Guide to Shipping from China to Amazon FBA: 8 Useful Tips and Step-by-Step Instructions
October 24, 2023November 23rd, 2023
The Chinese market today is an integral part of the global economy. In 2022, Chinese platforms became leaders among the world's Internet platforms in terms of the gross value of goods. This is a great opportunity for many sellers on Amazon to make a profit.
However, to successfully start with Amazon FBA, it is crucial to not only find high-quality products in the Chinese market, but also deliver them to Amazon's warehouse. This step is critical, as the wrong approach can lead to high shipping costs, low-quality goods, and even rejection by Amazon.
To help you avoid losses and successfully ship products from China to Amazon FBA, this article provides useful tips and a step-by-step guide to the shipping process.
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1. Direct shipping or via a carrier: which is more profitable?
Sellers have two options for shipping goods from China to an Amazon FBA warehouse, shipping directly to Amazon FBA from China or using third-party providers (3PL). Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Shipping via an intermediary
Will be more expensive
Quality control by the seller
There is the possibility
Compliance with Amazon's packaging standards
The provider cannot ensure compliance with Amazon standards
The intermediary ensures that the Amazon standards are complied with
The provider can find out about the sale of his goods on the Amazon platform
The provider has no way to find out about the sale of his item on Amazon
Consolidation of cargo
There is an opportunity
If you choose direct shipping, it is undoubtedly faster. In addition, it will cost you less, which can be especially advantageous from a financial point of view. However, there is an important drawback: you will not be able to view the goods inside the country before they get to the Amazon warehouse. This means that you will not have the opportunity to check the quality of the goods before they fall into the hands of buyers. This may affect your reputation as a seller on Amazon.
On the other hand, shipping via 3PL may take more time because the products are first delivered from China to your 3PL fulfillment center and then to the Amazon warehouse. Consequently, it will be more expensive due to additional services and fees. However, in this approach, you'll receive guaranteed product quality, compliance with all Amazon FBA packaging and labeling requirements, and the ability to hide the fact of selling products on Amazon from your Chinese supplier.
It's essential to carefully weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each option and choose the one that best suits your needs and goals.
2. 8 Tips for Successful Shipping of Goods from China to FBA Warehouses
Regardless of whether you use shipping directly from China to Amazon FBA or through an intermediary, ordering goods from Chinese suppliers requires preliminary preparation. Next, we will provide you with important tips that will help you avoid mistakes and simplify the delivery process.
2.1. Avoid mixing items of different sizes
If your shipment contains items of different sizes, it's highly likely that it will be divided among multiple Amazon fulfillment centers. This can lead to additional costs for shipping and Amazon services.
When shipping items, try to group them by size and weight. This will help you avoid additional costs for storage and sorting.
2.2. Inspect your supplier
Before shipping products from China to Amazon FBA warehouses, ensure the reliability of your Chinese supplier. Consider hiring an inspection company to verify the quality and compliance of the products. This inspection serves as an additional safeguard for your business.
Firstly, it will help you identify and resolve any quality issues with the products before they reach Amazon's warehouse, preventing potential damage to your reputation. Secondly, the inspection confirms that your supplier is sending you the exact products you ordered, ensuring they meet your specifications and standards. Most importantly, it gives you confidence in your supplier's reliability for future collaboration.
Fulfillment-Box provides professional supplier inspection services. Upon request, our experienced specialists will visit your supplier's production facility or warehouse in China and conduct an inspection according to your instructions.
2.3. Request product samples before purchasing
Samples will allow you to assess the products more thoroughly and avoid substantial investments in low-quality items. You will be able to personally evaluate materials, sizes, colors, and other critical aspects of the product. This will give you confidence that the goods meet your expectations and requirements.
Request samples from different suppliers. By comparing them, you will gain a clearer understanding of the available options and make informed decisions. If the samples do not meet your standards, you will have the opportunity to make adjustments and address issues at an early stage, before bulk purchasing.
Along with supplier inspection, Fulfillment-Box can assist you in conducting a more detailed quality check and ensuring that the products meet your requirements.
2.4. Check the goods for compliance with the quality standards of the country of sale
Carefully study the quality and safety standards applicable in the country where you intend to sell the ordered products. If certification or licensing is required for their sale, make sure you possess the necessary documents.
Furthermore, it's essential to check the products for any patent restrictions and intellectual property violations. The presence of such issues can lead to legal consequences.
If you're uncertain, consider using the services of experts. They will conduct all the necessary tests and checks. This may incur additional costs, but it's an investment in the quality and safety of your products, and, consequently, your reputation.
2.5. Don't make a full prepayment
It's not advisable to make a full prepayment for your goods. There is a chance that the supplier might not meet delivery deadlines, provide low-quality products, or fail to fulfill the order. In such cases, recovering your funds could be a challenging task.
