As one of the most sophisticated and cost-effective fulfillment methods in global eCommerce, fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is an extremely popular way to ship goods from China to the United States. This service helps businesses manage inventory and scale operations quickly. FBA businesses can use Amazon’s warehouses, vast network, fulfillment centers, and customer service to accelerate growth and facilitate high turnover.
Choosing the right shipping method and fulfillment strategy is one of the most important decisions for any FBA business. Hiring a reputable freight forwarder like Asiana USA makes shipping easy. We help you to understand the process, minimize problems, and maximize profitability.
Apart from choosing a reliable freight forwarder, there are several other factors to consider to make shipping from China to Amazon FBA easy.
Choose an Easy Shipping Strategy
One of the most critical steps in the process is determining a shipping method. There are two main approaches for transporting your goods from China to an Amazon facility. These include using a third-party logistics (3PL) provider or shipping directly from China.
Third-party logistics (3PL) provider
A 3PL is an independent service provider that offers storage, distribution, transport, and fulfillment services to businesses. 3PLs are extremely useful for eCommerce businesses that don’t have the facilities to fulfill orders efficiently.
A 3PL can provide end-to-end solutions, picking up your products at the source and taking responsibility for transporting all items until they reach the Amazon facility.
Since 3PLs offer their services to various businesses at once, they are a cost-effective option that can help facilitate rapid growth or the introduction of a new product line. As specialist service providers, a reputable 3PL is a reliable source for transporting goods overseas. What’s more, they often offer low shipping rates due to the volume of regular shipments they make.
If you’ve changed suppliers or are using a new manufacturer, a 3PL can help ensure all aspects of the shipment are in order before distribution. For those shipping out of China for the first time, a 3PL handles necessary documentation, ensuring your goods pass through customs clearance without issue. Through consolidated shipping, you can benefit from competitive shipping rates.
At Asiana USA, we can handle all aspects of shipping from China to the U.S. for you. We manage the logistics, pay duties, help your products clear customs and take care of last-mile delivery. We can make sure your goods reach their designated FBA warehouse while you focus on your business.
Ship direct to Amazon
If you have the knowledge, experience, and resources, shipping your products directly to Amazon is another option. Direct shipping to FBA fulfillment centers can save you thousands of dollars in potential 3PL fees, depending on the size of your shipment. But choosing to undertake the shipping process yourself comes with many complications.
One of the problems many businesses encounter when shipping directly to FBA is a request to send items to multiple fulfillment centers (especially for large goods). Although you can resolve this issue through Amazon’s Seller Center, it can disrupt and prolong the shipping process.
Another problem for some Amazon sellers handling shipping themselves is a lack of company representation at the factory manufacturing their products in China. Hiring a freight forwarder to handle onsite tasks helps ensure manufacturing, quality control, labeling, packaging, and distribution are taken care of efficiently.
Decide on Shipping: Air vs. Ocean
To get your goods from China to the U.S., there are two straightforward methods of transport. You can opt to have your goods travel by sea or by air, depending on your budget and how quickly you need the items to arrive at the Amazon FBA.
Since sea freight costs a fraction of air freight, it is often the only viable option for Amazon businesses. However, the advantages of both methods are worth considering before making the final decision.
Ocean freight is the cheapest way to transport goods over long distances. Cargo shipped by sea freight can be organized very efficiently. You can consolidate small shipments to fill containers, increasing shipment efficiency and allowing sellers to take advantage of low shipping costs.
Ocean shipping is essential for large, heavy, and bulky cargo. Major ocean liners can carry approximately 23,500 20 ft. equivalent units (TEUs), meaning they can transport enormous loads between China and the U.S. They are also designed to safely carry hazardous goods and dangerous materials, such as corrosive chemicals. Containers may be locked and sealed for added security during transit.
Ocean freight is often the go-to option for environmentally conscious retailers. Compared to other modes of transport, including air freight, it leaves a smaller carbon footprint.
The main drawback with ocean freight is the shipping time. Depending on the Amazon facility location, ocean freight from China can take 40 or more days to arrive. Port congestion, customs issues, and other delays can slow transport even further.
Air freight involves shipping your goods through an air carrier, such as a passenger plane, commercial aircraft, or supercargo plane. It is an expedited shipping option that is by far the quickest mode of transportation. A flight from China to the U.S. takes approximately 15 hours, compared to a multi-week travel time for ocean freight.
Air freight is also one of the most expensive ways to ship products from China to the US. According to World Bank, air freight can cost between 12 and 16 times more than sea freight. It is a good option for time-sensitive orders or lightweight, high-value goods.
Besides paying for the transportation costs, shipping via air freight involves airline surcharges and pre-export fees. There are also stricter regulations when it comes to transporting goods via an airline. Certain items must meet strict packaging criteria to be eligible for air freight, such as:
- Corrosive materials (including batteries)
How to Make Shipping from China to U.S. Amazon FBA Easy
Whether you decide to simplify your shipping process with a freight forwarding service or forge ahead with direct shipping, you need to prepare for sending out your shipment. A critical aspect of shipping to Amazon FBA is ensuring compliance with all necessary regulations so that once your products arrive, they’re ready for customer distribution.
