This is important when importing Amazon products from China – 11 tips
Very many goods at Amazon come from China . Marketplaces, such as Alibaba, made it possible for these products to be accessible to German companies regardless of their size. Even smaller traders are thus able to get access to these cheap products. Other companies manufacture in China itself. If you would like to sell at Amazon (and then want to participate in the Amazon FBA program), it has certainly been asked how the products from China land on Amazon and how the cooperation with Chinese suppliers runs. We bring light into the dark and provide valuable tips.
Tip 1: Check products to comply with German standards
Before products are imported, they must always be checked beforehand. Is product safety fulfilled? Are there any patents prohibiting sales? Especially smaller Amazon dealers often believe that the big suppliers in China automatically meet all legal requirements. But this is by no means so! Because suppliers do not have to check their articles on intellectual property or on existing patents by law. As long as they sell their products so, they will not be interested in complying with such things.
If something goes wrong with an import, the issuer is always responsible. If the goods are already in the German warehouse, the entire inventory must be destroyed. There is no need for an expensive patent attorney to find out whether patents are being infringed. A simple Google search already helps to determine if the competitors on the market have a patents division.
It is more difficult with regard to testing for safety regulations, for example with electronics. A corresponding experience in the field is necessary for this purpose. In addition, the legal provisions differ according to the product type and also to the country in which sales are to be sold. The United States, for example, has other provisions than Germany. The supplier should therefore be asked for the appropriate certificates – experienced suppliers know what is required.
Tip 2: Consider the period for the offered price
As a rule, the supplier will write in his offer “The price is only for month …. valid”. Thus, buyers have the certainty that the price will last for a certain period of time and only need to take into account the exchange rate fluctuations. This is important, because during this time the raw material costs may increase. If the offer price is not fixed, this means a higher price for the Amazon Dealer.
Logistics is a great cost factor in the trade – in importing it is up to 50 percent of the costs for some products. One of the biggest mistakes made by new buyers and smaller traders is that they are aware of the purchase price, but not the cost of shipping, packaging, taxes and customs clearance. Often, online sellers go to marketplaces like Alibaba to buy their articles there. But Alibaba is open to everyone and every trader can buy products there openly. This may quickly lead the competitor to buy from the same vendor and undercut the price by one Euro on Amazon.
Tip 3: Suppliers are not automatically trustworthy just because they market through Alibaba
Alibaba does not give any guarantees that the suppliers listed there are really reliable. Therefore, a verification process of the suppliers is necessary before the first order is issued. Because China is several thousand kilometers away from Germany. And it’s simply too expensive, just to fly to China to solve problems.
Is the provider really at all? In China, anyone can simply rent a room and shoot a few photos of foreign manufactures. In addition, it is not possible to have articles reworked or returned if they do not correspond to the agreed quality.
Tip 4: The manufacturer is not always the best supplier
Often, it is better to buy goods from the manufacturer at the same time, thus saving the margin for the intermediary . However, this is not always the case. Especially with larger manufacturers, it may be better to work with intermediaries, because a small dealer with a large dealer will be at the end of the customer queue.
This problem is avoided with a powerful agent or intermediary. The agent will be more dedicated to the customer and has a lot of know-how in terms of shipping and export and can create appropriate contacts.
Tip 5: Verify how the product was made
Who wants to sell on Amazon, must know its manufacturers and suppliers exactly. Are there any engineers who make sure the product is working? Which team is behind the manufacturer? In addition, the Amazon dealer should know exactly how the articles he distributed work. Therefore, a good advice is to test all the articles personally – in the case of an emergency, it is also a matter of completely disassembling it. Only in this way is it possible to know which material was used and what is concealed inside. Special care must be taken with electronic articles, as defects and problems with the product can only occur after weeks or months and then lead to returns or claims for warranty service.
Tip 6: Sending prototypes
When it comes to new products, sellers should always send a prototype or a sample ofgoods, If this is not the case, our advice is to hire a German-based supplier to build a model and to send the second to the Chinese supplier. This allows the prototype to be compared with the delivered product later. Especially in the case of products from China you should always have a sample in your hand before a larger order and then be decided objectively and emotionlessly whether it meets the expectations of potential customers on Amazon. A tip on the edge: take these patterns also with friends and relatives and get you here honest opinions. This can help save a lot of money when you decide whether you want to buy the product in a larger style.
Tip 7: Compliance with German standards should not be taken for granted
China has no standards that are self-evident in Germany. For example, if you want to have a good quality, the supplier has to explain exactly what he means by “quality”. Again, the above pattern comes into play: Amazon dealers should send it to the manufacturer. However, transport costs must be taken into account. While a DHL parcel with less than 16 Euro is still cheap, this does not affect the shipping of heavier items anymore. Care should also be taken with possible copies of branded products . Not only the name, but also the usage pattern is protected.
Tip 8: Never pay the entire goods in advance
Most Chinese suppliers do not accept payment through PayPal because it is simply too expensive for them. However, this payment method is suitable for a first sample order – even if the seven percent charges are borne by the buyer. Most Chinese manufacturers and suppliers do not have so high profit margins to carry such margins. It is therefore safer to pay a small advance and pay the rest later. Also 50/50 deals are not unusual here. It is also important to pay attention to the shipping price of the goods themselves, the shipping costs are opened and if necessary, customs fees are still incurred.
Tip 9: Use other sources for suppliers
Alibaba is not always the best source for suppliers. This marketplace says of itself that it is the leading platform for small and medium-sized businesses. In return, however, this means that the large companies are not represented on Alibaba . Another source in this area, which does not have such a large product range but still operates at a similar level, is made-in-china.com . It is also worthwhile to take a look at the portal, because the articles offered here also move in price in a similar framework.
Tip 10: Do not leave the shipment to the supplier
As already mentioned, the costs consist largely of the logistics costs. It is, however, a mistake to believe that it is the simplest and fastest thing to simply leave the shipment to the supplier. Our tip is exactly opposite: Never use the supplier’s shipping line – unless there is no other choice.
Instead, a freight forwarder should be chosen, which is on its own side, because only in this way is a certain control over the shipment ensured. Sometimes, due to capacity problems, it is difficult to get a place with the shipping companies or the airline, for example in the middle of the high season.
Tip 11: The production of a new product requires (sometimes much) time
How long the production takes in China is also dependent on the product itself. For this, Amazon dealers simply have to keep in mind that for example the development of the iPhones 7 lasted more than two years. Of course this is not transferable to all commodities, but to a certain point already. Four to six weeks production time (sometimes even 3 months) and the time for the delivery and customs clearance again at least four weeks must always be taken into account. Therefore, you should always postpone in time, BEFORE the merchandise in the Amazon Seller Central runs to zero, or a critical quantity falls below.