Shipping Private Label Products from China: My Nightmare Story

Man facing tsunami

This post is by Danny McMillan, a private label seller and international speaker on selling through the Amazon marketplace. Danny is a music industry survivor and serial start-up entrepreneur, focusing on Amazon FBA for the last two years. As a public speaker, he has appeared at events including the Smart China Sourcing Summit, Private Label World Summit and the European Private Label Summit. He can be found at DannyMcMillan.com.

I’ve been private labeling for a couple of years now: sourcing products from China, creating a brand and selling them through Amazon FBA. I haven’t nailed it by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve been through the sea-shipping process six times, gained some amazing experiences and learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Back in May I wrote about my first visit to China and the Canton Fair. Trade shows are a fantastic way to scout for new products and meet suppliers face-to-face. Not long after, I decided to embark on a new product launch with my supplier. I worked through product selection, branding and manufacturing without too much trouble. One task remained: shipping the finished products over from China in time for Christmas. It’s just moving something from A to B. Should be simple, right?

Wrong. It turned out to be the most difficult and unpredictable experience of my private labeling career so far. Murphy’s law tells us that everything that can go wrong will go wrong. And it did. I was asked for paperwork that I hadn’t needed before. As soon as I had jumped through that hoop, I was asked for more documents. That happened again and again. Then the payment to my supplier went through early, before the products had even been inspected. After that, we had hazardous material issues with the shipment. Then the boxes were damaged on the way to the port in China. Any one of those problems would be enough to lose sleep over.

But Murphy’s law was wrong. Not only did everything that could go wrong go wrong, things that can’t go wrong went wrong too. My shipment ended up slap-bang in the middle of the biggest economic disaster to hit the freight industry in the last 100 years: the bankruptcy of the world’s seventh-largest shipping company. It was completely unprecedented, and nobody had a clue what was going on. Would my products ever see the light of day?

So here it is: my nightmare story of getting one shipment over from China. I’ll be candid about what happened, and tell you everything I learned. I hope it helps you avoid the same problems.

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Selling Internationally: A Guide to Tools & Services for Cross-Border Trade

Selling internationally

Cross-border selling through Amazon, eBay and other marketplaces has a lot going for it. Just flip a switch and your inventory becomes available to hundreds of millions of international customers, almost instantly. Well, that’s the theory anyway.

In practice, it doesn’t tend to be that simple. Yes, you are selling the same inventory so there’s no additional effort for sourcing and managing stock (other than needing to do it on a larger scale). But just about everything else has an additional layer of complexity when you are selling internationally.

Fortunately, cross-border trade is booming, and many new international ecommerce services and suppliers have emerged, all geared up to help sellers trade successfully across borders. In this post I’ll explain who those suppliers are, what they do, and how to choose the right one for you.

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The Power of Marketplaces in a Trump-Brexit World

Smashing a wall

This post is by Alex Ogilvie, Managing Director of Seller Dynamics. Seller Dynamics is a multichannel management system, listing stock on marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Rakuten and Fnac. It also features an automatic repricer, handles shipping and generates purchase orders for suppliers.

Few would have predicted a year ago that Donald Trump and Nigel Farage would be posing together for a thumbs-up photo on the top floor of Trump Tower in New York last weekend.

Both have views that would see the world order change when it comes to international trade. Leaving the EU creates a set of challenges that Theresa May’s UK cabinet are clearly finding difficult to find a clear, unified position on. While the stated intent from the Trump campaign is to draw to an end certain US trade deals that he and his team see as simply too generous.

What will this mean for marketplace sellers, particularly those selling internationally?

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Product Sourcing Roundup: Importing, Reselling, Liquidation, Arbitrage and Used

Product Sourcing Roundup

We have covered the topic of sourcing products many times over the past few years. Posts have ranged from sourcing methods and strategies, to the nitty gritty of finding suppliers and working with them effectively.

Many aspects of selling come down to processes and policies – understanding the marketplaces and running a really streamlined operation. That efficiency is crucial, and can be hard to achieve, but really it’s just a requirement so that you can stay in business. The ability to find appealing products at a profitable price is what actually determines your success.

In this roundup, I’ve pulled together our best sourcing posts. They’re grouped into six sections: general, importing, reselling, liquidation, arbitrage and used.

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3 Ways to Maximize Your Amazon Sponsored Products Campaigns

Amazon Sponsored Products

This post is by Alasdair McLean-Foreman, founder and CEO of Teikametrics. In 2001, Alasdair founded an ecommerce company in his dorm room, which grew into a multimillion-dollar company selling high-end sporting goods. The company became one of Amazon’s first third-party retailers in the sporting goods category in 2003. He also founded the weight loss and fitness company Traineo and has built and provided ecommerce solutions to large media, cosmetics and sporting organizations.

The rise of online shopping has made it easy for small businesses to sell products online, but the market has quickly become crowded with multiple vendors and endless competitive offers. Today, retailers don’t need cheesy TV commercials to prove they’re offering a great deal – they just need to be sure those deals actually reach target customers.

Online marketplaces like Amazon help dictate selling habits for large and small retail businesses around the world. It’s no surprise, then, that global adoption for Amazon’s answer to pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, Sponsored Products campaigns, grew by 100 percent in 2015 – amounting to $1.5 billion in sales. During the holiday season in particular, Sponsored Products pages garnered 200 percent more clicks than the previous year.

It’s clear that Sponsored Products can help businesses build brand identities, maximize profits and connect with new audiences. However, some Amazon sellers are under-utilizing the resource. Below are three ways every retailer can ensure Amazon Sponsored Products campaigns are pulling their weight in ROI.

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