In 2021, China exported $2.499 trillion worth of goods to the world, accounting for 13% of global exports. Importing from China is a lucrative business for any company. Thousands of businesses around the world have made very good sustainable profits by importing products from China. But if you are new to the trade, you may be thinking, “How do I import goods from China?”, “How do I find profitable products to import from China?” If you are new to import and export trade, importing from China can be a difficult task.
The process of importing from China can sometimes be complex, confusing, and expensive. You may lose your expected profits due to extended shipping times, long delivery times, item quality issues, and some unexpected delays. That’s why we’ve created our complete guide on “How to Import from China”.
After reading this article, you will know every step you should take before importing from China, avoid many wrong choices, and find ways to import from China and make a profit.
1. The Market: Choosing Your Product
First, before you start anything else, identify your target market. Who will you sell the product to? Who needs your product?
It is easier to choose products that match existing needs. Importing for an existing market is easier than starting from scratch. You might have a really good idea for a product, and you feel like people will line up to buy this new product. Yes, the new product is fun and exciting, but don’t bet on it providing you with a revenue stream.
Start research. The best way is to use keywords. Term searched within Google. Try Google’s Keyword Planner. Gaining insight into what products people are looking for will be very helpful to you. If importing household products is interesting, search for “kitchenware” See how many searches this keyword derives. Now, search Amazon for that product. What does it sell for? Estimate potential revenue.
2. Sourcing: Finding Manufacturers in China
Now that you have your product, the next step is to find an exporter in China to sell your product. There are several sources. The easiest is to use an online marketplace such as Alibaba.
On Alibaba, search for the products and pricing you need. Filter your search by factories and their main products. Check their user reviews. Some of these Alibaba stores are actually trading companies, pretending to be real factories, but raising prices and lowering them.
Try a video call, any real factory representative would be willing to join the video call and even agree to a factory tour. The second way is to fly to China and visit the factory of the corresponding product in person. Arrange your trip to coincide with one of the many product fairs that are often held in cities such as Yiwu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, or Shenzhen.
3. Negotiating Pricing
Negotiations are difficult, but a hard-line approach cannot be used, and proven techniques and strategies are recommended.
The first case is that the order quantity is relatively small. Factories always have their MOQs, but they rarely stand firm. For example, instead of spending $10,000, you can order a small sample selection of a $1,000 product.
Say these words! “What discounts can you offer?”
“What discounts can you offer?” Make them negotiate with themselves. Regardless of how they answer, always use a negotiation technique called “hold back.” This requires physically taking a step back and verbally expressing how expensive you feel the price is. How can you not resell at this price? That’s probably worth a few percent.
4. Negotiating Timelines
It is more cost-effective to buy when the factory is not busy. When the factory is at full capacity, they may not have time to take care of your order. Coping with long wait times, whether by sea or by consignment, can be difficult. To improve fulfillment rates, negotiate faster delivery times before factories get busy.
Now you’ve selected your product, negotiated a price with the factory, signed a contract, and put the product on your shelf. It’s time to choose an online platform like amazon, or eBay. However, this is not the only option. Consider setting up your site or a hybrid site with OBERLO! While Amazon makes it easier to sell without dealing with customs, labeling, and shipping, they can take a drastic cut into your profits. If you have your own website, you can communicate more directly with your customers, follow up and have the right to their information. This is a better suggestion for long-term business.
6. Extra Mile
You’ve started selling, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to provide a great customer experience to get good reviews and repeat customers from buyers. Investing in a quality user experience is a very important job. In fact, companies that successfully implement a customer experience strategy can achieve higher customer satisfaction, reduce churn, attract new customers, and increase revenue with more excellent reviews. American Express found that more than 60% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.
7. Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Imports are not for the faint of heart. Importing requires a sustained profit by trying out different ideas or products. There was a lot of trial and error and a lot of tribulation along the way. Using the proper methods and techniques can lead to better negotiations, faster deliveries, and higher profits.
When you develop good factory resources in China, keep them away from your customers and vice versa. Building key factory relationships take a lot of work. Short lead times. Controlling shipping goes a long way in having the most critical element of the entire import process; the successful delivery of an order. Having your factory ship directly to your customers is not acceptable. Blind shipping is a closed loop. Only the importer will know the origin and destination. Prevent supply chain predators from excluding you.