Starting a new import business from scratch can be very confusing if you don’t have a clear direction of where to start from. The hassle of importing, not deciding what products to order and encountering fraud supply sources can be a few reasons why most businesses fail right after they take off.
The article below will guide you on how to establish a business that involves importing products from China and selling it on various other platforms later. It is always better to prepare a business strategy, which you can easily follow and implement on. Read on the steps below to get started:
1. Find the Product you want to Import
One of the most difficult tasks that most entrepreneurs dread doing is deciding that one product. If you don’t decide it now, you won’t be able to do it anytime later. In a Hong Kong B2B marketplace, where almost everyone is doing the same importing and selling business, you must think of something that is unique.
Find products that people love to buy and usually go high on demand. Instead of focusing on getting cheap products from China and Hong Kong B2B trade sites, pay attention to the products that you can sell at a great value. Besides, think of products that are easier to ship, fit in your budget range, and are not seasonal. Browse through famous trading sites in China like Alibaba, eBay, Amazon and Global Sources. When you decide that, slowly gain a grip into its niche and expand it into a full brand from there.
2. Find a Good Supplier
Now that we have decided a product, we need suppliers to import it from. The best way to verify reliable suppliers is through their rankings on top trading sites in China or any Hong Kong B2B platform. For instance, Alibaba. You can search for supplier ranking on Alibaba and have a look at their entire history of supplying to other B2B businesses and companies. Verify their contact information and contact the ones that seem promising to you. It is important to have a conversation to see if they are serious and ready for the trade transaction.
Also note that you pick suppliers that are ready to accept payments with Trade Assurance or PayPal, at least for the first three months. This minimizes risk.
3. Order some Samples
In order to authenticate your suppliers, order samples in the form of small orders. Try to order from 4-5 suppliers so you can get an idea. Take note of each of their pricing, shipping time, damages and customer services. Compare them and pick your most suited supplier. Remember not to buy anything in bulk unless you have ordered their samples and loved them.
4. Selling Your Product
Before you start selling, you will have to decide whether you want to start with small quantities or straightaway stock up your inventories. If you are new into this, we recommend doing it one at a time.
To sell products, pick a suitable sales channel – preferably two. Your options include Amazon, eBay and Craigslist etc. Now, set up a shop and get your products up. Once you get orders, ship out the products, keeping in mind the delivery time, packaging and costs.
After a month, you will observe the trends in your import and selling pattern from which you can decide if you are making money or not. If this is working out, move to scale up the current product else look for something else to sell.
5. Scaling your Product
By the time you will come to this step, you would have tried, failed, attempted and succeeded at different products and suppliers. When you think your sales are steady and you have finally found the perfect supplier, it is time to grow your business. Start adding more products in the product line, send promotional samples with every shipment, start advertising and launch your own brand name.
Some other things that can work for you are promoting your brand through Amazon and eBay. You can also expand your shops to other channels like Google Shopping, Bing shopping and other accessible platforms.…
Kenya is known as a third world country struggling to survive. However, after the 2017 presidential election, Kenya showed the world that they still have the dedication and resources to improve as an economy. In fact, over the last decade, Kenya has recorded a GDP growth of 5.9% and got placed as one of the top performers on the African continent.
This significant data has made way for many foreign investors to invest in this country. Many businesses including B2B platforms have been studying Kenya import data to see if their goods stand any chance of getting sold. One reason for this is that export data of Kenya shows that not many local businesses are involved in sending their products across the border.
Having that said, let me provide you with a small guide on how you can import and be competitive in this growing country.
If you are an exporter, one thing that you need to understand is that Kenya’s local suppliers are highly competitive and have most of the market share. On the other hand, the wealthiest 10% of the population holds 39% of the income. While the poorest 10% only hold 2%. This figure indicates that due to inequality within the economy you can’t expect to sell your stock at a high price.
If you want to compete with the local suppliers, we suggest that you price your products with a margin of 10%-15% over cost. Though this may seem a bit too low, you won’t ever feel the need to increase it as your number sales will cover it. On the other hand, there is an exception for unique products. If you import a first-of-its-kind product in the Kenyan market, you are free to set the price according to factors of demand and supply.
Just like any other country, Kenya is also strict with its import and export rules and regulations. To avoid getting into any trouble and to get all your goods cleared by the customs department you’ll need the following documents.
- Export Manifest: this is the detailed doc carried by the cargo carrier. This doc will show all the cargo on board, weight and dimension details, and details of the sender and the receiver.
- Airway Bill: this document has a summary of all the material inside the package. It’s basically an agreement between the receiver and sender and issued after the package is dispatched from its origin.
