Years ago when our family was first looking to make extra money, I started selling stuff on eBay, Craigslist and through local Facebook groups. I even wrote a book on it–called Toss, Keep, Sell; the book was all about clearing out clutter and cashing in. However, I never thought about selling on Amazon. And I never thought that selling on Amazon could give someone a full-time income. But then I met Jessica Larrew of The Selling Family.
Jessica Larrew is an online entrepreneur who’s established multiple streams of income. She is the person to go to for Amazon selling tips and tricks! What sets Jessica’s approach apart from other people who may be selling stuff on Amazon is this. She’s found success selling on Amazon, because she’s figured out how to sell the most in the least amount of time. How did she do that? By selling using FBA.
What is FBA?
You may be asking yourself: what is FBA? FBA stands for Fulfilled by Amazon. Basically, it is fulfillment by Amazon, meaning you ship your products to an Amazon warehouse and Amazon fulfills your orders. If you’ve ever sold stuff on eBay, then you know that fulfilling orders can be time consuming. You have to package everything up, weigh the package, purchase postage and ship it out.
Like me Jessica started out selling on eBay.
“I had actually focused on eBay myself and enjoyed a lot of success there. I was just dabbling in it until being let go from my job in 2008, at which point it became my focus. I swore I wasn’t going to work for someone else ever again!
“In just a few months, we replaced my income. But knew I needed something different if I was going to also replace my husband, Cliff’s, income. I heard about selling on Amazon through some eBay forums I was following, and decided to give it a try.”
Selling on Amazon FBA
Jessica continues: “The thing that caught my eye was that Amazon FBA looked like a business I could grow a lot bigger than I had done with eBay. With eBay, I had to fill every order myself.
“With Amazon, all I had to do was find the inventory. Then I could ship everything to an Amazon warehouse, and they’d store it until it sold. They’d fulfill the orders and handle customer service and any returns, too. So by selling on Amazon, I was able to make more money while working fewer hours. It made a huge difference in our lifestyle.”
If you’re interested in learning how to get started selling on Amazon, Jessica’s Free 7-day email course goes over the basics of selling on Amazon.
What to Sell on Amazon
Lucky for Jessica, her experience selling on eBay made becoming an Amazon seller easier. However, figuring out what to sell proved to be a bit more challenging.
“It took some trial and error for me to figure out some good niches,” she says. “I had heard that books were a good place to start, so that’s where we started. They did well but I didn’t enjoy the process, so I quickly moved on to other things.
“Today we have a lot of success with Health & Beauty products, grocery items–things we can bundle, seasonal flavors, and other items we discover while out sourcing or looking for inventory, and, of course, toys during the Christmas season. We actually don’t sell a ton of toys the rest of the year, but focus on them in the Fourth Quarter.
“We really love to shop at liquidation stores and wrote a blog post about a date night where we hit up our favorite store and walked out with $12,000 in potential profit! The items we bought that day were pretty random–Tea, Turkey Brine and Lotion!”
FYI, searching for items to buy and sell on Amazon is called retail arbitrage. You may have heard that word before as there are other experts promoting this technique. Arbitrage by itself has more of a financial markets connotation, but today retail arbitrage has become synonymous with buying and selling on Amazon.
Is FBA Worth It?
Many regular people may not even realize that Amazon has its own fulfillment service via Amazon FBA. And regular Amazon sellers can use Amazon FBA, not just big businesses. You may have noticed recognizable brands on Amazon these days. That’s because more than half of all shoppers start their search directly on Amazon.com, this CNBC story says. Why wouldn’t you want to be where the shoppers are? I’ve even started selling my Pawsome Doggie products via Amazon FBA.
Anyway, back to Jessica’s decision to start selling on Amazon FBA.
“One of my biggest goals has always been to spend more time with my family than on my business,” she says. “I chose Amazon FBA because Amazon handles order fulfillment for me. I save so many hours each week by having Amazon handle those details. Because of that we were able to build a much bigger business.”
In fact, when you choose to sell on Amazon and you set up your Seller Central account and start adding inventory, you can choose one of two options–fulfilled by merchant (that’s you), or fulfilled by Amazon (that’s FBA).
“Some people do prefer to handle order fulfillment themselves, and we will also do it occasionally,” she adds. “For example, we’ll do it at Christmas time when it’s too late to ship items to Amazon’s warehouse. The profit is so good on things like toys that we’ll ship them ourselves for a week or so. For the most part, though, it’s too much of a hassle to us. You could still build a big business selling on Amazon and fulfilling orders yourself, but then you’d have to worry about things like running a warehouse and managing a bunch of employees. That was never our goal.”
FBA Shipments Are Eligible for Amazon Prime
To give you a sense of how much of a load Amazon FBA takes off you when selling on Amazon, consider this: when Jessica thinks back to her days selling on eBay, she might sell 10 items in a day (not too shabby). But with 10 sales a day, she had to pack and ship everything. In addition, she had to handle correspondence with each customer. Plus, she would have to worry about getting good feedback. (As an eBay seller, too, I know how nail-biting waiting for feedback can be.)
However, now that she’s selling on Amazon using FBA, she can–and is–selling hundreds of items each day. She adds, “The biggest benefit of FBA is all of the work that Amazon takes care of for you!”
Plus, when Amazon ships your items for you, Amazon Prime kicks in. That is, purchases are eligible for free two-day shipping with Amazon Prime. That is something as an Amazon Seller fulfilled by merchant you can’t do.
Of course, there are fulfillment by Amazon fees. For example, I sell my cake pans for $13.99, and Amazon takes about $5 for that. But I don’t have to incur shipping costs or any of the other hassles that Jessica referenced. Best of all, my profit margin on these items is pretty much the same.
Do You Want to Become an FBA Seller?
Are you’re interested in becoming an FBA seller–and you don’t have your own products to sell like I do with Pawsome Doggie? Jessica can help.
“We developed our Amazon Boot Camp to help newbie sellers understand all of the steps involved in setting up their Amazon FBA business through getting their first products sold,” she says. “When we started, there was no training, so this course outlines all of the steps and pointers we wish we had had!
“We start out with simple concepts like defining what Amazon FBA is exactly,” she explains. “Then walk sellers through setting up their accounts, finding inventory, listing and prepping it, and things like how to price items.
“We also teach people how to tell whether an item is popular and will sell. Also, we offer tips for how to find products that have less competition. We include bonus sections to cover topics like accounting, sales tax, fulfilling orders yourself, and others.
“It’s very in-depth and covers everything we could think of and that we’ve seen people ask in our Facebook groups. We’re constantly updating, too, so people know they’re getting the latest information and techniques.”
For anyone who thinks this may be a good fit, you can start out with Jessica’s Free 7-day email course. That free course provides details about this business and helps you decide if it’s right for you. Then you can always upgrade to her Amazon Boot Camp.
Still not convinced? Jessica tells me that not only did she end up replacing her own income selling on Amazon, but she replaced her husband’s, too. And people who take her course are finding similar success as well. Adds Jessica, “Our most successful student is selling over $50k a month.”