The Seller Abroad

Using FBA to sell on Amazon from abroad… can't be that hard!

Author: The Seller Abroad (Page 1 of 2)

Is Your Amazon Sponsored Ad Campaign Profitable?

Assessing your Amazon Sponsored Ad Campaign

In this post I’m going to address how to determine if your Amazon sponsored ad campaign is working. Is it a worthy investment? This is a short but very important post for maintaining good profitability. At the end of the day, it’s all about the money money money…. You get what I mean!

Okay so now you’ve been selling for a few weeks and your product has slowly worked its way up in page count for your desired keyword’s search results. This is fantastic news because now more and more eyes are getting to your listing organically, without any paid advertising. So when is it okay to stop using the Amazon sponsored ad campaign? After all, these ads have drastically increased your page views. In my case, even once my product reached page 1 for my desired keyword, the sponsored ads increased eyes on my listing by about 150%. That is huge right… well that depends.

Testing The Amazon Sponsored Ad Campaign

See, In my case I noticed that I was spending a lot of money on sponsored ads with the cost accounting for about 21% of my sales (Refer to the ACoS figure on your ad campaign page). This was a big deal for me. It meant that this large chunk came straight out of my margin on each product. For a niche product, this basically cuts your margin in half… or more. In light of this, I decided to experiment with the ad campaign by narrowing down on key words that worked and did not work in generating sales. I slowly dropped unsuccessful key words based on the number of sales it resulted in. To find this statistic,

  • click into your sponsored ad campaign,
  • click on your ad group,
  • then click on the keyword tab.

Keep in mind that I dropped keywords off the campaign over a period of a week each, to assess the performance properly. My benchmark was that if the keyword didn’t bring in sales and had an ACoS of over 10%, I would consider dropping it. At the end, it turned out that the only really effective keyword for advertising was my main desired keyword. Now that’s fantastic, only I was already on page 1 of this keyword search results! From here I decided to stop the advertising campaign to see what happened and as expected, sales were hardly touched. I may have lost about 2 or 3 sales a month, but retained profits.

Bottom Line on Amazon Sponsored Ad Campaigns

Amazon sponsored ad campaignIn summary, my advice on this one is that it is not worth advertising for any keyword with a ACoS over about 10%. More importantly, it is not worth advertising for keywords for which you already rank on the first page, as you will most likely get that customer viewing your listing without the ad anyway. So why pay for the view instead of getting it for free? Don’t answer that… it’s a rhetorical question! This analysis of your ad campaign can be super effective as you will get rid of your unprofitable sales. Now keep in mind that I do not recommend doing this until you’ve been selling consistently for about 2 months. The reason being that when you start out, volume of sales is more important that profitability for metrics such as search rankings, BSR and also helps with seller feedback and reviews as well.

Now go forth and multiply…profits that is!

Shipping Clarified

I’ve had a few questions come through about shipping and quality control. In this post I’ll clarify how the shipping part works and what quality control measures you can take.

One thing you have to get used to, when dealing with shipping, is playing the middle man. This can be quite a frustrating experience when emailing across language barriers and dealing with logistics related terms that are super confusing. Especially so when you are in a different time zone where every sent email takes a day to receive a response and calling is not a great option. So be prepared for a potentially emotional experience!

Shipping - Freight ForwarderShipping – Freight Forwarder

I’ve mentioned this before but first of all, to make things easy, I highly recommend using the one freight forwarder for the entire sea/air and land freight journey. This means you have one point of contact for all things freight. If you choose a competent freight forwarder, they will hold your hand through the process, making dealing with all the freight jargon that little bit easier. When getting a quote, ensure you get a quote from FOB at the port in China all the way through to delivery to the FBA warehouse/s. Also ensure you ask the freight forwarder to include customs brokerage in their quote.

Shipping – Manufacturer

Negotiate FOB (Free On Board) along with your manufactured price. This is usually offered for free but if it isn’t, make sure you play hardball to get it for free. FOB means the manufacturer covers all costs to get the freight loaded on the ship. This is usually cheaper to do with the manufacturer than the freight forwarder.

