Are you using Amazon FBA? Please share your experience - My plan included as well!

by nik0 Banned
10 replies
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I'm looking into Amazon's fulfillment center program.

What I learned so far:

- You can use them if you're not from the US as long as you have a US address MyUS.com - #1 International Shipping, Mail and Package Forwarding Service - MyUS.com, a US phone number that Skype can provide, a US bank account that Payoneer can help you with.

- You can NOT ship products directly from the source for what I understood, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you can use a service like: http://www.myinventoryteam.com

(none of the links are affiliate ones, I got these from another site and stripped the affiliate tags of course)


So in short I can import a container from China, ship it to the guys from my inventory team, which in turn label it, ship it to Amazon's warehouse, list it on my seller account and job done.

Right?

Please enlight me about important things that I over see as I'm complete new to this and plan to visit one of the expo shows in Shanghai on a short notice to see if I can strike some deals.

I'm mainly interested in fitness equipment like crosstrainers and spinning bikes (which are obvious quite heavy and easily deal with $100+ shipping costs but I'm aware of that).
#amazon #experience #fba #included #plan #share
  • Profile picture of the author redlegrich
    Why wouldn't you have the product labeled for FBA in China, instead of doing it when it lands in the US? Would cost a lot less.
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  • Profile picture of the author DSGDSG
    Here is my experience with Amazon's FBA. I was called up and recruited by them to give it a try. I was reluctant but sent in a few products and they sold quickly and I was happy. So I sent more and more and soon I was sending up to 10 pallets in a week and pulling down $30K in disbursements weekly (once I started doing well they changed my disbursement from biweekly to weekly). I'd have issues here and there and would call customer support. One day I spoke to a gentleman that cautioned me about how I was doing business with FBA. Turns out, he was right. Amazon used the sales data for my account and sniped all my top selling products. They then contacted the manufacturers directly and started importing the products to offer themselves right along with my own listings. While I was being charged a commission, packing fee, item fee, storage fee and weight fee I was also competing directly with Amazon for the buy box. Now the buy box algorithm according to Amazon does not give preference to amazon products. However I have found this to not be the case at all. Regardless of my spotless amazon account, cheaper landed price and all other possible factors used by the algorithm for the buy box, I won it over Amazon less than 1% of the time. Needless to say my sales plummeted and my inventory sat in their warehouse costing me money. I had to pay to ship it all back to me or have it destroyed by them even though I was still paying a storage fee. I have since redacted all my FBA products and keep only a handful of items on there I fulfill myself. My weekly disbursement is rarely over a few hundred dollars a week now.

    Take my experience for what it's worth. The program was excellent until Amazon cut my throat. Watch what you keep in inventory there so you don't get stuck as well. It's worth joining as long as you're very aware the rug can be pulled out from under you basically overnight.
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    • Profile picture of the author nik0
      Banned
      Originally Posted by DSGDSG View Post

      Here is my experience with Amazon's FBA. I was called up and recruited by them to give it a try. I was reluctant but sent in a few products and they sold quickly and I was happy. So I sent more and more and soon I was sending up to 10 pallets in a week and pulling down $30K in disbursements weekly (once I started doing well they changed my disbursement from biweekly to weekly). I'd have issues here and there and would call customer support. One day I spoke to a gentleman that cautioned me about how I was doing business with FBA. Turns out, he was right. Amazon used the sales data for my account and sniped all my top selling products. They then contacted the manufacturers directly and started importing the products to offer themselves right along with my own listings. While I was being charged a commission, packing fee, item fee, storage fee and weight fee I was also competing directly with Amazon for the buy box. Now the buy box algorithm according to Amazon does not give preference to amazon products. However I have found this to not be the case at all. Regardless of my spotless amazon account, cheaper landed price and all other possible factors used by the algorithm for the buy box, I won it over Amazon less than 1% of the time. Needless to say my sales plummeted and my inventory sat in their warehouse costing me money. I had to pay to ship it all back to me or have it destroyed by them even though I was still paying a storage fee. I have since redacted all my FBA products and keep only a handful of items on there I fulfill myself. My weekly disbursement is rarely over a few hundred dollars a week now.

      Take my experience for what it's worth. The program was excellent until Amazon cut my throat. Watch what you keep in inventory there so you don't get stuck as well. It's worth joining as long as you're very aware the rug can be pulled out from under you basically overnight.
      Thanks for sharing your unpleasant experience.

