Amazon FBA - A Complete Guide

Amazon FBA – A Complete Guide

Selling on Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) can be a bit like being lost in the forest. Without a guide, it can be challenging to navigate and be successful.

If you want to sell Private Label goods using Amazon FBA, you've come to the right place. This guide is going to outline all of the steps needed to get you selling on Amazon and keep you from getting lost.

This article is going to be a long one, so if you need help getting to a particular step in the process, click on the Table of Contents in the lower left-hand side. It will also be updated frequently since selling on Amazon FBA is always changing.

Before we get into the details though, let's discuss a little about deciding to sell on Amazon in the first place.

And if you're not crazy about selling on Amazon, here are some other ways to make money with Amazon.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for further details.

Deciding to sell on Amazon

You may be asking yourself several questions. “Isn't it too late to start selling on Amazon?” Or, “Isn't it too competitive?”

Both are valid concerns.

While it would be better to have started years ago, it is better to start now than waiting any longer. Competition continues to grow, but so does the customer base.

As you can see below, Amazon's net revenue has been increasing exponentially.

Statistic: Annual net revenue of Amazon from 2004 to 2018 (in billion U.S. dollars) | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

And the number of Prime subscriptions continues to grow too. So yes, while competition has increased, there is still an opportunity to be successful selling on Amazon.

The key is finding a niche that is less competitive but has good demand. That is not an easy task, but it is not impossible.

When I was considering selling on Amazon, there were several times when I'd get discouraged.

But I had constant reminders of the potential. My office faces the cul-de-sac in front of my house.

Every day, I'd see multiple Amazon deliveries on my street. Sometimes multiple to the same homes. First, the UPS truck, then FedEx, then the USPS, and then the Amazon delivery trucks. There would even be multiple private vehicles delivering Amazon packages some days.

Watching those deliveries always inspired me to keep moving forward.

Were they buying what I'd be selling in the end?

Probably not.

But knowing how many people on my street alone were getting packages from Amazon every day reassured me that there is enough potential to keep going.

Risk of Selling on Amazon FBA

Are you afraid of losing money?

Of course. You should be.

But another reason I decided to keep pushing forward at the beginning is the ability to minimize the risk of losing money.

Don't get me wrong – you can lose money if you are not smart about how you approach this.

Amazon FBA is not a get-rich-quick system.

While a product may not be a huge success, if done correctly, a new product should at least break even. By ensuring there is sufficient demand and a decent profit margin for a product, it is hard to lose money.

If there is adequate demand vs. competition, it shouldn't be too hard to move the product. And if the product isn't selling well, there should be sufficient margin built-in. You should be able to sell off the inventory by lowering the price while still not losing any money.

Hopefully, it doesn't come to that, but it is good to know you can have a dud and not lose money.

Why Amazon FBA

While generating income on my own is my primary goal, doing that as passively as possible is a close second. Having a physical product to sell is counterintuitive to the whole passive income philosophy.

That is where Fulfilled by Amazon comes in. It does result in Amazon taking a bite out of your profits, but it eliminates a lot of work a typical retailer has.

Once you get through the initial process of establishing a new product, it can be mostly passive. You need to maintain inventory and to optimize any marketing you may have in place.

If you ship your properly prepped product directly from the manufacturer to the Amazon Fulfillment Center, they will take care of everything else. They will receive it, store it, take the orders, pack them, and ship them.

I said, “properly prepped” because Amazon will charge you additional fees if that isn't the case.

While it can be an excellent source of somewhat passive income, sometimes it can also be quite frustrating.

Selling on Amazon FBA

The following is an outline of the steps necessary to get a product on Amazon. Some of the sections will have associated blog posts which will contain more detailed information. But the intent is to have most of the required knowledge contained within this article.

Finding a product

This part of the process is the most important and most difficult. In the end, it doesn't matter how well you complete the rest of the steps. If you don't have a product that people want and you aren't in a niche you can compete in, none of that will matter.

Methods

There are several different ways to go about doing product research for Amazon FBA. What your best friend tells you to sell isn't one of those (unless he did his product research).

There are several tools you can buy that can help streamline the process. They aren't necessary, but they help. I prefer to use the Jungle Scout Web App for most of my research and the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension for validating products.

While the Jungle Scout Web App does have a monthly subscription fee, it also includes other tools that we will discuss later. Your sales volume determines the ongoing monthly fee structure. However, it does include a 14-day money-back guarantee, so I suggest you try it out.

