5 Highly Profitable Import Export Business Ideas

When considering export import business opportunities, one of the most important decisions that you will have to make is the product or products that you will offer. This is because, even if you think it is such a good thing, if the product does not have enough demand, your business will not be profitable – regardless of the item’s selling price or the potential profit margin.

In some cases, an upcoming import export business operator will move forward with an idea for a product or service before doing any type of research. Unfortunately, this is a sure way to spend a lot of time on unprofitable propositions before even getting started. With that in mind, it is essential to first ensure that the product or produces that you will be working with have potential profitability.

Cosmetics
image courtesy Pink-Poppy-Photography

The 5 Most Profitable Product Businesses

While there are numerous product and service opportunities in the marketplace, today there are several that seem to stand out as being much higher money makers than the rest. The top 5 most profitable business areas include those that deal in the following products for sale:

  • Technology Accessories– While electronics are certainly hot sellers, it is actually the accessories that go along with the latest smart phones, laptops, and other gadgets that are highly profitable items to import export. Many of these items can be purchased wholesale for pennies on the dollar and then resold to the end user at retail price either online or through traditional brick and mortar outlets.
  • Smart Phones– Although smart phones may appear to be “every day” items in markets such as the Australian, they are just beginning to scratch the surface in many developing nations. The cost to produce this type of technology is extremely inexpensive – especially if you can find export opportunities in China for these items.
  • Accessories for the Home– Home accessories is another area that is booming when it comes to profitable import export opportunities. This can mean anything from picture frames to candle holders to soap dispensers – and everything in between. Most items for the home are easy to manufacture and can be shipped and sold in wholesale packages.
  • Beauty Products– While beauty products are typically quite
    expensive to purchase in salons, they can be imported quite cheaply from overseas and then resold for considerable mark-up and profit. Regardless of the economic climate, these items are typically always in demand – especially with the female demographic.
  • Outdoor Games– While it may come as a surprise, outdoor games such as badminton can be big – and highly profitable – sellers when it comes to importing and reselling. Even more so than video games. This is due in large part to less competition in the marketplace.

Imported Products to Stay Away From

On your quest for import export product ideas, there are also some areas that you should shy away from. While many of the products in the “unprofitable” category may be items that you might personally purchase, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the items carry a large margin for profit – or for that matter, any profit at all.

In addition, other issues with these particular items can include difficulty with shipping, as well as with authentication (in the case of jewellery). The product areas that you should ideally steer clear of include the following:

  • Computers– Typically, computers that are manufactured in a particular country are often times made specifically for that one region. Therefore, importing and reselling this technology to another area of the world will not likely yield sales nor profit.
  • Furniture– While furniture such as wicker furniture can carry an extremely
    image courtesy Elin B
    wicker furniture – image courtesy Elin B

    high mark-up, it is also extremely costly to ship due to its large size and weight. Therefore, if you are considering importing any type of bulky tables, chairs, or related items, you are likely to see your profit margins shrink considerably after subtracting the costs of shipment.

  • Clothing– Clothing is another difficult item to profit with when importing. One reason for this is the big difference in styles from one country to another. In addition, brand name clothing has often been “copied” or bootlegged, so if you think you’re getting a high dollar item to resell, chances are that you’re really just getting a nice looking knock off. Even if you are able to re-sell the item to an end buyer, getting caught by the rightful manufacturer could land you in legal trouble for patent infringement.
  • Video Games– Electronic games also appeal to different interests in different areas of the world. And, similar to the bootlegged clothing, it is often easy to burn copies of video games on to discs and then resell the fakes. In addition to being unprofitable, this, too, could be a recipe for illegal copyright issues if you get caught.
  • Jewellery– Oftentimes, imported jewellery is also an unprofitable proposition.
    Jewelry image
    Jewelry products

    This is because many jewellery products are primarily fake – which is why many consumers will shy away from purchasing these pieces in lieu of the real thing. If your intent is to sell jewellery, however, imported pieces may not be the best way to go for obtaining product.

