You’ve progressed to the point where you have a manufacturer for your products. They’ve even made your products. Now the fun part is about to begin. You’ve got to have your products shipped from China to Amazon Fulfillment Center. This is a vast and broad topic. Today we’re not going to cover all of it.
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Instead, we’re going to talk about the key concerns that every new seller has. It’s getting over these hurdles that will make the entire process easier. There’s a lot of fine print along the way. It’s just a matter of you understanding the basic fundamentals. If you do, then everything becomes so much easier. You’re no longer worried about the small stuff and can then focus your energy on the more important tasks at hand.
Checking Your Product Before it Leaves China:
Realizing that mistakes happen is an important thing. No factory is perfect 100% of the time. You can check your items when they arrive. The main problem with this is time. It takes time to ship the items to you and send them back if there is a problem. This is even more the case if you’re shipping them via ocean freighter. We’ll talk more about that a little later. Time is of the essence and you’ve got to keep products at the warehouse for Amazon to sell. An empty shelf means you won’t have anything to sell. That boils down to missed profits and headaches that could’ve easily been avoided.
Many Amazon FBA sellers choose to have someone in China inspect their product before it leaves the country. There are third party companies who do this. The advantage of having them do it is they can send the products back to the factory right away if there is a problem. This is actually a big deal as it will cut down on time. If you’re shipping your items by ocean freight for example, it won’t be until a month or later until they’re in your hands. This is a long time to have to wait to see if your products in a condition to be sold.
How to choose Between Ocean and Air freight?:
There are two things to consider when you choose between ocean and air freight. Those two things are money and time. Sending something by ocean freight is exactly what it sounds like. Your items will be sent on a ship over the ocean. It will take roughly 30-40 days for your items to arrive to America. The advantage of this is cost. The biggest disadvantage is time. It may take you awhile to be able to time your shipments so that you always have products ready for sale. Shipping by ocean freight is a good idea for those who can time things perfectly.
Also, if you have a lot of good that you buying in bulk, you should ship all the goods using the ocean freight. It would be cheaper and safer cause it will be coming in a container. Anything fragile and luxury items should be shipped using the ocean freight.
Also, you should be aware of LCL and FCL when using the ocean freight shipment. So what is each one of them and why does it matter. LCL means Less than Container Load. It simply means your product quantity gonna be less than one container. FCL means Full Container Load which means you product gonna take full container to ship, simple as that.
Now 90 perfect of the Ocean Shipment is LCL. Once you product boxes size exceeds more than 18 cubic fit centimeter than you will need full container which you don’t have to worry about in most cases.
Now there are a lot of Ocean Freight forwarder out there that you can hire simply search in google for Amazon FBA Freight forwarder and speak to few of them. Find the best rate and make sure tat they are willing to work with your Chinese Seller directly to pick up the product and ship the product all the way to Amazon Warehouse.
Don’t try to learn it all at one shot. Your job is to get rid off as much task as possible and leverage other companies who will be handling your task for you. You need to decide which shipping method you will be selecting based on your profit estimation and what will be your profit margin after you send the product amazon warehouse.
Air freight takes just two to three days. It’s much faster, but costlier at the same time. The cost shouldn’t be too much of a concern, since you can just pass it onto the consumer. But, it does eat away at your profits. It’s best for new sellers to have their items sent to them by air freight.
It is true that you gonna eat away some profit, but it is way faster and you have to go through less of hassle when you use Air Express shipping. The air express shipping is weight base and you can use services like UPS, FedEx and DHL to handle your airexpress shipping.
Most of the time your manufacturer always has a preferred Air Express carrier. Ask them which company they work with and how much will be cost for the shipping and handling if you use air express shipping.
Should You Buy Insurance?
The short answer to this question is yes. You should buy insurance. Let’s talk about why it’s so important for you to buy insurance. If you’re new to selling on Amazon, insurance may seem like a waste of money. Many will think about it like a healthy person buying health insurance. Why would a healthy person need to buy it? The reason is, because accidents happen. That’s just the way the world is around us.
The most surprising number when it comes to damaged products is that 50% of all claims are denied by carriers. This means if your items are damaged, it’s a coin flip whether or not you’ll receive any reimbursement at all. Those aren’t good odds. The carriers try their best to not pay when the items are damaged. You should expect them to fight tooth and nail if there is a problem. They aren’t just going to hand over money without putting up any fight whatsoever.
You have to realize that your items are passing through many hands before they arrive to you. This means there’s ample opportunity for damage to happen. Sometimes accidents can’t be avoided. Even those who have the best intentions end up breaking items sometimes. This is especially true if you’re shipping items that are delicate. You will at some point in your Amazon selling career end up receiving damaged items. When you do, it’s the insurance that will absorb the cost. Without insurance, it will come directly out of your pocket.
Insurance will cover your items during the entire shipping process. Your items are covered from when they leave the factory until they arrive to you. You need to realize that not buying insurance is an unnecessary gamble. There are ways you can cut corners and try to save a little money. This is one of those areas where you simply can’t do it. Trying to save money here could cost you more in the long run. Just like anything else, pass the cost onto the consumer. It’s the one of the many costs that they have to absorb.
