Last Updated on September 5, 2022

How to start a mini importation business in Nigeria? The complete guide


If you know how to start a mini importation business in Nigeria, you are well on your way to making lots of money from the business. Nigeria has a population of over 200 million and requires quality fast-moving items.

If you knew how massive the demand is, you will know how to start mini importation business in Nigeria to cash in on this new trend.

The thing here is that there are lots of people already making money through this profitable importation business in Nigeria.


You could do what they are doing to make yourself.  This complete guide teaches you how to start a mini importation business in Nigeria.

What is mini importation?

In Nigeria, the mini importation business is simply a type of business that involves the buying of products from global market overseas and then reselling the same product locally.

The mini importation business usually involves buying at a cheaper price and then selling the same product at a higher price to make a profit.

The unique thing about this mini importation business is that it is done completely online.

But, to begin, you have to know how to start mini importation business in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, most of the mini importation business transactions are usually done with countries in the middle east and Asia.

This is because goods can be sourced in those regions at a cheaper price and with good quality.

Most mini importation businesses in Nigeria tend to buy their products from countries where they are cheaper like the United Arab Emirates, China, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, and so on.

These countries produce lots of cheap goods that can be produced at a relatively cheap price.

Furthermore, most of these goods are manufactured with good quality and are durable.

Most people believe that the mini importation business is a small scale business.

Contrarily to what many people may think, depending on the total capital you have, you could buy a huge number of products and bring them into the country.

One thing about the Nigerian mini importation business

is that it is highly lucrative and sells pretty fast (depends on the nature of the product).

In this type of business, the bigger your capital, the better for you. 

Most markets in Asia, offer you a greater number of quality goods for a higher price depending on the minimum order quantity.

The more the goods, the better for the business because that means more revenue and ultimately more profits.

Technically, the mini importation business is meant for those who have low capital to buy just a few important and essential goods.

The business is also for people with a massive capital to use in their company.

This business can be begun with money that is as low as N20,000 or could be as high as N10 million.

Before these modern times, the Nigerian importation business was usually done by people and organisations that have lots of capital to invest in the business.

Luckily, with the advancement of technology and the internet, just about anyone can start mini importation business.

With the mini importation business, there are no boundaries or no limits to the amount of the money someone can make from the business. 

The items needed to start your mini importation business

Fortunately for people looking for how to start mini importation business in Nigeria, they do not need much to get started. The items needed for the business are already available. They are:

1). A mobile phone and a personal computer.

2). A reliable and strong internet connection.

3). A valid business address or a warehouse that you could deliver and store your products in.

4). A functional and valid e-mail address.

5). Your start-up capital.

Why do you need to start mini importation business in Nigeria?

One thing about the mini importation business landscape in Nigeria is that it can be done on a part-time basis.

This what makes the business such an interesting and exciting option for young professionals and other career-focused workers in the country.

The business is suitable for everyone, especially if you are engaged with a job or another business. 

Most people treat their mini importation business as a side hustle because it does not demand your attention throughout the day.

The best part of this business is the fact that it is very lucrative and can make you lots of money within a short time.

The Nigeria population is well within the 200 million marks.

Once you get fast moving goods that you could import all you need do is to contact the company overseas, pay your money for the products, pay for the shipment and be available to receive the products here in Nigeria.

One thing about the Nigerian mini importation business is that choosing the right products to import is all that matters in deciding whether you will make money from the business or not.

If you can get the right products, with a single successful import, you could make more than what you make in a year with your corporate job or any other business that you specialize in.

In Nigeria, products can be sourced from most Asian countries like China, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and more because

Nigeria seems to have bilateral trade agreements with these countries.

Furthermore, importers are assured of cheaper prices when they more products in bulk.

This is why the importation business in Nigeria is such a lucrative venture when you know the type of products to import into the country.

One more thing about the importation business is that if you have excellent negotiation skills, you can get products at a cheaper process than your competitors.

