When sourcing promotional products, it goes without saying that there are differences in buying domestic versus importing. It should go without saying, but frequently buyers operate as if there is little to no difference.

Failure to recognize differences in the types of sourcing, causes frustration and loss of focus in using offshore advantages.

Timing on Quotes

The actual quoting process takes longer when sourcing promotional products from a Chinese supplier versus in the West.

It’s not that the China supplier takes forever in getting the price to you.

But it’s a more extended process in hashing out details of the quote. China suppliers will typically leave off key detail. To understand the project, Chinese suppliers expect more back-and-forth. They’re not trying to send a precise quote from the beginning. Patience and a balance of when to touch base with your supplier comes in to play in China sourcing.

More Customization in China Sourcing

This is another reason the quoting takes longer in China sourcing. When you go offshore, there are more variables. This reiterates why the suppliers require more back-and-forth to understand the project as a whole.

Suppliers have to check with third party vendors and confirm material price. Domestic suppliers do a better job of keeping detail organized, but there are also less options and human variables.

Remember the advantage of customization is one of the reasons why you go offshore in the first place, right?

Less Service Oriented

China sourcing is by far less service-oriented than buying domestically. Practice the skill of proactively monitoring your supplier and catching possible errors. That doesn’t mean you’re always doubting your vendor, but it means managing the project in more of a “partnership format”.

Buyers have a wide range of expectations and with the wide-openness of online sourcing, you have many novice and first time buyers. When you go offshore, having PRODUCT KNOWLEDGE is a must.


When buying from China, be precise in your payment terms. Domestic suppliers, if you have credit, give terms such as net 30.

Since they’re accustomed to how domestic suppliers handle payment, buyers assume their China supplier knows “they’re good for it” and that the supplier will agree to start production or release the goods without payment.

That typically won’t happen. Solidify all payment terms way in advance of starting the project otherwise you risk blowing your timing.

We all know how important timing is in this industry. Don’t allow a rightly manufactured order to get hung up at the end because neither side clarified payment expectations.