December Amazon Update

December Amazon Update
This is my first year selling during Q4 on Amazon! How’s it going?

Today I’m sharing my December Amazon Update.

Selling During Q4

This is my first time selling during the holiday rush that is Q4. I was late getting started due to being out of stock and waiting on a new shipment of products.

My supplier warned me that they were getting busy and that there would be a long lead time on production.  It turned out to actually be 55 days until my product was ready to ship to Amazon. Ouch.

This means that products weren’t checked in to an Amazon warehouse until the night of December 4th, or Cyber Monday. I was happy to see sales that same night, but sad that I missed out on Black Friday and that crazy first weekend of the shopping season.

It also meant my product sales were never going to be as good as they could be, because Amazon doesn’t immediately give you your ranking back when you get back in stock.

I’ve been back in stock for 2 weeks at this point and have sold about 1/3 of my inventory. Honestly, I thought it would be more and that I would be almost out of stock again, based on what I have heard about Q4 sales from other sellers.  There is definitely room for me to improve here next year.

Shipping Expenses Hurt Again

This production run is a lot more expensive for me because my shipping is more expensive.  This is supply and demand working against me as this is a busy time of year for transportation companies as well.

From the time I got my first shipping quote in August until when the products actually shipped in late November, the price rose by over $1,000.

$1,000.

Yeah.

Pay Per Click

Because my profit margin is lower than I’d like, I can’t be as aggressive as I’d like with PPC.

I’m currently running 3 campaigns, an automatic, a manual, and an exact match manual with a limit of $20 a day.

Inventory

My main concern is maintaining profitability so that I can continue to order larger quantities of products and start hitting some quantity discounts with the suppliers. I’m also considering sea shipping for my next order, I am just hoping that I have a shorter production time to make up for that lag in sea shipping.

Product #2

We are officially in production! I am so excited to get started with a second product and to have 2 products selling on Amazon.  It should be ready in about 20 days and is a smaller and lighter product than #1 so should be much cheaper to ship. It has definitely been cheaper to produce.

Book Keeping

Gotta get on that so it’s ready to go early in January for my CPA.  I’m excited that according to Fetcher, I’m showing a small profit for the year!

Merry Christmas!

This is the last official video between now and Christmas, so if you celebrate I hope that you have a wonderful day full of all the people and things that matter to you.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

Amazon FBA Barcode, UPC, FNSKU

UPC Barcodes FNSKUs
UPCs, Barcodes, FNKSUs. There still seems to be a lot of confusion around these terms.

In today’s video, I am going to attempt to clear up some of the confusion regarding UPCs and FNSKUs when it comes to selling products via Amazon FBA.

What is a UPC?

Remember, UPC stands for Unique Product Code. It is the number that is on any product that you buy in a store (the part that gets scanned at the register).

An FNSKU is also a number code tied to a product, but it is specific to the Amazon Fulfillment Network. In fact, FNSKU stands for Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit.

I did a video on UPCs vs. FNSKUs earlier this year if you need a refresher on the differences.

Where do I register my UPC?

Well, you don’t. Not at least in the sense you may be thinking.

This is something that confuses a lot of people, so don’t worry if you’re feeling that way.

Surprisingly, there’s no global database of UPCs and what product they are tied to. You are in charge of assigning your UPCs to your products and keeping them straight on your own.

Where do I buy UPCs?

Amazon has gotten much more strict in their messaging around UPCs recently.  See the following screen shot:

Amazon Seller Central GS1 Warning
Amazon is becoming more strict about UPC prefixes matching the GS1 database.

They are basically saying that if the prefix associated with the product does not match the prefix registered as GS1, you may be in trouble.

This is definitely one of those “buyer beware” situations where what you do is determined by your risk tolerance. You can buy from a third party reseller, but the safest thing to do is buy directly from GS1.

There’s lots more info on this in the video so be sure to watch!

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch more videos at The Bootstrap Boutique here.

 

What is a Carton Mark?

What is a Carton Mark?
What is a Carton Mark?

Its, true…you learn something new every day.

And recently, I learned what a carton mark is.

I’ve been through a couple of orders already with my supplier and I like to think that I’m pretty on top of the questions that they will ask me.

So when I got an email asking what I wanted for my carton mark, I was confused, I’d never been asked that before.

What is a Carton Mark?

After some research, I learned that while pretty simple, a carton mark is actually really important.

It is the information that goes on the outside of all your boxes and tells people what is inside the box.

A carton mark should have these things, at minimum:

  • Your shipping label (including a receiving and return address)
  • Country of Origin
  • Contents of the Carton*
  • Numbered Box + Boxes in shipment (Example: 1 of 3)
  • Weight + Measurements (metric)
  • Written in English

*If your contents are high value, you may not want to advertise what is inside in case unsavory characters come across your goods.

