Importing from China and Selling on Amazon.com: A Complete Guide

Posted on 21 Comments

amazon importer

Click Here to Get the
Starter Package: All Categories

Amazon.com is the major league of eCommerce. One late shipment or product compliance issue and your seller’s account might be history. Before you even think about selling imported items on Amazon.com, you need a well-oiled supply chain in place that actively prevents quality issues, compliance issues, and delays.

In this 3-Part guide for Amazon sellers importing from China, you will learn what it truly takes to bring your business to the top marketplace.

This is covered

  • Part 1: FBA, Shipping & Logistics
  • Part 2: Amazon Seller Performance Targets
  • Part 3: Amazon Product Guidelines

Part 1: FBA, Shipping & Logistics

It’s the gold rush of our time (or at least the decade). Seemingly, everyone wants to get their products out on Amazon.com. I’m no stranger to e-commerce myself, as that’s how I started doing business with Chinese suppliers in the first place. However, up until quite recently, E-commerce in Europe and America has been dominated by independent online stores, rather than market platforms. This is about to change.

About Amazon.com

What makes Amazon.com different is that they are not only offering an online platform, but also an integrated logistics system. Ship your bulk cargo to one of Amazon’s warehouses and they take care of the rest, sending your items to your final customers. But that’s only the easy part. Assuming you are buying from China, or any other country outside the United States, you need to get your cargo from a factory floor far away, to an Amazon warehouse. That is often easier said than done, and much can go terribly wrong. Continue reading Importing from China and Selling on Amazon.com: A Complete Guide

EU VAT Registration for American and Asian Importers: A Complete Guide

Posted on Leave a comment

Matthias Oldiges

Businesses in the US and Asia importing or selling products to the European Union must get their act together when it comes to Value Added Tax (VAT). Yet, understanding how to register and pay VAT, as a non-European company, is complicated.

As such, we decided to ask one of the Europes leading VAT experts, Dr. Matthias Oldiges – Managing Associate at KMLZ (Küffner, Maunz, Langer and Zugmaier) in Munich.

These topics are covered:

1. VAT when selling cross-border (B2C) to customers in the European Union as a non-EU company

2. VAT when importing into the European Union (i.e., Amazon FBA) as a non-EU company

3. VAT threshold in different EU states

4. How to get VAT registered as a non-EU company

5. How to pay VAT as a non-EU company

Matthias, how did you end up working for KMLZ?

You can know something about everything or know a lot about something. KMLZ decided on the latter and concentrated on VAT law, customs law and criminal law. I wrote my doctoral thesis on a VAT legal topic.

This ultimately led me to KMLZ, where I have now been working as a lawyer (Managing Associate) for almost six years. We advise our clients on VAT and customs law related matters within Europe, as well as worldwide.

Our strong network of experienced and leading VAT experts, in all Member States of the European Union and beyond, enables us to provide our clients with international advice at the highest levels. Continue reading EU VAT Registration for American and Asian Importers: A Complete Guide

How to Start a US Company to Import & Sell on Amazon.com

Posted on Leave a comment

John Gordon

It’s increasingly common that ecommerce companies in Europe and the Asia Pacific not only want to sell cross border to the US – but also sell within the country.

By incorporating in the United States, you can import and locally distribute products, for example via an Amazon fulfillment center (FBA) – even if you are based overseas.

In this article, John Gordon, founder of USA Corporate Services, explains what foreign ecommerce companies must know about the following:

  • LLC or Inc?
  • EIN Numbers
  • Incorporation fees
  • Required documentation
  • How to open a business bank account
  • Yearly maintenance costs
  • US taxes (and penalties) for non-resident foreigners

John, please introduce yourself and USA Corporate Services Inc

I’m John Gordon. I started the business now known as USA Corporate Services two years after graduating college. I was working in a low-paid job for a boss I didn’t get along with, and didn’t want to work for another boss ever again.

That was 35 years ago, and although it took several years to really get going, it’s a pleasure to still be here.

Twelve years ago I signed up for the Global Executive MBA program at Columbia Business School and London Business School. This was a very eye-opening experience that taught me more ways to give value to our customers.

