If you have a business with Amazon, then you’re under one of two shipping models. Fulfillment by the merchant (FBM) has you handling all the shipping, labeling, deliveries, and logistics of meeting the orders. FBA is fulfillment by Amazon, which means that the commercial giant is the one that’s handling all those logistics and delivery matters. It minimizes work on your end.
Going with FBA is simpler, leaves you with more time, and is more convenient. However, it still pays off to have a bit more involvement in the process and to have a partner that can assist you in the parts of shipping that you do need to pay attention to. Paperwork, processing, support, etc. are all things that still need attending to, and that’s where a freight forwarder can help.
What Can an FBA Do For You?
First, let’s figure out what an Amazon FBA freight forwarder can do for a business.
Freight forwarders don’t move the items themselves. What these companies do is act as an intermediary, assisting the relationship between the shipper and the transportation services. They are the ones that connect merchants to the companies that will be conducting the deliveries. The best ones have networks that cover shipping lanes at sea, air freight, and even trucking or rail on the ground.
Extensive Network of Relationships
The first benefit of a freight forwarder is the relationship they have with carriers and transport companies. This allows them to negotiate better rates for moving shipper’s goods around. They can also help find the most economical routes and lanes to use, without compromising delivery times. This allows you to have better fulfillment logistics without having to master the art of balancing speed, reliability, and cost on your own.
Handling the Paperwork
A freight forwarder is also useful in managing the paperwork that comes with international shipping. Ports have customs duties. There are shipping labels to consider for every step of the process. There is tracking that needs to be done. All of these details can be overwhelming to manage for the inexperienced, and a freight forwarder can help navigate this web of papers, signatures, documents, and requirements.
Freight forwarders make it their job to know things like how to file paperwork in this port or what the customs laws are for in this country or territory. Missing or getting one wrong will result in your deliveries being delayed, if not sent back. If you ship internationally, an Amazon FBA freight forwarder will help figure out how to handle all those documents and requirements.
Apart from sparing you the headache, it also provides you with more time. They’re handling an otherwise time-consuming task for you, so you can do more for the other aspects of the business. Running an enterprise, even an Amazon one, can eat up so much of the day.
Do you have insurance for your packages? If you don’t, then you’re putting everything at risk. If you do, then it can be a little overwhelming. A freight forwarder is useful for helping navigate and figure out the terms and limits of a freight insurance policy.
Dock to Door
“Dock to door” means that the freight forwarder will be assisting and overseeing the fulfillment process. From the moment the package leaves the Amazon facility and ends up at the docks until they’re delivered to the customer’s door, the freight forwarding company will be there to update you and assist you in case anything goes wrong. This constant attention, combined with their expertise, helps dodge or mitigate various issues.
Help With Unforeseen Disasters
Storms can cause delays in plane or cargo transport, throwing off your delivery estimate. Cargo might get lost along the way. Damage during transit isn’t impossible, or during a hand-off from one part of the delivery to another. All of these issues are things that a freight forwarder can help you handle, rather than forcing you to rely on yourself. Their experience can’t prevent these unforeseen disasters, but they can reduce the impact.
Freight forwarders also help you consolidate other aspects of the process. For instance, they can help you in handling the methods of international payment so you don’t have to deal with the hassle of paying for every shipping arrangement yourself. Their experts can assess the risks of certain arrangements, providing invaluable insight. They are also able to handle bill of landing, which can confuse those not accustomed to them.
The typical freight forwarder only charges modest rates. For that modest rate, you gain the above assistance and access to shipping discounts. These can make the financial element of any delivery so much easier, taking away a huge headache of many who deal in international shipping on their own. For many, this is the biggest benefit of having a freight forwarder for their Amazon online business.
People might not immediately realize the help that a freight forwarder can bring to an Amazon business. They make logistics simpler, handle much of the stressful paperwork, and even manage emergencies. For a modest fee, this can be one of the best ways to handle all manner of problems that you might not want to tackle on your own.