The Mystery Of The Beauty Expiration Date

Beauty Expiration DateHas this happened to you? You are out scanning and you come across a great beauty product. It has great profit, great sales rank, not too many sellers, no Amazon on the listing and you are approved to sell it. You bring it home, start processing it and can not find the beauty expiration date anywhere.

You look over the entire product and all you see are some numbers and letters but no beauty expiration date. You have no clue what these cryptic letters and numbers mean. More than likely, it is the batch code or lot number. If you can decipher these, you will most likely know the production and beauty expiration date of the product.

Most beauty products do have a shelf life. A lot of skincare products have a 2-year shelf life. According to Amazon’s Terms of Service, you must make it clear the beauty expiration date of a beauty product. In order to comply, you must figure out what that date should be.

There are online tools that you can use to find out this information. The one that I like to use is Cosmetic Calculator. With this tool you can select the brand from the drop down menu and enter in the batch code. You then select calculate.

Here is an example. I have some Dove Nutritive Solutions Anti-Frizz Oil Therapy Conditioner. It does not have an expiration date, but I see the following on the bottle: 01157JU38. I use the Cosmetic Calculator and here is what is displayed.

Check Beauty Expiration Date

You see that this product was manufactured on January 15, 2017. It has a shelf life of 36 months so the expiration date would be January 15, 2020. You are now compliant with Amazon.

If you are shopping at close-out stores, then I recommend that you check the expiration date or shelf life while you are still in the store using your phone. It is nothing worse than getting a product home and then realizing that you cannot send it into Amazon.

14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

Amazon FBA ChallengeDay 1 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

Welcome to Day 1 of the 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to send in a shipment of at least 25 items to Amazon in 2 weeks. If you are experiencing slower sales, one way to combat this is to continue to send in shipments on a consistent basis.

My name is Adrienne Dupree and I am from Maryland. I have been selling on Amazon since November 2014. I also sell on eBay. I do Retail Arbitrage, Online Arbitrage, Wholesale and Private Label. I would love for you to join me in this challenge.

So let’s start. In the comments, please do the following:

  1. Introduce yourself and tell everyone where you are from
  2. How long been selling on Amazon?
  3. Do you sell on other platforms? If so, which ones?
  4. What methods are you using in your Amazon business? Retail Arbitrage, Online Arbitrage, Wholesale, Private Label

Day 2 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

FBA stands for Fulfillment By Amazon. Amazon FBA is a program that allows you to buy products, ship them to Amazon fulfillment centers, sell them and have Amazon ship them to the customer.

You may think that this is impossible to buy products and make a profit, but it is not. You would be surprised at how much some products are selling for but there are a lot of reasons for this. Some products are seasonal which means they are not always available. A lot of seasonal only products may be hard to find in stores. Some people in rural areas do not live close to stores so it is easier to buy things on Amazon. Also, some people like the convenience of shopping online and getting their merchandise in 2 days.

With Retail Arbitrage, you go to stores and find products that are selling low enough that you can make a profit by selling them on Amazon. Online Arbitrage is similar to Retail Arbitrage except you are shopping online instead of physically going to stores. A lot of the brick and mortar stores have an online presence as well.

Some people do not like to go stores to shop, so Online Arbitrage is a better option. Also, you can send online orders to a prep company. The prep company will prepare the shipment and send it into Amazon on your behalf.

I love Retail Arbitrage because I like the hunt. I also do a lot of Online Arbitrage as well.  The one thing I like about Online Arbitrage is you don’t have to deal with stickers which can be a pain. Have you ever tried to get multiple clearance stickers off without damaging a box? It is definitely an art to it.

What is your favorite, Online Arbitrage or Retail Arbitrage? Tell us why. If you are not doing either one, which one will you start with and why?

Day 3 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

Products that you sell on Amazon are broken down into categories. Some of these categories are wide open and some require you to get approval before you can sell. You must get approval for the categories that have a star. Below are the categories:

  • Automotive*
  • Baby
  • Beauty*
  • Clothing and Accessories*
  • Grocery & Gourmet Foods*
  • Handbags*
  • Health & Personal Care
  • Home & Kitchen
  • Jewelry*
  • Luggage & Travel Gear*
  • Office Products
  • Patio, Lawn & Garden
  • Pet Supplies
  • Shoes*
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Sunglasses*
  • Tools & Home Improvement
  • Toys & Games
  • Watches*

Even if a category is not restricted or you are approved in a category, there still may be products that you cannot sell. There are some brands that you cannot sell until you get approval. Most of these approvals require you to turn in some number of wholesale invoices. There may also be a letter required from the manufacturer as well as an application fee. In some cases, the entire brand may not be restricted but there may be products that are restricted. However, if you are restricted for a particular brand, sometimes the approval is automatic so always try.

Ungated is a free Chrome Extension that shows you the categories that you are already approved in as well as provide you with information to make the process of getting approved in restricted categories easier.

What are you favorite categories to sell? Mine are Clothing, Groceries and Toys. Start thinking about the what categories the products will be in that you send in to Amazon.

