I get it. This is the hard part. The “jumping in” part. Everyone starts somewhere. Where do I start? What tools do I need to start selling on Amazon? To give you a helpful push in the right direction, I’ve listed many items below that can help you start your business. You won’t find a single item below that I don’t use or haven’t used in the past. I will give my personal preference as to why I use these tools and what they can help you with. By no means are these the only tools available to you, they are just what I have experience using. Now, we proceed…
Price and clearance stickers from retail arbitrage products really suck. You can spend a good 10 minutes picking and picking with your fingernails at a sticker that doesn’t want to budge, or it just keeps tearing. The glue is sealed, and it’s not coming off. Unlucky for those said stickers, they are no match for a 1,200-watt heat gun. Blasting any sticker with this gun for a good 3-4 seconds will soften up the glue. After that, you should just be able to peel it straight off. Check out the next tool for a little assistance with that.
These nifty little tools just simply make life easy. Their only job in this world is to remove stickers and labels from products. I personally prefer to use the metal peeler much more than the plastic; it just seems to be more efficient. Be warned, though, the metal peelers are slightly sharp, and you are almost guaranteed to bleed from it at least a few times. It’s a rite of passage for resellers. Combine these peelers with the heat gun, and you have quite the duo. Wait, what about all of the sticky glue under the label that doesn’t come off of the package? That is where Goo Gone comes to play.
This stuff is tough. If you have any leftover sticky glue from the product stickers, Goo Gone will wipe it clean. I like to dab a little bit onto a paper towel and slowly wipe at the glue. It shouldn’t take very long for it to be completely cleaned off. Be sure to have an extra dry paper towel at hand to wipe up the excess Goo Gone. It’s very oily so use it sparingly!
Tape Gun and Box Tape
This one is a no-brainer. If you’re in the business of shipping items, you’re going to need some sort of tape gun along with the tape. You can get box tape just about anywhere. As far as tape guns go, I’ve really enjoyed using the H180 Scotch Dispenser. The main reason I like this tape gun is that it doesn’t screw around with adding a safety measure for the “teeth.” The teeth are what you use to cut the tape. Most tape guns will add a mechanism, so the teeth do not become exposed unless you push down on the front flap. The H180 has its teeth exposed all the time. I like that.
Again, this is an absolute must. You can operate without a scale to tell you how much your stuff weighs. The current scale I’ve been using for over a year is the Smart Weigh Digital Heavy Duty Shipping and Postal Scale. It has a large base, can hold up to 440lbs, has several different shipping modes, and you can even plug it into your computer’s USB port rather than running off a battery. For my business, it has functioned flawlessly so far.
I use regular sharpies and magnum sharpies. For the regular size, I like to write the warehouse code and the weight onto the flap of the box before taping them shut. This is just about checks and balances before I have my shipping labels printed so I can always keep track on what box is what and where it’s going. I use the magnum sharpies to black out any other shipping labels that were previously used on the box. They have a large head, so it’s easy to cover ground quickly. Sharpies aren’t really necessary, but I use them frequently in my warehouse.
I haven’t been around too many people that enjoy managing their receipts. I guess I’m one of the weird ones because I have a strange love for organization. Getting rid of clutter and having a peace of mind that you accounted for everything is a great feeling to have. When running your own business, it is very important to keep track of all of your spending. I personally use a software called Neat Receipts to do this. I purchased the small mobile scanner, and I use the Neat Receipts “premium package.” This allows me to upload all of my physical receipts from stores by scanning it with the scanner and then uploading into the software. I can then set it to a certain category like “Product Inventory” or “Business Subscription.” You can also import PDFs or JPEGs receipts from online orders you make. At the end of the year, the software can create an entire expense report of your spending for tax purposes.
For selling on Amazon FBA, you’re going to need a printer that can print the small barcode labels that are to be stuck on each product. The default Amazon method is to give you all the labels on a 30-up sheet. You print them on a normal inkjet/laser printer and peel them off the sheet. I honestly can’t stand that method, so I use a thermal printer. More specifically, I use the Dymo 450 Turbo. When combined with software such as “Inventory Lab” or “ListLabelShip,” this printer will spit out labels as soon as you add a product to your shipment. It’s very fast and easy. Much easier than searching a 30-up sheet of labels for the one you want. Thermal printers do not require ink or toner cartridges and are designed specifically for labels. The Dymo 450 Turbo is very reliable and handles printing thousands of labels with ease.
