First, you need to set up a seller account on Amazon. The process is simple and can be accomplished in no time. Rather than rewriting the process here, it is best to use Amazon's step-by-step instructions. Below is a document by Amazon that shows everything you will need to do to create an Amazon Seller account.
Once you’ve signed up for an Amazon Seller account, download the Amazon Seller app and install it on your phone. Amazon Seller was designed by Amazon specifically for sellers. The app provides useful tools and information to help manage your business. Some features include a built-in picture scanner that can identify UPC barcodes and book covers, inventory listing and management tools, pricing recommendations, sales data and much more. If you are just starting out, get to know this app as well as possible. There are plenty of video tutorials online that will help you get up to speed. We will cover some of the useful techniques we’ve found later in the course.
There are a couple of great software tools designed specifically for barcode scanning. Two of the most popular right now are Scoutly (formerly FBA Scan) and Scout IQ. These apps are designed to work with Bluetooth barcode scanners. With the software, you can scan a barcode and the software will immediately show you pricing information. Using a Bluetooth scanner with this software dramatically increases the speed you can scan books.
Some other information you’ll notice includes the current listings, the selling price, the best seller rank (BSR), the number of times it has sold in the last 180 days, a book's weight, cover art and a recommendation to buy or reject. This eliminates needing to use the photo scan option in Amazon Seller and will help you work much faster. For the purposes of this course, we will show you how we use Scoutly to find books. It is the software we use and recommend.
Bluetooth scanners are versatile tools. They can be used for both sourcing and listing books. Scanners are simple to operate and they can be paired with a phone or computer. Pressing the trigger emits a laser which you can use to scan barcodes. The information is sent to your phone, and the numbers are translated to text. A Bluetooth scanner acts like a keyboard. Using a scanner with the right software absolutely increases the number of books you can scan in a given time. We are currently using the KDCi 200 and the Opticon OPN-2002.
Needless to say, the smartphone makes it possible to run all mobile software. Although there are all-in-one handheld systems created for book scanning, we find that using a smartphone is the easiest and most intuitive solution. With software updates released on a continuous schedule, a smartphone is the most flexible and convenient option.
Time is of the essence. The faster you can list books for sale the better. PC’s and laptops are the best solutions. From your computer, you can access Amazon Seller Central on the web and list books using their system. With a PC and Amazon Seller Central, you'll have all the tools to list products, manage inventory, and process shipments. In the coming articles we will talk about other methods and software that are designed specifically for listing, pricing, and inventory management.
When I first began listing books online for sale, I used Amazon’s listing system. This method is suitable for beginners, but it can take up to five minutes to list each book for sale. Depending on the number of books you plan to list, the approach can take days or even weeks. Selling books is about volume. The more time it takes to list books, the less time there is to look for new inventory. In our experience, listing products for sale is one of the most important steps in the operation process. It is a potential bottleneck, and if not addressed properly can hinder productivity and growth. There are plenty of software solutions designed to address this issue. Some of the popular platforms today are Inventory Lab, Accelerlist and Scanlister. For the purposes of this course, we will talk about Scanlister.
Scanlister was designed specifically for listing books (or anything else) on Amazon. With Scanlister you can list books just about as quickly as you can scan barcodes. It is designed for batch listing, meaning processing large volumes of inventory at a time. For example, if you were to organize your books based on condition, you could simply select the appropriate condition note, scan the stack of books, and the information will be applied to all those listings at once. To do this in Amazon Seller Central, you would need to copy and paste each condition note for every book. Listing software such as Scanlister are designed to reduce these repetitive tasks.
Scanlister has many other useful features such as the ability to create a custom SKUs (stock keeping unit), tracking COGS (cost of goods sold) and setting live and default pricing. There are also label printing and box content features which come in handy. The software is available for a one-time purchase or subscription option.
Repriceit is an automated pricer. With Repriceit, you can create a set of rules, a schedule, and the software will reprice your inventory for you. Repriceit looks at the competing offers and based on your rules (a template you create) will only reprice inventory that matches your criteria. Pricing runs on a schedule that you create.
There are a few philosophies to pricing. Some sellers choose to be aggressive. Others choose to price higher and wait for the right customer. Some sellers price based on condition, others price based on Buy Box ownership or seasonality. We will talk more about the pros and cons of each approach later in this course.
Quickbooks by Intuit is one of the most commonly used bookkeeping solutions. Quickbooks connects to your bank account and allows you to categorize income and expenses. Quickbooks has tools to create invoices, track spending, write checks and prepare documents for your accountant. It is a versatile platform for small business bookkeeping. If you haven't used bookkeeping software, we recommend trying Quickbooks.
Taxjar connects to your Amazon account, tracks your sales, where the books sell and calculates how much sales tax you will owe from state to state. For those who'd like to learn more about calculating sales tax owed, Taxjar makes the process easier to manage.