14 Jan Shipping From China To Amazon FBA
Dealing with customers is one of the most difficult yet important aspects of running a business organization. You need to take care of every little nuance and need arising out of your customers and provide them relevant services at every step.
As the market is getting highly digitized, most of the marketing and selling activities have taken to the latest technologies. Gone are the days when people would wait hours in a line outside your store to avail your exclusive Sale offers or to check out your latest product launched in the market. Owing to this shift of market from physical to digital platforms, the services you provide as a seller have also increased and become more specific. Online shopping platforms are booming where customers are getting to choose from a plethora of options available to them while slouching on their couch, with the click of a button or a tap on the screen.
As a seller, you need to take care of providing an array of services to your customers when they purchase your products through an online platform. You have to scout the market to find the best products to put on display, advertise your brand online, track the activities of leads visiting the concerned digital platform and choosing your brand and arranging for efficient delivery of your products. However, Amazon can make this process considerably easier for you.
What Is Fulfilment By Amazon?
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is an exclusive service provided by Amazon using which a seller can store their products in special warehouses of Amazon known as “fulfilment centres” and Amazon takes care of delivering their products to their final customers. Through FBA, you can relieve yourself with the responsibility of ensuring quick and reliable delivery of your products to your customers.
If you opt for FBA, Amazon will keep a track of your orders, pick the required product from the fulfilment centre, pack it and ship it right to your valuable customers. Moreover, Amazon will also provide a round-the-clock customer support regarding your products being delivered to your customers. This would ultimately help you increase the scale of your operations and widen your customer reach.
What Benefits Can You Avail By FBA?
Here are some of the key benefits you can avail if you opt for the FBA service of Amazon:
- “Prime” Eligibility – By choosing the FBA service of Amazon, you can make your products eligible for delivery for the Prime members of Amazon. This would facilitate your customers to get your products delivered to them using the exclusive two-day shipping and free shipping offers. All the products listed through FBA would be displayed on Amazon’s website with its signature Prime logo.
- Trusted Service – Amazon has garnered enough goodwill and trust in the online shopping market and you can make use of the same pertaining to your products. Amazon will also handle the return of your products effectively if your customers feel the need to do so according to their service and return policies.
- Help Your Business Grow – There is no limit for the number and type of products you can store with Amazon through FBA. This would not only ensure faster and more reliable delivery, but would also help you in diversifying and growing your business enterprise ensuring high productivity.
- Save Your Hard-earned Money – By choosing FBA, you will be charged for the storage space provided to you and the products shipped by Amazon as and when they are delivered. As all the shipping costs are included in your charges with no extra charge levied for Prime facilities, you can save decent money by going the FBA way.
Shipping From China To Amazon FBA
When it comes to products being sold over online platforms, China has emerged as a huge market, providing an array of products across the globe. This has also opened doors for the world to get an access to Chinese products through Amazon FBA. Sellers can now source their products from China to their customers anywhere in the world by storing them in fulfilment centres provided by Amazon. As a seller, it is important for you to understand that though this process of shipping products from China to Amazon FBA is not a majorly complicated task, it is also not as simple as it superficially looks. Many sellers are confused regarding how to ship products from China to Amazon FBA and you would still find traders in the market asking, “Can Amazon ship to China?” It is high time you tell them that it does!
Broadly, there are two ways in which a seller can get their products shipped to Amazon FBA from China:
- They can ship products directly to Amazon FBA from China, or
- They can ship the products from China first to themselves or other middlemen and then ship them to FBA warehouses
Both these methods are discussed in detail here:
Direct Shipping From China To Amazon FBA
This is the shorter route that can be taken by a seller by getting their products shipped directly to Amazon FBA from China. Though this is a relatively shorter path, you may face issues with your Chinese manufacturers regarding the language difference. Though majority of Chinese manufacturers are now decently familiar with the concept and methodology of Amazon FBA, make sure every provision and clause is made clear between you and your manufacturers before you start with the shipment.
There are a few questions you are advised to address before starting the process of direct shipping from China to FBA, some of which are listed here:
- How to find the most suitable product for you to ship from China?
- How to settle the most ideal price regarding the shipment to be carried out?
- What is the mode of shipment (sea or air)?
- How to build productive and lasting relations with your suppliers in China?
- What pricing strategy should you employ in order to get the best returns?
