The Internet has opened up a whole new era of business
opportunities. Falling trade barriers combining with easy access
to trade information thanks to the Internet have created dramatic
possibilities and sparked the growth of global online trade in
virtually every area.
Many companies are taking advantage of electronic media quite
aggressively by making new contacts, tapping into new markets
and reducing costs with the help of online technologies.
Whether you are starting a new import business or planning to
expand your existing business, you too can use the Internet as
your primary channel for getting information, sourcing products
or services, finding suppliers and doing your marketing.
Before the Internet era, finding a viable product for importing
was not an easy job! Trade shows and traveling to foreign lands
were the two best options available for getting hands on
information on a product and its supplier. Today, required
information on any conceivable product from virtually any market
is available at your finger tips.
Finding a product
If you know what you are planning to import, a substantial work
is already done! Otherwise, your first step is to choose a
feasible product or service to import. Whether you are planning
to import a general merchandize or an industry-specific product,
do your homework right.
Browse through Catalog repositories, B2B exchanges, electronic
trade boards, trade journals and virtual trade shows to find a
product. If you know the manufacturing country from where the
product is possible to source, check out the country specific
portals and exchanges. Here is a list of high quality electronic
For China made products: http://www.alibaba.com
Sourcing from India: http://www.trade-india.com
For Russian Products: http://www.rusbiz.com
Products from Europe: http://www.europages.com
From South Korea: http://www.ec21.com
For other country-specific or industry-specific B2B exchanges
check out this list:
Your criteria for choosing a product for importing should include:
Your prior knowledge of the product you intend to import and its
industry. Your possibility of success increases considerably if
you know the product well.
Access to required quantity of this product. If you spend time
and effort in developing a local market for a product and unable
to deliver, you will loose business and reputation.
Quality of the product. This is a crucial aspect for developing
a market for any product. Quality of the product should be
consistent with market requirement.
High profit margin. As import incurs many expenses that are
specific to this type of business only, prior to import anything,
you should carefully calculate all required expenses and see that
you still make handsome profits. You can check out the sites of
your prospective competitors and make a price comparison to get
initial idea on your products present market price.
Once you know – what you are planning to import – your next step
is to find a reliable supplier for this product.
Emarketplace or B2B exchange
B2B exchanges can be a good help in getting suppliers of the
products you are planning to import.
The possible steps, you have to take to find a supplier from a
B2B exchange, are listed below. As an example http://www.rusbiz.com is
– Register your company. Often this service is free!
– Go to “Advanced Search”
– Write your product name in the relevant box
– Select required criteria and click on “Search”
– You will find a list of companies.
– Check out each of them until you find a suitable one.
Chamber of Commerce
Another option is to contact Chambers of Commerce to find a supplier.
A Chamber of Commerce is an association of companies that protects
and promotes business interests of its members.
For a complete list of Chambers of Commerce from various countries
check out this page: [http://www.worldchambers.com/CCII/index1.htm].
If other methods did not bring any fruitful result, you can
consider posting classified ads in a range of trade boards.
There are many trade boards available on the Internet. While
posting trade leads make sure that you specify your requirement
precisely. A well-written ad will bring much better result. Post
your trade leads frequently until you find a good supplier for your
Once you found a supplier that suits you, check him out thoroughly.
Your supplier should meet the following criteria:
The supplier company must carry the product for a substantial period
It should have experience in export – preferably to your country.
It should have readily available export references.
It should be a reputable company in its country.
If the company meets the above criteria get Dun and Bradstreet
report of the company to verify its financial background.
Selling imported products
Before even thinking about importing a product or service, you
should know exactly who your customers are and how you are going
to sell your products to them. Although, there are numerous ways
of selling a product, selling through the Internet is gaining
Selling through your own website
Considering the growth of e-commerce, today, any consumer-oriented
product is viable to sell through the Internet. Your success will
largely depend on your ability to market your website appropriately.
Your website should have the following qualities among others:
appealing design, well described product specification with clear
pictures, great content, fast connection, easy-to-use shopping cart
and a good merchant account.
As a drop ship distributor, you carry the inventory and your joint
venture partners make the sales. Once a product is sold you get
the payment from your partner but ship out the product directly
to the end customer.
Selling through distributors
Selling through resellers with expertise in your field lowers
marketing and selling costs. If you sell products through a number
of distributors and each of these distributors use diversified
marketing method, your sales potential get multiplied without
spending extra on marketing.
An E-marketplace is a business community, where you can expect
to see a large number of buyers and sellers. For a seller it is
a low cost, highly functional and easy-to-use sales channel.
Benefits of selling products through emarketplace also include:
– Low customer acquisition cost
– Improve customer service
– Efficient information sharing method
Reduce supply chain cost
Entrepreneurs who want to get serious about importing have to
acquire substantial knowledge of the process. Many of the
information needed to carry out an import export business is
available on the Internet. Anybody with enough enthusiasm to
learn can easily find them and use to build a profitable and
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