5 Tips for the Amazon FBA First Timer & What We learned

Fulfillment By Amazon
We finally did it! After almost 5 years of strictly selling on eBay and a handful of craigslist and offerup listings, we did our first FBA shipment. Took us about 8 hours of work. Two hours one night just finding things around the house that we could potentially sell on Amazon. Then, the second day we spent six hours pricing, manually entering ISBN and UPC codes, processing, removing sticky residue, cutting up bar codes because we didn’t have address labels, and packing. Of course, wouldn’t you know it, there’s a first time glitch, Amazon couldn’t calculate our UPS shipping cost. We spent two hours trying different browsers IE, Mozilla, Firefox, Chrome, different devices laptop, desktop, iPad, and iPhone, and couldn’t get the shipping to calculate. Just kept getting the infinity wheel. Well, slept on it and then first thing in the morning, it worked! $9.76 for a 25lb UPS shipment of 44 items. Items included mostly books, handful of toys, Disney Christmas ornaments (never too early for Christmas!), kitchen supplies, and miscellaneous. Turns out to be $.22/item to ship. Yes, it is an additional shipping cost, but compared to eBay it’s worth (hopefully) the hassle-free stress of handling the rest. We’ll see how it goes. So, the figures for the stuff just laying around our house is about $800 worth of listings and $270 of estimated fees if they sell at the prices we set. Maybe we’ll get between $450-550 money in the bank!

So, let’s get to it. What did we learn and what are we going to do with our next FBA shipment? 5 Tips for the 1st Timer:

  1. Yep, you’re restricted.

    You can’t sell Lego, most Disney, Shopkins, Nike, lots of clothing, health & beauty, grocery and food items, and so many other popular brands – too many to list. But DON’T STRESS!!! You may have missed the boat on getting grandfathered into gated categories, but not to worry, we found plenty of stuff to sell and you will too. We can work on getting ungated later and focus on what we can control for now.

  2. Get a Barcode Scanner

    We spent too much extra time typing in those blasted ISBN and UPC digits. A cheap, less than $15 barcode scanner will make it so much easier.

  3. Shipping Labels

    We have all kinds of labels for our eBay business, but surprise surprise, no address labels. Amazon uses the 1″ x 2 5/8″ size to print off their special unique bar code (FNSKU). You need address labels to print these out.

  4. Plan your workflow

    We’ve got a pretty good workflow down for eBay but this was our first time doing FBA. We didn’t know what to expect other than what we saw from the YouTube videos we watched, which made things look so easy. Don’t get me wrong they were great videos and inspired us to do this, but there were just some things we didn’t plan out that would’ve made things easier. For example: When you select sell yours, go beyond the competing Marketplace Offers and get a better sense of what you can sell your item for. Remember, shipping your product in will qualify for “Prime” and if there is no competition for Prime, you can definitely price higher than the competition. This part of the process might be best done before hand and ready to insert when you are uploading your products. We haven’t figured out what’s best yet but you need to plan that research time (separate from the acquisition decision time – unless you have a slick way of keeping the price to sell saved at the time you buy something). Let us know if you have a solution! 🙂

  5. Expect to make mistakes

    Not all products have a UPC, ASIN, EAN, ISBN, or code on the product. We made of few mistakes assuming we found the exact product but after a more thorough effort realized we had the wrong one. We don’t want to start on the wrong foot and send a customer a different item than what they expected, so be diligent but not hard on yourself for making mistakes. In fact, laughing about it now, but was rather frustrated when we left out one of our items in our shipment. We had the box taped up real good and lots of Kraft paper filler and had to reopen and take stuff out to make room for the one item we forgot. Lot’s of fun, don’t beat yourself up. Mistakes are part of the learning process, it’s okay!

Comment below if you feel these 5 tips were helpful and don’t forget to subscribe to our blog or any other of our social media. Thank you for reading and happy selling!

For convenience we have listed all the supplies we ordered the next day to make our next FBA a better experience:

Avery Easy Peel Address Labels for Inkjet Printers 1″ x 2-5/8″, Pack of 750 (8160)

Uline 400 Piece Self Seal Suffocation Warning Combo Pack 1.5 Mil Poly Bags: 4 Sizes, 100 Each: 6×9, 8×10, 9×12, 11×14

FC Folding Pocket Utility Knife – Heavy Duty Box Cutter with Holster, Quick Change Blades, Lock-Back Design, and Lightweight Aluminum Body

Barcode Scanner,Symcode USB Laser Wired Handheld Barcode Reader Black

Scotty Peelers Label & Sticker Remover – 3 Plastic Red, White, Blue and 1 Metal Blade with Cover

Aviditi SIZER Carton Sizer/Reducer