By Skip McGrath
Third party services for sellers have been around for years, but it's really only been the last 5 or so years that third party resources and services for Amazon sellers have seen some growth.
Part One of this report highlights some free tools available to Amazon sellers.
Part Two is an overview of some of the services that I either use or know something about. There are many more that I have not tried and new ones are coming online constantly. When I attended my first Amazon sellers conference, years ago, there were less than a dozen vendors showing their services. Four years later there were close to thirty.
In Part Three I talk about some of the tools and resources I use to help run our business efficiently.
Part Four is where I go over how to use prep and ship centers to keep your Amazon FBA fees under control.
As I said, this list is far from complete, but it’s a good starting point.
If you're a European Amazon seller, you might need a declaration of conformity (DoC). Here's a free guide that walks you through that process.
Amazon Smart Phone Seller App for Android and iOS. No website, look for it in your App Store.
Automate Pricing is the free Amazon Re-pricing tool for sellers
Unicorn Smasher is a free product Research tool that is nearly as good as the paid services. Works as a Chrome extension
Sonar is a free Amazon keyword that also works as a Chrome Extension
Algopix is a free research tool that allows sellers to see how much their products sell for on different marketplaces.
Scientific Seller is another free keyword research tool.
How to Create a Shipment - Fulfillment by Amazon - Use the shipment creation workflow tools to select the products you want to send, the quantity of each product, your shipping method, and whether or not you want to prep and label your inventory yourself or have Amazon do it. The workflow also gives advice on how to prep your products and provides printable labels.
FBA Revenue Calculator – this is not a 3rd party tool, but one provided by Amazon that allows you to see what your Amazon FBA fees would be when you are researching a product to sell through FBA. The FBA calculator shows the costs associated with the Fulfillment by Amazon program as compared to handling the fulfillment process via an alternative fulfillment system.
The calculator works by having you enter the product you wish to examine from Amazon's search. This establishes the category and other related information about the product. Then you enter the costs associated with sourcing, storing, and shipping the product. These costs are shown in a side-by-side comparison with Amazon's costs, giving a clear picture of the benefits of each approach. As a result, the calculator will show you a side-by-side comparison of your profits.
Three big benefits of using Amazon's FBA calculator:
FeedbackTuner was created by sellers for sellers. This Amazon feedback software enables you to increase your feedback, get Amazon reviews, boost your Buy Box percentage, and increase revenue.
The Amazon FBA Freight Rate Calculator gives you freight rate estimates for shipments going to Amazon FBA warehouses. The estimate includes fees and surcharges for trucking, air and ocean shipments.
Marksman Refurbishment Service Center “Your One Stop Returns Solution” provides return handling and refurbishment services to Amazon sellers. They created this service to help Amazon sellers who wanted more time to focus on selling & growing their business by outsourcing their return handling.
Refurbishment of a returned item includes:
For many sellers, outsourcing their return handling has increased their profitability by quickly having their returned merchandise fully refurbished and re-listed for sale on Amazon within three days, usually. Marksman RSC’s services include: returns receiving, refurbishment, repairs, repackaging, drop ship, and inventory management.
Registration is free and they only charge per item serviced.
Joelister is an automated listing and fulfillment tool to create and fulfill eBay listings from your Amazon listings and FBA inventory.
Algopix provides real-time product market analysis that enables ecommerce merchants to make informed, data-driven business decisions without the burden of conducting their own market research. The Algopix platform provides insights into competitors, expenses, item popularity and more to help sellers decide what to buy and where to sell it.
SellerTools - This service was formerly known as the Amazon MWS Customer/Order Export Service. But now they've added a new feature. SellerTools helps export customer and order information from Amazon into a format that makes sense. Also included in subscription is the FeedbackGenerator which will automatically send personalized emails to customers to generate feedback for your store, improving your seller rating.
Refund Retriever finds shipping refunds that UPS and FedEx owe you. What do they charge? They get 50% of the value of the refunds that they detect, apply for on your behalf and verify. If you don't get a refund, they don't charge you anything.
