- The sneaker itself
- How many (pairs) are you buying?
- The weight of how many you have decided to buy.
- What do I import from China?
- What are the hot selling products to import and sell in Nigeria?
- Do I sell what I like or what I think people will buy?
- What will I sell that people will buy from me?
Deciding what to import from China to Sell in Nigeria
Most of the products I have researched are already saturated in the market. I haff tired already
With your expertise and knowledge it will give us a direction while we do our due diligence doing more findings on the product.
Another issue is after spotting a product and you now find out that tons of them are been sold at a ridiculous price at jumia and especially jiji, It’s kind of a turn off, since our business module is also done online.
Using my self as a case study, when I see a product advertised online the first thing I do is to check major online stores (jumia and co) to compare prices and If after doing my findings and it happens that I can get the same product from our local online stores at the same price or something lesser or slightly higher I would rather buy that product from them.
Here are my responses:
But before that, a very good mentor of mine – Czar Nnamani and Mike Leo narrated how they sold 3 cartons of vaginal tightening creams they bought from a local store in less than 1 month.
Of course, the product is everywhere on jiji and the neighbourhood. But these guys boxed this product and sold it to young women that needed it. It wasn’t just careless marketing but well-planned intentional marketing.
I have always said, “no product is born hot selling. You just make it happen”.
I don’t know what products you have researched but you have to look closely on your pattern of product selection.
Saturated products can be a myth.
Yes, it is true that some products are more popular and sold more, but the demand for these products is often so large, that it does not matter that many people are selling them.
Often, people think a product is saturated because everyone uses the same video, image and ad copy to sell.
Not every one that uploaded images or ran ads actually sold a lot.
If a product has the potential to sell, one can improve on it.
iPhone literally releases every year. All the iPhones still run on the same OS but with different designs and few things.
Major daily commodities that are being used every day are most times being rebranded on designs and packaging to appeal to the customers.
There are new products every day. The old ones are being updated.
The best bet is to go for improved products. Even if there are no improved products, the better option is
Since people are using the same images and videos to promote theirs, one can use one’s own pictures and images instead, box them up with complimentary gifts and be sold as one.
As an entrepreneur or a wannabe entrepreneur, the first to do after spotting a product of your interest is never to check who is selling.
You check what offers are they giving out.
Offers are incentives, bonuses, guarantee, refunds, is there any problem they outlined to solve or not.
What made you chose that product line….are they really pointing out that same pain of interest or not.
Who sells or who doesn’t isn’t a good point to decide whether you sell or not.
I buy from people because they offer me good deals.
Price is not always the best bet.
Yes, Nigerians love affordable things yet they love awoof more.
Give out what others aren’t giving out.
Extra gift puts one’s mind into serious thought.
Compounding products to sell at almost the same price as one product are not the same.
People look out for who is giving them a better deal.
Don’t just compare prices, check what offers they’re giving out. What their sales page is all about. That’s where the marketing talks.
People buying from an already established company is not a fact.
People go for where they are getting a good deal.
You don’t have to tell me that because I am not an established company, I remained not to be patronised.
Ironically, anything can sell in Nigeria. It all depends on how you market them.
- Branded T shirts
- Lazy Phone and Tablet Bracket
- Wristwatches and Jewelry
- Wireless Earpod/AirPods
- Skin Tag Remover
- Super Bright Led Torch Light
- Warm and Cooling Cup Holder
- Baby Food storage or bottle feeding
- Blender – manual or electric
- Memory cards
- Phone accessories
Hair growth oil for (baldness or hair loss) etc.
You may like: How much money to start Mini Importation in 2021?
There are more benefits to register on 1688.com as a member than being a guest customer or someone that only browses suppliers without logging in . These benefits offer you the opportunities for full features offered by Alibaba 1688.
If you could not register on 1688, this article is definitely for you.
Benefits of registering on 1688
- Special member price
- Special member products
- Access to seller’s correct phone number
- Easy to know the seller’s online status using Aliwang.
- Discounts on store checkout on some products with moq greater than 5pieces
- Direct contact with Alibaba 1688.com sellers using – Aliwang
To take advantage of all these benefits, one needs to sign up on 1688.com in either of the two different ways discussed in this article.
Question: Do i need to register on 1688 before buying products?
Answer: You must not be registered on 1688 before buying products. You can procurement agents if you don’t want to pass through the stress (of which we offer a smooth procuring service).
How to register on 1688.com from Nigeria or any country
By default, 1688.com website gives you two options when using more than one device. If you use a PC (Laptop), you would be redirected to register in 1688 desktop version.
If you use your mobile phone to access 1688.com, you would be forced to register using Taobao. Both Taobao and 1688 work together because they are under Alibaba.
- Using Taobao with your Phone
- 1688 website with your PC
Register on 1688.com using Taobao
Follow the steps below
- Navigate to https://world.taobao.com/markets/all/sea/register
- Make sure that your translator is working
- Then click on Free registration
- Enter your phone number
- Enter the code that will be sent to you (If not received, try with another network)
You should be registered.
Register on 1688 website with your PC
- Go to 1688.com using a Chrome web browser
- Make sure to translate the page from Chinese to English using Chrome Google translator
- Click Register.
- You can copy and paste this link http://member.1688.com/member/join/enterprise_join.htm
- There are two options of 1688 Account registration.
- 1688 personal account and
- 1688 enterprise account
- A personal accounts are for buyers like you and I while enterprise account is for suppliers.
- You will be redirected to 1688 member registration page as shown in the image below.
Use Google translate from Chinese to English
You can click here https://www.google.com/search?q=translate+chinese+english.