- Customs Bond: this is proof of the exporter agreeing to all customs laws and duties of Kenya. The exporter must sign this bond and reveal it to the customs officers.
- Certificate of Origin: this certificate is issued by the government of the exporter’s country. If the state is a trade ally of Kenya, then these imports will receive special preference and care.
- Pre-shipment Inspection: a certificate of proof of inspection also needs to be provided by the importer. This document will be issued after a thorough review is done before the shipment gets shipped.
- Import Declaration Form: The agent clearing the goods prepare this doc. This form will include a summary of all docs accompanied with the shipment.
Import Tariffs for Kenya
- The customs duty enforced under The East African Community (EAC) varies from 1% to 100%, with the average being 25%.
- No minimum threshold is set in this nation. Therefore, tariffs are payable regardless of the value or quantity of the imports.
- A standard rate of 16% of VAT is applicable on the sum of all tariffs combined
- Other custom and tax fees
- An Import Declaration fee will be charged with25% of the CIF value or Ksh 5000 per import. – Higher of the two is to be paid!
- Alcoholic beverages and tobacco are charged an excise duty. This fee will be a percentage that’ll be decided according to the quantity or values of your shipment.
Major Import Origins of Kenya are:
- The UK ($660m)
- South Africa ($793m)
- Japan ($892m)
- China ($3.22b)
- India ($3.93b)
Major Export Destinations are:
- The UK ($419m)
- The USA ($439)
- The Netherlands ($489m)
- Uganda ($533m)
- Zambia ($680m)
According to Kenya import data, you can clearly see how dominant China and India are in sending their products to this country. On the other hand, export data Kenya shows that they are dealing with a massive BOP deficit. However, with the economy growing, many manufacturers have shown interest in exporting goods to reduce the BOP and also bring in foreign currency to the nation. You as an international export need to keep these guidelines in your minds to avoid getting caught up in any mess.…
The logistics and transport sectors are preparing to invest a significant amount of money in technology to provide business intelligence and freight availability which is demanded at a considerable rate by the shippers from all over the world.
These innovative technologies developed at a high-rate and mixed up with various environmental factors develop a new type of landscape for the marketers in the logistics and transportation space.
After working as a tech marketer for logistics for over five years, I’m more than happy to share some of my observations and insights influencing the marketing state of logistics, most importantly when we talk about fleets, trucking, and tech.
The Revival of Branding:
A significant part of the logistics and branding community is embracing the new technologies for their businesses and starting to position themselves as tech firms. Freight carriers, who previously were administered through faxes, emails, and telephone calls are now associated with modern day technology and earning a substantial profit through this new branding strategy.
This method for repositioning the brand entirely in different situations is welcomed by many. Complete modification of any brand is deemed to be 180 coming with a risk, but if worked delivers the desired results in quick periods.
Marketers know the changes most of the brands are making profits and feel empowered to talk about it when the time arrives for repositioning the brand from scratch.
Frenemies – The New Trend:
Recruiting partners from different channels to sell the product is considered as an effective strategy to increase the length of your reach and attain a higher market share at a high pace in regards to the methods which you would have applied.
The most exciting thing, however, is that partners from different channels at times are with different companies who are competing with you or have been your competitor in the past.
Marketers are varied of the changing dynamics when using an enablement strategy for partners – for instance, if there are any details about different products which shouldn’t be discussed at all during the training of various partners.
Shortage of Drivers:
Lack of drivers in the trucking industry is affecting many businesses around the world, and in general disrupts almost everything from sales, to the freight capability, etc.
The shortage of anything suggests that not you have to brand and market your product or service to the customers effectively, but also to the employees and truck drivers working under you. The marketing for recruiting new people in different sectors are starting to flourish and making an impact in previous years, with marketers supporting this endeavor for the betterment of the firm.
To generate high leads, it is incredibly crucial to remember that majority of the customers are more influenced towards organizations solving their problems quickly and without any hassle. Your targeted customers are interested in knowing if you embrace a positive culture among the employees or not. Therefore, make sure your marketing strategy is driven towards catering their problems and needs.
E-Commerce Developing Through Different Methods:
The e-commerce industry is adapting to different propositions and strategies to increase e-commerce development in different countries.
The increase and shift in e-commerce sector show an expanding significance in the delivery. Final delivery is essential due to the on-going strategies covering the freight cycle is considered to be old-fashioned. The costing for carrying products in different areas requires a large amount of money, and the Council for Supply Chain Management Professionals suggests that almost 28 percent of the cost of transportation happens in the final stages.
Marketers should monitor how final delivery and e-commerce is developing, and how all of these e-commerce firms are segregating themselves from the rising competition among themselves.
The most current marketing technologies and tools are easily available in the logistics and trucking space.
