It is a known fact that, to run a successful ecommerce business in Nigeria, you must learn how to import goods from other countries. Importation business is one of the most profitable businesses in Nigeria. It involves buying goods from abroad at whole sales prices and reselling those items at retail prices for huge profits. Importation business is sure of earning you up to 100k monthly if done properly.
This business idea is an evergreen business that is sure of making you money either as a stay at home mom, as a side hustler, a student, unemployed youth or as a corper serving the Nation.
The good thing about this business is that you don’t need to break the bank before you can start. You can begin importation business with as low as N10000-100,000 depending on your budget.
How importation business works is that you buy products from other countries (USA, Turkey, Dubai, China etc) at reasonable prices and resell those products for profits. Its involves buying low and selling high.
Gone are the days when people used to perceived importation business as business meant for people with huge capital but now, entrepreneurs and small scale businesses can enjoy the same low wholesale prices without any hindrance.
Although, there are so many countries you can import products from but in this article, we would be talking mostly about importing from china- from Chinese manufacturers and suppliers. You may want to ask, Why China?
Most products nowadays are made in China. Most items like home appliances, accessories, computers, laptops, mobile phones, toys etc are made in China.
China is the largest source for most hot-selling and fast moving consumer products in the world and because of the low labour and production costs, China is one of the cheapest manufacturers in the world.
Although, most people still regard products from china to be of low quality/fake and that is why the US and European countries set a very strict standards which the Chinese usually comply with to ensure high quality of their products and this is because China also produces many of the high quality products in America and Europe.
Although such policy is not enforced in our country and in most African countries but that doesn’t mean we can’t always get quality products from China. In the later part of this article I will be sharing with you a way to ensure you always buy quality products from China.
To get started in this business, you will need the following items;
- Startup Capital
- A computer/mobile phone with internet access
- An email address
- A traceable home/office address
- A paypal account/Credit or Debit card
The most interesting part of this business is that you can actually shop from anywhere in the world even in your pijamas without living your home.
Before kick starting your Importation business journey, it is important to note the following;
Ø Go for Winning Products Always
Products people are willing to buy without thinking twice are the winning products. These are the kind of products that are bound to make you money. These products can either be Seasonal products, Trending Winning Products or Evergreen Winning Products
Ø Make sure there is a Market for the Products
Make sure there are people demanding for the products you intend selling. Make sure there targeted audiences for your products.
Ø Always go for products with light weight
Light weighted products are less expensive with shipping compared to heavy products. Try as much as possible to always go for products that are less than 1kg. lightweight products are very easy to ship and cost effective.
Ø Buy Cheaply from China
If you would want to make more profits in this business, you will need to be shopping your products from China because most of their products are very cheap and the cheaper the products, the more profits you make.
Ø Start Small and Grow Big
You can start the importation business on a small budget to test the market. Testing products before you buy them is a good way to know if the product is going to sell well and also make you money and you can also test the market through drop shipping business model before investing your money. Doing this will save you the stress of purchasing items that people may not be interested in buying.
Having all the above statements in mind then it is “Time to start shopping” Excited right?
But wait! You need to know the best and most-trusted places to shop from, how to ensure the products are of good quality, the payment process etc.
The following websites are my top picks online marketplaces that sell products at extremely cheap prices;
Aliexpress is one of the subsidiaries of the Alibaba Group which dominates internet-based commerce in China. Aliexpress.com is where most small scale importers buy goods from at whole sale prices. The Alibaba Group launched Aliexpress in 2010 as an online retail service made up of mostly small sellers offering products to online buyers. It has more than 20 major product categories and sells to registered users and buyers in more than 220 countries around the world.
You can visit www.aliexpress.com
All you need to do first is to signup by clicking on “JOIN” and enter your names with a valid email address, then go to your email to confirm your account by clicking on the confirm link. Then start shopping.
iPmart.com is a website that focuses on electronic gadgets like mobile phones, game consoles and their spare parts and accessories. iPmart.com was launched in 2001. It is a huge wholesale market that ships products from China, USA and Malaysia. To buy technology products at wholesales price, iPmart.com is the place to try. You can visit the site by clicking www.ipmart.com. Before placing order there, you must register too.
