#121 – Coronavirus Shipping Advice to Help with Your Amazon Business

Episode 121 of the Serious Sellers Podcast hosts a shipping expert with a ground zero report on the Coronavirus’s effect on Amazon business.

The Coronavirus is on everyone’s mind. Amidst the growing humanitarian crisis is the fact that for an Amazon seller, it presents challenges that though they’re not life-threatening, still have the potential to cause long term consequences. Today on the Serious Sellers Podcast, Helium 10’s Director of Training and Customer Success, Bradley Sutton welcomes Refael Elbaz from Unicargo, a major international shipping company.

Because of having boots on the ground in China, Refael can give us honest, hard data about what’s really happening with the outbreak and offers advice how to work with your Chinese friends and business associates to both support them and make the best of a difficult situation. 

In episode 121 of the Serious Sellers Podcast, Bradley and Refael discuss:

  • 01:55 – Refael’s Origin Story
  • 03:55 – In Australia After Mandatory Military Service
  • 06:00 – An Amazon Client Can’t Supply the Answers
  • 08:25 – Coronavirus Stories from Ground Zero
  • 10:45 – What Does it All Mean for Factories and Shippers?
  • 13:50 – How to Eventually Deal with the Backlog of Orders
  • 16:30 – Air Freight or Air Consolidation?  
  • 18:00 – he Role of a Freight Forwarder
  • 20:10 – An Air Consolidation Use Formula
  • 21:05 – “Fast Means Expensive and Slow Means Cheap”
  • 23:50 – An Air Shipping Pricelist
  • 25:40 – Ocean Shipping  
  • 28:00 – 3PLs and Other Intermediary Shipping Options
  • 30:00 – What Else Will A Freight Forwarder Do for You?
  • 33:00 – Bradley’s Search Volume Game
  • 34:25 – Refael’s 30 Second Tip
  • 36:30 – How to Contact Refael and Unicargo

Enjoy this episode? Be sure to check out our previous episodes for even more content to propel you to Amazon FBA Seller success! And don’t forget to “Like” our Facebook page and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to our podcast.

Want to absolutely start crushing it on Amazon? Here are few carefully curated resources to get you started:

  • Freedom Ticket: Taught by Amazon thought leader Kevin King, get A-Z Amazon strategies and techniques for establishing and solidifying your business.
  • Ultimate Resource Guide: Discover the best tools and services to help you dominate on Amazon.
  • Helium 10: 20+ software tools to boost your entire sales pipeline from product research to customer communication and Amazon refund automation. Make running a successful Amazon business easier with better data and insights. See what our customers have to say.
  • Helium 10 Chrome Extension: Verify your Amazon product idea and validate how lucrative it can be with over a dozen data metrics and profitability estimation. 
  • SellerTradmarks.com: Trademarks are vital for protecting your Amazon brand from hijackers, and sellertrademarks.com provides a streamlined process for helping you get one.

Transcript

Bradley Sutton: Are you worried about what the Coronavirus might mean for shipping and logistics coming out of China? Well, today’s guest has boots on the ground and is an expert on the subject. He’s going to let us know exactly what’s happening.

Bradley Sutton: Hello everybody and welcome to another episode of the Serious Sellers Podcast by Helium 10. I am your host, Bradley Sutton, and this is the show that’s a completely BS- free, unscripted and unrehearsed organic conversation about serious strategies or serious sellers of any level in the eCommerce world. And we’ve got somebody on the line today from the other part of the world, calling all the way from Israel. We got Refael. Refael, how’s it going?

Refael Elbaz: Hey, Bradley, everything is fine. Thank you very much. How are you today?

Bradley Sutton: I’m doing just delightful. Thanks. Now, before we get into it, I just want to make sure that there might be some people who are maybe reading this on the website or seeing the blog on the website with your recording, and they see your name is pronounced R, E F, A, E L, but the correct pronunciation is still a Rafael, right?

Refael Elbaz: Yeah, yeah. It’s the same as with an A after the R. That’s a funny story actually. In Israel, when we start to learn English, like in the first grade and even before, the teacher actually teaches you how to spell your name and how to write it down and everything, so she taught me with an E for some reason and it just got stuck with me for the rest of my life. I think I’m the only one in the world with an E instead of an A after the R.

