How to Start a Mini Importation Business in Nigeria in 2020

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how to start a mini importation business in Nigeria

Have you ever thought of having an extra source of income by venturing into a mini importation business in Nigeria, but have a little or no experience to start up? 

If so, this article is meant for you.

It contains a step-by-step guide on how to start a mini importation business in Nigeria and succeed.

In addition to knowing how to import goods from China or other countries, there’re so many things you need to know about the business.

So, this guide contains important facts which you need to know about mini importation.

In the course of having a profitable mini importation business in Nigeria, I want to walk you through the secrets of the business.

This is a kind of business in which you buy goods from abroad in wholesale prices and the supplier will ship to your doorsteps in Nigeria.

In a situation where you do business with someone you don’t know, most especially when the transaction is taking place in your room, it’s natural to be wary of not letting your money get into the wrong hands.

For this reason, you’ll also learn how to detect and avoid online scammers in this post.

I will show you how to sell your imported goods seamlessly within a few days after delivery.

To make it simple for you, I divided this article into five main categories which include:

1: How to choose profitable products to import from China to Nigeria?

2: How to register your business (optional)?

3: How to order your products from China?

4: How to get your goods delivered to you in Nigeria?

5: How to market your imported products and make a huge profit?

But before going into details, let’s critically look at what is understood by mini importation, how does it work and what are the simple materials you need to start up the business in Nigeria?

This will guide you against any exaggeration you might have heard earlier about the business.

What is mini importation and how it works?

Mini importation is an advanced form of a small scale business, in which you can import goods from China (or other countries) to Nigeria.

It’s such a business that can bring you out of the pit of poverty and make you a fortune in a few days.

According to SmallStarter,

A mini importation business allows you to deal directly with the manufacturers, so you can buy goods from overseas at a very cheap and comfortable price.

Most international manufacturers or suppliers might not accept your order if it’s not up to their minimum order quantity (MOQ).

Although, the MOQ can be different as there are various suppliers.

If you want to get your goods at a wholesale price, what matter is ordering for as much quantity as possible.

As a retailer, your profit comes when you buy an item at a cheap price and sell at a high price.

For this reason, mini importation doesn’t require big importers standing in between you and the manufacturers.

Otherwise, you’ll spend more to get the goods as the agents also want to make their own profit from the sales.

Consequently, that will make it difficult for you to make a reasonable profit.

How to start a mini importation business in Nigeria
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When a big importer is involved, your profit is small (Credit: SmallStarter)

If you’re not buying directly from the manufacturer and thinking of hiking the price so you can make enough profit, the consumers won’t buy from you.

With the recent advancement in technology, a mini importation business doesn’t require too much MOQ again.

Hence, the role of the big importers or mini importation agents is no longer necessary.

This is one of the mini importation business secrets you needed to know.

Once you know how to import goods from China to Nigeria, you can do your business from the corners of your room without experiencing any resistance from the big importers.

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When no big importer is involved, your profit is high (Credit: SmallStarter)

As it is now, you have the opportunity to buy a product at a very low wholesale price and sell at a higher price.

By so doing, you can make a lot of profit from doing a mini importation business in Nigeria.

You also need to know how much the goods you want to import are being sold in Nigeria before placing your order.

Once you compare the prices, it would be easier for you to determine your profit margin and approach the best suppliers.

You don’t need to worry about how to find a supplier and how the goods will be shipped to you.

As long as you have access to the internet, the technology will take care of all your concerns.

The suppliers will take care of the shipping and clearing responsibilities and deliver whatever quantity of goods you buy to your doorstep.

As a result of this, starting a mini importation business in Nigeria doesn’t incur a huge capital.

With a small investment capital, you can start importing goods from China to Nigeria and make a lot of profit.

Meanwhile, mini importation gives you the chance to buy goods directly from foreign suppliers and resell locally at a higher price.

That calls for the need to show you all that is required to start a mini importation business in Nigeria.