Arrange a meeting with your team and superiors and discuss these matters in detail. have a full-proof plan in place and make all the required arrangements before you even take your first step towards shipping to Amazon FBA from China. Always keep in mind that a little mishap can cost your business a lot!
Advantages of Shipping Products Directly From China To FBA
Have a look at the key advantages you would avail as a seller if you choose shipping your products to Amazon FBA directly from China:
- Rapid Delivery – As there is no third party involved in the middle of your transactions, your products will be delivered to your customers quicker if you ship directly to Amazon FBA from China. This speed would be further increased if you are catering to Amazon Prime members.
- Saving Money – As a seller, you save decent amount of money in getting your products shipped directly to Amazon FBA from China as there will be no expense incurred in paying any middlemen involved. If you are dealing in bulk deliveries, you will save enough money that can be productively spent in other areas of your business.
Disadvantages of Shipping Products Directly From China To FBA
In spite of the time and money you save in getting your products shipped directly from China to FBA, there are certain shortcomings regarding the same, discussed briefly as follows:
- No Centralised Location – As you ship your products to FBA, Amazon asks their executives to store all the products in separate warehouses. As there is no one centralised storage location, your products may be stored at different locations over a period of time.
- Extra Costs – Though you save the costs incurring to the middlemen involved in shipment, you have to bear other extra charges such as duties and freights in order to ship your products from China to Amazon FBA.
- Meeting Specific Standards – It is not as easy to directly ship your products to FBA from China as it seems. There are certain specific standards set by Amazon that your products should meet in order to facilitate the concerned shipment. If you fail to meet these standards, Amazon would refuse providing their FBA services to you.
Shipping Products From China To Amazon FBA Through Middlemen Or Personal Involvement
The other way of shipment that can be followed by you as seller is to shipping your products from China first to a middleman or yourself and then shipping them to Amazon FBA. There are several such middlemen that are ready to provide you with these shipment services which are collectively known as Third Party Logistics.
Advantages of Using Middlemen For Shipment
Here are a few key advantages you can avail as a seller if you choose to use middlemen in getting your products shipped from China to Amazon FBA:
- Higher Consolidation – If you are using middlemen, they will make sure that your products leave China in a consolidated form. This will increase the safety of the products and the chances of them matching the standards set by Amazon.
- Ensuring Inspection – If there are any specific changes being made to the packaging of your product to meet the Amazon standards, you will be called by the middlemen to inspect them thoroughly before they are shipped out of China. You can suggest them any changes you feel regarding any aspect of shipment and the middlemen will duly implement the same.
- Privacy Regarding Strategies – If you are using middlemen, the sales strategies will only be discussed between you and them (if you wish to) and the Chinese suppliers will not be a part of discussion at all. This gives you more privacy as a seller.
- Low Chances of Rejection – As middlemen make double sure that your products are packaged suitably and meet all the standards set by Amazon, there are very low chances of them being rejected by the FBA rules on any grounds.
Disadvantages of Using Middlemen For Shipment
Here are the major shortcomings you are likely to face if you choose to go with middlemen in order to ship your products from China to Amazon FBA:
- Middlemen Charges – If you are choosing to use middlemen in shipping your products, a considerable amount of your money will be spent in paying them for the services they provide. It is therefore advisable to work out all the finances before you choose this route.
- Chances of Delay – If your customer queries are filled with questions like, “why does Amazon take so long to ship?” there are high chances of you getting the products using middlemen. As the route your products will follow from the suppliers in China to the final customers gets extended by addition of relevant middlemen, there are chances the customers will get your products later as compared to you shipping the products directly.
Which Shipment Route Should You Follow?
There are several considerations you need to keep in mind as a seller before you work out your shipment plans and zero in on the route to follow in order to undertake the process of shipping to Amazon FBA:
Situations Ideal for Direct Shipment from China to Amazon FBA
It is highly advisable to follow the route of direct shipment of products from China to FBA:
- If you have to meet certain deadlines, complete urgent targets or are facing any other situation where you need your products to be delivered to your customers as quickly as possible, or
- If you are looking forward to build a productive and long-lasting relationship with your Chinese suppliers. Undertaking direct shipment would increase the frequency with your suppliers and if you prove to be an efficient seller, you may also receive exclusive discounts from them in addition to the money you save by not using middlemen.