Shipping – Play Middle Man

You will have to play middle man as mentioned at the very top of this post. You will have to inform the freight forwarder when the product is ready for shipment and pass on the freight forwarder’s Chinese agent’s contact to the manufacturer. Likewise, inform the freight forwarder of the contact at the manufacturers. This will ensure smoothest coordination.

Shipping – Quality Control

This part is a bit tricky. In general, you can negotiate to pay 50% of cost to manufacture when production begins and 50% once goods are completed. There are also escrow options (offered via Alibaba), which is a third party that holds on to the money until goods are confirmed shipped. These are options to avoid being scammed. With regards to quality control, ensure your manufacturer provides photos and videos of the finished product. You should review images of both packed and unpacked product. Unfortunately that’s about as far as budget conscious quality control goes. You can go a step further and enlist the help of a third party pre-shipment inspection company such as China Inspection Services. This can get quite expensive though. Freight forwarders generally will not do quality inspections for you. I did not use a pre-shipment inspection services as it wasn’t in my budget to do so. Other steps you can take to mitigate quality control risk is to inspect samples and test how far the manufacturer wants your business by asking for additional features such as labelled packaging and so forth prior to placing an order. The way I figure, these manufacturers want repeat business and so will try to do the right thing by you. Another factor to take into account is that when selecting your final manufacturer, make sure they have a good selling history (3 years or more) on Alibaba or Aliexpress. At least this way you know they are somewhat reliable. It was way too expensive to ship product to the US via Australia, so inspecting the product myself was definitely not an option!

Post Highlights for shipping clarified

  • Be prepared to be the middle man for most communications
  • Use a single freight forwarder for the entire journey
  • Ensure your manufacturer provides FOB service as part of their package
  • Use manufacturers with a good track record to mitigate quality control risks

How to Price Your Product

In this post, I explore how to price your product to extract maximum value. I went through a steep learning curve with pricing my product and hopefully I can spare you some of that pain.

Price Strategy

There are a lot of websites with solid information on different pricing strategy. The most intuitive is that you add up all your costs and then apply a mark-up that will result in a healthy profit margin for yourself. Now this sound kinda logical right… but is it that simple? Of course not! You can actually end up leaving a lot of money on the table if you do not consider other factors.  Let me elaborate on a simple few of these:

Competitor Pricing

In most cases, you are going to be selling a product into a niche market that already has a few players in it. Sure, your product will have a unique point of difference, but how do you price accordingly? It is important that you gauge your competitor’s products to unearth a gap in the market. This may not be a very obvious gap, however given you will be competing in a niche market, there should definitely be some sort of gap. For example, with my product, I realised that there were a lot of low end products and a hand full of premium products in the market. If I were to throw a few numbers at it to clarify, let’s say the low end products ranged in price from $20 to $35, and the premium products ranged from $59 to $80. There was very little that sat in that nice gap just under the high priced products. So rather than competing in the dog fight at the lower price point or competing against potentially established brands in the premium range, I decided to go with a value-for-money proposition and price in the lovely gap just under the premium products. There was very little competition in this gap. So running with the numbers I mentioned above, I would price the product somewhere between $45 and $55.

Value Proposition

There are basically three ways you can go about proposing value to your customer. You can have a cheap product with little differentiation that creates demand due to price alone; You can offer a high quality, well differentiated product at a premium price, which generally creates less demand but offers a better profit margin and helps create a strong brand; Alternatively, you can offer a value for money proposition, where you have decent quality, differentiated product for sale at a medium price point, which sits between the other two options with regards to demand and profit margin but still allows you to build a strong brand. Either one of these can yield a lot of success. My advice is to stay away from competing with a cheap product on price alone. The only winner here is the customer who gets lower and lower prices as everyone undercuts each other to have the cheapest price. Both the premium and value-for-money proposition are better in the long term, particularly due to the additional benefit of creating Brand Value over time.

