Step 1: You need these to start…
To start your own mini importation business in Nigeria, you need these:
- A computer or good phone: for booking your goods online, advertising and receiving your orders. This is pretty much your office space.
- Good internet connection: Bad internet connection can really slow down your business. So, you need a good internet network. And you can never go wrong with backups.
- Stable contact address or email address: This is important for your importation correspondences.
- Capital: Of course, how else would you purchase goods without money? So you need some capital to start. The mini importation business does not require much to start. You can start with as low as ₦ 50,000 or as much as ₦ 1000,000 depending on your capacity.
Take note also that your budget size determines the type of goods you can buy. So, this is something you should consider well before you start.
- Domiciliary account or Virtual dollar card: This is for your purchase, of course. But, it’s a trick to use for the lowered monthly limit on foreign spending on your naira debit cards. So when you open a Domiciliary account, do well to request a debit card.
Even better are the FinTech payment options. These FinTech accounts do not have spending limits and you can create Virtual dollar cards. Some options are ALAT, Chipper cash, Kuda, Geegpay, Payday, Wallets Africa and more.
- Any or all these accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Jumia, Jiji, Konga: You will need these accounts to sell your goods. These are your virtual market place.
- A logistics agent: To have a successful mini importation business, you need a good logistics company. You need this for both importation and delivery of goods to customers.
When your customers are happy with their delivery, they will stay. So, choose your logistics agent well. Check out our article on the top 25 logistics companies in Nigeria here:
- A business name registration: This is unnecessary, but it sets your business apart. With a registered business name, your customers have a level of assurance that your business is legitimate. Create your business plan now.
Step 2: Choose your importation platforms
Most mini importers in Nigeria often import from China and America because of pricing. Some platforms you can import from are:
- Aliexpress: This website is suitable for Business to Business (B2B) transactions. This website also has cheaper rates compared to Alibaba.com
- Alibaba.com: Also similar to AliExpress but suitable for Business to customers (B2C) transactions
- Amazon.com: This website is best for shopping electronic gadgets such as phones, toys, electronic games, etc.
- eBay.com: This is another website suitable for electronic gadgets especial accessories such as computer parts, printer toners, remote controls, etc.
- Digicircle.com: You can easily get used phones and computers from this website at good rates.
- 1688.com: This is one of the biggest B2B platforms. You can find almost any product here for your mini importation business.
- Taobao.com: This is a Chinese website where you can buy mom and baby, cosmetics products and clothes.
- Newegg.com: This website has a wide range of electronic products for both home and office use, indoors and outdoors products.
- Everbuying.com: This is also a global platform that offers a wide range of products at competitive prices.
Step 3: Research products you will import
When deciding products to import, you need to consider:
Choose your marketing style:
Be true to yourself about what you are good at and comfortable talking about your product to the market..
For instance, you can’t be selling makeup or cosmetic products and not show your face in your adverts at one point or another. Sometimes even for clothes or shoes. But, for kitchen gadgets or electronics, you can decide not to appear in your advert pictures or videos.
Your community includes your friends, both virtual and real, your family members, your colleagues at work, your neighbors, people you relate with every day.
Try to do a survey on things that they buy or use regularly. Things that seem they constantly need but are not in their quickest reach; maybe you have parents who have kids around you. This means they will need clothing for the children. You need to understand what will sell well in your community.
These are the first set of people you will sell to, who will then refer you and or keep coming back. So, be instinctive in your research. The following products are ideas of things you should look out for:
- Electronic gadgets
- Phones and phone accessories
- Hair and hair products
- Adult, children and baby clothing
- Kitchen or household items
Your budget size also plays a vital role when trying to choose products to import. If your budget is small, this means you need to purchase less expensive products that you can sell quickly and make a good profit on it too.
If you’re willing to work on your next step, get an advisory session on Counseal today.
Step 4: Marketing and sales
A mini importation business does not require having any physical shop. But, as easy as it sounds, you need to put a lot of work on advertising your products to make effective sales.
We mentioned earlier some of the online sites you can use for marketing your products but you can’t stop there, so here are 4 ways to market your products vigorously:
Word of mouth
We have mentioned that your community is important mostly at the start of your mini importation business. You need to put yourself and your product in their face, literally. This might be hard at first, but it will pay off, eventually.
One benefit of word of mouth is that it is a free advert. However, you need to do it well. So, as people in your community buy from you, give them an experience that stays in their head. It could be through pricing or giving them an extra something with what they’ve bought. That way, they have something to say to trigger your next potential buyer.
Get Facebook and Instagram accounts
These are must haves for your business. While Jumia, JiJi, Konga, etc are good but you can’t do mini importation business well without Facebook and Instagram accounts.
With these accounts, you can almost bring the experience with your products to live through well taken pictures and videos.
Also, you can promote your content to teach your target potential customers. And you also get to receive orders and respond to your customers on these platforms.
You can take free courses on how to be a pro at creating marketing contents for your mini importation business. Check for free courses on Google.
We’ve talked about these platforms earlier, but it’s good to note that with mini importation, putting your eggs in one basket doesn’t work well. So, it will benefit you to take advantage of more than one of the marketing platforms we listed if not all. Some of the most used platforms in Nigeria are Jumia, Konga and Jiji.
Take note that all the above mentioned steps will be wasted if you don’t have a good structure for attending to your customers on time. You also must have a good payment structure that protects both you and your customers.
Starting a mini importation is straight forward. Get your gadgets, accounts and platforms ready. Know where you want to buy from. Know what you want to buy, buy it and start selling. Do you need a business plan for your mini importation business? Click here now for our business plan app.