With the variety of electronics and high dollar amount many are willing to pay to get their hands on them, they’d make a great addition to your import business. In this how-to piece, we’ll give you the tools you need to import electronics.
The first step is to determine which items you’d like to carry in your inventory. Decide which brands and equipment you’d like to sell based on area demand and what your competitors are selling. When importing, we can’t emphasize enough the importance of doing your research. This allows you to make the most informed decisions. Keep in mind your target market and conduct product reviews to ensure you’re ordering the best available equipment. Another important step in importing electronics is to check the terms of the warranty in case any of the equipment doesn't work properly. A worldwide warranty often states the equipment must be returned to the country of origin for repairs. It’s a good idea to be prepared with knowledge of the procedure in the event you must submit any items under warranty. With other types of warranties, repair services in the United States are often permissible. Just be sure to know what you’re getting so there won’t be any surprises. Once you know what exactly you’ll be importing, you can start contacting suppliers. If you’re not aware of foreign suppliers for electronics, your best bet might be to attend an industry trade show to meet with representatives in person. Your goal is to find a supplier that you can go to again and again and rely on them to deliver quality shipments. Many suppliers bring product samples to trade shows so it’s a good opportunity to get a comprehensive look at the many suppliers out there. Once you find your supplier you’ll submit your order and cover all the details as far as arrival dates and payment terms. If you’ve picked a trustworthy supplier, you should feel comfortable in giving them a down payment to secure your order. The alternate option is to have your bank issue a letter of credit, so you won’t pay for your order until you verify your supplier has met their end of the deal. This might slow you down a bit so just make sure you have time to take those extra steps if you decide on this payment method. Because research is crucial you might want to invest in a business intelligence tool like Import Genius. Thousands of businesses use this database of U.S. ocean freight shipments to research suppliers, monitor their competition and market activity, and keep track of the supply chain for U.S. imports. This is an easy to use service and you can easily type in any product to see all imports of the product since 2006. In this case, lets say you want to look at which companies are importing Blu Ray disc players. When you search for the term ‘Blu Ray’, the first page of results shows consignee ‘Samsung Electronic America’ imports from ‘CEIEC INTERNATIONAL ELECTRONICS’ IN Beijing. As you can see, this is a great tool for finding reliable suppliers. If you look at suppliers major companies are using, this might be a good way for you to determine which suppliers you’re interested in working with. Not only can you search by product, but you can also search using categories such as shipper, U.S. port, country of origin, and zipcode range. The database also contains ample contact information on companies so you can get in touch with businesses you find. After placing your order, you’ll want to make arrangements with a customs broker that can help clear the shipment through customs. If you don’t already have a broker, well... you guessed it, start your research! Look into brokers and even check reviews to find someone efficient to work with. Your broker will gather all the paperwork required by customs and can also help secure drayage and transport companies for getting the electronics to your warehouse. Again, you can see the importance of research in every step of this process. From deciding on your inventory, to choosing a supplier, to knowing the warranty you’re buying, research is your ticket and for good reason since you’ll feel confident you’re making the right choices. Happy researching and happy importing!