In the past if you wanted to sell tangible items, you went to Ebay. You listed each item one-by-one, answered questions, printed out labels, packaged items and shipped them. It was a lot of work!
But with Fulfillment by Amazon you can get the same results with about 10% of the effort. Here's how it works: You ship your items to Amazon, and then Amazon lists the products, does customer service, handles the payments, ships the products and then pays you.
Your job is to simply find great products that have a high profit margin and send those to Amazon. When you sign up to be a FBA seller, you'll see where you tell Amazon what you're sending them and how much you want them to charge. You fill out this form each time you make a shipment. Then you let them take care of the rest.
You're using Amazon's traffic, their website, their sales process, their sales pages and their shipping. All you need to focus on is finding and shipping the right products.
Remember, Amazon is in the business of selling and shipping items. They're not in the business of finding small quantities of items to sell. That's why they need you.
So what kinds of products can you sell? Basically, anything that's already selling well on Amazon is a possible candidate. Ideally you want to look for products that meet these criteria:
You can purchase them for one third or less the sales price on Amazon
The products don't weigh a ton – remember, you're paying for the shipping from you to Amazon
Products that are selling well – in the top 100,000 is good
So where do you find these products? Initially, you'll want to check the discount and dollar stores near you. Take your smart phone and scan the items to bring up their Amazon listing so you can see how much they sell for and how well they're selling.
Discount stores are places that take excess inventory from other stores and manufacturers and liquidate it to the public. At first it might take you awhile to figure out which products are viable, but guaranteed, they're out there.
Items you might focus on initially:
“As seen on TV” items
lighters and fire starters
kitchen items and cooking tools
Also, anything with a recognized brand. For example, a generic hat might not be in demand. But a Walt Disney or a Boston Red Sox hat probably is.
Each time an item sells, Amazon will send you an email letting you know. You don't have to do anything; they'll do the shipping and you'll get paid. If you find an item of yours selling really well, go buy some more and send them in.
The downside? For one thing, there's a lag time between buying and shipping a product and getting paid. And of course this lag time will depend a good deal on how fast or slow your products sell. That's why you might want to start small and use your profits to build the business.
One more reason to start small: You eliminate the possibility of making a large mistake. New sellers on FBA sometimes purchase what seems like a bargain – such as 1000 units of a product at $2 each – only to discover it doesn't sell well. By keeping your inventory low at first, you can get a real feel for what works and what to avoid.
Sometimes someone will undercut you on price. For example, you have an item selling like hotcakes for $19.99, and they send a box full to Amazon and tell Amazon to sell them for $7.99. Their items will then be sold first, but when their inventory runs out the price will go back up and your items will begin selling again.
Advanced model: There are tons of items that cost almost nothing to manufacture that are then sold for $10 or more. For example, as-seen-on-TV hair gizmos or kitchen gizmos can often be manufactured for a few cents, yet they sell for $8 to $20 or more. A water bottle that costs $1 to make can be sold for $11.95. A flashlight might cost 50 cents and sell for $10, and so forth.
When you find one of these hot sellers, you can actually contact a manufacturer and have them start making them for you and shipping them directly to Amazon.
The easy way to get started: Look around your house for items you can sell right now on Amazon. Books, CD's and DVD's are great for this, and you might have other items, too. Gifts you never used, toys never played with, etc. Used product can work as well if they are clean and in good shape.
While there are marketers selling courses on how to use FBA, you can also research everything you need to know.
Here is Amazon's FBA Overview to get you started:
Here are the seller forums on Amazon:
Once you get the hang of it (which shouldn't take long) you can earn yourself a nice little side income. And you can even get the whole family involved, finding products to sell on Amazon.