Some of the time, if you can establish a trustworthy working relationship with your suppliers, they could decide to give you the products on credit, providing that you agree to pay them promptly as soon as you get your money.

The Nigerian mini importation business seems like the right kind of business for those who are extroverted and like to sell to a wide range of people.

Most importers usually achieve their financial objectives on time since the more they engage in the business, the more they become exposed to the many opportunities that come with the mini importation business.

The definitive guide to starting mini importation business in Nigeria

Step 1). Get your Nigerian mini importation business registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

To start mini importation business, you will need to register your company at first.

You could skip this step all the way if you think that your business in Nigeria is going to be a home-based business and nothing more.

However, if you want to start full-time mini importation business in Nigeria, you will need to give the business a structure.

In Nigeria, the CAC is in charge of business registration. They are present in all states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory of the country.

a big building with green windows as a main building of Nigerian corporate registry, where you should go to start mini importation business

Most overseas trust you more when your business in Nigeria is registered.

Business registration makes it easier for them to deal with you considering the risks involved in long-distance business relationships like the importation and exportation business.

When you register your business in Nigeria, overseas manufacturing companies know to trust you with their products, goods, loans, money, and so on.

This is because they know where to find you should their product or money go missing.

Step 2). Get a reliable and cheap importation portal to find a supplier online.

There are numerous online mini importation sites that you can get your overseas products suppliers.

This importation sites act as a small window to the world of the importation business in different regions. 

Apart from establishing connections with overseas companies through this portal, you will also be able to carry out your importation transactions over the internet.

It is essential to be cautious when sourcing for suppliers through portals because some of the portals out there are fake and are full of fraudulent people looking for people to defraud.

Furthermore, you need to be careful when choosing a portal that has pricey goods.

There is usually no business sense in buying high priced products.

When this is combined with the cost of shipping, it might adversely impact your profitability.

The moral of the story is that you have to choose your overseas suppliers carefully to affect running into fraudsters.

Before you begin, you are expected to research the top importation portals before you select a website for the business.

The moment that you feel that you are done with your research, you will have to go to the selected website and register an account with them.

This should be an easy process. There are several reliable websites that you can find relatively cheap suppliers, especially from China.

Other cheap suppliers for your products can be found at exhibitions, trade directories, business expos, and other importation business networking events in Nigeria.

There are several portals like Alibaba, DHGate and others that allow local businesses from Nigeria to import products at a cheap price to the country.

a screenshot of alibaba.com where you can start your importation business in nigeria

The good thing about these Chinese companies is that they do not need you to register your business.

All you need is to select your products, pay for it, and pay for the shipping.

Alibaba is a popular marketplace that you could get suppliers, wholesalers, and manufacturers that can offer you reasonably priced products when you meet their minimum order quantity (MOQ).

Step 3). Sourcing for the products

The moment that you have chosen the website, the next line of action is to check through the website to discover the products that you will like to purchase.

Numerous products can be imported from China and you could get overwhelmed and confused trying to look at them all.

You should choose a specific type of product you want to sell based on your niche or based on popular demand.

Things to take into perspective before you choose the right products for importation.

a). Choose the right market and know what they need locally

Just like we previously talked about demand, you will need to consider the country that you are importing from and structure your business around that.

Like in this case, you would be importing goods from China to Nigeria.

You would have to consider importing fast-moving consumer goods or products like building materials, cooking materials, baby clothes/food, phones/electronics, and so on.

Understanding the fast-selling products in the country will help you make a good decision about the right products to import into the country.

You will also need to consider the country’s population.

In the case of Nigeria, the population is about 200 million people in the country.

This means that you have a wide and balanced market where people are waiting to use your imported products.

In Nigeria, there are lots of products that you could import from china and make lots of money.

The country has a rather high demand for most fast-moving consumer goods because of the competition that is being driven by population.

