Private label solutions for international brand owners

6 important considerations for your search

For international brand owners, sourcing the right products locally can be quite a challenge. Perhaps the product isn’t available, or the desired quality can’t be achieved.

Another, related, challenge arises for supermarkets, pharmacies or brand owners looking for a private label solution to expand existing product lines.

This is where overseas OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and private label suppliers come in.

So, once you’ve made the decision to source a private label supplier, what should you be looking for? To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled six important factors to consider during your search.

1/ The right fit

When doing business overseas, there is nothing more important than building relationships, and in some cultures, this can be the deciding factor in a business deal.

In your private label or OEM search, look for a supplier that holds the same values as your brand, that is able to communicate in a timely manner across time zones, and ultimately someone who you can enjoy doing business with.

Finding the right fit might take a while, but once you’ve found a supplier that is on the same wavelength as you, then that’s one big hurdle overcome.

2/ Local knowledge and experience

When shortlisting potential private label suppliers, it is important to ask about their experience working with your home market.

Do they understand the complexities and idiosyncrasies of importing goods to your region? Have they got evidence of doing business with other companies from your country?

What about handling import documentation and providing the right certificates? Do they understand the specific product requirements of your market? How about labelling; can they ensure that the provided labels meet local regulations?

If you can get testimonials, case studies, or verbal references from existing clients then that’s a great way to validate a supplier’s experience.

Having a knowledgeable and experienced supplier on your side is key for import success.

3/ Flexibility is key

One challenge often faced by brand owners looking for overseas suppliers is flexibility.

There will be times when products need to be modified to meet the needs and requirements put in place by the importing country, this is particularly important for the food and beverage sector.

Finding an OEM who is willing and able to adjust to your needs, and the needs of your market, can be difficult but not impossible.

Be sure to ask all the right questions, and don’t forget about packaging. If there are specific factors you have to be compliant with, then raise this with your shortlisted suppliers from the very beginning. You don’t want to commit to a consignment, to find out at the last minute that the packaging does not adhere to local laws.

4/ Cost, quality and overall value

Once you have found a supplier that ticks all your boxes, it’s really time to talk shop.

Setting expectations early is a must. Make sure to get an agreement in writing, including any pricing negotiations, minimum order quantities, and future commitments from both sides.

Service level agreements should also outline any quality assurance procedures and measures which will ensure continuity of supply, resulting in a healthy, long-term partnership.

5/ Making a deal

In addition to any service level agreements, it’s important to understand the local business practices of your overseas supplier.

The order in which a deal is made changes from country to country with an initial verbal agreement seen as a commitment to buy in some regions, whereas others won’t commit to anything without having a legally binding contract in place.

You’re also likely to see differing practices between parties. For example, as an international brand owner you probably see a deal as being done once a contract has been signed, whilst your supplier may only see this as being the case when they have received payment up-front.

Don’t get caught out and clarify these things during any negotiations.

6/ Additional support

There may be times when you are struggling to come to an agreement with an overseas supplier, and that’s OK. In these cases, you may need to bring in an experienced partner to help you mediate a private label deal.

If so, you want to find a partner who has a good understanding of international business customs, different cultures, local regulations, and the needs of all stakeholders.

Having someone on side to provide additional support will not only keep deals on track but will take some of the pressure off you.

If you’re a brand owner looking for such support, then Bolst Global could be a great option.

We can provide you with support in any private label and OEM searches you need help pursuing, as well as taking a more hands-on approach by sourcing products specifically for your brand or retail space.

Don’t just take our word for it! Check out this case study and get in touch today to discuss your private label needs.

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