Importers have a lot of things to think about when running their businesses. From sourcing their products, to filing their ISF, to obtaining a custom bond, importers must keep many balls in the air all at once if they want their company to succeed. However, before they can even worry about the logistics behind getting their product from point A to point B, they have to decide which products to import in the first place. This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here are some tips for determining which products to import so you don’t get stuck with inventory that won’t sell.
Assess Market Trends
Every good importer pays attention to market trends in their industry so they can get in on the next big thing while it’s hot. For example, clothing importers pay attention to fashion shows, fashion magazines, and even Instagram to determine what styles are in vogue or are on the edge of becoming in vogue so they can source products that reflect those trends.
The trick is to make sure you order a trending product before it becomes a trend or while it’s still a trend. If you aren’t able to get enough of a trending product imported into the country before it passes, you’ll be stuck with a lot of inventory that you can’t sell, even at discount prices. This is not an easy task and it might take some practice before you get the hang of it, but predicting trends is a key to stocking the right products.
Assess Demand vs. Supply
Ideally, there will be an equal amount of supply and demand for whatever products you decide to import. Realistically, though, there will probably be more of one than the other, which creates headaches for you. But, if you can get close to an equal amount of supply and demand for your products, you will be a very successful importer because you won’t be stuck with a lot of supply with very little demand.
Unfortunately, demand is a fickle concept because it depends on factors like how many companies are selling an item as well as how much of that item is available from those companies. Some importers find a small niche that allows them to be one of the only companies with a supply of a product that’s in high demand. Other importers prefer to compete with other companies selling popular products to a large audience at lower prices
Whichever strategy you apply, be sure to conduct market research ahead of your orders to ensure there will be a market for your product. Identify your ideal customer and develop marketing campaigns that will allow you to target those customers through your advertising.
Assess the Supply Chain
A product is only valuable to an importer if they can actually get that product from the supplier to their customer. If there are supply chain issues impacting any aspect of the import process, you won’t be able to fulfill your orders on time. Delayed shipments will negatively impact your reputation, so when choosing a product to import, be sure you can get your hands on it and can get it to your customers without any issues.
Your product choice as an importer is probably the most important decision you’ll make because without a product that sells, your import business can’t thrive. Take your time to conduct market research to assess the trends, demand, and supply chain for any product you’re considering to give your company a better chance at success.