Basic tools needed to start a mini importation business in Nigeria

To start a mini importation business in Nigeria and succeed, the following are the basic tools you need:

1: A smartphone or computer.

2: A valid email address.

3: A standard internet connection.

4: A valid ATM card (preferably Mastercard or Visacard).

5: Easily accessible physical address.

6: A minimum of ₦10,000 startup capital in your bank account.

Once you have all the resources ready, the next thing is to know how to put them into use and start importing goods from China.

How to start a mini importation business in Nigeria

To start importing goods from China at low wholesale prices and sell at much higher prices in Nigeria takes the following steps:

#1. Select a fast-selling product to trade with

The very first step involved in starting a mini importation business in Nigeria is to have an idea of what profitable products to import from China and sell in Nigeria.

You may skip this step and move on to the next if you already have a product in mind.

Without wasting your time, this part is to show you how to find the most profitable items to import from China.

One of the possible ways of identifying profitable products is their demand and selling rates in the market.

In this regard, you must be able to know:

  1. What is your niche?
  2. Who are your customers?
  3. Who are the others in your industry?
  4. What do others in your industry or niche sell?
  5. How long does it take them to sell off the goods and earn profits?
  6. How much profit do they earn?
  7. When did they start?
  8. How successful are they?
  9. Are they still in business or out?

Having a clue on the products that is mostly imported from China to Nigeria will give you a clue on what products to select.

As an entrepreneur, you must be ready to learn from other entrepreneurs and get the best information you need.

If you really want to make out a great deal of profit while being a mini importation business tycoon, you should have sincere answers to those questions.

In view of this, I have made some findings which will give you insights into the best and fast-selling products you can import from China.

As a matter of fact, you can rely on the following examples if you don’t want to conduct the research from scratch.

Examples of fast-selling products to import from china

There are about 7 different categories of imported products that sell fast on the Nigerian market.

These product categories include:

  1. Electronic gadgets and appliances
  2. Computers, mobile phones and fashion accessories
  3. Hair wigs, jewelries and cosmetics
  4. Clothing products and underwears
  5. Clothing accessories (shoes, bags, belt, caps, etc).
  6. Domestic and kitchen utensils
  7. Construction and building materials
Pro tip:
Note that the above categories of products are not arranged in any specific order. Each has its own entirely different system of management and sale.

I won’t leave you to the product categories without stating the most profitable products that fall under them.

However, the goods and consumer products that sell most under each category include:

Electronic gadgets and appliances

These are manufactured gadgets that have been made to make us feel comfortable in our various homes.

Many of these gadgets sell well, and you’ll make a great deal of profit while putting in a little investment capital.

The products are listed below:

  1. Smart televisions
  2. Decoders (Gotv, Dstv and startimes)
  3. Solar panels
  4. Electric bulbs
  5. Pressing irons
  6. Rechargeable fans
  7. Generators
  8. Home theatre gadgets (stereos, speakers and large Bluetooth speakers)
  9. CCTV cameras
  10. Inverters.

These products are often demanded and frequently purchased in all the 36 states of the country.

Some of them, eg. electric bulbs, decoders,  stereos and pressing irons need very low capital to start.

But if you want to start importing the likes of CCTV cameras, inverters and solar panels, you might need up to ₦35,000 to start up.

As a beginner, you can start start importing electric bulbs, decoders, stereos and pressing irons from China with as low as ₦10,000 or ₦15,000.

If you’re serious with the business, you can earn almost ₦55,000 as profit within five weeks.

Computers, mobile phones and accessories

You must admit that every 6 out of 10 rich entrepreneurs that have a well-established mini importation business in Nigeria are into the sales of laptops, phones and accessories.

As a result of this, the following brands are highly patronized in Nigeria:

  1. Infinix
  2. Tecno
  3. Itel
  4. Samsung
  5. iPhone
  6. Samsung

Other profitable products found in this category includes:

  1. Earpods and Bluetooth earpiece
  2. Portable Bluetooth speakers
  3. Screen guard and phone pouches
  4. Flash drives and memory cards
  5. Phone batteries, screens and touchpad
  6. Chargers and USB cords
  7. WiFi and hotspot accessories

This category of items is by far the cheapest and the most comfortable to import from China and trade in Nigeria.

