What are Direct Imports? Overview, & 11 Facts

Direct import is an import method where the importer deals directly with the exporter to negotiate and sign an international goods sale and purchase contract and become the subject of this transaction. For more related information about direct import, read the article below. 

What are Direct Imports?

Direct imports are products manufactured in a foreign country that are sent to another country and received by the consumer at the point of entry without the involvement of an intermediary. Before reaching the consumer, imports often transit through two or three tiers of the supply chain, including the importing agent, the wholesaler, and the retailer.

What are Direct Imports?

Eliminating intermediaries reduces the product’s total price. As a result of the proliferation of the Internet and the globalization of the world’s economies, direct importing has become more feasible for the typical customer.

Understanding Direct imports

Importing foreign products has historically necessitated the involvement of professionals at each stage of the supply chain. The agent was responsible for negotiating the transaction with the foreign manufacturer.

Distributor was responsible for clearing the product through customs. The wholesaler was responsible for storing the commodity until it was introduced to the market. Consumers purchased the product through retailers.

Access to direct imports without going via the supply chain was restricted to those who were well-traveled and politically connected. For the ease of buying at a local retailer for imported items, the average consumer paid the market price. This price was, however, inflated by the expenditures incurred each time the goods was transferred.

Direct imports are now available to everyone with a computer and an Internet connection due to the growth of the Internet. Facilitators of international e-commerce provide direct access to foreign producers.

On an e-commerce website, consumers can purchase things manufactured thousands of kilometers away, pay in their own currency, and have the item delivered immediately to their doorstep.

Disintermediation is the word used by economists to describe the elimination of intermediaries from a supply chain. In the past, middlemen played a significant role; but, in many ways, this is no longer the case today.

Using an e-commerce facilitator for direct imports has reshaped the import market due to the substantial cost reductions.

This is an illustration of how globalization affects a country’s economy and how it helps the buyer at the very end of the supply chain. Having direct access to consumers all around the world is advantageous for the company as well.

Challenge of Direct Imports

Direct imports bring certain difficulties. Authorities ponder how to properly tax commodities that bypass crucial taxable entry points into the market. Consumers who purchase direct imports lack the legal protections afforded by purchasing locally.

What are Direct Imports?

Without a local distributor, warranties lack value. Even the benefit of supporting the local company economy may be lost if Internet globalization in direct sales of goods continues to advance.

First-hand import experiences overseas

As my business expanded, I decided to investigate the benefits and downsides of direct importing. I reached out to an import agency I had previously met at a U.S. trade fair. We planned a joint trip to Germany, Austria, France, Italy, and Taiwan. He resided in Germany. What an education I received!

I informed perhaps twenty additional sports goods/tackle retailers of my intentions. Specifically, I would source products from throughout the world, bring back samples and prices, accept orders, and then place a combined order with the numerous vendors through my agent. FOB factory, plus import taxes (duty), plus freight, and customs and clearance fees.

The bundled orders were dispatched together, but with retailer-specific labels. After buyers were cleared, shipments were sent straight to each retailer.

I imported fishing tackle, sporting goods, bicycles, athletic and ski apparel, cross-country and downhill ski equipment, and a few other categories over time.

In addition to attending trade events in Germany and Taiwan, I also met with vendors in Japan, Korea, China, Italy, and Taiwan. Both the quality and the prices were excellent.

Learning the margin game

Here’s how to play the margin game: when meeting with a factory, I had to assess my usage, time period, and have a strong grasp of what I needed. I frequently provided examples of what I was seeking. Following negotiations, we finalized prices.

The margin game: When directly importing stuff, I was able to decide what name I wanted on the products, cosmetics, and, in many cases, the price we placed on gloves, sunglasses, skis, lure, etc.

Typically, the pre-priced ticket was the cost price plus import taxes and fees, which was then multiplied by three or four. The final selling price must be reasonable and comparable with similar products on the market.

The greatest profits were made on clothes. Using an MSRP (manufacturer’s suggested retail price) price ticket, we could sell the item for a markup of three times.

Leave it in stores for around two to three weeks, and then begin pushing it at a 25 to 30 percent discount. Later, we would “clear” it at a 40% discount and still make a substantial profit.

This is, approximately, how the big boys play the game. Once I began direct imports, our sales, profitability, and reputation skyrocketed. So, what is the conclusion? You can also import directly, as I did.

Membership in a buying group is helpful. And if not, simply combine the orders of other comparable retailers seeking direct import benefits.

What are Direct Imports?

Featured Of Direct Imports

Direct export activities must comply with legal provisions such as traders’ rights, goods allowed to import, strictly comply with regulations on import clearance, regulations on goods quality or quarantine, and hygiene. safety and environmental protection.

The importer is named on the sale and purchase contract and organizes to perform the obligations and responsibilities as specified in the contract.

The form of an import contract is usually in the form of a document or equivalent legal form. These contracts can be single or multiple documents.

The transaction of negotiating and signing a direct import contract may include the following basic steps:


Inquiry from a commercial perspective is an invitation to enter a transaction, and from a legal perspective, an invitation to enter a transaction.

The content of the inquiry is not limited, the specificity depends on the inquirer. In principle, if you need any information, ask about it. However, many times buyers use this step to research and explore the market.


Ordering is a transactional operation in international trade, it is used in cases when the relationship between two parties to buy and sell has a mutual understanding before.