To translate each part of the form field, copy the Chinese characters and paste them in the translate textbox.
Here’s the translation of the registration form ;
- The first field is 会员名: Member name (this is the username, it should not contain space eg. johntobi, not john tobi)
- The second field is 登录密码: login password
- The third field is 密码确认: Password Confirmation
- The fourth field is 手机号码: Phone number
- The last field is 验证码: Verification code: (Drag the arrow right).
Make sure that you accept terms and condition. Then click the red button to start registration on 1688.com.
The next step will take you to a code confirmation page. This will be sent to the phone number you signed up with. Enter the code and finish your registration.
And you’re good to go.
I hope you found this guide useful. Let me know your challenges or what you think in the comments section below.
One of the most challenges for a beginner in mini importation business is finding the shipping company that can give them a pleasant start.
I would say I was a bit lucky when I started but not luckier as you are reading this. I had no one to give me a rundown of what I needed in consideration for shipping companies.
Without emphasizing, I have used more than 8 shipping companies but currently settled with two. In my own opinion, there is no best shipping company.
Disregard anyone that promises to give you a link of their best shipping company. “Best” is a personal experience and should not be generalized.
Here is what I mean
I believe we all have what we feel to be our best experiences when it comes customer services. Customers are always right anyway.
We may have different school of thought of what we feel to be right when done to us. These could be
- Faster Shipping
- Cheaper Shipping
- Fast Response
- Good Packaging
- Accessibility to tracking and updates
- Nearness of the shipping company to one’s location.
Everyone of us has at least 1, 2 or 3 of these listed above.
Sadly, none of these shipping companies will give all to you. What will you do?
You have to choose who gives you the good number of these options that you will be very comfortable with. And that is how you go with it.
So, in this article, I will list out my experiences from the 9 shipping companies that I have used with regards to the factors I pointed out above without being sentimental. Then the reasons why I opted out then. Things might have changed now.
Disclaimer: This article is not sponsored.
Shipping Companies from China to Nigeria
- Liberty Logistics
- Joseph Logistics
- FG Zenitho
- Sunny Rise
- AOU Logistics
- Echan Cargo
- Choice cargo
These guys are really a big shipping company. You have to be aware of that. I had a pretty decent experience with them in my first importation from China. The issues I had with them were
- Very low response rate
- No reference code in case your supplier fails to include your shipping mark and
- Their warehouse in Marina too far for me.
Funny enough, this was my first shipping company. People in their first time would want to know the locations of the shipping companies they would be using for their mini importation.
Of which I did. But in most cases, finding shipping companies that are closer to you make no special difference if you are outside Lagos.
This is because – you would need to do waybill to your location. Location should not be a criteria in choosing a best shipping company for your startup. There are people within the shipping company that handle waybill which will be at an additional cost.
I almost lost one of my goods with Liberty Logistics because my supplier failed to include my shipping mark. In order to get to the customer service (Tina) was quite a task. According to them, she had lot of things to do and I understood but my goods were more important to me.
After some days, we found it using its tracking number. Chatting with them takes about 24 hours to reply a single message once you miss 2 minutes (being inactive).
Imagine if you’re an impatient type. To win with this shipping company, make sure your shipping mark is well written on your package or risk losing the goods.
I ran away from Liberty to seek for asylum with Joseph logistics but I was disappointed. A friend referred me to them. They reply fast, faster shipping rates blah blah blah.
I jumped on them. But I’m still yet to understand how they actually work. I think the freight forwarder in China is Joseph but the company to pay into their account has a different name.
…and I think I understood the hustle just now.
The first transaction was smooth, fast responses and that was great.
Then suddenly, it looked like I was too bothersome that he ignored my messages. Probably he was too busy.
Who knows? 🤷♀️
I moved looking for a greener pasture.
I totally had no idea about these guys. I think they were good.
I think I had issue with my goods…I could not remember but what I won’t forget in a second is that I had a charming friend that I used to get through the customer service.
The lad hardly replied my messages so I used my fine friend (she introduced me to them) to get whatever details I need from him.
What a world!
For once, I felt like I have arrived my paradise when I started using Zenitho. They are really great, fast response rate, nice repacking in order to keep your items from damages (thanks to their extra huge packaging that increases weights), they update you when orders are received, they accept almost everything most shipping companies do not accept.
I still JAPA or rather I use them if there is any special need.
I’m not impressed with how their system works. It is too outdated for someone like me. Despite being good yet they lack organization.
Meanwhile…their shipping fee became heck. Other shipping companies might be charging $6.5 per kg, they will charge $8.5 per kg for normal goods.
I was charged $10 per kg this 2021 for a normal battery goods others charge me for $6.5 per kg. I guess the charge is from their extra service of checking your items.
If you’re reading this, kindly upgrade to getting a website that does the update of goods received instead of taking shots of all goods at a go.
Taking of pictures should be on request. Start to work on reference code too.
Last year, I lost some goods in their warehouse. Signed and received. I had to pay back my clients for goods not received. It was indeed a bad experience.
I lost several goods for 3 suppliers. It was really my first time and the beginning of my lost goods syndrome.
They literally opened the doors of signed but not found 😂😂
Sunny Rise and AOU
I had to join these two sheeping shipping companies together because they’re actually werey in disguise.
If I had a lawyer from Harvard, I would have sued them for collateral damage. I left Zenitho to AOU because my friend talked great about them.
I partnered with them and it looked beautiful. My first shipment was good, second was good but…I was not understanding it lol.
Oh dear Debbie,
I left AOU to Sunny Rise but it became open to me that I run from frying pan to fire.
I actually needed a full-time deliverance session with Mountain of Fire Ministries.
