November 3rd, 2015 1:57pm
Amazon Prime. Mothers, fathers, accountants, actuaries, school teachers and athletes are familiar with and using this service. Why? Because it is advertised on billboards, on commercials, on the web, and by Amazon itself. But what about the services we would like to know about as Amazon Sellers? As the merchants, aren't we the ones that help power this Fortune 500 powerhouse that it is today? How are products purchased from suppliers? Obtained? Listed for sale? Shipped to Amazon to be sold? These topics are not advertised by Amazon and in fact, quite hard to find the answers even if we are searching. This is why InXpress for Amazon is here. We bring you the information you need to know about how to ship to Amazon. Without proper knowledge on how to ship to FBA, your business could be repeatedly making a thousand dollar mistake.
Every single day shippers have product stuck in customs entering the country for lack of paperwork, commercial invoice errors, etc. There is product delayed on the dock at the trucking terminal for weeks either waiting for a truck or for an Amazon appointment to accept the shipment. How does this impact your business? To buyers, life is a simple surf - shop - click - buy, “I don’t care who its from”, relaxing no-rush experience. But for sellers, time is money. That buy box has to be yours and you simply have to have product on the shelves to make money.
It is a well-known quote “If I do not know my options, then I do not have any.” To make the best decision about how your product is shipped into Amazon Fulfillment, and avoid a thousand dollar mistake, lets first explore how Amazon accepts shipments.
There are 4 common ways to ship into Fulfillment by Amazon, or FBA.
An Amazon Partnered Carrier is a carrier that has a contract with Amazon for discounted rates and is intended to be a smooth experience for the seller and for Amazon. Their services and sometimes rating is built into the Seller Central view and everything is straightforward. Or is it? What they do not share is a guarantee that this is the best pricing, fastest transit time, properly insured method of delivery. This method may be the easiest, but is it the best for you?
Shipping with a third party shipper is as easy as going to DHL.com and making a shipment. The carrier needs to be registered with Amazon (DHL, FedEx, UPS, USPS, TNT are all in the clear), have the Shipment ID number on the Airway bill, and have an accurate tracking number that is given to Amazon. Once the shipment is picked up, they will deliver all the way to Amazon without the need for a delivery appointment or hair pulled from your head.
A third party LTL shipment has a bit longer checklist but could be very advantageous when it comes to costs. Before having an LTL carrier pickup pallets, be sure to verify, or have our team verify, that they are approved to ship into Amazon. Also, check to see if the carrier will wait until there is a full truckload at their local terminal before they deliver to FBA centers. This is a problem many sellers run into. Everything goes smoothly until freight is at the final local terminal and then the carrier either has a policy, or is forced by Amazon to wait until they can deliver a full truckload into the warehouse. This alone can take up to 4 weeks depending on the season. When the truck is finally full they will schedule a delivery with Amazon and your products will at last be delivered.
A third party full truckload into Amazon is usually the best option if you are where most sellers aspire to be, and you have enough product to fill the truck. Transit times will be lower because only your freight is on board, and the truck goes directly to your destination without transferring loads at terminal checkpoints. This also means less chance for damage. You are now cutting out waiting time at the local terminal because you have a full truck of product. If you can swing FTL, swing away.
Now that we know and understand our options, lets clarify when each of these options make sense. I recommend pricing all four methods, but I have provided a flow chart for guidance.
Now we are rocking and rolling. K.I.S.S. is a world famous rock band formed in 1973, but in this article it stands for Keep It Simple, Stupid. After all rates, fees, hassles, and transit times are calculated the overall question for determining shipping methods is this: “Will the sales I would have made in the time I spent shipping product into Amazon outweigh the cost of a faster shipping solution?.” For the most part, you are going to know the answer to this. If yes, bite the bullet pay for express, you will be happy you did when product is flying off the shelf. Perhaps it is Q4 and you have the Holiday season’s hottest gift. Maybe you are one of the few approved to ship and sell licensed material. Wouldn’t it be worth it to have exclusivity on the market for a week or more? Sometimes it is best when we focus on the opportunity instead of the obligation. What could huge sales for a week, while I have exclusivity on the market, do to my seller rank? How would that in turn increase organic searches for my product over competition? Being the first to the market could not only mean great sales for a couple weeks. It may snowball until you find your product etched permanently into the best seller rankings.
To finalize, quote your options and ask yourself; “Will the sales I would have made in the time I spent shipping product into Amazon outweigh the cost of a faster shipping solution?.” My goal is to find you the best shipping solution for your Amazon business and avoid the thousand dollar mistake. If there is a sales opportunity lets get your product to the warehouse as soon as possible. If there is not, lets save you money and find the most economic option. Please reach out to me with any questions or feedback. I am anxious to help grow YOUR business.
-To higher sales at greater margins,
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