Discover how to import from India, and how you can do trade in India.
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When people think about importing goods from overseas, they usually jump to China, and they don’t consider other countries like India. But this is a big mistake! The India export market is huge, and they are one of the biggest biggest exporters in the world. You can import items very cheaply, which is why I very strongly recommend considering Indian exports and not getting “stuck” on just importing from China.
Tip #1 to help you import from India: Know the markets that India are world leaders in.
There are several industries where India are world leaders in manufacturing and exporting. If you’re selling items in these industries and looking to import, consider doing trade in India. Here are the industries that India are world leaders in:
* Generic pharmaceutical drugs,
* Cotton textiles,
* Local spices,
* Paper products,
* Toiletries and
* Leather shoes & clothes.
(I think that there is a big opportunity for importing generic pharmaceutical drugs, relabelling them yourself and selling them via Amazon’s FBA program… just saying!)
Tip #2 to help you import from India: Do due diligence on your suppliers.
The same goes for importing products from China: Do due diligence on your importers. Pick up the phone, give them a call. Look up their address in Google Maps and ensure a factory is located there.
If you’re using SaleHoo to find Indian suppliers, then they will have done due diligence for you. If you’re Alibaba India, look for gold suppliers who have an 80%+ response rate. And if you’re using suppliers from Trade India, look for suppliers that have Trust Badges, Premium Seller emblems and that have been on the site for at least one year.
Tip #3 to help you import from India: Start with the minimum order quantity and get a sample product first.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re importing from China or India, you should be getting a sample product shipped to you first to test the quality. If you like the sample product, then start out with a supplier’s minimum order quantity. If that goes well, then increase the order size. Starting out with the minimum order quantity protects yourself against bad manufacturers.
Tip #4 to help you import from India: Negotiate prices and do research on shipping options.
In India, everything is negotiable. Be prepared to negotiate the initial price down. Shopping around and getting quotes from other suppliers will help you when negotiating. Do the same thing for shipping: Get your own quotes so that you can be in a strong position in negotiating when doing trade in India.
Tip #5 to help you import from India: Don’t rely on deadlines or time frames.
When doing trade in India, business can be surprisingly lax and carefree. In India, family takes precedent over business. If a family issue came up, it would not be unusual for a business meeting to be cancelled.
But there is a funny cultural quirk: While they can be lax and show up late, as a Westerner, you are expected to show up on time. It may not seem “fair” but it is best to not question it.
Because business can be lax, it means that you shouldn’t rely on deadlines and time frames. This may put some people off Indian exports, but there are many upsides to working with Indian suppliers. Their exports are cheap, great quality and they are very loyal business partners. Consider the pro’s and con’s.
Tip #6 to help you import from India: They don’t like to say “no.”
Just like when importing from China, when you’re importing from India, they don’t like saying “no” when doing business. If an Indian supplier says “possibly” or “we’ll see” or “I’ll try” then you should push for clarification. If you push for a yes or a no, they will give it to you. Try as best as you can to do this in a non-confrontational way, when doing trade in India it is frowned upon to be confrontational.