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