What is the Most Efficient Way to Ship E-comm Products?
So, you’ve created an online store and are starting to get orders in. That’s great! The only problem is now you have to figure out a way to get your products from the manufacturer into your warehouse, and then out to your customers all while maintaining your bottom line and minimizing error risk.
This is the realization that many young entrepreneurs come across as they enter the world of e-commerce for the first time. Fortunately, in this post we will break down exactly what your options are, and hopefully help you make less costly mistakes down the line.
Shipping Options – What are they?
When it comes to shipping products from a manufacturer to the U.S, you really have two options. You could hire a freight forwarding company to do it for you, or you could ship it directly to the warehouse. Each option has pros and cons but (spoilers) we are going to recommend using a company as a middleman, especially if you are inexperienced. For the sake of argument however, we will discuss both options below.
Shipping to yourself/using a middleman
There is actually another option in the freight forwarding company category, which is shipping to yourself. Essentially the main benefit to using a forwarder is that you can ensure the packages are labeled and quality checked by professionals. They also eliminate the need to mess around with customs, various shipping fees, and other miscellaneous costs. Paying them in one lump sum makes things easier from a logistics standpoint, and allows your packages to all arrive at one time, and in pristine condition.
In some cases, people may choose to have products sent from the supplier directly to them for quality checks. The main flaw with this method is that you will need to inspect every item yourself, which can be a huge time-suck (especially if you are ordering in bulk). The obvious benefit to shipping to yourself is that you will save whatever you would have paid the freight forwarder, but this cost is negligible compared to how time consuming it would be to check your items yourself.
Shipping Directly to Warehouses
Shipping products directly to the warehouse from the supplier is the second option some e-commerce business owners choose to take. This will mean your items get to the customer faster (they bypass having to be checked by the forwarding company), but this also means they do not have that extra quality check. The big downside to this method is that your products are more likely to be mislabeled or packaged wrong. If you are dealing with Amazon FBA, this is a big problem and can result in your items being returned (meaning you pay the shipping both ways).
While some people choose this method to save some money, most people recommend using a middleman when you ship.
Finding a Reliable Forwarding Company
There are freight forwarding/shipping companies located across the United States and the world. However one we have used and highly recommend are Los Angeles customs brokers. They have locations across the country and provide shipping solutions to everyone from Hollywood film production companies to e-commerce business owners.