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Mini Importation Business In Nigeria (2021 Guide)

Importation of goods into Nigeria from China, the United States, and Turkey has been lucrative and grown steadily fast among both old and young Nigerian citizens. To be frank, I can testify there are many people running into this mini importation business.

The truth be told; not all of those rushing to start this importation business know how it really works. The majority of them are just staying under the shadow of another.

I have good news for you:

Today, I mean right now! I will unveil to you the secrets, the knowhow, advantages, and disadvantages plus other things you need to know about mini importation business.

But, before that, let me introduce myself;

I’m Hope Adeniran. I am known as CyberHope, while most people do call me Oga Cyber (smiles). I’ve been into online money-making since 2017. 90% of my earnings actually come from the world wide web. I am into small businesses like mini importation, Telecommunications, fashioning (tailoring), and some agricultural startups.

I have had some successes with mini importation business. Even though, I do not do it on big time and big investments. I can boldly tell you, I make much profit from this mini importation business.

This made me decide to share my experience and tips with you today. You are lucky to be on this page right now.

Let me stop my introduction here and move to what brought you here. I promise not to take your time. Though, I will need a serious 10 minutes of your time right now. So, get a pen and jotter to put something down.

mini importation business in nigeria

What is Mini importation business?

Just as the word “mini” sounds, it means small. So, Mini importation business in my definition means the bringing in of anything, be it products or services, in small quantities to your country from another country.

You must know that before you can import anything, there are some things you must possess.

What are the requirements to start mini importation business?

There’s nothing much to this. You need the following:

  1. Laptop/PC/Mobile phone: this will be used for accessing, searching, communication, and placing orders for whatever product or service you’re importing into your country.
  2. Internet: you need this to access the websites where you will get your goods or services, for communication, and product advertisements.
  3. International payment enabled bank card: this will be used mainly for payments on your supplying websites. Though some websites will require external wallet funding. I will explain this as you continue reading.
  4. Valid means of identification: this is not compulsory. But, remember I mentioned earlier that majority of the so called importers around stay under another shadow? Yes, this option will allow you to be a direct procurer of products on supplier sites, and on the external wallet payment I mentioned above.
  5. Capital: This is mini importation business, which means small scale. So, you won’t need much money. You can start with #5,000 to #10,000.
  6. Accessible residence address: this can be anywhere. It can be your place of work, home or a friend or family’s house. You just need an accessible address where your goods can be delivered to.

Now that you have known what you need before starting importation business, let’s move to product sourcing, also known as product finding.

How To Source/Find Products For Mini Importation Business?

Wait! Before I show you how? Let me share this with you;

Most importers fail here. I mean with product finding. I have been a victim as well, and I won’t allow you to make the same mistake I made.

There’re millions of products online for you to purchase. Don’t ever buy anything you feel like buying. Don’t buy your needs and think others will need it too.

No, it doesn’t work like that.

If you do so, your products will all be used by you and you alone, except you dash them out.

Don’t ever purchase under self-valuation.

So, how did I correct this?

Let’s dive into product sourcing or finding…

  1. Product research: Before I make purchase from suppliers, I always go to online market places like jumia and konga. I look for trending products. I go through the reviews and see what those that had purchased the products are saying about it.

Some might mention that they want more of the product. Some might say they will recommend to friends. So, take note of these products.

The next thing to do is to;

  • Check and compare prices: Check out the price on the local online market, then compare it with your supplier’s price. Before comparing with your supplier’s price, you need to have add the shipping and clearing fee the price.

I normally make my price 1half of the supplier’s price. This already included the shipping and clearing for each.

For example: if my supplier sells a cup for #10, I’ll divide the cost into half which will be #10/2 = 5. Then, add the result to the cost price, which is #5+#10 = #15. This means a cup will cost #15 after I get it at my address.

Kindly note, my calculation is an approximation. It might not be up to the amount, but it’s safer to calculate that way.

Another method I use for product finding is by going to my wholesale website, search for the trending products and then download their pictures. I will go to my WhatsApp and Facebook to post the product picture and ask people who would need them.

It’s the result that I will use to make my purchase. At times, I do ask people to pre-order. Which mean, they pay me first, and get the product once it arrives the country.

The 2 methods I just discussed is also known as hot selling products searching.

Now that you’ve known the ways to source/find hot selling products, let us move to where you can get these products.

Where To Source/Find Products To Import?

There are many websites to get products from. We’ll be looking mainly into Chinese market.

Chinese market has the cheapest of product prices around the globe. The good news is, you do not need to speak Chinese before you can buy from them and ship down to your country. Thanks to Google translator.

