As the recession continues, being able to stay competitive is an absolute necessity in the current economic climate. If you’re in the retail industry one such way of staying competitive is through importing goods from abroad. Overseas suppliers can cut costs by a huge margin, in some cases by as much as 60%. This means lower costs for you and savings that you can pass onto your customers.
Benefits of Importing
The most obvious benefit of sourcing abroad is the comparative advantage it brings. Foreign markets may have cheaper production costs, lower tax rates or cheaper labour. If your business can source these products easily it will bring a quick boost to your profit margins.
Importing goods can bring in higher quality goods than can be found at home. It’s no secret that some countries have the resources to make better products than those available in your home territory. I love Dairy Milk, but I’d choose a Swiss chocolate over it any day! If you start with the best goods from the start, you’ll always be ahead of the curve against your competitors.
How to effectively source from abroad
Sourcing goods from abroad couldn’t be easier thanks to the Internet. One such company that seeks to help individuals move their businesses forward is Alibaba. An effective search engine for Chinese suppliers, businesses can search through thousands of suppliers to find or create the product that they need. Rob Forkan of Gandys Flip Flops likened it to being as simple as using a holiday booking site: “You enter your requirements and get a list of product manufacturers that suit your needs”.
Hoping to help budding entrepreneurs in their dreams of turning their ideas into successful businesses, Alibaba created a series following three of their customers to discover the stories behind these small businesses.
You can find the full series here.
Finding Reliable Suppliers
Even if you use an online service that screens suppliers, it would be foolish not to make direct contact with them yourself, especially when creating prototypes or placing especially large orders. If you face a language barrier (this shouldn’t be an issue with larger vendors) it could be worth hiring a translator – it will seem like a small expense when your products arrive as expected. Check feedback and ratings on sites, there are plenty with user reviews. If creating a new product try out a number of prototypes to compare quality. When you find the right one, it could transform your business.
This helpful article was provided by Matthew Moore.