Purchasing a Thermal Label Printer

I finally ran into an issue I had been trying to avoid since starting to sell on Amazon.

Labeling products before sending them into the warehouse. 

You might be wondering why I have never labeled items before now…Since this is a part-time hobby, I wanted to spend the least amount of time possible prepping and shipping my inventory. The only prep work I completed on my own was the bagging of small items and sets of items. I would purchase polybags from Amazon and simply stick the items into the bag and seal it (which I still recommend – more on that in another post). Labeling only cost $0.20 per item and my profit margin was a lot higher than that. I figured I could save the time and simply have Amazon do the labeling for me.

This week, I purchased 57 units of a product that could not be shipped into Amazon unless I applied a label on each item. Since these items have an expected return of 1,500% per item, I need to get them into the warehouse ASAP. I started doing some research online and decided to purchase a thermal label printer.

  

I decided to purchase the DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo (above is an affiliate link if you are interested in purchasing). I found it on sale at Staples for $49.00 and picked it up in the store during my lunch break. I also ordered the two sets of labels listed above – one for product labels and one for stamps.

As I got them home to use them, I ran into a whole bunch of problems. I thought it would be a good idea to share what I learned so that you don’t get as frustrated as I did.

1. Amazon’s Scan and Ship service only works with a Windows operating system. Since I am an avid Mac user, this caused a big issue rather quickly. I was able to find an old PC laying around the house and I was able to get the system to work.

2. Amazon’s Scan and Ship service only works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Safari. I ran into problems once again because I love using Chrome.

3. You must have the most up-to-date version of JavaScript. Since the applet runs using JavaScript, you won’t be able to do anything without it.

4. The labels that come as a sample roll in the box can’t be used to label products for Amazon. I repeat, they can’t be used. Amazon’s Scan and Ship service only prints in a portrait orientation. You must use the labels (or something of the same size) that I have listed above. Otherwise, your labels will not come out.

5. If you do label your own products, you no longer have to ship two different shipments to your inbound locations (this is something that no one mentioned to me). This is going to cut my shipping costs in half and also cut down on the amount of time I spend packaging my products.

I can really see the upside of investing into equipment such as the thermal label printer and I think that it will cut costs and speed up processing for the long term (minus the time I spent figuring out how to use the silly thing). Anything you can do to increase profitability and decrease your time investment is a win in my book.

3 thoughts on “Purchasing a Thermal Label Printer

  • August 15, 2015 at 10:20 am
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    Hi. Great blog. Can you elaborate a bit more on your comment that doing your own labelling meant that you did not have to send in two shipments.

    Reply
  • October 27, 2015 at 1:56 pm
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    Jim,
    I just started Amazon FBA but found on my first shipment of 3 items I had to ship to 4 locations! I think this is because when Amazon labels your product they co-mingle it with others ‘identical’ products. They have you ship to the locations they prefer the product be warehoused. When you label them, often your shipment goes to 1 or at least less locations. Quantity of each type items may affect it as well.

    Reply
  • October 27, 2015 at 2:07 pm
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    Chris, So you don’t use your DYMO printer with the Mac and Amazon RA/OA?
    It does seem to be very challenging to do.
    In case others are having the same challenge, here is some info I hope will help:

    1. See this post in Amazon blog, it shows a work around for printing 1 label at a time on Mac Shipping Flow. https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/thread.jspa?messageID=3333311&#3333311
    See this video for instructions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKPGbGAhzCg

    2. See this post also:
    “Q: I would like to know if scan & ship is working “
    https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=266278&sortBy=helpful&ref_=au_sf266278_afin_athena

    A: It may not work for you. Some sellers have access to it as a legacy feature, while new sellers cannot use it. From Amazon:

    A: Amazon posted 23 Aug, 2015: Important: If you have not created and shipped items via Scan & Ship since September 2013 you will only be able to scan and print item labels with this tool. For shipment creation, please use the Shipment Creation Workflow.
    I assume that could be PC and not Mac specific as well.

    3. Amazon pop up Help article found by clicking “Lean More” on ‘Select Printer” button on ‘Shipment Scan and Label’ page says “Currently we do not support Mac OS”!

    Reply

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