Here’s what you need to do to simplify the shipping process and get your goods to the U.S. hassle-free. At Asiana USA, we take care of everything from sourcing to shipping, so you don’t need to worry about anything besides selling.
Be proactive about quality control
From the low cost to the speed of operations, there are several key advantages to sourcing goods from China. However, quality control can be a challenge. Unless you are onsite or have reliable contacts in the area, it’s helpful to hire a freight forwarder to facilitate and manage the shipment on your behalf.
Many online retailers don’t realize their products are below the necessary quality standards until they arrive at the Amazon warehouse facility.
Carry out quality control checks while the goods are still in the factory to avoid dealing with quality control issues once your products reach the U.S. It is more cost-effective to rework goods and handle quality issues while products are in their original manufacturing plant.
While product quality checks come at additional costs, they should be considered a necessary expense for businesses sourcing goods from China.
If first-hand quality inspections aren’t feasible for you or your business, the next best solution is to hire a third-party quality control service based in China to check on your goods. Ensure you opt for a credible quality control company capable of carrying out a pre-shipment inspection (PSI) that meets Amazon’s quality standards, called acceptable quality limited (AQL).
An inspection typically takes place when your order is around 80% complete. For smaller orders (1,000 units or less), you can have your entire shipment inspected. Before shipping, create a detailed quality inspection list to ensure your products are compliant with Amazon’s standards. An experienced quality control service can help you put together a comprehensive inspection checklist.
Pack your products correctly
Don’t risk your shipment being rejected by Amazon once it reaches the U.S. due to incorrect packaging. Three of the most important quality factors for Amazon packaging compliance are:
- Labeling: According to Amazon regulations, product labels must be readable, have a white background, and show accurate product information. All items must have unique barcodes, and there should be no extra barcodes on the packaging. This ensures fast and straightforward scanning.
- Packaging: Packaging must be suitable for transit. With over 7,000 miles of travel and up to 30 days of transit time, your packaging should resist breakage and leakage. High-quality packaging helps ensure your goods arrive in top condition and are compliant with Amazon’s shipping standards. When you work with a 3PL like Asiana USA, we handle this for you.
- Quantity of items per carton: All cartons should have the same quantity of products. It’s also important to be sure the outer cartons don’t have mixed SKUs.
Create an Amazon shipping plan
Creating an Amazon Shipping Plan in Amazon’s Seller Central is critical to a smooth, stress-free shipping experience. Essentially, the Amazon Shipping Plan outlines the key details of your shipment. This enables Amazon to deal with your goods appropriately and ensure they are handled, labeled, and distributed correctly.
The most important details of an Amazon Shipping Plan include:
- The products you wish to send to an Amazon facility
- Product quantities
- Shipping method and carrier details
- Product labeling and packaging
- Returns information
This is typically the most complicated step in the FBA process and may take some time. However, Amazon makes it easier for you by providing sellers with step-by-step guides on how to complete the process. Freight forwarding services can also help with this step. Once you finalize the shipping plan, your goods are ready for sale and distribution.
Make Shipping Simple by Avoiding Common Mistakes
The FBA service makes shipping from China and establishing an eCommerce business easier than ever before. However, there are several common pitfalls to look for:
Failing to recognize extra charges, fees, and taxes
Research and pay all mandatory fees, charges, and taxes. A lack of preparation can result in your goods failing to clear customs. In some cases, your inventory can be seized, and you can face sizable fines or even criminal charges. A customs broker or freight forwarder, like Asiana USA, can help you identify the required fees.
China is home to sophisticated manufacturing plants capable of producing a wide range of products at low cost. It’s important to get multiple quotes from manufacturers to ensure you’re getting the best possible rates.
If you need assistance finding products, Asiana USA can help. Asiana sources products directly from Chinese manufacturers and offers factory prices to customers. Simply search the Asiana catalog for the products you want and fill out a lead form for a quote.
Not requesting samples
Most manufacturers are willing to provide product samples to secure a deal. Request samples of your product and make sure the quality is up to Amazon’s standards.
To manage risks, avoid paying upfront for your goods unless they are product samples. The standard practice in China is to make a 30% initial payment, followed by the remaining 70% when the batch is complete.
Not acknowledging Chinese holidays
The biggest delays to shipping and manufacturing occur around Chinese holidays, particularly for Chinese New Year (usually in January and February). You can also expect increased costs at this time of year. Any business dealing with Chinese suppliers, manufacturers, and shipping companies must plan around national holidays to avoid unnecessary costs and delays.
Make Shipping From China to the U.S. Easy With Asiana USA
Asiana USA is a world-class shipping company that can help your business source, ship, package, and label your goods, ensuring they are 100% compliant with Amazon. As logistics experts, we can handle everything from finding the right suppliers to processing the necessary customs clearance documentation. This allows you to focus on what you do best: Selling.
Get your FBA business off the ground by consulting with Asiana USA. Give us a call today at (855) 500-1808 to discuss our services in more detail and learn how we can help your bottom line.