When you want to import products from China, the most important step for you is to choose which kind of product you should buy. Whatever business you run, e-commerce business or offline stores, which is always the most vital step.
However, what kind of product to choose depends on each country’s business environment and your business model.
For many businessmen who lack import or abundant experience in the market, it is easy for them to choose the wrong products, which may let them waste a large amount of money or a lot of time. Some people may even give up their dreams of business in the end.
In my today’s post, I’ll give you some practical tips about choosing products by analyzing 6 product types respectively. You will have a better understanding of what kind of products you should import from China.
1. Trending products
No matter for online businesses or offline stores, trending products are always the fastest spreading products just like a virus, attracting many new sellers to want to sell them. Hence, many people will describe them as viral products, hot selling products，hot cakes, etc.
Generally, it will take half a year or a year for these kinds of products to spread from nobody knows this product to the stage that everyone knows it. When almost everyone wants to buy them, countless sellers will choose to purchase the products from China and want to share a piece of cake in the business.
However, it is too late to sell the products at this stage. You can easily find that the demand is decreasing and market supply exceeds demand greatly, so there is a limited profit margin for you. Usually, those who sell in mass at the beginning of the product trend goes up can make good money.
There are many such examples, such as loom bands, selfie sticks, hoverboards, fidget spinners, and even the mask which is in large demand because of the COVID-19 epidemic. Of course, you can also make good money by importing such hottest products from China. But the key to making good money is an adequate distribution system and strong promotion ability rather than how early you begin to sell the product. And if you want to import masks to make money, apart from conditions in the above, relevant import clearance qualifications are also very important.
In conclusion, I don’t recommend new importers to choose this kind of product to start the business. Only when you have a good market insight and start the business at a very appropriate time, can you make some quick money.
2. Low value but large demand products
Many new importers usually have such a thought that those low value but large demand products must be a good option to import from China, such as toilet paper, A4 paper, baby diapers, disposable cups and so on.
As they find the wholesale price of such kinds of products in China is far below the price in their country. They also think such products always have demand in the market, so they needn’t worry about the sale of such products. Or they can sell it to local big companies or supermarkets that have a great demand for them.
But actually such low-value but in a large demand products are not suitable for any new importers. Even though Chinese manufacturers sell this kind of product at a very low price. But as they are low-value products, the average shipping cost on each product is still very expensive.
For example, when you intend to purchase disposable paper cups from China, you have to import larger quantities to minimize the shipping cost for each cup. That’s because the shipping cost for one cup in a 40HQ container will be definitely lower than a 20HQ container.
Moreover, there are many factories producing such products in your countries or nearby countries. When you buy from these countries, you can notice the price is not far higher than importing from China.
Hence, if you are a new importer, you had better not choose such kinds of products. Unless you import for your own company, or you have a very good relationship with big local buyers and he promises to purchase from you if you can help him get products from China at a competitive price.
3. Ordinary daily-use consumer products
There are many ordinary products such as towers, T-shirts, hoodies, backpacks, and sunglasses.
Let’s take socks as an example, the production cost for a pair of very high-quality cotton socks is usually $0.3 in China. The shipping cost for a pair of socks from China to the United States ranges from $0.02-$0.2 depending on the shipping method, by sea or air and the shipping quantity.
If you buy a pair of socks with the same quality from a retail store in the United States, perhaps it will take you at least $3. It seems that you will make 6 or 7 times profit when you import from China. Actually, these kinds of products are not suitable for new importers to choose from, and there are two reasons for it.
Firstly, in most developed regions, such as North America or Europe, most ordinary products are sold by big retailers and customers usually choose to buy such daily goods from them. That’s to say, the market for these kinds of products is dominated by big retailers. Hence, you may undertake huge store rent and labor pressure if you are just only selling very ordinary daily-use products like socks or T-shirts.
Secondly, even if you want to try selling online, you need to pay for a high online marketing, almost equivalent to the rent for running an offline retail store. Besides, it is difficult for ordinary products to catch customers’ eyes and reach an order.
