How To Start Mini Importation In South Africa : Secrets You Won’t Be Told
What Is Mini Importation?
Mini Importation in South Africa is simply buying goods and importing into the country of your choice for a cheaper price, and selling for a higher price. I used the country of your choice because you can be in South Africa and be selling in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and a whole lot of other countries within and outside Africa.
Mini Importation is as simple as that and we don’t have to complicate this as many people would. Mini Importation is simply straightforward and easy to venture into if you follow the tips I will be laying down.
You will agree with me that China is responsible for around 80% of the world’s manufacturing, so we will be focusing on China as the country where we will source our products.
Is Mini Importation Lucrative?
Yes, Mini Importation is a lucrative business. You can start with as low as 450 Rand. That little amount can be turned that to a 6 figure sum within 2 months. I am saying this based on personal experience.
You can import a product for as low as 27 Rand and sell for as high as 675 Rand. Imagine you selling just 500 units of that particular product. That is the truth and one hidden secret about Mini Importation that many won’t want you to know.
Also Read: Here’s why you should consider owning an E-commerce Store
How Much Do I Need To Start Mini Importation?
I have heard a lot of people say they couldn’t start Mini Importation business due to financial constraints, but that shouldn’t actually be the case. I started Mini Importation business sometimes in 2014 with as low as 450 Rand.
I must admit that the journey was rough then, but today I run a Mini Importation business comprising of over 40 full and part-time staff in Nigeria, South Africa, and beyond. This writeup won’t make you go through the rigors I went through.
There was a time I sold over 500 units of a product, the product cost me an average of 180 Rand per unit. What I did was I imported 5 Units which cost a total of 900 Rand, I sold each for 1,130 Rand. After deducting money for delivery and advertisement I had made a profit in the region of 4,612 Rand.
The next thing I did was to place an order for 20 more pieces, while still waiting for the order to arrive, more than 20 customers have shown interest. When the products arrived, I kept revolving my funds until I had the capacity to purchase 100 units at a time. This is one beauty of Mini Importation. You can start with a little fund and continue by recycling those funds.
What Do I Need To Start Mini Importation?
To start mini importation you need some notable items listed below:
- A Phone/Laptop or both
- An email address
- Physical Location (optional)
- A small amount of money
1. A Phone/Laptop or both: Both or one of the two is needed to carry out your transactions. To run a successful mini importation business, you will have to browse through different sites like Aliexpress.com, Alibaba.com, 1688.com where you source for products, chat with manufacturers or agents, and then arrange how your products will be sent to Nigeria, Ghana or any country of your choice. You, therefore, have to put in mind that the Phone and Laptop must have a good internet connection.
2. An email address: Generally, an email address is of the utmost importance when you are creating accounts. This will also be needed to create an account on sites such as Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com.
3. Physical Location (optional): A physical address is needed to run a mini importation business. This can either serve as your office or where your goods are delivered to when brought into the country. I marked this as optional because you do not necessarily have to own a physical address before you start a mini importation business. I personally sold thousands of products in Ghana in 2019 and I still do but have never been to Ghana, I don’t even know what Ghana looks like.
4. A small amount of Money: As I mentioned earlier, I once started this business with as little as 450 Rand. The technique I made use of as explained above by buying 5 at first, then 20, 50, 100 as the profit comes in is a good thing you can leverage on. You can get goods for as low as 27 Rand from China and sell for as high as 675 Rand.
Once you have all the listed above, you then have to follow the steps listed below.
Step 1: Identify Hot Products
Hot products are products that there will always be demand for. One of the main aims when sourcing and buying products from China is to ensure that what you are buying is not just only on-demand always, but also has high demand always.
This practically boils down to choosing the right niche for your mini importation business. I will be introducing you to two niches which are very hot in the market and promising.
The first is the health niche, while the second is the security niche. Need I remind you that anybody, including you, will spend the last money in their purse, wallet, or bank to ensure that they get rid of any health challenge. The next is the Security niche, you and I will spend a lot to ensure that we are secure, our cars are safe, our nanny doesn’t maltreat our children, etc.
So naturally a weight loss product skincare product, arthritis relief product, car trackers, and the likes are hot selling products. You can likewise think outside the box.
Kindly, put it in mind that you also have to consider the weight of the product before defining it as a hot product or not. The weightier your goods are, the more cost you will incur, and the harder it will be to make much profit. So, try to stick to importing products that weigh between 0.1kg to 0.7kg.
Also, note that the cost for any product you are purchasing as a starter shouldn’t be more than 90 Rand excluding shipping and clearing fees.
Step 2: Source for Hot Products
As it is important to identify hot products, it is likewise very important to know how to source for the products. China is the No. 1 manufacturer and suppliers of products and I will be focusing on importing from China.
Many will tell you that you can source for products from sites like Aliexpress, Wish, and DHgate but that is far from the truth. Even though you can purchase products from those sites, those sites are retail sites where consumers of products are targeted.
