Author Topic: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?  (Read 3572 times)

CashFlowDiaries

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Hey everyone,  thought it would be cool to share this with you guys.    About 9 months ago I started looking into alternate ways to side hustle and make extra income.   I came across selling selling products on Amazon FBA and thought it would be a fun and exciting venture to start out.    So I started the process which included finding a product to sell, finding chinese suppliers/manufacturers to mass produce, shipping them to the united states via a sea cargo vessel, then shipping them to amazon fulfillment warehouses.

It has been a long, EXPENSIVE, and crazy journey but I have now been selling my product on Amazon prime going on month #2 right now and have sold over 200 units.  I had my best selling day yesterday in which I sold 11 units which makes me very giddy.   At the end of the day I put in a total of about $17k to startup (expensive product, selling it just under $40 a unit on amazon right now) and when all my items are sold, i should be clearing about $8k in profit.   That is $8k in profit after getting all my initial investment back plus expenses (amazon fees, etc).      That is over 40% ROI which is great.   Now I just need to see how long it takes to sale all my inventory.  If I can go through two cycles in one year of inventory then that is some nice extra money right there.   My first production count was 1000 units, this part of the reason why my start up costs were so high to begin with but I wanted a quality product and wanted to stand out from any competition.

So I have never seen anyone talk about this business venture on the forum and am curious if any of you are doing it as well?  Would love to hear about it.
Passive Income earner.  Creator of  www.cashflowdiaries.com

l2jperry

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2016, 07:24:28 AM »
I also sell on Amazon, but I manufacture and fulfill my own orders daily. I do sell more popular items through FBA. Amazon is a great resource to make money, but you have to be very careful and play by their rules.

CashFlowDiaries

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2016, 07:34:56 AM »
I also sell on Amazon, but I manufacture and fulfill my own orders daily. I do sell more popular items through FBA. Amazon is a great resource to make money, but you have to be very careful and play by their rules.

Cool, I would love to be able to manufacture my own items.  That would really help prevent competition.  Competition is fierce on amazon and all the rules are scary.   Its scary trying to do this with all the horror stories I keep reading about suspended accounts, reviews being deleted, hijackers and all that stuff.

Ill keep my fingers crossed that it continues going well for me.

How long have you been selling on amazon and is it your full time gig or just a side hustle?
Passive Income earner.  Creator of  www.cashflowdiaries.com

LiseE

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Hi there ... I've been researching doing an Amazon FBA side hustle for the past month.  (I suffer from analysis paralysis!)  ... either that or I'm just chicken!  Was wondering how your Amazon business is going?  Hope you are doing well.

- Lise

mustache you a question

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Hi there, I have a quick question for you.  When you first decided to sell on Amazon, how did you go about finding what product to sell?  I decided that this would be a great way for me to make some extra cash as a side hustle and I've done some research on it but still haven't been able to come up with an idea.

Thanks.

CargoBiker

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Competition is fierce on amazon

It is if you sell competitive products.  i.e. the ones the gurus preach that you should sell. There is lots of money to be made "under the radar".

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and all the rules are scary.

What's scary about rules?  Read them. Follow Them.  You won't get suspended.  The horror stories you hear are mostly people trying to bend the rules and get around things. Doing so, because they are trying to sell products that are too competitive, with no real difference between their product and the next guy's, and the only way to compete is to try and get a rule-bending edge. 


For every 1 horror story you hear, there's 1,000 people who are doing just fine.


That being said, I do acknowledge the lack of control you have over your business if you sell exclusively on Amazon, and I would always recommend people to develop off-Amazon sales channels.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 09:55:57 PM by CargoBiker »

Fairviewite

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Hey guys,

I've been selling on Amazon FBA since last July and have been having a great time with it. The company has been averaging approximately $2,000/month profit after paying for writers and our social media manager.


BrandonFI

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I've been selling a private label product using Amazon FBA for over 12 months now averaging 2-3K profit per month. I've mentioned this before but member here on MMM and the ERE forums don't seem interested. Not really sure why, I literally spend 1 hour on this per month, 99% automated.

To the OP, keep up the good work!

« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 11:17:10 PM by BrandonFI »

CargoBiker

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I've been selling a private label product using Amazon FBA for over 12 months now averaging 2-3K profit per month. I've mentioned this before but member here on MMM and the ERE forums don't seem interested. Not really sure why, I literally spend 1 hour on this per month, 99% automated.

To the OP, keep up the good work!

