How To Import Goods For Resale, 7 Steps

How To Import Goods For Resale

7 Steps to Import Goods for Resale and Make a Profit

If you want to start a business that involves importing goods from other countries and reselling them in your local market, you need to know how to do it right. Importing goods for resale can be a lucrative and rewarding venture, but it also comes with some challenges and risks. You need to find reliable suppliers, negotiate prices, deal with customs, taxes, and regulations, and market your products effectively.

In this article, we will show you how to import goods for resale in 7 easy steps. We will cover everything from choosing your niche and products, finding suppliers, placing orders, shipping and receiving goods, clearing customs, pricing and selling your products, and managing your inventory. By following these steps, you will be able to import goods for resale successfully and make a profit.

Step 1: Choose Your Niche and Products

The first step to import goods for resale is to choose your niche and products. You need to find a gap in the market that you can fill with imported products that have high demand and low competition. You also need to consider your target audience, their preferences, needs, and pain points, and how you can solve their problems or satisfy their desires with your products.

Some of the factors to consider when choosing your niche and products are:

  • The size and potential of the market
  • The availability and quality of the products
  • The price and profit margin of the products
  • The legal and regulatory requirements of the products
  • The shipping and storage costs of the products
  • The competition and differentiation of the products

You can use tools like Google Trends, Keyword Planner, Amazon Best Sellers, Alibaba, AliExpress, and other online platforms to research your niche and products. You can also visit local stores, trade shows, fairs, and markets to see what products are popular and in demand.

Step 2: Find Suppliers

The next step to import goods for resale is to find suppliers who can provide you with the products you want at a reasonable price and quality. You can source your products from different countries depending on the type of product, the cost of production, the shipping time, and the trade agreements.

Some of the most popular countries to import goods from are China, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, and Indonesia. These countries have large manufacturing sectors that produce a variety of goods at low costs. However, you need to be careful when dealing with suppliers from these countries as there may be issues with quality control, communication, fraud, or scams.

You can use platforms like Alibaba, AliExpress, Global Sources, TradeKey, Made-in-China, IndiaMART, DHgate, and others to find suppliers online. You can also contact trade associations, chambers of commerce, embassies, or consulates of the countries you want to import from to get referrals or recommendations.

When choosing a supplier, you need to check their credentials, reputation, reviews, ratings, certifications, samples, catalogs, prices, payment terms, elivery timeframes etc. You should also communicate with them clearly and frequently to establish trust and rapport.

Step 3: Place Orders

Once you have found a suitable supplier who can meet your requirements and expectations, you need to place your order. You need to specify the details of your order such as the product name, description, quantity, size, color, packaging, labeling, branding etc. You also need to agree on the payment method, shipping method,
delivery date, and other terms and conditions.

You should always use a secure payment method such as PayPal, escrow, letter of credit, or bank transfer when paying for your order. You should also use a reputable shipping company such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, or TNT when shipping your order. You should also get a tracking number, insurance, and invoice for your order.

Step 4: Ship and Receive Goods

The fourth step to import goods for resale is to ship and receive your goods. Depending on the shipping method you chose, your goods may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to arrive at your destination. You need to track your shipment regularly and contact your supplier or shipping company if there are any delays or problems.

You also need to prepare for receiving your goods by having enough space, equipment, and personnel to unload, inspect, and store them. You need to check the quantity, quality, and condition of your goods against the packing list, invoice, and contract. You need to report any damages, defects, or discrepancies to your supplier or shipping company immediately and request compensation or replacement if necessary.

Step 5: Clear Customs

The fifth step to import goods for resale is to clear customs. Customs is the government agency that regulates the importation of goods into a country. Customs may inspect your goods for compliance with the laws and regulations of the country. Customs may also charge you duties, taxes, and fees for importing your goods.

You need to have the following documents to clear customs:

  • Bill of lading or air waybill: This is the document that shows the details of your shipment such as the sender, receiver, carrier, weight, volume, and value of your goods.
  • Commercial invoice: This is the document that shows the details of your transaction such as the seller, buyer, product name, description, quantity, price, payment terms etc.
  • Packing list: This is the document that shows the details of your packaging such as the number of boxes, cartons, pallets etc. and their contents.
  • Certificate of origin: This is the document that shows the country where your goods were manufactured or produced.
  • Other documents: Depending on the type and value of your goods, you may need other documents such as a certificate of analysis, inspection, quality, health, safety etc.

You can hire a customs broker or agent to help you with the customs clearance process. A customs broker or agent is a professional who has the knowledge and experience to handle the paperwork and procedures involved in importing goods. They can also help you save time and money by avoiding delays and penalties.

Step 6: Price and Sell Your Products

The sixth step to import goods for resale is to price and sell your products. You need to set a price for your products that covers your costs and gives you a profit. You also need to consider your target market, their willingness and ability to pay, your competition, and your value proposition.

You can use different pricing strategies such as cost-plus, markup, value-based, competitive, penetration, skimming, bundling, discounting etc. to price your products. You can also use tools like Google Analytics, Shopify, WooCommerce, Amazon Seller Central, eBay etc. to track and analyze your sales performance.

You also need to market your products effectively to reach and attract your potential customers. You can use different marketing channels such as online platforms, social media, email, blogs, podcasts, videos, webinars etc. to promote your products. You can also use different marketing techniques such as SEO, PPC, content marketing, influencer marketing, email marketing, video marketing etc. to generate traffic, leads, and conversions.

Step 7: Manage Your Inventory

The final step to import goods for resale is to manage your inventory. Inventory is the stock of goods that you have on hand or in transit. Inventory management is the process of planning, organizing, controlling, and optimizing your inventory levels and flows.

