There are quite literally millions of Amazon sellers all over the world. Some are established brands, some high-flying entrepreneurs, and others a one-man band. Whatever the set-up, they may need to utilize Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA).
With FBA, goods are stored in Amazon’s fulfillment centers and picked, packed and shipped by Amazon, taking the load off the seller and allowing them to focus on scaling their business.
So, would an FBA seller require the services of a freight forwarder? The answer is yes, and we’ll explain below.
How does Amazon FBA shipping work?
You’ve conducted product research and sourced a winning product to sell on the world’s busiest online shopping platform – Amazon. If you are planning on using Amazon FBA, you have two options available to you:
- Have your products shipped straight to Amazon’s warehouses from your supplier
- Ship your products to another location first before they go to Amazon
Having your suppliers ship your inventory straight to Amazon seems like the most logical option, however, there are a few reasons why you may choose to ship to another location first.
For instance, some sellers like to inspect the products themselves. Others like to only send a limited quantity of stock to Amazon at a time. This could be to control FBA storage costs or to avoid having all of their stock ring-fenced by Amazon, allowing them to utilize sales from other platforms or routes to market.
If sellers decide to go via this route, they’ll need to know how to get their products to Amazon’s warehouses when they’re ready. For Amazon sellers (new or established), preparing your goods for FBA shipments can be a difficult, time-consuming and costly task – particularly if you make a mistake as goods can be returned to you and fines levied.
So, how do you set up an FBA shipment to get your inventory into an Amazon warehouse? This is where a freight forwarder comes in.
Do you need a freight forwarder for Amazon FBA?
Once you have established your supplier base (in this and most instances, your supplier will be based overseas), you will require the services of a freight forwarder.
Freight forwarding is a service industry that involves moving goods around the world on behalf of importers and exporters. A freight forwarder acts as the intermediary or broker between you and the shipping company, airline, rail or road haulage company.
A freight forwarder will be required and save you time and money if you’re importing or exporting large volumes of goods or high-value items by sea or air or road freight. If you’re exporting smaller volumes or regular numbers of packages, it may be simpler, cheaper, and quicker to use a parcel courier. Various couriers can offer free collections seven days a week and tracked delivery. Unlike freight forwarders, courier services generally use their own staff and equipment to make deliveries.
A freight forwarder’s services include:
- Preparing customs and shipping documents
- Advising on a country’s rules and regulations
- Arranging and managing several different transport methods for a shipment
- Negotiating freight charges
- Arranging cargo insurance, if required
- Booking cargo space (for LCL – Less than Container Load cargo, you will save money if you consolidate your shipments)
- Packing goods for export (this requires specialist knowledge)
- Moving dangerous goods
- Managing customs clearance and the payment of import duty at the foreign border
When finding the perfect freight forwarding partner, you should first look for an experienced operator who is a member of the British International Freight Association (BIFA). You can find a freight forwarder on the BIFA website.
When preparing to move goods, the freight forwarder must first receive clear instructions from the importer or exporter, ideally well in advance of the goods being moved.
Each form of transport will have its own required documentation, such as the:
- Air waybill – for air freight
- Bill of lading – for sea freight
- CMR consignment note – for road freight
If you’re using a freight forwarder, they’ll be responsible for ensuring all the documents are provided by the carrier.
If you’re looking for an end-to-end solution from a UK freight forwarder, then consider the following list of solutions and services as standard requirements for your needs:
- Sea Freight
- Air Freight
- Road Freight
- Warehousing, eCommerce & fulfillment
- System Integration
- Online tracking
- PO Management
- Export Packing
- Well established global network
Freight forwarder experience with Amazon FBA
Amazon is one of the largest retailers in the world and they have precise requirements for items to be packaged, labeled and stored. Yes, you can do this on your own – but it takes plenty of time and there are risks involved. You might end up making mistakes, causing rejections from the Amazon fulfillment center.
Therefore, it is important to work with a forwarder who has good experience in handling Amazon shipments. They will know all of the requirements and further work with the suppliers to meet the criteria.
At Pinnacle, we handle the international shipping process and ensure your FBA inventory gets delivered to Amazon’s fulfillment centers in accordance with their shipping and labeling guidelines. Whether you’re an established brand or an individual Amazon FBA seller we are here to help you grow your business and succeed.
Contact Pinnacle today and speak to one of our global logistics experts for information, pricing and advice for your unique requirements.
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