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Everything You Need to Know about FBA Sourcing from China

2024-05-16
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Product sourcing from China has become a popular business model for many e-commerce sellers. China is the world's largest manufacturer of consumer goods, which makes it an attractive option for Amazon sellers who want to source quality products at a low cost.

Amazon FBA sourcing might not be such a new concept to some of you. Some of you might also already have your online stores set up on Amazon. But what is new to e-Commerce and especially to Amazon is the rising number of Chinese products that have flooded the website. So, if you have ever ventured to buy daily hardgoods, consumer products, electronic accessories, and so on, you might have noticed these products are mostly made in China. As an Amazon seller, sourcing products from China can be a great way to find quality products at a lower cost. However, it can be a daunting task to navigate the process of finding reliable suppliers, ensuring product quality, and managing logistics.

How to source Chinese products for Amazon FBA?

It is not common knowledge, but product sourcing from China for Amazon FBA is considered one of the most profitable business strategies. As an Amazon seller, your first and most primary objective is to source profitable products and cater to a diverse audience. After which, you would want those products shipped to Amazon fulfillment centers, also known as FBA warehouses, at the lowest cost.

1. Find reliable suppliers

The first step in sourcing products from China is to find reliable suppliers. One way to do this is to use online sourcing platforms that allow you to connect with verified suppliers. These platforms often have a wide range of products to choose from and provide tools to help you manage your orders and communication with suppliers. Another option is to attend trade shows in China, where you can meet suppliers face-to-face and establish relationships. When looking for suppliers, be sure to vet them carefully. Check their references and ask for samples to test product quality. It is also important to establish clear communication channels and expectations for lead times, pricing, and product specifications.

2. Negotiate with the suppliers

Once you have found the right suppliers, the next step is to negotiate the price and the terms of your agreement. Negotiating prices can be tricky, especially when you are dealing with suppliers who are used to haggling. It is essential to do your research and know the market prices of the products you are interested in sourcing. You can use B2B websites like Alibaba to research product prices, demand, and competition. When negotiating with suppliers, it is essential to be firm but also respectful. You want to build a good relationship with your supplier and avoid damaging it by being too aggressive.

3. Ensure product quality

Ensuring product quality is crucial while sourcing from China for FBA. One way to do this is to work with suppliers that have been certified by organizations such as ISO or SGS. These certifications show that the supplier has satisfied certain quality standards. Another way to ensure quality is to conduct thorough product inspections before shipment. You can hire a China inspection agent to inspect your products and provide a detailed report on any issues found. This can help you catch quality issues early and avoid costly returns or negative reviews from customers.

4. Manage logistics

Managing logistics can be one of the biggest challenges when sourcing products for Amazon. To streamline the process, it is important to work with a freight forwarder or logistics provider that has experience shipping to Amazon FBA warehouses. They can help you navigate the complex regulations and requirements for importing products into the US and ensure that your products are delivered on time and in good condition. It is also important to plan and account for lead times when ordering products. Chinese holidays can cause delays in production and shipping, so be sure to plan accordingly and order early to avoid delays.

There are several shipping options available when importing goods from China, including air, sea, and express shipping. Air shipping is the fastest option but also the most expensive. Sea shipping is slower, but more cost-effective, while express shipping is a good option for smaller shipments. When selecting a shipping method, it is essential to consider the size and weight of your shipment, the urgency of the delivery, and your budget.

5. Stay up to date on regulations and requirements

When your shipment arrives in the United States, it is essential to comply with customs regulations. You will need to provide documentation, including a commercial invoice, bill of lading, and packing list. You will also need to pay any applicable duties, taxes, and fees. It is important to work with a customs broker who can help you navigate the complex customs regulations and avoid any potential delays or fines.

It is important to stay up to date on regulations and requirements for importing products from China into the US. This includes understanding the tariffs and duties that apply to your products, as well as any regulations around product safety and labelling. One resource for staying up to date on regulations is the US Customs and Border Protection website. They provide information on import requirements, including tariffs, duties, and taxes. You can also work with a customs broker to help you navigate the regulations and ensure that your products are compliant.

How to ship products from China to Amazon FBA?

A good way to begin is to estimate the weight of your shipment. If you are opting for an ocean-based shipment, then you should look for a freight forwarder. A freight forwarder is only beneficial for air shipments if your order weighs more than 200 kilograms. Such orders will ship in 8 to 10 days by air freight, and it will take 30 to 40 days by ocean freight. So, what happens if your shipment order is less than 200 kg? You can just send through your Chinese supplier who will use DHL air express as one of the ways of transportation. The benefit is that shipment below 200kg will arrive in just 3 to 5 days. We recommend this because using a freight forwarder for shipments weighing less than 200kg will cost you a lot more than you would like.