I'll show you a couple of other tools you can use for product research that cost you nothing before discussing the use of Jungle Scout. But it takes a lot more manual work and time. It also means that not as many people will be using this method.

Free Method

The first method is using Amazon's Best Sellers list.

You'll drill through the categories you are interested in exploring. Additionally, in most categories, there are lists for Movers & Shakers, as well as a Most Wished For list.

Maybe you'll find something within one of these lists. But it is even better to look at the “Frequently bought together” and “Customers who bought this item also bought” and similar lists on each listing.

Using this method is a way to find products that everyone else isn't looking at as well. When you find an item you want to research further, an ideal place to start is using the free Amazon Sales Estimator on Jungle Scout's site.

The sales estimator will provide the estimated monthly sales based on the Best Seller's Rank (BSR) that you'll find in the Amazon listing.

Amazon Sales Estimator
Amazon Sales Estimator

If you were fortunate enough to have purchased the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension when it was a one-time purchase, you can use that tool to research the products you find as well. Use of the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension will be explained a little later in this section.

Product Search Criteria using Jungle Scout Web App

If you decide to use the Jungle Scout Web App, you'll have to enter the search criteria in the Product Tracker.

Jungle Scout Search Criterial
Jungle Scout Web App
Categories to Avoid

It is recommended to avoid specific categories/products for Amazon FBA. These areas include:

  • electronics/computers
  • watches
  • video games
  • fragile items
  • clothing (people tend to wear known brands)
  • media items (books/movies/music)
Jungle Scout Filters

The search criteria most recommended are as follows:

  • Price – Typically over at least $15 to ensure you have sufficient margin to make a profit.
  • Estimated Sales – Above 200-300 a month to ensure there is sufficient demand.
  • Number of Reviews – Below 50-100 a month to ensure competition isn’t too high.
  • Star Rating – This is useful to look for products with poor reviews to improve. In this case, you could use a maximum rating of 3.7.
  • Weight – Lighter items (≤ 2 lbs) are desirable to help minimize shipping costs. When looking at products, size is also a consideration. While a product may be light, if it is large, shipping costs, as well as Amazon fees, may be higher.

The criteria listed here is similar to what is recommended by several others who discuss this. I recommend this as a starting point but then play around with some of the criteria to try and find areas others may not be looking.

There are other search fields you can use as well to achieve different results.

After entering the search criteria and hitting the Search button, the results will appear below.

Likely a large number of results.

You can adjust the criteria to narrow down the results. Either way, you scroll through the results until you find items that look interesting that you'd like to evaluate further.

Jungle Scout Chrome Extension

When you find products to look at further, you'll want to make use of the Chrome Extension.

Jungle Scout Chrome Extension
Jungle Scout Chrome Extension

To use it, first go to Amazon.com and search for what you think is the main keyword(s) for the product. Make sure you are searching in All Categories. Once the search results show up, click on the Chrome Extension button to make the screen above appear.

Opportunity Score

The screenshot above is what the Chrome Extension shows when searching Amazon for garlic press. The first thing that stands out is the Opportunity Score in the upper-right corner.

I don’t think I have seen a 9 or 10, and an Opportunity Score of 8 is pretty rare from my experience. A 6 or 7 (or above if you are lucky to find one) makes a product worthy of further evaluation. However, a score of 5 or less will be more challenging to rank well for on Amazon.

You probably don’t want to jump into the garlic press market based on the Opportunity Score above.

Product Selection Criteria

After finding a good Opportunity Score, here are some of the other criteria to evaluate:

  • Brand Name – Check to ensure there isn’t a large, well-known brand selling the product. Also, you don’t want ones where just one or two brands are dominating the listings.
  • Monthly Sales – The top ten listings should have about 3000 monthly sales combined. Ideally, those sales are spread out among the sellers and not concentrated in one or two.
  • Reviews – A majority of the top 10 listings should have less than 50-100. If there are listings with > 500 reviews, it may be more challenging to compete with those sellers.

Additional Product Checks

Seasonality Check

Whichever method you use, another useful tool is Google Trends. Using this tool, you can check for seasonality.

Until you are a seasoned seller (see what I did there?), you shouldn't sell anything that is affected by seasonality. Christmas decorations will sell well during late fall but will be a complete dud in the spring and summer.