Bradley Sutton: I think so. I think so. A lot of our listeners, may be not all, some of them are familiar with you because you actually teach some modules that we have in the Freedom Ticket about shipping and logistics due to your company UniCargo. And so that’s kind of like what I really want to focus on today since we haven’t really had a shipping-and-logistics expert. But before we get into that, we always like to hear your journey of how you got to where you are now. In those days, you are getting put an E to your name Refael. As a youngster there growing up, what, in those days, did you envision how your life would turn out? What did you want to be when you grew up?

Refael Elbaz: Well, in first grade? Hahaha

Bradley Sutton: Yeah. You haven’t had that “I wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer” or you wanted to run a shipping company?

Refael Elbaz: Actually, I don’t remember. I remember that I wanted to be settled financially. We grew up in it’s not poor family, but our father worked very hard. Our mother worked very hard, not a lot of money around. Then, I remember, I really remember, that’s a very interesting question, I really remember, I always thought to myself and spoke to myself like with that inner voice that I’ll never be on a financial problem when I grow up, and that got to kind of probably stuck in the back of my head. Yeah, that’s what I wanted to be. It’s not a “what”, but it’s kind of a “how” I wanted to be when I grew up, and I think I fulfilled it. I’ll start telling you about the company soon, but I think I fulfilled it. Yeah.

Bradley Sutton: That’s cool. Then you went to high school, graduate high school, and then did you go to university there in Israel as well?

Refael Elbaz: Oh, no. It’s a bit different in Israel because of the security situation and all the walls around us in the Middle East. In Israel, when you turn 18, it’s actually mandatory to go of the army. Every boy and every girl, when they turn 18 in Israel, it’s mandatory. You got to go to the army; otherwise you can go to jail. That would be the fashion in Israel that after you’re released from the army, you go travel overseas. Everybody does it. I went to Australia; I ended up in Australia, and I ended up living there for about almost five years in Australia. This is what I actually started my import and export journey, and I don’t know how but I ended up having a retail business at the age of 22, a year after I got into Australia. In Australia, I went on Alibaba, a very premature platform; it was very new. Well, I phoned some Chinese guys through my searches in Alibaba, and I said to them, “Hey, I’m going to come to China. Come and meet me; be my translator.” And again, we’re looking at years ago where I was doing business. In China, it wasn’t that common as it is now. When you are speaking to Chinese people, they were very excited to speak to you, and they were very curious about you and about the outside world. They were very excited too that I’m coming there and they’re going to meet me.

Refael Elbaz: I ended up in China and started talking to manufacturers. I started talking to factories and started doing international shipping moving goods from country to country, dealing with customs. Then, I realized that I really love it, and it really was very interesting for me to move commodities around the world, dealing with customs, dealing with all this certificates. I really loved it. And about a year later or two years later or something like that, I sold that business, and I started working in international shipping. I just joined this company and  became an employee, started to learn the ropes from working inside the freight-forwarding industry. In 2014 actually, I got to my first Amazon client, this client came to me and say, “Hi, I want to ship this and that product from Israel to Amazon in the States.” And I said, “All right, not a problem. Give me all the detail, the shipment details and everything.” In the end, he got a quote from us and I remember he was saying like, “All right, let’s proceed. I want to do that shipment.” And I said, “Cool, let’s do it.” We said to him, “In order to operate an international shipment, you  got to have the receiver.” We got to like, “Okay, who’s the receiving party? It says Amazon, right? What’s the phone number for Amazon? Who’s the contact person? We’re going to schedule the truck to come and deliver the goods to. He said, “No, it doesn’t work like that.” And I said to him, “Listen man, let’s hang up the phone. You have no idea what you’re asking us to do. You trying to ship commercial goods to another country where you don’t have a presence there, you don’t have a legal entity, you don’t have a phone number for the receiver, you have nothing. Stop what you’re trying to do; you’re going to lose everything. Stop hassling me.” And I started fighting with them. He’s like, “You don’t know anything. There’s a lot of people doing that all around the world,” blah blah blah. And I said, “Leave me alone, cut the crap, goodbye.” And being an entrepreneur, it kind of stayed with me that day and that person, and I went back home after finishing my shift, and I started Googling what he was talking about. Then, when I went on Facebook, and I saw these live and vibrant communities and forums and people talking about Amazon FBA and the business they are doing, I remember saying, “No, that’s wild. This guy was right. I was the idiot.” And I came back the next day to the office and first thing I did was call that guy and I said, “You know what? You are right. I was the stupid one. Just give me 24 hours and I’ll come up with a solution.” And today, five years later, we are over 60 employees in three continents.

