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My name is Cindy Jackson.  I live in London and this is my full time job.  I buy products at a low price and sell them for a higher price.  I do this either online or in shops and then send them to Amazon to sell for me.  This is called Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA).

 

 

 

 

 

I am here to document my experiences and help others who are just starting out on their Retail and Online Arbitrage Journey selling on Amazon.  Pop over to my Facebook Group community where we share tips and stories and solve problems.  If you are new to selling it is a great source of knowledge and hopefully some of you who are already experts will stick around for the friendships and conversation.

 

Before I started selling on Amazon, I shopped on Amazon….a lot.  In fact I shopped a lot everywhere, typing this now I realise I was probably a shopaholic, a bargain hunter;  

I enjoyed finding something for a good price and getting a deal.

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  Selling on Amazon from the Beginning

              

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I'm sure some of you will have seen this PDF guide that has been shared on a few of the Amazon groups. But for those of you who haven't, I'll add it below.

The gist of it is, if you are a registered business. Limited business or sole trader (although I have heard sole trader may be slightly trickier) and you are NOT VAT registered (Yearly turnover is less than £85k), then you can apply to not be charged VAT on Amazon FBA and Referral fees. Or get a refund for the time before you became VAT registered.



Warning - Only try and do this if your account is in good health, as in you have all the correct names and details and your paperwork matches this exactly. You don't want Amazon looking into your account and finding something they're not happy with while they're doing their checks. If you are unsure you should ask your Accountant.




I received my refund in August 2021 and no longer pay VAT on fees going forward, it took me about 6 weeks from applying to get my refund.


Thanks to the Amazon Sellers who wrote the guide and shared it in the Amazon selling community. 💚


VAT Claim Back from Amazon for Fees
.pdf
Download PDF • 423KB

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Today I realised how much of an Amazon software addict I am. I like trying different Amazon software and apps out (just to check I'm not missing out, and yes I do get FOMO).


I have been using Seller Toolkit for almost a year now and I really like it. I have recommended it to people who ask about Amazon Profit and Loss software, and it seems accurate.


My favourite features are the replenishment tab and the product history, which I use when deciding whether to buy a product again, and check how many sales and how much profit the product/s have made (or not).


I also like that I can see an overview of my inventory, showing in stock, inbound, warehouse damaged etc and the total COG's, potential sales and potential profit that I currently have in Amazon for FBA.


Seller Toolkit has been my go-to profit and loss software for nearly a year, and I thought it did everything I needed it to do.


But.......


Then I tried the beta version of Sumfully. Which is a new Amazon Profit and Loss software, which connects to Buy Bot Pro and Profit Protector Pro (both that I use and love). Being able to have all my software connect is a real winner, and I love that it goes back to your very first sale for no extra cost.


I can see it has massive potential as the Owners are renowned for producing great software that is constantly evolving and improving with new and great features that both they, and their customers have thought of. Also their customer service has been top notch every time I have reached out to them.


Sumfully is also partnered with a British accountant who specialises in Amazon and online businesses, and the features they have coming in the future sound amazing and i'm sure Sumfully will be one of the best Amazon Profit and Loss Softwares out there once it is out of beta.



I also have a subscription to Helium 10, as I use this to make my Amazon bundles. Helium 10 is an amazing piece of software.


It is mainly targeted towards Private label, but it also has features that can help with Online Arbitrage and even Wholesale, although probably a bit pricey if that is all you're using it for.


I am now heavily invested into making bundles on Amazon which is somewhere between Online Arbitrage and Private label, and Helium 10 is perfect for what I do.


It helps with Product Research (blackbox), Keyword Research (Cerebro) Keyword Processing (Frankenstein) and Listing Optimisation (Scribbles). These are the main features I currently use, but there is so much more that I haven't had a chance to try out yet.


They also have a Profit and Loss Feature which is quite nice, but again seems more useful to use if you're doing Private Label.



You would think that Seller Toolkit, Sumfully and Helium 10 would be enough for me, but no.


I recently heard another Amazon Seller (let's call him Jonny Smith - because his name is Jonny Smith 😆 ) talking about how Sellerboard automatically fulfils eBay orders using Amazon Multi Channel Fulfilment. I have recently been trying to increase my ebay sales and have been doing this manually using Amazon's MCF.


For me having another stream of income and not relying on Amazon totally is what I am currently working on, and the upside is I don't need to keep any products at home or have another 3PL fulfil these orders. The downside is they don't combine postage for you, as your products could be in several different warehouses. But for me this works for now.


I also heard the Queen of Amazon (Natalie Cromie - who knows Amazon inside out and who reads their Terms of Service for fun 🤪 ) talking about how Sellerboard gives you an Amazon Pay per click advertising breakdown. Which unlike standard OA, when you are doing Amazon bundles you need to be doing PPC. So this was also something I wanted to look into as my PPC spending was all over the place and I needed to keep an eye on it, as it is very easy to spend more than you're earning.