Clearly outline the payment terms in your contract with the supplier so that both parties understand their obligations. Most Chinese suppliers work with a 30% advance payment. This approach will help reduce risks and make the process of shipping goods from China to FBA warehouses more secure and controllable.
2.6. Don't leave logistics to the supplier
Ensuring smooth and efficient logistics plays a crucial role in every delivery. You should not rely solely on the supplier for this. Take the logistics process into your own hands or delegate this task to a reliable intermediary.
Firstly, this will give you greater control over the entire delivery process. You'll be able to plan delivery schedules more accurately, ensure transportation quality aligns with your standards, and react more swiftly to any issues that may arise in transit.
Secondly, it allows you to reduce the risks associated with customs formalities. Experienced intermediaries usually have knowledge of international transportation. They can help avoid complications and delays at the border. It is important that you choose logistics companies that have a good reputation and experience in international transportation.
2.7. Use the services of a customs broker
When shipping goods from China, you will inevitably have to comply with numerous customs formalities and legal requirements. Any mistakes in customs documents or procedures can lead to delays, fines and even loss of goods.
In this situation, the right decision is to use the services of a customs broker. They will assist you in correctly filling out documents, classifying goods, calculating customs duties and taxes, as well as ensuring compliance with all legal requirements.
This will not only reduce the risk of encountering problems but also expedite the customs clearance process. This way, you can speed up the delivery and start generating profits from the sale of your goods more quickly.
2.8. Take into account the holidays in China when shipping
Chinese holidays such as Chinese New Year (usually in late January or early February), Spring Festival, International Labor Day (May 1) and others can last several days or even weeks. During this time, many businesses, factories and transportation companies suspend operations. This can cause delays in production, assembly of goods and delivery to ports or airports.
Communicating with your suppliers in advance is critical. Inquire about upcoming holidays and their potential impact on order fulfillment. This will allow you to adjust your order schedule, plan for earlier deliveries and ensure smoother and more reliable shipping of goods.
3. How to ship products from China to Amazon FBA: step by step
Once you've considered all of the above, it's time to move on to the next step - organizing the shipping process. Below is a step-by-step guide that will help you accomplish this task efficiently and without unnecessary hassle.
3.1 Research all possible shipping methods
First and foremost, you need to decide on the shipping method. When it comes to shipping goods from China to an Amazon FBA warehouse in the USA, this can include standard or express air shipping, or sea shipping. If you need to deliver goods to Europe, a cost-effective alternative to expensive air and lengthy sea shipping can be rail transport. Depending on the dimensions and type of cargo you're shipping, as well as your required delivery timeframe, you can choose the most cost-effective option for you.
The fastest but most expensive option is express delivery. Valuable, perishable, and small-sized cargos are better suited for standard air shipping. However, make sure your goods can be transported by air. If speed is not a priority or you need to ship large quantities of goods, sea shipping (FCL) would be a more cost-effective choice.
For smaller quantities, you can also use less-than-container-load (LCL) sea shipping. In this case, your cargo will be consolidated into one container with goods from multiple shippers and deconsolidated upon arrival at the port. Shipping costs for goods from China to Amazon FBA will be cheaper in this scenario since you'll be sharing the cost with other shippers in the same container.
By being well-informed about all the shipping methods, you can more accurately assess your budget, factor in timelines, and adapt the shipping process to the specifics of your product. This will help you avoid unexpected financial expenses and numerous potential issues during the delivery process.
3.2. Contact a chinese freight forwarder
After choosing the shipping method, get in touch with a professional freight forwarder based in China. They will assist you in organizing and overseeing the entire logistics of your shipment, starting from the moment it's picked up from your supplier to its border crossing.
A professional forwarder can also help you save on transportation costs. You have access to many freight forwarding companies in China and can choose the best solution for your shipment.
During the shipping process, delays or even loss of cargo can occur, and a freight forwarder has the experience and expertise to address such situations effectively. They can provide professional support.
3.3 Check the quality of the goods
In the case of direct shipping from China to Amazon FBA, visiting the manufacturer's location or supplier's warehouse to inspect the product quality might not be feasible. However, there are several alternative ways to ensure product quality and minimize the risk of returns and penalties from Amazon.
To avoid problems, you should use the services of a Chinese inspection company that specializes in quality control. It can conduct a thorough inspection of your products on your behalf and provide you with a detailed report on their condition and quality. By paying for the services of an independent inspector, you protect yourself from significant losses due to substandard products.
Returning goods with Chinese suppliers can be a complex process. Even if you manage to return the items, it could take months to do so. This means lost time and opportunities.
