Shipping From China 101
When it comes to shipping your products from China to your location, you have two options. The first is to ship directly to Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon services (FBA). Amazon has one of the most advanced fulfillment networks in the world so all you have to do is focus on selling. You can safely store your products in Amazon’s fulfilment centers and their fulfillment team will ensure each order goes out in a timely and professional manner. Not only do they handle the picking, packing, and shipping, but they also provide customer service for these products. Talk about freeing up your time! This is a great way to optimize your time, scale your business, and reach more customers.
Before you can reap the benefits of your rewards, you’ll need to get your products to an FBA center first. The first step in doing so is creating a shipment in Amazon’s seller central. Once that is done, your supplier will need to apply the barcodes generated by Amazon to each item. The products are then organized onto a pallet, labelled, and delivered to a freight forwarder.
While this method can save you money and time, it also has a few downsides. You can’t inspect your order before it is delivered to an FBA, you can’t use partnered carriers, and depending on your product type, your items might be shipped to different fulfilment centers. Thankfully, there are a few ways to avoid the last con! All you have to do is go into the setting section of the FBA and turn on inventory placement. Once this is turned on your items are guaranteed to be delivered to one distribution center. You can also prevent shipments to multiple fulfillment centers by not combining oversized items with standard-sized items. It is also important that you instruct your Chinese manufacture to double check if your product meets the FBA specifications. While this does come at an additional cost, it allows you to avoid even more expensive mistakes. Finally, you must ensure all your duties and freight are paid beforehand as Amazon is not responsible for these fees.
Using a Third Party
The other shipping option that is available to you is to ship the product directly from China to a third party logistic (3PL) who will then ship it to an Amazon fulfilment center. A 3PL is a company that handles your fulfillment, which includes receiving your inventory from your supplier, storing your items, picking and packing your items, and shipping them to Amazon FBA. This ensures your products are inspected before being sent to Amazon, you can use partnered carries, and dividing shipments to multiple fulfillment centers is easier.
While this option is more time-consuming and comes with extra costs, it is especially helpful for first time shipments with a new supplier or if it is your first time shipping to an FBA. You can avoid errors, and the chances of your shipment getting rejected lowers.
By Air or Sea
You can also choose among three delivery methods: express air, sea freight and regular air freight. While express is the simplest and fastest way, the best method for you depends on your needs and budget.
Express handles customs-related issues and shipping takes three to seven days, but it comes at a significantly higher cost. Sea freight is cheaper, but shipping can take 30 to 40 days. Air freight is faster than sea freight and should be used if you are shipping a large quantity of products and running low on inventory. Shipping takes anywhere from four to 10 days and generally costs six to seven dollars per kilogram, however, the cost does change depending on the time of the year.