This seasonality will make maintaining the proper Amazon FBA inventory difficult.

Patent Check

There are a couple of other things you need to verify when selecting a product.

First, you need to ensure that there aren't any patents on the product you're looking to sell. If several others are selling a similar product, it likely isn't patented.

However, you should also search using Google Patents to ensure nothing you are trying to sell has a patent.

Sourcability/Profitability Check

Additionally, make sure you can source the product and make a profit on it. Check Alibaba.com to see if it is available and for how much.

We'll discuss how to determine the profitability of a product a little later in this article. But don't forget to consider the packaging costs, shipping, and any marketing you are doing.

Additionally, for your first order, you'll want to consider things such as samples, package design, photography, UPCs, and launch costs (giveaways/PPC).

Restricted Category Check

To do a complete check, you need to have your seller's account established.

You should do two things.

One is to select the category you plan to sell in and see if it states there are any restrictions. The other is as follows:

  1. Under Catalog in Seller Central, select “Add a Product.”
  2. Enter the main keyword for your product and hit Enter.
  3. Look at your competitors' products and on the right side, click “Show Limitations.”
  4. This dropdown should state any required approvals needed to sell their product.

Be aware this doesn't guarantee you won't have issues after your product arrives at Amazon.

I've heard of Amazon unlisting the seller's product and stating it needs approvals after it gets to the Fulfillment Center. This issue is a good reason for your first shipment to Amazon FBA to be a small one.

Finding a supplier for Amazon FBA

Criteria for Finding a Supplier

When finding a supplier, the following criteria is useful.

  • Manufacturer vs. Trading Company – Typically, a manufacturer is preferred. If it is a trading company, there is likely a markup in price due to them being a middleman.
  • Gold Supplier – This is something suppliers pay for, but it involves third-party verification of their capabilities. It will also indicate how many years the supplier has had Gold Supplier status.
  • The breadth of products available – Ensure they have a range of similar products. If they have a mix of unrelated products, they are likely a trading company.
  • Transaction level – Indicates how many transactions they have had through the Alibaba marketplace.
  • Response time – A quick turnaround time is preferred.
  • Main markets – The quality of products can vary widely based on where their main markets are. Ideally, the supplier provides products primarily to North America, or Western Europe Quality standards are typically higher in those regions.

Supplier/Products List

It is useful to keep a spreadsheet to track the suppliers and products of interest. For each supplier of interest in reaching out to, add them as a favorite supplier in Alibaba.

It is best to reach out to 15-20 suppliers initially. Some of them won’t respond.

Additionally, some of the responses won’t answer your questions. The lack of response will help you narrow down the list of suppliers you want to consider going forward.

Most importantly, adding them as a favorite will allow you to send your request once, instead of clicking on each supplier and submitting a request one by one.

To do this, click on the Favorites button at the top right of the page (the heart), select all of the suppliers you want to contact, and then click on Contact Supplier.

It is much easier to do it that way.

Supplier Outreach

Once you have your potential suppliers identified, you need to reach out to them. Here is a template you can use when reaching out to suppliers.

The template includes several questions to help you evaluate the suppliers and narrow it down to about 5. This list will be the list of suppliers from which you’ll request samples.

Evaluating Supplier Responses

After you have received several responses, assess them to decide if you are interested in working with them going forward.

  • Did they answer promptly?
  • Did they answer all of your questions?
  • Do their initial quotes fall in line with the other quotes, and what they advertised on Alibaba?
  • Do they appear willing to help with any modifications?

Request Samples

Now that you’ve narrowed down your list of suppliers, it is time to request some samples. Depending on the product, the samples may be free, and you’ll need to pay for shipping.

If you are getting a large number of samples, you can also use a consolidation service. They will ship all samples together provided they are available at the same time.

Typically any cost of the samples themselves (not shipping) from your supplier will be deducted from the price of the first order.

Evaluating Samples

Because there is such a wide variety of products sold by Amazon FBA, it is difficult to give specific guidance that can cover them all. Here are some general guidelines for what to evaluate when you receive your samples:

  • Time for samples to ship – Did it ship as expected? The length of time could be an indicator of how timely future orders will be.
  • Contents – Did you receive what you expected? Did they include any extras?
  • Quality – Are the products good quality? Do they function as expected?

Using these guidelines, how the samples compare to each other, and how you feel about working with the suppliers; decide on a supplier for your initial order.

