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China to Amazon FBA: How To Get Quality Shipments Fast

Shopping cart with mobile phone with 4 boxes and a laptop

The business of shipping goods from China to Amazon FBA can be quite lucrative. It has many advantages, especially for sellers that can’t travel halfway around the world to buy their goods. Plus, it allows small and large businesses to save costs and outsource their production.This article therefore aims to offer new sellers a comprehensive guide on how to manage the process effectively and boost their profits. 

Table of contents
How to ship from China to Amazon FBA
Newbie mistakes when shipping from China
Final thoughts

How to Ship from China to Amazon FBA

Select the ideal shipping type

Choosing the ideal shipping method for goods is as important as making quality checks. It’s the first step businesses need to take before importing goods from China.

Inquiring about the shipping methods will allow one to estimate the  cost and delivery of their goods. There are three shipping methods: China air freight, China express shipping, and China sea freight.

Also, knowing the weight of goods in advance helps to determine the ideal shipping type. For example, express shipping is perfect for goods that weigh less than 1 CBM or 200kg. Anything heavier would need air or sea freight.

Get in touch with a China-based freight forwarder

A cargo ship conveying container of goods
A cargo ship conveying container of goods

Freight forwarders are also essential actors in the supply chain. Businesses can ask freight forwarders for advice if they aren’t sure of the ideal method for their goods, but most importantly, they valuable in providing quotes in advance for the intended shipments.

It should be noted that suppliers shouldn’t handle the shipping. Instead, this can be left to freight forwarders because they have more experience with shipping goods and can usually offer great shipping rates as a result.

Contacting a china-based freight forwarder would give businesses direct communication with suppliers, and they can rest assured that their goods will arrive in excellent condition with the correct shipping labels.

Run a quality check before goods are shipped

Sellers can’t run quality checks on their goods before shipping them from China if they are not based there. Hence, they will need to employ the services of reliable China-based quality control companies.

On the plus side, quality control companies in China are not as expensive as they seem, and it’s worth noting that  Alibaba has a unique service that offers retailers production monitoring and inspection of goods for as low as $48 and $118 respectively.

Have a shipping plan for Amazon

Woman writing down plans and goals on a book
Woman writing down plans and goals on a book

After sellers verify the quality of their goods, they need to send the inventory to Amazon. And they can only do that with a shipping plan. 

Shipping plans include information about the products sellers are sending to amazon, the quantity, the product’s carrier details, and shipping methods. Also, the inventory will signify if sellers will prepare and label the goods independently or leave that to Amazon. 

It’s also essential to check Amazon’s website for requirements because sellers have to update changes in the shipment.

Ensure that goods are well-labeled and packaged

Once the shipping plan is in place, the Amazon FBA warehouse will be aware of goods arriving. A great tip is for sellers to ensure that they package their goods to fit Amazon’s standards. 

Here are a few requirements Amazon sellers should know before shipping to the fulfillment center:

  1. Ensure to print all the labels of each product, and don’t modify, reuse or photocopy labels on extra pallet boxes. Also, don’t paste labels on package openings to avoid them getting damaged when they get open during custom checks.
  1. The recommended measurement for shipping labels is 3 1/3 x 4 inches.
  1. Both the carrier and FBA labels must remain flat on the pallet box without crossing over each other. Also, ensure nothing is covering the barcode, so they can be scannable at the Amazon fulfillment center.
  1. Each pallet must have four labels pasted on each side of the box.
  1. Sellers shipping multiple cases in a large pallet box can place the FBA label on the large pallet box. 

Factories can put labels on the product package, but sellers might need a more complicated process for FBA labeling, especially with multiple variety or kit products. Sellers can employ the services of FBA prep to confirm labeling for Amazon quality control inspection.

Run a pre-shipment inspection during container loading

Shipping goods from China to Amazon FBA requires on to ensure that the goods meet Amazon FBA standards. Running a pre-shipment inspection can save sellers a lot of trouble and ensure goods don’t break any policies and regulations.

One doesn’t want to have goods shipped, only to suffer a delay or rejection once received by Amazon. But sellers can avoid this by getting a container loading check inspection. This service is similar to quality control inspections, and container loading inspections are not expensive. Also, some companies can do the review twenty-four hours after booking their services.

Subscribe for freight insurance before shipping to Amazon FBA

Sellers may assume that shipping their goods means movement directly from the supplier to Amazon. In truth, the goods will go through many hands, and this is especially the case for businesses using sea or air freight shipping methods.

