Ok, I know I haven’t been writing for quite some time.
Truth be told – I have been really busy at work and whatever spare time I had was used for researching on the FBA Private Label experiment or amending the listings I did in my Seller Central Account. Yup the Podcasts on Amazon selling is super addictive.
Check out Part 3 here.
I still can’t ship inventories to USA Amazon Fulfillment Centres yet (can only do so after Dec 2016), but that doesn’t mean I did nothing.
1) Firstly, the major milestone here is that I finally got my Employer Identification Number (EIN), from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the USA. Yes, I am now a Sole Proprietor who can ship goods to the USA.
If I am not wrong, this is critical if you want to ship heavier items via ship. Your freight forwarder or Customs agent would need this to help you clear the goods through the custom.
I don’t foresee I will need this in the near future, as most of the products I am intending to sell are pretty small and light. The cargo probably won’t exceed 150kg. So technically it still makes more sense to ship via air using UPS for a more hassle free approach.
2) I have also applied for ITIN (Individual Taxpayer Identification Number) with IRS in case I need to file tax in the future. In order to submit the application (via post), I had to specially go down to ICA in Lavender to get a certified true copy of my passport done first. Hope my application get through.
3) I have received a letter asking for more information pertaining to my application for VAT (needed if I intend to sell in Europe).
4) I currently have 8 listings on my seller central account. Some are just color variations of the same product. I took me a really long time to learn how to list variations (either variation in size, color, numbers etc) on Amazon. It is not a simple process… after countless Youtube videos and reading online articles, I finally managed to do variations of 3 products! Another milestone!
A word of advice if you intend to do variation: Save your current descriptions, vital information etc before uploading the Excel sheet, cause if you are familiar with the format and what data in the Excel sheet correspondent to the listing information – you might lose what you have type in your Seller Central (get superseded by what is in the Excel table).
5) I now have 5 samples with me. 3 samples of 1 product, 1 sample each for 2 products. The latter 2 have my customized packaging and logo.
For some products, it is just too expensive doing customized packaging. I would most probably just customized stickers (for the poly bag) or insert a card with my own logo or images, to save cost while testing out the market.
6) I have proceeded to do a couple of bulk purchases with some of the manufacturers- after being satisfied with the sample. They are still the low MOQ as these are my test batches.
The manufacturers do need time to fabricate the products. Typically they need 3 to 4 weeks. Most of them can only complete just before Christmas. I do hope to avoid the Chinese New Year holiday period and to complete whatever product fabrication prior to that and ship these to Amazon.
The key thing when buying from the manufacturer is to do it via the Alibaba Trade Assurance. The money is transferred to a Citibank account held by Alibaba, and it is only upon successful completion or shipment of the products, is the fund released. The sellers also do not need to pay any additional fees. So it seems like a low-cost, low-risk way to purchase in bulks.
7) Hiccups in communication with the manufacturers are still there. Sometimes it is after I have paid – and then found out issues. Well, getting quite numb to these.
Well, that is all for now. Hope things go smoothly.