So, with the pile of merchandise stacking up in the living room, it was time to learn how to put together a shipment and get the stuff into Amazon, (so we could start realizing our big profits!)
In case you’re unfamiliar with how Amazon FBA works (as opposed to selling ‘merchant fulfilled,’ or the process of selling on eBay, I’ll explain:
FBA stands for ‘Fulfillment by Amazon.’ Fulfillment refers to the process of warehousing the items and shipping them off to the end customer – actually fulfilling the orders. FBA is the thing that makes it possible to sell a very large volume of merchandise on Amazon.com, and to do it without having the shipments take over your life.
Unlike the method of online merchandise sales that many people are familiar with, namely, eBay, FBA makes it possible to send in one bulk shipment of inventory to Amazon, and let Amazon handle it from there. (This is also different from selling ‘merchant-fulfilled’ on Amazon, which is similar to eBay, in that, when someone buys, you must ship out that individual product to that individual customer.)
Unlike eBay, or Amazon Merchant Fulfilled selling, you simply list your inventory through the listings that already exist on Amazon.com, pack everything up into boxes, and send it in to Amazon. Amazon then stores your inventory in its warehouses, picks it off the shelf when it sells, and ships it out to the final customer. It makes your life as a seller way easier, because, once you send in your products to Amazon, they basically take over from there!
Of course, the actual process of shipping everything in to Amazon is a little more complicated than described above, as we learned!
Without any prior instruction, (other than Pat Flynn’s podcast), we were stuck learning how to put together a shipment by watching Amazon’s own training videos, and by searching the internet for instruction from people who had done it before.
It took awhile, but ultimately we got it figured out. Over the course of a few hours, we had our individual seller labels printed up, stuck them on our merchandise, loaded each item into its proper box, and got everything sealed up and identified with the correct Amazon shipping labels, which we were able to print out right at home too.
** Another nice thing about Amazon FBA is the deeply discounted shipping rates. Rather then sending each item out individually, you load everything into large boxes and send it in to Amazon. Currently, Amazon is partnered with UPS for shipping service, so when you ship with UPS, your costs are extremely low. For what you would ordinarily pay in retail shipping for one large box, will cover the cost of sending four or five. And as an Amazon seller, your charges are attributed to your Amazon seller account, and deducted from your profits.
As a result, you really never have to think much about these charges. You simply box everything up at home, slap on a pre-printed shipping label right from your computer, and drop it off at Amazon. Your charges are deducted from the profits you are (or will be) earning as soon as your merchandise starts selling.