Day 4 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

In order to find profitable products on Amazon, two things that you need to understand is the Best Sellers Rank (BSR) and sales velocity. BSR is based on sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on This number is by Amazon categories. The lower the number, the better the item has sold. For example, a BSR of 1 is better than a BSR of 1000. However, the lower the BSR, generally the more competition you will have.

You also need to take into consideration the category. For example, a BSR of 100,000 in Home & Kitchen is better than a rank of 100,000 in Toys & Games. There are approximately 61,195,359 products in Home & Kitchen and approximately 5,708,201 products in Toys & Games. A rank of 100,000 in Home & Kitchen is in the top 0.2% and only in the top 1.8% in toys. You can download a complimentary Sales Rank chart and even get on a list to receive an updated chart monthly.

Sales velocity is the rate at which a product sells. This is usually measured by the month, the week or the day. Typically, products with a lower BSR have a higher sales velocity but you must also take into consideration the category. Some categories are more popular than others. You can download a complimentary Sales Velocity chart.

Two free tools that help you interpret sales rank history and sales history are Keepa and Camel Camel Camel. To ensure you make the best buying decision you want to evaluate all the information that is available to you. Not only do you want to look at the current information such as BSR but you want to look at a product’s price and sales rank history. CamelCamelCamel is a site that allows you do to do this. You want to make sure that you just don’t have a temporary spike in BSR or is this a product that has been performing over time. It can also help you evaluate seasonal products. Keepa is another tool that has comprehensive price history graphs as well as price drop and availability alerts. This tool will even show if Amazon is in stock.

If you want to learn more about CamelCamelCamel and Keepa, I recommend Stephen Smotherman’s course, The Reseller’s Guide to How to Keepa Camel: Using Amazon Sales History to Make Smart Sourcing Decisions. This course will break down exactly how to use CamelCamelCamel and Keepa to make smart sourcing decisions. There are also some complimentary videos on Sales Ranks, CamelCamelCamel and Keepa.

I like to stay in the top 5% of the sales rank in a category but will go to 10%. You need to determine what you are comfortable with. Please study the sales rank and sales velocity charts so you are familiar with the percentages. I suggest you take a copy when you go shopping or save it to your phone.

Day 5 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

Outside of checking the Keepa and Camel Camel Camel charts to determine if I am going to buy a product, there are some other factors such as:

  • How many other sellers
  • Amazon on listing
  • Profit
  • ROI

If there a lot of other sellers on a product, then I tend to stay away from it unless it has a very low rank. I like to typically stay under 10 to 15 sellers. If Amazon is on the listing, I move on. Some people like to compete against Amazon but I am not one of them. Lots of people will tell you that Amazon shares the buy box but that has not been my experience. You need to determine what is the lowest profit you are willing to take as well as the ROI?

Now there is a difference between Profit and ROI or Return on Investment.  Revenue is your sold cost or how much you sold the item for. Profit is your Revenue or Sold Cost minus your Costs of Goods Sold. Costs of Goods sold includes how much you paid for the item plus sales tax if applicable. Some people also include the cost of shipping materials such as polybags and shipping to Amazon. I do not.

  • Revenue = Sold Cost

  • Profit = Revenue or Sold Cost – Costs of Goods Sold

Profit Margin is a measure of profit over cost. It is calculated once your initial investment is recouped.

  • ROI = (Revenue – Cost) / Cost

Would you buy if Amazon was on the listing?

How many is too many other sellers?

Do you have a ROI that you use when making purchases?

Do you have a Profit Margin that you use when making purchases?

Day 6 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

The biggest question new sellers or sellers in general have is where do I find products to sell on Amazon. The question is everywhere. You can find products in almost any store. There is a misconception that you must find clearance or sale merchandise to find profitable products. That is not true. There are plenty of opportunities to find profitable products that are not in the clearance aisle. You can find products in stores and online.

Below are some of the places that you can find products in retail stores:

  • Discount Stores
  • Target
  • Walmart
  • Kmart
  • Dollar Stores
  • Drug Stores
  • Grocery Stores
  • Wholesale Club Stores
  • Toy Stores
  • Convenience Stores
  • Specialty Stores
  • Thrift Stores

Almost any store will have products that can be sold. Be creative and have an open mind. You will be surprised what you can find. Don’t overlook “Mom & Pop” stores or a store that you only have in your area.  Products that are only available in your region can be very popular on Amazon.

When you are sourcing products in discount stores and thrift stores, please ensure that the products are new if you are listing them as new on Amazon. The packaging must be in pristine condition as well. There should be no dings or dents in the boxes.

One book that I recommend on Retail Arbitrage is Arbitrage: The authoritative guide on how it works, why it works, and how it can work for you by Chris Green. He also has a Retail Arbitrage online course, Arbitrage and Amazon’s Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) Program.

If you are interested in sourcing in dollar stores, then I recommend the following book: Dollar Store Arbitrage: How to Make $100 a Day Selling Dollar Store Finds by Abigaile Hunt. I started selling on Amazon in the middle of November 2014 and I bought many things and continue to buy from dollar stores.

If you are just starting out and do not have a scanning app, then download the Amazon Seller App. You can either find it for free for your iPhone or Android phone.

