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Is it worth fulfilling directly from China?

Hi!

I am expanding the family business to online, kitchenware, and am in the pre-testing research process. I am wondering whether it is worth fulfilling consumer ec-ommerce orders to the U.S. via a 3PL in China, vs. bringing goods from the factory to a U.S. based 3PL by freight and shipping from there. These are our products that we manufacture and are responsible to fulfill, not dropshipping my any means.

Pros:

  1. No sea freight lag time, which would help us build the business up more quickly and risk less capital in the beginning on inventory (can do less units as the wait to get them is cut by 4-5 weeks).
  2. Avoid paying duties and tariffs, which would go directly into ad spend.
  3. Be able to offer free shipping on virtually all products. I'm sure many customers would be happy to wait 2-3 weeks for this, while a faster option wouldn't be that expensive if they preferred.

Cons:

  1. Less established 3PL industry/language and timezone barrier.
  2. Wait times and reliability of China ePackets might result in lost goods.
  3. Any customs issues, although this will likely be a non issue as our prices/Average order will be mostly $20-100

Assuming the 3PL in China is reputable/trustworthy (looking at NextSmartShip) and can handle returns, does anyone have any reasons why I shouldn't take up that option? I have mandarin speaking people in Hong Kong to support me with issues that may arise too who are also managing the the transport of goods to any 3PL.

Any guidance or sharing of your experience is so much appreciated!

submitted by /u/jdude17
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