Amazon offers a gazillion ways for people to make money, and me liking to keep my business portfolio diversified, I’ve been playing around with some of those different ways. I’m an Amazon affiliate, have been for 20+ years now. I’ve written an ebook that I sell on Amazon, and the topic of that ebook is actually about making money with Amazon Native Ads. And now, I’m buying stuff to resell via Amazon FBA.
In This Post:
What Does FBA Stand For?
FBA stands for “Fulfillment by Amazon”. Basically that means when I list an item for sale on Amazon, I actually send that item to Amazon’s warehouse for them to store until it sells. That way the item will qualify for “Prime Shipping” and be more attractive to the 100 million Amazon Prime members. And you don’t have to have your garage full of inventory, yay!
Get Started With Amazon FBA
Create Amazon Seller Account. I started with an individual account as I didn’t know how many items I would be selling. With an individual account, Amazon charges you 99¢ per item. A professional account charges you a $39.99 monthly subscription fee no matter how many items you sell, so if you plan to sell more than 40 items, it’s best to choose that selling plan. You can start as an individual and change to a professional later (that’s how I started).
You’ll need to provide your legal name and address as well as a “display name”. This is the name that buyers see next to the item that you are selling. I chose “shoppingbookmarks” because that’s my seller name on Ebay. You’ll also need a credit card to pay fees and your bank routing and account numbers so your earnings can be direct deposited. You will have to verify your identity via a phone call or text message.
Find Items To Sell
My economics class always preached to buy low and sell high. I recommend downloading the Amazon Seller app on your phone so you can scan barcodes of products you find to see what they are currently selling for on Amazon. The app will tell you the current low price of the product plus the fees you’d pay associated with that item. Deduct the cost of the item (and I usually “pad” another $5 on for shipping/packing) from the gross proceeds, and if you’re still in the black, it’s up to you if you want to invest in buying the product.
If it looks like I will make a profit, I immediately click the “Sell” button within the app to find out if I am eligible to sell that product. I learned this the hard way by buying items and then getting home to find out I wasn’t eligible to sell certain brands and within certain categories as a newbie. If you can sell the item, this will add the product to your account and saves you a ton of time not having to manually add them later. Be sure to tick that you want Amazon to ship and provide customer service for the item if they sell. If you forget, you can change it later.
So where do I find items to sell? Everywhere!
- Clearance – Check out the clearance aisles and end caps at Kmart, Target, Walmart, Walgreens, etc.
- Dollar stores – I’ve found several name brand items at Dollar Tree. Bundle them up for more profit.
- Rebate items – Menards is my favorite for stocking up on free after rebate items.
- Overstock – TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Big Lots and Ross are examples of stores that sell authentic items for less than retail.
- Found a great deal on clearance instore? Check and see if it’s online at the store and order more.
- Order from China – Alibaba is my favorite, just keep in mind that it takes months for you to receive your order, so plan ahead for holidays.
- Check out Ebay – some inexperienced sellers or sellers just wanting to get rid of stuff will sell items on the cheap.
Send Items To Amazon
When I get home from a shopping spree, I log into my Amazon Seller Account and “Manage Inventory” under the “Inventory” tab. The new items I bought and added on my phone will say “Inactive (Out of Stock)” under “Status”. I tick those items, and Click “Action on XX selected” to “Send/Replenish Inventory”, and then create or add to an existing shipping plan. Add your quantities.
Follow the “Continue” buttons answering any questions if needed. You may need to label some products, put in “poly bags” and/or bubble wrap some items. Here is a list of supplies I use* when sending in my inventory:
- 1″ x 2.63″ Address Labels (same size as Avery 5160) – Some items you send in will require a label (like used books and if you group items together), and some sellers like to print out labels for every single product they send in so they know the buyer gets their exact item (in case your competitor’s items aren’t authentic). I don’t label all items because a buyer may be able get an item you’re selling from a closer warehouse which may be the deciding factor on if they buy from you.
- Half-Sheet Shipping Labels – These are to print the packing label/postage for the boxes to send in. Half will be the actual shipping label (I use UPS, and Amazon has partnered with UPS to get great shipping rates), and the other half will be basically your packing slip with your information on it. There is no need to include a packing slip inside the box.
- Tape Gun – You’ll go through A LOT of tape! The Tape King tape dispenser is the best one I’ve used thus far. It works with any brand of tape, but I do find Tape King tape to be the best.
- Poly Bags – These are basically ziplock bags (I started out using quart and gallon size bags). Bags with an opening over 5″ must have a suffocation warning on them. I ended up buying an assortment pack of sizes that already has the warning pre-printed. If your bags don’t have the suffocation warning, you can buy suffocation warning stickers for such.
- Cardboard Boxes – At first, I was recycling other boxes I’d received purchases in, but I found it’s much easier to buy boxes from Walmart for only $1 each (available instore only) as they have the sizes written right on them (because you have to submit the size of the box when you ship it), and I think the shipping rates are less for their standard sizes boxes.
- Bubble Wrap – A roll of this lasts a long, long time (for me anyway).
- Fillers – I do recycle fillers from other purchases to use if my box isn’t completely full, but if I’m out of fillers, I’ll use some bubble wrap or crinkle up plain paper.
- Sticker Remover Tools – These save a ton of time removing all those pesky clearance stickers from the stores. You don’t want prices on your items!
- Sell as a Set Stickers – It is much cheaper to buy these stickers for bundles than print them yourself.
*Update! I have since upgraded from printing using inkjet printers to using Dymo laser printers. They are a little more pricey, but considering they don’t use inkjet cartridges, they are worth the investment. Plus you can print more information on the product labels, and that information won’t smudge or smear.
- DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo – I use this to print 2-1/4″ x 1-1/4″ product labels.
- DYMO LabelWriter 4XL Thermal Label Printer – I use this is print the 4″ x 6″ shipping labels.
- AZLabels – I use this Chrome extension to format all my labels directly from Amazon Seller Central.
Amazon may have you ship different items to different locations, so don’t seal up your boxes until you actually have the shipping labels ready to go. If they want you to ship just one item to a different location, I usually delete that shipment and add the item to the next shipping plan (if there is an easier way someone does this, please let me know).
After I send off my shipments, I sit back and wait for items to sell. If any of your items aren’t selling, you can always go through the change the prices at any time. Some one may have come in and set their prices 1¢ lower than yours, so you can technically go in and do the same thing. I tend to simply “match low price” as I believe that is the fairest for all buyers, but not all sellers play fair.
There are so many more tips out there that I’m still learning as I go. I’ve learned a ton from FullTimeFBA.com and TheSellingFamily.com who is a husband and wife duo that started selling Amazon FBA back in 2008, and it is now their full-time income with part-time hours. Grab their Free Report on how to build your own Amazon FBA business today!
Do you sell on Amazon FBA? If so, let me know as I’d love to buy something from you!