How To Start Online Mini Importation Business In Nigeria: A Complete Guide
This is one business I am very excited about. If you want to start online mini importation business, then I suggest you take time to go through this article.
The key to success is starting where you can and scaling the business from there. You can agree with me that Bill Gates, Carlos Slim, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Dangote, and the other great entrepreneurs started from somewhere.
Your somewhere can be mini importation or any other small scale business.
I don’t really know about you but the idea of having to see myself as an importer is orgasmic. I can tell you that because I love it and so do many other people.
Related: How to start lemon farming business in Nigeria
From afar, the prospect of having to start online mini importation business may seem a daunting task. I can tell you that it is not as difficult as it seems. You can take that from me.
Many people naturally would have gone into traditional importation but are scared away by the long process of getting certifications and licenses and capital. We will revisit this shortly when we talk about how the how importation business works.
You did be surprised to find people who still think that international trade is the exclusive reserve of big and rich importers and the government. That was the case before now but it has all changed. That is the reality of the new world.
Everybody who is willing, and has little capital can start online mini importation business today. You will see exactly how it is done. But before then, let us get an overview of how importation business really works.
Overview Of How Importation Business Works
Really, there isn’t much to this if you know about buying and selling.
If you want to make a profit from selling shoes or whatever you wish to sell, the eternal principle behind it is buying at a very low price and selling at a very high price. Do this and you will be okay.
Also read: How to start car importation business in Nigeria
Importation business works the same way. The only difference is that instead of buying from local producers or distributors, you are buying from producers and distributors from other countries.
I hope you get the logic? You bring in goods from outside the country at a considerable low price and sell at a very high price so as to cover the cost of the product and its delivery if it is paid delivery goods.
For you to understand the opportunity which we know exists in the importation business, you will need to go through this little illustration. Trust me, you must become enthusiastic or at least, curious when you are done.
Personally, I like importing female hairs (human and synthetic) and other cosmetics. If I go through the normal importation channel, I will have to cough out millions of naira to meet up with the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) requirement. You may want to mark that word.
Quickly, let us look at what MOQ requirement really is and we can move on with our analysis.
The Minimum Order Quantity requirement is the minimum quantity of goods a supplier will sell to you so as to make any kind of substantial profit.
If you were the supplier, I bet you will prefer to sell to big importers who will buy very large volumes of the product you are selling. You can get a free mini importation ebook to understand more of this thing.
I want to believe that you understand this idea of MOQ as essential to why you need to start online mini importation business. But in the event that you don’t, I will explain it further by using practical examples.
If you want to import shoes as your profitable importation business in Nigeria and you have little capital, without the internet you will find it difficult bring in the goods and make the necessary profits because of the MOQ we talked about. You will eventually be left to deal directly with the big importers.
However, things have changed and it is in big parts due to the availability of the internet and mobile shops. Most restrictions are now in the past and you can start a mini importation business today without much ado.
Besides, when you deal with the producers, you make more profit as the importers will act as middlemen thereby reducing the profit you will make.
Where To Get Your Products From When You Start Online Mini Importation Business
The first you should know is that you can buy your goods from anywhere in the world in so far as the country has the necessary facilities and products. Majorly, Nigerians buy from USA, Europe, and China.
That information doesn’t seem to be new. The next information may be new or maybe something you already know. It is the fact that most products from Nigeria are imported from China.
Now, you may be wondering why you should bother importing from China. I was worried too. But here is the truth; many people miss the point about products from China. Don’t worry, I will explain.
In China, what you ask for is what you get. It is not that content that is filled with mediocrity as many people will have you believe. All the fake products we get in Nigeria that are imported from China it is not the doing of China but that of the Nigerian government who has failed to put up good legislation to stop the importation of fake products and that of Nigerians who order the fake products.
Some of the products used in the USA and Europe that meets the required standard are made in China. So, China is not the problem, the problem is the people requesting for substandard products.
I believe it is clearer now. Now you know you can actually import quality goods from China if you so desire. Let us talk about the other advantages China has over other countries.
The major reason is that China is the country you will get the cheapest products from. Of course, you should know that the quality is guaranteed. China has very low labor and production costs compared to the USA and Europe. Resultantly, most of the big companies you know have gone there to set up factories and that gives them more profit.
Remember, this mini importation business guide will ensure you know the needed things before you proceed and one of those things is the place to buy from.
Let us proceed to what you will need to start online mini importation business in Nigeria.
What you need to start online mini importation business
So many people are running profitable importation business in Nigeria. So many people understand how to import goods from China to Nigeria. So many people have written and read free mini importation ebooks and so many people talk about mini importation business on Nairaland. You can become a successful e-commerce entrepreneur if you so desire but you must get your facts right.