You may trade in all of the accessories, or any of the mobile phones or only in computer sales and accessories.

Hair wigs, jewelries and cosmetics

Nigerian ladies are classic when it comes to styles, beauty and fashion.

This behaviour has however brought fortunes to most people who know how to start a mini importation business in Nigeria.

There is no automatic success in mini importation of goods from China.

To be successful in this product category, you must know how to find the best products which the ladies delight to have in their wardrobes.

This can be:

  1. Hair wigs
  2. Attachments
  3. Classic perfumes
  4. Bathing soaps
  5. Necklaces
  6. Earrings
  7. Hand and leg chains
  8. Concealer and foundation
  9. Eyeshadow palette
  10. Contact lenses
  11. Eye lashes
  12. Moisturizers
  13. Lipsticks and powder
  14. Bracelets
  15. Skin whitening products

In fact, if I were to list all the imported products that fit into this category, the list would contain more than a hundred.

These products sell very fast in Nigeria and virtually in every area, be it in the market, University campuses, roadsides and even by hawking.

You might become a millionaire within a year if you venture into this category of mini importation business.

Clothing products and underwears

You can equally choose to trade in any of the three categories, which are arranged in order of capital, profit and convenience below:

  1. Sport wears
  2. Underwears
  3. Foreign designer brands like Gucci, Versace, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, off-white, supreme, Givenchy, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Dior and Balenciaga.
Clothing accessories

This may be bags, shoes, belt, caps, hats, stockings, leggings and many others.

Domestic utensils

I really don’t need to shed more light on this, because this category is based on virtually everything that can be found, used and needed in the kitchen.

A mini importation business in this category is also very profitable and reliable.

Construction materials

This product category also sells profitably well in Nigeria.

As building construction is going on day by day, you can start importing building materials from China and sell in Nigeria and make a lot of profit.

Profitable building or construction materials that you can import from China to Nigeria include:

  1. Floor tiles
  2. Doors and windows
  3. Roofing sheets
  4. Plastic pipes
  5. Wallpapers

With all the examples of fast-selling products listed above, you must have gotten a clue on what product to deal in.

Having that in mind, you can proceed to the next step.

#2. Register your business name with CAC

Registering your business name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) of Nigeria is another step you can take before starting up a mini importation business in Nigeria.

You can follow these simple steps to register your business name in Nigeria.

It’s not compulsory to register your business name before you can start a mini importation business.

But based on research, a registered business is more trusted than the other.

Let’s take a look at this scenario.

Assuming you advertise your imported products on Facebook and a customer shows interest from Benue state while you’re in Lagos.

If the system requires that the customer should pay before delivery, he needs to be sure that you can be trusted before making the payment online.

And with a registered business name and genuine traceable physical contact address, the customer will trust you.

The RC number that comes with your certificate of incorporation means a lot.

The customers want to know where and how they can find you in case there is a problem with the transaction.

That makes it necessary for you to indicate your RC number on all your marketing platforms, be it a website or social media.

So, when your customers realize you’re a registered business, the authenticity of your business becomes more convincing and their fear vanishes.

Registering your business, however, is as simple as opening a Facebook account. But the only difference is that a registered business is legal binding.

#3. Find a supplier online

Here is a list of websites where you can find  100% legit and trusted suppliers  that sell quality products at affordable wholesale prices:

1: AliExpress

2: Ever buying

3: Amazon.

4: DHgate

5. iPmart

Now, let me briefly explain to you what each of these five recommended websites offers so you yourself can decide on which of them to place your order.

AliExpress

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This website houses over 10 million outstanding products, over 20 product categories and it’s available to more than 220 countries in the world.

This company is a China-based e-commerce site that enables mini importers to purchase mobile phones, computers and laptops, jewelries, watches, casings and bags, health products, accessories and electronic gadgets at very cheap and comfortable wholesale prices.

