Have you recently come across screenshots of a successful FBA business on your social media feed with jaw-dropping monthly profits numbers? Well, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. An ever-growing number of sellers are finding success in one of the largest ecom marketplaces on earth.
However, replicating that kind of success requires grit, research, and above all, careful planning from start to finish. Getting started on this journey is the easy part (relatively speaking), it’s how you then maneuver and deal with everyday challenges that determine how smooth your selling journey turns out to be.
Here at Zonguru, we reached out to our community of Amazon sellers and asked them to help us create the ultimate Amazon FBA checklist that you can use as a roadmap and guide on your way to the top.
This checklist is divided into nine parts and covers everything from creating a seller central account and earning your first dollar in sales to tackling the day-to-day challenges of running an Amazon FBA business.
Grab-n-Go: Short on time? Download our Amazon FBA checklist PDF version for an easier offline viewing experience.
Let’s get started.
To start an Amazon FBA business, you need to:
Let’s go over each step and establish some key pointers.
You need to be 18 years or older to be eligible to sell on Amazon. Furthermore, you need to be living in a country where Amazon services are officially available.
In this blog, we’re more interested in sharing information about the US market. After all, it’s the biggest Amazon marketplace both in terms of size and revenue. So, take this with a pinch of salt and have in mind that in many cases, other international markets, like EU, or AU, often offer more lucrative opportunities.
According to Statista, Amazon generates more than 60% of its sales from the United States. Last year alone, US-based Amazon sellers managed to bring in $263.5 billion in net revenue, the highest number compared to previous years.
What documents are required for selling via FBA?
You need to have the following documents and information available with you to create a seller account:
It should be mentioned that there are two types of selling plans available on Amazon: i) Individual selling plan (not to be confused with an individual seller), and ii) Professional selling plan.
The individual selling plan is free. However, Amazon charges you $0.99 for every sale you make. On the flip side, the professional selling plan comes with a $39.99 monthly subscription fee. It doesn’t carry any per-item selling fee and offers unique features unavailable to sellers subscripted for the individual plan.
Pro Tip: Sign up for the individual plan when first creating an account on Amazon. That way, you won’t have to pay $39.99. Switch to the professional plan when you are ready to sell your product.
No, you don’t need an LLC to sell on Amazon. You can register as an individual too. That being said, there are several benefits of listing your Amazon FBA business as a limited liability company. First, it boosts your reputation as a seller as people generally prefer purchasing from a business rather than an individual. Secondly, you get special tax benefits. Finally, it makes things easier should you decide to flip the listing in the future.
If you are not a business and don’t have an EIN, you can use your SSN to sell on Amazon. Amazon requires you to provide tax-related information when creating a seller account. That information can be in the form of EIN or SSN depending on your status as a seller.
Note: Overseas sellers can easily sell on Amazon.com without having to open up a US LLC or be a US citizen. Find the list of countries accepted for seller registration by visiting this link.
It can take anywhere between three days and a month to get approval to sell on Amazon. However, the recent pandemic has seen some anomalies where Amazon is taking more than 30 days to review and verify new seller accounts.
Once all the registration prerequisites have been met, you can then start thinking about selecting an ideal Amazon FBA niche.
Amazon allows you to sell products in 30+ categories. Example categories include Baby, Office Products, Home & Kitchen, Tools & Home Improvement, Consumer Electronics, Cell Phones & Accessories, Toys & Games, Pet Supplies, and more.
Of course, not all categories are beginner-friendly. In fact, some categories are gated for new FBA sellers and require extensive paperwork (and sometimes even additional fee) for ungating. We recommend avoiding them altogether. You can find the complete list of gated categories here. Bear in mind that Amazon keeps changing category-level restrictions from time to time. A category that might be gated today might get ungated tomorrow.
When picking a niche for Amazon FBA, look for the following attributes:
The next step is to find a viable product in your chosen category. The product needs to have reasonable demand on Amazon and should be profitable enough to sell. But more importantly, it should be eligible for FBA.
Amazon prohibits certain products for FBA shipments. These include alcoholic beverages (as well as non-alcoholic beer), gift certificates and gift cards, vehicle tires, hazmat items, products including feathers and fur from endangered or threatened species, firearms, and more.
