Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Getting Started Using Amazon FBA

Starting an online Amazon FBA business presents less of a time commitment than fulfilling orders on your own. Maybe you’re working on building a business, or maybe you’re just hoping to get some extra income. Either way utilizing Amazon FBA can bring you huge benefits.

Selling on Amazon is fairly simple and straightforward. You can use it to build your own brand or resell products that people all over the world are looking for. Either way, Amazon is the largest online retail market making it the ideal place to sell products on.

Why Amazon FBA?

The Fulfillment by Amazon program handles the most difficult and time consuming parts of online selling. You find and list your products and ship them to Amazon warehouses. From there, they do everything. They store your products, process orders, and package and ship your products to the customer.

Amazon ensures the product reaches the customer. All you have to do now is watch your inventory levels.

Create Your Amazon Seller Account

Before you start selling you’ll need to create an Amazon seller account. You can use your personal information and don’t need some type of “official” business to start your account.

Whether you sign up for an individual seller account or a professional seller account depends on your business. If you’re just testing out Amazon, you may want to sign up as an individual. However, if you plan on selling 40 or more items a month, pay the monthly fee to be a professional seller. Using a professional account gets you many other benefits as well, so we’d recommend going with that instead of an individual account.

List Products on Amazon

When you add a product you’ll either search from an existing product database or enter brand new products, and this simply depends on your business. No matter the type of business there are several fields you will have to fill out. You’ll need to list a price, your item condition, and whether or not you want Amazon to ship your product or not.

Once you’ve listed your items, navigate to your inventory. Under actions make sure “fulfilled by Amazon” is highlighted. Now you’ll be able to select your Amazon FBA preferences.

Create a Shipping Plan

Are you shipping a case of products or individual items? Either way you need to create a shipping plan so you can get your items from your location to an Amazon warehouse.

You’ll be asked how many units of each item you will be sending. You are able to select if you want Amazon to label your product or not. You will need to properly package and ship your items to get them to Amazon, though.

Our Amazon FBA Supplies page has been designed to give you all the details on the supplies you need for shipping to Amazon. Make sure all your products are properly packed before you ship them to avoid item damage and time delays.

Additional Resources

Getting started with Amazon FBA may seem simple, but there are many layers to it depending on your business. Here are some additional resources to give you more detailed information.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Choose The Right Mailer

There are many shipping options out there, and mailers are no exception. How do you pick the right mailer for your product? We’re breaking it down for you today.

Corrugated mailers are made from the strong material you’re used to from boxes, but are smaller and lightweight to help you save on shipping. Choose corrugated mailers for lightweight items. You can buy corrugated mailers for specific products such as literary mailers or audio mailers. These could cost you a bit more in terms of shipping than some of our other mailers, but they do offer a lot of protection for your products.

Bubble mailers combine a simple mailer with bubble technology to cushion your products during shipment. These are perfect for a range of semi-fragile objects. Use bubble mailers for small electronics, jewelry, DVDs, and other similar items. They come in a variety of sizes, though you usually use bubble mailers for smaller items. Bubble mailers are going to be a little bit more rigid than poly mailers, so that can make a difference when choosing which to use.

Poly mailers are strong, though they provide very little cushioning for your product. This makes them ideal for items that require protection but aren’t very fragile. They’re great for clothes, literature, and media products. Poly mailers are difficult to puncture or tear, and they’re ideal for keeping out moisture. Poly mailers are also a more eco-friendly option, as they’re easy to recycle. Poly mailers will reduce freight costs as they take up less space than some of the other mailer options.

Padded mailers use expandable fiber padding to keep products safe from damage due to punctures, moisture, and tears. The padding expands as the package is handled to absorb shock. You won’t need any additional padding when using a mailer like this. Padded mailers are more Earth friendly than some of the other options.

Use Kraft flat mailers for photos and documents. You won’t need any additional stiffeners when you use these, just slip your product in, seal it, and send it. The mailers are flat and rigid, keeping products from bending during transit. These are the easiest way to mail documents or photos out there, so we highly recommend them.

Use these mailers for additional corner and edge protection. The laminated fiberboard construction stops your products from moving around and also resists bending and folding. You won’t need additional stiffeners with this mailer, though we still recommend using flat mailers for photos and paper documents.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Getting Discovered As A New Business

Whether you’ve started a website, began to sell on Amazon, or just opened an Etsy shop, one of the toughest parts of starting a new business venture is getting found by your target audience. Plus once you are found by your audience, you need to get them to stick around long enough to learn more about you.

A lot of this work begins before you even launch your business, though it is never too late to go back and make changes. Today we’ll cover some of the basics of getting discovered as a new business.

1.      Focus On SEO

Search engine optimization is extremely important when it comes to getting your online business found. Most of the time when any of us are searching for a product or service, we’re heading to a search engine, not a specific website.

This is why organic search is so important, and luckily you don’t have to be a big business with a big budget to get your website noticed.

You want to focus on creating unique content through your product titles and descriptions. Craft an interesting About Page that tells your unique story. Use internal links on your website and blog (but don’t go overboard). Do keyword research, not only into what your customers are searching for, but into what sort of keywords your competitors are using.

Be patient, because SEO is a constantly evolving process and it can take time for you to see the results. The more you work at it, the better at it you’ll get.

2.      Build Trust

When you’re first starting out you don’t have a reputation yet, which means customers may be wary of trusting you. It’s your job to show them that you are a trustworthy business.

You’ll want to make sure your shop is well stocked with plenty of quality products. You’re not likely to buy from a shop only selling  a handful of products, are you? If you’re still working on adding more products consider listing item variations as separate products for the time being.

