Mini importation is one great avenue to make money online in Nigeria. It is a small-scale business model that allows an individual to import goods from any country in the world (Europe and Asia incredibly) cheaply and sell at a higher price in Nigeria.
If it is done rightly, no doubt it is a very lucrative business anyone can do. The fantastic thing about this business is that it is not capital-intensive. You can start mini importation with low startup capital and make a big profit.
In this article, I will also expose powerful secrets of how you can successfully do a mini importation business in Nigeria. Some people making significant money from this business won’t be happy, but it doesn’t matter how long I make you happy.
With my experience in the mini importation business, I believe the only thing that will be stopping you from doing this business after reading this guide is your mindset. Aside from that, everything you need to know to start doing this lucrative online business in Nigeria will be given here.
Let me start by telling you what you need to create a mini importation business in Nigeria.
REQUIREMENTS FOR STARTING MINI IMPORTATION
- Get a good phone (Android or iOs) with an excellent internet connection.
- Get a Master Card from any bank if you don’t already have it. GTB Naira Card too works. (You don’t have to own a Payoneer or PayPal account. No problem if you already own one).
- Your house or office address is significant. Make sure it is traceable. You can use any of your friend’s or relatives’ addresses if you don’t have a traceable address.
Ensure you meet the requirements above before taking further steps to do importation business. Now, let’s discuss how to research to make a plan for your business.
RESEARCHING AND MAKING A PLAN
All business requires some planning, whether it is formally done or not. It must be done! Mini Importation Business is not left out.
To succeed in any business starts with planning. To make a great business plan, research must precede planning.
Find out what you can sell and where you are buying from. I like to buy from China as many manufacturers are willing to sell good quality products at a meagre price.
I will tell you what you should consider when doing your research when I’m telling you the success secrets of mini importation business. Read on!
PLACES TO BUY GOODS
There are many mini importation websites online or places you can order your goods. However, there are some tested and trusted mini-importation websites where you have the opportunity of meeting manufacturers and wholesalers.
Some of the places you can buy your products from are:
- Alibaba.com – (Wide range of sellers)
- Dhgate.com – (Cool and friendly products)
- AliExpress.com – (wide range of products)
- iPMart.com – (Good for gadgets)
- 1688.com – (Very cheap products)
- Inpart.com (sells cheap)
Alibaba stands out among all the listed mini-importation websites that sell items. Alibaba is an online marketplace where you find a lot of goods manufacturers and wholesalers.
You can examine each manufacturer based on their product quality and price. However, Alibaba has a Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) policy. It means you have to make an order of up to a certain amount or quantity before you can buy from them.
1688 sells very cheap goods. Although their target market is China, their site content is written in Chinese. Do not worry; you can always use Google translate to help you out.
However, you must check the buyer’s ratings of the products you choose to buy. Ensure the manufacturer is rated at least 90% or with 4 stars and above to avoid scammers. Also, read customers’ reviews.
You’ll also want to make sure that you check if the website provides a kind of customer protection service. You know if you are secure.
GOODS IDEAS FOR MINI IMPORTATION
As human beings, sometimes, we need people to give us ideas of what to do before we can find out about it, in as much as you will have to do your research on what you want to import for sales.
Although there are no limits to what items you can buy for your mini-importation business, here are a few I can think of right now:
- Mobile phone accessories
- Make-over/make-up kits
- Shoes (Adults and children)
- Clothes (Women and Children)
- Women bags
- School bags
HOW TO BUY FROM ANY WEBSITE
When you have decided on where to import your goods from, finally.
After considering some factors, I import from China as they are a significant exporter of cheap and quality goods.
It is the same process as buying from any of the listed websites.
I will only show you how to buy from Alibaba in this guide because it has the broadest range of manufacturers and wholesalers.
HOW TO FIND AND NEGOTIATE WITH SUPPLIERS ON ALIBABA (Step-by-Step Guide)
Just anyone can use Alibaba, and it’s completely free. You don’t need a registered company or a trade permit.