Members of this forum aren't really interested in anything to do with starting a business, in general. 

An Amazon-based business model is a bit more involved upfront, compared to your typical side hustle, but the end result, as you said, is thousands a month, with almost no work required.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 10:07:07 PM by CargoBiker »

texxan1

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My brother does this, and brings home an extra $2000 a month. It has allowed him and his wife and kids to move to a LCOL area, build a brand new home and work part time.... They are quite happy, a lot more than before

His problem is finding new niche things for amazon... He only sells one item, but as baby boomers pass out of the corporate world his sales will go down


Clean Shaven

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2017, 08:07:40 AM »
This sounds interesting. Could someone PM me a link to your FBA product? I think I'll look into this some, and am wondering what sort of items you are selling this way. (Or just post a link, but am not sure if that's OK with the forum rules.)

FarmerAl

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2017, 09:00:05 AM »
Would one of you mind sharing how you started this process, how you decided which product to sell, startup costs, etc.?

I am very interested in this but I am not sure where to start. It obviously sounds like this can be profitable if done correctly.

Any insight would be appreciated.

bwall

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2017, 01:29:49 PM »
So I started the process which included finding a product to sell, finding chinese suppliers/manufacturers to mass produce, shipping them to the united states via a sea cargo vessel, then shipping them to amazon fulfillment warehouses.

What's to keep your Chinese supplier from getting an Amazon account and shipping to the fulfillment warehouses themselves? Then they can cut out the middleman (you) and capture your profit as well.

xfactor9600

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2017, 04:39:26 PM »
Would one of you mind sharing how you started this process, how you decided which product to sell, startup costs, etc.?

I am very interested in this but I am not sure where to start. It obviously sounds like this can be profitable if done correctly.

Any insight would be appreciated.

Second this.


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CowboyAndIndian

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2017, 06:22:36 PM »
Spencer Haws has quite a few articles on his blog

http://www.nichepursuits.com/tag/amazon-fba/

Lots of information for those looking.


kurtnyc

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2017, 12:52:20 PM »
I've mentioned this before but member here on MMM and the ERE forums don't seem interested.

I was one of those you talked with a long while back, much appreciated.
I then got interested, and invested, in buying existing web businesses (saas, affiliate) and improving them. But I'm still very interested in getitng into FBA. I actually did get some products up and sold, but had some bad luck as my product type got eliminated by amazon once a got a large order ready. but I have capital and would love to give it a go again.

I found it HYPER competitive in finding products, it's been a huge waive of people coming into FBA. However it's more the plethora of guru's that creeps me out honestly. I wish I could just sit down with someone doing FBA in my new town (asheville) and learn. But I get people are very protective, and that makes sense.

I'd love more chat her about these kind of businesses, free of people selling courses.
just gettin' this going, NYC escapee

BrandonFI

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2017, 05:16:27 PM »
This sounds interesting. Could someone PM me a link to your FBA product?

No, this is very niche related and sharing this information with competition is a big no no.


Would one of you mind sharing how you started this process, how you decided which product to sell, startup costs, etc.?

Sure! Listen to every episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast and purchase the Jungle Scout Software, it will greatly reduce your search time for products.


I found it HYPER competitive in finding products, it's been a huge waive of people coming into FBA.

Agreed, lots of people are doing this now. You can still find successful products but you need to be very picky and have a solid game plan for reviews. The game has changed since I started and its much more difficult for newbies.

You don't need to pay for any courses. Listen to the podcast above or look on you tube. All the info you need is free. This process is not hard.

CargoBiker

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2017, 04:46:21 AM »
So I started the process which included finding a product to sell, finding chinese suppliers/manufacturers to mass produce, shipping them to the united states via a sea cargo vessel, then shipping them to amazon fulfillment warehouses.

What's to keep your Chinese supplier from getting an Amazon account and shipping to the fulfillment warehouses themselves? Then they can cut out the middleman (you) and capture your profit as well.

Some factories would do just that.  That's why I would never ship directly to an Amazon fulfillment center.  It's good practice to keep your manufacturer in the dark about where you sell the goods.

However, factories are in the business of making stuff, not in dealing with end users. They aren't necessarily looking to learn how to market and sell their products direct to consumers in other countries. They'd prefer to deal in bulk.

CargoBiker

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2017, 04:52:40 AM »
but had some bad luck as my product type got eliminated by amazon once a got a large order ready.

