Importing products can be an overwhelming prospect for the online seller – the thought of dealing with international laws, Customs, and tax issues is intimidating. But, the pay-off can be worth the effort. If you're even at the point of buying inventory in case lots, learning to import is definitely something to consider as a next move.
If you choose to begin importing yourself, it's important that you do everything possible on the front end to validate that a supplier is genuine before doing business with them. By performing due diligence, you can minimize the risks inherent in importing. If, however, you're not yet ready to deal directly with overseas manufacturers on your own, there are numerous outsourcing services that can help you get started right:
When done correctly, importing can enable you to see significant cost savings in your E-Biz. To whatever degree you need, there is help available as you learn the importing process, so don't let a few complications stop you from experiencing lower prices and higher profits.
- A Strategic Global Sourcing Company, can help you, not only in finding legitimate suppliers, but in every area of importing. They usually provide stateside reps who take the time to understand your product needs. Some even offer online project management systems that let you view the factory's production schedule, and interact with your overseas sourcing agent.
Additionally, these companies actually visit every factory they deal with. To ensure quality, they place agents onsite while your goods are in production. And they conduct competitive bidding with manufacturers around the globe to bring you the lowest possible manufacturing costs.
- Online Overseas Wholesalers, such as GlobalSourcesDirect.com and Chinavasion.com, buy inventory direct from overseas manufacturers and make it available to you through their online stores. Their low minimum orders allow you to start out with small, affordable quantities, and increase your orders as you grow comfortable with the processes involved.
Overseas wholesale sites let you source thousands of products at factory direct prices, while avoiding long lead times. They offer an easy entry point into importing, with little risk or investment.
- Online Import/Export Marketplaces, like GlobalSources.com, connect you to global product suppliers for your E-Biz. You can make inquiries, and negotiate directly with manufacturers, and even opt to receive email updates regarding new supplier products.
Some sites, like GlobalSources, verify and regularly update their suppliers' details. They also visit every factory they list, so you know you're only dealing with genuine manufacturers and suppliers. Other sites are paid listings – so while they're great for finding product sources, you need to be careful and take steps to ensure those sources are legitimate.
- Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders are another resource for importing help. They can assist you in locating suppliers, calculating duties and landing costs, and determining the most economical shipping arrangements. They can also ensure you're complying with international trade laws, and resolve any Customs problems that arise. To find a reputable broker or forwarder, check with the trade association to which your products pertain.