What exactly do you need to start online mini importation business in Nigeria? I will tell you. After all, that is the only reason we are writing this piece.
A PC or a good smartphone with internet access
This is primary. Everything you are doing; searching for products, ordering the products, payment for the products, shipping of the products and sometimes, sales of the products are done online. Therefore, you must have access to the internet using a good Smartphone or a good PC.
A valid email
You must create a valid and working email as that will be key to registrations and verifications.
A valid Address
Whichever delivery platform you will use, it will require you have a valid home or office address that the products will be shipped to. The address has to be also traceable.
Money in your account
You know you cannot honestly run any business without money so you will need money in your account before you start online mini importation business.
We are here now. Let us get on with it. You have all the necessary background information now. We can move on to the next level. Let us explore the guide on how to start online mini importation business in Niger.
Guide On How To Start Online Mini Importation Business In Nigeria
Which platforms will you buy from
Just as there different offline markets, you will find online market places too. There is a handful of them but we will recommend the following given that they will give you their products at affordable prices.
If you are a small business and you want to start online mini importation business from China, this is the platform for you. It has emerged as the leading place for importers who would want to buy at a wholesale price from China.
Anybody who knows anything about online marketing knows the Alibaba Group and Aliexpress is a subsidiary of the group.
You only need to search the group to understand how influential it is in the internet sphere. It is a giant company owned by Jack Ma. It is worth more than $120 billion.
The platform, Aliexpress was launched in 2010 by Alibaba Group as their online retail service platform. It is majorly a place where you will find small sellers offering their products to buyers online. Aliexpress has more than 20 categories for their products and it sells to people from over 200 countries of the world. Register and start buying products now at http://www.aliexpress.com.
DHgate is backed by investors Warburg Pincus, JAFCO and KPCB and has been in business since 2004. That is a very long time ago. If you ask me, I will tell you that they have been around long enough to establish trust for those who would want to start online mini importation business.
Majorly, this platform is a B2B (business to business) website that connects China-based small and medium ventures with overseas buyers. You can order the products directly from this website. Majorly, it has to be Chinese products, don’t forget that.
The website has a wide range of products and it also offers support through online chat, email messages or phone calls. Visit it today at http://www.dhgate.com/ and order your products.
This is a bit different from the other platforms. It does offer products from China, Malaysia, and the USA but it has a limitation. While Aliexpress and DHgate offer you a wide range of products, iPmart only offers electronic gadgets.
If your mini importation business has electronic gadgets as part of what you want to sell, this platform is your bet. A quick glance at http://www.ipmart.com will give you more details and you can make your orders there.
Now, the above platforms are our top picks. There are other platforms that you can explore and make orders from.
When you visit these websites, you will need to register by completing the form on the registration page. Most times, you will just have to provide your name, email, and password. There is the option of signing in with your Facebook account. You did have to choose the one that is convenient for you.
After the registration, you can start buying and adding to your cart until you are ready to order. When that time comes, you will be led to the payment page.
How to pay for the products you have picked
Apart from the MOQ discussed above which is the limitation on the part of the sellers, one of the reasons small businesses didn’t venture into importation is the complicated nature of getting a letter of credit or bank guarantee. That was the traditional importation anyway.
This is no longer the case today. As many free mini importation ebooks will tell you, the online payment systems has made it easy for anybody to buy at any time. These platforms above accept multiple payment systems.
You can pay with your credit or debit card; do a bank transfer or any other form of online payment they will accept. If you don’t know how to use your ATM cards to pay, you can quickly watch this short tutorial on youtube.
The level of protection (can one get scammed?)
We know that the online payment processes and online transactions are riddled with fraud and scam. This has led so many people to build a distrust for the system. One of the questions on your mind will definitely be if you are going to get scammed if you start profitable importation business in Nigeria.
You can imagine getting the products you ordered and they are fake or you pay for products and they are not shipped to you.
The possibility of these arising is one of the reasons we recommend these three websites above. They have some form of protection for the buyers. It is called Buyer Protection mechanism. This mechanism is built into the payment process.
Another name for this mechanism is Escrow. The way it works is that instead of paying the seller directly when you make purchases on Aliexpress or DHgate, these platforms withhold your payment and wait for confirmation from you that the goods you received are what you ordered before they remit the money to the sellers.
It is like booking an Airbnb apartment. Until you confirm service delivery and satisfaction, the seller will not sell.
More so, these platforms or websites offer reimbursements if you are not satisfied with the products you received. These measures are put in place to ensure that there is a reduction of fear of loss of money. We cannot say it is totally risk-free but it is much reduced.
