Is customs data only used to find contact information?

2023-07-28|145 views|Development skills

The discussion surrounding the use of customs data online can be divided into two camps. One side believes that customs data is useless and cannot help find genuine customers, while the other side considers it a magical tool capable of anything.

Why does such a "debate" exist when the data is the same?
Due to the nature of my work, I often come into contact with many foreign trade professionals, most of whom are familiar with or have used customs data. When asked about their experiences with it, I frequently hear them say, "It's of no use; the contact information provided is fake and impossible to reach." This is one of the reasons some people consider customs data as worthless.
However, the utility of customs data extends far beyond merely acquiring customer contact information. If that's your sole purpose, I would advise you to think twice because your approach is flawed. So, how should one correctly utilize customs data?
Firstly, we can use customs data to understand our competitors and which customers they are cooperating. Although we compete with our counterparts, to some extent, we are also partners. However, many foreign trade practitioners use customs data just to obtain the prices of their competitors' products, intending to undercut them and steal their customers. While there's nothing wrong with this approach, it is often more valuable to focus on "newly added buyers compared to the previous year; buyers who recently switched suppliers, or buyers whose purchase volume has consistently decreased." These customers have more development potential.

Next, let's examine the clients' collaborative partners. Many buyers aren't end-users but resell our products, making far greater profits than us without any modification. These clients are also our high-quality target customers. By utilizing customs data, we can endlessly trace and investigate. We can find out whether our clients have procured products from other suppliers, who their customers are, which are their primary markets, and what their purchase volumes are like. By doing so, we can continuously discover potential customers.

Now, let's look at the two sets of data from the US LED industry from June 2021 to June 2023. What information can we extract from them?
1. Despite a continuous decline in trading volume this year, based on past data analysis, there might be a small surge in orders in August.
2. Although trading volume is decreasing, China still accounts for 53.08% of the total trade, indicating that it remains the primary supplier of LED products.
However, these are just the insights obtained from these two sets of data; customs data includes more details such as buyer information, supplier details, port of import/export, and so on. Conducting market research isn't as difficult as one might imagine since data has become more concrete. With enough exposure, one can naturally grasp market trends and develop a more rational perspective.
Due to space constraints, this article only briefly covered some use cases of customs data. To fully unleash the potential of customs data, continuous learning is essential.
Of course, I haven't overlooked the drawbacks of customs data. After all, obtaining customs data requires access to the relevant customs authorities, and some regions do not share their customs data publicly. Even if access is possible, data from these regions may be derived from other publicly available data and thus incomplete.

In conclusion, customs data is not without flaws, but when applied appropriately and interpreted correctly, it can be a valuable tool for foreign trade practitioners.

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