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Partner Spotlight: Get International And Sustainable Product Sourcing For Your Business With Sebastian Herz From Zignify Global Product Sourcing

Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Interview at EcomBalance. At EcomBalance, we’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the ecommerce space.

In this exclusive interview, we have a conversation with Sebastian Herz from Zignify Global Product Sourcing.

Sebastian, born in 1985, is the co-founder of Zignify Global Product Sourcing, owns 2 product brands since 2014, has successfully expanded his product sales across various platforms, including Amazon and in Germany’s major retail chains. At Zignify Global Product Sourcing, he leads a dynamic team of 50+ talented professionals who have diligently sourced and acquired over 3000 products worldwide. Their exceptional efforts have resulted in impressive savings of more than 300 million USD for their satisfied clients.

Connor: Hey Sebastian, thanks for taking the time to chat with us today. As a company, one of our goals is to highlight our partners so that our clients can benefit where it makes most sense. To get started, can you give us a high-level introduction to Zignify and a little bit about how the company got started?

Sebastian: Zignify Global Product Sourcing was founded in 2020 (Founders working in the industry since 2005). It is a company that provides streamlined sustainable sourcing and procurement services across the globe to Amazon sellers, business founders, fast-growing and established brands.

With a growing team of over 50+ multi-lingual sourcing specialists located in different parts of the world, we source products not only in Asia but WORLDWIDE! So far we have a powerful presence on the ground in Asia, Europe and North America and we are still penetrating emerging sourcing global markets.

We find the right and reliable manufacturers for you, optimize your product costs and supply chain and help you save millions of dollars with better sourcing services and solutions. Whatever comes to your mind about product sourcing we can turn it into a reality. Leave product sourcing, quality control, shipping, and other product-related services to us.

Connor: Thanks for sharing that! Can you dive a bit more into the product sourcing services you offer? Our audience is always looking for reputable companies that they can lean on for specific parts of their eCommerce businesses.

Sebastian: What we do in product sourcing includes starting from the product idea, progressing through product development, and eventually locating manufacturers worldwide. This involves finding manufacturers not only in China but also from various other locations. Our goal is to secure the best possible prices, so we always act in the interest of sellers.

Our process entails identifying manufacturers, negotiating prices, conducting quality control checks, overseeing mass production, handling logistics, managing stock, handling reorders, introducing new products, and expanding the portfolio. A significant aspect is that for successful products, we optimize prices for growth.

In most cases, we manage to obtain lower prices for best-selling items, resulting in substantial savings, often amounting to millions of dollars for our customers.

Connor: Jumping off of that…when you’re thinking about your ideal customer, who is that? Where are they selling online? Where are they located in the world? How much sales do they typically have in a year? If there’s any other qualities, please include them as well. We’re all about making introductions where it benefits both parties.

Sebastian: What matters to us as an ideal customer, typically, are e-commerce companies – Amazon Sellers dealing with physical products. Their level of experience, whether beginners or seasoned experts, doesn’t affect our interaction with them. We cater to all, from those just starting out to the largest ones like aggregators or even Amazon itself, as we source for Amazon’s own brands.

They may not solely sell on Amazon but also through their web shops, ecommerce stores, and even retail outlets. Why? Because they also sell products. It doesn’t matter where they sell. They all want to save in Purchasing. Our customers are global, ranging from those with tens of thousands in monthly sales to billion-dollar yearly revenue. While the experienced-sellers are intriguing, we’re equally pleased to assist even the smallest sellers.

Connor: For our audience to truly understand what makes you stand out from other product sourcing companies, can you share a story of how Zignify truly helped one of its customers?

Sebastian: We are sellers ourselves, so we approach sourcing the same way we find our products. Our aim isn’t to gather 2 or 3 proposals; we target 30-60 potential producers, resulting in 10-20 qualified proposals if things progress well. Our goal is to secure the real market price and have negotiation power.

We don’t keep any contact details secret. Every contact of potential producers is shared with customers, as we don’t take a percentage of the order volume unlike other sourcing companies. Our focus is on honesty, transparency, and openness.We fully share the contact means the customers can at any time take over and get in touch with the suppliers themselves.

Our system operates on an hourly charge. For instance, a German customer selling in the US approached us due to Trump Tariffs, facing 27% import tax. They asked us to find the same product in another country, which we did. It was fortunate, a stroke of luck; within 3 hours, we found a Vietnamese supplier producing it for $1.

