can provide the best price. Trading companies usually jack-up the price so they can get a profit or commission for every sale.
Real office furniture manufacturers in Alibaba and other websites already have an existing price list. Upon initial communication, they can provide you with the MOQ, estimated delivery shipping, and other details. Trading companies, on the other hand, take longer to respond because they will need to find a manufacturer first, get a quotation, and then increase the price for profit.
- Guaranteed Quality Assurance
Trading companies have shady quality assurance and warranty policies. In some other cases, they disappear after shipment is fulfilled. With direct manufacturers, they have a more comprehensive policy and guarantee that can last for several years.
Many trading companies steal product photos and claim it as their own. If you ask a manufacturer to provide you with better and newer pictures, they are more happy to give them.They can even give you product videos and a tour of their facilities.
Since trading companies do not have their own factories, they usually decline for on-site inspections. Manufacturers, on the other hand, allow you to visit the facility. As mentioned, they can also give you a virtual tour.