It is expected that you already know your niche. i.e., you already know what set of goods you want to buy.
1. Go to Alibaba.com
Since you know your niche, open alibaba.com on your browser and click on the button that says “Join Free.”
2. Provide Your Email Address
I advise creating a separate email just for Alibaba if you plan on using them for a long time.
Please input a valid email address and verify it.
3. Fill in Your Other Information
There is a form where you’ll be asked to fill in your information. It includes your location, company name, buyer, seller, or both.
In case you don’t have a company name, add a placeholder for now.
Click on confirm after you have filled out the form.
4. Search for Suppliers
Now, you’re ready to find sellers of the goods you want to buy.
For example, if you want to buy a men’s wristwatch, you should type men’s watch in the search box and search.
Alibaba will bring out dozens of suppliers of whatever you want to buy. You can see examples of what they offer and their delivery period.
You can also see if they offer customization of the products.
Please pay close attention to their different prices and the minimum order quantity.
Generally, the more you buy, the lesser the price becomes. Please know that the prices on Alibaba may differ slightly from what the manufacturer or wholesaler is willing to sell for.
When you start negotiations with the manufacturer, you can get a lower price than what is on Alibaba.
You’re advised to reach out to as many sellers as possible and get many quotes to pick from.
5. After Narrowing Down Your Suppliers, Make Contact
There’s an option to contact the supplier from the product page. Some even have a chance to chat with them.
Find out about the product you want to purchase. Ask the manufacturer for a product sample. Most of them are willing to send you a product sample.
You may not want to buy from any supplier that refuses to send a product sample to you.
While you may pay a little bit higher than the regular price for a product sample, it is better than being disappointed when you have ordered in bulk.
Here’s a sample text you can use to reach out to a manufacturer on Alibaba.
“Hi ‘manufacturer name’,
My name is ‘your name, and I’m a buyer for ‘your company. We specialize in selling name your product’.
Specifically, I would like pricing and availability for the following items.
‘list the items… attach photos if available.
Please send pricing in 100, 200, and 500-unit quantities. Also, if you could send us your product catalogue, lead time for manufacturing, and MOQ? We would greatly appreciate it.
6. Negotiate the price
If you are satisfied with the sample product the manufacturer sent, you want to negotiate the price with them.
You must ask for sample products from more than one seller because even if all of them send quality products, their prices will differ when you negotiate.
Then you can choose to do business with the one with the lowest price. Your ability to negotiate hugely depends on the number of products you order. Small orders have limited negotiation power.
Do not negotiate the sample product.
7. Check Your Order
You must check your order before the manufacturer ship it to you. One great way of doing this is to hire an inspection company to check for you.
Asiainspection.com and Chrisvicmall are good at inspecting products.
You need to hire the service of any of these companies because it will not be easy to ship goods back once they are sent to you. It will cost you more stress and more money.
When your order arrives, you want to recheck it thoroughly. Count the items to make sure they are complete. Examine each product to see if they are not defective.
If you notice a problem with your order, especially defective products, you can reach out to your manufacturer and even to Alibaba to see if you can get a refund.
Alibaba Trade Assurance protects buyers when the supplier fails to ship products on time or when there’s a significantly different product quality than the one you ordered.
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Making Payment and Shipping
You’ll be required to pay for the goods with your ATM card. You can also use your GTB Naira Card if you have one.
Although, some Nigerian banks do not allow international transactions with their debit cards. I know for sure that GTB Master card can be used, though.
Since the price of goods is usually in dollars, you won’t be able to foretell how much you’ll be charged if you pay with your ATM card. That is because the naira is not stable.
If you haven’t done business with a particular manufacturer or wholesaler before, it is advisable to use escrow. You can’t be scammed if you pay through escrow.
The system withholds the payment until you confirm that you have received your items and it’s in good shape and right quality. Your money will be returned if there is any major problem like damage or far low quality.