Launch and Reacting to the Market

Okay, so let’s say you’ve surveyed the market, decided on your value proposition and decided on a price range that you are comfortable with. When I say comfortable, I mean one that generates adequate profit to justify your venture. How do you know where exactly in this range you should price the product? Do you use a different price for the launch and once the product is established? In theory, if you have great patience and are going in with one of the two recommended value propositions mentioned above, it is best not to change your price point for the launch as it shows strength in the brand and product. That said, I did launch my product with a price point at the lower end of my range. This helped create a little bit more demand initially before I stepped the price back up toward the top of the range I had initially established. If you choose to start at the lower end of your range and step up, ensure you do not make many steps. Make 1 or 2 changes and do not change the price any quicker than 2 week intervals, or a month if you can help it. You may notice a dip in demand as you increase your price. This is price elasticity at play and it is expected. Price Elasticity Demand CurveCheck out this Price Elasticity Demand curve. It is fairly typical of how price changes influence demand. If you see sharp movements in demand, then maybe you are below the apex of the curve where small price changes greatly influences demand. If you find there is little movement in demand, you are probably above the apex of the curve where price increases do not diminish demand as much. You be the judge of which exact price point you want to settle on. Consider price and demand impact on your profitability in making this decision.

Discounting

I’d tend to say do not do any discounting. Discounting is done so often these days that all it really does is devalue the product. It basically says to the customer that the discounted price is what the product is actually worth so just wait till I discount it again before you purchase it. If you wish to discount the product, do it with a goal/purpose in mind and ensure this is communicated well. If you wanted to run a festive season discount promotion, ensure you highlight that this is for the festive season only and it is special. I recommend that through the year, you keep discount campaigns down to one or two only. What you tend to see with discount campaigns is that your demand increases significantly during the discount period and then falls below your average demand straight after the discount promotion is finished, before finally resettling to normal levels. This is due to the discount campaign encouraging people to buy more during the discount and stock up or due to people seeing the brand as a discount brand. Overall, you may get the same amount of sales through the whole year but you made less profit because a large chunk of them happened at a discount. That said, discounts can be powerful if used sparingly and communicated well. I myself have not done any discounting except in order to get reviews, which is a whole other topic.

The main point I’d like to stress is that you need to think about all these factors when finding your price point. In most cases, if you’ve picked your niche well, you will find that you can charge a higher price than you had first anticipated. This will allow you to have the optimum value exchange with your customer; offer maximum value and extract maximum value.  It’s a win-win situation.

 

Post Highlights for how to price your product

  • Consider your costs and profitability
  • Survey the market to find a pricing gap that you can exploit
  • Be sure of your value proposition to the customer
  • Do not change price unless you have to
  • Avoid discounting as much as possible
  • Everybody wins!

Tax ID… Clarified

Since publishing my post on “Dealing with Tax and Bank Settings,” I’ve received a large number of responses with further questions on both tax and banking. Let’s address tax first. Let me start by answering a couple of common questions:

Q: Do I need a tax ID?

A: If you are selling on Amazon in the US, you will need to pay sales tax. In order to register with states/territories to collect sales tax from your customer, you will require a tax ID. In order to file your sales tax return, you will require a tax ID. So in short, I’d say yes, you need one.

Q: What states/territories do I need to pay sales tax in?

A: You will need to pay sales tax for any sales made to customers within states in which you hold a Nexus. What’s a nexus, I hear you ask…. Well, a nexus is a presence in any state/territory. For our typical case of an entity set up outside the US with stock sitting in a FBA warehouse, you are considered to have a nexus in any state in which your product sits in a FBA warehouse.  Given this situation, you will need to register for and pay sales tax to any state in which a FBA warehouse holds your product.

Getting a Tax ID

So first step is to get a tax ID. I know from experience that the process of identifying and applying for the required tax ID can be painful due to the lack of clear information available. I have simplified the process by putting together a “Tax ID – Cheat Sheet”. The Cheat Sheet is a detailed walk-through to obtain a tax ID.

This Tax ID – Cheat Sheet is available as a premium post. You can check it out here 

 

Disclosure: I am not a tax advisor and the information provided is only a reflection of what I’ve learnt from my personal experience. Please do your own research and fully understand your obligations before making any decisions.

Generating More Sales

Generating More Sales

Let me take you through my learnings and best practices for generating more sales to keep the momentum going.

Now that I had experienced the euphoria of getting my first organic sale and the low of not getting heaps and heaps more, I had to figure out a way to get my listing to make more sales. The issue was that my product listing was on page 4. In order to get consistent sales, I had to get more eyes on my product listing, meaning I had to somehow get myself to page one when my desired key words were searched. As Amazon’s algorithm doesn’t favour new listings as such, this is difficult to do. Don’t worry, there is a way around this, but like all shortcuts, you have to pay for it.