If you are very interested in selling the product and it doesn't work out with the initial supplier, you can always find a new supplier later.

Modifications

After you select the supplier you want to work with for Amazon FBA, discuss any changes required. Any changes may require additional samples to ensure they meet your expectations.

This point is also an excellent time to negotiate the final price per unit for your first order. The amount will likely depend on modifications you need as well as how much you order.

Typically, the more you order, the cheaper it will be per unit.

Packaging for Amazon FBA

Packaging your product won't happen until later, but you'll need to get any custom packaging or artwork to your supplier when you order it.

You'll also need to decide how you want the Amazon FNSKU applied to your product.

If you are only going to be selling it using Amazon FBA, you can have it printed directly on your packaging. If you are going to be selling elsewhere, you'll likely want your UPC printed on the package.

Amazon will allow some products to use their own UPC, but otherwise, you'll need to have the Amazon FNSKU on your package. Either printed directly on it or with a label sticker placed over the UPC.

If you need the FNSKU now, see the section below on Opening a Seller's Account. You'd also want to do this to make sure your brand name is available if that will be on any packaging.

Packaging Design

If you need help with your packaging design, there are excellent resources on the Jungle Scout Market or a site like Fiverr. You should be able to get the packaging layout (typically called a dieline) to provide to your designer.

They can usually get a design back to you within 2-3 days. They can also design logos for you if needed.

You may also want to consider adding a QR code to your packaging if there is room.

The QR code can refer your buyers to a website where you can include additional details about the product, details about your company, or additional products you have available for sale.

Having a website and driving your buyers to it can help build relationships with your customers, as well as the potential of selling them other products.

The great thing is that once you have the QR code pointing to your site, you can always modify the site as your needs change or to provide additional information without having to update your packaging.

Ordering the Product

Once you've decided on a supplier and reached an agreement on cost, it is time to make your first order. It is best to draft a very detailed purchase order.

Details in the purchase order should include:

  • Specific information about the product
    • Quantity (Number of units and what makes up a unit)
    • Packaging details
    • Product Specifications
      • Measurements
      • Materials
      • Features
    • Pictures/Drawings
  • Costs per unit and total
    • Ensure the Incoterms are clear (see discussion under Shipping for an explanation of Incoterms)
  • Production time
    • May want to include a discount for delays
  • Rights to inspection and what happens if it fails
  • Shipping information
  • Confidentiality Agreement
  • Payment
    • Typically 30% to start production and 70% (plus shipping fees if the supplier is handling that) due at shipment.

The purchase order should be as specific as possible. While it isn't as strong as a purchase agreement with a US-based manufacturer, it is helpful to be able to point to if issues arise later.

International Anxiety

It can be a scary prospect ordering something from a Chinese manufacturer.

While there are probably some bad ones out there, most of them are running a business just like you. Keep that in mind when dealing with production issues.

They are typically willing to work with you to resolve any problems.

Additionally, when sourcing a new product, it may take a bit longer during the first production run than it will once everything is in place, so have patience.

Paying for the Order

There are several options available to pay for your order. Suppliers typically prefer a wire transfer but will accept other methods. Methods include:

  • T/T (Wire transfer) directly to supplier
  • PayPal
  • Pay thru Alibaba
    • Credit Card
    • T/T (Wire Transfer)
    • Online Bank Payment

The difference between each method is going to be in the fees you'll have to pay.

Inspection

An inspection isn't required, but it is highly recommended. Especially if you are shipping the product directly to Amazon.

Even if you send it to yourself first, there isn't much you can do if it is something that you can't fix.

They aren't expensive, and it gives you added assurance to correct any quality issues before the product is shipped. There are many services available that you can find by doing a quick Google search.

Shipping the product

Shipping for Amazon FBA is going to depend on the size/weight of your product. It will also depend on if you want to send it directly to the Amazon Fulfillment Center or if you want it shipped to you to inspect it.

Unless it is a small product/shipment, sending it to you first is probably not a feasible practice. And it is just adding another step and shipping costs.

Additionally, delivering directly to Amazon fits better in the passive income generation model. But regardless, the first thing you need to determine is the weight used for shipping.

Actual vs. Dimensional vs. Billable Weight

If you ship two boxes, a refrigerator-sized one filled with feathers and a shoebox-sized one filled with rocks, what will the shipping cost be determined?

The size of the package determines the shipping cost for the box of feathers. More precisely, on the dimensional weight of the box.

