For those interested in selling on Amazon, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that the process runs as smoothly as possible. Here are the facts in terms of what to expect from shipping to customs and, of course, the Amazon warehouse.
Open Your FBA Account
The first step is to open a sellers account on Amazon and to add FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) onto it. The idea with FBA is that you ship large amounts of your goods as inventory to Amazon controlled warehouses/fulfillment centers in the countries you want to sell in. In this way, orders from those countries incur less shipping delay, at the cost of your company holding the inventory in various warehouses across the country or the world.
Dealing with Logistics
Once you have selected the right supplier and have decided on how you would prefer to ship your goods, the next step will be to source shipping quotes. Consider using Amazon’s discounted partner carriers and make a point of asking for quotes for both air and sea freight so you can compare all options available to you.
There are specific shipping requirements to consider, such as:
- Providing a freight-ready date for that shipment
- Providing an accurate pallet count for that shipment at the time of estimate acceptance
- Provide an accurate weight for each pallet
- Provide the correct product freight class
- Make sure that all pallets are ready to be collected by the morning of the freight-ready date provided
The best thing to do is to contact your freight forwarder or courier in advance of shipping any inventory to understand its fees and requirements.
If you sign up for fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and are moving goods to Amazon DC’s in other countries, you will have to deal with customs. Amazon will not do this for you as they make very clear on their website. They do not act as the importer of record either. As an FBA seller, customs will undoubtedly be one of the trickiest aspects of the process as you import inventory made overseas or sell into new international markets. That is why it pays to make use of a customs broker who will be able to ensure that your shipment is cleared quickly and without issue. For most business owners, getting your stuff expediently through customs is a headache they don’t need and small mistakes on your commercial invoices or other paperwork can cost money, delays, unhappy customers and more.
The Amazon Warehouse
Amazon fulfillment centers have requirements for the shipments they receive, including the size of the pallets and the type of truck that can deliver to the fulfillment center. Furthermore, pallet size differences exist between various Amazon marketplaces so you have to study these requirements and best practices to avoid delays in getting your inventory to the fulfillment center and into your customers’ hands.
When to Consider a Customs Broker for FBA
While some clients have a go at doing international FBA themselves initially, very few established FBA sellers have either the time or inclination to manage import/export as part of their long-term FBA strategy.
If you have the volume of sales, and the right margins, using a good customs broker and freight forward like JM Rodgers is a no-brainer. With our size and experience we can get this done more efficiently and economically than you might think.
Call JM Rodgers today.