I have been running a successful online business since 2012 dealing with products from China. The business started as a result of a China trip that did not yield much fruit (well, the experience I got however was astounding, but that is a post for another day). However, I learnt how China buys could make me a successful entrepreneur.
China Buys : The Steps
My business runs primarily on Facebook. I have a Facebook page though I get most if not all my sales from advertising in Facebook groups (looking to activate my page soon by advertising via Facebook sponsored pages). I also advertise on other online platforms locally and with that I have been able to keep the business running from the comfort of my home while wearing my pajamas. It is actually simple, below are the steps I take from buying to selling.
Identify the costs Involved
Before starting any business you need to establish the costs that you will incur before your product gets to the end user. This will help you in product pricing and therefore identify your demographic. The costs likely to be incurred while importing are:
- Product Price
- Shipping Price
- Courier charges
- Profit Margin
Identify the Product
For me, this is the easiest part because I take myself as the target customer. I ask myself what it is that I need most and if available in the market, whether I would buy it, and at how much. Does the product give you value for your money? Different people will go into business or choose a product for various reasons. Some people will be guided by what is trending while others prefer to follow their hobbies. Others will be in it just because someone else did it and it worked. Whatever works for you, just roll with it. From my experience, my China buys would follow these steps.
Identify the Supplier
When I started, I would buy products from UK ex-chains store shops. I realized that the product was a bit expensive for my demographic so I went to China and discovered Alibaba. Alibaba is the next best thing since sliced bread. Here you will find anything under our yellow sun. You think it, they’ve got it. The suppliers have competitive prices and you will buy from as little as one unit to as many tons as you can afford. When identifying the supplier, you should be guided by the price, quantity you’re buying, nearness to your shipping agent and charges to your agent if any, and product specifications where applicable.
Example: You may need branding on a large purchase quantity. Some suppliers may charge you extra while others may do it for free.
One needs to be careful when buying online because of the many scammers in our day. Alibaba will tell you whether a supplier is approved. This means that Alibaba have done a check on them and can vouch for their legitimacy. One way to do so is ensuring you only buy from Gold suppliers. They also verify via Escrow.
Once you have done a thorough research and you’re ready to buy, buying is a piece of cake.
NB: Next post on Buying and taking caution in product selection.