We have gone past the age and era where only the wealthy few can afford to import goods into the country due to the cumbersome shipping processes and cost.
With the advent of technology and internet, it has become easier to interact and connect with different people from various parts of the world with the use of our smart devices. This brief is what you already know, but what most people don’t know is that the same smart devices you use to reach out to and connect with friends, could serve also as a means of importing goods and different marketable products from reliable sources for sale in your country.
In this article we will carefully pay close attention on the “HOW TOs” of mini importation business.
There is no age or gender barrier when it comes to mini importation business.
Engaging in mini importation business just requires you to have a basic idea of what you want to sell, by this I mean a product that you can sell to someone and goods you can easily advertise and get customers to purchase without much stress.
You will have to understand that the largest suppliers of cheap and durable commodity in the world is China, and as a result, we will look into purchasing of goods directly from China for sales in your home country.
This above statement does not rule out the purchasing of goods from other countries like USA, Japan or Russia, but for the purpose of affordability and cost of shipping we shall focus on importing from China.
Let’s get started…
First things first ~
You need a mobile device or a laptop, any good smartphone can work. You also need to get your mobile device or PC connected to the internet by purchasing internet data.
Have a working email address and phone number for easy correspondence and a physical office or home address where your items will be delivered to.
Lastly, you do need some capital in your bank account. I will advise you use a particular account where you keep less cash, and the cash should be for business purposes only.
Very essential, do a feasibility study in your neighborhood, market place, etc in order to get an idea of products that will sell well in the area. Survey the market price and ask questions that will trigger the curiosity of the sellers, an example include telling the sellers of a particular product (perfumes) that you can supply the product to them at a lesser price from what is obtainable.
How to get started~
Download the Ali express app, register as a user, the registration requires your basic details like username, address, phone number, email etc.
Once you are done with the registration setup, you get to the front door which is the homepage of the app, there you can navigate to different categories of items.
Be aware that AliExpress is the retail version of Alibaba hence it’s a subsidiary under it. AliExpress composed majorly by retailers of different products all over China while Alibaba is composed majorly by manufacturers of these products which sell in higher quantities than the retailers.
The contrast between the Alibaba & AliExpress
Through Alibaba you order in large quantities and you can get the manufacturers to give discounts on products purchased or send a sample of product ordered for testing. Also, products can be selected in terms of colors and precise specifications as you will. This precise specifications, sample and discounts may not be obtainable in the retail version which is AliExpress.
With AliExpress the advantage is being able to order in small quantities and you can order a single piece of product unlike with Alibaba.
Other e-commerce mini-importation online platforms
DHgate is another Chineses based online e-commerce platform more like a business-to-business type, where you get various goods available for order.
eBay an American based e-commerce platform which is also a good source for importing goods but it may not be as flexible as Aliexpress.
IPmart.com is majorly a website to order electronics of all kinds like laptop, phone etc. And it collates sellers from USA, Malaysia and China.
Made in China is also another way of importing various goods for sales.
1688 is also another website to order products.
Some of this sites have a language barrier, you can use change the language during the set up of the app or use Google Chrome to translate it into English.
How to know quality products to import
To ensure you order quality products, always check on the product rating and sellers reviews, buyers tend to leave feedback on products purchased which is a good way to wade off intending buyers from purchasing low quality goods.
Sellers rating also keeps you informed on the kind of seller you are buying from. If the seller is a good one that delivers quality products and ships it on time, you get to see positive feedback and comments with good 4-5 star rating, but if poor, you see from 3-0 star rating. This should inform your decision to order from a particular seller.
Ensure all reviews are read.
Take time to read through the product descriptions to ensure it suits your objectives before ordering.
How to pay for products to import
After adding all items ordered to the cart on the website, you proceed to pay for the orders, most apps have secured online payment methods, buyers can use their bank master card, visa or debit cards to pay for orders.
What if the goods supplied to you are damaged?
Most of these websites have something called buyers protection which reimburse buyers when there’s a complaint on fake products or damaged goods.
This is done to protect buyers and also build confidence in the use of the site.
But we strongly recommend reading the terms and conditions of any e-commerce websites you choose to buy from before ordering any products. Ensure it is buyer friendly and can protect you from loss.
How to know the products that sell fast?
Look around your locality and with concise observation you know the highly demanded products. For example, African women love hair extensions. This product sells like wide fire as many women both young and old want to look great and trendy.
This products has good profit margins too.
Electronic gadgets and accessories like good phones, laptops, chargers, earpiece of various kinds, headsets, batteries, speakers etc are saleable products as these products without doubts always have ready market.
Another good product to import should be fashionable wears (for male and female). Order good designs ranging from jewelries, shoes, clothes, bags, belts, etc.
You can also choose to order weight loss products, belly fat reducing products, appetite inducing products etc.
These kinds of products appeal to our emotions hence we crave to buy them.
A fat person will worry about getting obsessed and will be in search for weight loss products, slim people will worry about their tiny figure hence they crave for appetite inducing products that will enable then add flesh, ladies have a knack for belly fats.
The needs and wants of customers are endless, you need to identify the right product that will suit your target market which brings about good sales.
Mini importation business is lucrative as you tend to buy cheap products from the comfort of your home and sell for higher returns.
You can choose to use the free shipping method offered by some of these sites which takes about 21days to 90days and delivery is done by China mail air post or you pay for shipping and get it delivered in record time through DHL, FedEx or other trusted shipping company.
Don’t forget to add your phone number at the end of your address, for easy contact.
Avoid the urge to invest large capital in the initial stage, take your time to start small,
but reviews will help inform our buying decision. Anytime I want to purchase any product online, I take time reading reviews and comments made concerning the product before buying, this helps me a lot. I learnt my lesson on not reading through comments by purchasing a blender with two grinders without reading the reviews, I had already received the order before reading the reviews and it turned out I would have saved myself much headache if I took time to read through the reviews.
Therefore, always check product and sellers reviews to ensure you buy good products. Selling good products helps you get improved customer loyalty and patronage.
You may not necessarily have a physical shop to display your products, if you do have that’s fine and you can sell from there, but we are in the age of digital marketing where you can snap and sell your products across social media platforms, promote the products to reach wider audience and work with a delivery company to help get your products promptly to the users.
You can also ask friends to help post it on various platforms or get brand influencers to assist you promote it.
For a start you can delivery within your locality for free by inculcating the cost on other less expensive products, or you attach two products together and ask your customers to buy and get it delivered for free. These are marketing strategies you can use.
We have explained in details a whole lot about effective marketing including digital marketing in our e-book: how to market any product like a pro.
In mini importation business you have the advantage to negotiate with the sellers through social media platforms like WhatsApp or facebook. Use your negotiation skills to beat down the price to your advantage.
Always change the currency used in the site, to your local currency, so you understand how much each item cost.
Be informed that free shipping takes time unlike paid shipping which is faster.
Look for a good market you can dominate, don’t be static, ask friends in distant places if they have so and so products in their environment, this should give you a cue on dominating the market.
Success awaits you when you try.
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About The Writer: This article was written by Salome Precious. She is senior content developer at myafribusiness.com. She is an accountant by training and a business enthusiast by passion.
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