From India to Amazon FBA: Steps to Follow When Sourcing Private Label
If you’re looking to sell made-in-India private label products on Amazon or other online websites, this article lists the key steps to follow.
Use this as a guide to ensure you don’t miss any steps, and everything is done in the correct sequence.
Here are the 12 steps on your India to Amazon roadmap:
Step 1: Find products
The first step is to find a suitable product to sell. India offers a variety of unique and differentiated products, but you need to ensure the product is profitable and not too competitive.
If you need help with product research, join our 3-day Product Research Bootcamp with Tim Jordan.
Step 2: Find and vet suppliers
Once you have decided on the product, it is time to start looking for suppliers. There are a number of ways of finding manufacturers in India, including:
- India Sourcing Network: We vet suppliers to ensure they are manufacturers, and have export experience.
- Sourcing agencies: They manage all aspects of sourcing starting from finding suppliers to negotiating and even quality control. Contact vetted sourcing agencies at India Sourcing Network.
- Google: Search for suppliers and ensure they are legitimate companies.
- Alibaba, Global Sources: These are two export-focused supplier directories. Some companies might be merchant exporters.
- Export Promotion Councils: These are government agencies and have exporters as their members.
- Delhi Fair exhibitors: Delhi Fair is organised by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts, and all exhibitors at the fair are export-experienced suppliers.
Once you have found a suitable supplier, vet them to ensure they are a legitimate company and have exported to your country in the past.
Step 3: Sampling
After shortlisting a factory, it is time to get a sample made. You can ask the factory to send you a product they have made in the past, which will help you evaluate product quality. If you’re developing a new product, you’d need to get a custom sample made.
In most cases, you will not get the sample right the first time, and you will need to go back and forth with the supplier a few times.
Generally, suppliers don’t charge for developing samples, especially if it is not a high value product.
But some might ask you to pay, and if that’s the case, you can ask them to credit the amount back to you when you place an order.
The buyer pays for sample shipping, and this is not credited back to you when the order is placed.
Once you’re happy with the sample, sign off on the “Golden Sample”, which the factory will use as reference when they’re producing your product.
Step 4: Contact inspection company
After the sample has been confirmed and if you are planning to get a 3rd party inspection done, get in touch with an inspection company (we recommend RSJ Inspection) to discuss your product requirements with them.
Even though you will not need the services of an inspection company until the order is ready, contacting them before placing the order will help you prepare a quality checklist that can be given to the supplier before they start production. This is especially beneficial if you’re not familiar with the product.
Informing the supplier you’re going to do an inspection will also ensure they pay attention to quality.
Step 5: Purchase order
After the product specs sheet and quality checklist have been done, send the supplier a detailed Purchase Order. If you’re planning to source multiple products over time, you could also sign a contract.
Talk to a lawyer in India for drafting the contract. Our recommended lawyer is Rishabh Dheer.
Make sure you give the supplier detailed product specifications or a tech pack. You can consider getting tech packs done by techpacks.co.
Join India Sourcing Workshop to receive a Purchase Order template, and many more templates and checklists.
Ensure your Purchase Order is detailed and thorough. Get a Purchase Order template when you join India Sourcing Workshop
Step 6: Payment and production starts
Pay your supplier a deposit before they start production. The norm is to pay 30% to 50% depending on the size of your order.
We recommend using Airwallex to pay India suppliers. They are an Amazon-approved Payment Solution Provider (PSP), and offer competitive exchange rates, and many other benefits. Payments from most countries to India are done in a couple of days. You can pay small amounts in Indian Rupees for samples and freight, and you can also receive your Amazon payments into Airwallex.
Production now starts, and can take about 8 to 12 weeks depending on the product and volume. Make sure you keep in touch with your supplier and get regular updates from them.
Step 7: Packaging & inserts
You can work with your supplier for packaging and inserts, especially if packaging is simple, or you can work with a separate box manufacturer. It is best to work with a box supplier closer to your factory.
You could send a sample of your product to the box manufacturer so they can recommend suitable packaging.
Keep in mind that your packaging should be strong enough to pass the drop test.
You could get your GS1 barcode or FNSKU printed on the box, especially if you’re planning to sell on other channels apart from Amazon.
If the barcode or FNSKU is not printed on the box, send them as stickers to your supplier to apply on the box.
Make sure the box has “Made in India” on it.
If you’re sending the shipment directly to Amazon FBA, you need to send your supplier carton labels from Amazon too.
At India Sourcing Network, we have a few packaging companies that can also print inserts.
Step 8: Contact freight forwarder and 3PL
If you don’t have enough storage allocation in Amazon FBA, you may want to send your shipment to a 3PL. Get in touch with 3PLs before the shipment is ready and ensure they have space for your goods.
Here are our recommended 3PLs – one is in New Jersey and another is in Jacksonville, Florida.
Contact a freight forwarder and inform them of the expected shipment ready date, your shipment terms, and destination address.
For shipments less than around 200 kgs, it is best to use courier or air freight.
We recommend Seair as the freight forwarder. They understand Amazon requirements, have offices in the US and can also handle Customs clearance.
Step 9: Photos, videos, keywords, listing, A+
Now is the time to get your images, videos, keywords, listing and A+ content done. You can ask your supplier to send one perfect sample to either you or directly to the photographer in India, depending on where you want to get your photos done.
At India Sourcing Network, we recommend Ecommerce Wala for photographs and images. The company is run by Aaron Hughes, an American who lives in India, and is an Amazon seller himself. Aaron’s team can also do keyword research, A+ content and listing writing.
If you want to do the listings yourself, you can consider joining our Listing Optimization Workshop run by e-commerce expert, Verity Sewell.
If you want to get videos of how your product is manufactured in India, you could contact Surajit Content Solutions. They specialise in videography for products or will visit factory locations to film artisans at work.
E-commerce Wala is a US-run agency in India that specializes in Amazon photography and related services.
Step 10: Inspection
Once production is almost done, a pre-shipment inspection is done by a 3rd party QC company. If you’re working with RSJ, they coordinate directly with your supplier and schedule a date for the inspection.
RSJ charges US$220 per manday for inspection in major cities where they have their offices, and in other cities, they charge for accommodation and transportation.
Step 11: Shipping
Your goods have passed inspection, and they are picked up by your shipper from the factory, or sent to the port by the supplier, depending on your terms.
If shipping by sea from Nhava Sheva, it’s best to go to the East Coast of the US as that’s the fastest and most cost effective route.
Your shipment will now clear customs in India, get loaded on a ship or airplane and be on its way to the US.
Sailing time for sea shipments from Nhava Sheva to New York is around 22 days. Add to that a week or two for customs clearance in India and the US, it should take about 35-40 days if there are no delays.
Step 12: Launch and start selling
Your product will now reach your 3PL or Amazon FBA. Once your shipment reaches a 3PL, you will then need to create a shipping plan in Seller Central, send carton labels to the 3PL and ask them to send some products to Amazon’s fulfilment centres.
You will need to set up your PPC campaigns and launch your product on Amazon.
If you need help with PPC, we run a live workshop with PPC whiz, Ritu Java. Check it out – PPC Optimization Workshop.
These are the key steps you need to follow when sourcing private label products from India for Amazon FBA. We have simplified these steps to a great extent and there are many more considerations, guidelines and details you need to take into account during the process.
We go over these in detail at our 3-day India Sourcing Workshop. This is the only course that teaches Amazon sellers and e-tailers the A to Z of sourcing from India and building a private label brand.
When you join the workshop, you also get access to recordings of the live sessions, almost 100 pages of notes, and many checklists and templates.
If you are serious about sourcing from India, this workshop is a must-attend.