American Importers Digging Up Dirt on Suppliers with New Search Tool

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American importers are turning to an unlikely source of information about their suppliers and would-be suppliers: U.S. Customs. As it turns out, the shipping manifests for U.S. ocean freight imports are now in the public domain. An Arizona company, Import Genius (http://www.importgenius.com), gives importers the tools they need to glean intelligence from this vast array of documents.

Import Genius

The Import Genius service makes it easy to cut through the misleading statements to get to the truth about what overseas companies are really selling to their U.S. customers.

It's not unusual for companies to mislead their customers about who else buys from them, and how much volume they ship every year. For decades, importers depended largely on trust established through long-term relationships with their suppliers to make sure they were not being lied to.

All that is changing, however, with the advent of the Import Genius competitive intelligence service. The company's web site, http://www.importgenius.com, lets importers enter the name of their supplier to get a list of all the shipments they sent to other American customers. The data returned includes not only a list of who the suppliers' customers are, but also what they are shipping, the weight of those shipments, the ports that the goods passed through, and much more.

"From my desk in Scottsdale, I can run a detailed analysis on the export history of virtually every major factory in the world. That saves importers trips to China and other far away places," says the CEO of Import Genius, David Petersen. "When you can see that a prospective supplier is already supplying several reputable American companies, you can have a pretty high degree of trust in working with them for your own projects."

Not all the data importers are finding represent good news, however. Many companies listing merchandise on popular marketplaces like Alibaba.com are little more than startups, without an established customer base or any track record for bringing new products to market.

"The ability to detect when a potential supplier is telling the truth before you ever place an order saves importers lots of headaches," says Mr. Petersen. "The Import Genius service makes it easy to cut through the misleading statements to get to the truth about what overseas companies are really selling to their U.S. customers."

About Import Genius: Based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Import Genius provides detailed import data and shipping records on containers imported into the United States. Import Genius customers include Fortune 500 companies, investment banks, freight & logistics businesses, overseas factories, and importers of all sizes.

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