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Negotiating Furniture & Home Decor Import

Updated: Jun 1

Evaluating Supplier Reliability and Defining Strategies


As a professional with extensive experience in export management, negotiation, documentation, logistics, and customs issues for some of Brazil's leading manufacturers of home decor products. I have witnessed a wide range of challenges faced by importers, from large-scale operators moving multiple containers to those with direct-to-consumer (B2C) sales channels, the challenges in negotiating and establishing commercial relationships are a constant, regardless of the volume or origin of the imports.


Negotiating Directly with the Brazilian Manufacturer


When considering the feasibility of any direct importing from Brazil, it is crucial to assess the impact of the distance between the factory and the ports/airports, especially for Less than Container Load (LCL) shipments.

Additionally, the import duty rate of the destination country and competition from domestic manufacturers, their advantages, and disadvantages should also be taken into account. While direct importation offers potential benefits, such as better negotiating conditions as volumes increase, initiating distribution by purchasing through other local distributors can provide valuable prior experience in the local market, serving as a gauge of acceptance, and even an understanding of possible product quality defects.

This can result in a more assertive mix of imported products when operations require more robust investments.


Competitiveness as a Goal


In pursuit of competitiveness, it is essential to understand the practical and psychological needs of the market, while large-scale products rely on production capacity and exclusivity,

Plastic Containers, Organizers, Toolboxes made in Brazil
Affordable Plastic Containers, Organizers, Toolboxes as example of Bulk Manufacturers.
Benta Soapstone Stool. Modern furniture adorned with books over this.
Benta Soapstone Stool as an example of high-value-added.

one-of-a-kind items compete based on the perceived value of the domestic market, influenced by cultural aspects. Moreover, it is important to develop strategies to compete with major marketplaces, such as Amazon, Mercado Livre, Wayfair, Etsy, and Alibaba, if these are not the importer's primary distribution channel.





Exclusivity and Market Respect to the goods you import


To establish a healthy and sustainable business relationship, it is crucial to negotiating the interests of both parties involved in the trade agreement. Building a valuable customer network over time is essential. Both the manufacturer and the distributor must maintain a flexible and adaptable posture towards customer service and, especially, after-sales service. In this case, it is not about incoterms, but rather about respecting the importer's local pricing strategies and understanding their scope of action. Internal competition becomes unhealthy when there is price competition with another competitor targeting the same clientele.


Whether due to team turnover or lack of perception of the target market, the negotiation may fall short in this regard. This is crucial for long-term success in international trade and for the good reputation of a brand.


Quality and Market Trends regarding Furniture & Home Decor Supply


The success from the furniture brand chosen by the importer depends on an exact understanding of the specific demands of the target market. Therefore, it is crucial to assess additional costs and investments needed to ensure product quality and adaptation to market needs such as the measurements of a chair seat or the height of a solid wood table, or the shade of a leather fabric, or understanding what is waterproof or water-resistant, for indoor or outdoor use, etc.

Wooden Sofa Arm Tray Table with a drawer.
Water-resistant Sofa Arm Tray Table for indoor use.

Whether due to regulations from the government, especially for Home Decor items, where there is a wide variety of raw materials and its respective countries of origins and extraction where the product's tariff classification requires attention, or just for evaluating the impact on sales of any investment needed to enhance the perceived value at the target market, it is essential to the manufacturer to be attentive to the variations and continuities necessary to maintain local demand.


To sum up, when facing the challenges of importing furniture & home decor products, a strategic and adaptive approach is fundamental. Understanding the nuances of negotiation and market demands is essential to achieve long-term success in this competitive sector.





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