The last few years has seen a surge in businesses and individuals importing goods from China, India, USA and many other countries to sell online. Popular marketplaces include Amazon, Ebay and Etsy but there are a host of other smaller ones too. We have seen an increase in customers importing to sell on these platforms, so we thought we’d share some of our advice.
Importing for the first time
Importing for the first time can be daunting, but don’t be intimidated. Searching on the internet can produce a host of results on legal requirements, procedures, taxes and different shipment types. For further explanation on terms, shipment types etc please see our blog on advice for first time importers. Our most popular country to import to the UK from is China, and we offer specific advice and answers on our Importing from China FAQ.
Many people are unsure what products to import. If this is the case, the guide How to find a profitable product to sell is a great starting point. Bear in mind that heavier, bulkier items will be more expensive to ship and that demand for the product in the UK is crucial. It’s best to spend some time doing your research if this is the case.
Finding your suppliers
When starting out, it can be tricky to find the right supplier - cost, flexibility, quality and time it takes to ship can all be factors. It can often be easier to start with an online marketplace such as Alibaba or wholesale Central as suppliers often have reviews and ratings to provide some insight. Alibaba also provides verification on a variety of areas. Alternatively, you can also contact your local chamber of commerce for advice and contacts.
You need to be realistic about the time it will take your goods to ship - it can take up to six weeks to ship by sea. Planning for this is crucial. You need to prepare your supply chain in advance and adjust your timescales accordingly. It is also important to remember this when planning your purchase. Do not make the easy mistake of buying something that is not popular by the time it gets to market. A great example may be something associated with the season - if you’re selling sunglasses, make sure to order them in winter or early spring. We have covered the fact that importing for Christmas requires time and forward planning in a blog post.
Talking it through
We pride ourselves on offering bespoke advice to our customers, and understand that no two jobs are the same. Get in touch with us to discuss your options and timescales.