How you can find quality and reliable goods
Like we earlier stated, there is this concern about buying goods from China and it is because of factors we already explained. But you must buy from China if you intend to maximize profit. The question, therefore, is how you will find quality products and sellers that you can rely on to deliver.
To do this, you will have to explore the power of feedback ratings. It is very essential that you understand what people are saying about the person you want to buy from before you can commit your money to the person.
The feedback rating is the measure of the reputation of the sellers on these platforms. When buyers are done with their transactions, they are expected to leave negative or positive feedback based on their experiences. You can measure up the seller from these ratings.
You will find people rating them on the scale of either 0-100% or 1-5 stars. In the course of shopping online, you will come across products that you like and would want to buy. Take time to look at the reviews so as to know the reputation of the seller.
While looking at the ratings, we advise that you take time to look at the comments section so as to read the actual comments of the buyers. It helps you understand more. At the bottom of every product page, you will find product details and description; the shipping conditions and sellers guarantee so as to be sure that what you are buying is what you really had in mind.
The products to buy
To start online mini importation business in Nigeria, you will need to know the products to buy. The good news is that you already know where to buy from and these platforms/websites discussed above have most of the hot selling products.
The products we regard as hot-selling products include clothing accessories, consumer electronics, mobile phones and accessories, and hair extensions. As a matter of fact, hair extensions of all kinds are about the hottest selling products given the fact that they are recurrently used and are demanded by a large number of people. You can venture into it.
Generally speaking, people are more interested in fashion and electronic gadgets especially the younger population. Nigerian market provides a good place to sell these products and I did benefit from this craze to make money.
However, it will be wrong to conclude that because a product is hot-selling, it will sell for you. You need to carry out a feasibility study to know the one that works better in your local market. It is very important. Your location is crucial to your success. if it is possible, test-run the product and then you can make bigger demands.
Whatever you buy and it is not delivered to you, it is as good as you didn’t do anything. In fact, it is worse. That is why it is important that you understand how the goods will be delivered to you, who will deliver it and the time it will take.
If you are lucky, you will get free shipping service from aliexpress.com or dhgate.com. Some products come with that service. The service is often provided by China Mail Air Post or Hong Kong Mail Services.
Get it right, free shipping is very attractive but it comes with a catch; it takes a long time to reach Nigeria (15-60 days). It also provides security issues. You will find a little difficult to track the goods. If you are not concerned with security and time of delivery, you can explore this option.
But the ideal thing is to explore the other delivery options available as they are more efficient and effective. Some of them include FedEx, DHL, and EMS. They are obviously more effective but you are guaranteed early delivery and you can track them easily while they are en route. Don’t forget to put your mobile number for easy communication.
How to find buyers for your products
When you bring in your products, you will need to sell them to the people who would want to buy. Which people will that be? It is usually better to have a great market before importing. If you don’t have buyers already, you did have to find some.
To do that, you will need a shop. An offline shop will still do the wonders and that is true. It is very traditional as it is ancient and it is very effective. People who are interested in buying will walk in to make purchases. The fact that you import online doesn’t mean you should only sell online. You can sell offline and that is usually a great idea.
The advantage is that since you import directly from overseas producers, you can actually sell your products at a lower price and still make more profit. This is a competitive advantage and you just have to take it.
The truth is that there are so many people who cannot afford to set up offline shops either due to the lack of time or resources. I wouldn’t worry about that if I were you. I will just go ahead and start my profitable importation business knowing that I can open online shops and sell my products there.
The internet is the game changer and it goes a long way in making you make up for what you cannot do offline.
There are many social media platforms that you can utilize to market your products. Personally, I use Facebook and Twitter and you can use others. Just pick the one that you can handle and pitch yourself a name and start making sales. You don’t even have to pay except you want to which of course is a higher level of marketing. I believe you know about free and paid Facebook ads.
In the final analysis, it will always come down to funds. It is the blood that keeps any business running. Without it, you cannot start online mini importation business in Nigeria or in any other place. It is just the way it is.
From the name of the business; mini importation, we can all agree that you don’t need the world to start it. It is within the category of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The fund you need to start this business according to most of the mini importation business guides available will just be a little fund.
Without running the risk of oversimplification, you need at least, 50,000 naira to start the business. If you have more, it is even better.
However, our advice is that you start small and scale the business. You need to know how to handle the business before you can put in a lot of funds into it. Just be careful and understand that there is always a risk associated with every business.
It has been an interesting run looking up this business idea. I know you have seen or heard about mini importation and it is cool but you have just been given a detailed guide on how to start it. Would you be bold enough to start or would you wait for when the time is right which frankly speaking, never happens? The choice, of course, is yours. Do have a wonderful day.