It’s essential that sellers have the right tools and supplies they need to start their own online business no matter which marketplace they are selling on. In this blog, I’ll be sharing the tools that we suggest, and use ourselves, to streamline your business’ growth.
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
We’ve broken the tools you’ll need and the tools we suggest into four key groups, setup, sourcing, listing, and selling.
Setting up for success with new online business requires a few things. In order to sign up for the different marketplaces you will need a computer and access to the internet. If you don’t have internet access I highly recommend T-Mobile 5G Home Internet.
Need a computer? We recommend the following Desktop or Laptop for your business:
There are three key tools to have on hand while sourcing items to sell on eBay or Amazon.
Smartphone: A newer phone will have better battery life and will work faster than an older one. Either Apple or Android will work.
Bluetooth scanner: A bluetooth will help you speed things up tremendously in the sourcing stage. You connect it to your phone to scan barcodes or ISBNs which will allow you to pull pricing and sales history. In fact, if we had to invest in only one tool for our business, it would be a bluetooth scanner.
We highly recommend one of the following bluetooth scanners:
External battery pack: An external battery pack is handy to have, and they’re not too expensive, but this will help you keep your phone charged and ready to scan.
The listing phase is all about shipping tools and supplies.
Whether you are Merchant Fulfilling or shipping your items through Amazon’s FBA program there are some crucial tools needed for listing your items.
Wired Barcode Scanner: A wired barcode scanner is a little different than a wireless bluetooth scanner, and no, it’s not just the wire that separates the two! A wired barcode scanner costs around $35 and typically includes a stand. Some have an auto-sensing feature, such as the TaoTronics barcode scanner that we use (pictured above), which means that when you hold a book or barcode up to the scanner, it will automatically scan the item.
Budget option: If you don’t want to purchase a second barcode scanner, you can use your bluetooth scanner as most will also pair with a computer, but you’ll have to hold it. If your budget will prohibit you from purchasing a scanner at this time, you can of course manually enter ISBN’s and barcodes, it will just take much longer.
Thermal Label Printer: Next, you’ll need a thermal label printer, such as the pictured DYMO 450 Turbo scanner. This one, and comparable printers, will run about $75, and then labels cost around $10 per 1,000 labels. You’ll use this to print the barcodes needed to label your items for Amazon fulfilment.
Budget option: skip the printer because you can pay Amazon to do this for you for a fee of $0.20 per item.
Packing Material: Nothing too technical here; If you are shipping your items to Amazon FBA just about any box will do so long as it’s on the smaller side. There are shipping restraints as the boxes can’t exceed more than 50 pounds. If you are fulfilling the orders yourself you will need a variety of packaging. For most items, a simple bubble mailer will suffice which can be purchased in bulk or from your local Dollar Tree to get started. Other items can be shipped in a box with bubble wrap.
Shipping tape and a tape dispenser
Shipping scale: A shipping scale will be the most exact way to find the weight of your boxes, but if you’re on a budget a bathroom scale will also do the trick. It may be a pound or two off, but so long as you’re not too close to that 50 pound mark, you’re safe.
Bubble Wrap: Sometimes filler is needed to protect the items from getting damaged while being shipped out.
For the selling phase, all you need is a bank account and a way to track your sales! As per our last segment, we highly recommend a separate business account.
And that’s everything! All-in, you’re looking at about $300-400 to buy all of the supplies we’ve mentioned today. If you’re on a tight budget, consider purchasing your materials in phases. Because we’ll be going over sourcing next week, you could purchase your sourcing supplies this week. Then next week in advance of our lesson on listing, you can purchase your listing materials. Additionally, if you live in a more remote area, you may want to hold off on purchasing everything until you’ve found a reliable place to source items from.
That’s all we have for you this segment, but be sure to check out our next segment where we’ll dive further into the different fulfilment methods.