Don’t assume anything about your ability to make custom goods on Amazon FBA and successfully sell them. I say this after reading this account from a prospective FBA seller who is documenting his or her journey, and making some mistakes that could be very costly down the road. But it provides a window into getting started and dealing with overseas production that some readers may find useful.
- Not buying UPC barcodes through Gs1, but rather a reseller (the barcodes may be used by someone else, or may cause problems if Amazon bans resold UPCs in the future)
- No trademark
- Choosing an unknown overseas manufacturer (QA issues, “ghost shift” issues, shipping delays, etc.)
- Seeking a 10% margin (too low!)
A few other notes:
I didn’t need to send in a copy of my passport, possibly because I already had pre-existing relationships with other Amazon services (Amazon Advantage for wholesale media sales) or I used an EIN when I set up the pro seller account.
After the shipment arrives at the FBA warehouse, it may be in a “reserved” status (processing, validation, transshipped, etc.) for at least a few days in a normal part of the year. This is not a normal time of year, so it may take weeks to clear into “available” status.
If you send too much stuff to Amazon and it doesn’t sell, you will be liable for long-term storage fees and they can be expensive.
The FBA universe is filled with stories of people having a manufacturer overseas make some low-cost product and encountering problems including low demand, too many similar products available, and commingling with pirated or “ghost shift” inventory.
Protections against piracy and commingling include trademarks and the Amazon Transparency program. Requirements for Amazon Transparency are described here.