In addition, the goods are not entirely safe from damage as accidents can happen at various points during this shipping process. Because it may be a challenge to get compensation for the loss in such cases, it’s a safe bet for sellers to opt for China freight insurance to ensure that their investments are safe.Freight insurance offers goods complete insurance throughout the shipping process, and it’s available at reasonable rates.

Employ the services of a customs broker

Customs brokers sealing packages before getting them cleared
Customs brokers sealing packages before getting them cleared

When the goods are adequately insured, the next thing to do is arrange all the shipping documents and employ the services of a reliable customs broker. 

This is because there might be fines, delays, and outright rejection during shipping which a custom broker avoids. It is the responsibility of a customs broker to ensure shipping documents meet all the requirements of the shipping destination. These documents include a Bill of Lading, Packing list, Telex release, and Commercial Invoice.

Ensure to track the shipment

Black male tracking clients' shipment
Black male tracking clients’ shipment

Before completing the tedious shipping process, there’s one last step: tracking the shipment. Sellers need to track their goods to know where they are at every point of the shipping journey. 

It’s easy to track goods using Express shipping since all sellers need is the tracking number. Sellers can also track their shipments with other methods via a China freight forwarder. If anything happens to shipments (getting lost or ending at the wrong destination), sellers would be notified through  the tracking process and could carry out the necessary procedures to locate and retrieve the goods.

Newbie mistakes when shipping from China

Failing to know the landing costs of goods

If sellers import without knowing the shipping costs, it may place excessive strain on their budgets and leave them with stranded goods. As a result, before shipping anything, sellers have to estimate costs to make sure they can cover the financial aspects of the shipment.

One fee that may be overlooked is when Amazon assigns shipments to FBA warehouses, which could increase shipping costs. Also, sellers may have to pay customs exam fees. 

It’s also vital to consider additional U.S taxes and duties, including anti-dumping and compliance fees. Typically, sellers can avoid unpredicted costs by finding out the full fees  for their shipment to reach Amazon FBA or through getting help from a China freight forwarder.

Believing manufacturers are the best supplier of goods

Most sellers new to Amazon assume that buying directly from the manufacturer is the best way to go. After all, that may seem to be what major sellers do to save costs and cut out the middleman. 

Nonetheless, things can get tricky for newbie Amazon sellers who are looking to find bigger manufacturers, as when compared to more experienced businesses who trade in bulk, small retailers might not get the desired support from big manufacturers.

That’s where more experienced middlemen or supply agents come in handy. They tend to have more knowledge about shipping, export issues, and the necessary contact base needed to move goods from China to Amazon FBA. 

Failing to request sample goods before placing an order

Product samples are essential to assess the quality of goods. Otherwise, one may end up with different products from what was ordered or expected. Due to a lack of proper communication, and language barriers, suppliers could sometimes confuse the order of sellers, and so product samples are a great way to decrease a possible let down once the goods arrive.

Ignoring quality control inspection before goods are shipped

Sellers are advised to always be cautious with suppliers, even if they have a consistent supplier for a long time. It’s generally difficult to maintain an error-free manufacturing record, and Amazon can dismiss sellers for sending faulty products to Amazon FBA. For this reason, sellers should take quality inspections seriously to ensure that the goods are up to Amazon FBA’s standards.

Paying in full upfront

Many things can go wrong with making full payment for goods, especially when doing business with a new supplier. The risk is high, and sellers may get scammed. Therefore, it’s safer to make complete payments only for product samples.

Suppliers in China are often willing to accept a 30% down payment for most common goods. After production, sellers can pay the remaining 70%. However, if sellers deal with short lead-time goods, the 30 to 70% practice may not apply.

Ignoring the use of a customs broker

One mistake newbie sellers make is trying to ship goods without customs brokers. The reality is that there are various government import and export requirements that sellers must comply with if they want their goods to leave the country or pass the border of the destination country.

Custom brokers ensure that goods are compliant with all requirements and handle necessary paperwork to avoid shipping issues.

Failing to plan for the Chinese holidays

While focusing on the details  of the shipping processes, sellers may forget to account for Chinese national holidays. Failing to do so could have several negative impacts. It could limit the available shipping routes, increase shipping costs, and increase product prices. It could also affect the time it takes products to land in the destination country.Sellers can therefore avoid production and shipment delays by setting a reminder for Chinese holidays.

Final thoughts

For those new to the process, shipping from China to Amazon may seem complicated. But one can make the process easier to manage by following the steps stated above. Likewise, it’s also crucial to avoid the common mistakes highlighted above to ensureThat said, shipping from China to Amazon FBA offers a great opportunity for business, and this guide has therefore highlighted the key aspects to consider to ensure the process remains smooth and profitable. 

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