It is one thing to source for your products domestically, and quite another to source for products internationally. Importing products for sale however, is something that you cannot ignore. It allows you to benefit from the lower production costs in countries abroad, which can ultimately increase your profit margins. How should you go about it? What should you do?
1. Identify your niche market
You must first identify your niche market before you begin sourcing for products. The products that you choose to sell should be in line with what your target clientele needs or wants.
2. Identify source countries
Different countries around the world specialize in producing different things. The products that you want to import will therefore not be available in every country in the world. You should take the time necessary to identify the best source countries with regard to the products that you want to sell through your business.
3. Verify source country information
Once you have identified the top producers of the products that you intend to sell, you must verify any and all information that is available regarding the foreign markets. You need to ensure that you will be allowed to do business with the countries on your list. Cancel any countries that are not in a position to do so.
4. Identify major suppliers in source countries
Once you have verified the relevant information about the top source countries for your products of choice, you need to identify major reputable suppliers in each of the countries on your list.
The suppliers should be properly registered with a physical address. They should also have all the additional relevant business documentation required for importing purposes.
5. Use authority resources to verify major suppliers
When sourcing products from abroad, verifying major suppliers is usually one of the hardest stages. You need to use genuine resources to do so.
You should use resources such as government agencies, trade shows and publications, local chambers of commerce, and authority B2B portals to verify information about the top suppliers. By doing so, you will have multiple options from which to choose the best product sources for your business.
6. Ask for product samples
Since you may not be able to travel to the product suppliers’ location, you need to ask for their product samples. These samples will help you determine whether the products available for import are suitable for your business or not. You can eliminate the suppliers who do not make the cut at this stage.
7. Weigh the information about the best suppliers
You need to consider the verified information about the top suppliers in the major source countries and weigh each supplier’s pros and cons.
Some of the things that you should consider during this stage include the production capabilities, industry best practices, local government policies, quality of product samples provided, language of business used, supplier reputation, and the delivery time.
You need to maintain constant communication with all the wholesale suppliers or manufacturers who are under consideration until you clarify all of your concerns. Select those that suit your business goals.
8. Hammer out a contract
There is no such thing as trust in business, especially if you intend to source products from abroad. For that reason, you need to hammer out a contract based on what you and your selected suppliers have agreed upon.
Where language barrier is an issue, you should employ the services of a professional business translator to ensure that the agreement is consistent on both sides. Also, involve expert lawyers when hammering out the contract.
Your contract should contain product details, pricing and payment times, as well as delivery and shipping terms.
Once you and your suppliers have signed the final agreement, you can begin to import products. The groundwork will determine how smooth things can be for you moving forward.