Situations Ideal for Using Middlemen for Shipping Your Products
Here are the most ideal situations wherein it would be advisable for you as a seller to use middlemen while shipping your products from China to Amazon FBA:
- It is advisable to use middlemen if you are undertaking shipment from China for the first time or if your business is fairly new and growing. In both of these cases, you will not be well-versed with the tricks of the trade and therefore having middlemen help you would be an ideal choice to make.
- If you are subscribing for Amazon FBA services for the first time, you should involve middlemen as they would brief you about all the relevant information you need to have while making the concerned shipment. They will also make sure your products get approved by Amazon according to their shipment standards.
- If you are planning to ship a variety of products in a single shipment and want to save money in sending them individually, you should involve middlemen in the shipment as they specialise in shipping consolidated products.
Important Tips To Consider Before Making Your First Amazon FBA Shipment From China
Like majority of digital marketing platforms, Amazon has a variety of Chinese products on its shelves. China is a fairly popular market to the users of Amazon and it is therefore important for anyone who is fairly new in the field of digital marketing to understand the process of sourcing products to sell from China and dealing with Chinese suppliers.
You cannot make the decision of sourcing products from China without making several important considerations that help you understand how to ship to Amazon FBA. You need to have precision at every level and should have adequate knowledge about the process in order to successfully implement the shipping. Here are some of the most important tips you should consider before you venture into a relationship with Chinese suppliers and undertake shipping of products from China to Amazon FBA:
Making Sure If The Products Are In Sync With The Standards Of Your Country
This is one of the most important aspects to consider before undertaking imports in general. Different countries have different standards when it comes to certain specific products and you need to make sure the product you are shipping is acceptable in the country of your residence or the country you are planning to sell the concerned products in.
There are a lot of aspects you need to consider, be it ensuring the product is safe for consumption in your country, ensuring there are no patents that come in the way of you shipping in the concerned products, making sure there are no legal issues against the shipment. It is important for you to do so as a seller as the suppliers are generally not concerned with such issues. As far as their products are being sold, such issues are the least of their concerns. It is also important for you to check whether the products are in sync with your country standards because if the products aren’t and they have already been shifted to the Amazon warehouse, you will be left with no option but to destroy the entire lot of the consignment shipped in, resulting in tremendous loss.
It is also advisable for you have considerable amount of expertise regarding the field in which your product belongs to. For example, if you are dealing with electronic products, you need to know the tricks of the trade in the field of electrical products in order to make sure if the products would face any issues in your country regarding the standards being met and legal issues the shipment may cause. If you don’t possess relevant expertise, consult a professional before deciding to make relevant shipments. Also, ask your suppliers for relevant certificated before you undertake any transaction in order to avoid any issue or confusion arising later.
Ascertain The Period For Which The Supplier Price Is Valid
Generally, the supplier clearly specifies in writing that the price at which they have supplied you the products is valid for a certain period of time (ideally in months). It is very important for you as a seller to ensure you duly ascertain this time period at the time of picking up a contract from the concerned supplier. Also, be aware about the increase in price of certain raw materials during the mentioned period and have a record of the same. It is also important for you to keep the fluctuations in the currency rate in mind during the period of contract with the suppliers. If you are not given a fixed price, it means that the Amazon dealer is making a lot of money from your transactions.
One of the most common mistakes new traders make is that of fixating on the price of the product and ignoring all other costs that come along with it. It is important to understand that the cost of logistics is ridiculously high (sometimes almost 50% of the product cost) in most of the deals being struck. Therefore, apart from taking the product price into consideration, also consider other expenses such as the cost of packaging, shipping, custom clearance and taxes. This would help you getting a bigger and a clearer picture in mind, therefore helping you make the right trading decisions.
Don’t Instil Excessive of Faith in Alibaba
A common mistake new traders make is that of considering the platform of Alibaba as the “be all and end all” of a supplier’s creditworthiness. It is very important for you to know that Alibaba does not give absolute guarantee pertaining to the reliability and authenticity of their listed suppliers.
It is highly advisable that you go through a thorough verification process and scrutinise your suppliers really well before entering into any sort of a relationship with them and especially before you issue your first order for shipment and further understand matters regarding how to ship from China to Amazon FBA. It is also advisable for a new trader to simply pay a visit to China once before they start with the business. If you are physically visiting your supplier, it would help you ensure their authenticity as anyone could simply click a few promising looking pictures and put them up online to reel in new traders!