Every product you find on the website has been tagged with different the prices.

However, what really makes this website have a good rating is because it allows buyers to negotiate with the sellers.

AliExpress enables you to have a conversation with the seller of any product, so you can make a good bargain before you order.

This website has an outstanding record of accurate delivery time, and can be so much relied on.

Everbuying

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Everbuying is a subsidiary of China.ch which is also based in China.

This is an online shopping portal where you can find Chinese manufacturers or suppliers that are ready to do business with you.

Some of the major products you can find on Everbuying are electronics, mobile phones and accessories, tablets, computers, kitchen utensils and other essential fashion accessories.

When it comes to fashion, this online shopping portal is not left out as people dealing in men’s and women’s fashionable items and house decoration items use the medium to sell their products at wholesale prices.

As a matter of fact, Everbuying houses over 250,000 affordable products that are trending in the market.

One advantage you get when it comes to importing goods from China via Everbuying is that you won’t be charged for delivery.

 So,  no shipping fee is required  on any product you buy on Everbuying!

Amazon

You must have heard about Amazon before – the large and famous online store controlled by Jeff Bezos who is the world’s richest entrepreneur.

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Initially, Amazon was an online bookstore since the time it was created in 1995.

It’s content increased with time and houses almost all the world’s products, not only electronic devices but also including fashion items, home appliances and gadgets.

Amazon is based in the United States, unlike the other stores which are based in China.

Amazon allows users to submit their reviews on each product they buy, and each is rated between 1 to 5 stars.

This website is very reliable and you yourself know that the world’s wealthiest man got his fortune from this.

This wouldn’t have happened if Amazon failed to satisfy its numerous customers from all over the world – an indication that Amazon has a very good and reliable customer service.

DHgate

DHgate is an e-commerce site that provides multi-services.

How to start a mini importation business in Nigeria with DHgate
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Manufactured products from medium scale and small scale companies are being sold to buyers and mini importers on this website.

This website is multi-functional.

It enables services for international payments and also acts as a product distributor in the United States, an online financial and logistics company.

If you want to order from the US, the same website can link you up to any US based manufacturer of your choice.

Regardless of which of these websites you choose to buy your items from, you first have to create a profile or user account on the website.

Creating an account on any of these websites is as easy as opening a Facebook account.

Within five minutes, you are done.

#4. Order your products

Now that you already have an idea of what profitable items to import from China to Nigeria, the next step is to order the products.

As said earlier, you don’t need the service of mini importation agents to get whatever products you order delivered to you.

As long as you can connect with your suppliers online, the role of mini importation agents in Nigeria is no longer required.

All you have to do is to go online and find a reputable supplier.

With the use of your smartphone or laptop, you can process your order from the convenience of your room.

There are many suppliers whom you can use their websites to order your products.

You just have to be sure you don’t go outside the ones recommended above to avoid dealing with a scammer.

Otherwise, a single drop of what you paid for won’t be delivered to you.

With this guide, you don’t need to stress yourself screening all the websites to find which supplier is genuine and which is not.

In the next section, you’ll be provided with a comprehensive guide on how to pay for products you order from China and avoid being scammed by fake suppliers.

Pay for Order

Now, how do you pay for the goods you order?

This is a critical aspect in your quest to know how to import goods from China to Nigeria.

There are two ways to pay for the order you make on any of the websites and get your goods shipped to you in Nigeria.

Pay suppliers

You may pay directly via the supplier’s portal, following the payment option found on the cart page of the site.

This is done by making the payment through your PayPal account, bank transfer or ATM card.

If you order the product directly from the website (that is without using any logistics company, and by paying directly from your ATM or PayPal account), your goods will be shipped to you.

The normal shipping is free, and it might take 20 to 30 days before your goods can reach Nigeria.

You can also make use of premium delivery, in which your products can arrive within 4 days, which however, requires more money to be paid.

Pay a logistics company

Paying for your ordered goods is also possible using a logistics company and this is very easy and secure.

