Finding the right products for your business is probably one of, if not the most important part of running a successful e-commerce business. And let me tell you, they don’t make it easy! Whether you want to sacrifice profit margins for less headaches and find a local supplier, or go directly to the source internationally (e.g. China) there are a few things to keep in mind.
For the sake of this guide we are going to assume that you will be looking to purchase a product that already exists (minus a few customisations) rather than manufacturing a completely custom/original product.
How to pick the right product?
Staying up to date on trends is a great way to find out which products are selling, and what you can expect from suppliers. Looking to international markets to see what people are buying will give you an idea of what products could be a good choice for your business here in Australia.
You may have your own idea of what you want to sell, but don’t forget that there are niches everywhere. Even a simple search for something like ‘plastic toys’ will give you an idea of how many businesses have been successful with such a common product!
Okay, I’ve found the right products, what’s next?
That’s great! Now you need to find a supplier. This is where things can get a little tricky, as there are many suppliers out there to choose from.
You have the option of finding a local supplier that can take care of all the issues with importing, however this typically means that you will pay a lot more for the same product.
On the other hand, if you go overseas and search through Chinese supplier sites like Alibaba or similar, it’s quite likely that you’ll find lower prices than what local suppliers can offer even after import costs! The only thing to keep in mind is making sure they have a high reputation, so that they can be trusted.
Some Tips when importing from overseas
- Make sure to check their reputation.
Make sure you look for things like On-time delivery rates, reviews, and their response time to messages.
This will help you find out if they are a good fit for your business, and give you peace of mind that everything will go as smoothly as possible. Doing this before spending any money is extremely important! It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes down to something like importing.
- Try and find the manufacturer, not just a trading company
A trading company is simply just a middle man. They have no control over the production process, and will likely be more expensive.
If you can find a factory that is willing to work with you directly (if they don’t already offer this), then it’s certainly worth looking into! Not only does this reduce your costs as there are less people involved, but if anything goes wrong at least you have direct contact with the people who can sort it out!
- Make sure you understand all your tax obligations when importing products
You may have to pay GST, customs duty or import processing charges. Make sure to check what your business is responsible for before getting an invoice from the supplier.
- Calculate freight costs before thinking you’re getting a good deal!
After COVID-19, we have seen a dramatic rise in international freight costs. So make sure you build the cost of shipping the goods to Australia into your profit calculations.
Importing goods is a complicated process, and there is a lot of things to consider. I would strongly recommend finding a reliable freight forwarder to help you out if possible.
The Final Word
Even the greatest marketers in the world will struggle to sell a poorly made product. It’s important that the products you sell through your site are both profitable and enticing to the visitors on your site. I hope the above quick tips help give a brief overview on easy mistakes you can avoid when building your e-commerce brand.