11 Secrets of Mini Importation Business in Nigeria
Knowing about mini importation and how it works in Nigeria has been a big plus to my financial life this year. Do you want to know how? I bet you do!
Mini importation is for the juicy secret big retailers and wholesalers, don’t want you to know? It’s the secret that enables them to make an unmatchable profit.
And it can work for you too with the right tips and secrets.
What is Mini importation?
Mini importation is basically the act of legally buying goods at cheap prices from foreign countries where they are produced, and selling them at a much higher price in your locality.
It is one of the businesses that require less investment and less stress than organizing standard importation.
In the past, importation meant travelling abroad to buy container loads of product worth millions of dollars, waiting 3 to 4 months for the shipment to arrive in your country, and then clearing thoroughly.
Today, mini importation leverages on modern technology to make it possible for you to do the same thing from the comfort of your home.
I’d liken mini importation to tandem skydiving, all you need to do is position your body appropriately and not even worry about when the parachute is coming off.
What you need to start Mini importation
Almost anyone can be involved in mini importation in Nigeria. From students who need extra income, companies, rich people, to politicians, etc.
All you need, basically, are:
- A phone or laptop
- Good internet connection
- Valid residential and email addresses
- Some capital and
- A certification by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The certification might not be necessary at all times, but it could be required when you want to order a very large quantity of goods at once, or when performing some other functions that require you to confirm that you are a certified business man or woman.
The other requirements have their importance too. Your residential address is needed so you can have your goods delivered to you directly and easily. You need capital to order goods.
If you are just starting out, 50,000 naira is good enough. You can save for a while using Piggyvest and once you hit your target, you should begin to plan for your mini-importation business.
You also need a good phone or laptop to access the internet, and a good internet connection to log on to certain websites where you will place your orders.
That sounds really simple, doesn’t it?
1. Mini importation is profitable
So how exactly profitable can placing orders online get? Are there discounts or black Fridays, as is popular with our local e-commerce sites like Jumia and Konga?
In mini importation, every day and every second is black Friday for you, the buyer. The prices of the goods you will purchase when mini-importing are so cheap that your profits would be massive.
I’ll use an example to explain.
Let’s say you want to deal in the retail clothing business which is one commodity that sells very well, it is unnatural for you to go buy the clothes from another retailer like you because the cost at the level is already high.
And once you’ve bought them, you will have to increase the price again to be able to make a profit. That would naturally drive customers away. You don’t want to do that.
So, you should go to the wholesalers or if possible, the manufacturer of the cloth. That usually proves really helpful.
You need to also know that certain commodities like electronics and high-quality cloths are not manufactured here in Nigeria and your only option is an international wholesaler.
Let’s say a wholesaler is selling a particular model of computers at 100,000 naira each and you plan on selling each computer at 120,000 naira when bought. That will give you a profit of 20,000 naira for each computer.
At this point, some people ask themselves the question that every true entrepreneur must ask: how can I get this at a cheaper cost so that I can increase the profit margin to about 60,000?
In essence, that question sounds like – how can we get to the manufacturers in China?
Don’t let the gaping distance between Nigeria and China discourage you. Mini importation is not limited by distance especially with the level of technology we have today.
2. China is a good choice for mini importers
If you are wondering why I chose China, then you must know that almost every product in the market today; electronics, clothes and the likes are produced in China.
A majority of the big brands you see today have their factories in China. There, the cost of production and labour is low, and there are just so many companies.
This means that the price of goods produced there are quite cheap, at least while they are still there. Hence, this makes China a go-to destination for mini importers.
Obviously, there is a general myth that China is a place of fake goods. That is not true because many manufacturers set strict standards for production so that quality is not compromised.
3. Choose a good portal
So how do you get in touch with a company that is miles away from you so you could make profits like you own the market?
You will need to find an import portal. Import portals are basically websites where the goods you want to import are hosted and advertised by suppliers.
This is where you’ll ultimately place your bulk orders after you’ve done the necessary market research to study the nature of the market you want to step into.
Examples of import portals are 1688, AliExpress, Amazon, DHgate and Alibaba. Some of these portals provide freight and logistics services too. That’s a big bonus, if you ask me.
These portals usually have every kind of product you can imagine, but the secret of making quick sales will take me to the next point.
4. Start with 1688
All the import portals are actually nice. But there is one that stands out for its cheap goods. That’s 1688.com.
1688.com is the number one import portal on every mini importer’s lips. They provide the cheapest wholesale prices you’d ever find anywhere.
You will easily find a pair of shoes there that costs about 1,300 naira. If you check out the same product in Nigerian shops you will beg the sellers to sell for you at 8,000 naira, but they will tell you the fixed price is 10,000 naira.
