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Wholesale or Retail? Pros and Cons of Importing Stock for your Online Store

Wholesale or Retail? Deciding to go wholesale instead of retail in online selling can be daunting to a first-time entrepreneur. You may have an idea of what you want to sell, but now you have to figure out how you’ll go about storing and shipping your merchandise out to your customers. One of the options you have is to import your stock and store it in local warehouses. What are the pros and cons of doing this?


There are a number of benefits to consider when choosing to bring in your products from abroad. One of the main ones is that having your items close to you gives you more control over them. Here are some of the reasons to consider importing.

Quality Control

One of the first perks of importing your goods is that you can implement our own quality control. If you decide to bring your merchandise to your own local warehouses, you have the chance to go through them before they get shipped out to customers. You can filter your stock and pick out items that are damaged or aren’t up to your standard. You can also inspect where your stock is being kept and how they’re being handled, reducing the number of items that get damaged in the first place. By keeping your product in a local warehouse, you can make sure that only high-quality merchandise are being sent out to your buyers.


Another advantage to keeping your stock local is that you have more control over the brand and image of your item. For example, you can change how your product is packaged and how it looks when you ship them to your customers. If your merchandise is mainly for women, you can opt to make your packaging more feminine in appearance. You’ll have a first-hand experience of how your product will look when received, and you can alter it to suit the image you wish your business to have. Here are some great examples of packaging design that packs a punch.

Customer Service

Finally, importing your goods and keeping them in a local warehouse can give you the upper hand in providing excellent customer service. For online shopping, customer service is very important; 89% of consumers stop shopping at certain online stores because of poor customer service. If a buyer has a bad experience, either through poor shipping or issues with your product, you want to be able to fix the problem as soon as possible. Having your stock within an arm’s reach can help you in making sure that your customers experience little to no problems when purchasing from you. You can also immediately send replacement items (with possible extras) to appease an irate buyer.


Sadly, there are also drawbacks to shipping your stock to a local warehouse. Buying in bulk, internationally no less, can be complicated and comes with its costs. Here are some of the reasons why you should think twice about bringing your goods into your country.

Customs Tax and Duties

The first hitch you may encounter when deciding to import is dealing with customs tax and duties. Depending on where you live, your customs laws and taxes will vary. Although this is standard for any type of international freight, it can be complicated and a lot of work if you’re not prepared. Aside from this, if you don’t fill up your paperwork correctly, your goods can be withheld until you fix everything, which can in turn cost you time and money. Before importing, you have to make sure you do your research. You can also hire someone to broker for you, but that will be an additional expense.


Another drawback to deciding to import stock is that it can be very expensive. There are many taxes and fees that you’ll have to be willing to shell out for. First you’ll have to source the item and pay for it, and then you’ll have to pay for how you’ll have it shipped to your country. After that, you’ll have to pay your country’s custom fees for your merchandise to be released. From there, you’ll have to pay to transport your goods to the warehouse of your choice, and finally, you’ll have to pay to have them stored. You’ll be spending a lot of money if you import.


A great alternative to this cycle is to drop ship your items. This is much more cost-effective and convenient to use. Drop shipping is where instead of storing your bought product locally, you have your distributor or manufacturer ship your item from their warehouses directly to your customers instead. Using drop shipping can save you a lot of time and money, because you don’t have to deal with customs, and you don’t have to pay to have your products imported. Also, because you don’t store your merchandise yourself, you can easily add your things for sale.

In the end you should make your decision based on what you can manage and what you want to offer your customers. Running a business often means making compromises. Not all things will be without certain costs. It’s up to you to find the perfect balance between making a profit and making your customers happy.

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