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3 Things You Need To Know About Importing Tech From Abroad

Your Ecommerce Store: Vital Elements You Can't Miss

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to import technology from somewhere outside of the country. These include:

  • Wanting to get your hands on something that is not currently sold in the USA. This could be a new innovation from the far east, or a product that is unlikely to launch with the same device or software – and you want to know if it’s any different.
  • You speak a second language and want to try using that language with a different software.
  • The purchase price is lower.

Okay, so realistically, there’s only one reason that people want to buy tech from abroad – and it’s the last one. When you’re struggling for the funds to feed your habit of buying new technology innovations, sometimes, the lure of the lower purchase price just won’t get out of your head. You know you could buy a USA version or you could just wait for the purchase price to reduce… but that one is right there, and you can afford it… the internet makes it so easy to buy things from afar these days…

Click and it’s done – or it can be, if you make the decision to take the leap.

However, before you click buy, there’s a few things you need to consider.

1) Be Extremely Wary Of Fakes

While much of the tech you can buy from abroad online will be legitimate and be offered by genuine companies, some of it just won’t be. There is a burgeoning marketplace for rip-offs, “inspired bys”, and just outright copyright infringement. If you’re more concerned with being seen to own an item than the actual function it performs, you might not even mind if your chosen item isn’t the real thing – but you should.

Not only do proceeds of fraudulent items often make their way into the hands of organized crime, but the products themselves are often defective to the point of being dangerous. If you do buy online from abroad, ensure you research the company thoroughly and check reviews from other customers to make sure what you’re buying is legitimate.

2) Think About Power

If you buy a console abroad and ship it home, you might be surprised to open the box and realize that you can’t plug it in. You might be able to buy an adapter, but these are notoriously unreliable for long-term use, so it might be better to consider power transformers or having an expert permanently rewire it for use in the US. This doesn’t just apply to consoles either; any form of tech that needs to plug into an outlet could suffer the same problem.

3) Think Import

When you import something into the country – which is what you’re doing when you buy abroad – you are subject to import fees. You need to make sure that when you have factored these in, your coveted item is still as much of a bargain as you thought it was. You don’t want to end up with a low purchase price that you then have to pay three times the sum of when it comes to customs.

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Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye
Kunbi Tinuoye is the founder and CEO of UrbanGeekz. Previously, she worked as a News Correspondent for NBC’s theGrio. Prior, she was a senior broadcast journalist for the BBC in London. Tinuoye currently sits on the SXSW Pitch Advisory Board and CES Conference Advisory Board. She is a key player in the Atlanta tech startup ecosystem and serves as a mentor for Comcast NBCUniversal’s The Farm Accelerator. Tinuoye has received several awards and accolades, including being honored with a Resolution from the Georgia Legislative.
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