A Step-by-Step Guide to Importing

Part 1

Growing market share means importing from China. 

The challenge is staying ahead of a massive China curve! Direct sellers have arrived.

Whether you source through agents or Alibaba, we’ve generated an informational list plus strategic do’s and don’ts. Delivering from China can be complicated, confusing, and costly. Profits can be erased by factory error, longer than expected production and transit times, delivery costs, regulatory fees, etc.

We’ve compiled our unique step-by-step guide offering basic facts and suggestions. Our guide is based on 25 years of importing experience as well as from the unique perspective of an express air blind shipping company delivering express freight for nearly a decade.

In Part 1 we begin by identify both your importing rights and how to determine which products to import.

1. Identifying your importing rights

When you purchase commercial products from another country, you become an importer. Before importing, you must confirm you have the right to import rights. These rights come in the form of governmental licenses and permits. For starters check out U.S. Customs and Border Protection article Do I need a license to import something? As well, you will need to sign a POA (power of attorney) with a licensed freight forwarder because of the many rules and regulations for the importation of commercial goods. Find a qualified Freight Forwarder. Carefully examine their fee structures and experience before hiring them. Their mistakes can be very costly on many levels when shipments are stuck on customs. You Can ship also product with major express carriers (FedEx, UPS), as they have integrated brokerage services to help smooth the way.

2. Identify the products that you need to import

The endless stream of eBlasts landing in your inbox and posts on your newsfeeds will help you start defining the most current products. These posts are bombarding end-users too. Start following industry buyers and sellers for this free business intel!

Having a strategy to determine the best products to import is very important. Use those eBlasts and posts as a guide. Gather information from sites like Alibaba. Learn everything you can about the products, how they are printed, and which compliance concerns potential buyer may have. Arrange for samples from factories or trading companies. PPAI has a terrific article to help understanding different products at various price points. The PPAI article can be found here:

Finally, checking out this chart will visually help you to see what’s being purchased year after year with little variation. Wearables are by far the most popular category. Wearables have lots of competition.

In Part 2 we look at making sure your import product is allowed into the country and identifying your product for the government, and calculating landed cost.


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