Your assignment is to go shopping and find 5 profitable items.

Day 7 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

We are halfway through the challenge. I hope that everyone is on track. Remember, you need to send in 25 items to Amazon as part of this challenge. It can be 25 of the same item or 25 different items. Today’s post is more about scanning products. You can use the Amazon Seller App which is free or you can use other 3rd party tools. I also use Scan Power MobileScanPower Mobile is also a 3rd party application that you can download on your phone. It is free if there are free licenses available. You can also view CamelCamelCamel and Keepa charts on the ScanPower Mobile app. This app is free but sometimes it is not available. You will have to try back if it is not available for free.

restrictedEven though I use ScanPower Mobile, I always scan with the Amazon Seller App to make sure I am allowed to sell the product. I could be restricted from the brand or the category. The picture to the left shows you what is displayed on the Amazon Seller App when you are restricted.  Also, the product could be considered HazMat. If so, you can not send it into the warehouse. You would have to sell it Merchant Fulfilled instead. In the beginning, I just used the Amazon Seller app but the reason I switched is because I can easily get additional information very quickly with other apps. While you are scanning, make sure you are buying products that you can actually send in to the warehouse.
Did you complete your assignment from yesterday? Did you find 5 profitable products that you are allowed to sell? Today’s assignment is to find 5 more products that you can sell. If they are profitable, actually purchase them. Leave a comment and let us know how many products you bought today.

Day 8 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

By now, you should have found some profitable products to send into Amazon and now you need to get your products ready for shipment. If your products have price stickers on them, then you need to take them off. You need to do this carefully so you do not damage the packaging. I use Scotty peelers and Goo Gone but there are other things you can use. Some people use a heat gun or even a hair dryer. Check out my post, How To Get Labels Off Your Products, for more information.

If your products are not completely covered, then you will need to put them in polybags. I also use these to protect items. I use the self-sealing ones that already have the suffocation label printed on them. This way I don’t need suffocation warning labels and don’t need a heat sealer to close the bags. For more information on polybags, check out Polybags And My Amazon FBA Business.

Once you have prepared your products, you now need to put them in a box. You can buy boxes from Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart or a variety of other places. You can also order them online. If you spend at least $50, UHaul will deliver for free. You can also use free boxes. The boxes do not have to be new. The only type of boxes that you can not use are alcohol boxes.

Once you pack everything in your box, you now need to add packing material to secure your products. You can use bubble wrap, craft paper or plastic bags. Newspaper and packing peanuts are not allowed. If you use plastic bags, put the bags inside of one of the bags and close it up. If your box is much bigger than it needs to be, you might want to resize it.

Once your box is full, you tape it up and weigh it. Now you are ready to print your shipping labels and send your box to Amazon. To find out more about the supplies you may need, you can check out our supplies list.

Do you have all of your supplies? How did you take your labels off? Where are you getting your boxes? What type of packing material do you plan to use? Let everyone know.

Day 9 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

Did you know that there are various ways to send your shipment into Amazon? You can use FedEx or UPS. FedEx was added in January 2017. I have never used FedEx. I always use UPS. If you use UPS, there are several ways to get your packages to UPS. You can drop them off at a UPS Store, Staples, UPS or even have them picked up. You can sign up for a Smart Pickup account which is free for the first year.

I have observed that where my boxes are dropped off affects how long my merchandise gets to Amazon. UPS comes to the UPS Store once a day in the evening to pick up packages. I have 2 UPS centers close to my house. One is very close, so I use them if it is close to closing time or I don’t want to deal with traffic. The other one is about 20 miles away but the traffic can be very bad. The one further away is a hub, so things move quicker. They are also open on Saturday. I have also observed that when I send packages on Friday, they typically don’t leave UPS until Sunday night or Monday.

You can track your packages by going to your Dashboard, click Inventory and then click Manage FBA Shipments. You should observe how long your packages take to get to Amazon so you are prepared during Q4 to get them to Amazon as quickly as you can.

How do you plan to send your 25 items into the Amazon warehouse?

Day 10 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

When you sell your products are Amazon, there are some fees associated with it. There are FBA fees, storage fees and even fees is you Merchant Fufill.

Amazon FBA Fees

If you are using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), below are the following fees that you must take into consideration:

  • Per Item Fee
  • Fulfillment Fee
  • Referral Fee
  • Inbound Shipping Fee
  • Weight Handling Fee
  • Storage Fees

Per Item Fee – If you have a Professional Account, then you do not pay a per item fee. If you have an Individual Account, then you pay 99 cents per item sold.

Fulfillment Fee –  This fee includes order handling, weight handling and pick & pack. Pick & Pack is when Amazon picks your items out of the warehouse and packs them in a box to deliver to the customer.

Referral Fee – The referral fee for most categories is 15% of the sales price.

Inbound Shipping Fees – There are shipping fees associated with shipping your merchandise to Amazon. These fees must be taken into consideration as well.

Weight Handling Fee – The outbound shipping weight is calculated for each order by adding the packaging weight to the unit weight. For most products that weigh over a pound, the greater of the unit weight or the dimensional weight will be used. The total is rounded up to the nearest pound. The outbound shipping weight is then multiplied by the weight handling fee.

