China is a world power in manufacturing, and you can find almost any product here. If you want to open a store, you need to carefully choose the products you want to sell. You need to make sure that you import the most profitable products,  and those are worth your investment. Sourcing Nova has created this checklist to help you start a business importing and selling profitable products from China.

How do you import profitable products from China?

Know your niche

It is better to know something than know nothing. If you have enough knowledge of a certain niche, then you have the background knowledge to market a product. You will have a clearer understanding of costs and selling prices and know how to inspect for product quality. You will be more confident when competitors appear. If you have extensive work experience in an industry, then you have confidence to answer customer questions and inquiries. For example: If you have worked in a veterinarian’s office for a long time, pet supplies are a good niche product.


The product should resolve a problem or issue consumers face regularly

“Create a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door” is as true today as it was when first uttered.    Products need to be useful, practical, ease life and make people happy, healthy, safe and more ready to meet goals.    This means finding the users who are looking for those products.

You may have a desire to sell wigs, but the basic reason people buy wigs is to appear attractive and feel beautiful.    This is a fact you should not forget when starting to find appropriate products of any sort.


Start with a high interest niche

Interest is the motivation for perseverance. Think about it: What are you most interests you? What hobbies do you have? What is your passion when doing something? If you can inject passion into your product, you have a great chance of success. Because you are passionate, you know what the perfect example looks like; you know where to improve it; you know where to talk to people and what they talk about as well. For example, if you are passionate about cooking, then importing kitchen supplies from China would be a good choice.


There is brand potential – Your name on the product

A private label needs a brand story background that you can share with your customers and build interest in you and your products.


Return customers are key

There are some products that are not easily consumable – kitchen knives as an example – so people need only buy them once or twice in a lifetime.    Other products, such as straws for a tea shop or cat litter for a pet store, will need repeated purchases.    This is a balancing act you will need to decide on: products that customers buy only once or twice or products customers buy repeatedly.


Avoid large companies

Many large companies purchase from China, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Sears, Lowes and others. They make large purchases, have cost advantages and loyal customers. When choosing profitable niche products, we try to avoid direct competition with large companies. If a certain type of product has a large amount of inventory on these platforms, then that product may not be our appropriate choice. If this is your first time importing products from China, Sourcing Nova recommends starting with a small niche.


Read, and study directory trees

Big box retailers have many directories – categories of products. Amazon has more than 13,000 directories and sub-directories. You can start with large directories and then work down levels until you find the niche you are familiar with. You want to import niche products where you have expertise. For example, Kitchen & Dining, Home & Gardening and Pet Suppliers are all the easier directory trees to look into for your niche product.


High profit margins

For entrepreneurs, it is best to start with higher-priced products. The time and effort required for a $10.00 product is almost the same as a $50.00 product. Moreover, higher-priced products tend to be of a higher quality, which means fewer returns and after-sales services. Sourcing Nova recommends that you import profitable products with an asking price of $50.00 to $70.00 is a good choice. Such products can usually guarantee a profit rate of 30 to 50 percent.

The higher the profit margin, the greater your fault tolerance, the point where you can take a loss but not have it affect the business.

From another perspective, the higher the price of a product, the higher the investment cost. Generally speaking, the product price multiplied 100 times is a good profitable investment. If your product sells for $15.00, you may need to invest $1,500.00 to get a good return; if your product sells for $50.00, you may need to invest $5,000.00 to get a good return. Importers who choose Chinese products for the first time should choose products that have high profit margin. You can import profitable products with lower profit margins after learning your niche market.

Avoid seasonal products

Seasonal products have excellent sale potential and profit margins, but the short sales time means seasonal products cannot bring continuous income.  You may backlog unnecessary inventory costs for storage of the seasonal items. For example, summer swimwear and winter down jackets if not sold out when the season is over will be backlogged into inventory.


Expiration dates – worthy of consideration

Choose products that are not perishable, fragile, store and transport easily.    Some products are highly competitive on the surface but lack a reasonable shelf life.    Products that cannot sit for a period of time are not ideal.    The PLA straw, as an example, naturally degrades and should be used within nine months of leaving the factory in China.    This is an example of a product Sourcing Nova would not recommend for your e-commerce needs.


Products that last for a long time are wise choices

Most e-commerce professionals are looking for products that have a lengthy life.   Some newer e-commerce business owners think to purchase from the lowest bidder and not consider the quality of the products.   Often times, these products do not have a guarantee and are broken after a few uses.

Some people like to follow trends and what is popular at the moment.   This means some products are on sale briefly with interest lost after a period.   There is a trend of buying high-quality, timeless and heirloom quality items that will last.   Besides, the financial situation of many point to cheaper, low-quality products that will require quick replacement are not fiscally sound investments.

Select low-risk products

Some importable products have very high quality manufacturing standards due to their use and attributes, and if these products fail, they may cause injury to users. Climbing supplies, motorcycle helmets and skateboards are good examples of these products.  If the quality and durability is not high enough, consumers may get badly hurt or even die. Another category that requires extra care in manufacturing is baby products. If these products cause harm to users, sellers will not only be subject to consumer pressure but may also be prosecuted.