Amazon Sponsored Product Campaign

Amazon allows you to use a pay-per-click service to get your listing front and centre when someone searches for related key words. This service is called Amazon Sponsored Product Campaign. This is a great way to get more eyes on your listing. More eyes = more sales = more reviews. More sales and more reviews = ranking higher for your desired key words. As this is a paid service, you have to be prepared to invest. I’d advise that you take this step after you’ve got about 10 reviews plus. To start off with, I recommend letting Amazon automatically pick the key words based on your product. You can do this by picking “Automatic Targeting” when creating the campaign. Amazon will come up with a large number of key words that match your product listing and advertise on search results for those key words. You will have to set up your maximum bid per click. $0.75 is a typical bid. You might have to bid higher if you are in a more competitive market. You won’t pay that amount each time, however you can bid up to that limit to outbid other advertisers. You also have to set your maximum daily budget. I initially left this at $20. You can vary this as you go depending on results, however $20 is a good starting figure. Again, this is the limit of your daily spend so you usually will not spend that much every day.

Amazon sponsored Ads is a great way to get your product sales rolling. I’ll touch more on optimising your sponsored product Ads in another post down the track. Once you’ve set up your initial Ad campaign, wait a week before you start analysing your results as things have a delayed effect. If you are going to check it every day as I did, be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster ride!

Super URL

Another neat trick/hack to help you rank higher on searches is to use a particular type of URL link for all your marketing. Say for example, if you were to send a link to a reviewer to access your product, you’d want to use this particular type of URL. I hear it referred to as Super URL a lot. The premise of this URL is that it makes Amazon think that the person clicking on the link has manually searched for your suggested key word and found your product. This in turn feeds the Amazon algorithm, the logic being that people searching the key words chose to buy your product over the hundreds of others, so it should rank higher for that key word search. Makes sense right… Now to setting up this so called “Super URL”.

Super URL

As mentioned above, the Super URL mimics someone buying your product out of the hundreds that showed up during a key word search. So the trick to this is that the URL has to contain directions that show the key search terms. A simple way to set up a Super URL is to use the following format: http://www.amazon.com/dp/[Insert ASIN Here]/keywords=[Insert key words in format “totally+awesome+product”] where you fill in the red text with your product ASIN (found on your product listing page) and your key words using the “+” sign instead of spaces. So finally it should look something like this: http://www.amazon.com/dp/BIWK9846D/keywords=totally+awesome+product. Now to what extent a Super URL works is hard to judge, however it does help. While this simple method works well, for best results, it is worth doing what I did and use a service such as AMZ Tracker which provide Super URLs with time stamps on it (a bunch of letters and numbers that indicate the time at which the link was clicked). This is hard to do manually as the time stamp constantly changes with time, however it does provide more comprehensive information to the Amazon algorithm. The assumption is that the more natural and comprehensive the information you feed the algorithm, the better it works for you. AMZ Tracker also shortens your Super URL so that the link doesn’t look so messy and long. You can check out AMZ Tracker here if you are interested.

Now sit back and relax for a week or so while the system turns over. Hope the results work out as well for you as it did for me with this approach. Don’t forget to celebrate the little wins!

 

Post Highlights for generating more sales

  • Use Amazon sponsored Ad campaign (Pay Per Click Service)
  • Set up a Super URL using AMZ Tracker or another similar service
  • Be patient… you may have to wait a week before you see the results you are hoping for
  • Once the sales start coming in, celebrate the win!

Getting Reviews, Generating Sales

Your Listing is Live. Next Step, Generating Sales

In this post I will explore how to generate sales at an accelerated pace once your listing has gone live.

That moment of excitement when you realise your stock has finally arrived at the FBA warehouse, immediately followed by the nervousness and fear of truly finding out if your hours of research and efforts have been worth it. Yup, I went through that too. It’s amazing how many emotions you can go through with this thing! After going through that experience, here’s my two cents to help you through it.

