Why International Trade Research is Key for Your Import/Export Career

Updated January 2024

Imagine navigating in the dark without GPS, booking a hotel without first checking reviews, or making a major purchase without comparing prices or product features. You might get lucky, but it's far more likely that you'll end up lost, disappointed, and way over budget!

Every day, we use advance planning and research tools to get the best deals, avoid financial risk, and make smarter consumer decisions.  

Similarly, for import/export companies, the research process is absolutely crucial for making informed business decisions within the global marketplace.

Without international trade research, importer/exporters operate in the dark, taking enormous risks and ignoring the many variables that can undermine their business.

Are you considering pursuing import/export training to launch a career in international commerce?

This post breaks down why international research is such a key part of training in this field—and why employers value the skill so highly.


How Trade Research Gives Importer/Exporters a Competitive Advantage

Trade research helps import/export businesses identify new opportunities in markets around the world or at home, and then determine whether those opportunities are worth pursuing.

What kind of intelligence do companies gather through international research?

  • Information on which markets to target with a product or service
  • Information on who else is offering a similar product or service in that particular market (top competitors)
  • Detailed information on the targeted consumer (their purchasing habits, preferences, age, gender, etc.)
  • An assessment of any potential legal, political, or cultural instability that could impact product performance in the targeted market (identifying and evaluating risk)
  • An assessment of how consumers are responding to a newly introduced product or service (whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied), so the company can tweak its approach accordingly
  • An analysis of the possible benefits—and the potential costs or risks—of entering a new market, so managers can determine if the venture is worthwhile

It's easy to imagine how expert research helps import/export companies gain a tremendous advantage over competitors while protecting their own financial stability.

The more detailed the data, the more power businesses have to make smarter, more profitable decisions in the ever-changing global marketplace.


What Research Methods do Students Learn in Import/Export Programs?

Solid trade research is all about following a strict set of steps, or methods, which help guide the investigation and ensure the researcher captures the most relevant and accurate data.

International commerce and import/export programs typically devote an entire course to "research methodologies" so students can learn the steps and how to follow them. The research process includes the following components:

  • Asking the right questions (otherwise known as developing relevant "research objectives" that reflect company goals)
  • Figuring out where to look for reliable information (usually called "data collection methods")
  • Analyzing data (making sense out of the information you have gathered, and using those insights to answer your original research questions)
  • Presenting data to managers (various ways you can share your findings so others will understand their impact, and can make decisions accordingly)

Knowing how to approach trade research is crucial for anyone planning to launch an import/export career. Whether you're directly involved in digging up information or working with reports others have generated, familiarity with the research process is essential for working in the field.


Trade Research Skills are Needed for FITT Certification

Reputable import/export diplomas base their curriculum on skills recommended by the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT).  

Professionals who demonstrate knowledge of FITT skills can apply to become a Certified International Trade Professional (CITP) through FITT, adding weight to their resume and boosting their competiveness on the job market.

FITT is recognized across the globe as a leader in international trade education. They set the bar for professional competency in the import/export business.

International trade research is a key component of the FITT program. In order to qualify for certification, professionals must take a trade research course through FITT, or show that they have completed similar training at another institution.  

How soon after completing your diploma can you apply for FITT certification? Once you've graduated, you need just one year of professional experience to qualify for membership.


Learn More about international trade & import/export  training

Want to learn more about international trade research and import/export training? Looking for a reliable program that meets FITT standards?

Take a look at Herzing College's International Commerce & Import/Export program, delivered online.

Click below to explore training and careers, and chat live with an admissions advisor. We're here to help!

Learn More About Import/Export Training at Herzing


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