Saturday, September 20, 2014

Multiple Box Inventory Upload

I think I can. I think I can. I know I can. I know I can.


You've probably heard that Amazon wants sellers to upload a pack list when sending multiple boxes for one shipment. Oh fun!

Yes, I did it. I screamed and pulled my hair out and said inappropriate words, but I did figure out how to do it, and how to do it efficiently. At least for the moment.

Number 1. Try to get everything for a shipment in one box if at all possible. Not possible? See number 2. (I sort my items before packing in order to estimate what I need box wise).

Number 2. Once you hit approve, then go to each shipment, and download one packing slip at a time. Copy / paste into a spreadsheet (or try to right-click and see if you can get it to save as a spreadsheet). Remove unnecessary columns (like condition and SKU). Don't forget to title the spreadsheet with the shipping information.

Number 3. Build new columns to the right (make a column for each box that you think you will need for the shipment), and name them "Box 1", "Box 2", and so forth.

Number 4. Print your spreadsheets with gridlines. Pack one shipment at a time. Number your boxes (it can be a small mark on the inside of the lid). Use a pencil to tally mark on your spreadsheet (in the numbered box column) with how many of each item that you put into a box. This way you can adjust your shipment easily. Just erase and remark your tallys.

Number 5. Once your shipment it packed, then enter the number you have for each item in the correct column. Save.

Number 6. Finish your shipment as usual (weight, measurement, except charges), and upload the spreadsheet. That's it. Really.

It takes a little extra time, but I will say that it does force you to double check that you have everything packed correctly in your boxes. Just be sure to create your spreadsheet after you approve the shipment, but before you start packing the boxes.

INVENTORY LAB USERS / 30 up USERS:  After you create your shipments, go to Seller Central to finish. Go to each shipment one at a time. There is a big yellow button that says you can edit quantities. Click on it. Scroll down the page a bit and print your 30 ups for just that shipment. Once you finish packing one box, and see that you still have inventory to pack a second box, go back to Seller Central, download your packing list, and make a spreadsheet. Then use your labels to put in your counts for Box 2. The rest of the items are already in Box 1, so all you have to do is put the numbers in the column! This makes it even easier, and since your labels indicate how many you have in a shipment, you won't make a mistake.

Dymo Users: You can still print off 30 up labels onto a sheet of paper and use it as a count sheet. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Creating Your FBA SKU

Your next move is up to you.

When you list your products on Amazon, you have the option of inputting a SKU. A SKU is a stock keeping unit for an item. It's an internal number that only has meaning to the seller. You can use numbers and letters in your SKU.

You can embed information in your SKU by creating your own code. You might want your SKU to show category, source, expiration date, purchase date, price, or any number of things that will help you to manage your inventory.

Here is a really cool trick that will help you to sort your inventory in seller central by category. Assign each category three letters.


GRO - grocery
TYS - toys
BYB - baby
BEA - beauty
HPC - health and personal care
LAG - lawn and garden

I think you get the idea. Now for the best part. Put the category letters at the beginning of your SKU for each product. If you have a box of crackers your SKU would begin GRO.

Go to Inventory and type GRO in the search box for active inventory. All of your groceries that are in your inventory will show up on your list. You can do the same thing under inactive inventory (now you can see if you've run out of anything that you want to replenish). See the awesomeness in this?  I thought you would.

One thing that you should know: you can't change a SKU, so if you replenish an item relist it through "Add a Product" so that you can create a new SKU for the product. This is a great way to figure out to keep track of replenishables and see how many items that you have in stock in a particular category. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

FBA Laser Focus

Build your business one day at a time.

It's so easy to get wrapped up in many online opportunities, ways to source product, and categories. Going wide requires you to spread your eggs, and it's a smart thing to do, but what happens when we get overwhelmed by all of the information out there?

Every self-proclaimed guru who has made a name for themselves and built a tribe has come out with the latest and greatest information product to help YOU take YOUR business to the next level! Right?


Maybe not.

You could spend a small fortune (actually, you could spend an enormous amount of money considering some of the prices people want for their ebooks and courses) filling your head with more information than you can process. After the money is spent, you walk away feeling pulled in so many different directions that you're head is spinning. Then you post in a Facebook group and get the advice to read someone else's latest and greatest gazillion dollar ebook.

Think of all of that inventory you could have bought with the money you spent!

So should we toss away all information product opportunities, search out free information, network in groups, and learn through trial and error?


And no.

There isn't any point in repeating other people's mistakes, so we can learn from those who have gone before us. BUT (and this is a BIG BUT), we need to laser focus our efforts.

I've been thinking a lot about this because I want to do it all too, and it's making me feel scatterbrained. What if we focused on one area of our business at a time? Let's get that down pat before we move on. During our laser focus we will only read, watch, listen to information that addresses our focus objective. We won't allow the best course since sliced bread to take over the logical part of our brain. Bookmark it for the future and stay on track.

