Amazon FBA is an amazing way to scale your online business. Instead of having to process and ship every single order yourself, or hiring employees, you can outsource this work to Amazon. This frees up so much of your valuable time that it is worth every penny in additional Amazon fees. But no matter what you are selling on Amazon every FBA seller has something in common and that is having to create shipments of items to send into Amazon FBA warehouses. Amazon can do so much for us but ultimately this is one task we must tackle on our own. Below I want to show you 10 tools I use in my 6 figure Amazon FBA business. These tools will help you process your FBA shipments faster and free up even more of that ever so valuable (and limited) time.
1. Shipping Scale
The first thing that is an absolute must is a shipping scale. You HAVE to know how much your boxes weigh before you can send them into FBA. If you have sold merchant fulfilled or have ever sold on eBay you probably already have a scale. Keep in mind that the weight limit for boxes is 50 pounds and they cannot be any larger than 25 inches on any side. If you are in need of a better shipping scale I have 2 options for you.
First the Dymo S150. This is the PERFECT scale for FBA. It can hold upto 150 pounds, it has a remote screen and a large metal base. The 150 pounds is obviously more then what we need for FBA but the remote screen and metal base are very important. In most scales the screen is attached to the base of the scale. The problem here is that when you weigh a larger box you cannot SEE how much the box weighs! It is very frustrating trying to sneak a peek at the screen or sneaking your hand under the box to hit the hold button. The remote screen brings the display out away from the box so you can easily see it. The metal base is the other feature that I find very important. The base is a little over 12 inches x 12 inches which makes it very stable and capable of holding larger boxes. Also, being that it is metal, it is much more durable then the typical plastic base scale. This scale does have a draw back. It only will show you pounds and tenths of a pound. You cannot see how many ounces an item weighs. For FBA shipments this will never be an issue but if you EVER need to ship an item via First Class mail (meaning it is under 1 pound) you will NOT be able to use this scale. This is the reason I also recommend the next scale.
The other scale I use is the Accuteck ShipPro. This scale can hold upto 110 pounds and also has the remote screen. Unlike the first scale mentioned the Accuteck will give you a read out that includes ounces so it can be used for First Class packages. However, what I don’t like about this scale is the base. First, it is made of plastic and even though it says it can hold 110 pounds I hear all sorts of creaking and growning from this little scale when I put a 50 pound box on it. Also, the base is much smaller, 10 inches x 8 inches. Bigger boxes are something of a balancing act to get an accurate weight.
2. Dymo Printer With FBA Labels
Some might make the argument that a Dymo Printer is not necessary. Sure you can use the old fashion 30 up labels but these things are such a headache! First they will take you much much longer. You will have to list all of your items for the shipment then go print the labels and label all the items. You just created an additional step for yourself and you have to find and handle every single item a second, un-needed time. Secondly, with these labels you are creating a ton of waste for yourself! If you have a shipment of 31 items you will need to print 2 pages and the second page will have 29 wasted labels on it. If you are going to sell via FBA do it right and get yourself the Dymo.
Dymo LabelWriter 450 – This is the PERFECT thermal printer for using with FBA. It is small, fast and you can label each item as you list it. Unlike the 30-up labels mentioned previously, when you use a Dymo you can print the label while you still have the item in your hand. You will find that the Dymo labels are cheaper then 30-up labels, the Dymo has virtually no waste, is faster and these things are cheaper then most laser printers.
FBA Labels – The FBA labels you will need with your new Dymo are the 30334 Medium Multipurpose Labels (2-1/4″ x 1-1/4″). I typically buy these in packs of 6,000 but you can certainly buy less. If you need instructions on how to use these with FBA, CLICK HERE.
If you end up using your Dymo for other purposes, shipping labels, address labels, etc you may want to invest in an additional label spool. This saves a bunch of time when changing labels so you don’t have to disassemble and reassemble the spool every time you need a different size label.
3. Heat Sealer, Shrink Wrap & Heat Gun
Heat Sealer – This is probably the most excited I have gotten over a purchase in a long time. A heat sealer basically just seals plastic. Think of the seal along the side of a ziplock bag, a bag of chips or even the seal created from one of those food saver gizmos. Once you have one of these things you will end up using it a lot more then you might of imagined. I literally use this thing every single day. Any time I have a book worth $25 or more I wrap it in plastic. Plush toys needs to be wrapped. Anything liquid or granular needs to be wrapped. If you are bundling things as a set they need to be wrapped. Some high dollar items I will wrap just so they are protected a bit more and to keep dust from the FBA warehouse off of them.
The sealer I use is a 16″ sealer. This works very well for me but they come in a large variety of sizes. Keep in mind that a larger sealer can seal small items but a small sealer CANNOT seal larger items. The first time you need to seal a board game and only have a 12″ sealer you will understand the value of the larger sealers. When purchasing a sealer consider buying a replacement heating element. My original element lasted for over a year with heavy use but you want to have an extra on hand because it will break without warning and you will be out of the sealing business until you replace it.
Along with the sealer you are going to need to buy plastic shrink wrap. The shrink wrap comes on a roll and will be folded in the center. So if you buy a 16″ wide roll the plastic is really 32 inches wide but it is already folded in the middle bringing it back to 16 inches.
