As e-commerce takes over the shopping industry, many SMEs look to sell their products on online platforms such as Taobao, or Amazon to reach global audience. Infact, your company may be involved in such a process too.
Let’s take Amazon as an example, it has got fulfillment centers across the globe where you can ship to and store it at their warehouse. And when the customer orders your product, Amazon does not only pick up their order, it will pack and ship it to their doorstep. Sounds convenient, doesn’t it?
Shipping your products to an FBA comes with its own twists. There are common mistakes that firms make during their first attempt. Here is a list of common mistakes and solutions so that you can avoid them to save yourself some time and money!
3 common mistakes to watch out for when shipping to FBA
1. Not paying attention to the customs rules and regulations
If you are shipping from China to the US, you might forget or not even think of putting “Made in China” stickers on the boxes. Without it, the Chinese customs will deny it and ship it back to the manufacturers. Labels such as these are placed is to ensure the US customs or the receiving country's customs know where the products are coming from.
Without such labels, it will cost you additional shipping charges (back and forth) and other charges such as fitting in ‘made in China’ labels on the boxes. Watch out for the regulations of the receiving country and communicate them to your manufacturers so they pack it right.
2. Not buying enough units or over-stocking
In the initial days of selling on Amazon, you might be selling yourself short where you order fewer quantities worrying that your stock might not get sold. But it can backfire, if you run out of stock, you will lose organic sales, this will affect your rank on the Amazon website, and push your listings way below.
On the other hand, if you overestimate your expected sales and overstock your products, Amazon may charge you extra for the storage or rather slow-moving products. Think about it, they would be better off stocking more units of the products that actually get sold than the ones that do not.
If you look at peak seasons (during holidays, sales), having fewer units or overstocking the units at the fulfillment centers can be detrimental to both yours and Amazon’s sales. Hence, planning it well ahead to get your products produced and shipped to FBA on time is very crucial.
3. Breaching Amazon’s guidelines and restrictions
Amazon has strict guidelines and restrictions on storing the products at its fulfillment centers. Firms fail to take the extra step to pack or protect certain products that could melt or be dangerous at the warehouse. Or there are also certain types of products that require approval from Amazon before you can ship them.
Breaching these guidelines can result in a hefty fine or damage your reputation with future shipments. It could even ruin your chance to sell your products online.
(Bonus) 4. Choosing the wrong freight forwarder
All you want is for your products to go from your manufacturers to an Amazon fulfillment center in one piece. You might often find yourself just selecting the freight forwarders that have been recommended to you on advertisements. But just be aware that they might be charging 2x, or even 5x times more for the exact same service from another normal service, eating right into your profits.
Don’t always fall into the thinking that the ones that do the most advertising will get the job done right. Getting products from one to another point is a very standard procedure, but different companies charge you for different prices based on any add-on services. But it can be quite time consuming to sit through and research all the freight forwarders.
What should you do next time you ship to an Amazon Fulfilment Center?
1. Create a shipping plan
Next time you think about shipping to Amazon FBA, your first should be creating a shipping plan. In a nutshell, it will contain four things;
- The products that you will ship to Amazon
- Quantities of each product type
- Your shipping method (choice of the freight forwarder, dates, and other related information)
- Parties in charge regarding product preparation and labeling (it could either be you or Amazon)
During this process, you will confirm and finalize the logistics of how your products will get from manufacturers to Amazon; things like ‘ship from’ and ‘ship to’ address will be settled to avoid confusion later. You can even follow Amazon’s checklist along the way to keep organized. Specific guidelines and further details regarding this may be retrieved once you create an account with Amazon.
2. Check the Amazon’ guidelines
Be sure to check out Amazon FBA Guidelines and Restrictions to ensure that products will be accepted by the FBAs and to avoid any extra charges. For example, for products that need approval, you need to submit a request form before you can send your shipment or even sell it on Amazon. There are also guidelines and prerequisites to be met before selling on Amazon during holiday or peak sale seasons for certain categories of products such as Toys and Games.
3. Choose the right freight forwarder, compare the all options
Let’s say you manufacture your product in China and are choosing to ship to an Amazon FBA in the US. Should you choose an US-based freight forwarder or a China-based one? A good tip would be to choose someone based out of the USA, closer to your manufacturing facilities, perhaps China or Hong Kong.
Similar to how you explore all the possible fare options when booking a flight, you should apply the same logic when it comes to choosing a freight forwarder too. To ensure you get the best deal, compare all the cost options from multiple freight forwarders before choosing “the one” to ship your products. And, guesstimating shipping charges is something companies struggle with since it can take up multiple days for a carrier to get back to you on a quote.
With bookairfreight.com, you can look at all the options available for the air freight on one website, get an instant quote, and close a deal with them. It sure will reduce your search time from days to seconds and saving you at least 20% on the costs.
Give it a try now and get an instant door to door quote for your next shipment at www.bookairfreight.com.