After months of reading all available articles online, watching hundreds of hours of how-to videos on YouTube and searching for a breakthrough product on Alibaba, you have finally registered your Amazon Sellers account. Your first orders with Chinese suppliers have been placed and you expect your listings to go live on Amazon very soon. Hold on!
With the help of FLEX. Logistics – an e-commerce 3PL that specializes in processing shipments to Amazon FBA in Europe, pre-Amazon storage, FBA prep and forwarding to fulfilment centres, we are presenting 7 basic requirements for you to consider which will help you avoid some common e-commerce nightmares, unnecessary costs and delays.
1. pay attention when choosing your freight forwarder
Although Chinese freight forwarders have several advantages over their European counterparts, just to mention generally lower prices and the knowledge of the local market, they also tend to overstate their capabilities very often. It takes much more time than 1-2 weeks to get your products from your Chinese suppliers to Amazon warehouses in Europe. Unless you ship full containers, your boxes will come in consolidated containers with boxes of tens of other clients.
It may take even a few weeks for your freight forwarder to fill in the container and ship it out to Europe.
2. check the customs clearance requirements for your products in Europe
Before you even consider placing an order with your Chinese supplier, you need to check if the products comply with the requirements in Europe. You can buy almost everything on Alibaba (probably even tanks and long-range missiles – at least those made of plastic), but before your goods arrive at Amazon fulfilment centres in Europe, they need to be cleared with the customs, which will ask for certificates, declarations, test results. Work with the customs agent BEFORE you even place your order with a Chinese supplier.
3. register for EORI
You need to register your business for EORI in order to be able to do the customs clearance on your imports into the EU. Did you get one in the UK? Well, since Brexit is no longer valid in the European Union, you need another one from one of the EU countries. Don’t worry, for example in Poland it takes only 3-5 business days to get one.
4. find your pre-Amazon warehouse
Even if you plan to ship only a single box from China to Amazon FBA, it is strongly advised that you start working with a logistics partner in Europe who can receive your shipments from China (or from the UK – as shipping from the UK to the EU since Brexit is basically the same thing nowadays), help you with the customs clearance, do the quality inspection and forward the box to Amazon fulfilment centres. If you ship containers – that’s a must. Amazon won’t accept floor loaded containers with thousands of boxes and anyway, your storage costs with Amazon would go through the ceiling. Imagine your supplier has messed up product labelling – are you going to ship it back to Asia for relabeling now?
Your 3PL partner can receive your sea containers or pallets, put them into storage and replenish your inventory levels in Amazon fulfilment centres based on your needs and available FBA limits. They should offer competitive storage rates (and no long term storage fees!), fast turn-around on processing your cargo to FBA and hassle-free forwarding to Amazon FBA.
Consider contacting FLEX. Logistics, which offers pre-Amazon storage in A-class warehouses in Poland and Germany (and more locations are coming soon), for a quote.
5. your products will need to be FBA prep ready
Your products will most likely need additional FBA prep in order to meet Amazon FBA requirements. Your e-commerce 3PL can receive your products in sea containers, on pallets or as courier boxes and prep them for FBA. Labelling (FNSKUs), poly bagging, bundling, kitting – let your 3PL do the hustle, and you focus on growing your brand!
6. avoid your shipments being refused by Amazon
Not all logistics companies are being equal. Your carrier doesn’t know a thing about Amazon requirements? Your pallets get refused by Amazon by not complying with inbound shipment rules? Your supplier has shipped over-weighted or oversized boxes to FBA? When shipping your products to Amazon FBA warehouses you need to work with a partner who will get you covered.
7. Amazon returns, removal orders and a long term storage fee
Once you have figured out how to get your goods from China to Amazon warehouses in Europe, you now have to consider how to get those products out… to avoid long term storage fees, to remove your unsellable inventory or relabel the units with new FNSKU labels. E-commerce 3PLs such as FLEX. Logistics can receive your Amazon returns and removal orders, provide tests & check, relabel, re-boxing and ship them back to FBA, or simply palletize them and send them back to your place anywhere in the world.
Remember, selling on Amazon, as any great journey is full of potholes, but the destination ahead is worth every moment spend on building it! Good luck!