I lost my client’s pairs of shoes with AOU. The issue was supplier not including the shipping mark. Could it be that they colobe the fine shoes or were they actually lost.
Sunny Rise? I had couple of issues with this company.
- Poor or minus customer service
- They sent out all my goods without packing. Probably that is how they do
- I lost my client’s wash cups in their hands. This was not sent by the supplier. My colleague sent it down to them. She sent me a picture of it with every details written boldly on the carton but we did not received it.
We had feelings that their abusive customer service in Nigeria colobe my client’s wash cups. No second thoughts.
I had to pay for the that.
For a record, I had a winning streak.
- Fast in response
- Good rates
- Considerable good shipping time
- Tracking system
- Calculation of weights before shipping
- Reference code
What more could you have asked?
But there is a worrisome challenge with Echan Cargo. They approximate the weight to whole number.
This is what I mean
A package of
1.1kg is automatically 2kg
2.4 is 3kg
4.8 is 2kg
5.3kg is 6kg.
Is that not too worrisome to your gain?
Skyjet and Choice cargo offer the same servjces Echan cargo offers but their only difference is in quick response time and approximating kg.
Skyjet and Choice cargo charge you the exact kg that is being measured. No approximation but their customer response rate are not good as in Echan cargo.
You could see a lot of things you may consider. These are years of experiences in one article. If you’re starting, you have the choice to go for what suits your preferences.
If your body is doing you “I want to import goods from China to Nigeria” or “Kai, my friends are doing mini importation from China, I want to start my own” then this article is for you.
If also your friends refused to teach you how you can start importing goods from China just like them, this article is also for you.
In the other hand, if have had interests in mini importation but cannot afford the online mini importation masterclass or those training, then this article is just for you.
This is going to be a long read. Get your pen and paper to write somethings down. This article is exclusively for people who has no idea about importing from China to Nigeria or any other African country. At the end of this article, you should be able to know the followings;
- Why import from 1688.com?
- The beginner product research + Image search
- The basic 1688 supplier research
- How to copy links from 1688.com for procurement.
- The best format to copy links from 1688 including the product information before sending to your procurement agent.
- How to understand 1688 local express delivery
If you would a reliable procurement agent to work with, we can guarantee to give you the best. Talk to Chuks on WhatsApp – 07082111555.
This article is a continuation from the series we started here – Mini Importation Masterclass 101 Beginner to Expert
Why import from 1688.com?
The Chinese B2B platform 1688 offers you and I the flexibility to start importation in lower scale unlike its international version, Alibaba.
With 1688.com, you can import as low as 1piece – 3pieces of goods down to Nigeria. Since we don’t have to order from 50pieces or even 500pieces, 1688 becomes a better option for mini importation.
Point to note; browsing 1688.com website needs to be done only by using Google Chrome browser. This is because the website is entirely on Chinese characters. For you to at least search for goods to buy, you must translate them from Chinese to English.
PS: You may expect all pages to be translated to English but you will be satisfied with ones that are translated.
So get your Chrome browser ready. If you are using Android phone, update yours from Play Store or download a fresh one. Same thing goes with iOS users.
If you’re using a laptop, download chrome browser from chrome.google.com.
PS: At the time of this guide, 1688 has no English version nor available on Google Play Store / App Store. To download 1688 mobile app which is entirely in Chinese, kindly visit the website and click on the header as shown in the image below.
Final note: The 1688 app cannot be translated same way you translate the website. Everything is on Chinese.
I will be using screenshots from mobile phone rather than the ones taken with computer. This will help carry everyone along. So whatever images you see, is exactly what you will see on your screen.
PS: You must not register on 1688 in order to import from China. You can import anything without the stress of creating an account. In a case where some products redirect you to Taobao login page, just find other supplier that sells the same product.
Just read along…
The beginner product research
The first thing we do is to open your Chrome browser. You should have it now. The next thing is to search what we want to buy.
We can begin searching for products either in two ways.
- Text field searching or
- Picture search.
Text field Searching
Here, you search for products exactly the same way you search for information on Google or even the same way you come across this article.
How to search goods on 1688
- Identify what goods or product you wish to look out for on 1688.com – it could be handbag, trouser, shoes, headphones, smartwatch etc
- Type them in the textbox
- Hit Enter on your phone’s keyboard.
- Click on any of the results of your choice and start comparing prices, materials, seller’s reputation etc.
1688 Picture Search
For your own best experience, 1688 picture search works best using a computer, Tablet or 1688 mobile app. If you already have pictures of things in mind to search on 1688.com, then ushttps://youtu.be/vjA1qljV60Iing picture search is perfect.
PS: In few cases, you may not find what you really searched depending on your image. The best pictures to use are usually product images from other online stores and Instagram.
How to use 1688 Picture Search
- I assume that you already downloaded the 1688 mobile app
- Open the app
- Tap on the camera icon
- Then follow the prompt to locate the picture you want to search on 1688
- Click on any of the results of your choice and start comparing prices, materials, seller’s reputation etc.
The basic 1688 supplier research
Finding more about your prospective supplier is an edge for a better deal. But you have to also have in mind that checking out for supplier’s evaluation, years in business, business type may not be enough to label them trusted or untrusted.
You have to try them out first after filtering most of them out. It is safer seen than a mere judgement. I learnt most people are being advised to run away from suppliers that are just 1 year on 1688 and also those with few trust and supply badges.
Well…that may be a good approach.
How to copy links from 1688.com for procurement
Let’s assume that you have searched products and finally settled with few selected ones to buy. The next step is how to pay for them and ship them to your shipping company.
