Sunday, 22 January 2017

My Amazon FBA Journey - Abbreviations

In 'My Amazon FBA Journey' posts I'm going to cover the good and the bad as it has happened to me (and my daughter). The bad are not likely to be negatives for the Amazon FBA system, but rather the affect it had on me as I come to grips with how it all works.

I will try and offer useful insights into what I've misunderstood, learnt, tried and failed, tried and succeeded. Let's just say it's quite a journey.

In this post I'm going to list a few of the abbreviations I've come across, which are never clearly explained, so I've often to run a Google search to find out for myself. A lot of things are assumed by writers and help lines, SKU for example. We know what it does , but what does it stand for - and do I need to use it? (Well yes, you do.) 

An acronym is an abbreviation which can be said as if it's a word - which is why users assume everyone knows what they are talking about. It's jargon - and the use of jargon should only be with people who use it themselves. So if you want to bring in new people, then use the full phrase, followed by the initials - ie always say what it means early on in the verbal or written conversation. (Here endeth the first grammar lesson!)

So, for what was intended as a quick post, here are just a few of the acronyms and abbreviations which you need to be aware of in your Amazon FBA (or merchant) business inventory.
  1. SKU - A Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is a product and service identification code for a store or product, often portrayed as a machine-readable bar code that helps track the item for inventory. A stock keeping unit (SKU) does not need to be assigned to physical products in inventory. Use it to identify your products quickly. This is your ID code for the type, model, colour, size etc of the product or service you are selling. Find out more in Wikipedia:
  2. ASIN - (Use of this one really annoyed me btw!)  The Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is a 10-character alphanumeric unique identifier assigned by and its partners for product identification within the Amazon organization. Wikipedia again:
  3. FBA - yes, even the FBA term itself. Fulfilment by Amazon helps you grow your business in the UK and internationally when you sell on Amazon and through other sales channels. In fact it to be grammatically correct it should be used as simply FBA otherwise it reads 'Amazon Fulfilment by Amazon', which is a bit daft. But FBA on its own applies to other things too, so even I tend to always say 'Amazon FBA'. (Google FBA just for fun!)
One more I would like to mention here and now is the Buy Box. It is neither an abbreviation nor an acronym. It actually means what it says, but there is an awful lot of perceived mystery and exclusion around it. And I don't think there needs to be.

The Amazon Buy Box simply refers to a seller's product having the yellow Buy Box in their listing, which in turn means most people will click the yellow box to buy - so because it is against your product, you get the sale. 

However, because Amazon sell stuff too, and have such tremendous buying power, there's a bit of a myth surrounding this that you haven't a hope of 'winning' the Buy Box. Other sellers have the same opportunities as you to do though - and with my very first batch of products, when I was testing the system, I dropped my price to just below the others' and the Buy Box was mine! (But one has to avoid getting into a price war!) Read up about the Buy Box, but don't think for a moment that you will never, ever benefit from it - it just depends who you are up against at the time.

That's all for now. I'll put some more acronyms in as and when I come across them.

Lyn Hill

Sunday, 15 January 2017

My Amazon FBA Journey

Using the massive power of Amazon, the Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA) programme is for people like you and me to sell physical products using their site as if it were our own.

Here is some background for this first post in what I intend to be a series of articles as you join me on my journey with Amazon FBA selling.

For starters, while I have been working some kind of additional income generating business for many, many years, for the last 15 I have leaned more towards online marketing which I can come home to of an evening and do from my armchair with a laptop. eBay was one of my successes (and is similar to the FBA concept in many ways) but my USA supplier did the dirty on me and my family circumstances changed so I had to stop.

I will also add that I am of pension age and still work full-time as a self-employed database administrator. I have no intention of retiring properly - but I am tired of getting up in the morning and no paid holidays or sick leave.

My SO is just as weary but has little interest in anything business-wise but will no doubt be pleased to benefit from the fruits of my labours. B-)

The other person who is with me in this venture is my daughter. She has run her own very successful gardening business in the past, but her health means that she can no longer do this so is now earning just above minimum wage. She has the enthusiasm to help me keep going through the being worn out by the time we get home syndrome.

In this blog I am going to chart my journey for you, give you the links to the various information I have found useful and some warnings about the not-so-useful stuff I've learned. I will keep it first person (I instead of we) for the most part, as I want you to know this is indeed me talking to you. So here we go...