How to Send Shipping Label To Chinese Seller for Product Shipment:
So by now you have a shipping method in mind and your product is ready to be shipped. The first this that you need to make sure is your product is package is label correctly and packaged based on Amazon’s rules and regulation.
You need to make sure that your packaging complies with amazon or else your have to a tons more money once amazon has it.
Now that you have that taken care of, you need to give the Chinese manufacturers your shipping label, so they can send the product directly to the warehouse. To generate the shipping label you need to find out few information from your manufacturer. You have to find out things like whats the weight for each container, how many units going to be packed in each box, and what will be the box size. These information are important for you in order to generate the shipping label.
Now I shot a video to show you step by step process how you can generate shipping label from your seller central account –
Once you generate the shipping label save the PDF version of the shipping label and send it to your product manufacturer and tell them properly place the label on the top of the shipping box. That way your product will not be lost while the product goes to Amazon Warehouse.
Things that You Have to Keep In Mind: Custom and Duty Fees:
If you are using ocean freight to ship your product make sure that you know the expected custom fees for certain item to come to USA. Your will be receiving your custom and duty fee via email once the product enters to the USA. You can get an idea of your custom duty fee by searching your product based on category –
If you are doing doing ocean freight shipping for your products, make sure you get those custom and duty cost discussion with them ahead of time. You can ask them if you can pay the custom and freight cost through them since they are handling the shipment for you.
Most of the time you custom and duty cost will be separated and you have to make the payment after your product already came to US, but your freight forwarder company should help you with the process and they will handle the payment for you.
Few Shipping Concern You Have to be Mindful off:
Plan Ahead for Shipments During Peak Season:
It should come as no surprise that things get a little hectic during peak season. There are many sellers who are trying to take advantage of the extra influx of customers and money. You should also note that the shipping routes are used by sellers of all retail outlets. It’s not just Amazon FBA sellers who are having their products shipped at an increased rate during this time. Everyone from retail shops to even eBay sellers are having extra inventory being shipped. You should plan with great caution during this time of year.
Expect There to be Delays:
That’s just the way it is during the peak season. You’re not going to be able to avoid the delays. They’re just a part of doing selling during this time of year. You should also realize that there will be additional fees as well. There will be higher trucking wait fees along with higher pickup and delivery fees. It might seem like the world is falling down on you at this time. Don’t allow it to get to you. This is just what everyone has to deal with during the holidays. The madness is well worth it in the long run. There’s no other time of year when you’re going to have this sort of exposure to so many customers. All of these people are looking to buy. The money they spend makes the headache all worth it. Remember, you can always take a vacation after the holidays are over.
Plan Your Shipments 7-10 Days in Advance:
This is the best thing to do to avoid not having product to sell. Keep an eye on your inventory levels and plan accordingly. If you’re selling an item that’s new to you, then it’s not that big of a deal. You can eat a few days and it shouldn’t hurt your bottom line. What you’re trying to do here is get yourself used to timing everything out. Think of it as a dance and you’re not going to be good at it right away. There’s going to be a learning curve. No seller is an expert immediately right out of the box. It just doesn’t work that way. Give yourself time to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Don’t Make this One Rookie Mistake:
A lot of new Amazon sellers would simply double up and order more inventory around the time for the holidays. This is a very costly mistake. Why? It’s because Amazon charges much more to store items at their warehouse from October to January. Don’t think the answer is just to buy a lot of stuff and have it sit there waiting for the holidays. This will eat your profits big time. It’s one of those rookie mistakes a lot of people make early on in their Amazon selling career.
It’s best to learn how to pace yourself and always keep records. After doing this for several years, you should have an idea of how much of an uptick in business that you’ll have during peak seasons. This data will tell you when it’s time to restock your inventory. Unfortunately, if you’re a new seller, you don’t have this information. Just remember the answer to avoiding all of the peak problems is preparing ahead of time. It isn’t shipping stuff to Amazon that will sit for months during the holiday season. That’s a great way to make all of your profits vanish like a cloud of smoke.
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff:
All of this may sound like a big deal now. It isn’t. It only appears that way because it’s new. Some day all of this will feel like second nature to you. It’ll just happen when you least expect it. It’s just a matter of repetition. Doing something over and over again is what makes it stick. You will eventually be able to do all of this with your eyes closed. It’s just important to realize there are many different times during your Amazon journey that taking unnecessary risks isn’t needed. Not buying insurance is one of them. It’s natural to want to try to save money. This is one of those things that will cost you way more than you save in the long run.
Numbers are important to any business. With that said, they always don’t tell the story that you think. There is a huge gap in price between having your items shipped over seas and by plane. At first glance, it seems like a very easy decision. It isn’t. Not when you factor in time. Money is just one of the numbers that you have to pay attention to. The other number is time. As everyone knows, time is also money.
There is a constant balancing act between profitability and stability. You want to have a stable amount of items constantly available for sale. While you have to keep an eye on profits as well. It’s that dance we often refer to. Just like with any dance, the steps at first seem impossible to learn. There will come a time when the dance becomes a part of your life. It becomes routine and you do it without even thinking about it. When you get to this point, that’s the moment you’ll be able to scale up.