20 December 2013

I had my first experience selling on Amazon during the 2013 holiday season. Although there is risk involved in the process, it was painless and efficient. In my case, I set my prices to be the lowest-priced "Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)" seller, and all of my inventory was snatched up within 36 hours online during the holiday rush. Here are a few notes about the process.

Shipping to Amazon. FBA is actually required for some departments (like toys) during the holiday season unless you are a seller with a well-established track record. I was already leaning that direction, but it made the decision for me. If your products are new and have UPCs, then getting the inventory to Amazon is extremely easy. You fill out a couple online forms, and Amazon provides you with a packing slip to put in your box and label to put on your box. They handle labelling the actual inventory, and the shipping costs are actually billed through Amazon at their amazingly low rates. So one box containing any number of products requires printing two pages and dropping off at a shipping storefront.

Setting Prices. Amazon makes it easy to adjust your prices quickly, and it provides information regarding the lowest price available through other sellers. If you are able to monitor your products more actively than other vendors, then you can stay at the top of the list by underbidding by even a single cent. Of course, other people play the same game, so there is an element of the game "chicken". Sometimes you just have to let someone else sell cheaply so that you can get a good price.

In my case, I sold 21 items in about 36 hours. As it turns out, Amazon has impressive market power during the holidays ;) Since all of the products sold within a single billing cycle, I received a single deposit equal to the revenue minus FBA fees minus shipping to Amazon. The short turnaround dramatically simplified the transaction for me.

My items (as illustrated in the photo) were Lego items. It was a fun challenge to attempt (and succeed at) Lego arbitrage. You can see the temporary visibility of Witti Toys.

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