By Muhammad Jawad Ali Khana
Whenever I suggest people to expand their business through an online B2B portal (it has become a habit since I work for one. The first question they ask is “Is it Safe? Does it really work?” And then I have to go through the whole “Safe Trading” lecture for them.
So let’s analyze B2B Portals from this angle - Credibility and Safety. Like any mode of business there are certain risks involved in doing business through B2B portals as well-Safety of Trade and Credibility of Buyers/Sellers being the most important. However, with certain pre-cautionary measures, these risks could be reduced considerably.
One of the most frequent problems I have seen people face is either no supply or wrong supply against their payments. I have seen poor Americans, Brits and buyers from other European countries lose thousands of dollars against fake supplies. When I was new to this mode of business, I lost around $5000 to an India Supplier, but I know some very good suppliers in India as well.
So why is it so? Is B2B trading so unsafe? The answer is both yes and no. Now you might be wondering what that meant. But I'll list a few factors that should be kept in mind before proceeding with any business deal through a B2B Portal. Following these should eliminate most risks in online Trading.
1) Always Deal With Premium Suppliers
Yes, this is very important. Everybody wants to make quick money. And in this age of scammers B2B portals provide the ideal hunting ground for people who want to make money without spending any. So Never ever deal with Free Suppliers. Always make sure your Supplier is a Premium Supplier, more preferably a Gold Supplier. This does not guarantee risk free transactions but it reduces the chances of fraud.
2) Study the Supplier's Profile
Make sure the supplier you are dealing with, is an active user of B2B portals and has a complete profile. By that I mean he has a detailed introduction of his company along with contact numbers and addresses. Also make sure he has professionally presented his credentials as a supplier. Serious Suppliers always work hard on the presentation of their Company.
3) Look for References
Ask the Supplier for other Buyers he has worked with. Ask him for at least 3-4 online references that can endorse his credibility as a supplier. Once he gives you some references, make sure you get in touch with them and ask for the details of their deals especially the modes of payment they adopted.
4) Safety of Payment
Letter of Credit(L/C) is the safest mode of payment. Make sure you adopt it. However, for smaller deals, it is not always possible to work that way. So make sure you pay through some third party online services. Never send payments directly to new suppliers through Direct Money Transfer Services.
5) Avoid Big Deals Initially
Never go for a huge transaction straight away. If possible, break your order into smaller segments. This might increase the cost of shipping to some extent but it reduces the risk considerably. However, with familiar suppliers you may go for bigger deals but be careful while doing that as well.
6) Ask the B2B Portal involved
Yes, you can do that as well. Ask the fraud departments of B2B portals to give you their view of the credibility of the supplier. Some B2B platforms, such as CometoWorld has their own risk alarm system, which secures you by free submitting of fraud reports and their real-time alert will remind the person who already concerned about the reported companies or individuals. It also saves your tons of time to browse different trading forums and ask the users about the suppliers.
Do let me know if you found the article useful.