Price Checker 2.0 - Amazon Profit Calculation Software for Wholesale Supplier Lists - This software quickly finds the profitable items from any wholesale product list. Intelligent, super fast (at 17,000+ items/hr) and highly accurate (using Amazon’s API), it pulls from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk simultaneously to open up the UK market to you as well. A free demo license is available today for up to 20,000 items.
Merchantwords is a keyword service for Amazon sellers. Their normal price is $30 per month by using the provided link you can get it for 70% off the normal price for as long as you stay a member. Merchantwords is my absolute favorite keyword tool for Amazon and the same keyword works well on eBay also.
Cascadia Product Testing Solutions understands that working with Amazon can be a unique challenge for vendors and sellers. They are able to support with resolution of recalls, product safety, restricted products, and importing issues.
Neatoscan sells barcode scanning software to scan barcodes to determine selling price on eBay or Amazon and they also offer inventory management tools
ClassAdLister - Enter your item in ClassAdLister and then list it on Amazon, blujay, ClassifiedAds.com, craigslist, hoobly, eBay and eBay Classifieds with no form entry required. This app will not post to multiple sites at once, but it makes posting your items on various sites much easier by automating the form population and image uploads.
Vendio - Vendio is the service I have used for the past ten years. Vendio started out as an eBay-only auction listing and management service but added Amazon a few years ago. Today they have also added a Facebook application.
The way you use Vendio is that you first create your listing using their online listing tools and editors and photo hosting. Once created, you enter the number of items you have into inventory and now you can launch your listing on either or both eBay and Amazon.
Vendio also has a website creator where you can create a Vendio store that is also integrated with your inventory and an application that put your Vendio Store on a Facebook page where folks can actually shop right from Facebook.
A new service is an automatic fulfillment service whereby when you have an item in Amazon FBA and you list that item on eBay, when it sells on eBay, Vendio will automatically go into Amazon and create a fulfillment order and get the tracking info and enter that into eBay for you –also automatically. And if you run out of stock in FBA, Vendio immediately ends your eBay listing so there is no danger of getting an order for something you do not have.
AutoMCF – AutoMCF does not provide any listing or photo hosting service but it does do what Vendio does in terms of automatic fulfillment between eBay, eBay Canada and Europe and Amazon but has the additional feature that is also integrates with other channels such as Sears.com, New Egg and Rakuten.
Feedvisor.com – Feedvisor is the only algorithmic re-pricing tool on the market. There are lots of Amazon re-pricing tools on the market, but they work on limits and instructions that you set up. The problem is that Amazon does not always award the buy box to the lowest price seller. Amazon also looks at the sellers shipping cost, seller reputation, feedback and other factors. I know this is true because I am in the buy box for several products where I am not the lowest cost seller. Feedvisor’s algorithm looks at all these factors and will not lower your price unless it needs to.
– Chris Green a long time Amazon seller and entrepreneur runs ScanPower. They have several services:
Solid Commerce – Solid Commerce is an Amazon listing service that allows you to list items singly or in bulk. Solid Commerce also has an inventory control system that works with Amazon, eBay, Rakuten, Sears.com, Best Buy, Overstock.com and Half.com. they also have a repricing tool.
Seller Active – Seller Active is another integrated multi-channel listing and inventory management tool. They work with Amazon FBA, Sears, New Egg, Etsy and Yahoo and they integrate with PayPal.
FeedbackFive – FeedbackFive is an automatic feedback tool that sends an email to your buyer requesting feedback. After my first 4 years on Amazon my total feedback score was under 100. Within 2 years of signing up for Feedback Five, my feedback is not over 1500 lifetime and 850 for the past 12 months.
A Seller Tool - A Seller Tool offers PDA based and iPhone/android Scanning applications. A Seller Tool has been known for its book applications but has now expanded into other Amazon products.