Below are websites to browse for product suppliers:

  1. AliExpress: this is the international standard goods exporting marketplace of China. You can buy goods from suppliers with you bank card, and get them shipped directly to your provided address.

AliExpress has a buyer protection feature that protects buyer from being scammed buy seller. This feature keeps your paid money on aliexpress till you get your products, then aliexpress releases the funds to the seller.

You can also buy small quantity of goods from here. You can buy as low as 1 quantity, and the currency is in USD. It can also be switched to your country’s currency.

This website is in English language which makes it easy to surf and communicate with suppliers.

  • AliBaba: this is also an English language based website. There’s limit to the minimum quantity you can buy from this website.

It’s called MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity). On some products, you might be required to buy not less than 5 pieces before you can purchase the product.

This marketplace also accepts your bank card payment. There are other payment methods like PayPal, Money Gram, and western union payment.

It has buyer protection as well and goods are shipped directly to your provided country’s address.

  • 1688: the cheapest of all. All products on this marketplace are extremely cheap because it mainly for china citizens.

This website is in Chinese language, but with the use of Google chrome to browse it, it will be translated to English.

Payment on this site will require an external wallet called Alipay. This is where the valid means of identification I talked about earlier comes in. You will need to create an alipay account and verify it with your ID to be able to make use of its wallet.

Most importers don’t have access to this alipay wallet. That’s why they stay under someone with the wallet to procure their goods for them. These wallet owners will charge them for paying on their behalf.

This is where I will teach you how to get the wallet, so you can procure goods directly yourself. Stay tuned as you continue reading.

Another important thing you need to know about this website is that it doesn’t ship outside of china. Remember I said it’s a local market. What you need to do is to get a china address and send to your supplier to send the goods to. So, from that address, your goods will be sent to your country.

To get a Chinese address, you will need a freight company. These companies are based in Nigeria and they have warehouses in china.

I will discuss about these freight companies as you read on.

  • TaoBao: also a Chinese website. It’s just like the simpler version of Alibaba.

You can actually order smaller quantity of what you cannot order on alibaba from this website.

You can pay with your bank card as their currency is domicile in USD.

Orders can be shipped directly to your provided delivery address.

These 4 websites are the top Chinese marketplace to procure goods for mini importation business.

Now that you’ve learnt about these websites, let us move to how you can identify a reliable supplier or seller.

How To Identify A Reliable Seller/Supplier?

On each of the marketplace mention earlier, there’re good and bad suppliers. Yours is now to determine the good ones.

To do this, you need to checkout their rating. The ratings are always based on numbers. Either, 1-5  or, 1-100. If it’s 1-5, it’s advisable to go for 4.5 ratings and above. If it’s 1-100, it’s advisable to go for 90 and above.

Also, always check product reviews made by other buyers. It is from these reviews that you will have a firsthand insight of what you are purchasing.

Chatting The Suppliers/Sellers

After identifying the good supplier for your product, it’s now time to message them. If you have any inquiry to make, you can chat them up and get you’re an answer.

You can as well, chat them up for price bargaining, but this isn’t applicable all time. Except, you want to make a large quantity order.

Paying For The Products

If you are making use of the Aliexpress, Alibaba, and Taobao, you can pay directly with your bank  card. But, if using 1688, you need to pay with alipay.

>>Click Here<< to open an alipay account.

After successful registration, you will need to activate your wallet account. To do so, your ID must be verified.

Making use of international passport is highly recommended.

If you don’t have one, never panic. You can use someone else’s.

Just make sure the person you’re using his/her International passport is with you.

Goto playstore and download the alipay application. Login to your account and click on verify account.

Enter your detail, but when it gets to ID and facial verification; use the person’s ID and face.

After a successful submission, your account will be under review and approved in few hours.

Once approved, you will be able to see wallet balance on your alipay dashboard.

After these have been done, what you need now is wallet funding. So you can be able to pay for goods on 1688 website.

To fund your wallet, you will need to search for RMB (Yuan) merchants and pay them in naira, so that they can fund your alipay RMB wallet.

You can contact me for this RMB wallet funding.

After your wallet is funded, you can now pay for goods directly on 1688 website with your alipay wallet.

Product Shipping And Delivery

When you successfully pay for a product, it’s usually shipped out within 5 days, and sent to your provided address.

Shipping of goods is of 2 types:

  1. Long shipping: these shipping methods are usually free or cheap. It takes upto 90days before your goods get to you. Some call it sea shipping.
  2. Fast shipping: this is usually expensive. It takes between 3 to 7days to deliver depending on carrier used. Eg. DHL, WPS.etc.