PS: When shopping on 1688, Alibaba or any other Chinese platform for your mini importation business, you need
- A shipping company that will ship your item from China to Nigeria
- A Yuan exchanger that can pay your suppliers in Chinese currency. No ATM card nor bank transfer.
- Patience – 2 – 3 weeks for your items to arrive Nigeria
- You will pay for for shipping and clearing based on the weight of your items
Copying links is simply a way of telling your procurement agent which product you really want to buy. Once an agent clicks on your link, it will direct him or her to the item of your choice. You don’t need to send pictures.
The best format to copy links from 1688 including the product information before sending to your procurement agent.
- Open your Chrome browser
- Follow any of the steps on how to search for products
- Let’s assume you are on a product page as seen in the image above.
- Make sure that your translator is working
- Scroll down a bit to Specification- Please select specification as circled below
- Click on it
- As you can see in the image below, the colours and sizes are shown.
- Note the colour and size that you need. Don’t assume any colour, copy as seen in this picture.
Formatting your 1688 links before sending to a procurement agent.
I will use the colours and size as shown in the previous image. Before that, download a note app from Plat Store or App store.
- Click on the address bar as shown in the image above.
- Copy it
- Open your note app, paste the link there
- Next, add the colour, size and quantity.
- If you have more than 1 link, number it
Here’s the 1688 sample link
- https://m.1688.com/offer/624797146904.html?spm=a261b.7662792.1998744630.20Wine red 2pcs, Black 1pc; Total: 3
- https://m.1688.com/offer/75497146904.html?spm=a261b.7662792.1998744630.20Black: 3 S, 2 M, 1XXL
Army Green: 4XL, 1M; Total: 11
You can use any of the samples depending on what product you’re buying. Don’t assume colors or size. Follow the available ones on specification.
How to understand 1688 local express fee
If you take a look at the previous image, you should see something like Express fee in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province ¥3.00.
That’s an estimate of what you will pay supplier to deliver your goods.
If you wish to use us as your procurement agent, we will serve you better – WhatsApp Chuks – 07082111555 or click here to learn more.
If you have enjoyed the articles, please leave us a comment below.
Starting mini importation for most people could be challenging in terms of finance and inventory management. Not everyone could manage to invest from 30,000 worth of goods including clearing.
Managing inventory could be another challenge to anyone planning to start importing from China. The minimum order quantity ranges from 1piece – 10 pieces of products in most cases.
In a case where one really don’t have to buy 2 pairs of sneakers when the need is just one, they start looking out for someone to pair with. This pairing gives them the convenience to shop comfortably. That is the inception of pre-order.
You can as well call it Group Buying. There is no obvious difference between pre-order and group buying. Group buying can also be pre-order, they can interchangeably be used.
Today, the idea of pre-order has evolved from the mutual pairing with friends and family to a monetizable opportunity. Those that could not afford to start mini importation now monetize pre-ordering to raise money to stand on their own.
If your friends hide how they run their pre-order from you, you’re at a luck today. Before the end of this article, you should know more than they think they know.
In this article, I will point out few pre-order mistakes you should avoid before considering uploading pictures on WhatsApp or Telegram.
- Exchange Rate,
- Shipping and Clearing Cost,
- Shipping Company,
- Upfront Clearing charge or otherwise.
The first thing to come to your mind is “What is the current exchange rate?”, “What is the dollar rate now?”, “What is the Yuan (RMB) rate to Naira?”.
Avoid checking for the current exchange rates on Google! Google neither sell Dollar nor Yuan. This is the most common mistakes mini importation newbies do.
Even though that Google shows you the official CBN rate, that does not mean you should use that for your calculation. You’re neither going to buy from Google nor CBN.
Your exchange rates should be calculated with the parallel market rate or black market. You will be buying Yuan from Alipay merchants, not CBN. For Dollar, shipping companies have their own exchange rate. Their Dollar rate is a bit higher than the actual parallel market rate.
- The Official Yuan rate is ₦59 but Alipay merchants sell it from ₦70 – ₦76. The rate is not consistent. It changes almost daily (You must ask before calculating your goods).
- The official Dollar rate is ₦395 but shipping companies charge between ₦475 – ₦500.
You see, the differences are much. In a situation where you calculated your pre-order with Google rate, imagine the losses you will incur. If you had already told your pre-order group your prices, you can as well update them with the new rates.
Don’t be too fast to rush into sharing the products to sell on your group or status until you finish reading this article.
Note: Alipay merchants are Chinese or Nigerians that help mini importers as you pay for their suppliers.
shipping -local freight depending on quantity, shipping from china to Nigeria – weight and clearing
Shipping and Clearing Cost
Shipping includes the local freight fee from your supplier to the shipping company’s Chinese address; shipping cost from China to Nigeria in KG and clearing cost in Nigeria in KG.
Most people misconstrue the idea behind local freight fee. Firstly, I will try to create an illustration of how local freight delivery works.
Let’s use China as Nigeria
In the image above, we want to buy female handbags. As seen in the photos above, the suppliers are in Hebei and Guangzhou. Note that more than 95% of shipping companies are in Guangzhou.
Now, let’s call Guangzhou, Lagos and Hebei, Kano.
Remember that more than 95% of shipping companies are in Guangzhou which is Lagos in our case now.
Gently follow along…
Now I want to buy from a supplier in Lagos and Kano so that they can send the goods to my shipping company in Lagos. Which of these suppliers do you think will charge me less in order to deliver to my shipping company in Lagos?
There is something else again…
Which of these suppliers do you think will deliver to my shipping company in Lagos faster?
All your guesses are mine.
That is exactly what happens when you buy from suppliers outside of Guangzhou.