Aside from that, potential products should be priced at $20 and above, non-fragile, non-seasonal, small-sized and lightweight to help reduce FBA costs, and should have low (or moderate) competition.
Below is a complete Amazon FBA product research checklist highlighting the attributes of a viable product.
Note: Not every criteria needs to be met, the following pointers are meant to give new sellers a basic idea of what constitutes a viable amazon FBA product.
Pro Tip: Use our Niche Finder tool to begin your product research in a category of your choice. By doing so, it’s highly likely that you’ll find some incredible ideas and opportunities that you can turn into legitimate selling businesses. Give it a try!
We have covered one-third of our Amazon FBA checklist so far. In this section, we’ll continue our discussion by focusing on finding a supplier.
If you’re planning to launch a private label (PL) on Amazon, you’ll need to get in touch with a reliable supplier/manufacturer for your product. Most PL sellers source their products from China via Alibaba. Other popular sourcing platforms include 1688.com, ThomasNet, and eWorldTrade. Most manufacturers on these websites are more than willing to recommend quality freight forwarders at ideal rates.
Alibaba is an online B2B marketplace. It has over 10 million items listed in 40+ categories and sub-categories. There are thousands of suppliers and manufacturers to choose from. Here, you can easily source products to sell on Amazon at the cheapest possible rates.
When vetting suppliers on Alibaba, look for accounts with:
It’s highly recommended to get samples from your supplier before placing an order. That way, you can test the product’s quality and make any necessary adjustments to the final order. Zonguru has a built-in feature that allows you to find reliable suppliers on Alibaba.com easily.
Let’s talk about branding.
Your Amazon FBA store name will be with you forever. Therefore, it’s important to spend time coming up with the right store name. It should adequately reflect your brand identity as well as the type of products you plan on selling.
How do I name my Amazon store?
The ideal store name should be:
You can use online business name generators to find Amazon FBA store name ideas.
You want to secure the exclusive usage rights for your Amazon store name and make sure no one else steals (or copies) it. To do that, you’ll have to get your brand name trademarked.
If you live in the US, you can file your trademark application on the US and Trademark Office (USPTO) website. If you are from Australia, you can apply for a trademark through the IP Australia website. Likewise, if you are based in the UK, you can get your trademark registered from the IPO.
The Need to Know: How long does it take to register a trademark in the USA? The USPTO takes 13 – 18 months on average to officially register your trademark.
We highly recommend filing for the trademark through the IP accelerator program. Despite the hefty costs, it lets you apply for brand registry on Amazon as soon as your service provider accepts your trademark application.
Brand registry on Amazon is essential to keep hijackers away from your listing. If a competitor tries to sell a counterfeit version of your product under your brand name, you can report to Amazon and get them delisted or suspended.
As your supplier prepares your order and Amazon processes your brand name for brand registry, now’s the ideal time to start working on your product listing.
This is the stage where your creativity and understanding of Amazon’s algorithm will be put to the test. You must come up with a title, bullet points, product description, and product images that resonate with your audience’s pain point and search intent. Keyword research, competitor analysis, and social listening will be your tools to create a fully optimized product listing.
When creating a product listing, keep the following instructions in mind:
Pro Tip: To craft an awesome listing that converts, use the following tools:
Any experienced Amazon seller knows the importance of keeping a careful eye on business operations and competitor progress. Amazon’s listing algorithm constantly evolves and so does your competitors’ efforts to fine-tune their listings to advance in the rankings. If you want to stay at the top, you need to be fluid and adaptable.
That’s why the final section of this Amazon FBA checklist covers the best post-launch practices you need to execute out on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
Pro Tip: For those looking to supercharge your Google Sheets by automatically importing your Amazon data, check out the Amazon sales tracker spreadsheet, and avoid manual data entry. The tool also automates and streamlines your workflow to load the latest data into your spreadsheets automatically.
That’s a lot of stuff to keep an eye on. So it’s important to develop a routine that lets you stay on top of it all. If you’re up to speed with every aspect of your business, you have nowhere to go but page one!
This completes our Amazon FBA checklist. We hope you found the read helpful and informative. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to join our friendly Facebook group and ask away; we'll try our best to answer all of them.
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