The choice is yours to decide.

Use of delivery agents/ freight companies

There are several shipping companies in Nigeria you can use to ship/import your good from china to Nigeria. These companies charge you certain amount on your products based on weight (KG).

They will provide you with their china warehouse address, which you will put in 1688 where your goods will be sent to.

When your goods arrive at their warehouse, they will contact you on its arrival before proceeding to send it to Nigeria.

My recommended shipping agent as of now is SKY LOGISTICS NIG Ltd.

They are reliable and offer cheap and faster shipping. You can get your goods within 7 days after its arrival at their china warehouse.

You can read on how to use sky logistics website shipping and clearing.

Clearing Of Goods In Nigeria

When your goods arrive in Nigeria, the shipping agent will contact you and give you details of the order and how much to pay. You can pay its equivalent in naira to their Nigerian local bank account and pick up your goods.

If you used a direct address, that is, you paid with bank card, when your goods arrive post office of your state, you will be contacted by a post office official. You will need to go and pick your goods up and pay the clearing fee requested by them.

Now that your goods have arrived, the next step is to market them, sell and make your money.

How to market/promote your goods for selling?

Believe me, this is the most engaging part. Without a proper marketing strategy, your imported products will just be lying around your place. Meaning there’s no sales.

The mistakes I made when I started out were; not making a product research. I buy anything I felt like buying and no proper marketing.

Let me share with you 5 best marketing practices I engaged myself on to get more sales.

  1. Oral/Word of mouth advertising:

This is the number on my list. There is nothing you want to do that you won’t at first, tell it to someone. You need to let people know about your new business. Chat them up, send product pictures out to them. Provide a short description on how the product works and its amazing features.

  • Social media advertising:

One of the most valuable asset and use of social media is self promotion. You might not know this. But, have you wondered why someone you don’t know joined your list?

This is actually because they found something valuable about you. So, why not take the opportunity.

Share to your timeline the products you have. Include    the prices and drop your contact information.

Another important social media marketing strategy I use is called influencer marketing.

In this method, you contact someone in the niche (category) of the products you have, who has a lot of followers. You first need to checkout their user engagement before sending a private message.

If the user likes and comments are over 20% of their entire followers, it’s a good to advert place.

Message them and ask for timeline post price. You can negotiate with them and after a successful agreement, send them your product picture and contact details to be included on the post.

  • Website promotion:

You might want to go professional. This is also an added value to importation business. Most buyers love getting products from websites online. The only downside of this method is that, most Nigerian online shoppers love payment on delivery stuffs.

I will not advise you to offer POD on your new website as it drains business profits faster. WHY?

Most buyers will make orders and won’t be available on scheduled delivery date. Some might even tell the delivery person they don’t want the product anymore because of a reason or another, and don’t forget you’ve already paid the delivery person, which is non-refundable.

You can create an ecommerce website with wordpress’s woocommerce. Or, hire a website designer to get one done for you at an agreed price. (A mini ecommerce website should cost around #30k to #50k, depending on its features).

After website creation, add your products and start promoting your website links.

  • Posters and handbills:

If you’ve decided to go deeper in this business, that’s when you can do this. Make posters to mount at populated areas, and handbills to distribute to people. This type of awareness will require you to have a website because your business will look professional by adding website link to the bills.

This will cost you some money actually, but it’s a good try.

  • Selling on another store:

Most shopping malls are made up of this method. People with products bring goods to the store, and when a product is being sold by the store on your behalf, they get a certain commission on it.

You can visit the nearest community-known store around you and discuss with their manager on this.

Those 5 marketing methods above are a success when you implement them well.

You also think outside the box. Think about ways you can sell faster and implement the idea.

You might want to learn how I made over 120k monthly from data bundle reselling business

Summary

Mini importation business is the moving in of products or services from a country into your country.  Buying products from outside the country will require you to have a valid payment method, device to access the marketplace online, and an accessible location for product delivery.

To make importation business easier, there are procurement and shipping agents that helps in buying and shipping of products down to your country with a fixed price. You select the product and send them the links. They buy the products on your behalf and send to your address.

After the products arrives your address, you need to sell them out and make profits. This is when advertisement types such as; oral, poster mounting, website creation, and social media marketing comes in.

Conclusion

Imporation business in Nigeria is a profitable business only if you follow the right track. Don’t forget all what you’ve read here. They are golden tips.

If you have any questions, drop a comment below and lets discuss it.

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Hope Adeniran

A Nigerian entrepreneur blogger, Fish technologist and tech savvy. I write for blogs including CyberConnect.com.ng. You can connect with me on [email protected]

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