If you own any type of sporting goods store, you might want to consider adding bicycles to your inventory as the warm summer weather approaches. Lower wholesale prices from a foreign supplier put you in the optimum position to sell your imported bikes for less and make a better profit in the long run. And what better addition to your inventory than the classic and ever-popular beach cruiser? The first model came about in the 1930s and they’ve been preferred by many American consumers since, especially those traveling longer distances on paved paths. Cruisers are designed with you in mind and built for comfort with large, upright seats so cyclists can have a smooth and enjoyable ride. With the variety of colors and styles available, there’s no reason not to love this vintage bike used all throughout the United States.
The important thing to keep in mind when importing is to find a reliable supplier that will follow through on delivering quality products. Bikes are somewhat fragile so you want to feel confident you’re working with someone who will ensure that everything is received in one piece. We recommend checking out the working conditions and assuring quality at the factory before coming to an agreement or placing your order. If you don’t have the means to visit the supplier yourself, the next best option is to attend a trade show. This will give you the opportunity to meet with prospects, and suppliers will often bring samples to give you the look and feel of the imports they produce. You can also research suppliers online and compare reviews. Because choosing a trustworthy supplier is a huge factor when importing, we suggest using Import Genius. This tool allows you to conduct market research and find a supplier that’s the right fit for you and your business. Global trade professionals use this web application of over 79 million shipping manifests to grow their imports, monitor competitors, and look for new suppliers. You’ll have access to records for every imported product into the U.S. since 2006. If you’re looking for a product you’ve never imported before, it can be extremely useful since you can see which suppliers are being used by major U.S. importing companies. This gives you an idea of how reliable suppliers are based on who is already working with them. With the same token, if you know of a competitor already importing a specific product, you can see who manufactures their goods. The app’s quick searches allow you to find information easily. A search for ‘beach cruiser’ under the product category shows all the U.S. companies importing this product. Looking at one company in particular, ‘Trendsetters Trading Inc.’, we can see that a recent shipment came from ‘NINGBO AIERSHI BICYCLE CO.,LTD’ out of China. This supplier also works with Bike Nashbar, Double Dutch Bikes and Bros Bicycle Corporation. The fact that this supplier works with multiple bicycle importers may be an indication this is a manufacturer you would want to work with. You’ll also have access to contact information for this supplier supplied by Import Genius. After completing your research and choosing a supplier, you can place your order and arrange payment terms. Most commonly, importers prefer to issue a down payment so their order can begin processing. This is usually 20-30% of the total order price and you’ll pay the remainder when the goods are loaded and ready to ship. You may also choose to obtain a letter of credit from your banking institution. We simply recommend planning in advance for this because it can take some extra time for your supplier to receive it. At this point, your order is in and it’s time to make arrangements for when the shipment arrives. We suggest working with a customs broker. Your broker can handle the paperwork on your behalf to get the bikes cleared through customs. They should also assist you in booking a drayage and transportation company to take the goods from the port to where you’ll be storing them. Now it’s time to put the bikes on display and see them fly out the door in the hands of happy cruisers!