For example, I've been selling groceries for some time now. I know that there is a lot more to discover and learn in this one category. If I laser focus on groceries, and ignore my desire to jump on toys or baby items, then perhaps I can learn and grow in this area and make it as prosperous as possible. Once I have a good system in place, then I can move onto another focus objective.

That doesn't mean I have to pass up the $10 appliance that screams at me from a clearance table that I can flip for $50. It just means that I will spend the majority of my time staying laser focused on my objective.

In summary...
Laser focus on one objective.
Read, listen, watch information that's focused on your objective.
Build and streamline one area of focus at a time.
Don't let the latest and greatest idea distract you!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Multiple Streams of Income

Find happiness in the details.

I thought I'd take a little break from focusing solely on FBA, and discuss multiple streams of income. FBA is an amazing opportunity, but it's important to not put all of your eggs in one basket. Here are some additional income paths that you could explore:

Perhaps you've been there, done eBay. This platform has changed over the years, and has gone from auction driven to "buy it now" domination (although auctions are still viable). It's a great place to clear out your clutter, raise sourcing funds for FBA, and sell items that are duds on Amazon, but have a market on eBay. Other selling platforms that you should explore are Ecrater and Bonanza.

Crafy folks please apply. If you love to handcraft various items, then Etsy is a great platform. You can also sell crafting supplies and vintage items on Etsy. You might want to check out Artfire as well.

Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT)
If you're a teacher or former teacher, you really need to check out TPT. It's the world's greatest open marketplace for teachers to buy and sell downloadable classroom materials. You probably have files and files of worksheets, units, and other classroom resources that you've created. Cutesy them up and load them to TPT. I would appreciate it if you used my referral link.

Do you dream of creating your own course complete with videos, reading materials, and more? Udemy is a great platform for you to share your knowledge on virtually any topic. Put your expertise to the test and start building your course today.

CreateSpace & Kindle Direct Publishing
It's time to dust off that manuscript, polish it up, and self-publish. Self-publishing no longer carries the stigmatism it once did. As the publishing industry has gone topsy-turvy, new and successful authors have found their home on both the CreateSpace (paperbacks) & KDP (Kindle) platforms. Both platforms are owned and operated by Amazon. If you need guidance in formatting your book for KDP, please check out my book: Do It Yourself: Format a Simple MS Word Document for Kindle. Other publishing platforms that I recommend are Lulu, Smashwords, and Payloadz.

Cafe Press & Zazzle
A little bit of graphic design ability can go a long way on sites like Cafe Press & Zazzle. Use your creative energy to create designs on t-shirts, mugs, hats, and many more products.

Need to make a quick five bucks? Fiverr is the place to pimp your skills. Look around and think of a niche that you could fill. There are opportunities on Fiverr to kick your earnings up a notch with add on services. It's worth checking out.

I think FBA is the greatest thing since chocolate was sweetened with sugar, but I also like to make sure that I have multiple streams of income flowing into my bank account. Once you have one platform on near autopilot, then you could explore another one and begin spreading your basket of eggs.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Condition Notes on Amazon

Every step forward is a step toward your dream.

Did you know that you're only supposed to use the condition notes box to describe the condition of used items? You're not supposed to use it for new items.

Yet, sellers use this box all the time. The following is a common sighting on Amazon:

Eligible for FREE Super Saving Shipping! Fast Amazon shipping plus a hassle free return policy mean your satisfaction is guaranteed! Tracking number provided in your Amazon account with every order. Item is brand new.

Recently third-party sellers have received warnings from Amazon to clean up the condition notes boxes, and they were given 24 hours to make it happen or else risk losing their account! Removing condition notes requires that you go into each listing and remove the notes. It's very time consuming. If you have condition notes on new items, then it would behoove you to get on this task asap.

You don't want to get caught up in an Amazon cleaning spree. 

Another important thing to note is that NEW means gift giving condition. You're not supposed to say, "This is unopened, never used, but the box is torn, or a widget is missing." This could get you into hot water with ZON. It's either new, or it's used, but it's not new with a "but".

Don't risk your account over these seemingly minor matters because they are not minor, and they do matter.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Running the Numbers

You cannot help others if you don't take care of yourself first. 

No one would ever accuse me of being a numbers person. Math is not my thing, but if you hand me a calculator, and tell me the formula, I can figure a few things out.

If you want to know your profit in dollars:

Price - Fees - COGS = Profit
*This does not include storage, supplies, or inbound shipping. It's easier to take these numbers off of your totals rather than on individual items.
Price $18.99
Fees $6.21
COGS $6.78
Profit $6.00

If you want to know your ROI percentage (profit margin):

Profit divided by COGS x 100 = %

Profit  $8.53
COGS $4.00
=213% ROI

COGS - cost of goods sold
ROI - return on investment