Amazon FBA Seller Tools & Resources
Update Jan 2016: I’ve been selling on Amazon for nearly two years and I’ve also started private labeling products. All new posts related to Amazon selling and private labeling are on my new site www.PrivateLabelPreneur.com. If you’re interested in following my journey, come on over and get on the email list! I’ve also expanded/updated my Resource list, you can find it here: PrivateLabelPreneur.com/Resources.
Like anything, it usually takes the right tools to make things go smoothly. Being an Amazon FBA seller is no exception. In this post I’ll list for you the tools I’m using, links to resources that I think are helpful and a list of places I’ve been to source inventory.
I’ll update the post from time-to-time so it might be a good one to bookmark and revisit in the future. And, the links in this post go directly to the supplier page that has the item I’m talking about.
Image Credit: Florian Richter
This post covers:
- Reader Discounts
- Sourcing Tools
- Labeling Tools & Labels
- Packaging & Shipping Supplies
- Writing Killer Amazon Product Listings 30% Discount Now Available!
- Image Tools
- My Supplier List
- Places Where I Have Sourced Inventory
Some of the suppliers I mention on this list have agreed to give Escaping Dodge readers a discount when they buy direct from their website (Amazon purchases do not qualify for the discount). How awesome is that? Here are the suppliers, a link to their site and the codes you should use to get your discount:
- Bubblefast: Enter the code ED5 to get a 5% discount on all orders except for closeouts!
- Amazon Advantage: Product Listing Strategies to Boost Your Sales Enter REE30 at checkout to get your 30% discount!
I purchased Profit Bandit for around $15. The app was okay, but it required that you be a Professional seller (which has a monthly fee). That was okay until they notified me that they were going to begin charging a monthly subscription fee. This may be a stellar product but I didn’t see the benefit so I switched to Amazon’s free Amazon Seller app.
I love this app. Not only is it FREE, but it works for sellers with Individual accounts, too. Amazon created this app so they have a vested interest in making it a truly useful tool. I find it a much easier interface over Profit Bandit; I like their screen for figuring out the potential profit and you can now manage your inventory from the app.
This is a FREE website. You enter your zip code and it will display all the store ads for your area. This can be a great sourcing tool because you can see what stores are giving deep discounts. I like it, too, because by looking at the ads, you can see what items you might want to group together to create bundles.
Labeling Tools & Labels
If you do not want to commingle your inventory (and I recommend that you don’t), you need to print your labels using a laser printer or a thermal label printer.
I bought my DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo Printer at Staples on sale for $79.99. You can check your local stores or use this link to purchase through Amazon*.
- Dymo replacement labels
Amazon has specific size requirements for labels. Your labels must be between 1″ x 2″ and 2″ x 3″. I find 1″x 2 1/8″ is perfect. This size fits all the required language including the barcode and it isn’t so long that it is a problem for smaller items.Official Dymo labels are expensive. I purchased Dymo-compatible labels from Uline. I ordered Model # S-10770 and they work perfect; they meet Amazon’s requirements, come 500 to a roll and cost about $12/roll. You can also buy labels on Amazon that are less expensive. Here’s an example of what you could try.
- Do Not Separate labels
If you are going to create multipacks or bundles, you’ll need to bag them and make sure the items don’t get separated once you ship them to Amazon’s warehouses. It’s best to put a Do Not Separate label on the wrapper to ensure no mistakes are made. I got mine from Bubblefast.
If you are going to create your own products, bundle products or multipacks, you’ll likely need a set of barcodes. You can’t create a product and add it to your Amazon inventory without an ASIN (or barcode). Because I started sending in multipacks and bundles early on, I needed to buy barcodes.
I got mine from Nationwide Barcode. It was fast, easy and they provide great support. I highly recommend them.
Packaging & Shipping Supplies
Bags for multipacks and bundles
When you start creating multipacks and/or bundles, you will need to buy poly bags. Amazon requires that the bags be clear (transparent), have a minimum thickness of 1.5 mil and have a suffocation warning on them if the opening is 5″ or greater. Initially, I bought this variety pack from Bubblefast. The pack includes 100 each of four different size self-seal bags. I was able to see which sizes worked best for me without spending too much.
It turns out that I used two of the sizes all the time: 6″ x 9″ and 8″ x 10″.
Now I order 1,000 each of those two sizes from Uline because they are priced better for larger quantities and they are close enough to me that I can pick them up.
At first I tried to use boxes I nabbed from home or cast offs at retailers. I gave up on that because I wasn’t confident that the boxes met Amazon’s requirements for strength (at least ECT-32 edge crush test) or that they would adequately protect my inventory. Boxes are cheap so I started ordering them from Uline (less than $1 ea). Here are the two sizes I tend to use the most.
Good grief…I wish I would have bought this in the beginning! This handy tool lets you easily cut a box down to size so that you aren’t paying more for shipping (based on weight and size) than necessary. Now I can buy a couple of box sizes and just cut them down as needed.
This tool paid for itself with the savings on the first shipment I processed after buying it. Nice! It isn’t a tool you need right away, but if you think you will be selling online, it is a real handy gizmo to have.
Invariably you’ll need filler to ensure the contents of your boxes don’t shift during shipping. Some items need a little extra protection so bubble wrap is also handy to have around.