Choose products with small size and light weight

Due to their nature, some products are huge and the cost in transportation is quite high. For example, sofas, refrigerators and washing machines freight cost erode product profits.


Choose strong, non-fragile products

Some fragile products, like ceramic and glass, are easily damaged during import, causing unnecessary profit loss or shrink. Those who are importing from China for the first time should import more robust products, which can reduce risk of profit loss and shrink.


Labor-intensive products

China is famous for its cheap manpower. In most parts of China, workers on production lines earn about $300.00 a month, excluding overtime costs. Some products naturally require a lot of manpower to produce, assemble and package. Importing such labor-intensive products from China has a cost advantage that translates into a higher profit margin for you.


Pay attention to avoid patent problems

Many factories in China can take OEM, original equipment manufacturer, orders, but Chinese factories do not check whether the products ordered violate patent and trademark rights of certain brands. Before placing an order for production, as an importer, make sure that your products do not infringe the patent of the brand owner.  Infringement can open you to legal liability.


Analyze competition and demand

When choosing a profitable product for import fom China, study the potential demand for the product and the degree of competition. There are many keyword analysis tools that can do this on behalf of the importer. Sourcing Nova assists paid customers with keyword analysis when necessary. We are a paid member of Ahrefs, a powerful new SEO and keyword tool.


Choose the appropriate purchase order value

For those off-the shelf products, the quantity of MOQ, minimum order quantity, purchased is smaller and the unit price is cheaper. If the product you need is a new concept and the factory has never made such products, then it means that the factory needs to spend extra time making molds, researching production procedures and training workers.

These steps  cause down time in production. Keep in this mind if you choose a new concept.  There is as much down time for 10 products as there is for 10,000 products. Therefore, many factories in China are reluctant to make small OEM orders.

Generally speaking, if the product requires large customization in Chinese manufacturing operations, any order below $5,000.00 is a “small order.”


Pay attention to duty and tariff changes

Due to Donald Trump ’s latest act of trade war, tariffs on many imported products have become very volatile. Tariffs are heavily influenced by politics, and tariffs affect votes.  Many politicians often use tariffs to win polls. When choosing to import profitable Chinese products, it is best to consult the customs agent or freight forwarder in your home country. These professionals are often familiar with the latest in duty and tariff charges.


Keep up with hot trends

There are many online tools to let importers know the best products that are hot and selling well. Common tools are Amazon Most Wished For, Amazon Best Sellers, Trending on eBay, Popular on Kickstarter, Jungle Scout and Ahrefs. Importers can use these tools to see what is hot now, and they can also use Google Trends tool to check product trends.

Improve on existing products

If you can add value to a product yourself and achieve the functions that users want, the product is undoubtedly very useful. Amazon and other e-commerce platforms now allow users to review their purchases. You can find opportunities to improve these products by simply clicking on familiar products and carefully reading user feedback.


Get inspiration from other channels

Frequently visit blogs and forums about imported niche products that you are familiar with, and sign up for news letters using a dedicated mailbox. You can often receive many interesting product ideas from these news letters. Many times, these ideas have not yet been produced, and such products cannot be found on platforms such as Amazon. If you think these ideas are good enough and have potential, you can send them to the factory to see if the factory can produce these products.

You can also observe what popular products you have never seen in other countries and regions while traveling. These kind of products may not have spread to the country and region where you live now, but those products are currently popular in other countries and regions.  These products may also be sold in your country in the future.

You can also browse the websites of big brands or pay attention to interesting products when shopping in the mall.  Record their ideas, and improve them to import them as your profitable products (Of course, you need to pay attention to patent issues to avoid infringement). If funds permit, you can even attend product fairs in person, and you can often see many creative products at these large fairs.


Receive opinions from your fans

If you are an expert in an industry and have many fans on social media, you can listen to their suggestions and directly communicate with them.  Collect their needs and ideas, and design a product that meets their needs. You can brainstorm with fans, discuss the details of the product with them before production and analyze the potential market demand.


Final thoughts

Importing from China has many positive advantages. You can learn a lot by importing profitable products from China and make excellent money at the same time. However, Sourcing Nova recommends that novices who are purchasing for the first time start with the products that they are most familiar with and choose the products that interest them. This will help through difficult times of slow or no sales. We also recommend that you choose products that have low risks, high profits, less intense competition and stable sales, which can increase your confidence and  motivation.

Sourcing Nova is an experienced Chinese purchasing agent. Our team’s guanxi and technical strength in China allow us to access information that other sourcing companies cannot access. Our enterprise database contains hundreds of thousands of production enterprise profiles. We can easily find suppliers for Wal-Mart, IKEA and other large retailers. We can also easily find Chinese OEM factories of internationally renowned companies. This is our advantage, which we pass on to our customers.

In addition, we also help paid customers do keyword analysis, provide them with a long list of target keywords, let them know the search volume and competition difficulty of long tail keywords and avoid choosing difficult markets with high competition. This is our unique advantage, and it is a service that general sourcing agent companies cannot provide. If you want to import profitable products from China now, please contact Sourcing Nova, and try our sourcing services.