Even though feathers are very light, shipping companies have to account for the volume of the box.

The shipping cost for the box of rocks is determined based on the actual weight of the box.

In both cases, it is called the billable weight, which is the greater of the actual weight and dimensional weight.

Dimensional Weight

The dimensional weight is typically calculated by the cubic size in inches (length x height x width) divided by 139. Sometimes the carriers will change the divisor or have a different divisor for different classes of shipments.

Click on the carrier name for their current rules/calculations: DHL, FedEx, UPS.

Incoterms

Incoterms is short for International Commercial Terms. These terms outline the responsibilities of buyers and sellers for the delivery of goods.

For Amazon FBA, the typical Incoterms used include EXW, FOB, FCA, and DDP. Here is a description of each and when to use them.

EXW
  • Ex Works – The seller is responsible for packaging the goods, and that is about it. They don't need to load it on a truck for transport unless there is an agreement with the buyer to deliver it someplace else.
    • Use with a freight forwarder who will coordinate transport from the factory/warehouse to the final destination.
      • Typically the supplier will be able to get better deals for transporting the goods to a port within their country.
      • FCA would be a better term to use and have the freight forwarder coordinate transport from the factory to the final destination.
    • If your supplier is going to use a courier (i.e., DHL, FedEx, UPS), you may receive an EXW quote and a separate quote for shipping.
      • Regardless, the purchase contract should have DDP as the shipping term if the supplier is going to arrange delivery to your final destination.
    • If you have a product made up of multiple items that come from various suppliers, use EXW for the supplier that is sending their product to the other supplier within China.
FOB
  • Free On Board – The seller is responsible for delivering the goods to the port, clearing export customs, and getting them on board.
    • While you will see a lot of quotes for FOB, this is not the correct Incoterm to use.
      • FOB is for non-containerized goods like oil, coal, or over-sized items.
    • Most Chinese suppliers don't understand the difference between this and FCA so you may see this a lot, but it really shouldn't be used.
      • FCA is more appropriate.
FCA
  • Free Carrier – The seller is responsible for clearing export customs and delivering the goods to a location named in the purchase order contract.
    • FCA can be used in place of EXW to ensure the supplier takes care of clearing the goods for export.
    • Can be used for LCL (Less than Container Load), FCL (Full Container Load), or air freight.
    • For an LCL shipment, the supplier should deliver the goods to a container freight station to consolidate it with other cargo. It is then moved to a container yard, from where it is loaded onto a ship.
    • For and FCL shipment, the supplier should deliver the goods to a container yard, from where it is loaded onto a ship.
    • For both LCL and FCL, it is best to use a freight forwarder.
      • They will take care of the shipment from when the supplier delivers it until delivery to the final destination.
DDP
  • Delivered Duty Paid – The supplier is responsible for delivering the goods to the final destination with the clearance of all customs. Also known as door-to-door.
    • DDP is used for shipments < 200 kgs when fast delivery is needed.
    • If your supplier is shipping directly to Amazon, it needs to be DDP.
      • Amazon won't accept deliveries not cleared for import customs with all duties paid.
    • DDP is the ideal shipping term to use for your first shipment of goods to Amazon from overseas.

There are seven other Incoterms (CPT, CIP, DAT, DAP, FAS, CFR, and CIF), but they have different points where the responsibility shifts between the supplier and the buyer. That can lead to shipping issues you don't want to have.

The above terms are the most common for Amazon FBA. You should stick to them, especially as a new seller.

Shipping Methods

LCL

Less than Container Load is when shipping by ocean freight and you don't have enough to fill a full container. Additional costs are associated with this method.

Those costs are due to the consolidation of your products with other cargo to fill it.

Additionally, there is an increased risk of damage due to the handling of your goods at the consolidation facility.

FCL

Full Container Load is when you ship by the container with only your product(s) in it. The smallest container size is 20 cubic meters.

If you are shipping over 15 cubic meters, it may be better to send as a full container load due to consolidation costs.

Estimated Shipping Times and Cost by Method

Estimated shipping time and cost by method

These are only estimates, but they are useful for figuring out your margins early on.

Unless you are shipping using Express, it is best to work with a freight forwarder to get accurate quotes and to have them deal with the complicated shipping process.

Ocean and air freight have several fixed costs associated with them, so they don't become economical before you reach a certain billing weight.

