Advice for New eCommerce Importers

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Right now is an excellent time to start an ecommerce business because customers are ordering products online more than they ever have before. But, if you’re importing items from overseas, running an ecommerce business can be a complex operation, especially when it comes to things like getting a custom bond, filing ISF forms, and ensuring your products meet Customs and Border Protection (CPB) regulations. Here is some advice to help new ecommerce importers get their business up and running.

Determine Which Regulations Apply to Your Shipments Before You Ship

No matter what products you import, you’re going to have to deal with government regulations, but certain types of products are harder to get into the U.S. than others. And some are forbidden altogether, which is why it’s critical that you determine which regulations apply to your shipments before you initiate any shipment process. For example, if you’re going to ship your products by cargo ship and they are valued at $2,500 or more, you have to get a customs bond.

If you’re importing alcohol or other highly-regulated products, there will be even more steps you have to follow before you can bring these items into the country. By knowing what forms to file, what permits to obtain, and what bonds to purchase before you ship, your shipments are less likely to be delayed or seized by the CBP due to non-compliance. 

New importers in particular can benefit from the assistance of a shipping partner like an import agent to help them meet all the regulations that are required for their imports. Importers have to deal with a lot of red tape and an import agent can help cut through it to get your shipments into your hands or your customers’ hands as quickly and inexpensively as possible.

Learn How to Properly Source Your Products

Successful ecommerce importers all have one thing in common: they know how to source their products so that quality and availability are never in question. With the recent supply chain issues, many importers have struggled, but those that are still standing tall are those who work with dependable suppliers who offer affordable prices, quality products, and streamlined shipping processes. 

Many new importers start out by sourcing their products through online marketplaces like Alibaba, ThomasNet, GlobalSources, and TradeKey, among others. This is a completely legitimate way to find new suppliers, but be sure to pay attention to reviews and ratings because there will be some unscrupulous companies that offer their services on those platforms.

You can also become your own supplier by buying into existing manufacturing centers in the countries you’re importing from or by building your own manufacturing center. This requires a lot more capital up front, but you can better control the quality and production speed of your products. As a new importer, you may not be ready for this step yet, but it’s something to keep in mind for the future.


Becoming an importer can be challenging due to the various regulations and forms that are required to get your products into the country. But once you get your import partners in place and find reliable suppliers, your business will be ready for liftoff!

Also Read: Latestbizjournal


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