You’ll also want your company policies, including information on privacy and returns, to be easy to find and easy to understand. This is very important for a new business without a reputation. Not having clear policies is a great way for customers to leave your site.

And, this is important, always reply to your customers and do so quickly. It builds additional trust and your new customers will be impressed at your turnaround time.

3.      Make Sure Your Products Look Professional

No one is going to pay for a product that looks like it has been poorly made, and if your product pages aren’t up to snuff that’s exactly what your customers will think.

The last thing you want is for a customer to make it to a product page only to turn away because you didn’t put the work in to make it look great.

This starts with excellent product photography. Images should be clear, crisp, and show exactly what the product is. It’s even better if you have multiple shots of the item including it assembled and photographed from different angles.

It’s also important that you present your customer with excellent item descriptions. Your words are what will lead the customer to make a final purchase. You should always present the most important information about your item in the first couple lines. Use bullet points and make it easy to find key information throughout the description.

4.      Market, Market, Market

Like it or not, marketing is a huge part of any business, and yours isn’t the exception. There’s no way to go into great detail about marketing in a couple of paragraphs, but we’ll give you a snapshot.

Use word of mouth. Tell your friends and family about your new business and ask them to tell the people they know. Your loved ones want you to succeed so this is a great place to start.

Social media is essential in this growing digital age, so start building your brand by getting company profiles on a couple social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. We go into greater detail about social media in our social media strategies post, so check that out for more detailed information.

If you have some money to spend, consider online advertising. This could be through social media ads, Google Adwords, and a whole host of other options.

5.      Use Analytics

The only way to improve is to study the results. Whether you’re using Google Analytics or whatever statistics tool is available to you, make sure you check it often.

You can use analytics tools to track sales, keyword performance, what products your customers are most interested in, how your website is being found, and so much more. You should also do this across your social media channels. Pay attention to what posts have greater engagement and pay attention to what times of the day is getting your largest social reach.

Use these analytics to make changes to your website and SEO. It is helpful to generate reports and keep track of the changes in your stats. This can also be helpful for discovering what times of year you are busier and when business is slow.

Growing your business is a long, ongoing process. It is important that you don’t let yourself get discouraged if the growth is slower than you’d like. Keep working hard to build your business one step at a time.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Your Guide To Shipping Perishables

Food is a big business, and it has only gotten bigger as meal delivery kits surged in popularity. If your business works with perishable items or you’re thinking about expanding to include perishables, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Keep this guide handy so you can pack perishables like a pro!

Types Of Food

The way you ship perishables, and if you can even ship them at all, really depends on the type of food you want to send.

If you want to ship:

Baked Goods are probably the easiest perishable item to ship. You won’t have to be as careful with temperature regulation for these items. You will have to consider how to ensure the baked goods keep their shape and how to stop icing from smearing or melting.

Meat can be a challenge to ship but luckily as long as your product meets USDA regulations you will be permitted to ship it. Meat is one perishable you will likely overnight every time.

Produce may be the trickiest of all. You are allowed to ship it, but condensation will likely spoil your produce before it arrives, so you have to be careful and make sure it ships dry.

The Packaging

  • Choose the right insulation. There’s a lot of options for keeping temperature sensitive items safe from heat. Insulated shipping containers include a box for shipping, foam for temperature control, and a tight fitting lid. Thicker walls means you’ll need less ice packs or dry ice.
  •  Cool shield bubble mailers and insulated mailers are also a good option for shipping perishables. As they aren’t protected by the sturdy walls of a box you’ll want to use these for less sensitive food products.
  •  Keep your packaging as small as possible. Not only will this help you save on shipping costs, but it makes a big difference when it comes to the amount of cooling products you will have to use for the package.
  •  Make sure your packaging comes stamped, or stamp it yourself with the word “Perishable”. The last thing you want is for your product to spoil because it is mishandled during shipping.

Staying Cool

  • Ice packs are the standard when it comes to shipping perishables. They are made with non-toxic materials and some are even designed to reduce condensation. You can buy reusable ice packs, but one-use styles are the most popular.
  •  Dry ice is considered a hazardous material, which adds added complications to your packaging and shipping. It offers extra climate control, but also extra planning. We recommend sticking with ice packs when possible.
  •  Do your research about how many ice packs you will need and how long they will keep your perishables cool. Some last only a day, some can last two weeks. Pay close attention to this when doing your packaging.

Shipping Logistics
  • Rules will vary depending on what carrier you ship with, so it is best to do your research ahead of time and choose one to stick with.
  • You don’t have to overnight your perishable shipments, but it is best not to let them linger in transit for days, either. Two day shipping is much more affordable than overnight shipping, so try to make that your target.
  • When researching carriers don’t forget to look into specifics. What are the prices of 2 day ground VS air shipping? What about overnight shipping? Are there service guarantees? This all becomes very important once you start shipping products out.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Winter shipping presents different challenges than summer shipping, and inclement weather can lead to delays. Make sure customers know that shipping times may vary due to weather conditions. If mail service may be cancelled, wait to ship the product.


  • Shipping perishables is expensive. Instead of displaying a lump sum shipping charge, add some of it to the price of the product. Customers may turn away from high shipping costs, but they are less likely to do that when it comes to the product price.
  • Analyze your orders and shipping costs. Make changes as needed. Remember that you will probably have to re-work the pricing as you go.
  • Estimate how much air mail you will have to use. Keep track of where most of your orders are coming from so you can adjust your marketing accordingly.
  •  Buy your insulated shipping supplies in bulk. You’ll often receive a quantity discount, decreasing your overall shipping expenses.