Bradley Sutton: Okay, cool. Now, a question for you. A lot of people have been worried about the Coronavirus and how it affected¾I know you guys we’re planning to have everything go back to normal just like every year, right after Chinese New Year, around first week of February. But how was February different for you? What was going on from a logistic side or for a company like yours who specializes in shipping and logistics for Amazon sellers? What was going on in February?

Refael Elbaz: That’s a very interesting question, and it’s still a painful subject for us. Basically, every year after the Chinese New Year, before the Chinese New Year basically around January¾Chinese New Year is the busiest time of the year for shipping in and out of China, even more than quarter four, more than Christmas¾January is the big boom and usually, Chinese come back from their holiday around 1st of February. This year, it was extended to the 10th of February, but on an average year, things gets back to normal around 10 to 14 days after they come back from their holiday because you know there is still time until all the workers come back to work until they really start production. Well it takes about 10 to 14 days. This year, because of the Coronavirus and the Coronavirus actually hit right on the Chinese New Year, February was dead. It was just dead, nothing was coming out of China. Most of the Amazon sellers today ship out of China. We’ve analyzed our numbers, and 85% of all our shipments were out of China. Coronavirus affects from sellers to shipping companies to logistic companies to big retailers; it really affects everybody. Last year, we’re looking at about 50 to 60 shipments a day, around first of March and end of February. Today, we’re looking at around 10 to 12 shipments a day. Don’t forget that a lot of the roads are still blocked in China. It’s very hard to move from province to province because the government is trying to control how the virus spreads.

Bradley Sutton: There might be some shipping delays based on, for example, if the factory is inland just to be able to even get it to the port., you say that that’s taken a little bit longer?

Refael Elbaz: Yeah. Inland transportation is getting a bit more pricier because of lack of drivers right now. Shipping lines are starting to ramp up, and we don’t see any delays on shipping lines now. A lot of airlines have canceled the passenger flights. We operate a lot of our freight there, in cargo flights.

Bradley Sutton: Yeah.

Refael Elbaz: With capacity. It’s an interesting thing because there was no demand because factories are not manufacturing. There is no demand and there is no supply as well. Prices don’t really go up because prices go up when there is big demand and no supply. But this time, there was low demand and low supply. It’s an interesting thing: low demand, low supply prices stay almost the same except for inland trucking because there is a very big shortage of drivers or prices for moving goods domestically are rising. But again, when we see shipments coming out every day, not in the pace we want it to be, not in the numbers we used to, but shipments are going out by ocean, by air. FedEx, UPS, the Kuwaiti companies. The express companies are back to normal now. If a seller has products ready, it shouldn’t be a problem to ship it out.  There are a lot of rumors about US customs putting restrictions or goods coming out from China. These are only rumors. US customs right now operates on a regular basis: No restrictions, no special certificate is needed.

Bradley Sutton: From what you see, obviously you’re not on the manufacturing side but from what you hear from your customers, are a lot of customers back up now because of the factory backed up with production so it’s taking them a little bit longer to get shipments even ready for you to ship or have you heard anything like that?

Refael Elbaz: Well, the big pressure because of Coronavirus, right on the Chinese New Year, most of the big centers and you know the medium to big centers, no gearing up and getting a lot of goods out of China before the Chinese New Year. We don’t see a lot of pressure right now from sellers, but we are starting to hear that if things don’t get back to normal in a week or two weeks, things are going to get worse for a lot of serious call. They’re going to be out of stock and production. Obviously, thinking about how many orders are starting to get back up with factories, so they’re going to have a backlog with orders coming out of production.

