Alibaba.com has launched an order-inspection service meant to give resellers an affordable way to get peace of mind about their orders.
The service, called Inspection Platform, helps resellers connect with, and hire, affordable inspection companies in China to examine shipments before they're shipped. This will help merchants verify the items they'll receive are of the quality they expect, and that their orders are complete.
Many large businesses already use inspection services, notes Alizila, Alibaba's news publication, but these are often too expensive for small resellers, and sometimes companies do poor jobs in their inspections. Alibaba.com's service aims to counteract this by requiring inspection companies on its platform to "demonstrate their good faith by putting up a deposit," which they may have to pay to the resellers if there is a dispute about what the seller was expecting and what they received.
To start using Inspection Platform, merchants can browse available inspectors and make contact through the site. Once the partnership is set up, resellers upload their requirements for the shipment they're waiting for. When the package is ready to send, the inspecting company uses the uploaded requirements to compare against what's in a package. Then they upload the report to Alibaba.com so the reseller knows exactly what he or she is buying.
"While no software can overcome that hurdle, the Inspection Platform includes a one-stop online communication system to improve transparency, and make it easier to manage transactions," Alizila notes.
Inspection companies on Alibaba.com charge between $150 and $250 a day for their services. Alibaba.com "hand-picked" 20 companies based in China to inspect orders for the program. Currently, the program is only for packages that are shipped from China, but Alibaba may offer the service in more areas in the future, according to reports.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.