I refer to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) a lot, because it is my number one outlet for reselling in the pursuit of points. Chatting with a friend, I realized that I’ve never actually put together anything basic about how to get started with FBA. This is a continuation of my attempt at that.
- Beginner’s Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Setting up an account
- Beginner’s Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Analyzing and adding a product
- Beginner’s Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Shipping 101
- Beginner’s Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Shipping 201
- Beginner’s Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Ungating Product Categories
- Beginner’s Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Amazon Seller App
- Beginner’s Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Amazon Seller App Part 2
- Expert Guide to Fulfillment by Amazon: Dealing with Returns
I’ve written about shipping in the past, here, but, it really is a pretty big part of working with FBA.
A lot of things factor in to how things go with shipping. Are you purchasing the product in store or online, via shopping portals? I’ll talk about both concepts here. Another consideration, are labels, if required. We’ll walk through that too.
Consider shipping when you purchase
This is the stongest point I want to make. Whenever I buy something, I consider what my shipping costs are likely to be, and if I’m buying it online, I’m considering how many units the store might put into a single box. When I analyze products like Keurigs or nutribullets, I consider how much the shipping will impact the margin. In cases like Magic Bullet NutriBullet Pros, I know I Kohl’s generally sends 2 per box, and I can just relabel the box to ship it out. If you’re repeat buying certain products, you’ll figure out what the right quantities pretty quickly, but I will warn you, companies like Kohl’s and Sears are not always logical, nor consistent.
Keep excess boxes and shipping packaging
Sometimes to the chagrin of my wife, I keep a lot of boxes and those plastic air bags that most good companies use for dunnage in packing. You want to ensure that the product is received into Amazon in a pristine state, so, keeping a couple extra boxes around, shouldn’t be an issue. The other benefit is, sometimes you have to buy a bunch of small orders (perhaps even under different accounts), whether it’s a limitation on a particular coupon, or other reason, so having alternative packaging makes it easier to get your products out.
To Label or not to Label, That is the Question
Once you’ve gotten your products, you’ll go through the Amazon screens to ship your product. The first one, assuming you’re shipping multiple products (and hint: you should be!), is this:
Egads! a circle! an arrow! I broke them out! But, why? Because if you’re shipping multiple products this is perhaps the most important point: select “Case-packed products.” That will help you control your shipping cost, by being able to send your products (ideally packed in a single box) to a single FBA center.
Now, a word about FBA centers – they’re across the country, yet some will invariably pop up more than others. I’m not really sure why, but nutribullet pro’s for example, seem to commonly get directed to Pheonix (PHX), which is a pain, considering I live on the East Coast, but, other products routinely go to closer FBA centers. Sometimes you can game this by doing multiple packages, and I’ll talk about that in Shipping 201.
Your next step is deciding if you’ll do the labeling, or have Amazon do the labeling for $0.20 per unit. Note: Not every product requires labeling. You should be hoping to get this:
Of course, if labeling is required, it’ll look something like this:
Now I typically use these Avery 30 up labels and will set the “# of labels to print” to 30, hoping that I’ll use the remaining ones.
After you print out your labels, you’ll hit continue, and come to an “Approve” screen, where it’ll tell you what FBA center you’re shipping to. After approving it, you’ll continue working it and get to a screen where you verify what you’re shipping, then choose a shipping service, enter the weight and box dimensions, calculate the charges, accept the charges, and then, and only after you’ve accepted the charges, will they give you a packing slip to print out. Here’s a view of most of the screen:
Once you accept the charges and download the packing slip, just hit print, tear or cut that slip in half (you’ll see what I mean when you print it out), and tape both halves onto the box. (Edited – Thanks to Miles per Day and Al!)
Whenever prepping a box to ship to Amazon, you also want to make sure you cover up or pull off any other shipping labels, lest that box make it back to you faster than ever. I also like to double tape any areas of concern; but I’ll be the first to admit, I’m an over-taper (if such a thing exists).
The next topics up, I’ll cover ungating a product category, and a little later on, I’ll cover Shipping 201.