China is one of the largest countries with provinces that are far from the other. Delivery from one province to the other takes about 2 days (48 hours) with priority delivery at the same time takes 2-4 days with budget delivery.
Priority delivery can be seen with suppliers that charge from ¥10 – ¥15. They use a logistics company that delivers faster. Budget delivery would cost less but the speed will be less.
You actually don’t have control over how fast your goods will be shipped to your shipping company. It may take some suppliers 24hours, 48hours or even 72hours to send your goods to your shipping company.
Another important thing to note: When you see a local freight fee on a product page, don’t assume that is what you will pay. Local shipping fee is dependent on certain factors most people ignore;
The quantity of your purchases and
The location of your shipping company.
Lest I forget…
How do I calculate the weight of my goods before sending to the shipping company?
Conventionally you can’t be sure of their weights but technically you can find a walkthrough. Most of the products on 1688 would not show you their weight. When the weights are not listed on the page, you would just do mind games.
In the photos above, both weights are listed but you should not believe them. You can use these weights in your calculations. You can as well measure your bag, shoes, sneakers using a weighing balance.
If you don’t have a weighing balance, take it to the guy that refills cooking gas, use his weighing balance in order to get a real idea about weights.
Every business needs profits to grow. I believe that the main reason while you’re considering mini importation and pre-order is to make money.
In businesses we don’t own, we try our best not to be kicked out by competition. Businesses we don’t own as in products we do not manufacture by ourselves. Something that a lot of people buy from different sources. It is controlled by pricing.
The cheaper or more affordable the same product is, the more appealing it looks to potential customers. So, we have to outsource ours as cheaper as possible in order to maximize profits.
Now the question becomes “How do I get my profits?”.
These are what you have to consider
Outsource suppliers to find the best deals – suppliers with considerably cheaper listings,
Focus more on suppliers that are within the same province as your shipping company
Don’t hike your markup – the amount added to the cost price of goods to cover overheads and profit.
Depending on how you want to make profits, start with
- The dollar exchange rate at ₦500,
- Clearing fee at ₦600
- Add ₦500 to the cost price.
Even if these rate increase in future, it won’t affect your profits.
Remember, a lot of people are actually importing and selling the same products on Jumia, Jiji at considerably low prices. We would want to give our pre-order geng the convenience to remain loyal to us.
Hmm, looking for the best shipping company that charges less and ships within 7 days?
That is like a prayer of a young woman asking God for a “faithful, truthful and rich husband”.
Of course, there is a possibility.
Mini importation is an experience that everyone into it would need to feel. There is no best shipping company.
Ask your friends for a recommendation. Leave pride on the self-made mini importer. Ask for their recommendation. Don’t just rush into a shipping company that promises sweet rates but delays your goods to the extent of your customers opting out.
Sadly, I don’t recommend any to anyone. If you would need my procurement services, I will list the pros and cons of the shipping companies that I use to send goods to Nigeria.
Upfront Clearing fee or Pay for clearing fee when goods arrive
Upfront clearing fee simply means charging people on your pre-order list the cost of clearing all the goods. This is the safest way to avoid the drama of refusal to pay their clearing cost on time.
The only challenge with this model is calculating the exact shipping cost in order to avoid being in deficit. Is there a way to accurately calculate the shipping cost of each item?
The answer is No. But there is always a walkthrough. I have seen people who run pre-order or group buying and charge both shipping and clearing fee as well.
This reduces stress and excuses from people. It is very fast.
Charging your pre-order list after the goods are shipped and received in Nigeria is good too only if your pre-order list is reliable.
You don’t have to keep begging people to pay up for their shipping charge. Some would even tell you to sell off the item and remove the shipping and clearing charges inside.
That is terrible.
Even though shipping and clearing fees are inconsistent, you still have to add both shipping and clearing inside. Just like I mentioned above on shipping and clearing, raise the rates a bit clear, then add an extra 500naira.
If the shipping company you will be using charges $6.8 per kg, raise it to $7.2 – $7.5. Do the same with clearing just like I have earlier told you.
I would say No unless you have a plan to sell that particular product. Let it be known to them that refunds are not allowed.
I know that most reasons people request refunds are as a result of delayed shipping. What to do? Communicate with them the shipping intervals. Delays are bound to occur, it is none of your business nor doing.
It just happens.
Conclusion: I am quite overwhelmed to have shared this with you. It is now left for you to weigh what you have just read and find out how they can be useful in your pre-order business. If you need a procurement agent, I will be delighted to work with you to your own best experience.
If you needed mini importation mentoring, we offer a first-class mentoring package and luckily, it is very affordable. More enquiries – +2347082111555
Feel very free and open to share your thoughts in the comment section. Ask us anything mini importation.
I have shared almost everything on Mini Importation in this blog. I have started with how much money to start Mini Importation business, to financial management involve in running a successful mini importation business in Nigeria and Africa in general.
But before then, I shared a realistic mini importation business plan. This is very fundamental when you foresee mini importation as a successful business in future.
If you are only interested in copying links of cheap clothes, sneakers, slippers from random 1688 suppliers, then you should not bother about a business plan🤷♂️.
Moving forward, I compared Alibaba and 1688 here. You should learn more about them before deciding on which platform to start with your mini importation journey.
So, in this post I have shared series of important good strategies to growing your business through mini importation.
This article was originally shared to my mentoring group. It is free to join as you read this article to the end.
You are going to learn the following below
- Making product choices (Product consideration)
- How much money you will make on mini importation
- Choosing the right and better customer base for your business
- Finding a better shipping company
- Getting a good 1688 procurement agent.
Making the best product choices
The truth is, knowing the right product to import is almost the importer’s biggest headache.
