Selling products through Amazon’s ecommerce store is a great way to leverage arguably the best and most profitable online marketplace and their reputation to your distinct advantage.
I’ll start you off with a few tips related to the most common mistakes I see FBA sellers (new and old) making that can really cut into their bottom line, making otherwise effortless sales more complicated and costly.
Do the Math First
It’s important that anyone attempting to make a profit by selling on FBA get their calculator out before getting involved in the program. The retail giant has things set up in their favor, so they’re never going to lose at the end of the day. They refund millions a year, but make billions overall. You won’t be so lucky without first performing your due diligence.
You, as a smaller entrepreneur, can’t afford to lose:
- The monthly FBA fee is a given (currently $39.95 monthly, I believe).
- Also consider shipping costs to get the products to Amazon’s fulfillment center.
- Last, consider Amazon’s cut per transaction, and any other fees associated with each product you’ll sell.
Go Big Ticket
The generally accepted rule of thumb among experienced FBA sellers is to never venture below a $5 ticket price for selling products. As with the expenses mentioned in the last tip, shipping costs and Amazon fees will eat through any profits you make on low priced items.
This is true even when you get products for free and/or make them yourself – there’s just no profit in this price range. Selling for $10 or more per ticket is considered a healthy minimum ticket price per item.
Avoid the Rat Race
Getting involved in the rat race, whereby you focus on selling what’s most popular – and selling it for the same or lower price than everyone else – is a sure path to low profits. The two are often synonymous and the rat race is usually multiple sellers unknowingly vying to see who can bottom out first.
First, you just never know what’s going to sell best for you. Just because another seller is making lots of sales doesn’t mean you will two. Second, if you try to jump in the rat race with everyone else, you’ll soon find yourself embroiled in a price-dropping competition – ie., you drop your price, then seconds later the competition drops theirs. This goes on and on until you’re both forced to cut ticket prices so much you have to do super-serious volume just to make a buck.
Experiment selling a bunch of different items rather than trying to be like everyone else – you never know what the market will choose when given unique options. Keep your prices where they need to be to turn a profit – if and until the realization hits that you must clear out that inventory and move on (or lose your shirt on FBA storage fees!)
How to Get a Comprehensive FBA Education
It can be really hard figuring out all the rules and various nuances required to be a successful seller on Amazon FBA. The reality, I believe, is that no Amazon seller can be competitive without this program. Without FBA and the Prime option that almost always accompanies it, most Amazon buyers are savvy enough to look elsewhere.
Fulfilled by Amazon almost always equates to savings on shipping for the consumer, faster shipping in general, and less hassle when it comes to making returns/exchanges. If you’re fulfilling your own Amazon orders for customers, this process gets way more lengthy, and complicated and most Amazon consumers don’t want any part of this.
One of the better resources I’ve found on this topic is this guide, Finding Success with Fulfillment by Amazon, created by Fleet.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive education, and a resource you can look to time and again to get every answer you’ll ever need about managing your FBA empire, this guide has everything you’re looking for:
- Tips for deciding if this option is right for you as a seller.
- A full description of FBA in relative layman’s terms.
- How to conform to FBA packaging requirements to avoid fees and fulfillment issues.
- Tips for shipping your items to the fulfillment center to save money and decrease product loss.
- Order tracking and record keeping tips to make sure Amazon’s inventory and sales information matches yours.
- Tips for overseas sellers looking to enter the FBA program (eg., IOR, custom’s, duties, tariffs, taxes, insurance, blocked orders, and more).
- Private labeling (ie., how-to, pros/cons,
The Fleet guide is the best I’ve found for sellers ranging from beginners looking to get their start, to experienced sellers wanting to up their game, spending less and making more profit through Amazon’s FBA marketplace.
Always stay mindful of the tips offered at the beginning of this article, read the Fleet guide and keep it bookmarked or download the PDF for future reference, and you’ll be well on your way to stomping your competition in the dust in no time!