Refael Elbaz: And it depends how big you are and depends how important of a client you are to the factory to put you up in first priority or last priority. The effect is still out there. We expect the effect to be with us at least until May, June, even though factories will come back to normal, capacity will rise again. There’s going to be a very big backlog and very big  orders stacking up with those suppliers because again, most of them are not back to full capacity yet.

Bradley Sutton: With a lot of less flights going to and from China, how does this affect people who want air freight? Does it mean it’s near impossible or is just the prices are going to be very a lot higher than normal?

Refael Elbaz: Now that now that demand is coming back up again because as we said, factories are operational and working demand is going to rise and supply is going to stay low because the water flight was canceled. We see prices by air going up. There’s not going to be a problem to ship it out. Just price is going to be higher and sometimes a lot higher than the usual after the Chinese and after the Chinese New Year, we call it low season. Basically it’s March, April, May on a regular year. It’s considered low season for cargo out of China. This year is going to be very high season because there’s going to be a lot of demand and less supply. We’ve heard the United Airlines, Delta Airlines, all the US Airlines, they’ve just canceled all of their flights. Some of them even up to end of April. There is a shortage in the market and a shortage, again, when demand picks up, like we see today, the prices are going to move up north very fast.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. That’s good to know. Now, just in general, regardless of Coronavirus or any kind of seasonality, I want to talk about some common things that people who are shipping things from China, especially selling on Amazon or selling on other eCommerce platforms, different terminology that everybody needs to know and things like that. For example, what’s the difference between air freight and air consolidation?

Refael Elbaz: That’s a very good question. I talk about it on the Freedom Ticket course, with time, freight forward especially with Amazon-dedicated freight forwarders, they can start to build, we call it hybrid products, for Amazon sellers. The regular airfreight where when you book a cargo with an airline, you book it as an airport to airport as a freight forward. We arrange all trucking partners to pick up and all trucking partners deliver. With air consolidation, what happens is we figured out that there are a lot of Amazon sellers out there, and they’re all going to the same location, which are Amazon facilities. We started, not only us but Amazon-dedicated freight forwarder, building air consolidation. What it means, basically, we will have a weekly or biweekly booking with airlines where we buy crates with 3,000 and 4,000 kilos, three or four tons.

Refael Elbaz: And what we do is we combine a lot of sellers on that flight. You can have a 100 kilo, he can have 200 kilos, this guy can have 400 kilos and basically, we already booked the slot for three and four ton. And we bought the air freight price based on real fault on. Instead of booking your 100 kilo on yourself with airline; we book it on our 3-tonne slot, which means the price for their freight for the actual moving the goods international is going to be reduced by a lot. Basically, air consolidation is a big air freight slot that the freight forwarder booked with an airline. It combines all of these sellers together. Now, the frequency of flights will depend on how many clients that freight forward had, right?

Refael Elbaz: If the freight forward is small, it’ll take him a lot of time to fill that 2-ton or 3-ton slot; if he’s big and he has a lot of clients, it’ll be very fast to fill that slot. That’s going to affect the transit time as well. Air consolidation, basically, we have two types of air consolidations. We have an air consolidation that goes directly to Amazon, for example, by analyzing data, we figure out that Amazon in Dallas FTW1, or Amazon in Southern California, ONT8 is a very big location for Amazon and a lot of sellers are getting that. We actually have flights going directly to those facilities. We consolidate in our warehouses in Shanghai and in Shenzhen. From then, we send it over to the airline and it, for example, for a Dallas consolidation, it will land in Dallas airport.

Refael Elbaz: And from there, they’ll take a truck, and they’ll have to deliver the whole lot to Amazon in Dallas or in Southern California and it lands in in Los Angeles, LAX, and then from there, direct truck to Amazon. That’s the first type of consolidation; we call it the direct-to-Amazon consolidation. The second type would be a consolidation 2 or 3 PL locations, mostly in Southern California around Los Angeles. And we use that when we have smaller orders or shipments that goes through any other Amazon facility. Basically, we will collect all this cargo. We will still book that big slot with an airline to get the reduced price per kilo and then ship the whole lot in Los Angeles. Once it lands in Los Angeles and it gets to our warehouse, we’ll start braking them out and start segregating the whole thing.