Logistics companies are organisations that serve as third-party agents, which collect money from you and receive your imported products from a supplier on your behalf.

Assuming you want to order on Amazon, for example, and use the service of a logistics company, the following steps are to be taken:

  1. Open an account with Amazon.
  2. Select the products to order.
  3. Copy the link of the cart page.
  4. Open an account with any logistics company eg. DHL.
  5. Paste the link copied from Amazon into DHL’s website.
  6. DHL will place the order and receive the goods on your behalf.
  7. Receive goods in the nearest DHL office in Nigeria.

DHL is a shipping and logistics company, originated from Germany.

It has branches in numerous countries and Nigeria is not left out.

Depending on the number of units of products you want to order, note that the logistics company has its own relative way of charging you for its services.

You should also note that not all logistics companies can help you return your goods if you are given the wrong goods.

For this reason, you have to read the terms and conditions of any logistics company you decide to use before employing their services.

So, after delivery, how do you intend to sell your imported goods in Nigeria?

Sell your imported products

Congratulations on the successful delivery of your products from China.

That is just the beginning of a mini importation business in Nigeria. As you’re preparing for the second phase of the business, you’re welcome to the room of wealth.

By all means, you have to market and sell your imported products so that you can quickly recover your return on investment (ROI).

In this case, you need to find the right customers for the products by advertising. This can be done using all or any of the following marketing strategies:

eCommerce website

With the use of an eCommerce website, you can easily automate the sales and marketing of your products.

Most retail businesses nowadays adopt this digital marketing strategy as it brings them closer to their customers.

Having an eCommerce business website will enable you to leverage advanced digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) in customer relationship management, so you can keep track of your customer behavior and predict their next move.

With this technology, targeting your potential customers will be easier.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing used to find potential customers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on.

Because this strategy is being used widely, a product you promote on social media can easily be sold.

You can reach out to people and pitch your products to them on Twitter, Instagram, telegram, WhatsApp, YouTube and most especially Facebook.

Facebook offers so many marketing tools, ranging from audience insights, story, page to group, all which are designed to help you get the most of the network.

You may also employ the services of WhatsApp TV owners or influencers, and negotiate with them to advertise your products on their statuses in exchange for a negotiated amount.

They can advertise your business for a week or a month, depending on your agreement.

You can also post your products on Facebook groups or pages you manage. But if you don’t have one, this is how to create and optimize a Facebook page for marketing your business.

You may employ someone to print flyers and posters for you at an affordable price, then distribute the flyers to the likely buyers of your products.

For instance, if you sell baby diapers, you should give your posters to lactating mothers or people that just gave birth, and not to middle or old-aged women who are not likely going to patronize you.

Television and radio advertisements

It’s no news that the elders of today are glued to the television and other entertainment devices. You should use this strategy to your advantage if you’re targeting the elderly people.

Go out to a TV or radio station for advertisement placements.

You should, however, note that products meant for young people might not really sell up to your expectation, as young people are probably not listening to the radio nowadays.

You may use particular channels on GOTV and DSTV to capture younger ones if they are your target audiences. Look for channels that offer occasional programs that the youth love to watch, such as the BB Naija.

Despite the fact that you use TV and radio stations, you can also make use of local advertising agencies. You can visit magazines and newspaper companies and negotiate with them.

I’m sure that you will also get more customers by applying this tactic.

Discount and referral bonuses

The use of discounts and referral bonuses is no more a secret in marketing, as so many businesses now use this strategy to attract customers.

You too can also make use of this it to boost your sales and earn more profit.

Giving some discounts to regular customers or someone that has bought multiple products of high worth within a short while can make them use the word of mouth to promote your business.

And when someone brings you a new customer, give him a referral bonus, such as money or special discounts.

Even large organizations still give referral bonuses, so why can’t you?

Business cards

Wait!

I advised you to register your business. Now, one of its advantages is here.

For instance, you may travel and meet someone that needs your goods. Discussing the business with him or her might not be enough to remind him of the need to follow up when the need arises.