1688.com is a Chinese e-commerce website and a part of Alibaba. It was established as a site for manufacturers and wholesalers to trade with each other so, it’s a B2B thing and not B2C.
It was made predominantly for Chinese people that’s why the written content on the website is in the Chinese language. That should not make you worry.
You can easily translate it all to English with Google Translate. 1688.com doesn’t offer logistics so you’ll have to arrange that yourself. You’ll need to have an Alipay account to trade on the site as well.
5. Hire a qualified agent
The best way to maximize 1688.com is to hire a qualified agent. Why?
Firstly, you don’t know how to manoeuvre the Chinese financial and trade terrains. Secondly, you will need to be conversant with Chinese characters because the translator may fail at a point where you are about to close a deal.
An agent would only help you place an order with the supplier successfully after you have sent him/her the links of the product you wish to buy.
An example of an agent is Leeline sourcing. Luckily, Leeline Sourcing and some other agent companies don’t just place an order; they do quality checks, send you product samples, offer shipping services, amongst others.
6. Focus on fast-moving products
Fast-moving products are products that sell quickly because of the high demand and necessity for them.
Electronics like Bluetooth speakers, iPhone, Samsung phones, flash drives, body fitness products, toilet led lights, watermelon slicers; and other useable materials like clothing, pieces of jewellery and wristwatches are examples.
Even if you are more interested in other types of goods, you must ensure that you find the right niche and locality for them.
7. Do your market research
Gift hampers might not be fast movers in Nigeria generally but they only sell well during certain holidays. So, take the times and situation into consideration.
You will be buying goods in bulk, so a reasonable amount of money is involved here. You don’t want to end up losing money and then give up on this amazing opportunity.
The moment you’ve made up your mind on the product you want to get, you can go on to buy. You will easily find the contact link with which you can discuss with the supplier or a link for direct order on the import portal page.
The former is usually to aid you bargain prices and fully arrange the delivery method in the case that a particular import portal doesn’t provide logistics services. In that case, you’ll have to hire a local logistics company to do the work for you (more on this later).
Websites like Amazon allow you to order directly as the company will take care of everything.
8. Remove extra weight
Once you’ve gotten the basic requirement set up, it’s time to go into the main work of selecting and buying the goods you want to deal in, and getting them to your doorstep as smoothly as possible.
One secret some successful mini importers use is to request that unnecessary packaging be removed from their order.
This will reduce the weight and cost of shipping. This increases their profit even more.
9. Consider shipping for faster deliveries
If you haven’t already, you have to locate a shipping and logistics company that would help deliver your goods to you.
There are many of such companies although some import portals offer free delivery.
You only want to opt for that if you are not in a hurry to get the goods because free delivery could take about 20-30 days to arrive.
If you want your delivery much faster, like in 3-5 days, then you’ll have to hire a logistics company especially if the import portal doesn’t have a premium logistics function.
Examples of popular logistics companies are DHL and FedEx.
Apart from merely moving your goods around, shipping companies do import custom clearance, warehousing, import documentation handling, bulk breaking and distribution (if you want).
Whatever method of delivery you choose, you’ll be notified when your goods arrive, preferably via email, and you will be told how to get them.
Next, you want to ensure that the details of your shipping company, such as your shipping company’s address, is sent to your supplier. That can be done through WeChat, email or any other medium available. Ensure that all the links sent are correct.
Phew! That’s much better now.
Once you have done the necessary arrangement, it’s time to buy. You can pay using your debit card, PayPal or any other payment option available to you on the site.
10. Market Your Products Well
So, you’ve finally gotten your goods, and you are already imagining yourself going to the bank to withdraw so much money that would make you look like you are reaping where you did not sow. 😆
But before that, you need to unlock another secret. You want to ensure that you are seen by a large number of people who have the need for, and the money to pay for your products.
Sincerely, the only way to get your goods sold is proper marketing. You need to advertise your product.
You don’t need to have years of experience to do this well. All you need is a good knowledge of copywriting, how to engage customers and the right medium on which to host your goods. Such mediums could be handbills, social media, news platforms and online stores like OLX, Jumia and Konga.
11. Maximize Referrals
There’s another secret for driving sales – referrals. Provide a way of rewarding people when they successfully market your products for you, and watch your sales figures hit the roof.
Sounds easy right? It actually is if you stick to the tips here and whatsoever other useful knowledge you can find during your research.
You don’t have to be scared of losing your money. You just have to do your homework well.
These import portals have certain ways of protecting you from problems. They will hold your money until you have received your goods and have confirmed that they are in good states, before they transfer the money to the supplier.
Mini importation is a lucrative business for everybody. And you’ll greatly benefit if you do your homework right. So, don’t hesitate. Make use of everything here to establish yourself financially in mini importation. Happy trading!