Some businesses offer free shipping. I don’t advise anyone to go for it as it takes a more extended period to be delivered. Sometimes it takes like 2months. And you won’t be able to track your item while in transit.
It is better to pay for the shipping. This way, your goods get delivered quickly. Just make sure you provide a traceable address.
You can pay for your goods to be delivered in a week or more. The more the duration, the lesser the shipping fee, i.e., the shipping fee you will pay if you want your goods in a week will be more than the one you’ll pay if you want them in 2 weeks.
Marketing Your Products
You are expected to have started marketing your products even before they arrive. By showing people your sample product, you can do that with word of mouth.
Once the goods arrive, you can decide to sell in bulk to retailers and little gain with less stress. Or you sell directly to consumers (individuals) and make more gains with more pressure.
I do both because I love money, and I wouldn’t say I like stress.
There are so many ways to market your product. There are so many ways to sell your products too. Find out which method works best for you and adopt it.
Do not underestimate the potentiality of social media in selling your products.
5 Success Secrets of Mini Importation Business You Must Know
Every business has its success secrets. Mini importation has its own too.
Whether it is 2019 or 2021 – these secrets still work. If you have ever gone for mini importation business training, you probably have heard of them. You might not take it seriously that time because they didn’t call it a secret to you.
To be successful in this mini importation business, watch out for these 5 things (secret):
1. Products in Demand
Before any step is taken, research should come first. Here’s one of the things you should base your research on if you want to be successful.
Make sure you research the highly demanded product in your locality or province.
Know if it is a kind of a product people use daily or once they buy it they may not need it till next 5 years.
For example, I bought my hair clipper in 2018 and still use it. Anyone that wants some quick cash doesn’t want to import that, except if you have a pre-ordered demand for it.
You can use popular local e-commerce stores to determine what products people buy.
2. Products Color
When talking to your supplier, you should ask them if they produce in different colours and in what proportion they will supply you.
For instance, let’s say you order 300 units of ladies’ bags, and the supplier now decides to ship 220 black and 80 pink bags.
That’s not good enough. It would help if you had varieties of colours so people can choose the want that fits their demand. You will have to talk to the supplier about the product’s colour.
3. Products Price
You want to take this seriously if you’re going to succeed in the mini importation business in Nigeria.
Many newbies make this price mistake. They do not go for the correct items based on their price. They only go for what they think people will love, forgetting how much they are willing to pay.
Even when they go for the right products with the right price, they fail to negotiate properly with the supplier; hence, they miss out on increasing their profit.
Import products range between $0.2 and $2 each.
Negotiate with as many suppliers as possible to get the best deal. Quality is also essential, so don’t compromise on it.
4. Products Weight
Any pro in this importation business would warn you dearly about products that have heavy Weight.
To cut custom costs on your items, ensure your products weigh not more than 1kg. Customs won’t charge for it, so your delivery agent won’t add the charges to your delivery charges.
The heavier the items, the more you will be charged for the delivery.
5. Products with Size
Before you order products of different sizes, make sure you have talked with your manufacturer about the size of the products you want.
Let’s say you order for Men shoes; you would want your supplier to supply you with shoes of different sizes, ranging from small to very big.
You would want to understand with your supplier how many they should supply for each size you want. The medium size should always be much.
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Investment Start-Up Capital
There’s no rule about how much you need to have to start a mini-importation business. It depends on what you want to import and the quantity. Ideally, we advise that you start small, and any amount ranging from 40,000 – 55,000 Naira should be okay.
If it is done well – there’s no doubt mini importation business in Nigeria is a lucrative and profitable online business model. It’s one of the few online businesses you do not need significant capital to start. And it can be done as a part-time (side hustle) or even as a full-time business.
Do you have any question about how to do mini importation business in Nigeria that is not answered in this guide? Use the comment section to ask, and we’d be glad to respond to you. Let us know if you found this guide helpful too.
I wish you all the best!