Dustin and Kris breakdown how to send your first product into Amazon FBA and some things you should be doing now while your product is being manufactured. They’ll also discuss how to create a shipment and some of the restrictions Amazon has in place.
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– Hello everybody, and welcome to episode 18 of “Two Amazon Sellers and a Microphone.” I’m Dustin Kane, and with me as always is Kris Gramlich, what’s happening?
– Not much man, how you been?
– I’ve been good, I’ve been good, Kris and I were just talking, before the show, some Amazon horror stories and when we get- Am sure we will touch on these, in another episode soon, but-
– Yeah, for sure.
– It’s always interesting this Amazon game, isn’t it?
– It never stops, there’s always something, There’s always a hurdle.
– Exactly, but for those of us, that can keep going, over those hurdles and stay at the long game. It’s a nice pay-off, but it definitely, keeps it interesting. There’s no doubt about that, but… Well, I’m excited about today’s podcast, Kris, we’re gonna talk about all the steps involved, in shipping in inventory to Amazon FBA. This is gonna be tailored towards some new sellers. For some people who are looking to do their first shipment or haven’t sent anything in yet, there is… It can really actually be overwhelming. I remember the first time I was like, ah, I don’t know if this is gonna make it, to the right place.
– Yeah, ’cause there’s a lot of things you gotta do. That’s just the whole process, and I’m with you. Like, I remember like, am I doing this right? Is Amazon gonna take this? And just… But once you get the hang of it, it can become second nature, you just start to roll with it.
– Yeah, absolutely. I think a good way to kick this off, is just to describe just sort of how Amazon’s fulfillment process works. I mean, it’s a beast in and of itself. And I think for a lot of people, they don’t understand what’s happening. But I mean, essentially Amazon has fulfillment centers, all over the United States. So when you send an inventory, you can either send it into one warehouse or multiple warehouses, but no matter what you do after it gets there, Amazon within itself is gonna redistribute your inventory even further amongst all of their warehouses. And they do that based on their algorithm, of where sales come from, they try to get the product closest to the people. So that’s one thing, if you don’t understand, right off the bat, you’re like, whoa, why am I sending in… Why is it telling me to send, you know, 60 products to California? And you know, a 100 products to New York, and then you gotta make sure you do it all properly. And then there’s obviously labeling and et cetera. And the funny story also is, you know, when I first started, I was about 10 minutes… I lived about 10 minutes, away from an FBA. And now you and I live about 30 minutes, away from one it, it’s right down the road. And I was like, why can’t I just go drop this off? Yeah, it’s not easy, right?
– You can not, if you live next to a warehouse facility, you might still be shipping your products halfway across the country instead of driving them two minutes. But it’s just the way that it is. So this will be, a lot of fun to talk about. And just the steps involved in this. So Kris, why don’t you start us off, with just in terms of inside your account, once you’re ready to ship in inventory, what are the things you have to do, inside your seller central account to start up a shipment, to let Amazon know it’s coming?
– Yeah, the first thing is you need to know which product, you’re gonna make a change to fulfill by Amazon. So if you’re currently selling it by yourself, or you’re processing other orders, that’s what we call fulfilled by the merchant. You’re the one shipping it. If you wanna change it to FBA, you would go to that item inside your inventory. You would select the check box next to the title, and you would make the settings change to fulfill by Amazon. And then from there, Amazon is gonna walk you through the steps, on how to process and get that product changed to fulfilled by Amazon. We’ll dive into some more of that, but the first thing you wanna do, definitely change the product from FBN to FBA.
– Yeah, and then once you’ve done that, now it’s time to actually tell Amazon, you’re ready to send in inventory. And so you would go to your manage inventory page, you’d go down to your product, that you’re looking to send in. And then there’s a dropdown menu where you’re now gonna create fulfillment or send in and replenish inventory. So you click send replenish inventory, and then it’s gonna walk you now, through some more steps of that. So once you click this, Kris, and now you’re telling Amazon that you’re ready, to send and replenish more inventory. You’re gonna have to tell it a few things-
– That is important. And this one actually through me, when I was first starting to use it, you have to designate whether it’s individual products or case-packed products. What that means is, if you’ve got products that are packed, like it’s 20 units in a box, all sealed up, all packed, you know, whatever’s in there to protect it. And you don’t wanna take those products out and put some in other boxes, you would select case-packed products. And Amazon will tell you, you know, at the case level where to send them. If you’ve got a bunch of different individual products, you’d select individual products, and then Amazon is actually gonna tell you, “Hey, you need to put seven of these in one box. And you know, 24 of these in another box.” And if you’ve got multiple individual products, they could be a mixture in each shipment where it’s going. So it’s important that you pick the right thing, individual or case-packed. What’s next after that, Kris?
