I know that there are a lot of people who are just starting out in the world of selling on Amazon or through Amazon’s FBA service. If you take a few minutes to scroll through one of our Facebook groups, you will notice a lot of the same questions repeated over and over again (one reason we invested in starting a forum). There is this constant fear of unknowing (and fear of breaking the rules) that really hampers a lot of the new sellers from advancing or even starting in the first place. This post is being written to give some insight into a few areas I know people struggle with when first starting (since I did) and how to overcome those obstacles to start making a little extra income on the side.
Here we go!
1. Why would someone buy something for more than I can buy it for?
It all goes back to the basic principles of supply, demand, and scarcity (you can read more about this in my economics post). What I can buy from a local store on clearance is not the same as what a person in Nevada can purchase from a store on clearance. This imbalance of supply and demand cause the difference in prices. I might be willing to pay more for sunscreen in California during November than I am willing to pay for it in Indiana during the same time frame. The factor of scarcity also plays a huge role. Someone might not be able to find a product in a certain location due to it being out of stock or not even being carried locally. That is where the secondary marketplace of Amazon comes into play. People are able to search for items from a huge catalog and get those items shipped right to their door (in two days). This has brought a brand new market to life and FBA sellers capitalize on the imbalance of information to make money along the way.
2. How much prep work do you need to do before shipping?
You will hear a bunch of different rules and stories on this one. People will tell you that you can throw items into a box and ship it. Other will tell you that you need to wrap each one like a Christmas present for your own child. I fall somewhere in the middle on this question. Here are the rules I tend to follow:
- If you wouldn’t buy the package, don’t send it in. Think of it through the eyes of a consumer. If it looks like shit, they won’t buy it.
- If you are selling a multipack or bundle, take the time to place it in a polybag or box. It will cost a little extra, but you have control of your products.
- Remove all pricing stickers. Use a heat gun and a scotty peeler to make your life a lot easier.
- Add expiration dates to anything that expires.
- If Amazon tells you to label a product, label it. If you forget, make sure you have unexpected prep services turned on.
- If a product is out of packaging (aka: something that has no box or bag), place it in a polybag.
- Other than that, pack the items in a box and ship them in. It’s that simple.
3. Why can’t I sell an item in a category?
In order to make sure every seller meets certain requirements for reselling (quality control), Amazon started to restrict the selling of products in certain categories. Here is the list of all the categories that are currently gated:
3D Printed Products
Automotive & Powersports
Clothing & Accessories
Grocery & Gourmet Foods
Health & Personal Care
Industrial & Scientific
Luggage & Travel Accessories
Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
Video, DVD, & Blu-ray
If you want to sell in one of these categories, you can actually go through the approval process yourself (Mike is going to be posting a great blog post on how to do that soon). If you want help, we recommend Nate McAllister at www.ungateyouraccount.com. He can help you out for a small fee and make the process a whole lot easier.
4. Should I buy this item?
This is ultimately your call, but I can at least give you a short checklist to get started.
- Is the product in good condition? If so, move to the next question.
- If I sell this product at the current low price, will I make money? If so, move to the next question.
- Is this profit high enough for me to take the risk? If so, move to the next question.
- What is the rank of this item? Does it have reviews and will it sell quickly? If so, move to the next question.
- Does it have a strong history of sales? If so, move to the next question.
- Will I have issues shipping the item? If not, move to the next question.
- BUY IT.
If your item meets your business model and is going to make you money, pull the trigger. Don’t second guess yourself.
5. What if I buy and item and it doesn’t sell?
This is the risk you take when you start a business. Sometimes the numbers are amazing, but something changes in the marketplace and you end up losing money. I like to look at this as an investment into my Online Selling tuition. Every business owner makes mistakes. The ones who are successful learn from those mistakes and prevent themselves for making them in the future. Don’t let the fear stop you in your tracks. Make educated choices and keep learning along the way. Bookmark this blog (and a couple of others) to learn from our mistakes. Join communities such as FBA Master Facebook Group or Godfather Deals to learn from a community of people doing the same exact thing as you. Ask questions and never be afraid to give something a try.
I hope this post can help at least one person get started in the world of selling online – It can be a scary place, but the best way to get started is to dive in and start trying. Don’t suffer from analysis paralysis! You will never make any additional money if you don’t take the risk to get started.