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326 Habit 3: First Things First – time management for ecommerce entrepreneurs (part 2)

Time Management for e-commerce is an absolutely critical skill area. Time management can be the single biggest block to even starting an e-commerce business. And for an established, busy e-commerce business owner,  managing time is just as critical.

In this episode, we focus on the learnings from the wonderful book (and also audiobook) –

“7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Steven Covey

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325 New Trade Tariffs imposed by USA on Chinese Imports

New Trade Tariffs from USA imposed on China [Trade War News]

US Tariffs of 25% imposed on $234B worth of Chinese Imports

New Trade Tariffs have been imposed by the US government on imports from China.

President Donald Trump escalated the trade war with China on Friday, imposing new trade tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, now at 25%, up from the previous 10% rate.

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323 Amazon News: Trump Tweets New Threat in US-China Trade War

Trump Tweets New threat in China-USA Trade war

There has been a new twist in the ongoing US-China Trade War. Trump said in a Sunday afternoon Twitter post (5 May 2019)  that the current 10% tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods will increase to 25% on Friday.

He also threatened to impose 25% levies on an additional $325 billion of Chinese goods “shortly.”

Chinese Trade Delegation uncertain

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had planned to bring a large delegation to Washington on Wednesday to hash out a trade deal.

There had been talk in recent days that something resembling a deal could result.

Instead, two sources briefed on the talks said the Chinese side may consider backing out of this week’s negotiations.

 Trump’s new threats, they said, threaten the six-month truce. In return, Trump may have made them after Beijing threatened to renege on some previously discussed commitments.

One source had said the Chinese vice premier would likely cancel the trip he’d planned for himself and a 100-person delegation. This was for the final round of talks that U.S. officials had previously said could yield a deal by Friday.

In September 2018 Chinese officials canceled a trip  in similar circumstances.

New Trade Reality or Trade War Negotiation tactic?

A second source said Trump’s decision to more than double the tariff rate on $200 billion of goods was meant to send a message to Liu to not come to the U.S. with more “empty offers.”

The Chinese spokesman would not elaborate on the number of people on the Chinese team, the length of the trip, or the date of departure.

He also emphasized that such back-and-forth in the trade negotiations have happened before. He underlined that the latest round of talks saw “positive” progress.

US-China Trade Sticking points

Major sticking points between the U.S. and China have been intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers. The two superpower also disagreed as to whether tariffs should be removed or remain in place as an enforcement mechanism.

Reaction to Trump Tweet

“The very fact that it’s a nuclear threat brings people to the table,” said Warren Buffett on CNBC. “But you don’t want to have too many nuclear threats out there because someday somebody may feel apt to fulfil one.”

World markets, including the S & P 500, the Shanghai and the Hong Kong stock exchanges dropped sharply  on the news. However,  later they all rebounded substantially on the basis that this was probably a negotiating tactic rather than a realistic future plan.

The response of US businesses over the last months to the trade war  has been strong:

A number of US businesses have been relocating factories to Vietnam from China. More recently, many businesses have been importing and stockpiling goods as a pre-emptive measure in case the threatened tariffs materialise.

Amazon rebrands “Souq” as amazon.ae (UAE)

  • On Tuesday, Amazon announced the launch of a new marketplace targeting the Middle Eastern market.
  • With the launch, Amazon said that it is rebranding Souq, the e-commerce company it bought for $580 million in 2017, to Amazon.ae.
  • The Souq.com URL takes you to Amazon.ae, but Souq is still available in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

It should be possible for UK/EU or US based 3rd party sellers to start selling on the platform immediately.

Amazon opening new Fulfilment Centre in the Midlands of the UK

Amazon has plans to open a new  new fulfilment centre in Kegworth, East Midlands, UK.

They are about to start recruiting for over  500 new permanent jobs.

Amazon’s new FC will help meet  demand, expand selection and enable third-party sellers  to scale up their businesses.

Stefano Perego, Amazon’s Vice President of UK Customer Fulfilment, said:

“We are thrilled to begin recruitment for 500 new permanent roles in Kegworth, with competitive wages and comprehensive benefits starting on day one. We are delighted to expand our operations in the East Midlands. With capacity to expand our workforce to over 1,000 permanent positions in the future, this new team will play a crucial role in delivering a first rate level of service for our customers.”

Kegworth will be the fifth Amazon fulfilment centre in the Midlands, the other ones being  in Coalville, Daventry, Rugeley, and Rugby.

The first dedicated UK “receive centre” opened in Coventry in 2018.

This functions as a central hub that receives and sorts millions of products each year that are sold on Amazon.co.uk.

#76 Importing to USA, Brand Building & Email followup: Q & A Tuesday No. 12

Q 1 Corinne

First, I am not an American but want to sell [on] Amazon.com

I have sent a few small packages to Amazon FBA.

There was no issue at all until I started sending 15 cartons.

When I sent this 15 cartons, I don’t have Federal tax ID number.

Thereby I needed to spend US$ 500 to have freight forwarder to help me.