The fact remains that products that you will get from sites such as Aliexpress for 180 Rand can be gotten for as low as 27 Rand on some other sites such as the ones listed below:
You can just visit any of the sites to search for any products which you desire to buy. You can create an account on Alibaba, chat with manufacturers, and even negotiate on prices for products. Alibaba is straightforward to use and shouldn’t be difficult to navigate.
For sites like 1688 and Taobao, they are written in Chinese and you may need to use google translate to translate the name of the products you intend to search for from English to Chinese, paste on the search bar and then click the search button or enter. It is likewise always advisable to use Google Chrome as you can right-click on the site and translate to English.
So, once you have identified the hot product, you can then proceed to search and make your purchase from the sites listed above.
Step 3: Get Reliable Suppliers
I have heard a lot of people say that Chinese products are fake and don’t work. But that is very far from the truth. Though some suppliers play smart and sell substandard products, there are ways through which you can avoid being sold a substandard product.
A lot of people and articles will tell you to check for ratings, reviews, and the likes, That used to work, but not 100% as some suppliers now find a way to doctor the reviews and ratings.
What I do as a person is to make the supplier understand that I am a big wig in mini importation and have the capacity to purchase up to 5,000 units of the product in as much as they work as stated. I then make the supplier understand that sending fake products will imply that I won’t make a purchase from him/her again.
Then I place orders for a few and a maximum of 50 units for a start. With that, you can reduce the likelihood of purchasing fake products.
Step 4: Paying for your Products
This used to be one of the greatest debacles of mini importation, gone are the days when we have to use western union or money gram to make payment for goods.
These days you can make payment in a jiffy through several means such as:
- Using a payment link: A payment link can be created through which you can pay using your Credit/Debit Cards
- PayPal: Some suppliers accept payment via PayPal which eases payment. Meanwhile, not all African countries qualify to use PayPal, there are ways around that.
- Depositing in your local bank account: Many agents now have bank accounts in your country and allow you to deposit money to the local bank account in your country while they in turn help you make payment.
If you are buying from Alibaba, the manufacturer can create your order and you can make payment using your Credit/Debit card. Alibaba also qualifies you for Trade Assurance protection which allows you to reclaim your funds if your goods are not delivered or are defective.
If you have issues making payment from any country, you can kindly visit Fola Ajileye Digtals about this, as this can be taken care of for you with ease.
Step 5: Getting your Products Delivered
There are basically two ways to get your products delivered to the country of your choice which are:
- Free Shipping: This involves using shipping companies such as China Mail Air Post to move your products to the country of your choice. This normally takes between 14 to 60 days. It helps you save costs but also takes time for your products to be delivered.
- Paid Delivery: With paid delivery, you get your products faster. We have 3 basic paid delivery which are Air Express (Takes 1 to 2 days delivery), Air Cargo (7 to 14 days delivery), and Sea (40 to 60 days delivery). Which to use depends on how fast you need your products and how heavy they are.
Step 6: Selling the Products
More important than buying and importing the products is selling them. The ability to identify and source for hot products are all aimed towards selling, that is one reason why how to sell the products purchased is very germane.
Various means through which you can sell your products which are:
- Physical Stores: You can get a store where you display your products and sell them.
- Ecommerce Stores: Such as Jumia, Konga, etc. You can register and list your products with them.
- Social Media Timeline and Status: You can upload the products on your social media accounts.
- Social Media Advertisement: You can promote your products on social media such as Facebook Marketing.
- One Page Sales Website: This is my preferred way, you can build a site to sell the products.
- Referrals: This is very essential and depends on the quality of service you referred to your customers.
Step 7: Delivering the Products to Customers
Just as it is important to find customers for your goods, it is likewise important to deliver the products to customers.
Ecommerce stores such as Jumia has the responsibility to deliver goods to customers who ordered on the store you have created with them. So all you need to do is take the goods to their drop off centers.
But if you are selling your products through a sales page, then you bear the sole responsibility to deliver the products. These can be classified into:
- Courier Companies: These are the companies that are formed with the main aim of easing the delivery of products from sellers to customers. One other advantage of these companies is that they help sellers receive payment for products sold to customers at the point of delivery. One of the notable Courier Companies in South Africa is Go Girl
- Private Agents: This serves as one of the recent saving grace and development in mini importation. All you have to do is locate someone in every state or region within the country of choice, discuss the possibility of making deliveries on your behalf while you pay them for the service rendered. There are some who make deliveries within 2 or more states. All you have to do is send fractions of your products to different parts of the country. Whenever you have an order, you can create a WhatsApp group where the orders will be dropped and then attended to by the agent. Once delivery is made, the private agents deduct their delivery charge and pay the rest into your account.
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If you are ready to start Mini Importation Business in South Africa or Africa at large, I can give you and head start with a blueprint of my step by step process. This is like me modeling you.
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