Lastly, to go along with your heat sealer and your shrink wrap you will need a heat gun. You can use a hair dryer but it is SLLLOOWWWWW and will take forever. The heat gun is the cheapest part of this trio so if you are going to spring for the first 2 items you might as well throw this one in. The heat gun will shrink the plastic and give you a nice tight seal and a professional look. I typically keep my heat gun on low and hold it about 8 inches away from the item. Make sure to keep the heat gun moving. If you stay in one spot too long you will blow right through the plastic, creating a hole and having to start all over again.
4. Suffocation Warning Labels & Set Labels
There are 2 types of stickers you will generally need when creating shipments for FBA. The first is suffocation warning labels. You can create these yourself using your Dymo but they are dirt cheap to buy on Amazon so its not worth the time or money to create your own. These labels are needed for various types of items you may send into FBA. Here is an Amazon help page detailing FBA preparation steps for different items.
The other type of labels you will need are set labels. These labels will read “This is a set do not separate” and are used strictly when you are sending in items that are, you guessed it, a set. It may be a set of books or maybe 3 of an item is being sold in a single listing so you would wrap the 3 together and then throw one of these stickers on there. The purpose of these labels is to keep FBA warehouse workers who unpack your shipments from separating these items. Depending on your FBA business you may rarely use these or you might feel like you use them as much as FBA labels, completely depends on your business.
5. Box Resizer
I LOVE this tool and anyone who follows this site or my Youtube channel has seen me talk about it in the past. This tool is used to easily and accurately cut down boxes so that they are a more appropriate size for the items inside. It is important because it will make your boxes both smaller and lighter which makes them cheaper to ship to Amazon. The tool is really simple to use, for an instructional video CLICK HERE.
6. Shipping Labels
If you have sold anything online before you are probably already aware of these shipping labels. They are half sheets of paper, meaning you get 2 labels per sheet. You simply peel off the backing and slap the label on the box. When sending in boxes to FBA you will be using 2 labels (1 sheet) per box. You will need to print both the shipping label and the Amazon FBA label. Amazon will provide you with a PDF so all you have to do is throw the label into the printer and it will print both labels correctly on one sheet for you.
You can print your labels using a Dymo printer however the printer I recommend above can NOT be used with Amazon shipping labels. For Amazon shipping labels you will need a Dymo 4XL. The reason I don’t recommend you buying the 4XL is because it is more then 4 times the price of the Dymo I listed above. The ability to print shipping labels, in my eyes, is not worth $200 more.
7. Barcode Scanner
This tool is another life saver. Basically every item you sell on Amazon will have a barcode on it. If you don’t have a barcode scanner you are stuck manually typing in the UPC of every item. With a barcode scanner you just scan and go, lightening fast! You have 2 options when buying a barcode scanner either a corded or wireless scanner. I originally bought the corded one because it is cheaper however I quickly learned the value of the wireless scanners. My corded scanner kept getting caught up in other USB cables in my office and it was not able to reach anything more than a few feet from my computer. The wireless scanner is not essential but it sure is a lot more convenient to use.
8. Scotty Peelers
If you ever mentioned the words “Scotty Peeler” to someone outside of the Amazon retail world they would cock their head like a confused dog. No one has ever heard of these things but they are essential to your FBA business. They are generally made of plastic but some sets come with a metal peeler as well. Scotty Peelers are the best tool for removing stickers. They have a somewhat sharp edge that you use to lift the sticker up and peel it off. This is another area where you will be thankful to have a heat gun! If a sticker is being particularly stubborn just put a little heat to it first to soften up the glue then attack it with the peeler and more times then not it will almost fall off. Some sets come with a metal peeler but I am not a big fan of these. I feel they are too sharp and could easily either cut you or gouge the item you are trying to remove the sticker from. You will want to stick with the plastic peelers but be aware that they do wear out and you will likely be replacing them every few months, depending on how often you use them.
9. Goo Gone
Goo Gone is a citrus based cleaner and is the BEST way to clean your FBA products. Many times after you remove a sticker you will be left with some sticky residue, Goo Gone will easily remove it. It is also useful for cleaning dust or light marks off of items. It is safe to use on most surfaces however book covers with a soft, porous cover should be left alone.
What would a shipment be without boxes?! This is the one item on the list you can definitely find for free. To this day I still go to some local stores and scavenge for good used boxes. So many boxes get thrown out that I have such a hard time actually spending money on these things. If you decide to go on your own scavenger hunt stay away from food boxes. They can easily be stained, have an odor or if you are really unlucky you might be turning your house into Joe’s Apartment. However, it is not always possible to get what you need for free and on occasion I do have to pay for boxes. The size you need largely depends on the types of items you sell. Keep in mind that the boxes can NOT be larger than 25 inches on any one size so don’t bother buying boxes that big. One of the items I sell a lot of is books. I have found that 16x14x12 boxes () are a very good size for books. Typically, I can fill the box and be just under the 50 pound weight limit. If you are in need of quality boxes HERE is a good place to start.
Thats it! The 10 things every Amazon FBA seller needs! These items will help make you more efficient and save you both time and money. Have some other tools you would like see added to the list? Let us know in the comments below!