Then I tried 8 cartons through DHL which declared $1200 for the customs. However, it is still got rejected by the customs.

It seems FEIN is required if i want to ship my inventory to FBA.

I am not trying to escape any tax issues, but to get a FEIN number, I would need a legal address in US. I am not in US.

How do you guys deal with this?

A freight forwarder isn’t the same as a Customs Broker in the USA. Some companies do both, like Western Overseas Corporation. But it sounds like what you need is a Customs Broker.

You shouldn’t need a US address to get an EIN as a foreign entity (person or company). But if you need one (you do need a returns address for amazon or should at least have one), google. I used myaddressus.com – pretty cheap.

If you send in goods over the value of $2500, it’s a formal import so you’ll need a customs bond etc. At that point, I would use a Customs Broker, at least for the first time. That’s not the case here, but worth flagging up for future reference. 

Q2 Ben

Here is my newbie experience post #3. So I’ve been selling for about 3 weeks in the UK. Where am I?

I picked a great product. It’s flying off the cyber-shelves. I am about ½ way up page 1 for all my main keywords. I told myself to be ‘happy’ with 5 units a day. I was averaging 10-12 units per day, but have increased my price and now average 7-8 units per day. I have had days of 10+ including a day of 16 units. These are not giveaways, all giveaways were done in the first week. So why did I increase the price?

This first ‘test run’ was 500 units. At the current rate, I’m going to run out quickly. So I’m trying to find the balance between maintaining sales, and not running out of inventory. Am still undercutting some competitors at the current price, but also more expensive than some others.

I believe the reasons it’s going well so far are:

1. Branding. My brand is easily one of the coolest, and as I expand I’ll grow as a brand, rather than as “Bob’s generic stuff” which several of my competitors are doing

2. Social media. Many ‘gurus’ say – avoid social media until you are well established on Amazon. This is not a good move, in my opinion. I have an active twitter and Instagram account, and a new facebook page. OK I haven’t got many followers, but t’s growing and I’m getting a bit of engagement.

3. Branding. I said it again because it’s so important. Branding is everything. Cool brands get bought. Generic crap doesn’t.

Comments

Alex  You are doing well, but don’t talk about brand building. People don’t care. You drive them in your page and they just see information, reviews and price. Just set Ppc automatic. If doesn’t work move on.

Suzi I love to hear that you are growing a strong brand, and that you understand and appreciate how important it is. I cringe so hard when I hear people say your branding doesn’t matter…nothing can be further from the truth. Have you had any issues with counterfeits hopping on your listing(s)?

My response: it depends! 

If you just want to make sales on Amazon short-term (say next 6 months), I think it’s true that brand doesn’t matter much. Initially, customers will not have heard of your brand yet, and they mostly go with good images and price. Also, it is not realistic to expect Amazon to cross-sell your products even if they are in the same niche.

However, if you want to create a defensible business to later sell, you definitely need to create a brand. Also, even if you’re never planning to sell, if you want to create a Shopify store, to diversify and lower the risk of Amazon controlling your business,  you will need to develop a focussed suite of products. If you have multiple niches, you can develop multiple brand sites, but each one needs some unity for credibility.

Also if you do well, medium term even on Amazon, people can start searching for your brand or pay slightly higher prices for it, as long as you have lots of reviews by that stage.

Q3 David

EMAIL OPTIMIZATION: Hey Everyone…just a quick question regarding your post-purchase email autoresponder sequences. I am currently getting 8% and 9% conversion rates for feedback and reviews, respectively. I would like to increase this and was thinking of shortening each email to make more mobile friendly. Have any of you tested the length of copy an how this alters conversions? Thanks!

First of all, if you’re getting 8-9% conversion, you’re doing well. Average for most people I’ve spoken to about this (which was a while ago) was 5%, as it was for me last time I checked.

Regarding testing, I don’t know whether for example Feedback Genius or Salesbacker will do this for you automatically. I use a different system so I don’t think I have that option.

If you want to do it manually, then make sure you test a significantly statistically meaningful number. So I would be inclined to run three variations, one shorter and one longer, and I would try each of them for about 100 sales each.

Re. email follow-up sequences more broadly, I use three emails. Currently the 1st only offers help and a PDF and says thanks/please get in touch if any issues although Kevin King asks “why did you buy the product” which I may change to going forward.

The 2nd, after ben Cummings’s approach, asks the buyer to just hit REPLY and let me know why s/he bought the product. Similar to Kevin King but after the product has arrived. Only a small %age do but you do get replies in my experience.

THe 3rd then asks for Seller Feedback, which I can then follow up on and ask to be changed to review if it ends up being about the product. It’s a filtering mechanism.

THe point of the 2nd email is that if someone replies to that, they feel more obliged to follow through after the 3rd and actually write a review.

In David’s case, I’d be inclined not to mess with what is working too much but tweak it eg longer/shorter.

Or you could change the 1st email in the sequence. Or the 3rd. Test both variations and let us know!