Storage Fees – The are two types of storage fees: Monthly & Long-Term. These fees are charged for all merchandise that is stored in an Amazon fulfillment center. It is charged based on cubic feet. The monthly storage fees are charged monthly. There are two types of long term storage fees – 6 months and 12 months. If an item has been in the warehouse at least 6 months on the 15th of August or the 15th of February, you will be assessed 6-month long-term storage fees. If an item has been in the warehouse at least 12 months on the 15th of August or the 15th of February, you will be charged 6-month and 12-month long term storage fees.

Amazon Merchant Fulfilled Fees

If you sell items using the Amazon Merchant Fulfilled program, then you will pay referral fees and variable closing fees if applicable.

Day 11 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

Now that you know how to determine if a product is profitable, you have your shipping supplies and you know where to find products, it is time to ship your items to Amazon. At a high level, there are basically 10 steps to get your inventory to Amazon.

Step 1 – Go Shopping and Find Bargains

In previous days in this post are instructions how to find bargains.

Step 2 – Add Product to Your Inventory

Once you bring your merchandise home, you need to start the process of preparing it to go to Amazon. The first thing you must do is add your product to your inventory. As a newer seller, I recommend that you only sell items that are already in the Amazon category. You can add new products but that requires more work and you must drive traffic to the listing as well.

Step 3 – Determine Price

Based on what other sellers are selling the item for, what you paid for the item and the Amazon fees you will be charged, you need to determine the price of your item. Make sure you take into account all of the fees you will be charged.

Step 4 – Add Product to a Shipping Plan and Enter Quantity of Product

Once you determine your price, you need to add your products to a shipping plan and enter the quantity that you will be sending in. You will need 30-Up labels for printing.

Step 5 – Print Labels

Once you have added all your items to your shipping plan, you must print out your labels.

Step 6 – Put label over barcode/UPC

Now that you have printed the labels, you must put the label over the barcode. This is also called the UPC.

Step 7 – Prepare Product

Depending on the product, there are different preparation steps that are required. If the product has a price tag, you need to remove it. Using a Scotty Peeler makes this much easier. Some items need to be put in a polybag or bubble wrapped . If the item contains more than one item, then you want to make sure that you include a “This Is A Set label. If you are using a bag and it does not have a suffocation warning on it, then you need to affix a suffocation label to it if the opening is 5 inches or more. I also do this if I bubble wrap something that is not put inside of a bag.

Step 8 – Approve Shipment

Once you approve the shipment, you will know where you are sending your products. Sometimes everything goes to one warehouse and sometimes not.

Step 9 – Pack Boxes & Weigh Them

Once you know what warehouse your products are going to, you can pack your boxes. You should try to use boxes that are as close to the size of the items you are packing as possible. If your box is too big, you can always use a box resizer and a box cutter to resize the box. You can use craft paper to fill the box and protect its contents. You can also use plastic bags. Put plastic bags inside of one plastic bag and tie it up. Once you have secured your boxes with tape, you must weigh them.

Step 10 – Print UPS labels and Take Boxes To Be Shipped

Now that you have weighed your boxes, you can now print the shipping labels. If you are shipping via UPS, you can get free shipping labels from them. You affix the labels to the box and you can now take your boxes to be shipped. You can drop them off at UPS or a UPS Store. Staples will also accept UPS shipments.

Day 12 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

By now, your merchandise should be on the way to the Amazon warehouse. While you are waiting for it to be checked in, you can track your shipment. Go to your dashboard and select Inventory. Once you select Inventory, select Manage FBA Shipments. Select your shipment and you will see how it travels across the country to the Amazon warehouse.

If you are using UPS, you will see the following three statuses as your package moves from one UPS facility to another:

  • Package arrived at a carrier facility
  • Package received by carrier
  • Package has left the carrier facility

Once it arrives at the Amazon warehouse, the first status you will see is Delivered. This means that UPS has reported that your shipment has been delivered to the Amazon warehouse. The next status is Checked-In. This means Amazon has reported that your shipment has been delivered. Once your shipment has been delivered, it will move to Receiving or Processing. This means that the contents of your shipment are being scanned and added to your inventory. Once your shipment has been fully processed, it will move to a Closed status.

Day 13 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

We are on the home stretch. This is the next to the last day of the challenge. Please leave a comment and let me know how many items you have sent into Amazon. Once your items have been checked into the Amazon warehouse, you may see something strange when you look at Manage Inventory. The items are active, they have been fully processed but the quantity is 0. Where is your inventory? This happens to me on a regular basis. Most of my items are shipped to the Charlotte, NC warehouse which is a distribution warehouse.

A distribution warehouse gets your product and then ships them to other warehouses. This is good and bad. It is good because I don’t have to ship to a lot of warehouses. It is bad because my items end up on backorder until they are shipped to their final destination. Your inventory is in a reserved status. Find out more by reading Why Is More Inventory Reserved?