The Manufacturer May Not Always Be An Ideal Supplier
Another common mistake committed by new traders is that of assuming the manufacturer of concerned products to be the best supplier of the same in order to save money otherwise spent on middlemen involved. if you are starting out and making your first shipment, it is advisable to do so using intermediate suppliers of products who will ultimately help you build relevant contacts. This is because large manufacturers would not generally entertain new and growing businesses. Also, it is beneficial for you if you take baby steps and gain sufficient knowledge through intermediaries before going after the big fish!
Take Keen Interest in Product Manufacturing
If you are dealing in a certain line of products, it is very important to be aware of the know-hows and the process involved in manufacturing the concerned product. This would help you know your suppliers and manufacturers better and would prevent you from being fooled by them in any manner.
You should know if the suppliers you are working with actually manufacture the concerned product and/or if they are the engineers that make sure a product is functioning efficiently after it is produced by the manufacturer. Knowing how the product is manufactured and how it functions would also help you assigning relative work to your subordinates back home.
It is highly advisable that before you proceed to place your first shipment order from China to Amazon FBA, always test the products yourself and make sure you are comfortable with all the nitty-gritty pertaining to the same. There may arise a situation when you may have to dismantle the product and assemble it again. If you are unaware of the details that go on in the process of its manufacturing, there are high chances of you landing in a big trouble. Moreover, you should be extra careful if you are dealing with electrical products. This is because though most of these products look just fine when they are manufactured, issues start creeping out after a few weeks or months of their use and you wouldn’t want your customers to return the products you took so much effort to ship into the country!
Ask For Samples or Prototypes
Never go for the face value of the product you are about to start dealing in. Especially if you are going to deal in new products, it is always advisable to ask for samples or prototypes of the products from your respective suppliers. This would help you in understanding the fundamentals of the products you would be shipping from the territory of China to Amazon FBA.
In case you are not able to secure a prototype, it is advisable for you to hire a local supplier and ask them to make a model with utmost resemblance to the product you would be dealing in. Once the model is ready, send the same to your supplier and ask them to make samples of the concerned model and send them back to you. This would help you in comparing the product prototype to the final product. As China is fairly infamous for spurious products, it only makes it more important for you to have adequate and authentic product samples before you place your first order to your supplier. It is also advisable for you to consult your colleagues and other entities you consider trustworthy regarding the samples you receive instead of being the sole judge of what works and what does not.
Make Sure The Product Quality Is In Compliance With Your Country Standards
The phrase “good quality” is highly subjective and can therefore be extremely misleading when it comes to dealing in the shipment of products from a foreign country into yours. The way China defines their standards of a “good quality” product may majorly differ from the standards set by your country. Always ask your supplies to explicitly define what “quality” means to them when they promise you good quality of their products.
When you are talking about the quality of a product, its usage pattern and brand identity also come into the picture. Before you enter into the deal of shipping products from China to Amazon FBA, always make sure that the brand you are dealing with is unique and there is zero plagiarising in the products. Also make sure you check the Amazon Brand Registry thoroughly to check if there is any duplication related to the brand you are looking forward to deal with. This would not only make you double sure about the suppliers you are dealing with, but will also save your time and effort in looking for duplication.
Make Sure You Never Make Any Advance Payments
This is one of the most important tips that are frequently given to new traders entering the digital market. There are high chances of your Chinese suppliers not accepting payments through PayPal as it is fairly expensive for them to use on a regular basis. However, you can use this method of payment for the first sample you receive as it is a one-time thing.
Majority of Chinese suppliers function on a fairly thin margin of profit and are therefore likely to ask full payment in advance. Never agree to this pay all the money before you carry out the delivery. Pay a fraction of the sum in advance and make relevant payment arrangement only once the delivery is completed. Also, never hesitate to charge your suppliers for the delivery you are undertaking and also add relevant custom duties if deemed necessary by you.
Use Extensive Sources To Scout For Suppliers
It is very important to look for ideal suppliers if it is your first time as a trader wanting to ship products from China to Amazon FBA. Getting a good supplier would solve a lot of your issues as they will not only help you in understanding relevant procedures in a better way, but would also enter into a win-win contract with you, allowing you to prosper along with them.