AMan Pro – AMan Pro by Spaceware provides a complete Listing, Pricing and Order Management system for Amazon Marketplace sellers. With its unique capabilities, AMan Pro Automates and Simplifies (no matter what you sell):
AMan Pro is the only Amazon seller tool that:
Seller Magic – Seller Magic is an Amazon listing tool with very advanced inventory control features. It also has a tool to help analyze the competition with can be helpful when product sourcing.
Export Your Store is eBay/Amazon software that exports your eBay store to the Amazon Marketplace automatically. The process is quick and easy, once you set up an Amazon Seller account. Export Your Store lets you export all of your eBay items, descriptions and key features with minimum effort, making you a "Multi-Channel" seller capable of reaching a wide variety of customers and markets.
FBA Toolkit is a free service that shows you how to calculate and use sales rank for any category. FBA Toolkit also has two other services:
ScanOnTheSide.com - Check out this blog by people doing FBA part time. There are tips aplenty!
Having the right tool can save you time and money. This is one area where you don’t want to skimp. Where the tool is available on Amazon I have placed the Amazon banner so you can go right to the product.
1. Scotch Box Sealing Tape Dispenser H180, 2 in . Forget cheap tape dispensers. They break and take time because they don’t cut tape cleanly. This is simply the best tape dispenser on the market.
2. 8" Impulse Sealer with Cutter - 1 EACH [PRICE is per EACH] If you are going to create bundles and multi-paks you will need Poly Bags and a way to seal them. This links to an 8-inch model, but they also make and sell 12 and 16-inch sizes.
Notice that this one has a cutter. That makes it a bit more expensive, but is a huge time saver and makes much neater cleaner cuts than scissors or knife.
3. Carton Size/Reducer - Remember that any box you send into Amazon will incur weight penalties if it is larger than 3 cubic inches. We used to just throw large boxes away for that reason, but when we got one of these we were able to reuse a lot of good boxes. This tool costs about $14.00. Since shipping boxes cost about $1.50 each, you can recover your cost by saving just 10 or so boxes.SAGA 360 LB X 0.2 s DIGITAL POSTAL SCALE for SHIPPING WEIGHT POSTAGE W/AC 160 KG . this may seem like overkill because it weighs up to 300 pounds, but who knows, some day you may have a freight shipment to send. What I like about this scale is the separate reader. On many scales the box is larger than the scale and you have to bend down to read the weight. On this one, just pull the cord away from the scale and you can read it.
5. LimoStudio Photography Photo Studio 30 Inch Light Tent Kit, 1 x 30" x 30" Table Top Light Tent, 2 x 45 Watt 6500K Daylight Fluorescent Light Kit Amazon requires that you shoot products on a white background. A tent like this makes it easy as it reduces reflections and shadows. And it comes with Daylight Balanced lights. Anyone can get perfect shots every time with only a few minutes of practice.
6. Scotty Peeler Label & Sticker Removers - The Ultimate Gizmo Set of 3 Originals and 1 Metal. This set does it all! It includes 3 Original Scotty Peelers - one each in red, white, and blue, as well as a sheathed flexible metal. The original all plastic Scotty Peeler is terrific at removing stickers and labels from paper or other soft surfaces. Its non-stick surface peels stickers and labels away easily without damage.
The SP-2 is the ideal tool for removing sticky labels from hard surfaces. It has a flexible three-sided sharp metal blade made of surgical grade stainless steel which is sharpened to a razor edge, and an easy-to-grip handle. A long lasting tool with a multitude of uses, the SP-2 is excellent to use on both metal and glass.
7. Un Du Products Un-Du Adhesive Remover Low VOC, 4-Ounce This is an AS Seen on TV Product that really works. I have yet to find any label or surface this does not work on.
8. Xyron Adhesive 2 Inch by 2 Inch Eraser – This is a great product. Sometimes when you remove a label from something it leaves some adhesive behind. Just rub this guy over it and it's gone.
