If you don’t choose the right units for your product catalog, you could risk holding high amounts of idle inventory that isn’t selling or making money. One wrong product could put you in a financial hole for months, if not more.


Success starts with a strong import. The world is your oyster, so how do you find the perfect pearl of a product?


Below you’ll find the 11 factors to consider when choosing a product for your brand portfolio.


1. Target audience

Who are you selling to? Will people buy this product? Does it solve a pain point for your consumers? How?


This is the number one factor for any product. If your audience doesn’t want the product, it won’t sell. If the unit doesn’t sell, you won’t make money on it. So the first step is always figuring out what your consumer wants to buy. It’s much easier to fit the product to the market than vice versa.


2. Differentiation

What makes your import different than your competitors’ products? How will it solve your customer’s pain point better than the products of your competitors?


3. Margins

Will you be able to make money on this product? Is there a high-profit potential?


Beyond just the margins, consider the consumer behavior with regards to the product. Does it encourage repeat sales or complementary unit sales? Can the product build a sense of loyalty behind it?


Generally, higher ticket items allow for more room for error when it comes to margin calculation. You’ll need to take other costs into account as well. For example, importing from overseas can have exorbitant shipping and transportation expenses that need to be factored into your margins. It’s easier to price higher on a larger, more expensive item than a smaller, inexpensive one.


4. Portfolio

What kind of brand are you looking to create? How does the product work with your brand? How does this product relate to the rest of your portfolio? How is it enhancing your portfolio?


Consider your product, not as a unit but a part of a line. What role will this new product play in the overall purpose of your brand? Can you grow your brand from this product?


5. Scalability

What is the time to market? Can production be quickened if you suddenly get a rush of orders? Is it highly specialized with long production times?


Furthermore, can you meet a growing demand? Will the factory be able to scale the production of this unit along with your business’ growth?


Scalability is in your best interest not only because you’re selling more but also because it allows you to ship overseas in higher quantities. This can cut transportation costs and further boost your profit margins.


6. Risk

How risky is this product? How much liability is associated with it?


Selling any type of merchandise can put you in an unfortunate legal situation if not handled currently. Still, some types of units are riskier than others. For example, baby products and exercise equipment have more legal risk attached than pillows or phone cases. It’s advisable to choose low-risk products unless you have a firm legal process in place.


7. Infringement

Does someone own the rights to this product? Are there patents on this item or a portion of this item? Can you own the rights to this product if you wanted to?


Make sure that you are not infringing on trademarks or patents when sourcing a product. Keep in mind that China has different patents. Thus, items that can be made and sold in China may not be legal to sell in the America if there is a U.S. (not international) patent.


8. Import regulations

Is it legal to bring these products to the U.S.? What will the customs process look like? Will your items often get held up in customs for approval?


Certain products have different regulations than others. For example, there used to be quota restrictions regarding the number of Chinese textile imports into the U.S. Plants and food items almost always get stuck in customs. Knockoff products will also get stopped and possibly confiscated (another reason you want to make sure you’re not infringing).


9. Passion

Are you excited about selling this product? Does it make you passionate about your business?


Passion in business is important. You want to enjoy what you sell or you won’t put the necessary energy and time into the product. You’ll be more devoted and motivated to scale your company. Plus, you’ll better connect to your customers because you’re naturally a part of that community. If you are passionate about the product, you are already a member of your target market; you better understand what kinds of products your customer wants.


10. Quality

Is the product of a high-end quality? Will the quality of the product make your customers happy?


If the quality of your product is low, you’ll have dissatisfied customers, lost sales, high returns, inventory mismanagement, and more. Pick a high-quality product for a high-quality business.


This is related to the supplier that you pick. Is this supplier going to provide you with a quality product?


11. Suppliers

Will you be able to find suppliers to make this product? How specialized is the product? Will you need specific services from your manufacturer?


Ask Idea Sourcing will help you find the right supplier for your desired product with our comprehensive supplier assessment and global resources.


The Bottom Line

There are a lot of factors that go into choosing the right product to import. Don’t risk making the wrong choice by shooting in the dark. Ask Idea Sourcing starts our journey with a thorough product consultation to discover the optimal solution for your brand’s portfolio. We ensure that every sourcing plan is feasible, with low risk, quality suppliers, and data-driven analysis.


Request a quote to see why we are the best choice to help select the perfect imported products for your portfolio.