The Supplies You Need to Get Started on Amazon
Starting an Amazon business is like starting any other business: it requires hard work, planning, and some upfront investments. These upfront investments include an investment into your essential supplies. I recommend getting these supplies BEFORE you need them.
I have provided links below to the supplies you will need. These are links to products I use myself, as well as links to products that I have taken the time to research thoroughly.
Please be advised the links to these products are affiliate links, meaning I make a small commission if you click on these links and buy the products. If you are uncomfortable with that, you can also find and purchase the items by going to Amazon and using the search box to find them. I do not make a commission in that instance. The most important thing is that you get the products you need before you need them.
Supplies You Need To Get Started
You may want to stagger the purchase of your supplies, rather than buy them all at once, for budgetary reasons. To accommodate this, I have divided the supplies needed into categories by which point in your Amazon business will require these supplies. However, you are certainly welcome to purchase all your suppliers upfront if that is more beneficial to you. This first section will address which supplies I recommend purchasing at the very beginning.
A laptop. A laptop is preferable over a PC because it is portable. When your business is successful, you may wish to travel, or you may have other reasons why you need to be able to do your business on the go. Also, many of the tools you will need for your Amazon business do not work on mobile operating systems like Apple and Android. I personally use and recommend a Windows-based laptop.
When I first started in my business, I had an older PC, and it was very slow and unable to process all the information I needed for Amazon. I was on a budget and in a bind. I was very fortunate to find a very high-end laptop for a budget price, thanks to Amazon’s renewed program.
The renewed program is Amazon’s refurbished items program, which offers a 90-day warranty.
I have been absolutely thrilled with this laptop. This is the one I bought. It is a Del Latitude E7470. I saw the same computer on Walmart.com for around $1500! So I saved over $1000 and do not even feel the need to upgrade. You can purchase the same laptop here.
A Second Monitor. Beginning very early in your Amazon business, you will use tools that require you to frequently switch back and forth between screens. This can be cumbersome and even downright frustrating with only one monitor. I even know sellers who use three monitors. I had to purchase a second monitor at the same time I purchased my laptop. I purchased this 22-inch Sceptre brand USB monitor and have been very happy with it:
Binder Easel (optional). A binder easel is similar to an art easel, except you use it to display paperwork you need to reference while you work. You might find it helpful to print some things out and have it handily displayed next to you on this easel. I personally access everything I need on my second monitor, but if you are a person who finds printing out paperwork, or if you like to write things out and you want to be able to easily refer to it as you type, I highly recommend this handy tool. You will also need sheet protectors. I do not have a binder easel, but I do use these sheet protectors.
I also recommend you have a designated office space. A separate room is ideal, but even if your office space is somewhere out in the open in your home, it can work. At a minimum you will need space for your computer and for your paperwork. If you do not have a full-fledged filing cabinet, that is fine, but I recommend getting a portable file like this one on Amazon:
This is a convenient way to organize your paperwork. It is inexpensive, compact, and convenient. It is a great way to keep everything handy in case you need to travel and take your Amazon work with you.
These supplies can wait until you are ready to ship items into Amazon. A couple things to keep in mind:
- You most likely will not do too much shipping. You may only ship a small test order occasionally. Or you may never even ship that. So wait to order these supplies until you know how much shipping you will actually do. Your large orders will often have to be delivered to a commercial location, not your home, so you will need to have your products shipped to a prep company. So do not go overboard on shipping supplies until you know how much shipping you will do.
- Some sellers prefer to prep their own small trial orders so they can save the money on prepping, and so they can get a good idea of product quality, packaging requirements, etc. However you decide to handle your shipping, there are some basic supplies you will need.
I am assuming you are planning to sell through FBA, or Fulfilled By Amazon, which is where you ship your inventory to Amazon, and Amazon ships to customers as they place orders. If you are shipping directly to customers (Merchant-fulfilled), there will be a few differences, but most of these supplies will be needed in both situations.
Printer. The first thing you will need is a printer. If you already have a printer, it doesn’t matter whether it is an inkjet or a laser printer. It will work fine, so do not feel like you have to go out and buy one. Amazon recommends a laser printer. Chances are, you will need a printer before you get to the shipping stage for miscellaneous business use, but if you have managed without one up until this point, it is time to get one.
