Dropshipping is a hugely lucrative business model for anyone looking to start a side hustle business with minimal time and savings.
Shopify reports that over 65,000 e-commerce brands are utilising their platform in the UK alone, which makes up 8% of their total 1.75 million customers. The vast majority of these dropship sellers source profitable products to import from China for two reasons: China is the world's biggest manufacturing hub, accounting for 28% of global manufacturing output. Secondly, fulfillment services like ePacket offer fast shipping, providing more satisfaction to end customers.
To get ahead in dropshipping, you need business savvy, marketing know-how, but most importantly, you need to have a keen eye for sourcing products you can sell for a considerable profit.
With that in mind, this article will list some of the most profitable imports from Chinese manufacturers and similar locations abroad and provide you with tips on making the most of up-and-coming consumer trends.
How the global pandemic changed consumer trends
The pandemic has dramatically altered the way people live worldwide. Lockdowns and remote work guidance have meant that many consumers are spending more time than ever at home, and as a result, the types of products they buy have changed.
For instance, at the start of the pandemic last year, many people looked to make home improvements –– like setting up a home office, organising their spaces, adopting pets, and investing in home entertainment systems.
Throughout the start of 2022 these trends should continue, as populations in the Northern hemisphere experience the winter –– which always draws people to spend more time at home regardless of whether there's a global pandemic or not.
But looking further afield, small e-commerce sellers should make Google Trends their first port of call in researching profitable products to import from China and worldwide. Type in some keywords about new products to see what's popular and growing, and track the approximate number of searches by region to help you get started in your search.
Tips for choosing profitable imports
The next step in researching goods to import is calculating how much profit you can generate from popular products in your chosen niche. Here is a checklist of some things you need to consider when refining your search for new products:
- Use a reputable wholesaler based such as Alibaba. You should maintain clear lines of communication to ensure you can get in touch about any failed orders, specific branding requests, or packaging needs.
- Find products where you can make a substantial mark-up on the wholesaler's price. For example, print-on-demand t-shirts featuring unique graphic designs. In many cases, you should aim to make at least £20 profit on goods.
- Consider the shipping cost, inclusive of duties and import fees, as these costs will also affect your profit margin.
- Choose goods that are likely to quickly pass customs and inspections, as any delays will lower your customer satisfaction rating.
- Consider how products can be customised to include your brand name or other designs. Many manufacturers also run a print-on-demand service, which will allow you to test and change motifs until you find a design that's a hit with your customers.
- Think about how you can market your products to make them more desirable for your customers. For instance, can you create product bundles based on a theme? Can you take better product photos to make them look more appealing? Can you offer a supplementary eBook to help entice website visitors to convert into paying customers?
- Read the reviews and ratings on products before you buy. Make sure previous customers are happy with the quality of products.
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Ideas for profitable products to import from China
Labour-saving cookware could be a winning product for e-commerce homeware brands, selling items like vegetable slicers and slow cookers. These products encourage the whole family to enjoy homemade cooking, and you can use your brand messaging to promote the up-and-coming slow living trend.
Encourage customers to save on food waste with relatively cheap-to-import gadgets like food bag vacuum sealers and electric cup heater coasters — so they never waste leftovers or a good cup of coffee again.
Tea towels are another trending product that seems to be doing well for drop ship sellers worldwide, with a market expected to be worth more than £20 billion by 2026. They are a great candidate for print-on-demand, and towels that feature through-air-drying materials are very absorbent –– another premium selling point.
Products that help keep pets calm are trending well as new pet owners grow accustomed to keeping their furry friends happy. Beds that feature faux fur or raised edges can enhance a pet's sense of security, and help improve their overall behaviour.
Grooming and cleaning accessories like these dog paw cleaners will keep houseproud pet owners happy and help customers maintain their animals' coats. To help with conversion rates, you could also entice pet owners to buy by giving away free eBook guides to pet grooming at home.
You can also give away free guides to support your products, for example “How to maintain good posture”. Giving away free authoritative information with your goods will allow you to market products as bundles or place a premium on these types of accessories.
Cold weather exercise balaclavas and snoods could be a great product that appeals to two markets; fitness enthusiasts and those looking for fashionable face-covering ideas.
Running shoes also appeal to both gym-goers and trendsetters. The comfortable, athleisure trend is set to stay in fashion over the next season and could become an evergreen style trend throughout 2022 and beyond.
Pay for imported products with a reliable payment gateway like WorldFirst.
Dropshipping e-commerce brands benefit from only paying for the products they sell via their website. So, you must pick the right products, and process your supplier payments quickly and efficiently, to avoid delays in your supply chain. You can do that by making international payments to manufacturers in China and elsewhere instantly with a secure payment gateway from WorldFirst.
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