While you intend to start mini importation business in Nigeria, you will also need to assess the lifestyle, culture, geographical position, and the climate of the country.

Furthermore, you will need to be comfortable with all the products that are selling successfully in the market.

While you may not get all the information you need, knowing certain things in your chosen market will stop you from losing money unnecessarily.

Furthermore, to ensure that you stay in the business of importing products from overseas, you will need to keep to trends.

b). Get to know the local norms of the people

It is often said that the road to business success in Nigeria usually comes when you are familiar with the norms of the people.

One important factor that will help you choose the right products to import is having to know the ins and outs of the importation business.

You may need to become aware of products that are outlawed and illegal.

Additionally, in Nigeria, certain goods are limited in quantity.

Alternative, some of the products come with certain tax implications which importers need to know beforehand to save them from unwanted surprises at the shipment stage.

For you to better understand the laws, taxes, and requirements for the business, you will need to get the services of a lawyer.

However, this only applies in the case where you intend to expand your business to a full-fledged importation company.

c). Check product reviews before buying

Before you proceed to buy a product for importation, you will need to check the reviews of the products.

This will give you a snapshot of what customers are saying about the goods.

You will also need to check the method of delivery, shipping costs, and the product seller’s guarantee.

Some fast-moving products and goods to import to Nigeria

i). Clothes, wristwatches, and shoes

These items are the primary needs of everyone in the world. Regardless of your competition, you will always see a market to sell these products to.

In Nigeria, you will always see people ready to buy these products.

When you start mini importation from China to Nigeria, these goods/items can always be purchased in bulk and sold with lots of profit.

ii). Electronics/Gadget

Nigerians indeed have an underlying love for gadgets.

While you may not sell much when you import phones from China, other gadgets with guaranteed quality can be bought and sold in the country.

You could easily buy top-notch gadgets from China and sell them in Nigeria.

You only need to buy goods with guaranteed and proven quality. you could sell some of these gadgets in the country:

  • Flash Drives,
  • Selfie Sticks,
  • Wireless Smartphone chargers,
  • Engrave Pen,
  • Watermelon slicer,
  • LED light for the toilet,
  • Mobile Phones,
  • Laptops,
  • Smartwatches, and so on.

iii). Products for body fitness

Presently, we are now in the period where getting fit and slimming down are in vogue.

There are several quality and innovative slimming products and goods from China that can help people achieve their complete dream bodies.

This products and goods are something new mini importers can invest in. You can buy these goods:

  • Innovative body shapers,
  • Waist trainers,
  • Slimming tea

iv). Gift Items

If you stay in Nigeria, you will know that Nigerians like to party. We have parties regularly in the country.

However, there is a shortage of excellent party gifts for people who need to buy gifts for their loved ones.

Fortunately for you, you can very beautiful and cheap gift items from China.

You could purchase an excellent gift item, bring them to Nigeria, and proceed to sell them.

The good thing is that people prefer to buy bulk gift items.

This means that when you eventually take them out to sell, you will make back your money as well as some profits.

Step 4). Paying for the goods

After choosing the right products to buy, the next logical step is to pay for the goods.

There are several security measures in place put by most mini importation sites when buying goods.

These payment processes have been considerably streamlined.

Through the use of the internet, the payment service has been streamlined.

From your office or home, making payments to UK, USA, China, and other parts of the world is pretty simple.

Depending on the supplier that you choose, you can use any payment channel.

Most suppliers accept a range of payment options. You do not need to worry about having to lose your money.

These mini importation websites have different security measures to help prevent you from being defrauded.

There are measures like “Escrow” or “Buyers Protection”.

These are meant to protect you from getting defrauded by faceless entities who might be posing as genuine suppliers from China.

This is the way the entire process works, the moment you pay for the goods, the money is not sent directly to the account of the seller, the money is held by a third party, which is usually the website.

The moment you confirm that the order has been received, your payment is released to the seller.

