Amazon FBA: How to Negotiate with Freight Forwarders for Better Shipping Rates


Hey there, this is Fung Cheng, and today we’re diving deep into a topic that’s super relevant to anyone dealing with Amazon FBA and freight forwarders, especially when sourcing from China. So buckle up!


Understanding the dynamics of sourcing from China is crucial for both worldwide ecommerce sellers and Amazon FBA sellers. These dynamics include not only product quality and supplier reliability but also shipping logistics. This is where Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders come into play. A reliable freight forwarder can make or break your ecommerce business. For private label products, especially, the entire sourcing process needs to be as streamlined as possible. From the bustling markets of Shenzhen to the manufacturing hubs in Guangzhou, Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders are the unsung heroes who simplify the complex chain of tasks that come with sourcing products from China.

While you may think you’re saving a buck by skipping a forwarder, the long-term value they provide in ensuring smooth customs clearance, storage, and timely delivery is unparalleled. No one wants their products stuck in limbo between countries. Hence, Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders serve as essential connectors in this global ecosystem. They are especially beneficial for new Amazon FBA sellers who may not have established relations with suppliers or understand the intricacies of international shipping. Therefore, using the services of Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders is not simply an option—it is required if you are serious about your e-commerce business.

With this context in mind, let’s explore why and how picking the ideal Amazon FBA Freight Forwarder may help your business grow.

Understanding What Freight Forwarders Do

Understanding Freight Forwarders

I’ll set the scene for you now. You work in the eCommerce industry and import your goods from China. You’ve probably heard of freight forwarders. So what are they? In simple terms, they’re the middlemen between sellers and carriers. They gather various smaller shipments from different sellers and combine them into bigger shipments. Why? Because it’s easier to negotiate better rates for larger shipment volumes.

The Economics Behind the Rates

See, these guys make money through price differences. They get discounted rates for big shipments and charge you a margin for their services. Makes sense? The more you’re shipping, the more leeway you have in asking for a lower rate. Understanding their business model is key to effective negotiation. So do your homework!

Research and Preparation: The Keys to a Good Deal

Here’s where things get interesting. There are tons of Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders, especially in major Chinese cities. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to research multiple options—compare their pricing, terms, and delivery options. From my experience, aim to get details from at least 5 freight forwarders. The more, the merrier, because it gives you a fuller picture.

Building a Trust Relationship: The Game Changer

Now, listen up, folks. This part is crucial. You can’t just jump in and expect the best deal from the get-go. Freight forwarders are bombarded with inquiries every single day. Let’s be realistic: why should they give you an amazing discount on your first ask?

The First Deal is Rarely the Best Deal

I can’t stress this enough. Do not expect a fabulous deal the first time you cooperate. Build up that trust and establish a long-term relationship with your Amazon FBA Freight Forwarder. Not a sprint, but a marathon. When they see you’re a long-term player rather than a one-time shipper, the magic happens.

Long-Term Thinking for Better Rates

When they know you’re serious—that you’ve got frequent and real shipments—that’s when the doors open. I’ve been through this. The more they get to know you and your business, the more willing they are to offer you their best hidden rates.

So think long term, build that rapport with your Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders, and that’s when you’ll see the real savings kick in.

Strategies to Strike Gold: Two Killer Techniques for Negotiating with Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders

Strategies to Strike Gold

Let’s now get to the meat of the matter. You can employ a few different tactics while haggling with Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders. The first one is leveraging volume discounts. I always tell them, “Look, I have a shipment now, but I’ve got more lined up for the next month.” You want to give them the sense that you’re going to bring a consistent volume of business.

The second one? Competitive rates. Don’t hold back on showing them quotes you’ve received from other Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders. Positively, it reminds me of psychological warfare. Since they are aware of your other possibilities, they would rather make a small loss in revenue than lose your business to a rival. But hey, keep it professional—nobody likes dealing with a jerk!

The Referral Gambit: Use Your Network to Get the Upper Hand

Another savvy strategy to consider is the referral trick. If you tell the sales rep you were referred by an existing customer, chances are they’ll see you as less of a risk. Even if you don’t know anyone, you can always imply that you’re friendly with one of their current customers. It’s a smart move that could lead to better rates. Trust me, from my experience, it does make a difference.

Flexibility Wins: Adjust Your Shipping Method for Better Rates

Alright, what if you’re open to changing your shipping method? Let’s say you initially asked for air transport. Consider asking them if there are any special rates for switching to sea transport. You’re essentially doing them a favor by filling up space in a shipment they were going to send anyway, so they’re more inclined to cut you a deal. Pretty neat, right?

Evaluate, Don’t Just Calculate: The Importance of Comparing Offers

Cooperative relationship

So you’ve applied these strategies and got some offers on the table. Don’t just jump at the cheapest one. We need to look at the bigger picture. Which Amazon FBA Freight Forwarder has the most potential for a long-term relationship? They might give you better deals down the line. And let’s face it, in the world of Amazon FBA, longevity is key.

It’s More than Just Price: The Long-term View

You must keep in mind that cost is not everything. You need a freight forwarder for a long-term, profitable Amazon FBA business who is not just reasonable in price but also dependable, competent, and a pleasure to work with. Sometimes investing a little bit extra up front can prevent major problems down the road.

There you have it, everyone! We’ve explored some super-effective strategies for negotiating with Amazon FBA Freight Forwarders. It’s not just about saving a few bucks today; it’s about building relationships that save you money over the long term.

Ready to learn more about to the Chinese market? Check out more on our Digital Marketing Service in China and Contact us!

Air Huang

Air Huang

Marketing should be Global
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