How to import goods directly to an Amazon Fulfillment Center?
Amazon has seen an unprecedented rise in shipments over the years. Amazon shipped over 5 billion items worldwide in 2017 alone. You can now easily buy products imported from a different continent under a week. With the increase in international eCommerce sales, more and more businesses are importing products to sell through Amazon.
If you want to expand your business by selling imported products on Amazon, there are a few obligations you need to fulfill. It’s important to note that Amazon FBA doesn’t act as a carrier to your shipments. So how do you actually import products to sell for Amazon? Is there a way to import products directly to the Amazon fulfillment center?
Importing products to Amazon Fulfillment Center
Breaking down this process, there are two things you need to do – setting up a shipping process to import your products and sending them to the Amazon Fulfillment Center. Here are two ways through which you can do that:
The traditional route
This is the age-old route of importing products where you import products to your warehouse and then send them to the designated warehouse. There are two downsides to this process. Firstly, you would have to pay the extra cost and spend extra time in shipping these products to the fulfillment center. Secondly, you need to have a large enough warehouse first to keep the imported products.
Smaller businesses can’t afford both these drawbacks. Additionally, it increases the shipment hassle, which startups can ill afford to have. Fortunately, there is a way to send the products directly to the fulfillment center, which is the second way.
Importing goods directly to the fulfillment center
Tracking the shipments and ensuring secure and timely delivery can be a tricky proposition. It is much easier to hire a logistics provider like a freight forwarder to handle the task. These companies have the proper expertise to ensure appropriate shipment directly to the warehouse.
Before hiring a freight forwarder, you need to determine who takes other responsibilities like Importer of Records, preparing invoice etc. Here are the steps you need to follow to import your products directly to Amazon Fulfilment center:
- Make a Listing on Amazon
You can’t use Amazon FBA service without listing products to import on Amazon. List the products and create a shipment on Amazon by the following steps:
- Login to your seller account.
- Select Manage FBA Inventory from the Inventory tab dropdown menu.
- Select listings you have to send to the fulfillment center.
- Select Apply to Selected Item(s) from the ‘Actions’ dropdown menu and choose to Send inventory.
- Enter details of the inventory and click Continue.
- Write a shipment name and Create a new Shipment.
- Prepare a Commercial Invoice
You need to list the ‘Importer of Records'(IOR) in the invoice. An IOR is a party responsible for ensuring the product has successfully reached the destination country. The IOR has to fill all legal documents and pay the import duties, taxes and tariffs.
Amazon never acts as the IOR, and the purchaser or importer usually has to act as IOR. If you want the seller to be the IOR, you need to make a DDP shipment. The invoice also includes the details of goods, manufacturer country and Harmonised System Codes(HSC).
- Find a Customs Broker or Freight Forwarder
You can give the customs clearance responsibility to either a freight forwarder or a customs broker. Hiring a freight forwarder is a better option as they fulfill all the shipment tasks. Companies like Quickshift are helping businesses clear their goods at the customs.
Get updated real-time on when your goods have reached the destination port and released to the Amazon warehouse by hiring their services. They move products from origin to the port, clear goods at the customs for export/import and move products from the destination port to Amazon Warehouse.
- Check the Amazon Fulfilment center assigned to you
After creating the shipment on your Amazon account, you need to take an appointment from the fulfillment center. Amazon will assign you the center where you have to move your goods to. Forward this along with other shipment details to the freight forwarder to ensure proper delivery. Logistics providers like Quickshift can ensure proper delivery to the Amazon warehouse by providing proper order tracking services and ensuring that your parcel reaches the warehouse Amazon assigned to you.
At first sight, these steps may look daunting, but it is actually the easiest and most cost-effective method to import goods for Amazon. To ensure proper delivery, you must follow each step in the right order. Ensure transparent communication with the freight forwarder to avoid any miscommunication over the destination fulfillment center.
Your freight forwarder should carry out all these tasks and must give you proper order tracking services. Discuss the costs and timeline of delivery before the shipment. You should also not forget to ensure your cargo for reimbursement of funds in case of damage while shipping. Once you have a good understanding of these steps and hire a reliable freight forwarder, you can easily import the products from around the world.