Day 14 – 14 Day Amazon FBA Challenge

Today is the last day of the Amazon FBA Challenge? Did you meet your goal of sending in 25 items? If no, reread this post and send your items in. This challenge was focused on using the Retail Arbitrage Model. If you would rather not go to stores, then you can use online arbitrage. With this model, you buy products online.

Many of the brick and mortar retail stores also have an online presence. There are also stores that are only available online. If you really don’t like to shop in stores or you are in a remote area, you might want to consider shopping online.

If you shop online, please make sure that you take into consideration the extra time that will be involved. You must wait for the merchandise to be delivered to your home. Some stores have an option to order online and pick up in the store. This normally gets rid of shipping fees.

One book that I recommend on Online Arbitrage is Online Arbitrage: Sourcing Secrets for Buying Products Online to Resell for BIG PROFITS by Chris Green. He also has an Online Arbitrage online course, Online Arbitrage – Buy Products Online to Resell.

You can also use tools to assist with Online Arbitrage such as Tactical Arbitrage. For more information on Tactical Arbitrage, read My Go To Online Sourcing Tool – Tactical Arbitrage.

5 Benefits Of Attending Trade Shows

Benefits Of Attending Trade ShowsIf you are an Amazon FBA seller, then you should be attending trade shows. There are many kinds and sizes of trade shows. Some have all types of products and some are niche specific. Some are very large and include thousands of vendors. Some are small. If you have never been to a trade show before, then I recommend that you start with a small one. There are 5 main benefits of attending trade shows.

Benefits of Attending Trade Shows #1 – Open Wholesale Accounts

I believe the main benefit of attending trade shows is that you can open wholesale accounts. You meet the vendors in person and can establish a rapport with them. It is so much easier than cold calling or sending an email. With all of the recent restrictions, it is imperative to establish some wholesale accounts. Amazon FBA – Your First Wholesale Account will teach you more about wholesale accountsl

Benefits of Attending Trade Shows #2 – Bring New Products To Market Inexpensively

Sometimes, wholesalers may require a large order. Make sure you inquire about their minimum order quantity or MOQ. Typically, at trade shows, there are specials. These specials may include a smaller order amount or free shipping.

Benefits of Attending Trade Shows #3 – Free Educational Seminars

Most trade shows include some type of educational component. They usually have free seminars on topics that will be beneficial to you. I recommend looking at the seminars and scheduling your time on the trade show floor around these great opportunities for learning.

Benefits of Attending Trade Shows #4 – Networking with Other Sellers

Trade shows are a great way to network with other sellers. Be friendly and introduce yourself to others. A lot of times you are staying in the same hotels so you can eat breakfast or dinner with a new friend. I have learned some of the best tips from other Amazon sellers.

Benefits of Attending Trade Shows #5 – Develop Relationships With Vendors

This may not seem obvious but you can also develop relationships with vendors. I have attended the Philadelphia Gift Show several times and have interacted with several vendors several times. I receive emails before the show informing me that they will be there. Also, they tell me about specials and new products when they see me.

And a bonus benefit of attending trade shows is that products that you buy and have delivered to you do not have any stickers. No scotty peelers or Goo-Gone is needed. The prep of these products is so much easier.

If you want to learn more about attending trade shows, Trade Shows For FBA Sellers is for you. Trade Shows for FBA Sellers will provide an introduction to trade shows for Amazon FBA sellers, step-by-step instructions on what you need to attend trade shows as well as step-by-step instructions on determining what to buy.

Amazon FBA – Your First Wholesale Account

FBA First Wholesale AccountIf you are just starting out selling physical products on Amazon then you are probably doing retail arbitrage. That is how I recommend everyone start. You can also do online arbitrage. This is more convenient for some people or they hate shopping in stores.  Anyway, these are the best two ways to get started. At some point, you want to venture into wholesale. It is not as scary as it sounds. This blog post will tell you one way to get your FBA first wholesale account. There are many ways to start in wholesaling but this is how I started.

Did you know that there are hundreds of trade shows? There are generic ones and niche specific ones. These take place all over the United States and in other countries as well. Some are small and some are huge. The first trade show that I attended was the Philadelphia Gift Show in Pennsylvania. This is a small trade show. Since trade shows contain wholesalers and distributors, you have to be a business.

So, I entered the show with my business cards, my rolling cart, my business credit card and my sales certificate not knowing exactly what to expect. I walked the trade show floor and discovered some vendors that peaked my interest. I found out more about what they had to offer and did my research to determine if their products would be profitable on Amazon.

I found a few that met my criteria and I proceeded to open my Amazon FBA first wholesale account. It was pretty uneventful. I gave them my credit card, filled out a form and that was it. I now had my first wholesale account.  People had told me ahead of time, that the process was easy but I was not sure. I opened up my first wholesale account less than 6 months after I started selling on Amazon.

I have done this several times now. This is something that you can do also. The biggest thing is to make sure you do your research to determine if the products are going to be profitable. Don’t rely on the vendor telling you that their product sells well on Amazon. Once you get your electronic catalog or paper catalog, you have everything you need to start your research.