Inventory management is important because it affects your cash flow, profitability, customer satisfaction, and business growth. You need to balance your inventory levels between having too much and too little. Having too much inventory can lead to high storage costs, wastage, obsolescence, and reduced cash flow. Having too little inventory can lead to stockouts, lost sales, unhappy customers, and missed opportunities.

You can use different inventory management methods such as just-in-time (JIT), economic order quantity (EOQ), reorder point (ROP), safety stock etc. to optimize your inventory levels. You can also use tools like QuickBooks, Xero, InventoryLab etc. to monitor and manage your inventory.

Importing goods for resale is a great way to start or grow your business. However, it also involves some challenges and risks that you need to overcome. By following these 7 steps,

  • Choose Your Niche and Products
  • Find Suppliers
  • Place Orders
  • Ship and Receive Goods
  • Clear Customs
  • Price and Sell Your Products
  • Manage Your Inventory

you will be able to import goods for resale successfully and make a profit.

How to Import Goods for Resale: A Statistical Overview

The global demand for imported goods has been increasing steadily over the past decade, as consumers seek more variety, quality, and value in their purchases. According to the World Trade Organization, the value of world merchandise trade reached $18.89 trillion in 2019, up from $15.46 trillion in 2010. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global supply chains and trade flows, causing a sharp decline in imports and exports in 2020. The International Monetary Fund estimates that the volume of world trade contracted by 9.6% in 2020, the largest drop since the global financial crisis of 2009.

Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, importing goods for resale can still be a lucrative business opportunity for entrepreneurs who are willing to do their research, find good suppliers, and comply with the import regulations of their target markets. In this article, we will provide some statistical insights into how to import goods for resale, based on data from various sources.

What are the most popular products to import for resale?

The answer to this question depends largely on the demand and preferences of the consumers in your target market, as well as the availability and cost of the products in your source country. However, some general trends can be observed from the data on global trade statistics.

According to the World Bank, the top five product categories that accounted for the largest share of world merchandise imports in 2019 were:

  • Electrical machinery and equipment and parts thereof; sound recorders and reproducers, television image and sound recorders and reproducers, and parts and accessories of such articles (14.8%)
  • Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof (13.9%)
  • Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation; bituminous substances; mineral waxes (10.2%)
  • Vehicles other than railway or tramway rolling stock, and parts and accessories thereof (9.4%)
  • Natural or cultured pearls, precious or semi-precious stones, precious metals, metals clad with precious metal, and articles thereof; imitation jewellery; coin (6.1%)

These product categories reflect the high demand for electronics, machinery, energy, transportation, and jewellery products in the global market. However, they also face high competition and strict regulations from various countries. Therefore, it is important to conduct a thorough market research before deciding what products to import for resale.

How to find good suppliers for importing goods for resale?

One of the most crucial steps in importing goods for resale is finding reliable and trustworthy suppliers who can provide you with quality products at competitive prices. There are many ways to find potential suppliers, such as:

  • Using online platforms such as, Global Sources, or SaleHoo that connect buyers and sellers of wholesale products from different countries.
  • Attending trade shows or fairs that showcase products from various industries and regions.
  • Contacting trade associations or chambers of commerce that represent specific sectors or countries.
  • Getting referrals or recommendations from other importers or business contacts who have experience in importing goods for resale.

Once you have identified some potential suppliers, you should contact them and request for information such as:

  • Product specifications, prices, minimum order quantities, payment terms, delivery time, etc.
  • Samples or catalogs of their products to verify the quality and suitability for your market.
  • Certificates or documents that prove their compliance with the relevant standards or regulations of your target market.
  • References or testimonials from their previous or current customers.

You should also conduct a background check on the suppliers to ensure their legitimacy and reputation. You can use online tools such as Google Search, Better Business Bureau, or Scamadviser to verify their contact details, website domain, business registration, customer reviews, etc.

How to comply with the import regulations of your target market?

Another essential step in importing goods for resale is complying with the import regulations of your target market. These regulations may vary depending on the type of product, the country of origin, and the country of destination. Some of the common import requirements that you may encounter are:

Tariffs or duties

These are taxes levied on imported goods based on their value or quantity. They are usually calculated as a percentage of the customs value of the goods. You can use online tools such as World Tariff Profiles or Trade Map to find out the tariff rates applicable to your products in different countries.


These are additional charges imposed on imported goods based on their value or quantity. They may include value-added tax (VAT), goods and services tax (GST), sales tax, excise tax, etc. You can use online tools such as Avalara or TaxRates to find out the tax rates applicable to your products in different countries.

Customs clearance

This is the process of declaring your imported goods to the customs authorities and obtaining their permission to enter the country. You may need to provide various documents such as commercial invoice, packing list, bill of lading, certificate of origin, etc. You may also need to pay the applicable tariffs, taxes, and fees. You can use online tools such as FedEx or DHL to find out the customs clearance procedures and requirements for your products in different countries.

Import licenses or permits

These are authorizations issued by the relevant government agencies or departments that allow you to import certain products that are subject to restrictions or regulations. They may include products that are hazardous, endangered, protected, controlled, etc. You can use online tools such as or Trade Compliance Center to find out the import license or permit requirements for your products in different countries.

Import standards or regulations

These are rules or guidelines that specify the quality, safety, performance, or labeling of imported products. They may be mandatory or voluntary, and they may be set by the government or by industry associations. They may include products that are food, health, environmental, consumer, etc. You can use online tools such as Standards Map or ITC Market Access Map to find out the import standards or regulations for your products in different countries.

Importing goods for resale can be a profitable business venture if you follow the right steps and comply with the relevant regulations. However, it can also be a complex and challenging process that requires a lot of research, planning, and preparation. Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional help from experts such as customs brokers, freight forwarders, lawyers, accountants, etc. who can assist you with the various aspects of importing goods for resale.


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