Overview and How to Get Started Importing Products from Your Home Country
Bring something from your home country to sell in Thailand or whatever country you reside in. Something I’ve noticed as I’ve traveled across the globe… especially in Asia, it is quite difficult to locate genuine, high-quality products including shoes, jeans, running gear, any sports gear, knives, camping equipment, and a number of other things. There are thousands of things that are difficult for me to locate here in Thailand – underwear that fits, socks that fit, and toothpaste I used back in the USA are all very hard to find.
You might target the locals in Thailand or other expats who are having trouble finding the same essentials you can’t find. Tech items is one area that I know some people dabbling in importing. Amazon Kindle e-readers can be ordered online from Amazon, but, with the shipping charge and import duty fees, a $200 Kindle ends up costing over $300.
There is an opportunity for expats to bring a few Kindles in their luggage every time they come over and sell them at a $50 profit each. Likewise, when the iPhones are first released, they are not in Thailand in large amounts for months after their release somewhere else in the world. During those months, $600 phones sell for $1,000. People import dozens of them to sell here before others in Thailand can get them.
To start, ideally, you would figure something out you could sell before you move to your new destination. That isn’t likely to happen though, so you will have to try it on the next trip, or, connect with friends that might be coming to visit you, or even coming to a country close to where you are – and meet them somewhere convenient.
See more ways to Make Money in Thailand here >
Positives to Importing Items to Sell in Thailand
1. Little capital is required for the business infrastructure outside of creating a website or other web presence. You can, once you find some products that sell and a place to sell them, use this to fund your trips home and back.
2. Many countries never see high-quality items, all they see are cheap rip-offs of brand name products. The possibility exists to sell some very high-quality items for a great price – to rich locals and expats in Thailand.
I recently visited a military surplus store in Surat Thani, Thailand. They had an excellent selection of genuine knives and military equipment straight from the USA. They had Ka-bar knives, selling at Amazon for $50, listed for $140. They said they sell a lot of them. I don’t doubt it. I hadn’t, in eight years, seen a quality knife in the country. This is just one example. They also had what seemed to be original “The North Face” shirts and jackets. I bought three!
3. Ask one of your local friends to sit at a market and try to sell your items. You need not even be there.
Negatives of Selling Imported Items in Thailand
1. It will take some trial and error to find products that will sell like hotcakes.
2. With tech items, in particular, the market changes quickly as more people find ways to bring in-demand products into the country. Once there are many people with the products, the price goes down drastically and you’ll have to be ready to drop your price when they do.
Resources to Help You Sell Imported Items in Thailand
Look through Craigslist.org to find “wanted” items. Sometimes you’ll notice a trend. Today I noticed that Nikon 60mm lenses seemed to be in demand. I cannot recall seeing one in a camera shop in Thailand before, so maybe there is a genuine need for them.
Comments About Importing and Selling
I don’t know anyone personally that is making a living like this, but I do see the same people on Craigslist.org selling the same tech items – phones and cameras mostly, that must be doing well enough to make it work over a couple of years, especially now that iPhones are selling for up to $1,500 USD!