Just as beneficial it is to get good suppliers in China, it is equally devastating to get involved with the wrong ones. The market is highly complicated and volatile, and finding a good supplier is no less than finding needle in a haystack! However, use a variety of platforms for scouting an ideal supplier. Majority of the first-timers stick to the suppliers listed on Alibaba and never move ahead of the same. As mentioned earlier, Alibaba does not always guarantee the authenticity and reliability of the suppliers listed on the platform.
Make use of other effective sources to find your ideal supplier. The market itself is the biggest source available to you. Pay a visit to China, spend ample amount of time there and understand how the market functions. Note down the key players in the field you product is related and visit the most suitable players personally. Also, it is advisable to rely on authentic references when you are a beginner. This would give you a fresh and an objective perspective in choosing the most ideal supplier to source your products.
Never Delegate The Shipment Activity To Your Supplier
This is one of the most common mistakes committed by beginners as well as experienced dealers in the market. As mentioned earlier, logistics make a considerable addition to the costs your incur in order to ship your products from China to Amazon FBA and it is natural to believe that transferring the responsibility of shipment to your suppliers would relieve you of stress and make the deliveries faster. However, it is not the case at all.
If you give all the control over shipment to your suppliers, you would naturally not be able to make any necessary changes in the same. Also, you will lose the right to command the suppliers to increase the speed of deliveries if they tend to slack. Once you are done getting rid of the shipment activities, there are high chances of the suppliers carrying out the same at their own pace. This can prove to be extremely dangerous if you need to cater to customers who require your products on an urgent basis or with products that need to be delivered within a specific period of time.
However, the second worst option to go for if you don’t want to shoulder the responsibility of shipment is to get it done by a carrier who works on the supplier’s side. If you are hiring this carrier, they will carry out the relevant tasks regarding the shipment of your products with you still being in control of the same. Though this method may work in certain cases, it is still highly advisable to shoulder the responsibility of carrying out the shipment on your own shoulders unless there is no other option available for you to choose.
Consider The Amount of Time Taken For Product Manufacturing
One of the most critical aspects that beginners tend to skip while making their strategic plans is the time it takes for the concerned product to be manufactured in Chins. This time changes with the type and complexity of the product involved.
Always be sure to ask your supplier the upper limit of the time taken by them or the manufacturer (if they are separate entities) to build the final product. Take this time into consideration and add the time taken for customs clearance before you come to a final window of time. Use this window in the strategies you build and the key decisions you take regarding the shipment of the products from China to Amazon FBA. This time should also be considered well before you run out of your inventory and need to stock the warehouses again with the concerned products.
Shipping Products From China To Amazon FBA In Three Simple Steps
Getting your products shifted from China to FBA can be quite a complicated process and it may require you to ensure utmost precision at every stage. However, you can understand the core of this process (via sea or air) in three simple steps explained briefly here:
- Selecting The Appropriate Location – The first step is to ascertain the location that is the most convenient for the shipment to take place. Use Seller Central to create the concerned shipment and start with choosing the address that is most convenient to the supplier. Also, decide the best route that will take your products from China (by sea or by air) and deliver the same to the location of your preference where the concerned Amazon warehouse is located.
- Get The Cartons Marked – It is important to make sure the cartons in which your products are being shipped are duly marked by the supplier. This is to give a unique identity to your products and preventing them to get lost in a sea of similar items. Ask your suppliers to paste relevant bar codes on every single item that is packed in every carton. Also, it is important to mark the master cartons with carton labels and in case you are shipping pallets, make sure there are pallet labels put up on all the four sides of every pallet. Moreover, it is advisable to import ISPM-15 pallets from China as you will be charged more if you are dealing in other types of pallets.
- Ensure The Package Is Delivered To The Warehouse Door – Well before you place your order with the supplier, make sure they offer you services that involve delivering your products at the doorstep of the concerned Amazon warehouse. Also make sure the concerned party is convenient with relevant requirements regarding carrier appointments. This should ideally be the last step of successfully completing your activities regarding shipment of products from China to Amazon FBA warehouse.
This exclusive service offered by Amazon therefore frees you from considerable burden of storing your products, carrying out shipments, ensuring timely deliveries and catering to your customers according to their convenience through FBA. Fulfilment by Amazon can truly lead to fulfilling majority of your activities as a seller and save you enough time and effort, provided you take the process seriously and make adequate plans and arrangements before plunging into using these coveted services.