This happened to me 2 years ago in Amazon Europe, it's no fun.  I was lucky in that each country shut down the category at different times, so I got an early warning sign of sorts, and was able to drop my price and sell off the last few units a week or so before they banned the category in the last marketplace.

For this reason, I've since stayed away from anything that could ever remotely be considered something that would need to be removed from their site.

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I found it HYPER competitive in finding products, it's been a huge waive of people coming into FBA.

There are millions of products on Amazon. Lots of gold is buried underneath the hyper competitive stuff.  I love products that don't have enough search results to fill up one page.  You literally just make a listing, and now you're the #1 guy for that search term.

Sure, these products move at a lower volume, but you just list more products to make up for it.  I'd rather have 10 slow moving, non-competitive products, then 1 hyper competitive product with all my eggs in one basket, so to speak.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 04:55:22 AM by CargoBiker »

CargoBiker

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2017, 04:54:06 AM »
This sounds interesting. Could someone PM me a link to your FBA product? I think I'll look into this some, and am wondering what sort of items you are selling this way. (Or just post a link, but am not sure if that's OK with the forum rules.)

Any product on Amazon, that is sold via Amazon Prime, that is not "sold by Amazon.com".

So millions of different kinds of products.

10dollarsatatime

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Re: Selling on Amazon Prime via fulfillment (Amazon FBA) - Anyone try this?
« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2017, 10:34:16 AM »
I've been doing FBA for the past couple of years when I feel like it.  I'm trying to get a shipment out today, actually.  I started after hearing Jessica Larrew's interview on the SPI podcast.  After hearing it, I downloaded the Amazon seller app and just randomly started scanning things at a Staples when I was there for something else.  I found a few things the fell within her very simplified version of how to choose items, and took the leap.  The past couple of years, I've sold around $30,000, with maybe 25% of that being profit.  It's easy enough, and takes little time for the return on investment.  I always tell myself that I'm going to put more effort into it, but lack the motivation since I don't really need the money.  It's just a fun, profitable way to scratch my shopping itch right now.

FarmerAl

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I have been checking out Jungle Scout and found this million dollar case study they are doing.
A lot of good information. https://www.junglescout.com/the-million-dollar-case-study-overview/

Has anyone had issues when contacting suppliers, designing packaging, or shipping the product to the US?
It seems like there could be complications with this but most of the articles I have read make it seem like this whole process is very simple.

Thank you in advance for any insight.

CargoBiker

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I have been checking out Jungle Scout and found this million dollar case study they are doing.
A lot of good information. https://www.junglescout.com/the-million-dollar-case-study-overview/

Has anyone had issues when contacting suppliers, designing packaging, or shipping the product to the US?
It seems like there could be complications with this but most of the articles I have read make it seem like this whole process is very simple.

Thank you in advance for any insight.

The whole process IS pretty simple. 

There can be issues/problems dealing with overseas manufacturers, however.

I would recommend reading this book before importing anything. He pretty much covers everything in depth: https://www.amazon.com/Direct-China-Many-Other-Countries-ebook/dp/B01CLXLWFU

rachael talcott

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Posting mostly to follow, but I made a few thousand last year doing retail arbitrage FBA (reselling stuff found at a discount locally).  I used that money to attempt to sell a private label product, and so far I'm losing money.  Once I retire I plan to put some more effort into it.  I think Cargobiker is correct that choosing non-competitive products is key. 

CargoBiker

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I used that money to attempt to sell a private label product, and so far I'm losing money.  Once I retire I plan to put some more effort into it.  I think Cargobiker is correct that choosing non-competitive products is key.

Competition can be ok, but you have to know exactly what your plan is to deal with it.  I would never recommend it for someone just starting out.  I prefer just to not deal with it all anymore, but I have sold very high volume, high competition, products in the past.

Cwadda

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I don't sell via FBA, but I've had a lot of success with selling things on Amazon. I made a guide for it, located in my signature.

Better Late

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I am very interested in this.

For those of you who have started selling on Amazon, can you tell me what types of start up costs you paid and approximately how much? How much does your product cost to manufacture and how much does it sell for?  I've started listening to the Jungle Scout podcast/videos (thank you Brandon FI and FarmerAl ) and he makes it sound pretty inexpensive...but the $17K from the original poster is making me wonder.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2017, 11:33:55 AM by Better Late »

stashing_it

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I am also very interested in this and would love to hear more about how people would suggest generating a product to sell.

