The FBA Experiment (Part 1)

The Fulfillment-by-Amazon Experiment, Part 1I’m a regular listener to Pat Flynn’s podcast, and a while back he did an interview with Jessica and Cliff Larrew, who have a full time business selling on Amazon.

What she does is called Fulfillment-By-Amazon (FBA). I decided to dip my toe into FBA and report back here on my results for those who might be interested in doing the same. This type of retail arbitrage could be another way to make extra money.

Why FBA vs eBay?

Many years ago, I’d sold a few things on eBay. While it was exciting to make money on things, I hated packaging everything up and sending them out to individual buyers. It just did not appeal to me as more than an experiment, even though I know that some folks do really well with selling on eBay on the side.

My thinking with trying the Amazon route is that may have the appeal of finding bargain items to resell & make money on without the pain of shipping to individuals. (Although obviously there will still be shipping involved.) So I’m up for giving it a shot.

Side note: But if you ARE using eBay, this auctions tracker looks super handy.

It starts with a little research

Before I could get started with this FBA experiment, I needed to do a little bit of reading up. I started with Jessica’s 10 Quick-Start Tips For Amazon FBA to get a brief overview.

It had some good common-sense information, including the tip to take advantage of Amazon’s one month free offer on their Selling Professionally account. That definitely makes sense when testing out the waters.

I also read up on the program on the Amazon website itself:

It seemed like figuring out what I might sell was the next order of business — and the step I’m on now. (No sense signing up until I get this nailed down at least a little bit.)

What might I sell?

In order to make a profit on Amazon, I’d have to be able to sell my items for quite a bit more than I paid for them in the stores, which to me means that I need to be able to both find and recognize screaming deals when I see them.

So…what do I typically buy? A quick review of my spending showed:

  • Groceries
  • Things for the house
  • Art & craft supplies
  • Pet food & toys

That’s pretty much it as far as physical items go.

I have no wish to sell groceries online, so I crossed that off the list of things I would consider right away. (It turns out you need approval from Amazon to do so anyway.) But the rest of the things I typically buy are possibilities. I checked their list of Open categories. Everything I typically buy is on it, so that’s a good sign.

Next steps

Next up will be doing a little shopping to see what I’m able to find in those categories at bargain prices. Luckily(?) I live in the land of a million strip malls and big box stores, so there are tons of places to check out within a short drive of my house. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes in the next part of the series.

Update: Read more about the FBA experiment below

The FBA Experiment: Part 1
The FBA Experiment: Part 2
The FBA Experiment: Part 3
The FBA Experiment: Part 4