The year 2020 will go down in history as the year that has changed everything; from the way we relate to our loved ones, to the way we now buy and consume. COVID-19, with which we have been living for less than a year, has transformed the social and economic landscape around the world, and many companies have already suffered the consequences, having been forced to take a stand in this new phase.
In this context, and taking advantage of the e-commerce boom, many entrepreneurs and companies have decided to open new business avenues that have little or nothing to do with their professional past. Reinventing oneself in these COVID times is synonymous with survival for many entrepreneurs who have seen the import of new products as a brilliant opportunity to generate an alternative source of income.
We are talking about a different profile than the one we usually find among the regular customers of S3 Group. We are not dealing with a company that knows its sector perfectly and is looking to expand its market share. We are, however, dealing with professionals who have decided to take advantage of the benefits of importing into countries such as China to lay the foundations for a new economic activity for which they still have much to learn.
Product selection – first and foremost.
Starting a new business based on an imported product is more common than we think, but it is clear that selling a single product is not the same as having a catalogue with a single reference. It is rather, focussing on one type of article and specializing in it.
Product selection will determine the rest of the steps to take to start a new import business. It is also important to bear in mind that a product should not be selected because it is profitable in itself, but rather be aware that our commercial strategy will be responsible for generating profits.
Researching the product, or products, we have in mind is essential in order to to successfully advance the project. Any item that we want to import to sell is much more than “a product”. Its manufacture involves materials, accessories, and components and their characteristics will determine our business strategy.
A well-known success story.
When we think of companies that have based their commercial strategy on selling a single type of product and done so with great success, we must mention Hawkers, one of the queen brands of social networks. The famous sunglasses brand that is made in China, and born in 2013, focused on millennials, and began as the brain child of four young people who, following some unsuccessful business ventures, looked for a unisex product without complicated logistics.
Glasses, glasses and more sunglasses. A single product with hundreds of variants that have managed to successfully position this brand in the forefront of the minds of millions of young and, not so young, people around the world. After starting their first ads on social networks with a budget of only five euros, They managed to expand; reaching their current annual turnover of 27 million euros.
Find a provider.
When starting an import business, choosing the right product is certainly a very important step. However, the road ahead is very long, and one of the processes in which we find the most challenges is the search and selection of suppliers.
As we have already commented in other posts on the subject, ignorance of the wide international market sometimes means entrepreneurs and companies fail to carry out a correct market study that provides the necessary information about the competitiveness of the chosen supplier.
Faced with a new business based on imported products, the selection of the choice of suppliers is even more important. This is why it is highly recommended to contract the services of a purchasing consultant.
Control the logistics.
As we have stated when talking about Hawkers, its founders chose sunglasses as a product because of its easy logistics. Although obviously we cannot let this factor completely influence our choice, we must think about the consequences. Transporting and storing sunglasses is not the same as floor lamps, for example.
Directly related to logistics, transportation must be a consideration. The shipping costs and its derivatives, such as the customs needs of an imported product, significantly increase the cost per product. Moreover, when importing for the first time, it is vital to be crystal clear about the calendar so as to avoid surprises in commercial and distribution actions.
Business plan and marketing plan.
No commercial project should start without a business plan to support it. This valuable document, containing all the information about the commercial project, will evaluate both the characteristics of the business in question and its environment and viability.
At the same time, when focusing on the product and its distribution, we must not forget the value of the market study; an analysis prior to importation. This must take into account the needs of the consumer and market, product characteristics, and everything else regarding the brand, competition and the marketing strategy.
Do you need help starting your import business?
Starting a business is never easy, and when imported products are the backbone of business, the start-up can be more complicated than expected. In this sense, and as with any other business field, it is important to know that having the help of a specialized purchasing agent brings peace of mind and an import process free of surprises.
The difficulties derived from an import can be diverse, especially when you have little prior experience in international purchases. It is never possible to guarantee an import without incidents, but thanks to the role of a sourcing partner, problems are minimized and, most importantly, there is always a solution in sight.
As Experts in sourcing, at S3 Group we have been importing various products from China to different countries in Europe for more than 15 years. Our goal is, and will always be, that our clients benefit from the advantages of a successful import, whatever the type of business.