How much did it cost
how long did it take
where did you get some ideas
etc.

stashing_it

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Question for those who are selling on Amazon,  how is this company making any money ?

https://www.amazon.com/Beezix-Inc/e/B003U4C3PI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1#

They appear to be selling laminated study guides for $3 - $5 with FBA

but when I use the FBA calculator Amazon is charging $ 5 in fees on things less than $ 5,

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/hz/fba/profitabilitycalculator/index?lang=en_US

and that doesn't even count the cost to produce the item.   Obviously that company isn't losing money on every sale ( I would think they would have given up before having such a wide product line ).   What am I missing ?

CargoBiker

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I am very interested in this.

For those of you who have started selling on Amazon, can you tell me what types of start up costs you paid and approximately how much? How much does your product cost to manufacture and how much does it sell for?  I've started listening to the Jungle Scout podcast/videos (thank you Brandon FI and FarmerAl ) and he makes it sound pretty inexpensive...but the $17K from the original poster is making me wonder.

100% depends on the product.

I shoot for products with an ROI of 100%.  So... buy a product with COGS of ~$5, and sell for around $20 on Amazon. Which, after commission fees, and some ppc costs, will net me around $10.

Some factories have high MOQs, which when compared to a high-ish product cost, is why the OP had high startup costs.


I've started products with a few hundred bucks.

I've started some with a few thousand.

My next product launch is going to be ~$20k to get started... which I like, because it'll keep some competitors away.

CargoBiker

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Question for those who are selling on Amazon,  how is this company making any money ?

https://www.amazon.com/Beezix-Inc/e/B003U4C3PI/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1#

They appear to be selling laminated study guides for $3 - $5 with FBA

but when I use the FBA calculator Amazon is charging $ 5 in fees on things less than $ 5,

https://sellercentral.amazon.com/hz/fba/profitabilitycalculator/index?lang=en_US

and that doesn't even count the cost to produce the item.   Obviously that company isn't losing money on every sale ( I would think they would have given up before having such a wide product line ).   What am I missing ?

Those aren't FBA listings. 

See this by the Add to Cart button:   "Ships from and sold by Amazon.com."

This is a company that is wholesaling this product to Amazon, and Amazon is then selling it themselves.


Regarding low cost products on Amazon... sometimes, they aren't making money, but have a really low price to increase sales, and to thereby improve search rank.  When I put a new product up, I'll generally have the price lower than normal, and will slowly raise it up as my search rank improves.

BrandonFI

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For those of you who have started selling on Amazon, can you tell me what types of start up costs you paid and approximately how much? How much does your product cost to manufacture and how much does it sell for?  I've started listening to the Jungle Scout podcast/videos (thank you Brandon FI and FarmerAl ) and he makes it sound pretty inexpensive...but the $17K from the original poster is making me wonder.

Startup cost - Just below 5K

Product Cost- $2.99 ($4.39 Landed)

Profit Per Unit
- $5.24...Depending on the month, I'll sell anywhere from 500-850 units

If you are worried about the sourcing in China or other countries, you can always use a service like Guided Imports which handles everything for you. Of course, that comes with a cost but I highly recommend their services. I used them when I made a supplier change and also to do my pre-shipment inspections. With that said, I didn't use them in the beginning and you don't have to either.

Side Note-
I started doing this after hearing about it on multiple podcast. I went through with it only because I didn't believe it could be so simple and also because I wasn't afraid of losing 5K due to my mustachian habits. At this point, I'm fortunate to live off the profits from this side hustle and invest 100% of my 9-5 money significantly reducing my FIRE date. If your on the fence, just do it!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2017, 05:33:15 PM by BrandonFI »

gisk

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This is fascinating to me. Amazon is really changing the way supply chains work but there is so much to be gleaned around the edges.

Better Late

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Thanks for the information re: start up costs CargoBiker and BrandonFI.  I am doing my research now and am trying to adopt the "just do it" mindset. 

CargoBiker

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Thanks for the information re: start up costs CargoBiker and BrandonFI.  I am doing my research now and am trying to adopt the "just do it" mindset.

Feel free to post in the thread if you hit a roadblock. Or PM me if you want me to check out a product.

I used to be a school teacher, and I like to help people succeed.

Lis

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Want to follow along. I sold some used books (of my own) last year, and it was a nice, profitable way to get more shelf space. I picked up a thing of used books from someone and was ready to send in another shipment in before I got sick last winter, and I haven't done anything with them since.

tj

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I've sold unwanted music CD's on Aamzon for nearly 10 years but I received this emial recently:


ello,

Please read this email carefully. The listing information described below may affect your ability to sell certain products on Amazon.com.

