There are massive business opportunities in China, but there is a strategy you need to follow for importing success. It doesn’t matter if you’re an established business, or a start-up looking to make an impact – in both cases what is most critical to your success is the need to find the right product and the right supplier. This course will help you to understand what it takes to get your ecommerce business off the ground, because there are literally thousands of potential partners for you, all wanting to make and produce your products. To give you some inspiration to getting started, this recent post covers some of the top selling items on eBay. If you’re very careful about the decisions you make, understand what you’re doing and keep an eye open for any potential scammers, you can set your new importing business up to be very successful.
Follow our steps and be sure to set yourself up for success.
Decide on a Business Model
Sourcing products themselves is the strategy most people follow when they want to import from China, and you can find many online marketplaces that have every possible product you can imagine. AliBaba is one of the largest. There is risk however, and if you get caught up with the wrong suppliers it can make for headaches and even more expense over the long term. If you’re after less risk, you can hire a trading company to act as the middleman, and they’ll help you communicate with the factories, and may even have relationships with certain factories to get you up and running faster. The downside, is that they typically get commissions from suppliers, and they may not recommend the best suppliers for your particular needs, in addition to adding a margin on top of the suppliers price – so you pay more for less risk.
Do your Background Research
The next step is to do your research. Spend the time to learn what will work for your business, because if you make the wrong decisions you can be trapped pouring money and your time down the drain. This is because dealing with businesses in China is very different to dealing with businesses in America or the western world. If you don’t have a clear understanding of what you’re doing, you can very easily end up with a garage full of worthless products that you will never be able to sell.
To ensure your success importing from China, be sure you:
- Choose a decent product. It’s not difficult to find a targeted niche, so do your research and you’ll quickly find opportunities
- Build a relationship with a good supplier. You need to sort through the hundreds of bad suppliers and find the greatest in your niche.
- Sell your product. Once you have your product available, get it out selling on every platform available. Leverage existing channels like Amazon, eBay, and even niche platforms like Etsy and put your own store up to capture everyone else.
The beginning is the most important part, and is where you need to spend a little time to get started correctly. Steer clear of any trademarked or counterfeit goods, as they can be lucrative in the short term but don’t really transform into long term business success. Try to find products that make a profit, without being too high expensive so you can get started with less capital.
Find Your Suppliers
As you investigate your different options for suppliers, the best tool is AliBaba. You’ll need to keep an eye out for a fantastic supplier, because your ultimate goal is to locate a dream supplier that allows you to not even handle the products, so you can just focus on growing your sales figures. There are many different platforms advertising an ability to find you suppliers, but you’ll have the best results using AliBaba. Filter your results to look at the premium (gold) suppliers, and simply ignore how good the “opportunity” sounds from the suppliers who lack this rating. There’s usually a reason behind it, and this will help you avoid 98% of all scams on the platform. You’re looking for quality suppliers that promise cheap samples, PayPal for payments, and demonstrate an ability to respond to your inquiries and questions – fast.
Pick the Best Product
Now it comes to looking at your options for products. Think small and light, because you don’t want to dilute your margins with massive shipping costs moving sofas all over the world. You also need to think about the quality of the product, and choose an item that doesn’t need to be 100% perfect. The factories aren’t going to have the best production systems in the world, and if you’re promising high quality goods you may disappoint more customers than you realize. Whatever you’re selling should be under $150, anything more expensive is going to take too much investment to get started, as well as increase the problems with shipping and returned goods. In line with this, try to avoid items in the most competitive categories. Electronics, clothes, food and other essentials are all very saturated and whilst there are profits to be made, it can be very difficult – especially for someone just starting out. Try to be as niche as possible. You should also avoid seasonal items, as they will often leave you with a large amount of your capital tied up in stock at the end of a season, whether it’s Christmas or winter gear, you don’t want to be stuck with a ton of inventory.
Check through AliBaba to get an idea of your cost price, and then compare what you can sell items for on Amazon and eBay. You want to find the largest margins possible, while drilling down into niche products that may not have a large number of importers. The more niche the better. This research will take time, but soon you’ll be able to realize what’s working, and what’s not working, and you can choose the item you want to import. Here you just need to contact the top suppliers, and get additional information like Minimum Order Quantities (MQC), shipping and payment policies and price lists and spec sheets. As a tip, create a new email address for getting this information, as you’ll very quickly get lots of spam coming into this email account! Try to get samples of your product from 4-5 different suppliers, and take note of their customer service levels, shipping times, cost and stress test everything you get. Soon you’ll find a product you feel comfortable putting your name behind.
Order Products and Get Them Listed
The next step is to order your product, and get started promoting it. Select your supplier, and get your products listed on as many sales channels as possible. You’ll want to have at least 5-10 items in stock, and then list your product at least on eBay and Amazon. If you haven’t used either of these sales channels before, check out this course which runs through the benefits of each in detail. Avoid selling to your friends and family at this stage, there will be plenty of visitors you can target on the main shopping platforms without spamming your own network. This step is relatively easy, just take some inspiration from what the top sellers of the product already are doing. You should start making sales within a couple of days, and then all you need to do is go ship your products out from the closest post office. Try to do this immediately, as soon as the products come in, and after a month you’ll have a pretty good idea where any problems are, and if it makes sense to scale up your current product line.
Advertising and Promotion
When you begin to expand at this stage, you can look at advertising through the platforms like eBay and Amazon, and get listed on every sales channel you can. This course is great as it teaches you how to create your own ecommerce store. Try to up-sell your customers, offering coupons and promotional material along with the items you ship to bring in recurring revenue from your existing customers. Check out this course if you want additional ways you can deliver value to your online customers.
Leverage Your Success
Once you start being successful, you can use this position to negotiate better terms with your supplier, whether its price cuts or the option to drop-ship and freeing up your time from being spent at the post office for hours every day. This frees up much of your time, and allows you to manage your business in only a few hours per week – one of the keys to a passive income strategy. If you can’t get drop-shipping organized, just hire someone locally to take over the shipping for you. Once it’s automated it’s up to you to decide how large you want your business to be, as there’s no real limit on how much money an importing business can make for you, and you’ve got a solid foundation already together.
All that’s left for you is to take action. You’ll never get anywhere with your importing business unless you try it out, and following this strategy you can get started with just a little investment, a few hours of your time.
So what are you waiting for? Go make it happen and start importing from China today!