Different types of automation tools for marketers like HubSpot cover different kinds of marketing campaigns online. Experienced chat bots converse with visitors on the website providing a new method for communication, as well as AI generating marketing based reports through research and findings. Having all of these facilities in the sector, it is safe to say that marketing technology is an integral extension of the marketing team.…
The future of logistics industry is bright. The transportation companies need to evolve along with consumer needs and modern trends of supply chain sector. How can logistics merchants pull this off?
First you need to go through the SWOT (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. Then find out where you lack and where you find your strengths. Strategize the course of action to overcome threats and weakness with your strengths and further exercise your strengths to utilize opportunities.
However, industry experts have prescribed to opt for the following supply chain trends to keep your transportation and logistics practices in check.
- Investing in Innovation
- Augmented Reality
- Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain
- E-Commerce Trend
- Business Decisions will be Based on Digital Content
1. Investing in Innovation
Do you know 85% co-workers in organizations perceive process improvements as “innovation” and rest of the majority define “innovation” with “business model innovation” and “adopting emerging technologies”? (KENCO – 2017).
It is obvious that innovation is seen as process improvements, business model innovation and adopting emerging technologies (such as driverless vehicles and drones).
In this context, holding specialized teams that are focusing on innovation is a rising trend in the supply chain industry. Logistics companies are investing on setting up innovation labs for their workforce to foster growth of creative products and new solutions.
On other side, it is evident that supply chain is connected with labor issues and turbulent economies so there is huge pressure on logistics companies. In this regard, innovation implementation must be aligned with strategy and operations otherwise even the smartest innovations can’t produce fruitful results.
2. Augmented Reality
Augmented reality will be the future of supply chain. DHL research about AR has explored the following ways that will benefit transportation companies.
Picking Optimization: Every rider (picker) can see “online picking list” through Google glass visuals integrated with the company CRM. When a customer selects an item from a website, the display measures the most effective path through the storehouse, guides that picker to the package, scans it when picked from the (WMS) Warehouse Management System and swiftly indicates the rider to the next parcel.
Facility Planning: You can model different workflows, conduct test measurement even field test all virtually. It will save your money as well as allow experiencing what you are trying to do before actually executing it.
Freight Loading: Augmented reality (AR) will replace the load instructions and physical list of cargo. How? One can view loading instructions by Google glass visuals along step by step instructions. These instructions will help on how to effectively load the container given the packages, weight, dimensions and size going into it.
Traffic Support: AR will provide heads-up (Google glass visuals) and wind-shield displays that allow carriers to smartly route and re-route shipments without causing any major distractions to the driver. Such displays will give the driver crucial information including gasoline efficiency, cargo temperature and much more variety of critical and interesting information.
3. Artificial Intelligence in Supply Chain
In manufacturing industry, AI will help in establishing the complete surveillance system of monitoring the entire supply chain from procurement of raw material by supplier to manufacturing, then making of finished goods till reaching into the hands of the consumer. Additionally, AI will also help 3PLs in using drone cameras for tracking the shipment of goods from point of dispatch to the point of discharge.
AI also includes adding value to controlling and customizing the system of transportation with automatic vehicles and delivering parcels through drones.
According to Business insider, by 2020 there will be 10 million self driving cars.
Self driving cars are either fully or semi-automatic. Fully automatic car can move without driver and semi-automatic car looks after the brake and gear itself. Self driving cars will help to enhance efficiency in transporting goods from one destination to another place.
In the next five years, there will be several endless applications of AI in supply chain sector that are expected to benefit the consumer, company and 3PL (third party logistics) as well.
4. E-Commerce Trend
The above statistics provide information on worldwide retail online shopping from 2014-2021. Due to rising trend of online shopping, the retails sales of e-commerce will amount to $4.48 trillion in 2021. (Statista- 2018).
In this context, delivery of goods heavily relies on the logistics companies. Transportation companies will play vital role in supporting the consolidated commerce in next few years.
Whether a parcel is delivered to the consumer in three day or a day, customers tend to demand instant delivery. In this context, the role of shippers and 3PL will be critical in backing up the logistics operations of online & offline retailers and entrepreneurs. 3PL needs to establish strategic alliances with other logistic companies to stay competitive in providing quick delivery services to their clients and end-users before the rush of extensive orders slips from your hands.
5. Business Decisions will be Based on Digital Content
79% supply chain and logistics companies are depending on the content for lead generation. (Fronetics)
47% B2B buyers view 3 to 5 pieces of content before reaching the salesperson. (DemandGenReport)
Whether it’s a B2B or B2C company most customers consider digital content before hiring services of any logistics company. Even online content on blogs and social media plays crucial role in building strong word of mouth in corporate culture.