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide a great customer experience, we are implementing additional selling qualifications for certain popular products in the Music category.

What does this mean for me?

Based on various performance metrics, effective immediately you will no longer be able to sell certain popular products in the Music category and your listings for these products have been removed.

Why am I receiving this message?

You are receiving this message because you have sold popular music products in the past.

How do I seek approval to sell these products?

We are currently not accepting applications to sell these products.

Can I still use FBA?

Effective immediately, only sellers approved to sell certain popular music products may send shipments of these products to fulfillment centers. You may continue to use FBA for other products you sell.

How will this affect my existing FBA inventory?

If you have remaining inventory of the affected products in Amazon fulfillment centers you will need to create a Removal Order for return or disposal of your remaining FBA inventory.

We appreciate your cooperation in this important matter, and thank you for selling on Amazon.

Sincerely,

Seller Performance Team
Amazon.com

Better Late

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I've sold unwanted music CD's on Aamzon for nearly 10 years but I received this emial recently:


ello,

Please read this email carefully. The listing information described below may affect your ability to sell certain products on Amazon.com.

As part of our ongoing efforts to provide a great customer experience, we are implementing additional selling qualifications for certain popular products in the Music category.

What does this mean for me?

Based on various performance metrics, effective immediately you will no longer be able to sell certain popular products in the Music category and your listings for these products have been removed.

Why am I receiving this message?

You are receiving this message because you have sold popular music products in the past.

How do I seek approval to sell these products?

We are currently not accepting applications to sell these products.

Can I still use FBA?

Effective immediately, only sellers approved to sell certain popular music products may send shipments of these products to fulfillment centers. You may continue to use FBA for other products you sell.

How will this affect my existing FBA inventory?

If you have remaining inventory of the affected products in Amazon fulfillment centers you will need to create a Removal Order for return or disposal of your remaining FBA inventory.

We appreciate your cooperation in this important matter, and thank you for selling on Amazon.

Sincerely,

Seller Performance Team
Amazon.com



whoa. Talk about pulling the rug out. I'm sorry. that sucks.

Lis

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Ugh yeah that really does suck. I'm part of a Facebook FBA group and lots have been complaining about this. I think it's gotten way more popular the past year or so, which means they must be getting a lot more crap (actual, not-sellable crap). Are they at least going to cover the removal fees or is that up to you as well?

SteadyStacker

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Thanks everybody for the very useful tips & resources.

I notice many people are selling their own personally made products, or foreign sourced private label products.

Is anybody still making money by simply going to a local store clearance & selling those clearance items via FBA?
« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 11:18:34 AM by SteadyStacker »

10dollarsatatime

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Thanks everybody for the very useful tips & resources.

I notice many people are selling their own personally made products, or foreign sourced private label products.

Is anybody still making money by simply going to a local store clearance & selling those clearance items via FBA?

This is my bag.  I may attempt to go wholesale at some point this year but for now, I hit the clearance aisles.  It's hit and miss.  Some stores have better clearance than others.  But the majority of my inventory comes from places like Walmart and Target.  Every once in a while I hit the jackpot.  Last spring it was a Walmart clearing out ALL of their WWE toys for $1.  Made around $7000 profit off that one.  Picked up 120 or so skirts for those stupid Elf on a Shelf dolls for 15 cents a piece.  Sold them all in less than a month for around $13.

SteadyStacker

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Thanks everybody for the very useful tips & resources.

I notice many people are selling their own personally made products, or foreign sourced private label products.

Is anybody still making money by simply going to a local store clearance & selling those clearance items via FBA?

This is my bag.  I may attempt to go wholesale at some point this year but for now, I hit the clearance aisles.  It's hit and miss.  Some stores have better clearance than others.  But the majority of my inventory comes from places like Walmart and Target.  Every once in a while I hit the jackpot.  Last spring it was a Walmart clearing out ALL of their WWE toys for $1.  Made around $7000 profit off that one.  Picked up 120 or so skirts for those stupid Elf on a Shelf dolls for 15 cents a piece.  Sold them all in less than a month for around $13.

Wow that's amazing. Congrats on your successes.  And thanks for sharing all the details.  I listened to the Smart Passive Income podcast #099 mentioned earlier in the thread, which is what we're discussing. But the podcast is 2.5yr old so I wasn't sure if anything major has changed since then. 

