If you are starting from $0, you might not have the luxury to purchase a lot of equipment, or any at all in order to start your Amazon business.
I’ve created a list of tools that I personally use for my Amazon business.
While many items on that list are nice to have, they are by no means necessary in order to get started.
In this blog post, I will be talking about how you can bootstrap your business with limited funds.
You can consider this an absolute essential list of tools you need to get started.
What you absolutely need to get started:
A computer for creating shipments (FBA)
A smartphone for scanning items (FBA & FBM)
Amazon Seller App (Free)
A way to print FNSKU labels (FBA) and 4×6 shipping labels (FBA & FBM)
A way to weigh your FBA boxes or FBM packages.
Note– If you are only planning on doing FBM, you don’t need FNSKU labels.
In this case, you can print out 4×6 labels on a regular printer and tape them to your packages.
For FBA, you’ll need to generate FNSKU labels. These are the barcodes Amazon provides that you print out and cover the manufacturers barcode with. Amazon uses these barcodes to identify which stock is yours at the Amazon warehouse.
You can alternatively choose to pay Amazon to label each item once your box arrives at the warehouse but I wouldn’t recommend it. There is a per item fee that will add up. You might as well invest in a thermal label printer like this cheap Rollo alternative I recently purchased.
It also does bluetooth connectivity that I use sometimes if I ship FBM orders with my iPad.
That being said, paying Amazon to label items for you is an option that you can use to obtain the money to be able to even purchase a label printer. I wouldn’t be opposed to doing that myself if I really had no money to buy a printer.
If you have an ordinary printer, you can also purchase Avery label sheets that you can feed into any printer to print FNSKU labels.
You could go without a thermal printer for FBA by utilizing Avery labels for FNSKU labels and printing out your 4×6 UPS and FBA labels and taping it to your boxes.
Note – You need to put both labels on the same side of the box
Computers are really cheap nowadays and you can get any piece of trash laptop to create FBA shipments.
I don’t have any recommendations, so do your own research.
There’s no need to buy fancy Macbooks when you’re getting started when you can use that money to buy inventory instead.
If you are doing FBM, you actually don’t even need a computer. You can list FBM items with your phone.
You can get the bluetooth printer I use, purchase shipping labels from your phone or iPad and print it via Bluetooth. For FBA, you will need a computer.
Next, you will need a way to scan barcodes into Amazon Seller Central or Inventory Lab when you are creating shipments.
Fortunately, you already have a free tool available to you called your fingers.
You can type barcodes in instead of using a barcode scanner.
Scanners are really cheap though and eventually you will want to get one.
This cheap scanner costs $13.99 and will save you time.
You can buy it after you get a few sales.
I recently purchased two for my warehouse.
In terms of weighing your FBA boxes, you can use a kitchen scale.
You can weigh yourself, then hold the box while weighing yourself and calculate the difference.
If you are doing FBM, this won’t work because you need a finer scale that can measure in ounces and pounds.
I recently purchased this scale for $25 for my warehouse and it’s really good.
Next, let’s talk about boxes.
I purchase my boxes from Lowes, Home Depot and Uhaul.
That being said, I use free boxes whenever I can.
Ask around and try to locate boxes for free if you are low on funds.
Here are the box requirements for FBA:
-No more than 50 pounds, unless the shipment is for oversized products
-Cannot be more than 25 inches on a single side. Max dimensions are 25x25x25. Again, this only applies to standard sized items. Oversize items can be shipped in boxes larger than this.
For FBM, you can get free boxes and poly mailers from USPS.com.
You don’t want to recycle old boxes for FBM orders because they will be shipped directly to the customer.
For FBA, you can use any box you want, just make sure you remove all preexisting labels on them.
Finally, let’s discuss sourcing.
That being said, the bare bones method would require none of these.
You can actually scan items using the free Amazon seller app.
It will show you expected sales price, gross proceeds and sales rank.
That is all the information you need.
I would avoid selling items that Amazon sells unless you have Keepa.
This will allow you to check the buy box statistics and see if Amazon shares the buy box.
Without this information, selling items that Amazon also sells will be a gamble.
Avoid items that Amazon sells and aim for items under 100k rank.
With SellerAmp, it will tell you the Best Seller Rank in terms of percentage within its category.
I like to go for items that are in the top 1% of their category.
The Amazon seller app will show you the rank but it won’t show you the BSR percentage.
I would generally aim for items under 10K rank, but items under 100K rank also sell fast. This also depends on how many items are within a category.
In the beginning you will probably be limited in funds so you want to move inventory as fast as possible.
Next, you want to get ungated in as many brands as possible.
Luckily, I made a list of over 350 brands you can use to get ungated with.
It’s a free download CSV file.
It is not an invoice.
The invoice that shows up is for Gumroad.
Don’t submit that into Amazon, because it’s just a receipt for your free download for the list.
What you want to do is download the CSV file and go to Amazon Seller Central.
Click on Catalog -> Add Products and start plugging in ASINs for brands you want to sell on that list.
Press Request approval and apply.
If you see a message that says “Congratulations you have been approved based on your performance history” that means you are now ungated.
Even if later on it shows that you still need to request approval, you are ungated.
The Amazon Seller app is glitchy and you’ll sometimes have to apply on a computer or on mobile browser like Safari for it to stick.
That being said, if you see that message that means you can now sell that brand and have gained approval.
Comment below if you have any questions.