Since that time, we have leveraged our knowledge and experience to focus on helping foreign firms and entrepreneurs set up businesses in the US. Continue reading How to Start a US Company to Import & Sell on Amazon.com

How to Find the Right Ecommerce Product: 5 Inspiring Concepts

Posted on Leave a comment

Finding the right product

 

I’ve spent the last 8 years helping Entrepreneurs go from idea to finished product. While I’ve dealt with both good and (really) bad product concepts – I am a firm believer in a more creative product conceptualization approach.

The Entrepreneurs that succeed are not the ones who happen to find a ‘best seller product’, or by chance identify a one in a million market gap on Amazon.com.

I’d even go as far as saying that I can’t see much of a correlation between how much money they put in, and their chance of success.

I know Entrepreneurs that made it big, investing less than US$10,000 on the whole product launch. I know others that spend ten times that amount, and didn’t even get a final prototype ready.

It’s all about coming up with something new and finding a unique niche in an increasingly crowded ecommerce space.

But, as I will explain in this article, that is a whole lot easier than you probably think.

1. Use public domain artwork and photographs

public domain artwork

Old paintings and photographs are generally open for anyone to use. This is also a huge resource that is very underutilized by Ecommerce companies.

There’s a wealth of beautiful European and Asian artwork, that can be applied to apparel, watches, accessories, phone cases and many other product categories.

Any textile, plastic or metal can be printed or engraved with classic artwork or photographs.

This is certainly where I would look for inspiration today, if I was about to launch a new product.

Examples

  • Waxed cotton watch straps
  • Classic artwork printed on textile wallets
  • Photography etchings on aluminum phone cases
  • Chinese art puzzles
  • Rembrandt card game collection

Continue reading How to Find the Right Ecommerce Product: 5 Inspiring Concepts

Product Liability Insurance For Importers & Amazon Sellers

Posted on 5 Comments

product liability insurance

Click Here to Get the
Starter Package: All Categories

Product liability insurance for Importers (sometimes called Import liability insurance) can save you from financial ruin, in case your products would be the case of injury or property damage.

Falling back on your supplier is never an option, so get used to the fact that you will be on your own to deal with possible product liability claims in the future.

This is covered:

  • What is covered by a product liability insurance?
  • What is not covered?
  • For what kind of products is an insurance necessary?
  • Do I need a product liability insurance to sell on Amazon?
  • Can I get an insurance for the US if I sell in another country?

We also provide a list of companies offering product liability insurance products in the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

What is product liability insurance?

A product liability insurance can protect your business against personal injury or property damage claims. If you sell a product that, for any reason, harms a customer or damage property, the insurance covers legal and court fees.

With a product liability insurance, you are unprotected. Injury or damage claims can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It’s practically impossible to be completely certain that your products don’t pose any risk whatsoever to your customers – regardless of how many quality checks and lab tests you do.

These are a few examples what might go wrong:

a. Li-ion battery powered devices: Fire hazard, explosion hazard

b. Children’s products: Choking hazard

c. Furniture: Fire hazard

d. Apparel: Choking hazard

e. Food contact materials. Food and beverage contamination hazard

While T-shirts are much less prone to explosions, compared to high capacity power banks, the risk that you will face a claim is always present. Continue reading Product Liability Insurance For Importers & Amazon Sellers

Top 10 Wholesale & Dropshipping Websites in China 2019

Posted on 2 Comments

Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

Click Here to Get the
Starter Package: All Categories

Why bother with making custom designed or private label products when you can simply import off-shelf items from one of the many Chinese wholesale websites?

While importing wholesale products is not as straightforward and risk free as you might think, you should still be aware of the top China wholesale and dropshipping websites – and learn how they all differ.

Alibaba.com

Alibaba is known as the world’s largest B2B supplier directory. While a significant number of wholesalers and trading companies are listed on Alibaba.com – it was not created as a wholesale website.

Since it was launched, and until today, Alibaba.com is primarily a manufacturer directory.

That said, they have implemented some wholesale and payment functions.

In the future, it’s likely that Alibaba.com will evolve into a platform that enables transactions for both off-shelf and ‘make to order’ products – directly on the website.