You may be wondering how you determine if a product is profitable. It depends on how you receive the data. Trade Shows for FBA Sellers will provide an introduction to trade shows for Amazon FBA sellers, step-by-step instructions on what you need to attend trade shows as well as step-by-step instructions on determining what to buy.  Get started with your Amazon FBA first wholesale account now.

My Go To Online Sourcing Tool – Tactical Arbitrage

Tactical ArbitrageIf you are only doing Retail Arbitrage in your Amazon business, you need to consider adding Online Are you tired of peeling off those multiple clearance stickers? If so, Online Arbitrage is what you should be doing. Don’t get me wrong. I will love Retail Arbitrage but I wanted to expand my business. Tactical Arbitrage allowed me to do this.

Most people start off Online Arbitrage by manually finding products or buying a list. I did both. I manually found products by going to online sites, finding products and using the Context Menu Search Chrome Extension to find profitable products on Amazon. This was great but it can be time consuming.

I also bought lists that contained products I could buy online. I found some great deals but sometimes by the time I got the items to Amazon, there was too much competition. Also, these lists were not cheap.

Then I discovered a way to automatically do online sourcing. I discovered Tactical Arbitrage. Tactical Arbitrage is a tool that allows you to find profitable products on Amazon using a variety of ways.

Tactical Arbitrage – Product Search

Product search allows you to source from over 400 online stores. You can filter products by sales rank, return on investment (ROI), the number of sellers, the profit amount, whether Amazon is selling the product and additional criteria. Based on your criteria, Amazon is searched and products that meet your criteria are returned. The returned search results show information about the product in Amazon so you can determine if you want to buy the product.

Tactical Arbitrage – Bulk Search

With bulk search, you can search multiple categories of products from a site using a comma separated value (CSV) file. You upload the file and let it run. You can search hundreds of categories and the search can run up to 48 hours.

Tactical Arbitrage – Wholesale Search

If you have ever been to a trade show, you have received lots of catalogs. If you are vetting wholesalers, you may also get electronic catalogs. You need a way to evaluate all this data and find the profitable products. If you had to do this manually, it would take hours of work. Luckily, Tactical Arbitrage can do this for you. You create a spreadsheet of the data, specify your criteria and run it through Tactical Arbitrage. I have literally gone to my hotel room after a trade show, done my research using Tactical Arbitrage and bought profitable products the next day.

Tactical Arbitrage – Reverse Search

How many times have you come across a great product on Amazon and wondered where you could buy it? With Tactical Arbitrage’s reverse search, you can search for that product at over 400 online stores. This gives you a huge advantage to finding products that are already selling on Amazon.

Tactical Arbitrage – Library Search

If you source books as part of your Amazon business, then you will love library search. You can search 9 online sites for profitable books. Now you have some other choices besides going to yard sales, thrift stores and estate sales.

Tactical Arbitrage – Amazon Flips

If you are not familiar with Amazon flips, it is when you buy something on Amazon when the price is low and then send it back in to Amazon to sell. If you use this technique, you cannot use your Prime account to purchase the merchandise. You can use Tactical Arbitrage to find these potential deals.

As you can see, you can use Tactical Arbitrage for many aspects of your online sourcing. Once I started using this tool, my Online Arbitrage portion of my business exploded. I can set up a huge bulk search, start it before I go to bed and analyze the results in the morning. To get started with Tactical Arbitrage, there is a 7-day trial for $1.  Explode your Online Arbitrage business now with this powerful tool.

Amazon FBA Labels – Labels I Need In My Amazon FBA Business

There are some supplies that are needed for your Amazon business that you may not think about until you need them. Labels are one of those types of supplies. Depending on what you are sending in, you could need only 1 type of label or you may need up to 4 different type of labels. Find out what Amazon FBA labels you need.

Amazon FBA Labels - This Is A SetAmazon FBA Labels – This Is a Set Do Not Separate Labels

When you are sending merchandise that goes together, you can put it in a polybag but you must also designate to the Amazon warehouse staff that the packaging should not be opened. This merchandise goes together and it is a set. I do this by putting the merchandise in a polybag and putting a “This Is A Set” label on the bag. This will ensure that the items will stay together.

Amazon FBA Labels - Suffocation Warning LabelsAmazon FBA Labels – Suffocation Labels

When you are packaging your merchandise in a bag, if the bag has more than a 5-inch opening, you need to make sure that a Suffocation Warning label is on the bag.  The polybags that I purchase already have this warning printed on them.  If I need to put a larger item in a bag, I will use a clear trash bag and I make sure I put a “Suffocation Warning” on the bag.  I also do this with bubble wrap.

Amazon FBA Labels - 30 Up LabelsAmazon FBA Labels – 30 Up Address Labels

If you are not using a Dymo Printer to print your labels as you list, then you need to print your labels that will cover up the UPC code as part of the shipping process. Once you have added all your items to the shipping plan, you must print your labels. This will be a PDF file that you can print on 30 up address labels. This sheet contains 3 rows of 10 labels each.

