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How Do You Use FBA? Fulfilled By Amazon For Reselling | Amazon Warehouse | Storage Shipping

Updated on March 19, 2013
This is a picture of the Zappos fulfillment center in Kentucky. This is one of the many Amazon Fulfillment warehouses. Not only do they store tons of items here, but they also do all of the packing and shipping from here.
This is a picture of the Zappos fulfillment center in Kentucky. This is one of the many Amazon Fulfillment warehouses. Not only do they store tons of items here, but they also do all of the packing and shipping from here. | Source

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Is an extremely powerful service for any entrepreneur. FBA allows anyone to have warehouse storage capability for a fraction of the cost. Not only that, but it's like having employees who will pack and ship all of your inventory that you send them. All in all, the FBA service is genius and even today is still an excellent tool to utilize for anyone looking to start a small business or to grow and expand their business. In this hub I will discuss a number of important tips on how to be successful by selling on Amazon using FBA.

Amazon uses boxes similar to this for every single item that they ship. They use the popular airbag packing system with just about everything.
Amazon uses boxes similar to this for every single item that they ship. They use the popular airbag packing system with just about everything. | Source

Large quantities of items are best for FBA

Amazon FBA works best when you are sending in multiples of the same item. Due to the split shipment requirement, it is much more difficult, expensive, and time consuming to send in many single, unique items. Case packed items are best. Ideally you would send in 20 of the same item in one box. They can't force you to send half of your box to one warehouse, and so all 20 items will go to the same place. The other benefit to sending in large quantities of the same item is that you won't have to send in more each time the item sells out. People can order multiple quantities as well.

Package everything carefully!

Amazon is very rough on items because they move quickly and it is a warehouse environment. For particularly fragile or expensive items, I put the item directly into its own box with the packing material of my choice, and apply the FBA sticker to the outside of the box. This ensures that no matter what it goes through, it will be safe. I have heard stories of forklifts ramming into boxes and running them over and while I'm sure this is rare, anything is possible at a warehouse.

A row of books all of which can be found on Amazon no doubt.
A row of books all of which can be found on Amazon no doubt. | Source

Don't sell books with FBA

Many of the expensive books are heavy and fairly large so that means fees, fees, and more fees. Thanks to media mail, I can ship books super cheap to anywhere in the US even if they are heavy and large books. When you sell books with Amazon FBA you need to prepare them properly and it is more annoying to ship them because of the split shipment procedures that Amazon forces sellers to follow now. FBA is still a viable option, but you had better be prepared to share a large chunk of your profits and spend more time on them. The biggest benefit to using FBA for books is that they will store the books for you cheaply and manage the packing and shipping.

Avoid high risk items

I generally don't sell items on FBA that are worth more than $50. Amazon is the ultimate scammer paradise. Many buyers on Amazon think that they are buying the item from Amazon itself rather than someone who is selling through amazon and so many buyers couldn't care less about lying, cheating, stealing, scamming, and being vicious towards the huge online retailer. Amazon FBA communication is absolutely terrible and they keep the customer confused at times, ultimately leaving the blame on the seller. Because of this refunds are fairly common for the dumbest and most outrageous reasons. I am very careful what not to sell. This includes items that are fragile, contain many parts, are poorly made, or worth more than $50.

FBA items sell easier

A lot of buyers don't even buy from 3rd party sellers and will only buy from Amazon through FBA. These buyers trust Amazon and are happy to know that they can return any item for any reason, at any time in any condition with no risk or cost at all to themselves. Because of this, you can often sell items that you literally can not sell otherwise. I have had items that did not sell for months until I sent them into FBA and then poof, they all sold out quickly. Items sold through FBA gain a lot more reputability, and visibility. If you really have a lot of items, I would suggest considering selling on FBA and also self fulfilling. This means you will reach all types of buyers. I have also tried this method.

Don't sell heavy items

Heavy items are expensive to ship to the warehouse and they also have a ton of fees when FBA ships out your product. If there is profit to be made on a heavy item I will generally fulfill it myself. Heavy items carry more risk in transit as well. As far as weight is concerned, some items can be better to use with FBA. Items that are not oversize, but still large and moderately heavy are the best types of items to send in. Generally I am talking about items that weigh between 5-10 pounds but are not oversize. This is because they meet the threshold of being too awkward and or expensive to pack and ship.

