One of the beauties of the Internet is being able to trade with people in all parts of the world. Before, there used to be different kinds of barriers that blocked people from exchanging goods and services among themselves. For instance: most traders are limited to selling goods only to the people in their country before, but this is no longer the case as the Internet has made trading become effortless. The Internet has broken so many barriers and replaced them with equal opportunities for every willing human being to make trading possible.
I remember those days, importers used to be rich people who could afford to ship large quantities of goods in containers from overseas countries and they made a killing from it. Starting an importation business in those days required a huge amount of money—this put many people off.
Nowadays, the Internet has made things easy and importation is no longer an overwhelming process. Mini-importation is the kind of importation where you buy your intended goods from sellers in other parts of the world on the internet at a small scale and get them shipped into your country. It required small capital to start the mini-importation business. You can import any kind of product in small quantities from the corner of your room.
Mini-importation is one of the lucrative businesses you can start without breaking the bank. Almost everybody can engage in the business.
What are the things you need to start the business?
Determination: Before starting any business you must be determined and ready for the business demand because business comes with a headache and if you are not determined to stay in business and grow it, you may give up easily.
- An Internet-enabled device and Internet Connection: You must own an Internet-enabled device to start the business. It can be a smartphone, PC, or tablet. You are not going to a physical shop to buy your goods. You will be buying on foreign e-commerce websites and without any of these, you will not be able to do any importation.
- ATM Card: Owning a personal debit card is required because you are going to be making payments with it. This is not a brick-and-mortar business—so no cash transactions.
- Capital: You need to have some money that you will use to buy and import your desired product. You can start your mini importation business with as little as N10, 000 only.
- Your Physical Address: Any product that you buy on the internet is going to be shipped to your address. You will be picking up your ordered products at the post office. If you don’t have a physical address, if, by luck, your products get to the post office in Nigeria, they will be sent to NIPOST Headquarters. Imagine the stress. But if you have one, you will just pick your products up at the nearest post office.
- Valid Mean of Identification: This is what you will be using at the post office to claim your goods. Also, as you are progressing in your business, you will need to be importing more quantities of products. Some platforms limit the quantities of products you can buy except if you have some valid documents and the number one required document is a government-issued ID card.
- An e-mail address: You need to have a valid email address to do mini-importation business—you will use it to sign up on online platforms where you will be buying your products.
Where are you going to be importing your products from?
China is the best place to import your products from. You don’t have to fly to China before buying any product of your choice. I will be listing the websites where you can import your products and sell them in Nigeria at a profitable price. Let’s go:
- taobao.com: Taobao is a platform where you can buy any product at a ridiculously cheap price. You will need to use the Google Chrome browser so that you can translate the Chinese language on the website. For instance: some wireless earpiece brands sell for 54 Chinese Yuan. When you convert that to Naira you will get N1, 100 or thereabouts. This product can be easily sold for N5, 000—so let’s do the maths: N5, 000 – N1, 100 = N3, 900 profit on a single product! See profit margin!
- ictcomputerlimited.com: This is a platform where you can buy computer hardware, networking equipment, CCTV, printers, servers hardware. The mobile phone number of the sales rep of this platform is on the website. You can save it and chat him up on WhatsApp. His name is Rony. There is one thing I love about him: He regularly sends price updates to all his contacts even if you don’t request them.
- 1688.com: This is another Chinese website like Taobao where you can buy almost everything at a cheap rate.
- jd.com: I love JD. If you want to be selling phones and accessories, computers and accessories, and cameras and accessories, jd is one place where you can get them.
- tmall.com: Tmall is good too for business too. Products there are cheap. It is recommended to buy from sellers who have good reviews.
- alibaba.com: Alibaba is another good China’s sure where you can buy almost everything you can ever think of.
Outside China, there are other reputable websites where you can import from and make a good profit on your products. I have the list with me. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you need it. For instance: there is a website where almost everything they sold is $5. I mean $5. Imagine the kind of profit you can gain selling products like these.
