Well, I finally did it. After reading a few of the threads a long time ago, I looked into importing but never actually did it. So when I read the blog post by Will, I decided to take a look at it. I have a friend who has been interested in doing business together so I decided to work with him on it. Nice to make someone else do a lot of the work, although I have to show him some things here and there.
So we started about a month ago or so researching. I'd look for products on Alibaba and then read all the threads by Vilante, Biophase, etc on importing and eCommerce businesses. It has been a pretty busy month or so. I found some products I thought would work, but turns out they may not. It definitely took longer than I expected though.
But...we found something that I think should work, I think. It was in a market I thought was saturated but this niche is kind of a hot area right now and will be for the next several years at least. So we spoke with the manufacturer and got a sample. $73.2 + $34 shipping + paypal. $110.xx in total for the sample. I paid Sunday night and got it yesterday, not bad coming from China. Extremely pleased with the quality, I was blown away actually. Surprised my friend too, tested it out a bit and worked amazing. After playing with it a bit, we took the next step and listed it. $127.99 + 9.99 shipping, took all of 15 hours to sell. Not sure if it helped or not, but today I revised the listing to change the quantity from 1 to 3. My thought was if they see 1, it might not look as legit, but if they see 3, maybe they think we are more legit and buy asap because there aren't many.
After we ship it, we will probably make a few bucks profit, but it is the sample so I am not too worried. We found out there is a demand for these. Shipping will go down a lot with bulk orders. Based on rough (I don't know exact shipping costs) estimates, I think we can make $30 net on each unit.
I emailed the manufacturer today to ask a few more questions and get some information on another order. He originally sent an excel document with everything they have, I starting going through on eBay some sell with small margins, but many have pretty good ones so I want to work out getting a test sample with each large order and continue to add new products.
In addition, I notice there are a couple people selling a lot of these on eBay but they don't really control the other markets. Amazon is barely tapped, Buy.com has nothing, and there really aren't other places to get them. Tonight, we are going to make a eCommerce test store with all the products. List everything the manufacturer offers and see what sells, and doesn't. Neither of us have done an eCommerce store so it will be a lot of learning for us, but based on the threads on here, I think we can figure it out.
It really is amazing how far we have come in a month, and it will be more interesting to see where we will be in 1 month, 2 months, or a year. I think are timing is good because we have a year to build up before the holidays, if we fuck this up, its our own fault.
Stay tuned, I will continue to post updates.
BTW, I am still doing the apps, they are progressing but still need work.
Importing from China has REALLY picked up on this forum recently.
Glad to see another person getting into it! Congrats!
Hope to see more positive updates
About to make the next order, it will be 19 of the current item, and 1 of a new item. Not sure on what the sample item will be so that will change the figures a little bit but if we were ordering 20 of the current item, our total cost per unit would be $82.56. Still not sure what shipping costs for us will be exactly, shipping the item today and it is going to be in whatever box I can fit it in. I ordered specific boxes that will best fit the product box, they cost $0.80 per box. Based on rough estimates with our shipping cost, we should be able to make $31-32 profit per item. I'm pretty happy with that.
You went from:
How would the numbers change if you order 50 units? 100? 1,000?
Is this a 'brandable' product? How much extra would it cost you to have the manufacturer brand it as "oddball's widget" so you can start creating brand awareness?
Speed ++ for taking these steps and sharing with us.
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Yes, on the sample we made ~ $2 so when we do big orders and pay the lower shipping we will make about $32.
The brand is the one thing we can't control. It is already a brand but not well known. I already found a couple areas that they don't really sell on so I think we can really take advantage there. We started playing with BigCommerce and are working on getting that taken care of. eBay will be the hardest to take over because there are a couple who sell the same brand but our sample showed it might not be as hard as I think.
We are going to get new samples each time and hopefully on the following order we are buying more and more. We did some research last night on eBay for what might be the next best possible product. I'll get a sample with out order that I am placing tonight.
I've been buying and selling on forums, eBay, and Amazon for years, I have some idea what to do but I have a lot to learn. I told me friend though, with all the information we have on this forum and the tools available on like BigCommerce and the rest of the internet, there is no reason we can't be successful on this.
This is awesome! I am in the process of doing the same thing myself right now. I found a great niche that is hardly tapped into from what I can see. The problem I am running into is that the minimum orders are anywhere from 100 to 500 and I am not sure I want to start with that much inventory right away until I have an idea of how fast it will move.
You mentioned in your first post about creating your ecommerce store that lists everything you supplier manufactures just to get a feel for what will sell and what will be the most popular. I am thinking of doing this as well, however what if people start ordering those products? Do they have to wait 2 or 3 for their item while you order it from your manufacturer? Great job pulling the trigger on this!
Im confused on your pricing. You said the sample cost
$82.56 + shipping for a bulk order of 20 products. Shouldnt your cost have come down for a large order?
Im just confused on your price point.
But Ive also dabbled into the importing side of the business lately, and frankly Ive found it quite simple after developing a system that finds products that work...(products not niche). I work with smaller price point products though, But I have 12-18 orders per day on ebay netting profit of $9-12 profit per sale.
So yea, everybody has been jumping into the importing business for a reason, a lot of money to be made from it, and its a huge market.
Looking like you are on the right path . SPEED ++++
- Try to sell your samples after they pass your quality testing if everything went smoothly up to this point.
- If they sell easily enough, place a slightly larger order, ramp up.
Everything I've read about importing says that minimum quantities are almost always negotiable. If you find someone who won't budge, find someone else.
The $82.xx is with shipping included, so it is the total cost we pay on the buying side. I see where the misunderstanding came from, I didn't know what shipping would cost for us to the customer. Shipping per item is around $9 now vs. $34 when we got just 1 sample. It definitely is a good business to be in though.
Thanks for sharing your progress on this!
Alright, haven't had an update in a few days.
So today I got a text from my partner on this saying he was dropping out. He is in high school and it was creating some family issues. I can't say whether this is good or bad right now. Typically, I wouldn't have partnered with him but he wanted to start a business so he came to me with it. I was kind of overseeing things and he did most of the work. At the same time, maybe it is better because now it shouldn't create any business conflicts that could ruin our friendship. Plus, I get 100% now instead of 50% but have a ton more work.
Ok, enough of that and on to the good stuff. I got the 1st large(r) order earlier this week. I opened a box to the new sample product and saw no batteries included. Opened the other boxes and same thing. I found out he did this for shipping reasons and I got the batteries yesterday. I put the stuff back up for sale on Monday, got 1st sale in 12 hours and then another sale on Wednesday. The listing has 74 views, 8 watchers, and 2 sales. All of that is just from throwing the product on eBay.
Luckily he worked on the site already and it is pretty much ready to go. I just need to add products and touch up a few spots. I've done a ton of research on SEO and general ecommerce tips so I think I have plenty of things to get me up and running. There is still a lot left to do. I need to get a bank account and PO box and then create a new account on Amazon, and I also need to look more into listing on Buy.com.
Last night I ordered different samples from a different manufacturer. This manufacturer I found offers some of the same products but unbranded. So I already am talking to them about putting my own brand on them. What I was thinking I can do is create the store around the current brand so my store gains reputation and then add in my brand and slowly build that up.
So hit a small snag today but it is nothing major. I already have 2 quality products and will hopefully add 2 more when I get these new samples.
One thing I would like suggestions on. The niche offers many similar products, I eventually want to add them all but for now, should I add them all on the site as something available to purchase? add them as preorders? or leave them out?
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