There are a million posts and videos out there of people telling sellers what they will need to get started selling on Amazon. So now I’m going to write a cliche blog post about this very topic.
The fact of the matter is that the supplies, materials, or subscriptions you purchase can make or break your business. It’s all about balance. Buy what you need to get started and be successful, but don’t go overboard if you’re not willing to put in the work and commit to this long-term.
So, what did I start with?
1. Amazon Seller Account
This may seem like a no-brainer, but still thought I should call it out. You have to have an Amazon Seller Account to sell on Amazon. This is not the same as your personal account that you may or may not make everyday purchases on. No judgement here. But hey, if you do, buy from third-party sellers and support small businesses!
To get started, scroll to the bottom of Amazon’s website and click “sell products on Amazon.” Follow the prompts from there and wait for approval!
A professional account costs $39.99/month, while an individual account is free with additional fees per item sold. I believe if you sell more than 40 items in a month the professional account pays for itself, which is the path I chose to take when I got started.
I’m pretty sure all sellers swear by Keepa. I remember when I first started selling on Amazon I would roll my eyes every time Keepa was mentioned. I assumed it was just something that someone out there wanted to coerce me to buy so that they can get some extra cash.
However, I went for it at the beginning, and it’s truly been a gamechanger. It prevents the bad buys and makes the good buys even better. You can get an idea of how often something is selling and for how much right from the store.
Keepa is a wealth of knowledge. It will show you the fluctuation in sales rank, which indicates number of products sold. You can find out whether or not Amazon is on the listing or how many other sellers you may be competing with. Keepa also provides data on the buy box, which can offer confidence that the profit is not too good to be true.
I would highly recommend starting with the paid subscription of Keepa. You will be charged in euros, which can be converted to USD. They offer a monthly subscription for $21.52 or an annual subscription for $168.77 ($14.06 / month). I opted for the annual subscription, and you should too.
3. Prep Table / Place to Work
I can’t say that I’ve ever seen this on someone’s list before. But honestly, it is so important. Try and prep a shipment from the floor, a chair, or your kitchen table and you’ll see why!
Set yourself up for success. If you get mad and flustered when you prep items, you’ll give up quick. Stay organized and figure out your method.
I purchased a simple folding table to prep my items and a set of plastic drawers to store my supplies from Walmart. It sounds silly but it’s been so worth it! Best $50 ever spent.
4. Thermal Printer
Do it right and buy a thermal printer from the beginning. It will just make your life that much easier.
The price varies depending on which one you buy. I purchased the Rollo for around $200 and absolutely love it. I have it connected straight to my computer and Amazon Seller Account, so it’s automatically generated to the correct label size. You also don’t have to worry about buying ink!
Next up, labels for your thermal printer. These are a must have if you are going to be labeling your items and boxes before sending to the Amazon warehouse.
You will need two different sizes of labels – one for the item to go over the barcode and one to ship the box. I purchased a pack of 10 barcode labels with 220 labels per roll for $39.99 from Spartan Industrial on Amazon. It’s a double win – they work great and are super cheap!
You can get free shipping labels for your thermal printer online at UPS if you register for a business account. You can also buy these labels online if you want to, but why would you when you can get them for free?
6. Tape, Tape, and More Tape
Did I say that you’ll need tape? Because you will. And a lot of it.
The amount of tape that I’ve gone through since I started selling online is probably unreal. But it’s absolutely necessary. It probably doesn’t help that I have an unreasonable fear that my boxes will magically open up during the shipping process.
I mostly use shipping tape, but also like to have craft tape on hand in case I need to secure something inside the box a little bit better. Moral of the story? You can never have enough tape.
If you are going to have Amazon fulfill items for you, then you will need polybags. Have you ever seen a clean warehouse? As a customer, would you be mad if your item was delivered to your doorstep dirty? That’s why polybags are a must.
As a rule of thumb, if the item is exposed then a polybag is required. Polybags must have a suffocation warning and be sealed appropriately prior to shipping to Amazon.
Unless you plan to only sell items of similar size and shape, then you will need various sizes of polybags. My favorite polybags are made by Spartan Industrial and also sold on Amazon!
8. Scotty Peelers
You will underestimate the value of a Scotty peeler until you try to peel off 100 price tags or clearance stickers by hand. Do yourself a favor and buy one. They are super cheap and worth every penny.
9. Goo Gone
There’s a reason this item is listed after the Scotty Peeler. You know what happens after you peel off the stickers? Now you have to clean up the residue left behind. Again, this is cheap and will last forever. I have had the same bottle since I started selling and haven’t even used a quarter of it.
10. Shipping Boxes
You will need boxes… and lots of them! You can purchase boxes, recycle them, or both. Just remember that boxes have to have dimensions less than 25 inches and weigh under 50 pounds to be fulfilled by Amazon.
I purchase large boxes from Walmart and have had good luck with them. However, you can use boxes from anywhere as long as they meet the Amazon requirements.
Pro Tip: Even when you end up with a death pile of boxes, never throw one away. I realize that this is probably overkill. I just really like free boxes.
This item isn’t a must, but one that will make your life a whole lot easier. This scanner isn’t used while you are out sourcing. It’s used in place of manually searching for the item you want to list.
Use the scanner to scan the barcode and it will populate the listings. Choose the appropriate listing, fill out necessary details, and you’re done. See? It’s so much easier than searching the product’s title or ASIN.
12. A Scale
You will need to weigh and measure your boxes prior to shipping to Amazon. So, I guess that means you will need some measuring tape too.
I think a scale is a must and why it made the list. However, there are ways around this. If you have a bathroom scale, you can weigh yourself with and without the box. The difference would be the weight of the box. This method works okay. However, if you want accurate numbers and wish to avoid potential fees from Amazon, buy a shipping scale.