Refael Elbaz: And then we will have a local domestic carrier like UPS Ground or FedEx Ground deliver each slot by itself through its designated Amazon facility. That’s the two types of  air consolidation that are out there in the market. And the difference is you will use an air consolidation if you have less than 500 kilo for your own order, and it will be fairly cheaper than regular airfreight, but transit time will be longer because it will take some days to collect all the cargo from the other sellers. And if it’s going through a 3PL in Los Angeles, you’ll take another day or two to get it to the 3PL and then another four to five days for the UPS Ground or FedEx Ground carrier to deliver it to Amazon. It’s going to be a bit slower, but it’s going to be much cheaper than a regular airfreight shipment.

Bradley Sutton: Then, what about express shipping? That’s even another form that’s even faster and more expensive than either of those two. Right?

Refael Elbaz: Exactly, so express shipping, we will usually use either DHL, FedEx, or UPS. The big brand names; fast means expensive and slow means cheap. Air Express is the fastest. Obviously, we can have a next-day services. We have services that your cargo is now with the factory, and tomorrow it’s going to be in Amazon in the States. Deliver it to Amazon, that’s the highest price. And you have a regular express service which is about two, three, two to four business days from pick-up to delivery. And you would use that service if you ever fairly smaller order, like a 50 kilo, a hundred kilo, or if you need it very fast.  We have clients selling 1000 units a day, very big clients, and for them, being out of stock is not worth any price in the world. So they’ll pay anything to get big shipments into Amazon as fast as possible. It’s funny, today, we operate over a hundred ton but in our express division, whether as specialized department in our company only for express shipments, and then we move around the hundred ton per month with those carriers. Those carriers actually don’t really like us because we have too much volume for them.

Refael Elbaz: Funny, you would imagine they will love us. Well actually freight companies, FedEx, DHL Express, they make their money when they ship a kilo or half a kilo¾a sample that costs you $20-$30 a kilo to ship. And when I come with 100 tonne,000, I expect to get a very good price to resell to my clients and they don’t really like working with big freight forwarders because we pack up the planes; we take all of that capacity and instead of selling the capacity on the airplane for thousands of clients shipping half a kilo or shipping a kilo and paying $20 a kilo or $30 a kilo, they have now got to work with a freight forwarder who puts like 500 kilo on an airway below 200 kilo on a shipment and  sell it for much, much, much less than $17 a kilo. The going rate for express shipment today from China to the States, boy, good and fast service like FedEx or DHL, they are looking at their own $5 to $7 a kilo, depends on from where to where or depends on the final gross weight and volume.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. And then just really quick, based on that again, what would the air freight and air consolidation be per kilo?

Refael Elbaz: Air freight and air consolidation, basically, the price will vary according to how much you’re going to ship. For example, one thing, I don’t know, a 200-kilo shipment, which is a fairly small shipment by an air consolidation on a regular year, around this time of the year¾I’m not talking about the Coronavirus¾you’re looking at around $4 to $4.50 a kilo. I was in China up to delivery and for the regular freight, well you don’t ship 200 kilos on a regular air freight because that’s too small on a regular air freight. Let’s say, if you have a ton, 1000 kilos on a regular air freight around this time of the year, you’re looking around $3 a kilo from  the airport in China up to delivery in the States, in Amazon you look at it around three $3.20 a kilo, $3.50 a kilo.

Refael Elbaz: It really depends where is your location? What is your Amazon facility? Obviously, around Los Angeles, it will be the cheapest because that’s the fastest route from China. Midwest and South would be a bit higher, and East Coast would be a bit higher as well because that’s the longest route from China to the States. That’s roughly the numbers you’re looking at. With the coronavirus, all of these numbers are going to go up at least by a dollar per kilo because again, demand is hiking up now and there is less capacity.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. And then the cheapest right now are the most inexpensive, which is also of course the slowest would be like ocean freight.