It is okay to not get sales on day 1…. or day 2, 3 4 or 5. When your listing first goes live, depending on how competitive your niche is, you can be on anywhere from page 4 down to page 20 and onwards. The key is to not get down when you don’t immediately get sales. If you’re lucky you’ll get sales straight off the bat, but more often than not, you will need to give it a kick start. The best kick start you can give your product listing is a few sales, some seller feedback and verified reviews (this is where the item is reviewed by a customer that purchased it). Now keep in mind that soliciting reviews or getting reviews without a purchase are against Amazon’s policy and anything that goes against Amazon’s policy spells trouble. Amazon can either delete the review or give you a formal warning.

Getting Reveiws

Here is what I did and it worked really well. I did a small give away of products discounted down to $1 each in exchange for unbiased reviews. There are sites that boast review communities that let you offer products at a discount in exchange for reviews. This is currently in line with Amazon’s guidelines and does not cause issues unless one of the review wording itself breaches one of the Amazon Review Guideline conditions. The one I used is AMZ Tracker. After doing much research, it seemed to provide the best value for money. AMZ Tracker offers a community of reviewers to which you can offer your product at a discount in exchange for a review (Although you can offer products at any price, $1 offers work best). The site works completely organically so they cannot guarantee a review however I’ve always got 100% conversion of reviews. They come down hard on reviewers that take discounted product without leaving a review. Keep in mind that these reviews will be unbiased, which is why you need to make sure you have a good product! There are additional perks with AMZ Tracker in that you can track your product, competitor products and also potential future products on parameters such as sales, search rankings and Best Seller Ranking (BSR). Full disclosure, although a lot of AMZ tracker’s tracking features are free, access to the review community is paid. Something I thought about twice before signing up for, but worked out well worth it once the product reviews and seller feedback started to result in product sales. You can check out the website here.

customer reviews - generating sales

I gave away 9 products at a discount to get 4 seller feedback and 5 product reviews. Took about 10 days to get the reviews in. Once they were in, the sales started trickling in slowly. I don’t think I slept during the first night when I got my first organic sale! Much to the annoyance of my wife, I was checking my seller account almost every hour hoping for the next sale to come through… of course it didn’t, not till the next day. Patience is key, but so difficult!

The next step is increasing your sales per day. Stay tuned for the next post…

Post Highlights for getting reviews

  • Be patient with sales
  • Access review communities such as AMZ Tracker to roughly 10 reviews to kick start your sales
  • Reviews will be honest so ensure your product is good
  • Do not break Amazon’s policy requirements by soliciting reviews
  • Be patient…. Again…

Creating a FBA Import Shipment… The Big Decisions

I thought I’d sneak this post in as I’ve had a few friends that have got stuck when creating an FBA import shipment. This step fits in between getting your product manufactured and booking in the freight company. An FBA shipment is basically your way of lodging paperwork with Amazon identifying exactly what, when and how you are shipping items to the FBA warehouse. You can create one of these by going to the “Manage FBA Inventory” option under the main “Inventory” drop down menu.

Import Shipment Labelling

FBA Import Shipment

There are a couple of key decisions to make when creating a shipment. The first one is pretty easy; do I want to label the product or do I get amazon to? In my case, I chose to label the product myself given that I had purchased the UPC code. My manufacturer was more than happy to print and stick the barcode labels for free. I recommend going down this path as Amazon say they will charge for labelling, and I’m going to guess the charges would be somewhat unreasonable.

Import Shipment FBA Warehouse Selection

The second however gets complicated; do I want to ship to the FBA warehouse or warehouses Amazon allocates or do I want to choose my own? This is a bit of an interesting one and it is something you might try chopping and changing until you find a system that works for you. You will find that at times when you create a shipment, Amazon will request that you send your stock to a couple of different warehouses. These are usually warehouses that best suit Amazon’s distribution of the product. However, shipping to multiple locations can be a pain. There are a couple of ways around this.

  1. Enable the “Inventory Placement Service”. When you enable this service and create a shipment, Amazon will only give you the ship to location of one FBA warehouse where you can send the entire order. Note that there is a fee for this service. In order to activate this option, you will have to go the “Fulfilment by Amazon” tab under the “settings” menu. Here you will see a section called “Inbound Settings”. Click in to edit this section and choose the “Inventory Placement Service” tick box under the “Inventory Placement Option” section.
  2. Enable the “Premium Placement Service”. This is the method I used for my first shipment. It is the easiest but is quite expensive! Not only does this option let you ship to the one FBA warehouse but it also lets you choose which warehouse you ship it to. So you can pick a warehouse close to the port your ship will be docking at. Again, do not sign up for this without checking out the fees involved. In order to activate this option, you will have to email seller support by creating a case log and request this service. It will take 2 to 3 weeks to set up.

