Shipping from China to Amazon FBA
So you want to sell on Amazon FBA, but your supplier is in a different country. The benefits of selling on Amazon FBA are huge, but buying goods from USA suppliers can be pricey. Dropshipping from overseas suppliers is an attractive option to keep costs down. But everyone knows you can make a ton of money by selling on Amazon FBA. Is it possible to ship supplies from China to Amazon FBA? Yes, with some caveats.
Let’s learn how you can cash in by selling on Amazon FBA when your supplier is in another country.
Here’s what to do
Fortunately, there are two ways to do this. The first is having the overseas supplier ship directly to Amazon FBA. The other option is having a middleman handle the logistics for you. There are pros and cons to each.
SHIPPING DIRECT FROM CHINA TO AMAZON FBA
The concept is pretty straight forward: A company that wants to use Amazon Seller Fulfilled Prime buys cheap goods from China or India and the supplier ships the products directly to Amazon FBA warehouses.
1. Create the shipment in Seller Central.
2. Explain to the overseas supplier how to prep the item for Amazon FBA (barcodes, pallet labels on all four sides, carton labels, etc.)
3. Find a freight forwarder to ship door-to-door from China to the Amazon fulfillment center.
4. Make sure it’s Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) if you are shipping air freight.
It sounds easy enough, but there are some problems that can happen.
Shipping directly to Amazon from overseas sounds great in theory, but the overseas supplier must do Amazon FBA prep correctly. Amazon FBA requirements specify exactly how shipments must be prepared in order to be accepted by Amazon warehouses. Shipments that don’t meet Amazon FBA acceptance criteria can be rejected or incur delays and fees. Can you trust an overseas supplier to prep correctly? Are they reliable? Will language barriers be an issue?
If you’re hesitant, that brings us to option 2.
USING A MIDDLEMAN
Hiring a middleman, or 3PL company, to prep goods from overseas so that they meet Amazon FBA acceptance criteria can help you breathe a sigh of relief. There are no language barriers to deal with, and no wasted time trying to explain to an overseas supplier how to follow Amazon’s strict FBA receiving criteria. The risk of late shipments or improperly packaged items is nearly zero.
For many sellers, this is the way to go if you can afford it. Professional Amazon FBA prep services will take care of everything for you. Using a middleman means there won’t be any surprises or mistakes. For sellers that want to save time and get peace of mind, this is your best bet. And if you like the idea of drop-shipping because of its hands-off order fulfillment, but you now want to start selling on Amazon Prime, it will certainly appeal to you.
What’s your decision going to be?
Some sellers are willing to accept the hassle and potential risks of shipping directly from China to Amazon FC. It can work great, as long as the supplier is reliable and understands FBA prep criteria. Other sellers can’t be bothered with all that, preferring the ease and peace of mind that comes with hiring a 3PL middleman.
If you’re stuck deciding, here’s a quick list of pros and cons for each option:
Direct Overseas Shipping to Amazon Pros & Cons
- Cheapest option
- Faster delivery to Amazon FC
- Better for small shipments, as long as the overseas supplier preps according to Amazon FBA standards
- No opportunity to inspect goods yourself
- No partnered carrier shipping discounts (this only works if shipping from the contiguous USA)
- You may be required to ship to multiple Amazon FCs, which complicates matters
- Higher risk of rejected FBA shipments
- Higher risk of fees or delays due to items not being prepped to meet Amazon FBA criteria
Middle Man Pros & Cons
- Peace of mind with professional FBA prep services
- No language barrier
- Hands-off, no-hassle inventory processing
- Lower risk of shipments being rejected by Amazon
- Lower risk of processing delays at Amazon FC due to improper shipments
- Lower risk of fees & penalties for shipments that don’t meet FBA receiving criteria
- Frees your time to focus on other tasks
- Can take advantage of partnered carrier discounts since it’s shipped to Amazon from within the USA (lower 48 states only)
- Longer handling time than shipping direct from overseas (days or weeks, ask!)
There is no right or wrong choice
Hopefully, you have a better idea of which option appeals to you more. It all depends on your personal preferences, business goals, and how easy it is to work with the overseas supplier. If you want to learn more about Amazon prep services and pricing before making the leap, shoot us an email for more info.