Refael Elbaz: Yes, an ocean consolidation. Also, with ocean, we have that same hybrid products where we take a traditional product like an LCL or an FCL or full container load. And we built like a consolidation for Amazon, which means we take the same method as the air. Then we take a lot of sellers going to the same direction and we put them all on the same container and that container goes directly to Amazon. The transit time will vary according to the Amazon location. But again, Southern California Amazon facilities, you’re looking at around 25 days from departure to delivery. Midwest, you’re looking at around 35 to 40 days from departure to delivery. East Coast, you’re looking at about 35 to 45 days from departure to delivery. It’s a bit slower than traditional ocean freight products like LCL, less than container load or regular FCO because again, we’re on a consolidation. You’ve got to wait for the container to be filled. Sometimes, you need to unload it in a 3PL to distribute. Sometimes the container goes directly to Amazon. It really depends on the product you have been sold.

Refael Elbaz: It’s crazy. It becomes a new economy in China. Today, if you come to us with the shipment, if anybody comes to us with an RFP, we have about almost eight different products. We can price it with like air consolidation to Amazon, air consolidation to a 3PL and then a domestic distribution, regular air, regular ocean consolidation to Amazon ocean to 3PL express. There are a lot of different products. Actually today, you’re looking at about four years ago, these products it’s pretty new in the market actually. Four years ago, you couldn’t find those products with regular air freight, regular ocean freight.  I guess it’s a good thing for Amazon sellers; the more volume China gets for Amazon sellers, the easier it gets to build the product like a hybrid product to consolidate a lot of sellers. Bottom line, it helps save a lot of money on those shipping.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. Now, just I know you don’t have a specific number, but just in your experience, if you’re thinking about on average, how much percent of your Amazon customers have things shipped directly from China to an FBA facility or compared to how many are first either going to their own warehouse or like a 3PL warehouse?

Refael Elbaz: That’s a very good question. I would say it depends on the size of the center. Well, the medium sellers ship directly to Amazon because it’s cheaper. You don’t have to go through another stop in a 3PL. Most of them will ship directly to Amazon. Today, I would say from the small- to medium-size sellers, 90% of them shipped directly to Amazon, request to ship directly to Amazon. The bigger sellers are doing shipments by the container load, and with Amazon storage prices, it becomes very expensive to keep huge amount of stocks on Amazon. These guys send it to all 3PL for unloading; we build their parts  on our 3PL and then keep some parts in storage, and then like drip feed. Yeah, let’s do Amazon with sales and you know fill the requirements. Well bigger centers would tend to send goods to a 3PL, even storage just because they have bigger shipments. All right. If you have a smaller shipment and your fine with stock, you know your cargo is going to sell not in quarter four because quarter four prices go through the roof with Amazon for storage. Regular quarter one, quarter two, quarter three, if you have small shipments you would send them directly to Amazon because it will be cheaper.

Bradley Sutton: What about import fees? Of course, when I used to import things, I used to be in car parts business like 20 years ago. I would get my own custom broker and then I would have to clear customs and it was different than the shipping company. I would import it. Yeah, it would get to the port and then I’d contact my custom broker and say, “Hey, you know I paid them like a bond for the year and then they would clear it.” But now most, I know your company and a lot of others, they can do all of that together, right? The seller or the company doesn’t have to get their own custom broker or their own bond anymore. Right?

Refael Elbaz: Well today, and I think it’s been going for at least 10 years and even more, 99% of the freight forwarding companies in the States would give you the custom clearance services as well. You won’t have to shop around for another supplier for customs and  a freight forwarder. 99% of all forwarders offer custom clearance services, which is a good thing because the freight forwarder knows the product he is shipping. He knows his client, he knows his customs classification, and it’s just easier. Imagine an Amazon seller, starting Amazon seller will have through not only deal with a freight forwarder, now he has to deal with another party, which is the customer’s broker, and  insurance company for the customer’s bond. It’ll just be a nightmare for them. If you want to be in that business, you’ve got to offer the full scope. At the end of the day, bottom line the IOR, the importer of record, which is the Amazon center, he’s responsible to be in line with the regulation to meet all of the regulation and the certification needed to import his products. Freight forwarder is basically like he’s consultant, right? Well, the sole responsibility is on the IOR. Yeah, that’s a good question.

