Maybe it isn’t that easy but learning and planning around best practices can help avoid serious errors! Failing to measure twice and cut once is a source of loss and missed opportunities. 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 to match 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 item that you ‘feel’ people will line up for. YES, fun and exciting but don’t bet on it to provide a source of revenue.
Start researching. The best way is using keywords. Terms being searched inside Google. Try 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 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 a product in mind, the next challenge is sourcing 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. Time your trip to coincide with one of the many product fairs that regularly occur in cities like Guangzhou, Hong Kong, or Shenzhen.
3. Negotiating Pricing
Negotiating is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Use proven techniques and strategies.
The first technique is to ask for a smaller quantities upfront. Factories always have their moq (min order quantity) but they rarely stand firm. Instead of outlaying $10,000, for example, you can get away with ordering a small sample selection of $1,000 worth of products.
SAY THESE WORDS! “What kind of discount can you offer?”
“What kind of discount can you offer?” Makes them negotiate against themselves. 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! This can be worth a few percentage points.
4. Negotiating Timelines
Buy when the factory isn’t busy gets a better deal. Coping with long wait times, either via sea freight or dropshipping is difficult. For improved fulfillment, negotiate for faster delivery times before the factory is maxed.
You’ve selected your product, negotiated price, and have product sitting on your shelves. It’s time to choose your online platform like Amazon. However, it’s not the only option. Consider setting up your site or a hybrid using OBERLO! While Amazon makes it easier to 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 , and own the rights to their information. It’s a better proposition for a long-term business.
6. Extra Mile
You’ve started selling, but your job isn’t over. 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
Importing is not for the faint of heart. Continuous improvement takes form in trying different ideas or products. There is a lot of trial and error with plenty of tribulations along the way. Continuity and consistency rule the day. Using proper methods help negotiate better, obtain faster delivery, and higher profits.
When you develop a good factory resource in China, keep them away from your customers, and vice versa. It takes a lot of work to establish key factory relationships. Delivery cycles are short. Controlling shipping goes a long way toward owning the most critical element in the entire importing process; successfully delivering the order. Allowing your factory to ship directly to your customer is unacceptable. Blind Shipping is a closed loop. Only the importer will know the points of origin and destination. Prevent supply chain predators from cutting you out. Deliver within 2-days. Learn more below. #BlindShipFromChina #ItsEasy