Have you heard of Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)? It seems every time I read a how to make money article, FBA is listed somewhere near the top.
I had not heard about FBA until I began investigating other ways to make serious money online. Now, I hear of people just like you and me that make a killing with it. And it seems so simple!
So, I have decided to test it out and see exactly what the hype is all about. I also want to see if we can actually make some decent money with it and if it is worth the time and effort.
I really do not want to get into the details of FBA and how to make money with it until I actually see that you can. However if you are interested in learning more about it, check out this post from Side Hustle Nation and learn how Travis makes an extra $500 per month with the FBA Program. If you are really serious about it and want to dive in head first, The Selling Family has an Amazon Boot Camp that tells you exactly how they make a full-time living with Amazon FBA.
Now, let’s get to it. Up to this point I have:
- Created my Amazon Seller’s Account (I opted for the paid version so I can request for selling approval on restricted products)
- Sourced items through local retail stores and my home (I want to use all new items at this point)
- Added my products to my Amazon FBA account and labeled them as requested
- Packaged the items and created a shipment in my Amazon account
- Printed the extremely cheap shipping label and affixed it on my package
- Dropped the package off at the closest UPS store
So let’s go through these in detail so that you have an idea of what I did.
#1 Created my Amazon Seller’s Account
You have a free and a paid option when signing up to become an Amazon seller. I choose the paid option because I would like to sell more than 40 items my first month and I want to request approval to sell in restricted categories. $40 seemed a bit high to me but I wanted to give it a try to see how it turned out. You never know, I may make that back in one week J!
#2 Retail Arbitrage
I took two days (about an hour or two each) to look through the clearance sections at local retail stores but only had time to go to Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS. I found several items at Walmart and Walgreens, however I did not have any luck at CVS. I’m assuming this will change from week to week. My hope is once I learn this process and become better at sourcing, this part will not take as long.
Through sourcing, I found out (as long as Amazon keeps up its end of the deal with what it says the item will sell for) I can make a lot of money on toys, electronics, and beauty items. Unfortunately, at this time I am restricted from selling in these categories. This is the first thing I will work on. I have got to be able to sell in these categories, plus a few other really good ones (i.e. grocery).
I used the Amazon seller app (free app) because I do not want to add any other expense until I see if this is going to be a goldmine or not. The seller app is a really neat app that helps me figure out if I will make money. I had to do a little research before I truly understood how to use the app.
There are also other really awesome tools (i.e. Keepa and CamelCamelCamel) that will help you understand the popularity of the item and how quickly it will sell. My goal is to sell items quickly for a quick ROI so I can continue to purchase items. At this time I am not utilizing either of these tools. I will dive deeper and learn how to utilize them in the future.
While I am in the store I scan the product in the Amazon seller app. I look to see what it is selling for, the total cost to me (including estimated FBA fees and shipping), and the estimated profit I will make. I aim to make somewhere around $5 per item. If I can’t make at least that, I will put it back on the shelf. However, you will notice on some of the items below, I am estimating to make less than $5. This is because the FBA fees were different once I added them in my account. I hope understand this soon so I will know exact profit in the before purchasing the item.
I will go over exactly what I found, how much I paid, and what I hope to earn from them in just a bit!
#3 Added the Product to Amazon FBA and affixed appropriate labels
This part seemed fairly straight forward to me and Amazon guided me through how to add each product. However, if you rather someone tell you how to do it just to be on the safe side nChannel has a really awesome post that walks you through step by step.
You have another choice when it comes to labeling. Certain products require a label. Amazon will do this for you for $0.20 each I believe or you can print the label yourself and include it on the corresponding item. I chose to do this myself because there were only 3 items that required the label and it was pretty easy.
Also, I do not have a super expensive label machine as some suggest. I printed it on my regular home printer, cut them out, and affixed with clear tape. Although, I am sure that a label printer will be much more efficient and cost effective for larger volumes.
#4 Packaged the items and created shipment
You need to package your items and get them ready to ship before you can create your shipment since you will need the weight and measurements of your package.
Some people buy boxes (I do not recommend this when starting) and some people just find them lying around. I meant to ask the retail stores if they had any they were throwing away but completely forgot!
So I found a diaper box in my basement that was the perfect size and used it. It’s ugly, taped up, and YES! upside down, but it worked and UPS accepted it!
I created my shipment in my amazon account which basically means I just let Amazon know what to expect in my shipment (how many packages and what is in each package). Then I entered the weight and measurements so Amazon could calculate how much shipping the package would cost.
I had an option to choose UPS or FedEx (these are the two carriers Amazon is contracted with) or I could go with my own carrier (i.e. USPS, DHL, etc.). If I went with an Amazon carrier, they would create the label right then and just charge the cost to my Amazon account so I went with UPS…and I am glad I did!
My box weighed 14 pounds and was considered an oversized box because the length of the box was over 12”. It was 13.5 x 10 x 9 to be exact. Since Amazon is such a giant, the shipping only cost me $5.41!! Whoa! I about fell out of my seat!
#5 Printed Shipping Label
Once I approved my shipment, I printed the label Amazon created and included it on the outside of my package (with clear tape).
#6 Shipped the Package
I then headed out the door to ship my package. I was so excited! This is the first FBA package I have shipped so fingers crossed it gets to Amazon in one piece and they accept all my items.
The closest UPS drop off is about 10 minutes from my house so in the future I would like to make this trip apart of another trip so I do not feel that I am spending too much time and money on this part.
Now, here comes the best part!
What did I find?
You can see below the items that I found. The Car seat Canopy, Home Remedies Book, and Alarm POD I sourced from my basement.
How much did I pay? How much am I going to profit?
I am hoping to profit $62.93 from my first FBA experience. I have no idea if I will or not and how long it will actually take. But for now, I am waiting to see how it goes.
I am excited to see how this new experience will turn out! If you would like to follow along and see the results of my Amazon FBA case study series, subscribe below and I will make sure to email you any updates!
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