Just two more questions - are you using an app to calculate which items would be a profitable purchase? Or are you doing the math manually in your head?  I found the app mentioned in the podcast which scans barcodes and tells you if the item would be profitable. But the reviews on the app were terrible. Not sure if the Amazon Seller app does the same thing because i haven't made an acct yet. Second, are there any issues associated with being a new seller? Are people weary of buying your items, or does that not matter much?

 Thanks again!  I might just give this a try.

« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 05:35:25 PM by SteadyStacker »

10dollarsatatime

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I have the profit bandit app, scoutify (because it comes free with the associated listing program), and the amazon seller app.  I mostly use the amazon app lately because I can be sure the information is accurate, and it's been much improved since the podcast.  Only issue is that it's a pain to use a barcode scanner with, but my cell phone camera works nearly as fast.

I have a couple of extra phones, scanners, and a freedompop hotspot for when my brothers are bored and want to go scanning with me.  I run those on profit bandit, but run any finds through the seller app to make sure I'm good to sell them and the numbers are accurate.

As for being a new seller, your biggest issue is that you're going to be gated in a lot of categories.  Health and Beauty, Grocery, and a bunch of others.  I was lucky in that I opened my account years and years ago.  Even though I didn't sell much until a couple of years ago, I was still grandfathered in to a lot of categories and brands that now require applications to sell in.  The lack of feedback didn't seem to slow things down for me too much in the beginning.

SteadyStacker

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I have the profit bandit app, scoutify (because it comes free with the associated listing program), and the amazon seller app.  I mostly use the amazon app lately because I can be sure the information is accurate, and it's been much improved since the podcast.  Only issue is that it's a pain to use a barcode scanner with, but my cell phone camera works nearly as fast.

I have a couple of extra phones, scanners, and a freedompop hotspot for when my brothers are bored and want to go scanning with me.  I run those on profit bandit, but run any finds through the seller app to make sure I'm good to sell them and the numbers are accurate.

As for being a new seller, your biggest issue is that you're going to be gated in a lot of categories.  Health and Beauty, Grocery, and a bunch of others.  I was lucky in that I opened my account years and years ago.  Even though I didn't sell much until a couple of years ago, I was still grandfathered in to a lot of categories and brands that now require applications to sell in.  The lack of feedback didn't seem to slow things down for me too much in the beginning.

I opened a seller account yesterday. How would I know which categories require an application to sell in? I've looked around the seller app and there's no mention of restrictions. Obviously don't want to start buying things I can't resell.  Thanks again for your help.

Cwadda

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Thanks everybody for the very useful tips & resources.

I notice many people are selling their own personally made products, or foreign sourced private label products.

Is anybody still making money by simply going to a local store clearance & selling those clearance items via FBA?

This is my bag.  I may attempt to go wholesale at some point this year but for now, I hit the clearance aisles.  It's hit and miss.  Some stores have better clearance than others.  But the majority of my inventory comes from places like Walmart and Target.  Every once in a while I hit the jackpot.  Last spring it was a Walmart clearing out ALL of their WWE toys for $1.  Made around $7000 profit off that one.  Picked up 120 or so skirts for those stupid Elf on a Shelf dolls for 15 cents a piece.  Sold them all in less than a month for around $13.

This is very intriguing to me because I live close to about every major retail store you can imagine. How do you go about sourcing these clearance deals? Do you get in touch with the store managers? How do you know when to show up and look for products to flip?
Do you just check certain stores i.e. Walmart and Target? Could you also try Big Lots and home goods stores like Home Depot & Lowes?

SteadyStacker

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Update - I answered my own question on FBA product restrictions. Search FBA product restrictions and you'll find an official Amazon restrictions page with details. I'll be reading through before i go shopping.

hodedofome

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I started FBA a few months ago after running into a guy at DisneyWorld who started doing it a year or two ago. He told me I could make $100k the first year easy if I put in the work. I was intrigued so I thought i'd check it out.

He does retail/online arbitrage. You'll see FBA sellers call it RA and OA. There is also wholesale and private label (PL).

Retail Arbitrage: Finding stuff locally that selling for much cheaper than it is on Amazon
Online Arbitrage: Finding stuff online at other websites that is selling for much cheaper than it is on Amazon
Wholesale: Finding wholesale distributors or manufacturers that will sell you product at wholesale prices and you sell it retail price on Amazon
Private Label: Creating your own products either in the US or Asia and selling them on Amazon

The guy I met told me to spend $350 on thesellingfamily.com. Being a self-taught trader I decided I could probably get the same info for free or much cheaper by reading books and blogs. From what I've seen and heard from them though, their advice appears to be sound and they look like good people. I'm just cheap when it comes to paying for tuition. I did buy a few $10 Chris Green courses on Udemy. Chris is a good guy and has a lot of ideas. He pioneered RA for sure, and makes a few seller tools like ScanPower.

