3 things to know before importing products to sell on Amazon
It is true that with the introduction of FBA service by Amazon back in September 2006 it has become easy for any small or mid-sized biz to become successful in the online e commerce jungle. It has become possible to avoid renting or owning warehouses to store and ship items to final customers. It has become easy to ship items to Amazon warehouses straight out of the factories they are produced at, from both home and abroad factories. Importing products into Amazon has never been easier.
Many of the success guides advertise things like going directly to Alibaba.com, a Chinese aggregator of products and factories, to order items in great quantities to ship to Amazon warehouses and sell them with incredible profit margins. And there is absolutely nothing wrong to order from China, but you have to take caution and be conscious of what you are doing, because if one of your products harms an end user, you will be responsible.
So let me share with you my 3 tips to follow to make sure that you won’t get in trouble finding suppliers in China, and making a decision to order and produce your merchandise anywhere abroad.
Tip #1: Choose a supplier with a reputation
This advice stands sound for any Amazon business – whether you are manufacturing your own private label product or reselling products from your wholesaler.
When choosing a factory to produce your private label product, importing from China to USA, you must be very careful and delicate with your approach. You must always remember that in China you always get what you pay for, thus do not be encouraged by small price tags, because that will most certainly mean poor quality.
But first off, shortlist candidates by reading supplier reviews, browsing supplier information on Alibaba or any fellow service. This will give you an insight of what factory you are dealing with.
Also make sure that this IS a factory, not a trading company, that works with different factories. You don’t want to deal with trading companies in China, because you are not communicating your message directly to a producer of your end product. To find out, you can simply ask a question, and in most cases they will honestly reply.
To verify, you have found a reputable partner, do extra due diligence, and ask them whether they provide proper documents for both export and import clearance. Choosing a supplier that knows what they are doing when it comes to exports will save you time and headaches, and prove that they are reputable.
Finally, make sure that supplier understands how to make their products compliant with regulatory bodies such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It is essential to choose one that will produce your product so that it meets U.S. regulatory requirements. Some government agencies that regulate products include the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Depending on your industry, however, one or more of a dozen federal agencies could require you to meet certain standards.
Approaching this task with caution will only help you to avoid BIG problems in future.
Tip #2: Be conscious of intellectual property
You have to be aware of intellectual property rights, both for your own and other products.
It is not joke, that US customs have taken an initiative, and target violators more heavily. Be aware that any branded or trademarked products will certainly require permission from trademark holder, if you wish to distribute this merchandise. So stay away from any branded merchandise (example: Disney) trying to resell it in the USA.
Also, be aware and protect your own designs (state your exclusive rights to your design in writing when drafting a contract with supplier, make sure that manufacturer can only sell this product to you), if you are manufacturing your own products. You do not want your products to appear under a different brand on Amazon just a month after you launch.
Tip #3: Understand terms on which you are paying a supplier
Once you are done with choosing a product and a supplier, you have to be absolutely sure on what terms you are conducting business with a supplier, and when you are paying your supplier.
Incoterms, or terms of sale, play an important role in shipping, as they determine who is financially responsible for the goods at each step of the journey.
Where to look for suppliers?
- Global Sources
- Trade shows in China (Canton Fair for example) – only if you have time and resources
- Industry specific trade shows in China
- Visit major trade shows in the US and Europe
Simply following these tips, you will not only find reputable suppliers from China, but will have your products shipped to Amazon FBA warehouse hassle free.