7 Steps to Importing and Selling Products from China

7 steps to Import success

The Chinese economy exports trillions of dollars of inexpensive and high-quality goods. Learn the basics, follow a plan and make a fortune by sourcing, importing and selling products online.

Ok, maybe it isn’t that easy BUT learning and planning around best practises can help avoid serious pitfalls! Failing to measure twice and cut once is always a source of loss and missed opportunities. Here are some important first steps.

1. The Market: Choosing Your Product

Before starting anything else, determine your target market.

  • Who will you sell? Who needs your product?

It’s easier to choose a product for an existing need. Importing for a pre-existing market is more accessible than starting from scratch. You may have a fantastic idea for a product, a new revolutionary item that you ‘feel’ people will line up for. YES, that’s fun and exciting but don’t bet on it to provide a primary source of revenue.

Start researching the market. The best way to start is with keywords. Terms being searched inside Google. Try a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner. Gain insight into what products people are seeking.

If importing health products is interesting, search for “first aid kits.” See how many searches this keyword gets. Now, search Amazon for that product. What does it sell for?Get an estimate of how much potential revenue you could make from this product.

2. Sourcing: Finding Manufacturers in China

Now that you have a product in mind, the next challenge is finding an exporter in China.

There are several ways to source. The simplest is to use an online marketplace such as Alibaba.

On Alibaba, search for specific products, and pricing. Filter your search by factories and how long they’ve been in business. Check their user rating. Some of these so-called manufacturers are actually agents pretending to be an actual factory but they just mark up prices and take a cut.

Any real factory representative will be willing to hop on a video call or even a tour of the factory.

The second way is to fly to China and visit factories in person. This can be a one-to-one basis or time your trip to coincide with one of the many product fairs that regularly occur in cities like Shenzhen.

When you go visit China, hire a translator. You cannot negotiate when communication is weak!

3. Negotiating Pricing

Negotiating prices can be difficult, but it doesn’t need to be. If you use a couple of proven techniques and strategies, you can knock them down to a price that allows you to have much more profit than list price.

The first technique is to ask for a small order upfront instead of their bulk orders. Factories always have their MOQ (min order requirement) in their quotes but they hardly ever stand firm on this. Instead of outlaying $10,000, for example, you can get away with ordering a small sample selection of $1,000 worth of products.


  • “What kind of discount can you offer?” This question makes them negotiate against themselves. After they respond, no matter how they answer, always use a negotiating technique called the “flinch.” This entails physically stepping back and vocally expressing how expensive you feel the price is. How you cannot resell at this price!

When the factory says, “$7.70” you say, “$7.70?! No, too much!” This is always worth a few percentage points.

4. Negotiating Timelines

Buying when the factory isn’t super busy is a proven way to get a better deal. When selling products online, you often have to deal with long wait times as you dropship the product from China on boats.

To offer better customer service and build a better reputation for your brand, negotiate for faster delivery times if the factory is maxed out on how much they can reduce the price. It never hurts to ask, and it could improve your cash flow position in a big way.

5. Platform

Congrats. You’ve selected your product, negotiated the price, and have product sitting on your shelves. It’s time to choose your online platform. Amazon is a popular site to sell goods. However, it’s not the only option. Consider setting up your site. Consider a hybrid using OBERLO!

While Amazon makes it easier to source and sell without dealing with the customs, labelling, and shipping, they take a BIG cut.

If you own your site, you can communicate more directly with customers, follow up with them, and own the rights to their information.It’s a better proposition for a long-term business.

6. Extra Mile

Finally. You’ve started selling your product online, but your job isn’t over yet. You need to offer fantastic customer experience for great reviews and repeat business. Go the extra mile by investing in a quality user experience.

In fact, companies who successfully implement a customer experience strategy achieve higher customer satisfaction rates, reduced customer churn and increased revenues.

American Express found that 60% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

7. Wash, Rinse, Repeat

Wow. That didn’t take long. Seriously, importing is not for the faint of heart.

Continuous improvement takes the form of trying different ideas or products that could bring more profit. Don’t stop innovating! products from China and selling them on sites like Amazon or your own site is not easy.

Using the proper methods helps negotiate better, gain faster delivery, and enjoy higher profits. Then, sit back and relax as your online empire continues to grow at record rates! Or so they told you 🙂  Good luck!

When you find a fantastic factory, don’t let them or your customers get close to each other! It takes a lot of work to source a reliable factory and even more work to develop a trusting relationship. Keep your suppliers and customers apart. Blind Shipping is the best way to protect your business, hide your factory and have products safely shipped customer direct.

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