Getting Started in Imports and Export
Businesses of all sizes become involved in importing and exporting for a variety of reasons. Whether you want to increase your sales abroad, import a new product to sell in the UK, or bring in components for your business; importing and exporting can provide you with a whole new range of products and customers.
Despite its many advantages, importing and exporting can be complicated and expensive; there are many rules, regulations, and situations that need taking into account. Here is a look at some of the most important things to look at when you want to start importing and/or exporting.
Are Your Products Suitable?
The most important thing to look at when you plan importing or exporting is whether the products you are moving are able to be imported (either to the UK, or to the country you are exporting to).
Although most products are suitable for import and export, a number of products are restricted in the UK; including some foods, some flowers, plants or seeds, some types of electronic equipment and certain types of art and antiques are also restricted.), and each country will have a different list of restricted products. You should always find out as soon as possible if the product you wish to move is restricted.
A number of items will require a licence from the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) Import Licensing Branch to be imported legally.
Will Your Products Work?
A crucial element of importing or exporting is knowing that the product will work. If you import an electrical item, will it need a new plug or adaptor to run? Is it compatible with other UK accessories and products? Are the instructions and product details in the right language? Some countries and products require readable instructions by law.
e.g. Company X import a Games Console / Computer from Japan to sell in the UK and export to France. They will need an expensive converter to allow it to run on a UK plug socket, and a different converter to allow it to run on a French plug socket. They will also be unable to use UK/French games or accessories, leaving their customers with only Japanese instructions and Japanese language games.
When importing, do you need to add the cost of modifications or extras to the product price, and will your customers be happy paying for them, particularly if there are no English instructions; or will you be forced to cover their cost?
When exporting, will the buyers be happy paying for the extras, or will they expect you to pay for them? Are they aware that the product may be unusable without them? Are they aware that the product may not have instructions in French?