Being a new Amazon seller can be challenging yet fulfilling feeling. But finding a good and reliable product supplier from China is another thing to hurdle especially for first-timers. But once you get the gist of it, product importation can be as easy pie.
Well… not really. In fact, product sourcing is just the first step. You also have to deal with tedious shipping procedures before the products get delivered to your doorstep. You should consider asking yourself what shipping methods you should choose and product certification needed, among other things.
This article should serve as a guide on how to ship products from China to Amazon FBA warehouse. This guide will also tackle different shipping methods and its respective pros and cons, Amazon certifications needed, and other information you have to know to ensure that product shipment will be as hassle-free as possible.
Shipping from China to Amazon FBA
A shipment strategy is as important as having a marketing and sales strategy for your business. For one, it can help save you time and money to ship products from China to its destination country.
There are three different solutions to ship products from China to Amazon FBA. These are the following:
1. Direct shipping from China to Amazon FBA
Importation experts usually recommend this shipping method simply because it is cheaper than the other methods. If for example, you opt to have your products shipped via express or air, it can be a practical solution to deliver it straight to Amazon FBA warehouse. This is to avoid additional charges if you ship them first elsewhere before landing at the Amazon warehouse.
This is another shipment option that also has its set of advantages. For one, you can see and inspect the products first before having them shipped to the Amazon FBA warehouse. This is important considering that Amazon is very strict in terms of product quality. It can also avoid negative feedback from customers that can cause the closing of your Amazon listing.
This option is also ideal if you live near the main ports in your area. Otherwise, you would have to spend on additional transportation fees before it reaches your home and have it delivered to the Amazon FBA warehouse.
You can choose to fix the defective products yourself or hire a third-party company to help you out. However, the latter’s labor cost can be expensive and may not have enough resource to fix your problem.
2. Shipping from China to a third-party company first
In some countries such as the US, there exist a lot of companies which act as middlemen for Amazon sellers. These third-party companies ship Amazon sellers’ goods straight to Amazon warehouses. They are also responsible for checking the product labels and other services they may offer.
However, a lot of Chinese suppliers already put the Amazon product identifier label called the FNSKU on the products. That way, the third-party company won’t have to do the additional labeling task. At the same time, it will also help reduce costs on your part.
You can save more in this shipment option if the location of the third-party companies and the Amazon warehouse are within the same area. Otherwise, you may spend additional fees if the warehouse and these companies are in different areas. You can also opt to have the products delivered to your warehouse if you are not able to find a third-party company within the same area.
Shipping Methods from China to Amazon
By now, you already have an idea of different shipping solutions from China. You just have to consider the pros and cons before choosing the best one among the bunch.
Meanwhile, there are also different transportation methods from China to Amazon FBA warehouses you need to consider. Each of these transportation methods varies on costs and weight specifications. These methods are the following:
1. Express transportation
This type of transportation method usually takes around two to four business days to complete. It is also the fastest method around especially if the destination is in the US or Europe. You can also check the status of your products to be delivered.
However, express delivery can be expensive. There are also certain products that are prohibited to be express-delivered including batteries, powder, and liquid products. Express delivery is the only transportation option you have if you have less than the 21kg worth of goods. More than 21kg and you can choose from other transportation options.
2. Sea transportation
This transportation method is also a crucial way to transport products from China to Amazon warehouses. It can accommodate larger loads and it is a cheap transportation method. It can also help reduce costs since this will ship your products from China directly to the Amazon FBA warehouses.
On the downside, it requires longer lead time for delivery due to unpredictable weather and unexpected sailing schedules. It is important to monitor your inventory carefully when you choose this transportation method because it can take more than a month or two before the products reach you.
3. Air transportation
Another transportation method you can consider is via air. On one hand, you can ship products weighing more than 21kg, and it should be faster than sea transport. On the other hand, products transported via air will be subjected and should pass Customs. That said, lead time can take longer than express delivery.
Dealing with Custom clearances and duties can be tedious and time-consuming. You can hire a reliable agent or freight forwarder to help you with Custom concerns. Be prepared to pay additional expenses for availing their services, but at least it can save you from trouble and focus more on your business.
4. Train transportation
This option is only available for shipments from China to Europe. For European customers, this is a safer transportation option than shipping through sea.
It is important to note that shipping costs and lead time to be delivered to Amazon warehouses are almost similar to sea transportation. Usually, it would take 30 days or around a month to reach European destinations from China, including Customs clearance.
Required Certifications of Shipping from China to Amazon FBA
There are two certification requirements from China to Amazon – a product certification for Customs and another for Amazon. Without these certifications, you cannot sell these products on Amazon.
It is important to know whether your supplier has a certification so that you won’t encounter Custom issues in the future. A supplier without a Customs certification means their products are unqualified. Here are some things you need to know about these certifications:
1. Supplier certification
Customs may require the products to have certifications depending on the product type. Among commonly-used certifications used in North American and European customs are as follows:
• FCC – used for all types of products
• FDA – used for cosmetics, pharmaceutical products, foods, medical equipment, and other similar devices/products
• UL – used for devices with direct contact with voltage and requires safety to use such as wall chargers, LED lights, power adapters, and the like
• CPC – used for toys
• BQB – used for Bluetooth products
• IC – used for television, radio, IT, and telecommunications equipment (Canada)
• E-MARK – used for cars and safety parts, etc (EU)
2. Amazon certification
Most products sold on Amazon are required to have a certification. Without it, it cannot be sold on the selling platform, result in listing closure and lose your invested money in the process. That is why it is important whether Amazon requires certain products to have certifications so it can be sold online.
For example, laptop and mobile phone replacement batteries should have UL 2054 certification so it can be sold on Amazon. This is also the same case when selling other products such as electric vehicles (ex. e-bikes and e-scooters), string lights, fire extinguishers, toys, and electronic devices.
Amazon’s Requirements for Box and Barcoding
Aside from product certification requirements, Amazon also has specific requirements for product barcodes and boxes. These should strictly comply with Amazon’s warehouse regulations. Without compliance, your products will be rejected and not allowed to be sold on the platform. Among the important requirements needed by Amazon from sellers include the following:
1. Product (FNSKU) label
This is important so that your products are properly labeled and stored in the correct warehouse. Without an FNSKU label, Amazon cannot determine your product and cannot be sold on the platform. A total of 11 FNSKU Amazon label sizes can be downloaded via Amazon.
Another requirement is the suffocation label, which applies to products contained in an OPP bag. If the bag is larger than five inches, you will be required to put a suffocation label. Without it, you cannot sell the product on Amazon.
2. Shipping label
There should be a “shipping plan” on Amazon. The online selling platform requires sellers to put two shipping labels per box. You can download the master box label from the said platform. Then, print and attach the labels on the box. Without these shipping labels, you will not be allowed by Amazon to sell the products.
3. Box size and weight
Amazon requires all sellers to have a master box measuring more than 25 inches on either side and weigh more than 50lbs. However, if the box exceeds more than 50lbs, you should place a “team lift” label on it. More than 100lbs and you should label it as “mech lift”. For more details and clarifications about these Amazon box specification requirements, you can consult them the soonest.
The above tips should serve as your guide on shipping products from China to Amazon FBA. It is important to follow these guidelines, or else you won’t be allowed by Amazon to sell your products.
More than finding a reliable supplier or an agent to help you with shipment details, online sellers should always comply with rules and regulations to avoid hassle and stress in the future. At the same, you can enjoy the fruits of your efforts and make your customers happy as well.