You are not sure which will sell fast, and which ones that won’t sell. You don’t want to import a product that you find difficult to sell 10 pieces in a month.
Don’t always wait for someone to you what product is selling hot at the moment. You have to learn the process of finding out which product will sell at a point in time.
Here are a few guidelines to the type of products that you should look at:
1. Products that meet specific needs or solve specific problems.
These type of products are mostly ever green products that millions of people use daily or every time.
Try to identify goods that solve people’s needs, make life and work easier.
2. Sex and age group:
You might want to focus on particular age groups such as children, teens, or adolescents, identify goods that they buy often and sell.
3. Seasonal products:
Some products sell at some time of the year than another. As a smart marketer, you must be able to leverage on seasons, festivals, celebrations, religious rites, weather and master products that will sell faster at these times.
A lot of stuff trend on social media. Twitter, blogs, Facebook in most cases.
More than 80% of people I have met so far from my blog either sell yoni Pearls, clothes or shoes. Everyone does that same thing. It is everywhere on Instagram.
There lot of stuff to sell faster without giving people more options to check prices on Jumia, Konga, Jiji or even other Instagram profiles.
Sure, you can still sell those but can you compete with all of them?
How much money you will make on mini importation
This is dependent on five major factors, they include
- Your mindset
- Your capital
- Your business model
- Who you are selling to
- Your marketing
Sadly I am not going to go deeper in these. But I can if you would offer to buy me a 10K lunch 😁 and I am quite serious about it 😎
Your mindset should be positive. It should not be MMM or Ponzi mindset of money doubling.
Business is simply buying and selling. Buy at ₦200 to sell at ₦250, ₦300, ₦400 or probably ₦500 depending on how your marketing.
You wouldn’t expect to buy an item at ₦200 and dreams to sell at ₦5000. That is a 2400% ROI.
Let’s do some arithmetic on what you may make on mini importation.
Let’s say you want to make 1 million naira in 2021. Since we are already in January which is just 12 months until December.
This is what we will do
We will divide ₦1 Million by 12 (months – January ->December).
That would be ₦84,000.
Not a big deal right?
Now if you have to make 1 million naira yearly, you’d need to make 84K naira every
month to hit your target.
We now know how much we need to make every month to hit our 6months then yearly target afterwards.
Now we must come up with WHAT we need to SELL to make that money
Here is how to come up with that. The monthly target is 84K, to come up with what you need to sell we need to divide that figure with HOW many of that stuff you need to sell.
84K as a NET profit or Gross profit?
Net profit is your gain while gross profit is the revenue from sales including the cost of the goods and the actual profits.
You can choose 84K to be your net profit or gross profit. Everything depends on your strength. For me, I can get a gross profit from 16K – 20K, then a net profit of 5,000 – 13,000. It is dependent on what I am selling and my markup.
Let’s say you intend to sell 50 pieces.
Divide the monthly target by 50. And that gives you ₦1680. Now, that figure is the price of one unit of what you need to sell to hit your target every month.
If you sell 10K+ product just like I do, you only need to sell 9 pieces and you’re done for the month’s target.
Of course, you can hit above your target.
Luxury life is better.
Selling a ₦1680 product is still good for large addressable market.
The next thing to do is to find a ₦1680 product you need to sell.
And any month you sell less than 50, you need to make up for it by selling the deficit number the next month.
This keeps you on track, makes your goal clearer and helps you achieve more.
There are two product considerations
- Cheap products
- Luxury products
Cheap products are the ones MOST people do, it is the one you
are probably doing right now.
I hate it, it is slow, it brings too much complaints from alaye. Way too slow. Assuming you sell a product for ₦500. And you intend to make a 84K monthly.
What it means is that you will need to sell 168 products every month to hit your 84K target.
That’s a whole lot of stuff to sell and you need to offload all of them in a month.
That’s a lot of work.
If you have a store at any mall, that is nothing to worry about but as a starter, that is a lot of work to get 168 customers monthly.
Whatever you do, if you must hit your target, let selling cheap stuff not be a CORE part of your business. You can mix it.
Lamborghini does not advertise their products because their customers are not those that watch TV.
This is the type that Gucci, Nike, Fendi, iPhone other luxury brands do.
Think about it
Let’s assume that you are selling one product for 15K. To make 84K, all you need to do is simply sell 6 pieces.
Let’s assume that you are selling one product for 10K. To make 84K, all you need to do is simply sell 9 pieces.
Let’s assume that you are selling one product for 5K. To make 84K, all you need to do is simply sell 17 pieces.
Let’s assume that you are selling one product for 2K. To make 84K, all you need to do is simply sell 42 pieces.
Choosing what product consideration determines the right and better customer base for your business.
When you choose to sell cheaper items, your customer base would be made of people that don’t want to spend more. The reverse is the case.
Which one is better for you?
But Yuan & Dollar rates are so high now?
That is true.
Still yet buying and selling has not stopped right? But it is not a must to import from China or any other country.
You can buy here in Nigeria or whatever country you are in. What is most important is finding something to sell.
- Go out,
- Outsource products from the local market near you,
- Meet sellers – If you meet direct suppliers, that is great.
- If you don’t have any money at hand, dropshipping may be your alternative. Reach out to sellers that can fulfil orders on your behalf. But in most cases, they may decline your request because of their busy schedules. You can hook up with their sales guy, give them some share of what you will sell. What you need is a dispatch rider to handle the job for you.
BTW…it may not seem too flexible but it does work. You may fail at it but you have no option than to keep doing it.
Nigerians may disappoint you with pay on delivery issue with this business model. You have to be proactive with finding solutions.
