Want to Be a Direct Importer
Direct importing of merchandise may be a way for you to increase margins and improve your bottom line.
Both financial institutions and overseas vendors are becoming more accustomed to working with importers and exporters. This, along with advanced technology, often can simplify the importing process.
Following are key elements to help you decide if direct importing is right for your catalog company.
Sourcing vs. Importing
If you currently buy imported goods from domestic suppliers, distributors or resellers, you may be offering products at good value to customers, but you won’t enjoy the higher margins that come from importing products directly. But before you get excited about the prospect of making more profits, understand there are associated costs with sourcing products directly.
For example, you’ll work with trading companies, agents or vendors to find and develop products before shipping them into the United States. There are hidden costs to importing that you need to understand. You or your buyers may have to make overseas buying trips. And the list goes on.
For small- and medium-sized organizations that may not yet be comfortable with those related costs or don’t have buyers with overseas purchasing experience, working with U.S.-based trading companies and suppliers may be the best answer. This gives you the chance to directly import products and gain some margin increases, while also having resources available for sourcing and developing products.
Takeaway tip: Aggregate as much of your business as possible with one or two trading companies to leverage your importance with them and ensure they comprehensively understand your business.
Logistics and Risk
Regardless of how you find the products to import, there are two big differences in directly importing items vs. simply selling imported items: managing the logistics and assuming the risk. Being an importer of record (i.e., your company name is on the shipment) requires you to get familiar with some key import and financial logistics.