Amazon FBA Labels - Shipping LabelsAmazon FBA Labels – Shipping Labels

Once all your items are packed, you need to print shipping labels so your merchandise will go to the correct warehouse. You will print 2 labels, one that tells UPS what Amazon warehouse to deliver to and the second label is used by Amazon once your boxes are delivered. If you are using UPS, these 2-up labels can be ordered for free. You just must set up a UPS account and order the labels.  Otherwise, you can order these labels.

As you can see, there are four different labels that are essential to an Amazon FBA business.

How To Get Labels Off Your Products

How To Get Labels Off Your Products

Get Labels Off


If you are doing Retail Arbitrage as part of your Amazon FBA business, then you know that you must get those labels off without damaging the product. Sometimes there are multiple stickers on a product especially if the item you are buying is on clearance. Getting stickers off something that is plastic is much easier than getting stickers off paper packaging. You have to be very careful not to damage the packaging. Find out the ways you can use to get labels off.

Get Labels Off – Scotty Peelers

What are Scotty Peelers? Scotty Peelers remove labels off paper or other soft surfaces. Scotty Peelers are either plastic or metal objects. You must be careful with the metal ones because they can damage the packaging and they are very sharp. I recommend plastic Scott Peelers over the metal ones.

Get Labels Off – Goo Gone

Goo Gone is a degreaser that removes stickers or tape residue. After you remove the stickers, there still may be residue left on the package. Goo Gone comes in a variety of forms. It comes as a liquid, a spray bottle and wipes.

Get Labels Off – Hair Dryer

Some people use a hair dryer to remove stickers. If you are using a hair dryer, make sure that it is not too hot because you could melt the packaging. There still may be some residue left so you still may have to use Goo Gone as well.

Get Labels Off – Heat Gun

Some people use a heat gun instead of a hair dryer to remove stickers. I would caution that make sure it is not too hot so you don’t melt the packaging.

Get Labels Off – Alcohol

Some people use alcohol to remove the residue instead of Goo Gone. Just make sure that you do not leave an odor on the packaging.

As you can see there are a lot of ways to remove stickers from Retail Arbitrage packages. I tend to use Scotty Peelers and Goo Gone. Also, your “go-to” method may not work on all packaging. To learn about more supplies you need for your Amazon FBA Business, checkout my list of FBA Supplies.

Polybags And My Amazon FBA Business

PolybagsWhat Are Polybags?

According to Wikipedia, polybags are “a plastic bag or type of container made of thin, flexible, plastic film, nonwoven fabric, or plastic textile. Plastic bags are used for containing and transporting goods such as foods, produce, powders, ice, magazines, chemicals, and waste. It is a common form of packaging.” A polybag is a plastic bag that is used for certain items that we ship to Amazon.

Why Do I Need Polybags?

You need polybags in your Amazon FBA business because certain items are exposed and need to be covered. If you have a toy that is not completely covered, it needs a polybag. If you have a piece of clothing or anything else that is exposed, you need to ship to Amazon in a polybag. I even use them for grocery items that I ship to Amazon.

What Sizes Of Polybags Do I Need?

There are many sizes of polybags. The most common sizes I use are 6”x9”, 8”x10”, 9”x12” and 11”x14”. I do have some bigger sizes such as 14”x20”, 18”x24”, 22”x24” and 18”x30”. These sizes last much longer for me. You should start with the most common sizes. If your product is too big for these polybags, you can use a clear trash bag. Make sure you put the suffocation labels on the bag.

What Kind Of Polybags Do I Need?

According to Amazon, polybags must be at least 1.5 mil. Polybags with openings greater than 5″ must have a visible suffocation warning. All barcodes must be scannable without opening or unwrapping the packaged item. You can get polybags with the suffocation already on them or you must buy separate suffocation labels. I buy the self-sealing kind because it cuts out an extra step. With the self-sealing bags, you pull off the strip exposing the sticky part of the bag and close it. If you don’t use a self-sealing bag, you either must close the bag with a piece of tape or use a heat impulse sealer. I find that using self-sealing polybags with the suffocation label already printed on them is the best option.

Where Do I Buy Polybags?

There are several places online that you can buy polybags. If you are just starting out, I recommend that you buy them from Amazon. You can get 400 bags of the four most popular sizes very inexpensively. As you progress in your business, I suggest you buy bigger quantities from either Uline or Bubblefast. You can get a discount from Bubblefast by using the coupon code FBA.

Now that you know everything you need to know about polybags, you are now ready to get your first shipment ready for Amazon. If you want to learn about what other supplies are required for your Amazon FBA business, check out my Amazon FBA Supplies page.

Why You Need To Use A Box Resizer In Your Amazon FBA Business

Why You Need To Use A Box Resizer In Your Amazon FBA Business

Box ResizerYou may be thinking that the title of this blog post is a mistake. Why would anyone think that a box resizer is an important tool for your Amazon FBA business? Or you may be thinking what in the world is a box resizer? A box resizer is a tool that allows you to resize a box. If you have a box that is bigger than the contents you are shipping to Amazon, you can use a box resizer to make the box smaller.

Now you are probably thinking why do I care if my box is smaller? There are basically two reasons why you would want to make your box smaller: to reduce the amount of packing material you must include in your box and to reduce the shipping costs.