A Tour Of The Amazon Warehouse

Don't sell oversize items

Straight from the amazon website..."The dimensions and weight of the product being fulfilled determine whether the product is oversize or not. Oversize rates apply to any packaged unit that weighs more than 20 lbs or with its longest side more than 18", its shortest side more than 8", or its median side more than 14". A Unit exceeding any of these dimensions is Oversize."

Oversize items have a $6 fee attached to them, so clearly unless you are making a lot of profit on the item, it is not worth it to use FBA to sell oversize items. I only sell a handful of oversize items with FBA and I sent them in before the fees jumped up to $6.

Sales rank is everything

You don't want to be sending an item into FBA that has a terrible sales rank. By terrible, I would mean anything more than 1 million for books. I have sold books that had over 4 million sales rank, but they were slow and sat around a lot. If you are selling with FBA you don't want the item to sit because you pay storage fees and it is expensive to get the item there, and then pay to have it removed if it does not sell. Also, it costs money to dispose of the item! I hesitate to use FBA for items outside of books that have a ranking higher than 100,000 but that's just me. It depends, and to be completely honest, its very tough to explain sales rank, versus item return on investment, versus storage fees. This will all come with time if you are serious about learning.

Mark up the price

Items that are sold through FBA will always sell for higher prices. Buyers will pay more for the added benefits that buying through FBA gives them. Sellers have more to risk and should price in accordance with the added risk. If you are the only one selling an item with FBA, it stands out and is officially endorsed and promoted by Amazon. You get the "buy box" which helps greatly with selling an item. Only people who are really looking for the best deal will look below for the lowest price.

Get ready to be scammed

Because of Amazon's extremely generous customer return policy, you will be scammed A LOT. It is part of business, and you should just accept it. Your best hope is that when a customer returns an item that they return it sealed new and say that they changed their mind, so that they will pay the return shipping. Dream on... More often than not, they will open it, use it, say it was defective, and return it in working order. These items end up at my house or get donated. The worst is when they return a great item after breaking it, and then claim it was defective, and then they leave you a 1/5 feedback score with some absurd product review (ratings are for seller performance). As a seller, you have no recourse, so you better have thick skin if you plan to use FBA.

I hope you enjoyed this hub! If you liked it would you subscribe for more? Do you love treasure hunting, selling on Ebay, or just learning about cool vintage stuff? Check out my youtube channel for tons of videos about my adventures and hauls as well as tips, tricks, and countless bits of information!

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    • tsmith53149 profile image

      Tom Smith 2 years ago from Mukwonago, Wisconsin

      I've been watching a lot of your videos on youtube, your a great help! I'm just getting into FBA, and it is going smoothly so far!

    • SpaceShanty profile image

      SpaceShanty 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi, I am considering using FBA for small (less than 500g) electronic items, what do you expect the return rate (%) will be?

      Many thanks, very good Hub!

    • searscommerce profile image

      David 4 years ago from Chicago

      Nice article – another fulfillment service option to consider is Sears Commerce Services, offering a full suite of solutions for sellers. Not only can you sell your products on Sears.com but you can also opt in for Fulfilled by Sears, which is a viable alternative to other platforms. Sears will store your inventory in their warehouse and when your products sell, either on your own site or third party marketplace sites, such as Amazon, eBay, or Sears.com, the order will be picked, packed, and shipped out. I work for Sears Commerce Services. You can learn more here: http://www.searscommerceservices.com/fulfilled-by-...

    • PickingProfits profile image
      Author

      PickingProfits 4 years ago

      If you are looking to sell those books then you should sell them on Amazon, but you should be patient with them because they will sell very slowly. Just keep it on the shelf until it sells because it probably will eventually.

    • Wesley Clark profile image

      Wesley Clark 4 years ago from Bellevue, WA

      I have some expensive books and other items I thought about selling via FBA. The books in question are rare theological books which I have seen for sale on Amazon from other retailers for hundreds of dollars per book. I am now puzzled as to what I should do. I really appreciate your article. It always helps when you have someone share their story about the service or product that they have used themselves. I don't want to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Thumbs up and thanks.

    • lhale profile image

      lhale 4 years ago from Georgia

      I've read a lot about FBA and finally decided to try it. Check out this hub of mine, please, and give me some expert feedback. Thanks. I appreciate your help! http://lhale.hubpages.com/hub/Fulfillment-by-Amazo...