Opening an Amazon Seller's Account

There are two types of accounts:

  • Individual – If you won't be selling ≥ 40 items per month and don't need any advanced features, like advertising, you can use this.
    • Amazon charges $0.99 per sale.
  • Professional – This plan costs $39.99 per month, so if you are selling over 40 items per month, this is more economical.
    • Some of the advanced features for selling require it as well.

You may want to consider opening an individual account to start so you won't need to pay the monthly fee.

If you have to get an FNSKU for your packaging earlier, you'll need an account. Also, initial orders can take longer than expected before they ship, and it can take longer to get everything setup once it arrives at Amazon.

You can have only one Amazon Sellers account, but one thing to consider is what email for your seller's account.

You can use your personal email – the one you probably use for your regular Amazon shopping and everything else. You may want to use a different email address.

Using a different address will keep everything related to your Amazon business separated from everything else in case you decide to sell your business in the future.

Account Set-Up

Store Name vs. Brand Name
  • Store name – The store name isn't that important.
    • The store name is what appears as “Sold by” in the listing. Nobody (other than other sellers) pay attention to it.
    • Don't waste much time coming up with the store name.
  • Brand name – The brand name is more important.
    • It is what will be on your packaging or your product if you choose to do so.
    • Also, if you decide to get a trademark for your brand, you'll be able to use Brand Registry.
      • Using Brand Registry gives you other opportunities for promoting your brand on Amazon, including expanded product descriptions that can also include pictures and video.
Trademark search

Amazon's system will let you know if the brand name is already in use on Amazon. However, you need to perform a trademark search as well to ensure you don't run into any legal issues.

To perform a trademark search:

  1. Go to ustpo.gov.
  2. Click on “Searching trademarks” in the Trademarks menu.
  3. Click on the “Search our trademark database (TESS)” button lower in the page.
  4. Select “Basic Word Mark Search (New User).”
  5. Enter your search term(s) and click on “Submit Query.”

You'll have to examine each of the results and see if it is the same as what you want to use. If there is already a trademark that exists, you need to choose a different name.

Creating a listing

To create a listing for your product for Amazon FBA:

  1. Go to Seller Central.
  2. Click on Catalog. Select “Add Products.”
  3. Click on “I'm adding a product not sold on Amazon” below the search bar.
  4. Choose the category where you'll be seeing your product. Check which category your competitors use if you are unsure. This category is in the Amazon Best Sellers Rank in the Product Details section of their listing.
  5. Enter your product information (IMPORTANT: Any of the fields with a lock next to them cannot be changed after you create your product.) (IMPORTANT: Any of the fields with a lock next to them cannot be changed after you create your product.)
Vital Info Tab in Seller Central Product Setup
Vital Info Tab in Seller Central Product Setup
  • Vital Info Tab
    • Product ID – You will need a valid GTIN or UPC for this (see below).
    • ID Type – Type of code you use for the Product ID.
    • Product Name – You can change this later, but it is what will show up below the FNSKU so keep that in mind.
    • Brand Name – This is important because you can't change it after this step.
    • Manufacturer – Doesn't matter what you put here. It can be the brand name, store name, or something else.
    • Manufacturer Part Number – Again, doesn't matter. I use initials from my brand name and then a 001, 002, etc.
    • Unit Count – How many you sell for each sale. If it is a single item or a single set (a makeup kit), it is one. If it is a package of widgets, it is the number of widgets.
    • Unit Count Type – Measurement unit of the count (piece, bag, bottle, ounce, etc.)
  • Variations Tab
    • If you have multiple variations of your product, you will configure that here.
Offer Tab in Seller Central Product Setup
Offer Tab in Seller Central Product Setup
  • Offer Tab
    • You need to add Price (you can change it later) Condition, and Fulfillment Channel (the channel selection makes it Amazon FBA).
  • Images Tab
    • You don't need to add anything here yet.

Add a Product – Advanced View

Product Setup Advanced View in Seller Central
Product Setup Advanced View in Seller Central

If you are setting up your product to be able to get the FNSKU at this point, you don't need to do anything else beyond the required fields.

But if you want to add additional information, you can click on the Advanced View toggle button. Clicking this button will allow you to enter several other details about your product, including:

  • Key Product Features – The bulleted features that will appear in your listing. Along with your Title and Product Description, the key product features should include as many of the top keywords for your product as possible.
  • Product Description – This is the description that will appear in your listing.
  • Keywords – The “Search Terms” entry on the Keywords tab is an integral part of your listing. The “Search Terms” is where you will enter the keywords that didn't fit in the other sections described above. These will not appear in your listing, but they will help drive traffic based on customer searches.
  • More Details – Not required, but you can add details about your product here.