3.4. Create a delivery plan in your Seller Central account
Once you are confident in your supplier and the quality of their products, you need to create a delivery schedule in your Seller Central account. Enter all the necessary information about your shipment, including the quantity of items and the expected arrival date at Amazon FBA warehouses. This helps Amazon manage inventory more efficiently and makes it easier for you to track the process.
3.5 Package items with all Amazon FBA requirements
Pack your goods according to Amazon FBA packaging standards. Improper packaging could result in Amazon returning your products or incurring additional costs for repackaging services.
Use appropriate packaging materials and methods to ensure that your products are securely protected. Your packaging should be ready to pass Amazon's drop test from a height of 1-3 meters. Also, keep an eye on the weight and dimensions of your packaged items, as Amazon charges extra fees for oversized and heavy shipments.
3.6 Label products with all Amazon FBA requirements
Certainly, make sure to follow Amazon FBA's instructions for product labeling. Amazon's network of warehouses relies on accurate product labeling to efficiently identify and process inventory. Without the FNSKU barcode, your products may be rejected. You can obtain the FNSKU barcode after creating a shipment in your Seller Central account.
Each box within your shipment should also have its own FBA transportation label, which serves as a unique shipment identifier linked to your Seller Central account. This label is essential for Amazon to track and manage your inventory batches accurately.
If you've chosen to ship your products directly, make sure to have an agreement with your supplier to meet all packaging and labeling standards. Suppliers experienced in supplying to Amazon FBA are often familiar with these basic requirements and are willing to comply with them.
3.7 Check the goods before loading the container in China
You should ensure that all the items from your order are in the container and are in good condition before shipping. Regardless of the experience of some suppliers in shipping to Amazon FBA, the inspection should also include checking if the packaging and labeling of the products meet Amazon's requirements. This will help minimize the risk of rejection by Amazon.
3.8 Arrange insurance for the cargo
Shipping from China to Amazon FBA involves a long and complex logistical journey, often utilizing various modes of transportation. Given the intricacies and multiple touchpoints in this supply chain, the risk of cargo loss, damage, or theft increases. To safeguard yourself from potential financial losses in the event of unforeseen circumstances, it's highly recommended to secure insurance for your cargo.
When seeking cargo insurance for shipping from China to Amazon FBA, it's essential to approach a reputable insurance company. Carefully review the terms and conditions of the insurance policy to fully understand which risks it covers and any exclusions. Calculate the cost of insurance and determine what premium you are willing to pay for the protection of your cargo.
3.9 Contact a customs broker for paperwork
Customs procedures can indeed be complex, and they require knowledge of local laws, rules, and regulations, as well as those specific to importing for Amazon FBA. Seeking assistance from an experienced customs broker is a wise decision. A customs broker has a deep understanding of local tax rates and rules, which can help you avoid calculation errors and minimize your financial risks.
You are correct. An experienced customs broker should be aware of the specific requirements of Amazon FBA when it comes to labeling, packaging, and other aspects of shipment preparation. This knowledge is crucial to ensure that your products are received smoothly at Amazon's warehouses and that they comply with Amazon's standards.
3.10 Track the cargo
After your goods have been shipped from China and have gone through customs formalities, it is important to actively track the movement of the cargo until it arrives at the Amazon warehouse. This way, you can monitor delivery times and quickly respond to any unforeseen situations.
Many carriers offer online cargo tracking services. You can use their websites or apps to monitor the movement of your shipment and receive delivery status updates. If you are working with a 3PL provider, they will provide information on the status of your shipment and handle any issues that may arise on your behalf.
Shipping products from China to Amazon FBA warehouses is indeed a complex process that requires attention to detail and compliance with various rules and requirements. However, a well-planned and organized process can offer significant advantages to sellers, especially those looking to maintain a competitive edge on Amazon.
Fulfillment-Box has an fulfillment center in China and can assist you with shipping products to Amazon's warehouses in China. They ensure compliance with all Amazon FBA requirements and standards, and they offer services for production inspection and quality control of your products. Their team of professionals is ready to help you at every stage of the delivery process, allowing you to focus on growing your business and achieving success on Amazon.
4. Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the cost of shipping goods from China to Amazon FBA?
The cost of shipping from China to Amazon FBA can vary based on factors such as the shipping method, package dimensions, distance, and additional services included in the shipping.
2. How long does the process of FBA shipping from China take?
The time it takes to ship goods from China to Amazon FBA warehouses can vary depending on the chosen shipping method, customs procedures, and several other factors. On average, shipping typically takes several weeks.
3. How to check the quality of goods when shipping directly to Amazon FBA from China?
You can utilize the services of Chinese inspection companies. For an additional fee, they will inspect your products to ensure they meet your requirements and standards.
4. What compliance documents should the seller provide to Amazon FBA?
You will need to provide various documents, including a bill of lading, a commercial invoice, a telex release, and other documents as required by the import policies and regulations of your country.
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