The secret here: he sells 500,000 units yearly at an original price of $6. We reduced it by $1, saving him half a million dollars on purchasing costs. Additionally, he saves $810,000 USD annually in import fees. This sums up to $1.3 million saved within 3 hours.

Our main rule is to always find the same or even better quality product; lower quality isn’t acceptable as a replacement for the original product.

Connor: As you and your company think about the next year ahead, what does it look like? Are there any specific initiatives that you’re working on as a team to better your services for your customers?

Sebastian: Yes, we’re expanding our services that go additionally around product sourcing. We assist with product hunting and product idea finding. If something useful comes up, we might add it too. We don’t only handle product sourcing; we cover full product development, even electronic development and packaging development.

This involves packaging sourcing, design, logistics, shipping prep, import prep, aiding 3rd party logistics, warehouses, fulfillment, and an extensive network of partners for every step of an Amazon Seller’s or ecommerce business’s journey, from converting listing images to SEO optimization, all the way to a profitable exit to the aggregators of strategic buyers. We will intensify our services to achieve what we’re aiming for, value overload for our customers.

Connor: How about this…everyone loves a company’s growth story. We all naturally go through ups and downs as a company. What was one of the biggest challenges that the company faced in its growing stages?

Sebastian: Well, originally, I was an electrical engineer before I entered the world of ecommerce. The difficult thing for me is probably hiring people. Yulia, as an MBA, she is an expert in this so building up the back end was very quick and efficient. We grew with the company from one to almost 60 in less than 2 years, 60 full time employees, worldwide.

The challenge for me in the front end, is to actually get sales and marketing started. Since we haven’t even started there yet. On the other hand with such a fast growing company with 100% all female employees beside Sebastian (me), all remote, it is of course a challenge to get the many different cultures and perspectives, etc. aligned but well, we’ve overcome them. It seems that even our employees really love it.

Connor: Thanks! Let’s talk some eCommerce! Where do you see the industry heading in the next 1-2 years? Any big changes that you’re predicting for the industry? How can eCommerce companies prepare for it?

Sebastian: Nearshoring is becoming more and more of a topic, independence of China is still very much in demand and the other way not only from purchasing but in terms of selling since there’s so much competition in the market. The premium segment, because there’s too much competition from low prices and additionally offside of Amazon since prices on there are dropping, my suggestion is to also build up other channels, especially with own marketing, brand outreach, social media marketing, etc.

If you really want to build a brand then you should definitely focus on building more than just an Amazon business. If you are, in terms of just making profit business, cash card business, certainly go focus on higher USPs of your products, put focus on really good images, probably also set yourself off with a higher price because the race to the bottom may just simply be killing the margin. I do see as well, a lot of suppliers or producers themselves, they’re becoming active on having a clear vision of how to outperform the Chinese producers.

Connor: Changing gears a little bit…When it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, what do you think the biggest pain points for eCommerce business owners are? Feel free to speak from personal experience as well.

Sebastian: What I see for bookkeeping, for once, is most of the people don’t really know how to extract transactions. The single transactions from the Amazon payments that a seller receives and the solid simple, automated bookkeeping is the key especially when it comes to thousands or ten thousands or even more transactions per month.

Most of the standard bookkeepers and tax consultants are not Amazon fluent so having a specialized person on there or a specialized service with automated services who know the industry is absolutely important, not only to save money but also to be compliant with government regulations. Extracting invoices from emails automatically with tools, working together with companies such as EcomBalance makes life so much easier because you do not need to spend your time on searching for losses.

You let the experts do it while you focus on revenue and profit growth.

Connor: Okay, here’s an open mic opportunity. If there’s one thing that you’d want the EcomBalance community to hear from you, what would it be?

Sebastian: The real money is made in purchasing not in sales. Honestly, not only in sales, therefore please do not be satisfied with just 2-3 proposals for a product. Instead, focus on getting as many proposals for the same product as reasonable.

Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?

Sebastian: On LinkedIn and Instagram. Just say that you heard about us from EcomBalance and we’ll make sure that you get a solid, good, 30 mins strategic call with us. We will look into your sourcing situation and see where we could potentially help. Plus, a 10% discount on your very first invoice.

This originally appeared on the EcomBalance Blog and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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