7 Things You Didn’t Know About Shipping Amazon Products

Customs Woman Checks Amazon Shipment

At RepricerExpress, we’re constantly scouring the web to dig up everything you, our dear reader and trusted Amazon merchant, need to know about successfully running your online Amazon business. Today, this involves compiling a list of things regarding shipping Amazon products you’ve sold on your page. Amazon’s pretty good at letting you know what’s kosher and what’s not, but it can be a tad difficult to read through all the fine print. Instead, here’s a list of things you should keep in the back of your mind next time you get set to ship.

1. Keeping a Good Record

Nobody’s terribly crazy about dealing with customs and border officials, as they have a fair amount of power that can mean the difference between an item crossing the border and just plain getting thrown out. Even worse, they have the power to audit you, which is a five-letter word that can send a shiver of fear through even the most hardened of Amazon sellers. To avoid any possible problems — and because it’s the law — keep all records surrounding your international shipments for five years.

2. Signed, Sealed and Delivered

What’s one tiny, innocuous thing that can prevent your item from successfully crossing the border and reaching your customers? This isn’t really a fair question, as there are a handful of points, but not signing the paperwork is one of them. It’s also one of the easiest things to miss, so remember to sign the paperwork and add the date that it was shipped — or risk having it held at customs.

3. Leave the Ivory at Home

Ivory is one of those products that has a really tumultuous past. It was hunted aggressively and in fairly poor form, and this led government officials to really tighten the restrictions on what can be done with it. Depending on which country you’re shipping ivory and ivory-made jewellery into, you may or may not run into a wall. For example, shipping it to the US requires a permit from their Fish and Wildlife Service to bring any ivory into the country, and you’ll generally get better clearance if it’s 100 years old or older (but you’ll need special documentation to prove it, or else it may get frozen at customs).

4. Feeling Hungry?

Amazon does allow you to sell food on its site, yes, and it can be a wonderful place to stock up on pantry items that your local grocery may not carry. But you have to be careful of exactly what kind of grocery items you’re trying to sell, as some countries will get very tetchy about it. Take the US again, just to keep using them as an example. You can’t import African wildlife bush meat or products that could have meat in them (e.g. bouillon, soup mixes, etc.) because of the risk of introducing serious pathogens in the country. And if you think tinned or dried meats is okay, nope, you’re still out of luck.

5. A Neat Way to Expedite the Customs Process

We all know that there are two types of people in this world: those who are privy to faster service and shorter wait times, and then everyone else. As an Amazon seller, you’re up against some serious competition in trying to move your inventory and ship it within the window you listed. It’s a tough task because as soon as it’s out of your hands, you have little control over the item. But what if you could hurry it along a little bit? You can, by printing your international shipments online and then packing the item with professionally prepared paperwork. Non-amateur looking items tend to move a little faster through customs.

6. Not Everyone is Taxed Equally

Death and taxes, supposedly the only two things in life that are completely guaranteed — until they’re not. When it comes to the country of manufacturer, be careful of who you list, as it will affect duties and taxes. Say you’re selling German-made wineglasses in France. List Germany as the country of manufacturer, and your French buyers won’t be faced with duties or taxes. Of course, tax is multi-faceted area, and one where you should seek professional advice from specialists like Meridian Global Services.

7. Set the Right Value on Each Item

Your best bet when it comes to filling out the value declared section on your shipment invoices is to go with the purchase price of the item. If you go lower and the product is lost, damaged or stolen, you won’t get reimbursed fully for it. But if you over-value it, then customs officials may set it aside while they ask you why you set the value at more than the purchase price. Either way, both are red flags and can cause your package to unnecessarily wait at the border.

While Amazon does their best to let you know what you can and cannot do, they don’t always get into the nitty-gritty of what’s allowed. And when they do, it’s cloaked in hard-to-read language that seems designed only for lawyers. But at RepricerExpress, we’re fans of things that are easy to understand, such as our repricing software and how it comes with a 15-day free trial.


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