If he has your business card, it will be easy for him to reach you back with all the details written on the card.

Oral advertisements

This is not in anyway a new method either. In fact, I can say that this is the first version of advertisement that was being used in the olden days.

You can do this by briefly informing your relatives, neighbours or anyone that visits you that you are selling a particular product.

This will go a long way to boost your business and increase your sales.

Celebrities and sponsorship

You may feature a celebrity in your advertisement or request their consent to put their picture on your brand design.

With this strategy, your mini importation business in Nigeria will never remain the same.

Many entrepreneurs have done the same and their stories have changed for good.

You can also sponsor some local programs, which will further draw people’s attention to your business.

I will cite some case studies.

  • MTN sponsored the “who wants to be a millionaire” quiz programme, and that went a long way to bring more people’s attention to the communication company in Nigeria.
  • Pay Porte also once sponsored the BB naija program.
  • First Bank of Nigeria also sponsors golf activities.

Also, why do you think football teams do put brand names on their jerseys?

That is simply because the brands pay them for using their jerseys to advertise their brands, thereby gaining more attention from people.

Chelsea puts the name “Yokoyama” on their jerseys.

FC Barcelona customises the name “Rakuten”on their jerseys too.

Those brand names are not on the jerseys for nothing. They are being used after the sponsors must have paid some money to the football clubs.

You should, however, know that this method requires a huge amount of money. And in this case, you might need to have your business registered.

Festive-periods promo offers

Many mini importers have done this and they rejoiced that they did.

During the festive periods such as Lishabi Day, Osun, and Ojude Oba, you may give a 20 or 30% discount on your products, depending on what you are selling.

Clothing wears and material sellers usually do this, and they really earn much more profit at the end.

Shoes, belt and hand-bags sellers also use this marketing strategy to their advantage, and the outcome is always a good one.

Conclusion

Now, I think you are ready to set up a mini importation business in Nigeria.

Having been exposed to mini importation secrets, you can now start importing goods from China to Nigeria without any difficulty.

You don’t need big capital to start. With as little as ₦10,000, you can start the business from your room.

Note that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Discard all false hopes of becoming a billionaire in a mini importation business overnight.

No successful business or organisation reached its limelight in one or two years of its setup. 

They all have a story, past history and probably some secrets.

If someone once told you that you can order goods worth ₦15,000 and earn ₦200,000 the next day, it is completely true but not truly complete.

This can only happen when you already have numerous customers and good service rendering platforms, plus years of operations.

I’m very sure that the person won’t tell you this!

Walt Disney started from a garage and his first office was in a garage. Now, he is among the most richest companies in the world.

Jeff Bezos founded Amazon from a garage too, and he used an old door as his desk.

There was even a time that Microsoft had only three employees.

Almost all successful companies today started from the grassroot.

This mini importation business of yours might make billions for you in 5 years, and all you need is patience, good customer relationships and ability to manage funds effectively.

Don’t be desperate to earn profit at all times.

Sometimes, what you really need to work on is not profit, but building a reputable brand with your customers.

Meanwhile, starting a mini importation business in Nigeria has been easy and comfortable.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Lawal Rahman ,

    Excellent and well-explained post. You have provided great tips to start a mini importation business in Nigeria. While scrolling through your post i have noticed that you have also talked about mini importation business & its working process and tools required for mini importation business that are true enough and also providing good understanding.

    I really like your step-by-step guide to start a mini importation business that are truly making the concept very clear and easy to understand. Yes i completely agree with your words that register the business name with Corporate Affairs Commission ( CAC ) is so crucial to get good benefits, as you have already talked about this in your previous post.

    After going through this complete guide i really got many ideas and i am sure that this post will help lots of people to start a mini importation business in Nigeria.

    Eventually thanks for sharing your ideas and such an informative post.

  2. Very informative, but I think Alibaba deals more of wholesales than Ali Express. The manufacturers use Ali Baba, although, Ali Express is also managed by Ali Baba but things are cheaper on Ali Baba.

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