– Well for the private labelers, you’re probably gonna select the case-pack. And that’s where gonna ask your supplier, how many units come in a case. I’ve done the units, the individual items. And it just gets more complicated, ’cause you’re taking five here, you’re putting six over there, and 10 over here, it’s just a lot easier to do case-pack. But once you select that, you’re gonna select the case-packed. The next thing you’re gonna need to do is to get the item labeled. You wanna get the items that you’re sending into FBA. You wanna make sure that you have, the correct labels on those items. And these labels are Amazon like SKU numbers, they are individual numbers that are assigned, to the product that Amazon gives you. So you’ll wanna make sure that these labels are on the item. A quick tip here is before you get your packaging created, or before you finalize the packaging with your supplier, you can print these item labels off ahead of time and send those to your supplier, so that it’s on your packaging already. That way, when you get the product, and you ship it into FBA or supplier ships in FBA, they’re already labeled. I made that mistake where I didn’t have that label. on there before, so I had to go back, and relabel all of those, so that takes a lot of time. So now when you’re making an item or you’re ready to ship in the item, send your supplier, the item label it’s in a PDF format, they will then print that label on the packaging. And now you’ve got that step covered, you don’t have to worry about doing them. So after you choose which type of shipment, either individual or case, the next thing to do is label it.
– Yep, and another important thing about the labeling is that labeling has to be, on the very outside of your packaging. You don’t wanna label the product, and then put that product in a bag, or something you need. That label is gotta be on the outside part of it, so that it can be scanned. ‘Cause that label that you’re printing, is how Amazon controls their inventory. They’ll check your product in by scanning those labels. And when they sell, they’ll scan them out. So if there are any issues with the labels, you’re gonna have some issues. Now there are different programs where you can, if you have a UPC code on your product, and it’s just yours, you can have it, you know, where it’s just that barcode counts, as well. If you’re selling, it’s not your product. If you’re selling a common product that you just wanna, resell on there, you can do, what’s called co-mingling your inventory. Or you can just go in. So there are lots of ways, but by far, the safest best way is just to label it with that Amazon label. Make sure it’s on the outside and readable. All right, so now once you have that, Amazon will then do what they call… They’ll create a shipping plan and they’ll tell you where you need to ship your products. If you’ve done individual products, it’s going to tell you just random numbers, you need to send to one location and random numbers, you’ve got to send to the next location. And then you’ve got to figure out how to package it. And then you will then tell Amazon the dimensions and the weight of the packaging that you’ve now created, based on what they’ve told you. If you’ve done case-packs, they’ll just say you send three cases this way, and three cases that way, or typically they’ll tell you, two to three fulfillment centers. Now, one thing about that, is there is a way, where you can send everything into one fulfillment center in one shipment, okay? You do have to set that in your settings, but what happens there is if you do that, then they’re gonna charge you, I believe, right now it’s 20 cents per unit. It could have gone up, but if you go to one fulfillment center, they’re gonna charge you basically a redistribution fee, where they’ll allow you to go to one fulfillment center, but then they’ll charge you because now they’ve got to ship it to everywhere else. If you don’t have that option, then they will tell you multiple marketplaces or multiple sorry, fulfillment centers they have to send to. And you won’t get charged that fee. So typically you’re gonna be sending, you to two or three places, that are spread out across the country. And that helps them cut their own costs, of redistributing the inventory, throughout their fulfillment centers. So I don’t like to spend that 20 cents. So I don’t know. In the past, I’ve done it where I had, a full container load come in, and I wanted that container to go. It was much easier to have the container to go to one place. So I did do the 20 cents, but typically I go to the multiple different FBA centers. So once that happens, once you’ve got your shipping plan, now you’ll have to get the shipping. And this is where you can use Amazon’s preferred partners, which can save you a lot of money. So, Kris, you wanna talk about, just how you end up getting the shipping labels and what that looks like.
– Yeah, for sure. So once you know, the dimensions and the weight of the item, you’re gonna continue going through the process and Amazon makes it very clear inside of your account and just follow the steps. But once you agree to the terms and the conditions and accept the charges or the changes, you’re gonna see these charges that Amazon gives you, for the shipping and these rates are super, super cheap. You’re getting Amazon’s preferred rate. with UPS for your items, so it’s very inexpensive. There’s no way as an individual, you’d get the same rate, but you’re gonna use Amazon’s preferred rates. It’s probably gonna be UPS more than likely. And then you simply just accept those charges. They will take that charge out of your disbursement, that you get every two weeks or if you get every day, if you’re fortunate, that’s good for you. But they’ll take that fee out of that disbursement. And that all you do is just print the label off. They’re gonna give you two different labels. You’re gonna get a UPS label. That’s just a typical UPS label that you see, on all the packages that you normally get. And then there’s going to be another label, which is the FBA label. This is what Amazon scans and tells them that what’s inside the box. I remember the day where you had to add a packing slip, to the item, thank goodness that doesn’t happen anymore. You don’t have to add a packing slip, but you used to have to add a packing slip inside the box on top of all these other labels. So they took that out. But yeah, all they’re gonna do, they’re gonna put the UPS label there. On the outside of the box, they’re gonna put the UPS label on there on the same box. And when you take it to the FBA store, they’re gonna scan the UPS label, and then you’re done with it. So it’s, super easy after that, but yeah, you’re gonna get Amazon’s good rate, which is super affordable. They’re gonna provide you the labels and you just drop it off at the UPS store, or you can download these labels, send to your supplier and they can handle the rest.
