When I first heard about selling on Amazon FBA, I was skeptical. I mean, we are talking Amazon! It is the biggest online retailer in the world. Maybe the biggest retailer in the world, period. And they let ordinary people like me sell on their platform. No way.
Well, I did my own research. Much of it taking place on the Amazon Sellers Central website. Indeed, it was true. And it can be true for you, too. Especially if you’re looking for a work from home opportunity.
E-commerce is big. And it’s not going away anytime too soon. Not only that, it one of the biggest trends when it comes to ways of making money on the internet. Even brick-and-mortar giants such as Wal-Mart and Costco offer online shopping. Even smaller retailers easily sell their products by placing a “buy now” button on their own website or on Facebook. Oh, and let’s not forget they also sell their products on Amazon!
But starting and stocking an e-commerce store is a lot of work. There’s all that inventory, storage, handling, shipping and customer service. But that’s where Amazon FBA comes in. FBA stands for fulfillment by Amazon and they make it easy for small-time sellers like me, and you.
What is FBA?
“Fulfillment by Amazon”, simply known as “FBA,” is a service for its marketplace merchants that consists of Amazon picking, packing and shipping all your orders. With one of the most advanced fulfillment networks in the world, you can bet that Amazon has the expertise to take care of all your orders and provide customer service in your favor.
There’s a lot of benefit to that, too. When you let Amazon take care of your orders, you are saving time and can instead work on growing your business. When you send products to Amazon for fulfillment, they become eligible for free shipping and Amazon Prime Free-Two Day shipping, which makes them a better deal for customers!
All of your Amazon marketplace listings will show the “Prime” logo, which lets et’s customers know that your products are not only being fulfilled by Amazon, but the mega-retailer will take care of customer service and returns as needed!
While there are lots of products that you can sell in the marketplace, be aware that some are gated, which means there are certain restrictions and to get selling approval there may be some hoop jumping. But still, starting out there are still a number of products you don’t need approval to sell. The nice thing about selling FBA is you just have to send your stock to Amazon and let them do the rest.
You’ll also be able to manage your orders from multiple sales channels. If you sell your stock on a website other than Amazon, it will manage your inventory for you, and you’ll only need to redirect your sales to Amazon.com for fulfillment!
There are fees, of course, for all of this service, from selling fees to storage fees. Pricing for fulfillment is determined by several factors, including the type of product and those fees but ultimately you make the pricing decision. And, if the numbers work right, you make money. Often, the profit is more than even brick and mortar retailers can make.
How the Amazon FBA Program Works
Fulfillment with Amazon is easy enough. First, you’ll need an Amazon sellers account. After you create an Amazon sellers account, it is as simple as adding “fulfillment by Amazon” to your account. You can add “FBA” to your account if you choose a professional selling plan with a simple check mark when you are creating your account. You can also choose to fulfill your product “By Merchant,” but more work.
Then you have to find products to sell. And there are so many ways to do that. Jessica Larrew from TheSellingFamily.com started her selling career with FBA by finding overstock and liquidation items. She wrote about that in her ebook, Liquidation Gold. That was one of my first books on Amazon selling in 2013 (and Jessica has since updated it).
Chris Green, author of Retail Arbitrage: the Blueprint for Buying Retail Products to Resell Online used his method to buy in-demand products, often at the full retail price, and selling them to hungry Prime members.
Another method many sellers have used is to bundle products. This is a method of putting packaging two, three or more products that are often bought at the same time anyway. Think shampoo and conditioner or coffee, sugar and creamer. Debra Conrad at Thrifting for Profit is the queen of this method and even has a report, Amazon Bundles – Basic and Advanced Strategies, telling how she does it.
Other sellers buy in bulk through wholesale accounts, while some may buy no-name products for private labeling. And all of these methods can be used to sell products through Amazon FBA.
The Amazon FBA Method and You
Once you have your products you create listing through Amazon Sellers Central. This is done either by listing them by one-by-one, in bulk or by integrating a catalog system. Then it’s a matter of preparing the products to be sent to the Amazon warehouses. They must be e-commerce ready, which means properly packaged and identified. When your products are ready to go, ship them to Amazon. When the products arrive at a fulfillment center, they’ll be ready to be shipped to customers ordering them! Don’t worry, Amazon has a lot of information and even videos to walk you through the process on their Seller Central Website.
One of the other good benefits of Amazon FBA is that they take care of customer service. They have a whole team who manage inquiries, refunds, and returns related to your products listed in the marketplace; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can’t beat that.
Getting Started as an Amazon Seller
Go to the Amazon.com homepage and head to the “make money with us” section in the footer. Click on “sell on Amazon.” Click on the “Start Selling” button. From there, you’ll simply need to add FBA to your account by logging in. For me, selling on Amazon FBA was a winning decision.