Refund is a step in bargaining on prices or other transaction conditions. When a refund is made, the offer to enter into a previous contract is considered invalid.

During the transaction, there may be no rebate step, or the rebate step takes place many times before the two parties reach an agreement.

Accept orders

This is a step to show the agreement of the party receiving the proposal to sign the contract offered by the other party, when the acceptance is done, the contract is established.

However, in order to create a valid contract, the acceptance must meet the conditions according to the provisions of the laws of the countries.


After the transaction, the two parties need to confirm the agreed contents as a basis for signing and performing the contract later.

What is direct import shipping?

Direct import shipping is when a corporation purchases products directly from a manufacturer or supplier in another nation, without employing and utilizing a third party to make arrangements and function as a middleman for them to get the products into their country.

It could also involve purchasing things from abroad manufacturers who produce the goods to your specifications and with your logo and/or brand name. Instead of sending you pre-made things, the factory overseas would manufacture the goods that you order.

Compared to purchasing through an importer, this alternative is more economical.

Historically, importing goods from abroad necessitated the involvement of specialists at each stage of the supply chain. To arrange the agreement with a foreign manufacturer, you would have needed the assistance of an agent.

A distributor would be required to clear the product via customs after it has been shipped. Then, a wholesaler would bring the product to the market, and retailers would sell the products to the end consumers.

Historically, only a few few were able to engage in direct imports without navigating the supply chain. Some of these individuals even imported things directly from the manufacturer for personal use. To purchase imported products from a local merchant, everyone else had to pay full price.

What are Direct Imports?

This cost comprised all profit margins earned by all middlemen engaged in the importation and retail sale of the goods.

When did direct imports become accessible to everyone else?

You may thank the internet for that. When this became widespread, a substantially bigger portion of the population was able to obtain direct imports. Facilitators of eCommerce such as Alibaba provide you direct access to producers and manufacturers in nations all over the world.

Economists have used the word ‘disintermediation’ to describe the elimination of intermediaries in the supply chain.

Direct imports offer advantageous circumstances for both vendors and buyers, allowing them to save a considerable amount of money. It is also advantageous for producers, as the direct import model allows them direct access to merchants and customers worldwide.

What are the advantages of direct import shipping?

Direct import opens up many opportunities for your business to scale up and grow. Here some of the advantages of direct importing:

Reduces your costs

In addition to transportation costs, customs duty, and all other costs associated with importing the products to the country where they are intended to be sold, the vast majority of importers must also add the holding cost of storing inventory of these products in their warehouses prior to adding their profit margins.

You may save at least 20% by importing these foreign products directly.

Opens up the opportunity to work with more suppliers

Since direct import allows you to interact with suppliers from all over the world, you can obtain more competitive prices and offers from a variety of global vendors. You are geographically unrestricted; the world is literally your oyster.

Allows you to scale up

If your present supplier does not permit you to scale up at a fair cost, you must locate a new one that is willing to give the economies of scale you seek.

Direct importation enables you to locate these suppliers on an eCommerce facilitator platform like Alibaba, obtain competitive quotes from them, examine their samples, and scale up by purchasing more quantities from them at a reduced unit price.

Makes it easier for you to achieve a higher standard of quality

Perhaps the supplier you work with lacks the capacity to improve the product’s quality. Possibly, they are quoting a crazy fee for that service. Obtaining products of the desired quality in your home nation could be prohibitively expensive.

In such instances, direct importation may be a viable option. When you import directly from a company headquartered in a nation with a very low cost of living, you can obtain these high-quality products at a price that is comparable to, equal to, or even lower than your present cost.

Allows you to get customized products from your suppliers

Typically, when you purchase things from importers, you will only have access to pre-selected merchandise that typically has the importer’s brand. You do not have a great deal of freedom to modify the things you purchase from these imports.

But when you work directly with a manufacturer through the direct import model, you have so much scope for customization that you can literally have these direct import vendors manufacture your products according to your designs and even put your logo and trademark on it, giving you even more credibility and demonstrating that your company is actually invested in designing products as opposed to merely dropshipping.

What are the biggest disadvantages of the direct import model?

There are two main drawbacks connected with this paradigm, despite the fact that direct import saves quite a bit of money on unit costs and yields large economies of scale.

What are Direct Imports?

Even while it reduces your company’s costs for importing products from other nations, it typically needs payment in full up front, which may be problematic for startups.

In addition, there is a lengthier lead time for foreign production, which typically runs between 40 and 60 days from the date of sample approval.


In short, irect Imports are products that do not need to be imported to a country before they can be sold in that country. This means that you don’t have to go through an expensive and time consuming import process. In many cases, this can save you a lot of money.


Direct import shipping is a scenario in which a company buys products directly from a manufacturer or supplier in another country, without employing and making use of another person or organization to make arrangements for them and act as a middleman for them to bring the products into their country.
a situation in which a company buys products from someone in another country using an intermediary (= a person or organization that arranges business agreements), or a product that is bought in this way: The direct or indirect import of diamonds from the country was banned. Some of these goods are indirect imports.

Direct imports are products produced in a foreign country that are shipped into another country and received by the consumer at point of entry without going through a middleman.

Direct importing is buying from overseas manufacturers directly, per your design, using your logo or trade name. The factory in China will produce what you order, not selling what they have already produced.
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Pat Moriarty
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