Note: This is another installment in my ongoing Amazon Fundamentals series. -JD
Before you start selling on Amazon, you should make sure you have all the essential equipment on hand. There are plenty of really fun gadgets and toys that can make life easier for an Amazon seller, but you won’t need all of them just to get started. And I’ll probably talk about those in a future blog post.
For now, here’s what I think you need to start selling on Amazon:
- Amazon Area - Dedicate a room or part of a room in your house or apartment to Amazon selling. Whether it’s your garage, a spare bedroom or half of the dining room, it doesn’t matter. The more professional and comfortable you feel in your workspace, the easier it will be for you to get your work done efficiently.
- Computer – This might seem obvious, but I’ve heard about a few sellers who do all of their listing and label printing from the library or Kinkos! While this is doable, I don’t recommend it. Invest in a low-cost desktop or laptop. It doesn’t have to be cutting edge, it just has to be able to surf the Web and print.
- Printer and/or label printer – I’ve talked about label printers in the past, but unless you can find a great deal on one, you’re probably going to be better off either printing labels on a desktop printer or having Amazon label your FBA shipments for you. While you probably have a printer at home, it might not be fast enough to keep up with you, when you’re printing labels. A new $50 or $100 printer will keep you from waiting while your print jobs finish!
- Boxes – Love them or hate them, you’ll come to learn more about boxes than you ever thought possible once you start selling on Amazon. My favorite place to buy boxes is Uline. But, you should always be on the lookout for sources for free boxes! Ask friends, businesses you frequent, anyone who might have a few extra boxes. The savings will really add up! Just remember that boxes you ship MFN items in should be new and the boxes you use to pack FBA shipments must be free of barcodes. Also remember to use USPS flat rate Priority Mail boxes when appropriate.
- Padded Envelopes - Cheaper to ship than boxes, padded envelopes could be your new best friend! Use them for shipping books and other small media items, as well as anything that doesn’t need the protection of a big cardboard box!
- Stuffing – When filling a box, you’ll often need to fill in some gaps to keep products from shifting during shipping. You’re not allowed to use newspaper or styrofoam packing peanuts. Instead use brown paper; you can buy this in a big roll at a hardware store.
- Tape - Use strong packing tape, either Duck, 3M or Scotch brand. Don’t “share” a roll with other household projects. Instead have dedicated rolls just for Amazon. Otherwise you’re likely to run out just when you need it!
- Scissors, box cutter – Buy a strong pair of scissors and a box cutter today and thank me later! And know where they are at all times. Good scissors have a way of growing legs in my house
- Goo Gone, Price Tag Peeler - If you’re going to be selling used items, these are invaluable tools. Use them to scrape off labels and old price tags. Most hardware stores carry them.
Really, that’s all it takes to get started! You can add additional tools, software programs and other equipment over time, but as long as you have product to sell and the items I’ve listed above, you’re ready to start selling!