So I went ahead and tried out Sellerboard and it looks pretty amazing! I have just started a 2 month free trial and uploaded all my COG's from Sumfully to Sellerboard. I connected my Amazon and ebay account, which was also simple.


I then added my monthly expenses (software, accountant etc) and then linked my Amazon SKU's to my ebay SKU's and have now connected them so that if I get an order on ebay, Sellerbord will automatically send my product to the customer using Amazon's MCF.


Boom! that's just saved me a job.


It also has a very clear and easy to read profit and loss table showing all the incomings and outgoings and has shown me exactly how much I have made every month since I started, and I can clearly see what I am spending too much on.......


You can try Sellerboard out with 2 months free trial instead of 1 month. https://sellerboard.com/?friend=db1f131ae0


So now I know what I need to do, i'm off to make some adjustments to my Amazon software subscriptions and spend some time reviewing my Amazon PPC.


It is so easy to get caught up with the everyday Amazon tasks and working IN our businesses, we sometimes forget to work ON our businesses.


I wanted to share this blog with you and ask you, when was the last time you reviewed your outgoings and checked how much you were spending?



If you want to see all the software I currently use and a more in depth breakdown of them you can find it here https://www.mrsprime.com/amazon-software-tool-apps-reviews





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Updated: Jun 14, 2021

Selling on Amazon is a great way to earn an income. You can choose to keep it as a part time, extra cash side hustle, or make it your own full time business and even employ other people.


Whichever option you choose to take there is a lot to learn. Selling on Amazon is not hard, but it can be complex and you will encounter hurdles on the way. Don't let this discourage you though, this doesn't mean that you can't get started with some basic knowledge and learn the rest on the way.


There are a few main areas you will need to learn to keep your Amazon account working for you and in good shape.


Sourcing - How to find deals, where to find deals and what makes a good deal.

The best kind of deal to find is a replenishable one that not many people know about. To find these types of deals you need to dig deep, and look in places that the majority of people are not searching in.


You are not going to find a replenishable deal in Argos because as soon as other people find the same deal, the listing will get tanked. By this I mean that lots of people will join the listing and those who have their repricer set to a penny under everyone else's price, will end up dragging the price down, lower and lower until there is no profit left in that listing.


Lots of new sellers do this because they don't realise that the profit they think they are getting isn't actually the correct figure. The Amazon seller app is great for scanning and finding a listing in the Amazon catalog, BUT when they calculate the profit it doesn't take into account VAT. Amazon charge VAT on top of their fees and this amount is taken before they pay you your profit.


They also don't add in any storage fees, which are relatively low and taken on a monthly basis, but also an amount that can escalate before you know it, so you need to keep this in mind if buying a product that might not sell very quickly.


I have always used an Amazon calculator called Buy Bot Pro to work out my profit and I have found this software to be the most accurate and straightforward to use. You can adjust the settings to suit your needs and get a real clear calculation of the profit you may received. Using BBP will not only give you clear idea of your profits but is also a great way to manually look for deals on websites with its manual sourcing accelerator. When you have it installed you can right click on any online shop and it will search for that product on amazon and then calculate if you should buy it or not.


Admin - As soon as you can, open a separate bank account for all your purchases. This will make it so much easier to keep track of your incomings and outgoings. There are a few online business banks like Starling and Tide which are relatively easy to open and simple to use, or your own personal bank may be able to open you a business account.


You must keep all your receipts and invoices for every product you buy and send to Amazon. They can ask you at anytime for proof that your product is legitimate and not a fake. The easiest way when you first start out is to take a clear photo of your receipt and file it in a folder with the appropriate month, to make it easy to find if requested. Receipts fade after time so do this straight away.


Make sure your store receipts itemise the product you bought clearly, for example "Cadbury chocolate fingers 400g" and not just "Chocolate" or Amazon will not accept them.


Cashback & Discount codes - Always go through a cashback site to earn extra cash on all your buys. I use Complete Savings, Top Cash Back (which has a Google chrome extension so pops up when it can be used with an easy 1 click option) and Quidco. I also use Honey and Pouch Chrome extension for discount codes that pop up at the checkout and save you even more money instantly.


Prepping and Shipping products via Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) - If you can touch the actual product you are sending, in then you should put it in a polybag. Amazon will ask for you to polybag liquids or items that could spill out and make a mess, but I have found that if you are sending something that could get tatty and dusty in a warehouse then polybag it. I buy my poly bags from polypostal packaging and they are super fast at delivering and have competitive prices too.


