| |

Import from Thailand? The Ultimate Guide to Sourcing from Thailand.

It is a known fact that the majority of global e-commerce businesses are sourcing products from China due to its convenience and competitive price. You are probably looking for another alternative once you find the exact same design and product from Alibaba everywhere. Thailand is a strong untapped potential market. I found that sourcing products from Thailand can be even cheaper for some product categories. So, if you are looking to import products from Thailand, here’s your ultimate guide to where you can start doing so.

Bangkok Market
Thailand has a massively untapped opportunity for those who are looking for cheaper high-quality product that looks unique.

Is there any Thailand Alibaba?

Thais are not fluent in English. Especially if you are working with a small business, there’s a chance that they cannot communicate well with you or even purposely avoid talking to you. I wish we have a Thai Alibaba. After doing some research, It turns out that we might!

I have to make a confession that I have never tried this before by myself. The website is called Thaitrade.com. Thaitrade is an official B2B online marketplace established in 2011 by the Department of International Trade Promotion (DITP), Ministry of Commerce (MOC) Thailand. Established by the government, its credibility is high. However, I found that the product listings are not that great. Especially if I look for something aesthetic like clothing. Also, many listings require you to request a price quotation, which is inconvenient for the buyer.

Having said that, it might be a good start if you are looking for a credible source to import from Thailand. Each listing shows the company name. This means you can then search for their contact information and reach out to them. For the tip of which tool is the best to communicate with Thai businesses, click here.

Can I Simply Look for the Thai Business’s Website? Simple is Better, or Is It?

The Ultimate Guide to Sourcing from Thailand
Thai businesses rarely have a website.

I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but most businesses in Thailand do not have their own website. If they are a multi-million baht business, they might. So if you are looking to source for a cheaper product, that means you are probably aiming to work with smaller businesses. And they probably will not have their own websites. Even if they have one, it is very likely that you cannot buy and pay directly from the website.

But yes, do try searching for suppliers or manufacturers through the website first. It is going to be the most legit one to ensure that you have reached the manufacturer, not the reseller. Note that most of the websites will only offer information in Thai. Again, you can simply use your bestie, Google Translate, for both searching and reading info on the site.

However, it also depends on the industry. Here are a couple of different examples;

  • Clothing: I found that most businesses will only have their presence on the big e-commerce marketplace, and their own Facebook and/or Instagram page. This is because the nature of Thai buyers tends to only buy from marketplace platforms like Shoppee or Lazada or directly buy from the business’s social media page (which we normally communicate through Line chat, and once agree, we would transfer money directly to the sellers’ bank). Only the big business like Zara or H&M that will offer a formal website that buyer can browse and add to cart.
  • Company nameplate: For some businesses that require to have a place to store their portfolio in one place like a company nameplate or print-on-demand products, they tend to have a website. Posting their product showcase on social media will make it difficult for the client to browse through. However, you will NOT be able to purchase directly from the website. The website will simply act as portfolio storage.

Top 3 Ways to Import From Thailand

From my experience sourcing products for my own e-commerce stores, and also working with my international clients to help them find their best Thai suppliers, here are the top 3 ways I would like to recommend you to start with.

The Ultimate Guide to Sourcing from Thailand

1 Shoppee: It is a free leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia. You can either download its app or browse products through the website. You can search for the product you want based on your preference just like you can on Alibaba. This platform allows you to purchase directly from the app by different methods of payment.

There’s a ‘chat now’ function that you could reach out to the seller and ask questions. You can also find their contact information written in the product description section. Read this post on my recommendation on the best way to reach out to the seller. You can ask them about the product information or request a quotation for a wholesale price.

Unfortunately, the app/website does NOT have an option for international shipping. You have to ask them about their international shipping capability. It is highly possible that the sellers will NOT know how to ship internationally or are NOT willing to do so.

You may need help with this process. And our company is happy to help! Check out our Service here.

If your seller can offer the international shipping service, here are the available methods of product payment are cash-on-delivery (COD), credit card, and bank transfer. COD might not be applicable for you if you are not physically present in Thailand. Then you can communicate with them how to best pay for the international shipping fee.

the downside of using shoppee

A few of downside from using Shoppee to look for what to import from Thailand.

  • Recently, there are many Chinese sellers selling on the platform. They ship products from China to Thailand’s fulfillment center and hire a Thai company to sell on their behalf. This means you might encounter the exact same product as you would from Alibaba. So, do check around to ensure unique products made in Thailand.
  • There are also many Thai sellers doing dropshipping products from Alibaba. Again, this means you will be ordering the exact same products like the ones sold on Alibaba. However, this is easy to check. You must always lookout for the ‘Ship From’ under ‘Product Specifications’. If it is shipping from an international source, it is 99.9% that it is a dropshipping product from Alibaba.
  • There’s a chance that you meet with the reseller. It might be a genuine made-in-Thailand product. However, the seller might be a reseller, not a producer. That means you are paying an extra charge to the middleman. It is best if you can purchase directly from the supplier or manufacturer.

2 Lazada: Just like Shoppee, Lazada is another leading e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia. Both Shoppee and Lazada are fairly similar. Another great platform for you to start researching products to import from Thailand.

What is the difference between Shoppee and Lazada then? Note that most sellers will open their shop on both platforms. This means you can expect to find similar products on both platforms. However, here are some differences that Thai people normally experienced when buying (which, though you may be looking to buy at a wholesale price, I think it is still useful for you to know).

Even though it might be the same product from the same seller, some said the product price on Shoppee might be cheaper. Normally this means you have to check both product price and shipping price combined before making a purchase on either platform.

The refund on Shoppee is easier and more protective of buyers. If you do not receive the product or the product comes with a defect, you can easily request your money back on Shoppee.

More traditional products on shoppee

Personally, I found more local items from Shoppee e.g. traditional Thai-silk skirts or Thai Tribal accessories. So if you would like to find traditional Thai items to import from Thailand, you can start with Shoppee.

All in all, you can start with either Shoppe or Lazada based on the platform that you find the easiest to browse through the product category of your interest. I use Shoppee 99.9% of the time, while my husband uses Lazada 100% of the time! So, try it out for yourself and choose the platform you prefer browsing through.

Tip: Always read the review. Some Thai buyers claim that they have been cheated on these platforms. Note that I’m also a regular buyer on these platforms, and never faced a major problem myself. You still need to ensure that the seller is trustworthy.
How to Source Product from Thailand

3 Facebook: Though most Thai suppliers or businesses might not have their own website, most of them do have a Facebook page for their business. So the trick here is to search on Google with the term ‘Facebook’.

For example, you would like to import an antique item from Thailand. Here’s what you can try – on Google search, put “Facebook antique items for sale. This should do the work. However, like any other platform mentioned here, the Page name and posts will be in the Thai language. Therefore, don’t forget to search in the Thai language for this.

Once you found a seller or supplier, you can check if you like their posts and credibility. Then you can start reaching out to them via Facebook Messenger. Most of the sellers on. Facebook Page will be quite responsive on Messenger. But if not, check out my recommendation on the best communication platform to reach out to Thai businesses.

If you need help in regards to which communication channel is best within these platforms, I’ve summarized it here. To sum up, there are 3 best platforms that I recommend you to start with when looking for sourcing products from Thailand. They are Shoppee, Lazada, and Facebook Page. If you do not find what you’re looking for or need more support, please feel free to reach out to us.

Have more questions on this?, leave them in the comment section below and I will be more than happy to help you out!

Similar Posts