I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. The biggest ones:

1) Buying product in brands that I was restricted from selling. I didn't check on the Amazon Seller app first before buying. These are now worthless and you either have to return it or sell it on eBay. Most of the big name brands are restricted and you gotta pay $1-3k to sell them (Little Tikes, Mattell, Lego, Nerf, Hasbro, WWE, Star Wars, Beats, Nike, Asics, Apple, etc...)
2) Not checking fees on the product before buying. Amazon FBA basically takes 1/3 of the price for their fees. So if it sells for $30, Amazon takes $10. Subtract what the item cost you and that's what you have left. So you really want to find the item for $10-15 so you can make $5-10 on it after fees.
3) Buying products because they are cheap compared to Amazon, but not checking the sales rank history first. It doesn't matter how cheap you got it for, if it doesn't have a good sales rank it'll never sell.
4) Buying products that Amazon considers hazmat and won't let you sell FBA. Basically if it's got chemicals in it or it's an item with batteries, you better make sure you can sell it FBA before buying it. You'd be surprised what products Amazon considers 'dangerous.'
5) Not checking the sales price history of the item. Say I find an item for $10 and it's selling for $30 on Amazon. I think great and I buy it. But then once I list it I realize that it only temporarily listed at that price and now other sellers have caught on and some idiot is trying to drive the price down. Or maybe Amazon was a seller and was temporarily out of stock. Once Amazon gets the product in stock the price plummets down to $12.99. Now I'm going to lose money after fees, and hoping that Amazon goes out of stock is useless.

You'll have to go into this with the mentality that it's a real business. It's going to take time, effort and $$$ to learn everything and make a bunch of mistakes. But the potential is there and you can make this whatever you want. You can sell used books on Amazon and start off with literally $100. Find books for free locally or from thrift stores or library sales. You can buy cheap products on clearance and start off with little money.

Once you figure out how this works, you can work as little or as much as you want. After the first several months to a year, you can choose to only work during good seasons (like 4th quarter or textbook season). You can get a virtual assistant to do online sourcing for you. You can hire a prep center to receive all the items you order online, prep them and send them in to Amazon. You can buy a repricer to automatically reprice your items based on a certain criteria. You can outsource a lot in this so that your effort is minimal for the amount of $$$ you can make.

After selling for 2 months, I've bought around $4k worth of product, sold around $2k at list price, and make about $1k in profit. I'm now using the money I get from Amazon to source more product, instead of putting my own money in. Maybe in the 4th quarter I'll invest in additional inventory, we'll see. I hear 4th quarter is insane.

I have a full time job, a wife, 2 boys and another on the way. So I only source/prep during lunch or evenings after boys go to bed. I use an online scanning tool that goes through other websites looking for deals. So I'm not browsing around for hours, I just see the list of items that already meet my pre-set criteria. Every week I get better at going straight to the spots in stores that have potential items. Every week I'm getting faster at spotting good items to scan. Eventually you can walk through the aisles and not waste much time. You know exactly what you are looking for so if they don't have anything, you leave and go on to the next store. After selling 100+ different products, I'm now seeing the ones that sold well and so all I have to do is order more once the inventory levels get low enough. This only takes a few minutes of my time. Each week as Amazon sees that I'm a good seller, they give me permission to sell products and categories that I was previously prevented from selling. This opens up new opportunities.

It's my hope to get to a point where I have at least 30+ replenish-able products. Meaning these are products that sell well, and I can buy them at a set price online or in a store on a regular basis. There are plenty of these types of products on Amazon that sell for much higher than in the store, you just have to spend the time looking. Once I have enough of those, then I can count on those for regular income and spend my free time looking for one-time deals/clearance/liquidation, etc.

Once I've made enough profit I plan to spend some money getting ungated in the premium brands. I see so many deals that I can't take advantage of because it's a restricted brand. The restricted brands have much less competition, so you don't have to worry as much about the price tanking on you from additional sellers jumping on the listing.