If you get a different item other than what you ordered, you get to fill in a “Dispute Form”.

This could lead to returning and reshipping, or you could be refunded your money.

A second payment method in Nigeria

Since the technological infrastructure of Nigeria is still in its developing stages, the first option of payment may not be a common approach.

You place your orders through companies here in Nigeria. These are logistic companies for mini importers.

You could open up an account through the logistics website and your import site.

This can be done easily.

The moment you choose the needed product from the import site, the product link is copied to the logistics website.

You can then place your order through this company. The logistics company will give you the tracking details and help you ship the goods to Nigeria.

Your agreement with the logistics company could be whether to ship the goods to their office or your warehouse.

Step 5). Delivering your order

As mentioned earlier, when you get a logistics company to deliver the goods, it could get delivered to your office or their office.

When you directly place the order, the product gets delivered in two primary ways:

1). Free Shipping

For people with no time to spare, they can decide to choose the option for free shipping.

While this could be a slow choice, it will help maximise profit by saving costs. With this option, you could get your goods in either 20 or 30 days.

You could get your orders by using either Hong Kong Mail or China Post Air Mail/Parcel services.

You could the official postal service from China which is China Post. Your goods will be tracked reliably if you use the services of Hong Kong Post and China Post.

Hong Kong Post green track

With the free shipping choice, you should add your phone number to help confirm the arrival of your goods.

In cases where your order might not be tracked reliably but it will be sent to the closest China Post.

In this instance, you need to add your phone number.

2). Premium Delivery

When you make use of premium delivery for your products, this is usually traceable and faster.

You could execute your product delivery by using EMS, FedEx, or EMS.

screenshot from ems site, where a woman is receiving a mailing from a courier.

This usually arrives between 3 and 5 days. one of the easiest ways to minimize product costs is to have several irrelevant packages in the order to be taken out.

This helps to minimize the weight and the shipment costs.

Step 6). Putting your products out there to make money

Even though you have a good product, if you fail to advertise the product, you will not be able to sell it when people do not buy the products. this means that you will need to promote and market the product.

Haven properly done the third step, getting the right audience for your product will not be difficult.

Some marketing channels to sell your goods:

1). Social Media

With the development of Social Media, there are myriads of opportunity for you to make money.

You could get a business page for the goods on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and other online-based social media websites.

More recently, these platforms have been some of the best which businesses can use to get to their targeted market.


You will need to become very familiar with these websites to know how they work.

There are lots of tools with these social media websites that make you get to your potential customers on time.

There are different ways that you can send make use of the different tools of these websites.

You will need to explore all the available features within your disposal to effectively use these platforms.

You could read several books on running product adverts on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and the more.

And you should regularly post contents on this site and ensure that you engage with your audience.

Making money through social media works mostly with the use of excellent visuals and decent captions.

2). Referral

One more marketing channel which you will need to explore is in the building of your referral network.

This can be done by agreeing to compensate anybody that brings you clients.

You could decide to reward them with gifts, money, or any other kind of incentive. 

This is such a good way of making money from your imported goods because people will be looking towards making some money off you before moving to promote your business.

One good way of doing this is to offer to pay them in commission.

3). Using the Word of mouth

While this method might look outdated, it still performs a lot of magic.

You will need to learn how to tell everyone that you have goods to sell. Make sure to tell everyone about it.

You need to tell your friends, families, neighbours, mosque or church members.

Whenever you find yourself in an environment, you will want to tell people about what you do.

4). Sharing of handbills and flyers

This method is one more way to promote your imported goods.

You will need to get a good graphic designer to design handbills and flyers for you.

You can then take these flyers to banks, gatherings, corporate organisations, and other establishments to share them.

People who are unable to share this themselves can get companies and other agencies to do this on their behalf.

You will need to let them know about the locations that you intend to distribute the flyers.

You will then need to pay the distributors to help distribute the marketing materials on your behalf.

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