When deciding between going with the standard ship to locations or the two alternative options above, make sure you consider the additional fees involved as they can be quite steep. A painful lesson I learnt after my first shipment was that the fees for either option are charged in a one off lump sum about a fortnight after the stock arrives at the warehouse. I was initially operating under the premise that the fees would be charged per product as they were sold, so you can imagine my shock when I got hit with a massive bill!

When I did the sums, it worked out that he most cost effective way was to use the default FBA warehouses that Amazon assigned to me. Most good freight forwarders can pick up at one location and ship to multiple without too much trouble. I have avoided any sort of placement service option for my second shipment. The numbers work out better. Worth running the numbers yourself though as it largely comes down to your product weight, or dimensional weight (a tricky metric Amazon like to use), which Amazon use to calculate the service fees. Make sure you read up on dimensional weight on the Amazon website. It could mean the difference between a $700 and $1,100 fee… ouch! My take on it is that any premium kind of service you sign up for will likely be less cost effective but more convenient… makes sense right?

Those are the big decision when it comes to creating a FBA shipment. So take your time, do the sums and get all your details in. As soon as the shipment has been created, it is time to tackle the logistics side of things.

Optimising Your Product Listing

Here’s What You Can Do to Optimise Your Product Listing

Now comes optimising your product listing to give yourself the best possible shot at making sales quickly. I’m going to go with the assumption that you have a basic product listing done as described in the Logistics post. So your item specifications and UPC are all entered but little else. The Amazon algorithm is this mysterious beast that feeds on a range of parameters such as Sales, Reviews, Questions answered and a number of Product Listing based inputs. When starting out, it is difficult to feed the Sales, Reviews and Questions answered parameters while your stock is in transit. The Product Listing, however, can be made as appetising as possible prior to your product reaching the FBA warehouse. There are a few key points to address with your product listing:

  • Make use of as many characters in your Title as possible. Do a bit of google keyword research here (you can create a free AdWords account to access the keyword planner tool) and try merchantwords.com here (Allows 5 free key word searches), which claims to offer keyword search frequency from Amazon itself (I’m not 100% sure how accurate it is). Find keywords with the most search frequency and make sure you include them in your Title;
  • Make use of all available bullet points in the item description. Write all important features in here. If you run out of important features, write any other feature that you think might be enticing (even if it is not unique);
  • Maximise the number of high quality images. Use up as many of your image allocations as possible. And ensure you only use high quality images. Worth doing a photoshoot with your sample in every possible position and angle. Make sure you use a DSLR or high quality mirrorless camera. If you don’t have one, borrow a friends… it’ll be worth it;
  • Use as many characters as possible for your long description. If you run out of things to say, talk about what benefit the product will give you (such as a quicker cooking time and more time to spend with the kids, ect.)

A great way of finding the right key words and description style is to have a look at the top 2 or 3 product listings for the product you intend to sell. The fact that they are in the top 2 or 3 means they are doing a fair few things right. The product listing is likely one of these! Get an idea for the style of writing that best converts visitors into sales and keywords that best feed the Amazon algorithm. Check out this example of a quality product listing.

Optimising your product listing with descriptions

On top of a nice big Title and full use of the bullet points, check out the number of high quality images this product listing has used.

Optimising your product listing with high quality images

No wonder this product is number 1 when you search “Wireless bluetooth speaker”. Sure the brand, reviews and number of sales plays a big part, however this seller has definitely given themselves the best possible chance at ranking high by working on their product listing.

Post Highlights for optimising your product listing

  • Research high hit rate key words
  • Use many key words in the title
  • Use maximum number of high quality images
  • Read highly ranked product listings to learn the style of writing that converts visitors to customers
  • Maximise description bullet points
  • Maximise number of characters used for long description

Logistics…. a learning experience

In this post I will cover dealing with the logistics side of importing product to a FBA warehouse.

Logistics

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

Logistics

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

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