There is a huge market out there of people selling to Amazon FBA sellers. Books, eBooks, online courses, mentoring, blogs, podcasts, facebook groups etc. There is no shortage of information. Just search for Amazon FBA in Google, Amazon, Facebook or a podcast app and you'll fine plenty. The software tools available to help sellers are night and day compared to 5 years ago.
« Last Edit: Today at 10:55:49 AM by hodedofome »

hodedofome

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This is very intriguing to me because I live close to about every major retail store you can imagine. How do you go about sourcing these clearance deals? Do you get in touch with the store managers? How do you know when to show up and look for products to flip?
Do you just check certain stores i.e. Walmart and Target? Could you also try Big Lots and home goods stores like Home Depot & Lowes?

You can do all those things you listed, at all the stores you just listed. Every store has a clearance section that you can look at first. Some stores put the clearance items next to the regular items so you have to go down every aisle looking at the tags.

The best way to get started is to frequently stop by the stores until you get a feel for when they are going to mark down products. You start seeing patterns after time of what sells, price changes, product changes, etc.

I haven't done it yet but many people find great success getting to know store managers and building a relationship with them. Be up-front, some will be fine with it some won't. If you can get in good with them they can start calling you to let you know when they have stuff you may be interested in. They are interested in clearing out inventory that is not selling on their shelf. It may not sell locally but that doesn't mean it has no value online at Amazon.

I just found a pet product for $5 yesterday at Big Lots. It retails and sells (well) for $25 on Amazon. I bought most of what they had but after getting home and doing more research, I'm going back during lunch today to buy it all. And I'll try going to other Big Lots in my area to see if they have more.

Jessica at thesellingfamily.com talks about finding a flavor of some juice powder that was no longer being manufactured, selling in Big Lots. They could buy it for a few bucks and it was selling for like $30+ on Amazon because there were still plenty of people nationwide who liked that flavor. They went to every Big Lots in California and Nevada and cleaned them out. I believe they made $30-40k on that one product alone. This is rare but it is possible if you stop in regularly, scan lots of stuff, and know what to look for.

I found a specific color of dog leash selling for $25 on Amazon and I could buy it online from another website for $8. You couldn't find this color anywhere else and there were only a few left on Amazon. I bought all 46 leashes the other site had and they sell 2-3 per week on Amazon. I'm the only one on the listing so all sales go to me. Once I get down to 10 or so leashes I may increase the price to $30 or $40 and see if they continue to sell. It's nice to have pricing power on your side.

Making $18-27/week profit on dog leashes doesn't sound like much, but add this to a bunch of other products you do the same thing with and it adds up. During 4th quarter maybe you work your tail off and make $40k profit in a few months. You keep selling regular items the rest of the year and make $60-100k for the year. It's certainly possible. You can make this into whatever you want.

Wholesalers can go through millions of dollars of product in a year on Amazon. They may only make 10-30% profit margin on that volume but that's still a lot of money. This can be a side gig or a legitimate business with employees and a warehouse all centered around selling on Amazon.
« Last Edit: Today at 11:07:37 AM by hodedofome »

hodedofome

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Here's an example of Online Arbitrage:

Insignia Plug-In Bluetooth Speaker
http://www.bestbuy.com/site/insignia-plug-in-bluetooth-speaker-white/8417024.p?skuId=8417024
Sells for $14.99 + tax free shipping

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WH893JM/
Sells for $34.82 Amazon FBA

Fees: $5.77
Net Profit: $12.81
Profit Margin: 79%

There are 8 other FBA sellers on this item and it sells a few per week so I wouldn't buy more than a few.

Of course there will be shipping charges to send this to Amazon, however if you live close to a fulfillment center it won't be too much. Amazon has the best shipping rates in the world. I'm 100 miles from a fulfillment center and to ship a 18" cubed box weighing 25 lbs UPS might cost me $8. Retail that might cost you $30-$40.

I typically only look for items selling for over $15 on Amazon, and I want to make at least $5 profit on each item to make it worth my time. I'll make an exception to this if it is an item I can sell a lot of, like a household good that sells all day long and I can buy as much of it as I want.

The best item is one that is small, light, expensive with a good sales rank. It'll have the lowest FBA fees and will give the best ROI.
« Last Edit: Today at 11:23:23 AM by hodedofome »

Cwadda

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Quote
You can do all those things you listed, at all the stores you just listed. Every store has a clearance section that you can look at first. Some stores put the clearance items next to the regular items so you have to go down every aisle looking at the tags.

*snipped*

Hey hodedofome, thanks for the wealth of information! I have one more question - you mention sales rank quite a bit. I was wondering what sales rank numbers you look for in particular? Are we talking like in the top 10,000? What's your baseline?