Step 1: Create an Amazon shipping plan

When shipping goods to Amazon fulfillment centers, you need to create your shipping plan in the seller central platform. This step is to allow the correct information to exist and to inform Amazon about your stock so that there are no setbacks when your shipment reaches Amazon's FBA warehouses. This platform allows you to avail of Amazon's FBA service.

Step 2: Selecting the final delivery method

You can opt for the option of 'Small Parcel Delivery (SPD) or UPS. After which, you will complete the shipment packaging section by entering the units per box, the number of boxes, and the weight of each box. The approximate shipping cost will be mentioned in the shipping charges. This is only to be used if you have more than 30 cartons. In the end, you will only need to provide your freight forwarder with Amazon FBA carton labels that can be generated from your Amazon seller central. The second delivery method is 'Less Than Truckload' (LTL) an 'Amazon-Partnered Carrier'. It can be used if you have less than 30 cartons. The process of applying for it is exactly like how you opt for UPS.

Step 3: Decide on the type of shipping to be used

The most common type of ocean shipment is 'Less Than Container Load' (LCL). This only applies if your shipment order is lesser than 18 cubic meters. For LCL, your products will be shipped along with other sellers' products.

The second type of shipping is 'Full Container Load' (FCL), and that applies if your shipment is beyond 18 cubic meters. The advance is that your shipment will be transported directly to Amazon's fulfillment center. This is usually considered the best because it means your products are delivered safely to Amazon fulfillment centers without any trouble.

The third shipping method is via air which is fast and simpler. The weight is usually charged, and it is used by airlines in determining the price to charge for carrying your shipment. For light-weighted but bulky products, the air carrier will charge you for the volumetric weight of your shipment.

Step 4: Send to FBA warehouses

Once your shipment has cleared customs, the next step is to send it to Amazon's FBA warehouses. You can do this by creating a shipment plan on Amazon's Seller Central platform. The shipment plan will outline the details of your shipment, including the products, quantities, and destination warehouses. It is important to follow Amazon's guidelines when creating your shipment plan, including using the correct labelling and packaging.

Options of Shipping from China to Amazon FBA

Since trailers carrying a bulk of products arrive at Amazon fulfillment centers by appointment only. Hence, you have two options of shipping your products sourced from China to Amazon FBA warehouses:

1. Direct Shipping from China to Amazon Fulfillment Centers

You can ship directly to Amazon FBA warehouses from China. For this, you would need to work with a reputable freight forwarder in China who specializes in Amazon FBA. This can help you save more than working with a company based on your final destination. A problem that occurs is communicating with Chinese manufacturers about the terms and conditions of not just manufacturing your order but also of keeping in line with Amazon FBA policies. However, now Chinese manufacturers are quite familiar with FBA specifications, but a little extra care can still save you from incurring unnecessary costs.

2. Ship to yourself or a third-party and then to Amazon FBA

You can alternatively look for a company, a middleman, or put yourself as the third party. That means the products sourced from China would be transported to you. Once you receive your order you can forward the stock to an Amazon fulfillment center. However, be warned that this process has its benefits and drawbacks. The benefits are that if you have hired a sourcing company that will deliver the products to Amazon FBA. They would monitor your order properly from manufacture control. So, you can be completely sure that the order of products that reach Amazon FBA warehouses is of top-notch quality. This also saves you time and makes your entire online business smooth.

Alternatively, if you choose to keep a middleman or yourself. The order will be delivered safely to you, but the chances of products getting damaged when you transport them to Amazon FBA are higher. This is because one needs to specialize in shipping regarding Amazon FBA. So, if you are not familiar with it you are bound to make a mistake somewhere.

Conclusion

FBA sourcing from China for Amazon can be a great way to find quality products at a lower cost. However, it is important to find reliable suppliers, ensure product quality, manage logistics, optimize for Amazon FBA, and stay up to date on regulations and requirements.

FBA sourcing from China can seem very complicated, with so many things to be mindful of. However, there is a reason why Chinese suppliers and sellers are willing to make that effort to increase their profitability. By following the steps outlined by Amazon FBA services, your experience will run smoothly. However, if you would like to avoid all that trouble, consider outsourcing this process to a trustworthy sourcing company, they will provide you with a range of services starting from manufacture control, quality inspection, all the way to order monitoring and logistic support.

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