      It seems rather important not to fully depend on Amazon but also have your own traffic channels like Google to sell through in case Amazon pulls tricks.
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  • Profile picture of the author Daniel J
    To answer the original question, yes, you CAN have manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors ship directly to FBA- they will just need to include the stickers on each product, the packing slips and the labels for the outsides of the boxes (these contain the FBA information). You then change your "from" address to their address in the shipment. You will want to be sure all of your listings are up (and changed to fulfilled by Amazon) before creating the shipment (there is actually no other way to do this, but I included it for reference in case you're wondering which step to do first- first list your products)

    In response to the negative experience, I have heard this from time to time as well. I'm sorry to hear that it was not a positive experience for you. I cannot personally confirm whether or not Amazon uses these business practices, but as they ARE a business that sells products, their interest is likely in making the most money possible. However, keep in mind that having a seller on their site costs them almost nothing while they generate pure profit from each sale (15%). Connecting with suppliers costs much more. It would be in Amazon's best interest to value their sellers rather than try to make a quick buck by USING their sellers. As far as I know, the largest part of Amazon's growth has been FROM sellers, not from their own inventory. Again, I cannot confirm personally, but from the story above, it sounds like something at least worth thinking about when using FBA.

    One thing to consider is to private label products. These are products that you "own" (you own the "brand.") Amazon cannot legally take these from you- unless they buy through you. This has been a big part of my success with FBA. As a final thought, I've found throughout the years that it is very important to diversify as much as possible. This keeps me from losing all of my income from a handful of products being "taken over" (by other sellers or by Amazon)

    Hope this helps!
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    I have been an FBA seller for about a year but I have always shipped to Amazon myself. I know for certain that some manufacturers will label and ship to Amazon but you will have to set that up.
    From the rather negative situation above it seems wise to NOT have too much of your inventory at an Amazon warehouse in case you end up with some of it stuck there. Private labeling will remove the risk of direct competition from Amazon or others.
    Jim Cockrum and Skip McGrath both have very good blogs that go over FBA selling and cover many issues involved in wholesaling and shipping, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author bolabolo
    Hi ! i'm outside usa and i wanna sell on amazon. can you tell me more information about the processing - how to sell on amazon from outside usa? Thanks


    Originally Posted by nik0 View Post

    I'm looking into Amazon's fulfillment center program.

    What I learned so far:

    - You can use them if you're not from the US as long as you have a US address MyUS.com - #1 International Shipping, Mail and Package Forwarding Service - MyUS.com, a US phone number that Skype can provide, a US bank account that Payoneer can help you with.

    - You can NOT ship products directly from the source for what I understood, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you can use a service like: http://www.myinventoryteam.com

    (none of the links are affiliate ones, I got these from another site and stripped the affiliate tags of course)


    So in short I can import a container from China, ship it to the guys from my inventory team, which in turn label it, ship it to Amazon's warehouse, list it on my seller account and job done.

    Right?

    Please enlight me about important things that I over see as I'm complete new to this and plan to visit one of the expo shows in Shanghai on a short notice to see if I can strike some deals.

    I'm mainly interested in fitness equipment like crosstrainers and spinning bikes (which are obvious quite heavy and easily deal with $100+ shipping costs but I'm aware of that).
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  • Profile picture of the author ucables
    For those that instead China source from Europe, we can help to consolidate, label products properly and ship to amazon FC.
    If you source from China and need to send to Fulfillment center in Europe, we can import shipment for you from China and prepare products with labels and ship to the FC in Europe.

    We have very good prices with UPS, Fedex and TNT to ship overseas or europe.

    We have experience shipping to FC and know the right way.

    Contact me if you need help sending from parcels to any quantity of pallets from US or China to Europe or from Europe to US or Worldwide.

    Regards,
    Signature

    International sellers cut your shipping cost using a warehouse in Europe:
    Warehouse distribution center based in Spain with ecommerce order fulfillment

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  • Profile picture of the author LibbyKathi
    I had a bad experience with a small fulfillment company that was incompetent. Then I tried Amazon which was very complicated and hard to get a hold of for customer service. Velocityship solved both those problems for me. The customer service is excellent and I have had no complaints on mistakes by any customers. The pricing is very fair. I'm so happy I found them would recommend!!
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  • Profile picture of the author ZanyZebra
    Amazon FBA is the best service ever invented.

    I mean it. For the service received (warehousing, shipping, collecting money, etc) it's an absolute bargain. For most categories being sold it's simply 15% of your selling costs plus a few other incidentals (depending upon size and weight of your products).

    It takes the headache out of most back-end business processes (and i've run a few in my time, so I know).

    I've built a 6 figure plus a month business on the back of amazon fba and I simply would not have been able to do so without them.

    It's not perfect, and there are problems from time to time, but on perspective it's a complete bargain.

    Good luck with your venture.
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  • Profile picture of the author Karahands
    Well I have had such a positive experience working with Velocityship and, of course, Joshua Dunham. He has been so patient and devoted to working with my company. He has gone above and beyond to ensure everything runs smoothly. We could not have done this without him. He is amazing.
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