What are the fast-selling products you can import to Nigeria?
- Phone accessories (Charger, power banks, wireless handsfree, corded earphone, pouch)
- Laptop accessories (Bag, flash drive, external hard drive, charger)
- Fitness tracker
- Computer accessories
- Wireless Hair Clipper
- Herbal tea
- Phone screen guards
- Kid tablets
- Weight loss products
- Spy Camera
- Sex Toys
- Ladies wear
How will you ship your products to Nigeria?
- Websites like dhgate.com, AliExpress.com, dx.com, and gearbest.com ship products directly to your physical address in Nigeria and you pick them up at the nearest Post Office. Most of them offer free shipping if you can make an order for a certain number of products, though it may take like 14-28 days to arrive.
- You can use an agent to ship your goods. This method is recommended if you are buying large quantities of products. Your seller will deliver the products to your agent and he will help you to check the product quantity before paying, and you pay him for the product and service fee—as agreed. The agent will ship the goods to you. The goods will arrive within the number of days that you choose and pay for. Chrisvicmall is a reliable agent you can trust. You can check them out by visiting their website www.chrisvicmall.com. Another agent that you can also for the shipment of your product is NBC Sky Logistics. Log on to their website to know everything about them and how they work www.nbcskyelogistics.com.
How will you get customers for your products?
It’s always recommended to start within your immediate circle of influence: introduce your products to friends, coworkers, co-tenants, and family members. You can sign up as a merchant on Nigeria’s e-commerce sites like Konga and Jumia to start selling there—they have large numbers of buyers who will be interested in your product.
In addition, creating a Facebook page and promoting it to reach a great audience will be good for your business. There are over active 15 million Nigerians on Facebook.
Also, free classifieds ads sites like jiji.ng, olist.ng receive a great number of visitors who buy products on a daily basis. Don’t leave the money on the table by not taking the advantage of this opportunity to sell to them.
Nairaland, Nigeria’s biggest forum, has a section called Technology Market where people post and advertise freely their products and services. This section receives tons of traffic every day. Don’t disregard an opportunity to reach millions of prospective buyers in the forum.
The Mini-importation business is a lucrative one if you do it the right way. It’s one of the businesses where I have made money from. There are some key things you need to take note of to avoid stories that touch.
Don’t pay any seller outside of the platform he is selling on. It is advisable to use the payment channel on the website. Anything outside that may be risky. You are just starting, so don’t burn your capital this way.
Before paying for any product, it’s good to check for the price of the same product on some other websites to discover the best price to go for. Also, as you are checking that, don’t forget to check the retail price locally too in order to have an idea of how much the product can be sold in Nigeria, and if the profit margin makes sense enough to you. I remember how I shipped 20 pieces of wristwatches that I ended up selling at the price that I bought them. I gained no profit. I failed to do a proper price check before making the payment. That particular seller is notorious for selling his products at ridiculously high prices. I later read comments of customers complaining bitterly and warning retailers not to buy from him because the price he’s offering the product is for end-users, not resellers. Do a proper price check before paying for any product.
Furthermore, import the fast-selling products. Do not make mistakes by assuming that people will like any product that you bring to the marketplace. Do a little finding. Check local e-commerce and free classified ads sites to have an idea of what people are buying and requesting regularly.
Don’t rush. Start by ordering products in a small quantity, then you’ll be increasing it gradually as you are seeing results—this will save you money, energy, and time. You will know what works and what doesn’t. If you fail, you will be able to manage things properly.
Take enough time to think and plan.
I believe if you follow this comprehensive step-by-step guide, making money and growing your mini-importation business will be realizable.
I would love to hear from you. If you have a contrary opinion or question or something that you think I suppose to cover in this post, please, leave comments below.
Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have one issue or the other with starting your mini-importation business and making money in Nigeria.