Finding a better shipping company
Some of these shipping companies like Skyjet, Liberty, Choice are too big for starters unless you know your ways.
They handle a lot of shipping every single day with big warehouses.
So, if you decide to buy 30 items from 10 suppliers.
You may have to consider if the shipping company you wish to use will give you the time of waiting to receive your small packages from your 10 suppliers.
In most cases, once they receive them, they ship them without having to wait for other products to come talk less of repacking them in one carton.
If you’re using a big shipping company, they may not be able to respond to your messages, wait to repackage your items.
The reason is because they know that they won’t make any good money giving attention to you instead they focus more on people that ships in 100 of kg.
If your plan is to copy links from every 1688 store, you may need to shorten it to at most 5.
This will help to reduce the stress of repacking your items of which these shipping agents see as waste of time when you cannot pay them for the service.
That’s why most of them don’t repackage.
Getting a good 1688 procurement agent
Some of these guys on the other hand are quite lazy.
They may order what you ordered for
While some may order what you didn’t offer for.
Your items might be missing.
They may not order all your items at the same time.
Some may be too busy to respond to your inquiries on their shipping status
Some may abandon you when you finally have challenges with missing items or undelivered items from the supplier.
Don’t fret yet!
That is why you need your 1688 procurement agent as me – someone who understands what it means to be in someone’s shoe at any time.
Your suppliers may be in different locations, China as big as it is, going to some locations take days.
If your supplier used a cheaper logistics to send your items to your shipping company, it may take days before they can reach to your shipping company.
Other suppliers may use faster logistics service.
In this case, your items may come in parts days after days.
Sadly, some of these shipping companies may not be patient enough to wait for your items.
How much are you paying them kwan? This will result in late delivery to your shipping company.
A better walk-through is less suppliers. You may say that this supplier doesn’t have what I want.
Well…. That’s a lie
Do your research very well. There are big suppliers on 1688.
Focus on few and make them your customer.
Don’t tell me that you buy 5 clothes from 5 sellers in your local market.
Or you have about 5 customers selling clothes which are almost the same.
I hope you find this article helpful. Let me know what you think on the comment section.
I have come across lot of confusions among the new comers in mini importation about choosing between a winning product and multiple products importation of varied products from China.
What do I mean?
A winning product is something you found to have a greater selling power. A greater selling power in the sense that you have made a product research as a mini importer in any of the e-commerce websites, traditional market, customer-persona, having ran testing adverts on several other products but you ended up choosing one product as the winner.
You chose that product as a winner because it had more mass appeal – that is people found huge interests in it than the other products you subjected to it through your product research.
Since you have found a product that has proven to sell more than the other, your next action would be to focus only in importing that product instead of importing other products at the same time.
The cliche, winning product, could be referred to as niche product to some experts. This is because you will be focusing more on how to drive sales only on one particular product.
A successful winning products are most times referred to as hot selling products. They are called hot selling products because they have proven to have generated mass interest over time.
Multiple importation of varied products from China.
This model of mini importation is common to people starting the importation business. It is a great business model because it is flexible in the choices it gives to potential customers.
The flexibility is significant from the variations of products you as a seller will be giving to a potential customer to make their choices from the lists of what you are selling.
This is what I mean
Let’s say you found 8 different products to import from either 1688, Alibaba, AliExpress, Taobao, DHgate etc. Boom, you finally brought them home.
Let’s also say that you bought
- Female handbags
- Female shoes
- Female purse
- Female tops
- Men’s boxers
- Men’s sneakers
- Yoni Pearls
- Vaginal tightening cream
That makes it 8 different imported products.
To market these products, you either uplodad them either on your WhatsApp statuses, Facebook or Instagram feeds. If you take a closer look at this, you will be giving both your existing and potential customers the privilege to make their choices.
One may not like your purse, handbag nor shoes but find interest on your black and white tops. On the other hand, another customer may prefer a black female shoe to other products you listed.
That is the flexibility of importing more than one product.
There is a reason why mini importation actually existed in the first place and everything is dependent on your strength as a mini importer. Mini importation aims to leverage on the opportunity of outsourcing products around the world then getting them shipped and delivered to your home address by just staying in your little, big home with your smart device – Smartphone, Tablet or PC.
- Conventional importation involves
- Getting a business visa to a country,
- Meeting with your business partner in that country
- Then coming back to your country with container loads of your products in millions.
Can you beat that? NO!
The intention of mini importation is to get few items at very affordable prices then resell them at your own convenient prices. You really do not need to start competing with the business tycoons that import at very cheaper prices in millions.
Let’s go back to the topic…
To sell a single product might be easier and stress-free than selling 10 different products. Mind you, a single product can as well have sizing and colour variations.
If you have a very small budget on marketing, then buying to sell multiple products may not work for you. It requires more on marketing strategies than when you are selling only a few.
If I am selling a female handbag that comes in black, red, pink colours, I already know that I will be channelling all my energies strategizing to market that single handbag.
I’m not distracted in any way. I can simply manage my marketing budget. Even if I don’t have enough bduget on marketing, it is now easier for me to find micro influencers to help promote my handbag.
Different forces are pulled in to market a product.
So, in a case where I am to sell 8 different products as listed above with a tiny budget or even none then I would be in a dilenma of which product to give more attention to.
If I had to use micro influencers, I would start thinking what products to advertize first and what not to. This creates marketing distractions selling multiple products.
But if you have a huge marketing budget, that would be amazing. Order as many products you can, get a standard e-commerce store and start pushing your advertisements.
There is a smarter way of buying multiple products and selling them either together as one or cross-sell.
This is what you will do
Find a product, then find other complementary products that will complement the use of that product.