Shipping Label Printer
You will find that I’m a huge fan of Dymo products which is why I recommend the Dymo 4XL when it comes to your shipping needs. It is an absolute beast! This thermal printer will print the 4” x 6” labels that are needed to be placed on all of your shipment boxes for Amazon FBA. If you want to save money, you can actually use the smaller labels from the Dymo 450 Turbo inside this machine as well; the only downfall is you have to switch the rolls out back and forth for each occasion. I will be posting a tutorial on how I print shipping labels with the Dymo 4XL in the very near future. You will find that link here when it is ready.
When selling on Amazon FBA, often there will be products that require being poly bagged. If you do any kind of clothing, you will absolutely need poly bags. I often purchase this set of 4 different sizes at 6×9, 8×10, 9×12, 11×14. You get 100 bags per size for a decent price. It’s not very often I need to go above the 11×14, but if you have something such as a backpack, I highly recommend these 16 x 21 bags. If you plan to sell on Amazon, a need for poly bags is a certainty. They keep your items protected from damage/dirt and it means you’re following Amazon’s terms of service correctly.
USB Barcode Scanner
Your time is a valuable thing, and it will be tremendously saved with a USB barcode scanner. I do all of my shipments using Inventory Lab, so adding a product to my shipment is as easy as holding the barcode up to my scanner and it’s now scanned in. The scanner I have listed has never failed me. It allows you to turn on the “hands off” feature, allowing the red laser to always be showing. It’s basically like checking out at the grocery store where you wave your barcode under the laser and wait for the beep.
Some people will simply not spend money on boxes. They are everywhere, and they are typically free. You can get them at restaurants, your neighbor, an online request, retail stores, etc… I personally don’t mind paying a little money for perfect and clean boxes. This is why I go to Home Depot and purchase their moving boxes. They come pre-flattened, so storage is easy. I can buy multiple boxes at one time and store them nice and neatly. You can’t really do this when you get a car full of bulky boxes from the dumpster at the burger joint down the street. If you’re like me and don’t want the hassle of always looking and storing big bulky boxes just to save a few pennies, I highly recommend just purchasing them brand new. I tend to get either the large or medium size that Home Depot carries. You also can’t go wrong with the selection Lowes has to offer.
This fancy little tool is great for anyone that has several different pieces to one product. For example; you have a used board game, and all of the pieces are loose in the box. It allows you to basically create any size poly bag you can think of as long as it doesn’t go over the maximum size of the impulse sealer (they come big and small). I will be posting a video about this very soon, and you will find the link here.
Laptop / PC
This is a requirement. If you do not have a desktop PC or a laptop, you have no business in proceeding with this venture until you get one.
Keeping track of all the different sized poly bags can be a pain. I was searching on Amazon for some type of storage system, and this unit couldn’t have worked any better. It’s perfect. The top five drawers are used for five different sized poly bags. After that, the rest of the drawers are filled with blank labels, sharpies, tissue paper, scissors, and any other smaller random office supplies. This is a great addition to any office.
If you do not have a smartphone in this day and age, you need to get with the program. This is pretty much a necessity for retail arbitrage.
This is very necessary for shoe sellers. A lot of time, the tissue paper that came with the shoes you purchased will be very torn up, or there won’t be any tissue at all. Having spare tissue paper allows you to make the shoes look fresh and it keeps things professional. I will be posting a video showing how to wrap your shoes in the paper.
This is another necessary product for shoe sellers. After you’re finished prepping your shoes, you’re required to keep the box closed. These large rubber bands satisfy Amazon’s requirements and keep the process very simple. I sometimes mix it up using one or two bands; it just depends on the size of the shoe box. I will be posting a video showing how this is done very soon.
When you start purchasing a decent amount of inventory, you’re going to need a place to store it before shipping it off to Amazon. These racks required zero effort to put together. You literally unfold them, and you’re done. No tools required. I currently have two, but I’m looking to upgrade to a third.