Selling online is one of the easiest and quickest ways to earn money nowadays, especially for those who have a lot of time on their hands and even for those who are looking for a side hustle. It has even become more popular over the years with the rise of online shopping platforms like Lazada, Shopee, and the like.
Covering the basics
If you are looking to enter the online selling world, then there are a lot of things you must consider before you start. The obvious ones are, of course:
- What to sell (What need/want of the customers your shop will target)
- Where to source your items
- How to make a profit (pricing, etc.)
Number three (3) depends largely on number two (2). With plenty of competition out there, one of the smartest things that you can do is to find the cheapest source for your products so you can resell them at competitive prices to attract customers to choose your page.
A lot of sellers are turning to the US for the products they are going to sell. And by that, I don’t just mean they’re concentrating on American-made items for their products. These online businessmen (and women!) are actually buying US products straight from American websites and shipping their packages back to the Philippines, where they are reselling them to Filipino customers. With the various benefits, it’s easy to see why online businessmen are turning to the Land of the Free to source their wares.
Why source from the US?
US products have always been a hit among Filipinos. From copping the hottest sneaker releases from Nike and Adidas to coveting the latest iPhone, we’ve always been a huge consumer of US goods, so you’ve easily got a large market in the palm of your hands.
The advantage of sourcing your inventory straight from the US all boils down to a few key points:
1. Cheaper prices = lower capital
Instead of re-selling US items, you sourced from local stores, buying them straight from the source in the US guarantees that you’ll be getting the cheapest possible rates when you buy them, ensuring a higher profit upon reselling. If you would compare the prices of Adidas sneakers on Adidas.com.ph to those on Adidas.com, you would see that the ones sold locally are pricier since the cost of international shipping and the applicable taxes have already been added to the pricing. Getting the cheapest rates ensures a higher profit on your part.
Below are a few examples of items you can buy for cheaper prices in the USA than in the Philippines. Just look at the price difference and imagine the profit you can from selling these items:
|US Product||Price on US Store
(if USD 1=PHP 50)
|Local Price||Percentage of savings|
|Adidas NMD_R1 Shoes||PHP 4, 999.50||PHP 7,500.00||33%|
|Sugarbearhair Vitamins 3-Month||PHP 3,999.50||PHP 5, 940.00||33%|
|Apple Watch Series 3||PHP 8, 950. 00||PHP 11, 490.00||22%|
|Amazon Echo Show 8||PHP 4,999.50||PHP 8,500.00||41%|
|Apple Airpods||PHP 6,999.50||PHP 9,490.00||26%|
2. Competitive pricing for your customers
Since US products are popular postings, competition among sellers will be tight. But that’s one thing you won’t have to worry about when your products are coming straight from the US. Since you are able to get them at the cheapest cost, you can afford to price them lower than your competitors
3. The advantage of selling a large variety of rare, exclusive, and authentic items
There is a huge market online for shoppers looking to buy US products that are unavailable anywhere locally. Many are also looking for cheaper options for items sold locally but at high price points. The rise of Instagram online stores selling just that is a testament to this need.
And since the US is the largest online marketplace in the world, for you can have virtually millions of products at your disposal. When you lock in on trending but US-exclusive items such as limited-release Air Jordan kicks and buy them directly from the source, you’ll surely attract a huge following of buyers. In addition, buying straight from the US guarantees item authenticity – a fact that you and your customers will both benefit from.
What about international shipping costs?
Now that we’ve established the advantage of sourcing US websites for the products you are going to sell, there is another concern you need to address regarding your business, and that is international shipping.
Technically, you can use the shipping service of the US merchant you are buying from to ship your packages from the US to the Philippines. But that is going to be tricky if you are getting multiple stocks of items from one website like Amazon US or a variety of items across multiple US online stores. That will not be advisable since international shipping costs will skyrocket. But just like any other online buy-and-sell business, there are various logistics companies you can partner with to help you save on shipping costs in order to maximize your profits. For international shipments from the US, freight forwarders or reshipping companies are your best friend.
What are freight forwarders?
Freight forwarders offer a variety of services on top of international shipping solutions for your needs. Some well-known freight forwarding companies include comGateway, myUS, Shipito, ShippingCart, and more.