– Yeah, now I think we should talk about what to expect once you’ve shipped it out. Because there are some interesting things, that happened with Amazon, that you wouldn’t expect on your first time. What happens is, when you ship it to Amazon, you’ll get an email when they receive your shipment. That doesn’t mean that your products are for sale yet, or that anything is in inventory. ‘Cause a lot of times… When I first started, I shipped it and it was received. And I looked on Amazon and was like, my listings not active. I’m like, what’s going on there? I want to see my listing. They can take all kinds of different amounts of time, for them, it depends on how busy they are, from when they check it in. So when they receive it and then checking it in means they’re actually scanning your products and putting them into the warehouse. Even then it’s still not necessarily for sale, or for sale as prime. Then at that point, decide where to redistribute, your products to. So they could now be going onto another Amazon car or truck and being shipped to another fulfillment center. So it can be days. And right now we’re talking to, you know… We’re doing this podcast during a pandemic. It’s been weeks and weeks. So there have been some issues there, but typically it’s a couple of days. And then all of your inventory is checked in at full. So you’ll see some different things, when you first ship it in, if you’ve got no inventory there, your listing won’t be active. Then once they’ve checked it in, it’ll actually make it active. But it’ll show that the delivery times are long. Like it’ll be available in two weeks or something like that. So customers can still buy it, but their shipping is gonna be tricky. And then once it’s fully checked in, it goes to prime and everything works as normal. So just wanna touch on that because that can be another thing that throws you for a loop, is when your inventory is received, but you don’t see it or you don’t see it at all-
– Yeah, and I’ve had this happen where it’s like, it says, in-stock not till like November 10th, and today’s October 16th
– So it’s like dang near a month before they get it checked in. So, I mean, that can hurt your conversion rate. Like if somebody goes to your listing and they see that they might not going to be able, to get it for a month, they’ll just leave and go to somewhere else. So you can change that in your Amazon settings, as far as when the product is available, There’s a newer feature coming out, that you can kind of get out of that program because you don’t want your item to be available until it’s actually ready to ship. So people were adding this feature to their listings, to try to get more sales. But what I’ve seen is that actually hurts, your conversion rate. ‘Cause people go to your listing, they don’t wanna wait an additional two weeks. So then just go find a similar product. Yeah, so normally I would like to make sure, that your offer is active before, you know, you start getting that in stock rate, ’cause that can really kind of hurt your listing.
– Yeah, great points there. And so, for the most part, if we’re talking about your first, your first few shipments, this is the way that it would go. This is what you can expect, obviously, as you grow and your shipments grow bigger and there are, other things that you would go into and we can talk about these, on later podcasts. But you have, you know, where you’re doing LTL shipments, where those are like palletized shipments, you know, you can do direct containers. There are all kinds of things that you can do as you grow. And those are good problems. If you’re sending in multiple pallets of products, you’re growing, if you’re sending in a container you’re doing well. And I’ve run the gamut and there are all kinds of ways to make that more efficient. That’s where a freight forwarder comes into play big time. And we’ll have a freight forwarder on later, to talk about different things. So some of the things that I’ve done is have a container ship from China to LA and then, and at LA, it actually gets broken apart into multiple shipments. And then those shipments get sent to different fulfillment centers. That way I can avoid that 20 cents per item, per unit fee on Amazon. So there are lots of different things that we can talk about, but, you know, container loads, LTL shipments, all that are sort of the next step in the process, as you grow your business.
– Yeah, and for the most part, this is the very generic beginning stage, of shipping FBA. You touched there on LTL shipments with pallets and stuff. That’s a whole new different game, but hopefully, we can cover that with that guest, someday.
– Absolutely, so well, I hope everyone that helps you feel more comfortable, with your first shipping into FBA. There’s a lot, but we’ve all done it. We’re still here. We’re still wrong. So I encourage you to go ahead and get started with that. And hopefully this information was really helpful.
– Yeah, and you guys out there listening, if you could do a quick favor, if you could leave a review, that would be awesome. We would love to see some feedback, on how this podcast is doing, how you like it. And then also, Dustin and I are account executives for Sellozo, that’s S-E-L-L-O-Z-O, if you ever want to talk about Amazon or need some help with Amazon PPC, or just need somebody to bounce an idea off of, don’t hesitate, definitely reach out to us. We’d be more than happy to help you out there as well.
– Absolutely, and if this is your first shipment and you’re sending it in, the next thing you’re going to be doing is running ads. So that’s, where Kris and I can really help you out with Sellozo. So yes, like Kris said, please reach out to us. We love talking to Amazon sellers, we love helping you out. Hopefully, all this was valuable information and we look forward to seeing you, I guess, Monday today’s Friday. So we will take the weekend off. You got the weekend off, man, and now we’ll come back strong on Monday. So, all right. All right, everybody, have a great day out there. That was fine.
– See yeah.
– See yeah.