Bradley Sutton: Okay. All right. Now before we get into your 30-second tip, you’re going to have to think of a 30-second tip, some kind of cool strategy that you can say really quick. It has to do with shipping, but we played this game, the search volume game. All right, so obviously here at here at Helium 10, we have a database of keywords and estimated number of how many times they’re searched for in a month. I have three different words here. In each of these I have three different search volumes, but I’m not going to give it to you. And in any specific order, but you’re going to try and match the search volume with the search term. Okay. first, I’m going to tell you the three words. All right. And they kind of have to deal with what you guys deal with. They are all shipping-related keywords and the three words are shipping boxes, shipping scale, and shipping supplies. Again, shipping boxes, shipping scale, and shipping supplies. And the three search volume from least to most is one of these keywords is 3000; it’s searched for about 3000 times per month on Amazon.com. Another one is search for 9,000 times per month. And the last one is searched for about 17,000 times per month. Which one goes to which search volume: shipping boxes, shipping scale, shipping supplies?

Refael Elbaz: I would go with 3000 for shipping scale. I would go with 9,000 for shipping boxes and 17,000 with shipping supplies.

Bradley Sutton: Wow. It’s actually the opposite. Yes, and this is exactly why I played this game because here is an expert in shipping, and even what he thinks is not exactly what the common American customer is actually doing. The number one most searched for thing on Amazon that has to do with shipping is shipping boxes with 17,000, shipping scale is 9,000, and shipping supplies is 3000. Oh well.  Actually that’s sobriety. That’s I good. I like it. Very rarely does anybody ever get them right. But it’s better when we get it wrong because it shows people just how much they need to do their research because what seems like common sense is not exactly always what is happening in the Amazon world.

Refael Elbaz: Shipping boxes search volume is 17,000, right?

Bradley Sutton: Yes, and maybe now you want to open up a new side business for you in a cargo and start supplying some boxes on Amazon. All right. Now we get to the part of the show called the TST which stands for TST or 30-second tip. Think of something that’s very valuable, like a strategy or something that people need to do whenever they’re thinking about shipping or logistics that you can say in 30 seconds or less and very actionable.

Refael Elbaz: Right. I have a lot of them but the biggest one for Amazon sellers today is talk to your freight forwarder? With import duties, there are a lot of exclusions today. Every week, at least 20 to 50 new products are getting an exclusion and not a lot of people knows that, but a lot of these products you are importing have an exclusion. With this in addition to your regular input duty, you wouldn’t know if it’s on an excluded, unless you really search it. Talk to your customs broker, or freight forwarder, and make sure that your product is excluded or not. We have a list of over 3000 units or 3000 products that got excluded. Regular household goods, products, stuff that Amazon sells.

Refael Elbaz: And if you find your product there, you can get your import duty waived. And the bonus, even if you paid for the last year, two years, with duties, not two years, but even if you paid duties for the last year, he can get the money back from the government and it’s legal and it’s free and you can get a check from the government. And we actually had about 10 clients who got back at least $50,000 from customs because they’ve paid duty on their imports and all of a sudden they found out that last week their product got excluded. Even if your product will get excluded next week, you can actually file a claim for the past entries you made in the past year or two years for that product and that’s a lot of money that can get back to your pocket.

Bradley Sutton: Interesting. Okay. That’s cool. I’ll let you go more than 30 seconds because that’s actually a pretty interesting one, hadn’t heard of that. That’s pretty cool. All right. Well, Refael, thank you so much for joining us. If anybody wants to find out some more information from you or find you, how can they find you or your company on the Internet?

Refael Elbaz: Basically, UniCargo on Facebook, UniCargo on Google, and basically I’ll jump right in front of your face.

Bradley Sutton: All right, thank you. And we’ll be seeing you at some upcoming Amazon conferences over here in the States. Quick note, guys, don’t forget that regardless where you are listening to this podcast, whether it’s on your iPhone or on Stitcher, on Spotify, that you hit the subscribe button so that you can be notified every time we drop a new episode.

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