Where merchant shipping options ship products internationally directly, freight forwarders give you a free virtual address which is actually their warehouse where you send your US shopping. From there, these companies use renowned couriers to ship your packages internationally. There are several benefits to availing this service for your buy-and-sell business in addition to the cheaper international shipping rates.
As mentioned, freight forwarders give you the freedom to avail of various services for your packages. Most of these services are meant to help lower your shipping cost, namely:
Consolidation –This allows you to consolidate packages you received from different merchants into one shipment rather than shipping them one by one. The warehouse storage service of freight forwarders makes it possible for you to wait for all of your orders to arrive before shipping them in one go.
Package repack – The size of the box plays a huge factor in your shipping fee. What happens when you ordered one makeup palette and it arrives in a gargantuan box? With this service, freight forwarders scale down your box, polybag, or any type of packaging to just the right size to ensure that you’re paying a fair amount.
With some freight forwarders, they even offer a certain repack service wherein they take the products you bought from multiple merchants from their boxes and transfer them all into one container as a way to save up more on shipping weight, and, ultimately, shipping cost.
Shopping services – For some US merchants, it’s not enough that you have a credit card. Some require that it has a US billing address, too. And if not, then you won’t be able to check out. Several freight forwarders offer personal shopper services wherein they will buy your desired items from these merchants on your behalf for a small fee.
How do you choose the right freight forwarder for your business?
Shipping rates play a huge factor when it comes to choosing your international shipping partner. You need the cheapest option so you can have less spending for a maximized profit. While that seems like the best choice when it comes to freight forwarders, it should not always be about who’s cheapest, rather, it should be which one gives you the best value for your money.
A good freight forwarder not only offers affordable rates, but also provides the above-mentioned services, and more. Not to mention, they should have great customer service. In addition, they must use world-renowned couriers for shipping to ensure the safety of your packages and speed of international delivery.
Another factor that matters is the US address that it offers. Not a lot of people know that some states in the US charge a sales tax that equals a small percentage of your orders. Luckily, there are some freight forwarders like comGateway with a US address that is based in a sales-tax-free US state (Oregon), saving you from paying additional fees.
Now that you’ve got the basics down pat, here are the simplified steps to help you start on your buy-and-sell online business for US products. I’ll include some tips and proven tricks so you’ll have the best possible buying and international shipping experience in the Philippines.
How to Start Your Buy-and-Sell Business Selling US Products
1. Start browsing and shopping the products from your chosen stores.
Amazon US is a good place to start for a wide variety of products. There’s Sephora for makeup, FootLocker for sneakers and shoes, etc. Since you’ll be buying frequently, you might want to sign up for a membership on these stores to avail of their exclusive deals from additional discounts to free US domestic shipping.
Important: Take note of the Philippines’ de minimis threshold for imported goods. Packages with a total value amounting to P10, 000 are tax-free; beyond that, you need to pay additional duties. If one of your packages orders have already reached this amount, you may split your packages into multiple shipments so you won’t have to pay the duties.
2. Use the US address given to you by the freight forwarder at checkout.
Usually, US stores request for the complete address split into two address lines. Make sure to include the C/O for your suite number to avoid having your packages assigned to a different account when they arrive at your freight forwarder’s warehouse.
3. Avail additional services from the freight forwarder to lower shipping costs.
If applicable, you can consolidate or repack your packages. A wise move to maximize savings on shipping costs would be to take orders from your customers in batches. Then, when each package has arrived at the warehouse, you can now send this batch to the Philippines.
4. Ship your US products to the Philippines.
Once everything is okay with your packages, you can now send them home from the US to the Philippines. Choosing a freight forwarder with a flat rate like comGateway means that they only offer a standard price when shipping anywhere to the Philippines which can be advantageous to your business.
5. Ship your products to your customers.
Though you already have an international shipping partner, you also need a local logistic partner to deliver your customer’s orders. Often, local shipping fees are shouldered by the buyer so you don’t have to worry.
And there you have it! With this information, you are now ready to start your buy-and-sell business with US products. Always make sure that you’re tuned in to popular trends so you know what products shoppers are buying. And of course, never be afraid to get lost on US websites to find the best possible deal that will give you the most profit upon resell!