Amazon offers Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), which makes the process of selling easier for sellers. With Amazon’s FBA service, your products can be stored in Amazon’s fulfillment centers and processed for shipping. The staff at FBA are responsible for handling all inquiries from customers and returns on these products.
If you an Amazon seller importing products from China and have decided to use the Amazon FBA service, the first point to consider is how to ship your goods to the Amazon FBA warehouse.
This article takes a look at the three basic ways to go about this. Read on.
Direct Shipping from China to Amazon FBA
Direct shipping from China to the Amazon FBA involves shipping your product from the supplier to Amazon FBA. This method is the cheapest and most convenient for importers overseas.
When using the direct shipping method, the shipment of your goods to the Amazon warehouse will be arranged by the supplier. You can also engage an Amazon FBA freight forwarder. An Amazon FBA freight forwarder is an organization that assists you in transporting your goods from the supplier to the Amazon warehouse.
First Ship to your Home, and then, to the Amazon Warehouse
This method involves shipping your goods to your home first and then transporting them to the Amazon warehouse later. The method allows you to see, check, and verify your goods before selling.
If any defect is noticed or there is a mix-up in your order, you can fix the issues before sending them to the warehouse and avoid bad reviews and negative customer experiences.
There is, however, a demerit to this method. When the products are delivered to your house, you incur an additional cost of transporting them to the Amazon warehouse. Therefore, it is recommended that you check appropriately and know the closest Amazon warehouse to your home and how much it cost to transport your products before opting for one.
If the cost is acceptable and won’t affect your profit margin, you can opt for this method.
Ship through a Prep Service Company and then to the Amazon Warehouse.
A prep service company is a third-party firm that takes care of import customs clearance, transportation of goods to the Amazon warehouse, and inspects goods, packaging, and labeling according to Amazon’s requirements. These firms receive your goods, prepare, and ship to Amazon.
Amazon has specific requirements for the packaging and labeling of all its product. These requirements are a little complicated. This is why you need to pick a well-knowledgeable prep service firm that understands Amazon’s requirements and is ready to work in line with them.
Since you are shipping your good from China to an Amazon warehouse in the US, you can either use a Chinese prep service company or an American prep service company. There are lots of these firms on the west coast of the US, in places like California, that help sellers ship their goods from China.
Why pick a reputable prep service company?
As already stated, selling damaged products to customers leads to low customer satisfaction and bad reviews, which has a negative impact on the business. However, using an American prep service company will help eliminate these problems.
This is because these firms carry out a detailed inspection of the goods on arrival, and sometimes the cost is relatively low. This is especially true for an American prep service company located close to the Amazon warehouse; you intend to transport your goods.
Therefore, it is recommended that you use a third-party company close to the Amazon warehouse if you intend to use this method.
In China, there are a few prep companies; most Chinese sourcing agent company usually acts as prep service firms, they also help you ship these goods to the Amazon FBA warehouse.
Chinese prep service companies have reasonable prices, but you might have to take charge of the cost of transporting the goods from the supplier to the sourcing agent’s warehouse, which is normally cheap.
Another advantage of using a Chinese prep service company is that they can quickly send back damaged goods to the manufacturers in China. If the goods have arrived in the US before the defects or damages are noticed, they would be handled locally due to the high costs of logistics and complication of importation procedures.
Types of shipping
There are usually four choices when choosing a method to ship your goods
- Express Shipping
- Sea Freight
- Air Freight
- Sea Freight and Air Freight UPS used together
In this shipping method, you will need to use an express service company that handles the importation procedures. It is the easiest and most convenient method as the express service’s import customs process will be handled, and all you need to do is sign for your goods when they arrive.
Examples of these express companies include FedEx, UPS, DHL, etc. This method is suitable for less than 500 kilograms. Depending on your location, it takes between 4 to 7 days to ship to the US from China.
If you decide to use the express shipping method, shipping directly from China to the US will be more advisable because you will not have extra domestic charges.
With Express shipping, you cannot ship products that contain powder, liquid, or lithium batteries because the products are usually transported via air. However, some Chinese agents, whose prices are normally 50 to 100 percent higher than the normal shipping rates, can help you with these kinds of products, but reaching out to them usually proves difficult.
The shipping cost for express shipping companies can easily be calculated as they have a particular amount; they charge per kilogram of what you are transporting.
Note that when you are using either express shipping or air freight for lightweight products such as foams, the prices of these products are calculated based on dimensional weight instead of the real weight.
This shipping method, though one of the most complicated and takes a long time (about 25 to 40 days to get to the US port from China), still stands as one of the most popular methods owing, largely, to its low shipping cost for a large volume of goods.
Once the volume of the goods you are transporting gets to over two cubic meters, you should opt for the sea freight shipping method to minimize cost. Products with large volumes but low value, like wine glasses, are suitable for sea freight shipping. Products that contain powder, liquid, or lithium batteries are also suitable for this shipping method.
The shipping cost with this method is made up of both sea freight cost and land transportation cost. The sea freight cost varies, it is advisable to confirm the current price with the freight forwarder, but the cost of sea freight shipping is 80% lower than that of air freight or international express.
For land transportation cost, it will be higher if the Amazon warehouse is in the East of the US, while it will be lower if it is in the West.
Just like sea freight shipping, the shipping and importation procedures will be handled by a professional freight forwarder that you hired. It usually takes a few more days than express shipping, but shipping costs are lower than express shipping by about 10 to 20 percent.
This type of processing is suitable for higher than 500 kilograms, and no matter their sizes, they will attract a lot of import processing fees that will make the cost higher than that of express shipping.
The shipping costs are calculated based on dimensional weight, and products containing powder, liquid, or lithium batteries are prohibited from being transported with this method.
- Sea Freight and Air Freight UPS used together
These methods are not widely used, and they are not seen as conventional shipping methods for international trade. Most freight forwarders that provide this service are Chinese; it can only be used when goods are shipped to America’s Amazon warehouses.
The difference between these two methods and the air and sea freight methods is that the freight forwarders get trucks to transport the goods to the Amazon warehouses when they are done with the procedures of import customs clearance, but with these two methods, the UPS that works for the local logistics does the transportation of the goods to the Amazon warehouses from the ports.
The sea freight UPS combined method is faster than the sea freight method, but it is more expensive. For the cost of shipping with sea freight UPS combined, good above 100 kilograms going to the US West will cost $1.5, US East will cost $1.8, while Central America will cost $1.6, and some goods that have taxes attached to them will incur an extra charge from some freight forwarders. For airfreight UPS combined, it takes a little longer, but the price is lower than that of express shipping by 10 to 20 percent.