Finding the Right Products for Your Import Export Company

Of the many product manufactures that are located within Australia, there is really only a small percentage that actually distribute their goods outside of the country. The products that do find foreign markets are considered to be exports. Conversely, the goods that are produced outside of the Australia and are brought in for sale are considered to be imports.

While it may seem to be obvious that all product manufactures would want to have a worldwide market for their offerings, it is really not as easy as people may think for companies to find offshore markets to sell in. So, that is where importers and exporters come in.

In its most basic sense, an import export agent is essentially a type of “matchmaker.” As this matchmaker, you will need to find and match up product manufacturers with markets that want and need to purchase the goods that they produce. Your primary goal is to find them, make a connection, and then establish a good business relationship with them.

In general, an import export agent will take a commission of roughly 10%. So, if the amount of goods that you are importing in a particular deal is in the amount of $1 million, $2 million, or more, then it is easy to see just how lucrative this business model can be.

Additional Considerations

While you typically do not need a great deal of previous import export experience in order to start this type of business and be successful, it is important that you have a good head for being organized – which includes consistently keeping your eye on attention to detail

As an example, do you know of any manufacturers that may be seeking ways to increase their market for the products that they make? Are you planning a trip to another country in the near future, and if so, will you be able to make some new contacts that could become good business associates?

If you do have the ability to sell, along with having an air of diplomacy and determination, then an import export business may be a good fit for you. In most cases, however, you won’t usually be able to run the business alone. Many import export companies will require that you have an individual (or more than one individual) who is in charge of handling the shipments, as well as additional administrative staff, as the business grows.

The Benefits of Running an Import Export Company

Owning an import export business can definitely have its perks. First, even many of the large and highly profitable import export businesses can be operated having very low overhead. In addition, as the owner of the company, you may be able to take tax-deductible trips to foreign countries in order to check out new or additional product sources.

Certainly, another key benefit is the potential profit that can be made. Once an import export business is up and running, the commission that you can earn can be quite lucrative. And, once several large accounts have been established, the financial payoff can be highly rewarding.

Getting started is relatively easy. You can begin this particular type of business in your home with just a telephone. However, you will need to be well organized. This should include having a good filing system. You should also have a professional sounding system for answering calls when you are not available to do so in person.

You should also have a nice, professional looking letterhead for sending out your correspondence to clients, potential clients, and suppliers. This is because this is often times what the first impression of you and your business will be to these individuals.

Your most important first step will be to establish contacts. If you do not have any personal contacts who are in the manufacturing arena, then a good place to get started is by going to the Chambers of Commerce in each city that you are seeking to work through. Also, the foreign consulates that are located within the country, will typically have commercial attaches who wish to establish outlets in Australia. These consulates may also be good resources for finding import export contacts. Likewise, Australian embassies that are located abroad can also be helpful for finding contacts for commercial distribution.

Once you have a list of contact names and addresses, you should prepare a mailing campaign. This can be email, regular mail – or both. Through this mailing campaign, you should introduce yourself and your company, as well as request the names and addresses of the appropriate companies to contact.

From the responses that you receive, you will then be able to contact the individual companies and inquire about their product import export needs. If a company does not need your services at that particular time, do not give up. This is because, for example, the market for imported goods can tend to fluctuate with the value of the dollar in comparison to the value of other countries’ currency.

Also, locating the right market can be just as important as the actual particulars of making the deal and selling the goods. Here again, it comes down to what products are in demand, what products are trending at a particular time, and what people are buying. But, if you do some research and keep up with the current market, you will be able to come up with a multitude of options that you will be able to import and / or export quite profitably.

The Bottom Line

Regardless of the products that you select, it is essential to keep in mind that your after sales follow up should be considered a part of your overall offering to your customers. This way, you are likely to have clients returning, and you will be able to profit from that repeat business rather than having to continuously establish new clients for each and every sale that your business makes.