You can go back after saving the product and adjust the fields above, except for ones with a lock next to them. If you need the FNSKU for your supplier/graphics designer, don't spend too much time on the details at this point.

You'll have plenty of time while your product is in production and shipping to get your listing ready.

GTIN/UPC

To list an item for Amazon FBA, you will be required to have a valid Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) or Universal Product Code (UPC).

There are secondary markets where you can get these codes for cheaper, but it is a risk to get it from anywhere but the official source, GS1.

If you are only going to sell your products on Amazon, you don't need a UPC. You can use the GTIN.

But either way, you will need to get a GS1 Company Prefix.

Once you have the GS1 Company Prefix, you create a GTIN for your product. The GTIN is the number you enter in the Product Setup in Amazon.

There is a delay for Amazon to see new GTINs from the GS1 Database, so give it up to 3 days for Amazon to accept your GTIN as valid.

Product photography

The most important part of your listing is the product photos.

You need high-quality images.

The main photo also needs to have a white background and only have your product or packaging in it. A good mix of photos includes the main picture, other product photos, lifestyle photos, and infographics

You can do this yourself if you are comfortable taking good photos and creating infographics. If you think you'll be doing a lot of product photography, there are photo boxes you can buy to help with lighting.

If you aren't comfortable with photography or prefer a professional, the Jungle Scout Market is a great place to find someone to help you out.

Remember, people shopping on Amazon are very visual. And if you don't have attractive pictures, customers will move on to other listings.

Amazon FBA Launch strategy

Pay-Per-Click (PPC)

PPC is advertising your product when people search for keywords associated with it. PPC is the Sponsored products that you see in Amazon search results.

To be able to get your product exposure to customers, you'll want to use PPC. Otherwise, your product will be far from page one.

And you know how many pages you look at when searching on Amazon.

There are two campaign types: Automatic and Manual. You set up a campaign in Seller Central. Hover over “Advertising” and click on “Campaign Manager.”

For all campaigns, you'll set a daily spend limit. You'll also set maximum bid amounts for individual adds.

Ads show based on the bids of sellers who are advertising for the same keywords.

There is also dynamic bidding where Amazon will automatically adjust if and how much a bid will cost based on how likely you are to win a bid.

For both types of bids, you can also set keywords to exclude. These negative keywords are helpful, so you don't pay to win bids for a keyword that you don't want to be associated with your product.

Automatic Campaigns

Automatic campaigns are pretty simple to set up. For automatic campaigns, Amazon algorithms determine the keywords that apply for your listing.

You set your spend limit, max bid, and enter any negative keywords. Setup an automatic campaign when you launch your product to start driving sales.

After running for a couple of weeks, you can pull the data for the campaign and see what keywords are driving customers to your product. You can then use that information to focus manual campaigns on the best performing keywords.

Manual Campaigns

Manual campaigns have the same settings as automatic, but also, you supply the list of keywords to target.

Three types can be set up

  • Exact – Searches include the exact keywords and nothing else
  • Phrase – Searches include the exact sequence and can include words before or after that sequence
  • Broad – Searches can include words before and after the keyword

Giveaways

Another way to increase initial sales is to sell your product at a deep discount. There are some methods to do this in the Advertising section in Seller Central.

If you are already paying for Jungle Scout, there are tools in Jungle Scout Launch to manage a giveaway there as well.

E-mail Automation

Product reviews are also an essential aspect of getting sales through Amazon FBA. The more positive reviews you have, the more likely customers are to buy your product vs. your competitors.

You cannot ask for good reviews or pay for reviews.

However, you can send follow-up emails when your product sells. In these emails, you can request the buyer to leave a review. Just not the type of review.

Also, be aware that a lot of customers will have turned off the ability for these types of emails to be sent to them. But sending these emails will help improve the number of customers who leave reviews.

It can also help to minimize the potential of negative reviews.

Jungle Scout Launch has tools for creating email campaigns as well.

Rinse and Repeat

The great thing about the Amazon FBA process is once you have done it once, you can reapply it to new products. Sure, you will learn new things each time, but the basics are the same each time, and you'll only get better at it.

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