Therefore, supply chain organization needs to run sharp content marketing on social media, increase blog posts, opt for digital advertising and video marketing. Content marketing has a reciprocal relationship with all types and mediums of online marketing so you have to stay in touch with modern trends and tools of B2B marketing.
Transportation companies need to establish their own brand because there will be intense competition in the supply chain industry. Online as well as brick and mortar companies will more likely to choose the services of strong brand in logistics sector because every organization is worried about to satisfy their customers and sustain them for future business.
You may need to adopt new technologies or invest in B2B marketing and branding or put your efforts and energy in developing strategic alliances to gain a competitive edge in the marketplace.
In all the cases, it’s all about placing your customer first and emphasize on more speed and efficiency in service delivery.…
Every industry is taking advantage of analytics. Analytics play a vital role in transport and logistics industry for engagement and conversions. The use of analytics in transport industry has completely changed the landscape of working methods.
Let’s take a view of the role of analytics in the transport and logistics.
Logistics and Transport Industry Overview
- Postal Services: Annual growth is -.3%, total worth is $69 billion.
- Courier: Annual Growth is 1.3%; total worth is $82 billion.
- Air Freight: 2 billion dollars of import and 14 billion dollars of export
The above figures states about the dollar value of this industry. Even one of the famous brands in the cargo shipped around 16 billion tons kilometer freight in 2014. It's an enormous weight. The transport industry carries a lot weights as well as returns on investment for the Transportation and Logistics Suppliers as stated in the above figures.
Nevertheless, it is also a striking fact that air cargo is one of the fast and furious ways for transporting articles from storehouse to the customer. Its effectiveness is vital to the global economic success. Moreover, the supply chain requirements need to meet quickly because the competition is fast and furious.
In this way, cargo carriers require making the best use of technology. Exercising best technology will assure the whole the supply chain of air cargo flexible, adaptable and connected. Though, for proper optimization of the entire process need excellent decision making as well as quality analytics. Therefore, the ones who can go through full data providers and develop action plans are more likely to win in the long run.
Logistics and Transport Industry Analysis
Along earning a great amount of revenues, this industry is also facing several problems like data access, delivery issues, data disconnection etc. Transportation & Logistics Suppliers that are operating within the cargo world needs collaboration with their counterparts to access data easily and share common problems and issues such as delay in delivery; it can be easily handled through a logistic alliance.
Another problem that is encountered by transport industry is data disconnection across various phases in freight shipments. Because data is stored in different structures and formats that restricts all the stakeholders to access it. Thus it is difficult to get the clear picture of what is going on. Hence it is hard to take full advantage of analytics. Therefore, it is essential to bring the entire data into the cloud because it will link application (like silos) and provide information to all the involved parties in the real state of time.
Challenge: Using Analytics in Logistics and Transport Industry
Data Integration: As mentioned above, data collection is quite tough because data is pooled in various software houses and external databases that make it hard for one to view the entire picture of information.
Indeed, during project analysis, 80% time has been spent in dealing with data issues. Boosting efficiency needs processes of data integration and improvement in collaboration among all stakeholders.
On other side, business users also need to employ data connectors to tap into external systems. Because the quantity of data collected may seem enormous, however, data profiling can facilitate in pinpointing routine trouble points. In this way, important issues are:-
- How to get better service levels and enhance capacity to meet the demand?
- The impact of disruptive technologies in the air freight industry, for instance, 100 ton of air shipment, etc.
Customer Analytics: Logistics and Transport Industry
Descriptive analytics can aid to highlight your customer base by developing the detailed customer profile. These profiles will depend on the data of industry demographics, buying patterns, shipping history, location, size, etc. A particular marketing campaign can be developed based on the data of customer profile. It will help in customer segmentation as well as forecasting sales and consumer behavior.
Analytics can also help to minimize transportation cost and maximize revenue by forecasting demand while meeting any limitations of capacity. The model of analytics would include several predictors like show up behavior, seasonal influence, buying pattern and cargo capacity availability on the monthly, weekly and daily basis. The results of analytics should be consistently updated with real-time results. In this way, a business plan can be able to adopt changes through adjusting schedules of flights or prices that are charged during different periods of demand. Consequently, it would help in maximizing revenue and enhance customer satisfaction.
Companies need to think about strategic alliances and work in joint ventures to take the maximum advantage of analytics and data. The purpose is to help each other in accessing rich data of customer for better marketing and sales planning.
The additional benefit is to support each other in adopting data-driven technologies like IIOT which will also help in certain applications include shipments tracking in real-time, delivery to last-mile, route optimization, forecasted asset maintenance, optimization of warehouse capacity, etc.…