Notice that you don’t actually do business with Alibaba.com. They provide supplier listings only. Continue reading Top 10 Wholesale & Dropshipping Websites in China 2019

Barcodes for Amazon Sellers & Ecommerce: By Ricky Jones of GS1UK

Posted on Leave a comment

Ricky Jones GS1UK

Do Amazon sellers and Ecommerce companies really need barcodes, or is it a mere relic that is about to be swept aside? And, if you really need a barcode, how do you get them? These, and many other questions, are answered by Ricky Jones at GS1UK.

In this Q&A, you will learn how Amazon sellers and Ecommerce companies can use barcodes to track and protect their brands, save on logistics costs and cut delivery times.

Ricky, please tell us a bit about yourself and your work at GS1UK

I work in the marketplaces team at GS1 UK. We focus ourselves on our SME members and helping them to trade online.

Before joining the marketplaces team I’ve worked in quite a broad range of marketing roles. I’ve always had more of a digital focus with expertise particularly around SEO and launching websites for international markets. Although, have had the chance to lead much wider marketing projects also – brand development as well as content and communications. Continue reading Barcodes for Amazon Sellers & Ecommerce: By Ricky Jones of GS1UK

Product Compliance Requirements on Amazon: A Complete Guide

Posted on

Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

Click Here to Get the
Starter Package: All Categories

Importing from Asia and selling on Amazon? That means you are fully responsible for ensuring that your product is fully compliant with all mandatory safety standards, labeling and document requirements.

Keep reading, and you will learn if your product category requires a pre-approval, and the documentation you must provide to Amazon’s category approval team to gain access.

In addition, we also explain why you cannot rely on your supplier to help you out, if something goes wrong – in which case your account may be suspended.

Who is responsible for ensuring compliance of products sold on Amazon.com?

The Seller is always responsible for ensuring that the product is compliant with all mandatory safety standards, labeling requirements and documentation requirements.

The supplier is not responsible, which means that it’s entirely up to you – as an importer and/or Amazon seller – to go through the compliance procedures.

For example, this may include the following steps:

1. Assess all applicable safety standards and chemical restrictions that apply in the target market, and communicate these to your supplier (before production)

2. Confirm all applicable labeling requirements, and create label files that you later send to the supplier (again, before production starts)

3. Follow up with lab tests, after production

4. Create all mandatory documents, such as photocopies and declaration of conformity

What you must do to comply in practical terms depend on the product and market. Continue reading Product Compliance Requirements on Amazon: A Complete Guide

Finding the Right eCommerce Sales Channels: By Manuel Becvar

Posted on Leave a comment

manuel becvar

Click Here to Get the
Starter Package: All Categories

Manuel Becvar, originally from Austria and now based in Hong Kong, is one of few experts that master both the domain of sourcing and production, and that of eCommerce and retail sales.

In this article, he explains what every importer must know to remain competitive on Amazon.com in the future, what sales channels he is currently using (and avoiding) – and why the number of sellers is likely to be reduced.

Manual, what brought you to Hong Kong in the first place?

I used to work for an Austrian DIY retailer called bauMax in one of their stores where I did an apprenticeship. I worked there until I was called in, to work in their head office near Vienna.

I was offered a position in the import department of that company. 6 months later I was asked if I wanted to do an internship in bauMax’s buying office in Hong Kong and I immediately said yes. Continue reading Finding the Right eCommerce Sales Channels: By Manuel Becvar

5 Methods to to Increase Revenue & Profit Margins in Your Import Business

Posted on Leave a comment

Click Here to Get the
Starter Package: All Categories

We all want to make more money. And how do we normally try to make that happen? By selling more products, through the acquisition of more customers.

That said, you might be overlooking hidden profit centers, in your existing businesses, that could potentially add on tens of thousands of dollars to your bottom line.

In this article, we share 5 tips for how you can increase your revenue, and profit margins, in your import business.

1. Find new sales channels

As a business is established, the Entrepreneur tends to have a specific sales channel in mind. When it comes to our customers, we see that it’s more common that people born in the 50s and 60s, tend to be more focused on traditional sales channels, such as retailers. Continue reading 5 Methods to to Increase Revenue & Profit Margins in Your Import Business