During the recent 10 years in China, there were many small factories engaged in producing such ordinary daily goods exiting the market. Many small online or offline stores selling such products have been bankrupt or they are struggling to survive. For the socks I have mentioned above, we Chinese also need to spend $2 or $3 buying a pair of good quality cotton socks from big retailers or big sock manufacturers.
But does it mean there’s no opportunity for ordinary products at all? Of course not, here are 2 solutions to operate such products better.
You can make some improvements or adjustments on the products to let them stand out from those ordinary types. For example, although ordinary socks are competitive and low-profit in the market, happy socks brand in Sweden achieve success in the sock market by selling their interesting and unique design socks.
If you are from developing countries, and you find some ordinary products are not monopolized by large retailers and still mainly sold in some small street stores. Under such circumstances, you can try such ordinary products.
4. Small demand products in a small niche
If you learn about some tutorials about how to choose products for e-commerce, you may notice that the best products are always those small demand products in a very specific niche market rather than those with big market demand.
Small demands also mean a business opportunity for you. On the one hand, there will be fewer competitors selling the exactly same products as you. On the other hand, as there are not many people selling the same products, customers are willing to spend more money in purchasing such products. Hence, you can still make good money.
Actually, 50% of our clients are e-commerce businessmen, and most of them are running Amazon and Shopify businesses. And most of million-dollar sellers we served are selling such kinds of products.
So I can tell you that once you concentrate on one type of product, you will find it not very difficult to make good money, like $200,000 revenue one year just for one product.
Take expandable garden hose as an example, several clients of us reach an annual revenue of over $300,000. But the ROI(return on investment)of the products is too low now, it is not worthwhile for them to sell anymore. Of course, there are many similar products, like moving straps, acrylic makeup organizers.
Therefore, for small-demand products in a small niche, it is worthwhile for you to have a try.
5. Brand products
As many brand products like Nike shoes, Xiaomi smartphones, and Huawei smartphones, are made in China, many new importers will misunderstand that it will be definitely cheaper for them to import from China than buying from local.
Actually, for most brand products, they will have their own selling network and you can’t get from the original manufacturers. For example, Xiaomi is a Chinese brand and also made in China. But you can only get all their products at official retail prices no matter how much quantity you want to purchase.
But you can also import such products from China under the following 2 situations，
If there are no official retailers selling the brand products in your country, and you have the capacity to undertake the whole cost caused by importing from China. Then you can try this product but there is an important point, you should choose suppliers that have the right to sell brand products in China.
Your supplier’s letter of authorization for sales issued by the brand company is necessary during the process of customs exams and clearance in your country. Otherwise, customs may think these products are fakes. Below are some letters of authorization for your reference.
Last year we helped an Indian client get a lot of Logitech web cameras from China because he can’t buy them from local.
It is worthwhile to buy second-hand brand products or parts from China. For example, you can buy second-hand iPhones or iPhone screens, iPhone motherboard, and other accessories. As for most phone repairing centers in every country, they are also getting all the parts from China.
6. A specific product category
In the above product types I mentioned, I strongly recommend new importers to import small niche products. Besides, it is also a good strategy to dedicate to a specific product category and then discover any product opportunities under the category. As you can take it as a very long-term business, it’s also easier to build your own brand and accumulate your stable customer groups.
For example, a Singapore client of ours who is specialized in women’s underwear. With our help, her business grows from very small to million-dollar business in just two years. And her e-commerce store is also quoted as a very successful story by Shopify.
Another example is our Italian client who is running a luxurious resort. He developed his own brand cosmetic products series, which is named after his resort.
Hence, if you plan to spend 5 or even 10 years developing your business to multi-million business, the first step for you is to choose a product category you have interests, and then develop any possible products under the category. Gradually, you can develop it as your own brand products.
If you have questions or need my advice to help you analyze if the product is worthy to import from China, leave a comment below or feel free to contact us. And if you think the article is helpful, welcome to share it with your friends.