Box Resizer Advantage #1 – Reduction of Packing Material

When you pack a box for Amazon, you should include packing material to prevent your contents from moving around in the box. This will reduce damage to your products in shipping. Amazon has specific types of material that can be used. You can use craft paper, blank newspaper, air pillows, bubble wrap and plastic bags. Printed newspaper and peanuts are not allowed. You can also use plastic bags by putting plastic bags inside of plastic bag and tying the outer bag in a knot.

In some cases, you can get packing material for free or you may have to purchase it. If you have to purchase it, then you want to use as little as possible while still protecting your products. Also, the more packing material you use, the heavier your box will be which can equate to more shipping costs.

Box Resizer Advantage #2 – Dimensional Weight

Even more important than reducing packing material is the amount your shipping costs are affected by the size and weight of your box. Per UPS, “dimensional weight reflects package density, which is the amount of the space a package occupies in relation to its actual weight.”  To calculate dimensional weight, you multiply the length, height and width of a box and divide by 166. You round to the next whole number if you have a fraction. The greater of the dimensional weight and the actual weight is what you are charged for shipping the package.

The following is stated on the Small Parcel Delivery To Amazon Help Page:

If you are using Amazon’s partnered carrier (UPS), you must enter the dimensional data for your small-parcel delivery boxes. These dimensions are used to calculate dimensional weight, which may be used to determine fees if the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight.

When you are entering the weight of your boxes as part of your shipping plan, you must also enter the box dimensions. If you have a large box that has contents that are light, more than likely, the dimensional weight will be greater than the actual weight of the box. For example, if you have a 18x18x16 inch box, the dimensional weight is 32 pounds. This is the size of a medium Home Depot box. If the contents in the box are less than 32 pounds, you are still going to be charged for 32 pounds for shipping.  Therefore, you want to reduce the size of the box using the box resizer if possible.

Dimensional Weight Calculators

There is a free Chrome Extension called Dimension Calculator that will calculate the dimensional weight of a box once you input the dimensions. There is also a website that you can visit to calculate dimensional weight as well.

As you can see, a box resizer is much more important to your Amazon FBA business than you thought. If you would like more information about other essential supplies for your Amazon business, check out my Amazon Supplies Resource Page.

Can I Sell Toys On Amazon During Q4?

Can I Sell Toys On Amazon During Q4?

Can I Sell Toys on AmazonAmazon has made quite a few changes lately and some of them may affect your ability to sell toys during the holiday season. So the question is, can I sell toys on Amazon during the 4th quarter? In previous years, Amazon has restricted who can sell toys merchant fulfilled. This means you had to meet certain criteria to ship toys to your customers directly. There were no restrictions for FBA.

However, there are new restrictions for FBA which may impact your ability to sell toys if you are a new seller or if you do not meet the criteria.


Criteria To Merchant Fulfill Toys On Amazon During Q4

Below are the criteria for merchant fulfilling toys during Q4:

Effective on November 17, 2016, only sellers who meet the criteria listed below will be eligible to sell in the Toys & Games category from November 17, 2016 through January 5, 2017.

  • Your first sale on must occur prior to September 19, 2016. The sale does not need to be specific to the Toys & Games store.
  • You must process and ship at least 25 orders from September 1, 2016 through October 31, 2016. The orders do not need to be specific to the Toys & Games store.
  • Your pre-fulfillment cancel rate for the period from 1st October through October 17, 2016 must be no greater than 1.75%.
  • Your late shipment rate for the period from October 1 through October 31, 2016 must be no greater than 4%.
  • Your order defect rate must be no greater than 1% short term as of November 1, 2016.

New Seller – Can I Sell Toys On Amazon During Q4?

If you are a new seller who did not complete a FBA shipment prior to October 11, 2016, you will not be able to sell toys until after December 19, 2016. Amazon has restricted the FBA program during Q4 only to sellers who have completed a FBA shipment prior to October 11, 2016. You will be able to use the FBA program to sell toys after December 19, 2016. You will not be able to use the Merchant Fulfill program for toys until after January 5, 2017.  Unfortunately, you would not be able to meet the Merchant Fulfilled requirements stated above. There are many other categories that you can sell in during Q4.

Seller Who Has Not Shipped FBA – Can I Sell Toys On Amazon During Q4?

If you are an Amazon Seller and you have never shipped via FBA, then you will not be able to use the FBA program until after December 19, 2016. However, if you have shipped via Merchant Fulfilled and you meet the criteria listed above for merchant fulfilling toys, then you can sell toys during Q4.

Seller Who Has Shipped FBA – Can I Sell Toys On Amazon During Q4?

If you are a seller who has used the Amazon FBA program in the past, then you will be able to sell toys using the Amazon FBA program. In order to Merchant Fulfill toys, you must meet the criteria listed above for merchant fulfilling toys.

As you can see, the criteria for selling toys on Amazon this holiday season is a little more complicated than in year’s past. Please review the scenarios above to determine your eligibility to sell toys. Regardless of your ability to sell toys, Q4 is a great opportunity to increase your income. Check out my Amazon Q4 Resources.