1688.com is another ecommerce market place I would like to recommend you check out. 1688 or Alibaba.cn is regarded as the popular Chinese versions of Alibaba.com. It is a great site for wholesalers and small businesses to source their products due to cheap prices, even cheaper than Alibaba.com. The difference between the two websites is that 1688.com is exclusively for domestic trade while Alibaba focused majorly on export and whole sales prices. The only challenge you might face on this website (1688.com) is that its contents are written in Chinese language, unlike Alibaba.com that is in English, and has translations in French, Spanish and other major languages. Although there are apps you can used to translate the language to English
DHgate.com is more like a business-to-business (B2B) e-Commerce website connecting China-based small and medium enterprises with buyers. The company has been in business since 2004, it is trading marketplace where users can order Chinese-manufactured products directly through the site. Just the like the ones recommended above, you will need to register on the site before you can start using the site for product shopping.
You can visit www.dhgate.com to get started.
To make payment for your items, you will need to know the various channels through which you can pay for goods purchased. With the help of the internet, paying for items on these sites has been made easy unlike before when paying for items purchased was a long procedure.
Thanks to the internet, you can make payment for products anywhere around the world. You can make payment via Mastercard or Visa card, simple bank transfer, PayPal or Alipay but most of the payment methods depend on how supplier want you to pay him/her.
Another question you might want to ask is that what if the goods delivered are fake or inferior compared to what you order or what if you are scammed or never received the products?
Scams and fraud have been a big issue in internet-based transactions especially in e-Commerce business but relax!
The websites recommended above do have some form of “BUYER PROTECTION” mechanism built into the payment process, it is otherwise called “ESCROW”.
The way ‘escrow’ or buyer protection works is that instead of you paying the suppliers directly, These marketplaces withholds your payment until you receive the products you ordered and confirm that they are not fake or inferior.
Most of these shopping sites especially offer Aliexpress and DHgate do reimburse and return people’s money if they are not satisfied with the products they received just to reduce the risk or fear of losing money.
To find reliable suppliers is another challenge you might face in ordering products from China. African small businesses are vulnerable to low quality products because there are no restrictions or safety standards in place just like they have in the USA and Europe.
To ensure you are buying products from reliable supplier, you will need to check the customer feedback ratings on each products. A Feedback Rating is usually a way of measuring a sellers’ reputation especially on on AliExpress and DHgate. After every transaction is completed, buyers can leave a positive or negative feedback based on their experience with that seller.
Anytime you find a product you’re interested in buying, always check the seller’s feedback rating by scrolling down to the bottom of the page of the product. Also, always check the bottom of the page for the product details, seller guarantees and shipping conditions etc.
To get your product shipped to you from Aliexpress or DHgate, you can either used the free shipping service delivered through China Mail Air Post or Hong Kong Mail Services. Although, the free shipping option is very attractive but it often takes time to get your goods delivered to you. It is usually between 15 to 60 days depending on the product and your location, it may be impossible to track the location of your package all through the delivery process. The paid options are DHL, EMS and Fedex though more expensive but you are sure of getting your goods delivered on time and can as well track the products.
When your goods arrived, you are likely going to receive a phone call from local post office or local DHL/Fedex office to come pick up your items, so always add your phone number to the address you give when entering your details.
To sell your products in Nigeria, you can sell them online or offline. The internet has changed the whole selling experience and made it much easier to sell items to people online. You can make used of your shop or outlet if you have one but if not, make used of Social networks like Facebook, Instagram, even Twitter. You can also set up an online store for free and upload pictures of the items you imported and drive traffic to it. You can also sell your products on other market places in Nigeria like Konga, Jumia, Olx, Kaymu and Jiji.
Also, you will need to work with some courier agent/logistics companies in delivering your products to your customers. Among them are: Mysafepay.ng, Austin Dispatch, Skynet, Kosng etc
You may need to pay certain amount to some of them to get started
In starting your importation business in Nigeria, it is advisable you start small and then grow gradually.
If you find this article helpful, do share it with others that might benefit from it.