Amazon doesn’t allow foam peanuts, shredded paper or anything that would cause a mess for them in the unpacking process. However, you can use sheets of paper.
I save all my junk mail. Paper grocery bags also make great filler (yes, I admit to killing trees here…I have to use something and asking for paper bags at the grocery story is free and keeps me from buying other paper products for this purpose).
- Bubble Wrap
- Newspaper and junk mail. Save yours and ask your friends and neighbors to save theirs for you, too!
This is an important tool. You need a good scale for two reasons:
- To create multipacks or bundles. You must accurately state the weight of the package when adding the new listing in Amazon.
- To accurately weigh your boxes for shipment.
For the first two months I used a food scale to weigh individual items and that worked fine. I used a bathroom scale to weigh the boxes for shipping…I’d weigh myself (ugh) and then weigh myself with the box and do the math. It’s close but about two out of three boxes was off by as much as a pound. That can cost you over time. In fact, it can pay for the cost of a decent scale.
I recently purchased this scale and it’s awesome! Besides being spot on accurate, it’s portable and easy to store. It has a separate reader, which makes it easy to see the display without having to remove the box. Pure bliss!
Packing Tape and Dispenser
Almost everyone has packing tape and a dispenser laying around the house. You’ll need it! If you don’t have one, you can get this one (or another brand) up from your local hardware store or Amazon (don’t forget to combine it with another order to get free shipping if you aren’t a Prime customer!).
Note: I had these tools at home so I haven’t purchased these exact items. The examples I show above are highly rated and would be my choice if I needed to buy.
Price Tag Removers
These little guys are not necessary; however, THEY ARE REALLY HANDY! They’re super inexpensive and make getting price tags off a charm!
When you ship items you buy from retail stores, you need to remove the old stickers as part of the prep process. Some of them are hard to get off without making the item look used. I have these and LOVE them!
Another really handy tool is a Sharpie. You most certainly have one of these laying around the house. I’ve used my Sharpie to draw a line through the manufacturer’s barcode when I’m creating bundles and multipacks. This is another way to help ensure Amazon workers don’t scan the wrong barcode.
Writing Killer Amazon Product Listings
A great product listing can make the difference between enticing buyers to click “add to cart!” or making them click over to the next seller’s product. Don’t lose sales because you don’t take the time to get this right.
I highly recommend Karon Thackston’s ebook Amazon Advantage: Product Listing Strategies to Boost Your Sales. I’m so serious about this that I wrote an entire post about it. You can read it here: Income Lab 1.5: Writing a Killer Amazon Listing Just Got Easier!
New as of January 20, 2015: Karon is offering Escaping Dodge readers a 30% discount off the price of this product. Simply enter REE30 at checkout to grab the discount!
Your images are an important element of your listing. If you are creating a listing, make sure your images are as professional as possible. Here are the tools I use:
- White Poster Board. You need a solid white background because that allows you to remove the background.
- iPhone. I use my iPhone 5s for taking pictures. It has an amazing camera so I don’t need to use my bigger Cannon Rebel to get great shots!
- Pages for iMac or FotoFuze. I use Pages on my iMac to remove the background (via Instant Alpha) and combine images for bundles or multipacks. If you don’t use Apple products, try the FREE version of FotoFuze.
- PicMonkey. This is a FREE website that allows you to modify images. I use it mainly to crop and resize my listing images. Amazon requires that one dimension of your image be at least 1,000 pixels.
- Canva.com. Another FREE website that allows you to create and modify images. But this one is really amazing! You can create just about anything you want from simple images to collages, presentations and a ton of other cool things. Canva also gives you templates for social media sites, which can help if you want to promote your products outside of Amazon.
My Supplier List
- Amazon ~ You can source most of the supplies you need through Amazon. Shipping is free if you are a Prime customer or order more than $35 from Amazon or FBA sellers! (Affiliate links)
- Uline ~ Uline is great for boxes, packing materials, poly bags, dymo-compatible labels.
- Bubblefast ~ These guys know what you need as an FBA seller. You can get almost everything you need. They ship fast and give great customer service. Don’t forget to enter the discount code ED5 to get a 5% discount on all orders except for closeouts!
- Nationwide Barcode ~ If you want to go beyond selling individual items, you’ll most likely need barcodes. Nationwide Barcode makes it easy to learn about barcodes and get going fast!
Places Where I’ve Sourced Inventory
I’ll give more detail on these sources in future posts, but for now I’d like you to see where I’ve been.
- 99¢ Only Store
- Bath & Body Works Outlet
- Big Lots
- Family Dollar
- Trader Joes
- Income Lab 1.3: Amazon FBA Seller Tools & Resources
- Income Lab 1.2: Setting Up Your Amazon FBA Account
- Income Lab 1.0: Selling Through Amazon FBA (Intro)
- About Income Labs
*Affiliate Disclosure: In most cases, when I’m talking about a specific product in this post I provide an Amazon link to display the product I’m discussing. If you are making purchases from multiple sellers, you may be better off using Amazon to get free shipping on your entire order if it’s over $35 and the seller is Amazon or a “fulfill by Amazon” seller. Of course Prime buyers get free shipping regardless!
When you purchase through an Amazon link on this page, I will receive a small commission. The price you pay is not affected by the commission and I appreciate your support. You can read my affiliate disclosure here.
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