I personally own an Epson Ecotank and love it. It costs more upfront, but you can print thousands of copies before it needs more ink, then when it does, it is very cheap. I have had mine for a couple years, do a lot of printing, and still haven’t had to replace the ink. Here is one of the lower-priced Epson Ecotanks I could find on Amazon: . If you would prefer to invest in a newer model, you can find one here.
You may prefer a laser printer. Amazon recommends and prefers that you use a laser printer because the labels will not fade. However, you can apply a piece of tape over the label of inkjet-printed labels to prevent fading. Plus, you probably will not keep merchandise in the Amazon warehouse for that long. Here is one nice laser printer I found that gets pretty good reviews: .
I personally have experience with the Brother brand of laser printers, and I like them. This is a much less expensive upfront cost than the Epson Ecotank, but the cost of toner is quite high. You get more printing from laser printers than from inkjet printers, though. This printer only prints in black and white, which is all you will need for your Amazon labels. Color laser printers come with a higher price tag, like this one.
If you are not ready to invest so much into a printer, that is okay. You do not have to spend a whole bunch of money to meet the basic printing needs of an Amazon business if you will not be doing the shipping on a large scale yourself. Most Amazon entrepreneurs outsource this. If you just want a cheap printer to get started,you could go with a budget inkjet, like this one (just keep in mind you will spend more on ink cartridges):
Labels. Next, you will need labels. If you are only shipping occasional small orders, you can just print on regular 8 1/2 by 11 paper and tape it to the box with a good quality postal tape. These go on the outside of the boxes that are filled with your inventory. Optionally, you could also use these 2X4-inch labels: Avery 8163 if you have an inkjet printer or Avery 5163 if you have a laser printer .
Shipping labels are not the only labels you will need, though. Amazon requires you to label each individual product with a barcode. If you do not have a barcode, Amazon will provide one and make it available for printing. They recommend you use these labels, which have 30 labels per sheet:
If you plan to do a large volume of shipping, you may want to invest in one of these convenient printers. These machines connect to your Amazon account and print labels that are ready to go onto your shipping boxes. They save a lot of time, but they are costly. I have never used these, so I cannot vouch for them personally, but they are very widely used.
Shipping Boxes. You will need to ship your items to Amazon in heavy duty shipping boxes. For occasional shipping, I recommend either purchasing the heavy duty moving boxes from your local Home Depot or other home improvement store, or better yet, going to a grocery store and finding some nice FREE boxes!
Packing Supplies. You will need padding, packaging tape, and a tape gun if you will be doing a lot of your own prepping and shipping. Here are some links to some good Amazon sellers. I have personally purchased these same supplies:
Amazon does not accept packing peanuts, so you will not need any of those.
Scales. You will need a shipping scale to weigh individual products, as well as your shipping box after everything is packed, as Amazon will need all of this information form you before you ship your products. This scale measures small items as well as large items up to 85 pounds.
If you do not already have a tape measure, you will need one to measure both your individual products and your shipping box. You can pick one up at your local hardware store, home improvement store, or even Walmart inexpensively, or you can purchase one here.
Individual Product Packaging. If you do much shipping at all, you will need 1.5 mm polybags to package your individual products. Amazon requires every product to be securely packaged, and polybags are one of the most common and most convenient forms of packaging. If you do purchase polybags, you are required to include a suffocation warning. These polybags come in multiple sizes and have the required suffocation warning printed onto each individual bag. These are the ones I use.
If you choose to include insert cards inside your packaging and you are doing your own prepping, you can have a professional printing service print your cards, or you can print your own. These printable business cards work great for that purpose.
Starting your business with these supplies on hand will get you off to a nice, smooth start! If you come across any other supplies that are indispensibel in your business, I would love to hear about it in the comments!
Basic Computer Knowledge. One final note: If you do not have a thorough understanding of how to use Microsoft Office or similar programs, thorough working knowledge on how to use the internet, and the ability to quickly learn how to use new programs and messaging app, you will have difficulty getting your Amazon business off the ground. I recommend this book to help deepen your knowledge of using your computer: Computers Made Easy: From Dummy to Geek, by James Bernstein.
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