I started with the Amazon FBA (Fulfilment By Amazon) programme in November/December after I received an enticing email from one of the most interesting entrepreneurs in the UK, Robert Evans. (His emails are wonderful, by the way!) 

It was after I had read the first lesson of Rob's new FBA course that I realised I could do this FBA thing, so having talked it over with my daughter, we got started. 

(By the way, I live in the UK, so everything I am writing about this relates to my UK Amazon FBA experience. Other countries' processes may vary. Some of the links I add will be affiliate links which mean I may receive a commission. I would like to think that you will find my blog useful enough to sign up to something through me, but understand that you may prefer not to.)

The Enticement
I have been trying to find an online kind of business which I am comfortable with - which means I can see how to do it, even though there may be a steep learning curve; I think I will enjoy doing it; it isn't so monotonous that I will get bored with it; it doesn't have high start up costs so I can do it on a shoe-string; doesn't require me to take phone calls or plug into weekly meetings or webinars (I hate videos too) and I won't be pestered by US companies trying to enrol me into their services. 

I've been following Robert Evans (check out his YouTube Channel - is quite a lad. He has a great sense of fun, amusing style of writing and always seems to come up with ways and means of doing business which are very down-to-earth and do-able. I have bought a couple of his systems and most recently I was so intrigued by his FBA offering that I decided to sign up for it.

His unique selling point (USP) was that he was going to write up his FBA journey 'live', so to speak. And true to his word, this is what he has done. He releases each part of his course once he's done it and of the ten parts we are (at time of writing) up to part eight.

The plus side is that he can present it in easy to understand chunks. One of the few downsides is in having digested the lesson and actioned it, we have to wait for the next part. So, to supplement my learning, and having read the first three lessons very quickly, I then went on to buy some Kindle books, researched some FBA sites online and tried to move my business along faster than the lessons.

I must say that this course of action seems to have worked for me quite well. 

The ship leaves harbour...

I'm going to finish this post with a bullet-point summary of what we did and where we are right now:
  • I started the course on 30th October 2016. 
  • Set up our Amazon Seller Pro account a few days later.
  • Researched using the guidance from the course and bought some products.
  • Got my head around what I had to do to get them listed with Amazon.
  • Worked through the fear of a) what to buy, b) making a mistake, c) DOING IT ANYWAY!
  • Sent off our first box to Amazon at the beginning of December - 8th to be precise.
  • Sold out of all but one of our 14 products within 3 days.
  • Claimed our disbursement from Amazon at the beginning of January (£99 - being what Amazon pay us once they have deducted their fees)
  • Had one product return notified (I have to ask for a product removal to get it back)
  • Bought some more products and shipped them off just a few days ago and I am now waiting to see how well they sell.

Here are what I consider to be the most useful links I can give you right now

The first has to be to FBA Wizard Pro. There are other product sourcing sites which Rob recommends, but by lesson 6 he had found this one and I can understand why. It's brilliant. !4-day money back guarantee to test, lots of helpful videos and an incredibly supportive admin/developer who answers questions almost instantly. I can't praise Shaun highly enough, so here's the link to FBA Wizard Pro. I have also subscribed to their Wizard Bar service as that is so very, very useful: FBAWizardPro

ProfitSourcery has some great PDFs if like me, you prefer reading - a 7 day trial at time of writing (although I don't use them at the moment, they got me started): ProfitSourcery

And for the wholesale side I have joined Esources : Esources and I'm thinking about joining

I use TopCashBack - see if the store where you've found the deal you want to buy to resell is listed with them. If it is then you'll get some cash back! TopCashBack

Some Kindle books
I just yesterday came across a UK specific ebook:

The A-Z of FBA - by Ned Browne

Others I have been through are USA specific:
Amazon FBA Decoded by Erdal Gul
Amazon FBA Complete Guide by Dan Johnson

There are masses of them! Each one may just have that little insight which will help us all exponentially.

Some specific advice
Watch your profit margins. I work on the basis of fees taking up about one-third of the selling price - on top of which we have to buy the product first and add any shipping to get it to us (unless I can do pay and collect). Look out for sales - but due diligence, always!


  • I strongly recommend you set up a Gmail account specifically for everything related to your FBA business.
  • If you want to flip Amazon products, you must not use your own personal Prime account to buy them. Set up a separate account (Amazon don't mind) and make sure you use the right one.

That's all for now. I'll be back in a few days with some more miles added to my Amazon FBA journey.

Lyn Hill