Amazon FBA Reader Questions Answered!
Update Jan 2016: I’ve been selling on Amazon for nearly two years. All new posts related to Amazon selling and private labeling are on my new site PrivateLabelPreneur.com. This is still a very relevant post to read so don’t miss it!
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Since I’ve been writing about my experience as an Amazon FBA seller, I get questions from readers through comments on posts and email.
It dawned on me that rather than just respond to that person I should create a post from the question so that everyone can see the answer.
So, a new series is born: Amazon FBA Reader Questions Answered!
Image Credit: Toronto History on Flickr (modified)
So here we go with the first in the series…
Reader Steve left this question in a comment on the Amazon Seller Tools & Resources page.
Hi Ree, thank for the great resources you have laid out. I am new to Amazon FBA, as I have been selling on eBay for quite awhile. Now that I am ready to jump in feet first I have a couple of questions.
- Let’s say I have a Sony Walkman that I want to send in to FBA, How would I package this? Would I place the actual barcode label on the unit itself? or would I place the unit in a bag with the barcode on the outside?
- For bundles do I need to put all items in One Bag, or do you use the do not separate sticker for this purpose?
The reason I ask is we do a lot of thrift store, garage sales, etc. So most of our items will be of the used variety. I’m just not sure how we should get these type of items ready for sale on Amazon. Any help/advice would be much appreciated.
Answer to Question #1: How to prep/package products for shipment
First, I have to tell you that I haven’t sourced any used items for sale through Amazon’s FBA service. However, I did some research and I’m certain that barring a couple nuances, the process would be quite similar to new items. Here are some pointers:
Make sure you are approved to sell in the category related to your product.
I made the mistake of purchasing some great perfume at a killer price only to be told by Seller Central that I wasn’t approved to sell in that category when I tried to create my listing.
Worse yet, once I went through the drill to get approved in the Beauty category, I still couldn’t send the perfumes in to Amazon’s warehouses because they’re flammable. Ugh…off to the return counter for me since I wasn’t interested in selling merchant fulfilled at that time. You likely won’t have that option for used items but you can still sell them on eBay or Craigslist.
Amazon’s Amazon Seller app is what I use to source. It’s free AND it will warn you if the product is restricted. Here’s an example based on your hypothetical Sony Walkman:
Here’s a link to Amazon’s help file on Categories and Products Requiring Approval. (Note: you have to be logged on to your Amazon Seller account to view this link.)
Prep and packaging items for shipment to amazon’s warehouses
There’s a lot to this so I’ll try to stick to answering your specific question. These are my tips, I hope other sellers will weigh in with more in the comments.
- If the item is in the original manufacturer’s package and it’s sturdy, simply place your barcode label over the manufacturer’s barcode on the package.
- If the item is loose or the packaging isn’t sturdy, you should poly bag the item and place the barcode label on the bag.
- You can use a Sharpie to line through the manufacturer’s barcode just to ensure that Amazon’s warehouse employees don’t scan the wrong code accidentally.
- If your item has parts, you should definitely bag or box them, put the barcode label on the bag/box AND include a THIS IS A SET DO NOT SEPARATE label, too.
- If you are poly bagging, make sure it’s tight. I’ve found that Amazon isn’t gentle with your product and things that are loosely sealed in bags can take a beating. I only know this because I’ve had product shipped back to me that I mislabeled and had to correct. Don’t risk the customer being disappointed when they receive their purchase!
You can find all the supplies you need here.
Answer to Question #2: How do you package bundles for shipment?
Okay, whether you are selling multiples of the same product (called multipacks) or several different, but compatible products (called bundles) you MUST PUT ALL THE ITEMS IN ONE BAG OR BOX, affix the barcode label and include a THIS IS A SET DO NOT SEPARATE label.
Here are a couple of my products to illustrate:
This is a multipack. I put the two tubes in a self-sealing poly bag (tight) then placed the barcode and do not separate labels on the bag.
This next product is a bundle and it was large and bulky. Since I wanted to ensure no breakage I decided to use a 10x10x10 box. I carefully placed the items in the box with padding, cut the box down to size, then sealed the box. The barcode label and several do not separate labels went on the outside of the box.
I intentionally placed the do not separate labels across where the box flaps meet. The barcode label was placed on the box where it wouldn’t get cut and damaged if the warehouse opened the box.
There is a lot of very useful information, including some good short videos, on Amazon’s Seller Central help pages. Be sure to take some time to read the topics on preparing products.
Hey, Readers, what can you add to help Steve?
We’ve all learned by experience so if you’ve been a seller on Amazon, what else can you share that will help Steve?
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