The video below has additional information about carton marks, should you need to create one for your supplier.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel here.

You can watch more of The Bootstrap Boutique here.

How to Ship A Product To Amazon: Step by Step Tutorial

How to ship a product to Amazon
Step-by-Step tutorial for how to ship your private label products to a warehouse for Amazon FBA.

Today I’m going to show you the step-by-step process to set up a shipping plan to send your products to an Amazon fulfillment center.

How to ship a product to Amazon

This is an important part of selling on Amazon and can cause a lot of stress. Watch this tutorial (take notes!) and you’ll be shipping products to Amazon like a pro!

Don’t forget that in order to create a shipping plan, you must first have your product listed in Amazon Seller Central.

You also need a FNSKU attached to your product, and a UPC or any other type of bar code should be covered up when going into an Amazon warehouse.  See the difference between FNSKU and UPC here.

Mentioned in the Video:

How to Set up a Product Listing on Amazon FBA – another step-by-step tutorial showing you how to list your private label product on Amazon for sale.  Do this first!

Or watch the video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube channel, here.

Amazon Sellers Account: Professional vs. Individual

amazon sellers account: individual vs professional
When creating your Amazon Sellers Account, you can have either an individual or professional account. Which is right for you?

Watch the video here.

Amazon Sellers Account – Which One?

Now why would I pay for something that I could get for free?

Hey, welcome back to another week of The Bootstrap Boutique where beginners build businesses. My name is Megan and I’m glad your here because this week we are going to talk about the first thing you have to decide when you go into Amazon to create a new sellers central account.

Now, Sellers Central we have talked about before, that is the back end system in Amazon where sellers can go in and manage their account.  When you go there for the very first time to create an account, you’ve got a decision to make.  You have to decide, do you want a professional or an individual account?

Now you’re probably thinking, “I don’t know, I don’t know which kind of account, which kind of account do I need?”  And that may even be why you’re watching this video.  You’re in luck.  So at first glance the main difference is really just price and if you don’t dig in too much to it, that’s really all you’re going to see.

So here’s the breakdown.

Individual vs. Professional

An individual account has no monthly fee, however Amazon is going to charge you 99 cents per item in addition to all the various charges that come along with selling.

Or you can sign up for the professional plan, which is 39.99 a month.  Now thats a flat fee, there are again lots of little charges that Amazon gets in there, but that’s the account level fee.

But if you want to sell Private Label on Amazon, it doesn’t matter if you’re selling one a month, fifty a month, whatever, you just can’t do it with an individual account.  That individual plan does not allow you to create a new listing on Amazon, you can only sell what is already there.

So if you wanted to go an sell a cell phone case, you’d have to sell something that is already on the market, you cannot go out and create your own product under a private label and then upload that as its on listing.  But if you’re doing online or retail arbitrage, yeah you can do that with the individual plan, I don’t think there’s any issues there.  I think you would be totally fine to do that. But if you want to sell private label, forty dollars a month for the professional account, thats the way to go.

Professional Accounts for Private Label Sellers

Professional accounts give you some other features and benefits too.  For one you can upload a spreadsheet to Amazon with a whole bunch of listings.  For most of us doing Private Label, we’re going to pick up new products kind of here and there and going in and creating them once at a time isn’t that big of a deal.  But say you had something else already going, say you had a brick and mortar retail store or you had an ecommerce store somewhere else on the internet and now you want to move those items onto the Amazon platform also.  If you have hundreds of SKUs and you’re having to do that one at a time, that’s going to take forever.  So just the ability to upload that spreadsheet all at once with all the information that you need for your different SKUS is a huge benefit to people that are in that situation already.

That’s just a quick overview as to why you should choose the professional account over the individual account if you’re going to sell Private Label on Amazon. I know it doesn’t seem very bootstrappey to pay forty dollars a month when you also have the option to just pay a per item charge, especially when you’re starting out.  That was my thought too, but you just can’t do it as far as I can tell.

You just can’t sell Private Label on the individual plan, so we’re going to have to suck it up and pay that forty dollars a month.  But it’s not the end of the world, its just motivation to go out there and make it up, make sure you’re getting to where you are selling more than forty a month and hey, you’re coming out ahead anyway, so there we go.

Wrap Up

Thumbs up to this video if it was helpful to you, I certainly hope it was.  And feel free to subscribe to this channel, we post new videos every Wednesday, that way you will never miss one.  And I know that is a big priority for you.

If you have any other questions about Amazon or FBA stuff, just leave them down in the comments, I’d be happy to dig in and do some research so I can try to answer them for you.  Other wise, have a great week, we will talk next time.  Take care.

You can watch this video at The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.

You can watch The Bootstrap Boutique’s YouTube Channel here.