9. 2" x 2" Suffocation Warning Peel and Stick Labels (1 Roll of 500 Labels) - Amazon requires a suffocation label on any bag that has an opening of 5-inches or larger. If you don’t put them on, they will do this in the warehouse for you, but they will charge you 30˘ each.
10. Shipping Boxes - the cheapest shipping boxes are from Home Depot, Loews and Wal-Mart. They have the brands of the store on them, but Amazon doesn’t care. One item of caution – The boxes do have bar codes on them, so mark those out with a heavy black marker.
If you want free shipping boxes, check with your local merchants. In our town, the merchants have to pay to have their boxes taken away for recycling, so they are glad to give them to use for free.
11. DYMO LabelWriter 450 Turbo High-Speed Postage and Label Printer for PC and Mac, USB, Printer and Software - Almost everyone agrees that this model label printer is the best on the market and is fast becoming the standard for eBay and Amazon Sellers.
12. Microvision ROV Bluetooth Scanner MS2200BT - I like a small Bluetooth scanner because it is discreet, so I am not bothered by store people and other customers asking me what I am doing. You can also use it to scan your products to create listings.
This is an update of a newsletter article I wrote early last year. The reason I am covering this again is, I continue to see Facebook posts and get email from readers asking where they can find a prep center near them.
Amazon Prep and Ship centers are services, where you send your inventory to them and they store it for you. They charge a storage fee, but their storage fees are often less than what Amazon charges - but not always - so check.
When you are ready to ship to FBA, your Prep&Ship center labels your products and ships them to FBA for you.
With some of them, you have to create the shipment and email them the labels. Others such as My Fulfillment Team will create the shipments for you.
As I mentioned in the first article, I use My Fulfillment Team, which I endorse and recommend.
More on this is covered in The Complete Amazon Marketing System.
US (and one UK) Fulfillment Companies
Prep and Ship Plus, Tel: 602-397-3330
FBA Inspection, Tel: 707-961-0343
Prep It! Pack It! Ship It! - West Coast, Tel: 760-576-4404
Worldwide Fulfillment, Tel: 561-245-2392
Shipmonk, Tel: 855-222-4601
Prep It! Pack It! Ship It! - East Coast, Tel: 760-576-4404
Fulfillment Butler, Tel: 217-652-1846
Illinois Pack & Ship, Tel: 844-224-4464
FBA Express , Tel: 888-501-1322
Selltec Prep, Tel: 406-320-0079
Note: Montana is a (sales) tax free state
FBA Prep and Ship, Tel: 541-543-4309
Also a no-sales-tax state
My Fulfillment Team, Tel: 877-550-1640
(This is the company I use and endorse)
Fulfillment Rescue, Tel: 888-848-4579
(Fulfillment Rescue will also act as your dropshipper for eBay or Amazon merchant fulfillment)
Quick Prep & Ship
Texas Prep Pack & Ship, Tel: 214-412-3218
Central Wisconsin Prep Pack & Ship, Tel: 855-397-4587
Adstral Fulfillment Intl., Tel: +44 330 660 0280
I researched this list on the internet, so it may not be complete.
One of the best uses for a ship & prep center is handling shipments from overseas. When I get a shipment from overseas, it might consist of up to 1,000 items. Obviously, I don't want to send all 1,000 into Amazon at one time (unless it's an item that sells over 25 units per day).
When you send goods into Amazon FBA, they start charging you storage right away. And, if they don't all sell within 6 months, then you are assessed the long-term storage fee. So, what I do is send my goods to my FBA Prep & Ship Center and then send them into Amazon in quantities that match the sales of that item. (Most Amazon Prep & Ship centers have storage fees that are lower than Amazons').
Well that’s it – As I said at the beginning, this list of services, resources and tools is far from complete, but it’s a good start and there are new services and tools coming out all the time.
© 1999- Harry McGrath, Inc., DBA Skip McGrath, Auction Seller's Resource and Vision-One Marketing. All Rights Reserved.
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