In this post I will cover dealing with the logistics side of importing product to a FBA warehouse.
Logistics can be such a pain. If you are using the Amazon FBA service, you will need to create a product listing in order to find out which warehouse you need to ship your product to. At this stage, I wouldn’t waste too much time with the listing as you’ll have plenty of time to work on the marketing aspects of it while waiting for the product to be manufactured and shipped. That said, you will need to input product dimensions, weight, general information and a UPC code. If you do not have a UPC code, you can easily buy one on ebay or one of the several other websites offering it at a low price. I got mine from a site called Speedy Barcodes, which worked well for me. Once you’ve created a rough listing, you’ll have to create a FBA shipment that will provide you with the delivery warehouse information. The shipment can be created in your sellercentral account under the “Manage FBA Inventory” page. Now comes the process of vetting multiple quotes from several freight companies. Fun right…
Logistics – Picking the Freight Company
In my case, I was transporting from China to America. In my extremely unclear state of mind, I decided to use three different companies for logistics for my first shipment. I had the manufacturer use their freight forwarder for the sea freight, I used a customs broker recommended by Amazon and used a land freight company I found online. It was a nightmare! I definitely do not recommend using multiple freight forwarders to get the job done. I strongly recommend using one of the Amazon recommended customs broker companies (found here) for the whole freight process first time around. It will likely cost you a bit more however it will save you a lot of trouble. The additional expense is usually not as bad as it seems when you spread the costs among the hundreds of products you are transporting.
The biggest help in using one of the recommended freight forwarders is that they know how to file the customs for someone that does not live in the USA. Most freight companies get confused with this and require a US address, which drove me up the wall…. Turns out you don’t need that.
Logistics may be a significant cost for your initial stock order, however if the product is a winner and you order larger quantities in the future, it will only get better. I am in the process of ordering 3 times the amount I did in my first order and the logistics costs per item has almost halved!
Post Highlights for logistics
- Create a rough listing and FBA shipment to obtain destination FBA warehouse address
- Stick to a single freight forwarder for the entire journey
- Use an Amazon recommended customs broker for customs clearance
- Be aware that freight cost can be high for initial small shipment. This will get better with the next bigger shipment