When you are shipping all your products in one big box to Amazon FBA, make sure you are utilising the UPS shipping cost & taking the price of shipping off your gross profit, and don't forget Amazon add VAT onto the price they show you for shipping.



an example of some shipping weights and sizes, the price is more dependant on the weight than the size of the box (if you are staying under 63.5cm)


2 x 5kg (10kg) 60 x 60 x 60cm = £8.69 inc VAT

2 x 10kg (20kg) 60 x 60 x 60cm = £8.69 inc VAT


2 x 5kg (10kg) 30 x 30 x 30cm = £8.69 inc VAT

2 x 10kg (20kg) 30 x 30 x 30cm = £8.69 inc VAT



The price starts to increase when a single box weight goes over 15kg, So its more economical to have two x 10kg boxes than one box weighing 20kg. You can play around with a shipping plan to find out what works best, just remember to delete it if you are not going to actually use it or it will sit in your shipping queue and count towards your restock limit, meaning if you are almost at your restock limit then you won't be able to send as much stock.



Account Health


The first task i do every morning is check my account health. I check to see if there are any red marks or warnings that could put my Amazon account into a deactivation or suspension.


There are a few things you should keep an eye on.


Performance - Account Health - Will show you your dashboard where you can check if you have any red markers which will identify if there are any problems in Customer Service Performance, Policy Compliance, Delivery Performance or any Product Compliance Requests.


If there are any new markers on any of these then you will need to click through and see what Amazon are asking you for. If you do get one and you are unsure what to do, put a post in the Facebook group and someone should be able to give you advice on the next steps to take.


If they are asking for a Plan of action or anything that doesn't seem straight forward then the best thing you can do is reach out to www.facebook.com/groups/getunsuspended/ who will take a look at your problem for free and tell you the next course of action you should take. The worst thing you can do is spam Amazon with messages about the problem, as they will eventually just stop listening to you and block your account.


Another place I check daily is Performance - Voice of the customer. This is where you will get a clue if there is a problem with the products you are sending out. For instance a customer complaining that they only received 2 of an item when the listing says its a pack of 4 for example. This could mean that the listing has been changed to a different amount by the original lister, meaning your products are now incorrect. Yes people do this to get others off their listings, it's underhand and really annoying but best to remove your stock and move on.


Voice of the customer could also tell you if you've labeled something incorrectly, So being able to get that returned and changed before you get a bad review is crucial.


Inventory - Keep your inventory up to date and as clean and tidy as possible. By this I mean close and delete any listings that you're not going to be replenishing, out of stock listings can get you an Intellectual property violation even if you haven't sold that product for 6 months.


If you are not using Buy Bot Pro, which tells you whether the brand you are going to sell will give you an IP violation when you check the calculation, then you can check on this list https://fasttrackfba.com/brand-checker/. However BBP is connected to The Get Unsuspended team meaning that they have access to 1000's of brands that could get you in trouble making that one feature worth the subscription fee.


Inventory - Inventory Planning shows Your Inventory Dashboard and is a place I check at least once a week. This will show your Inventory Performance Index which changes every Monday and goes up and down depending on a variety of metrics.


This number needs to stay over 500 for your account health to be classed as healthy (and for you to have unlimited storage limit of your specified maximum inventory size, everyones is different, depending on their personal metrics).


There are a few things you can do to improve this score, although these are not an instant fix and need to be done on a regular basis to be beneficial.


To improve your IPI score you need to improve your.....


Excess Inventory - Reducing excess (overstock) inventory. Amazon don't want to be a warehouse for your goods for longer than necessary.


FBA Sell Through - Improving your 90-day rolling sell-through by maintaining the right balance of inventory over the same time period. Try to only send in what will sell in 90 days, this may be hard to work out at first, so better to send in frequent shipments than one huge shipment that will sit in their warehouse for months.


Stranded inventory percentage - Ensuring inventory is buyable by fixing listings that are stranded. Keep an eye on your stranded inventory and make sure you are fixing any issues.


In Stock Rate - edited - Previously it was widely taken by the Amazon community that editing your SKU settings to say they were unreplenishable improved your IPI score due to Amazon thinking you were not restocking in time. However Amazon have said that this doesn't make any difference to your score. See pic below.



However you can still do this if you don't want to see them in your Restock inventory, so I have left the method here. Inventory Planning - Restock Inventory - Customize SKU settings on each SKU - then clicking "no" to Replenishable. Or you can do it in bulk by Customize SKU settings at the top of the same page.



These are some of the issues that new sellers need to keep on top of. Like I said before, Amazon is not hard, but it takes patience and hard work to stay motivated and grow this into a profitable business. If you can pivot and keep going when Amazon throw their new policies and hoops at you, then this is an Amazing opportunity to work from home or anywhere in the world with just a laptop and a mojito.



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