Some of the complementary products include
- Weight lost supplement and belly trimming belt
- Mobile Phones and headsets, earbuds, pouch, power banks
- Computer Hardware and Computer Software.
- Shoes, sneakers and stockings, extra shoe lace
- A female matching dress and a handbag or a shoe
- A male sneakers and matching face cap etc.
Try any of these in your product research and see how it works. Let me know what you think in the comment section.
It is very common for someone to boldly say “I don’t need a mini importation business plan. I am just doing a side business”.
Business simply means buying and selling to make profit. It doesn’t matter whether it is classified as a side hustle, or full-time business.
What makes someone or a brand more succesful than the other is their sense of direction to purpose.
I have learnt that most people just decided to join the mini importation bandwagon just because their best friends are either uploading pictures of bags, sneakers, shoes on WhatsApp and Instagram.
That is still good.
And some are already frustrated because what they perceived to exist is actually not what they are seeing.
This is where a mini importation business plan comes into play.
A business plan is like a road-map to your mini importation business’s success. Just like a lecturer to his books and study materials.
He can’t handle the whole semester without having a detailed course outlines. That is what a business plan does to your success.
Your own mini importation business plan can be written on a piece of paper, a note app or even well detailed. You don’t need Google to help you with formats on how it will look like.
That is why I shared what is realistic to help you define your business plan. (Download Mini Importation Plan PDF, click here).
Doing this will set you apart from the noise on the internet. A lot of people are already in this mini importation but you need to be unique.
More than 80% of mini importers only know how to copy links from 1688, paste to shipping agents, start collecting money from family and friends in the name of pre-order, finally running in debts.
Posting alone of Instagram, WhatsApp even Facebook won’t make you your first ₦300,000, ₦500,000, ₦1,000,000.
And that’s what most people do. Sadly, no one care to teach that even when one paid for a course.
The beauty of having a business plan is that it is scalable as your business progresses; you’re more likely to see what will work and what will not work.
You see the future of your business with a business plan written by yourself.
Get started to draft your business plan. You don’t need Google or a special assistant to do that.
Understanding who your customers are and what product to sell to them.
Before I started my mini importation journey, I was quite fascinated because I was very sociable with lots of friends on my Facebook and WhatsApp.
I already concluded that once my products enter Nigeria, it won’t take long until my friends buy them off.
Should I burst your bubble? I was disappointed.
Nobody bought my goods. The least they did was to say “Nice this nice that”, “Chuks, please dash me o”. Like seriously?
BEFORE YOU CONSIDER IMPORTING ANYTHING,
You should first consider who your customers are.
This is what I mean.
Someone contacted me one time and asked “Chuks, how can I buy cheap goods from 1688 so that I can make big profits?”
I paused for some moment and started correlating the question to the answer. Obviously, the answer is in the question.
As you have read online about 1688, it is where one can buy the cheapest products in China.
So, the question to where she can buy cheap goods simply means that she’s definitely looking for the least of the least which does not make sense.
In choosing your product choices, customer experience is put first. You don’t just start looking for the cheapest product to sell so as to make huge profits.
Profits are good, really.
There is a school of thought that the higher the price of a product, the higher its quality.
This very perception narrows who you’re likely to sell to.
Let’s say that you bought a wristwatch from 1688 for ₦1200 including landing cost and sold it for ₦15000. Not everyone is going to buy that watch from you.
Some would prefer to buy from roadside that sells at most ₦1500 knowing fully that it may breakup as soon as possible.
While some would buy your watch because they have perceived the value with respect to the price.
So what happens to your customers if their watches finally broke down in less than 3months? Would they still buy from you next time?
It is better to focus on your customer’s experience than the profits you will make.
No customer = No sales == You’re broke!
I have sold more items to my return customers than new customers. It is very easy to sell to old customers than a stranger.
I understand what it cost to get a customer and what it takes to retain them over and over again.
What brings your customers back?🤔
It is the experience your products, your customer service gave them. My products are not cheap – The least I can sell is ₦12,000 to ₦16,000. I sell more of ₦16,000.
The values and experiences my product and my sound customer service give is second to none. I have a bragging right remember.
If you wish to settle for products and customers that bring you ₦3000 and still come back to give you headache, that is your choice.
It is a smart work remember? No headache zone.
Points to take home:
- Find your market, be passionate about being successful in that niche.
- You don’t really need your status viewers to make you fortune in business. Most of them will never give their kobo to you.
- You should entirely remove the mindset that you’re limited with friends and network to sell to. 65.1% of Nigerians are online which is even expected to grow to 84.5% by 2023. (Source: Statista). Spread your marketing to other 130 million Nigerians online that would be interested in whatever you sell.
- Learn customer acquisition and relationship skills. Follow up, after sale services rock in Nigeria. People are afraid to buy online, change their perspective about online shopping with your mesmerizing customer service. Don’t be a regular Nigerian that just sell stuff and disappear.
- Invest more in products you offer. Take yourself to be in the same as your customer. Would you buy that product if it were you? Can you pay that amount? Can you pay before delivery?
I want to draw your attention to something very important.
- Managing your finances and capital to reinvest,
- Branding your product to sell.
Managing your finances and capital to reinvest
It involves how to make good use of your investment capital.
- Where to outsource your products,
- How to order your products – self or agents,
- What shipping method to use,
- Reinvesting into mini importation opportunity.
Branding your product to sell
Since a lot of people simply upload same photos of sneakers, bags, clothes on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, branding gives your products a better shape out of multitudes.
I hope you found this article helpful.
Learn how to know how much money to start mini importation business in Nigeria. some good considerations to how much money one needs to start a mini importationContinue reading