A lot of our clients ask whether importing goods is worth it, let’s dive further into this.
Most products that are imported come from China. At this present time there is uncertainty with products coming from the far east, saying that products are still coming in but at a slower rate than usual.
Importing products in can be a useful tool to get an advantage over your sellers. By buying in bulk you can increase your margin whilst having the flexibility to promote sales or drop the price indefinitely. Always do your research into what products you buy, as one of the downsides of importing is the access your competition has to the same product at times. So check who else may be selling the item, what price are they selling at? are they making a good enough margin for it to be worth your while.
A problem a lot of clients have is that the products they import is already out there and sellers are already selling the same product. Apart from the price point let’s look at the other downsides to this. With importing products from abroad there seems to be an issue with items being replicated and the same supplier selling the same item to another retailer. It does mean that eventually that product will get into a price war and well you may be selling the product to cover cost or even make a loss. With this is mind have an amount in mind that you would be happy with to get back from your container. Once the sales that come in from the products from that container reaches the amount you have set, it maybe wise to sell the rest on discount or include multi buys so the products move faster. Now is the time to gauge if a repeat order of the container is worth it, by scoping the competition and trends and advance with the next order. An obvious tip would be to order the next container before the current stock depletes. If you work out how long it takes for the container to come in against how much products you are selling on a weekly basis. You can get a rough idea of the timing. A lot of people get stuck with the current, but as a business owner you need to accept that we live in a fast paced life from the food we eat to the clothes we wear, the same principals apply to importing goods. The first container may be different to the next and the one after, it just depends on the consumer.
With the manufacturers who make the products, they have the capacity and set up to make products at a good price, if you flip this and say i will make it, you would need to be confident that you have the capacity, set up, work force and wages to ensure your cost is the same. This is why the importing game is still strong, retailers and smaller manufacturers can not compete. It is feasible for them to buy in the goods from abroad and sell them on. Another bonus to take from this is the set up is so good, that it is a simple process of buying it, waiting for it to come in and then selling it. It takes away the headache and the rest is taken care of. This allows you to focus on the other aspects of the business like marketing, branding, customer service to name a few or just simply allows you more time for yourself.
Another thing to consider is the time it takes for the container to come. Now this only happens due to bad weather, natural events, or something like a pandemic! no names mentioned. Most of the times this is not an issue and the containers do come on time. Manufacturing delays are very rare and would not be an issue as good reliable manufacturers will have contingency plans in place.
We have seen and heard of retailers getting the wrong products. When we get into the nitty gritty this comes from buying from unreliable suppliers or buying too cheap. The saying ‘ if it sounds to good to be true ‘ comes to mind. If it is too cheap, it usually means corners have been cut, bits have been left out or the design is different. Work with reliable suppliers by reputation, build a relationship and visit your supplier. If a supplier is cheap and you can’t help it, set yourself an amount which if the product comes wrong or worse case scenario gets lost, the amount spend would not bother you. Best case would be to buy a small amount a few times, break even, make a small margin or if you can take a little loss to build that relationship and it will help you understand who you are dealing with. Another aspect which ties into this is quality check, but this does come down to building your relationship with the supplier and testing the waters.