How To Start An Amazon FBA Business

I have been selling online through an Amazon FBA business since 2013, but I haven’t really spoken about it much on this blog. I hesitate because to a reader I think it sounds too easy. There are a lot of the articles written about Amazon FBA and they too often just like a scammy get-rich-quick scheme.

The logic is simple and the businesses are very profitable, but they do take time and are a lot of work to get going. It is worth it, but you should treat your Amazon FBA business seriously and just like any other business.

What is an Amazon FBA Business?

I am sure you have heard of Amazon. It is the largest online retailer in the USA, UK and much of Europe. A household name. But what you might not know is that when you purchase something from Amazon, there is a very good chance that you are buying from a third party seller using a service called Amazon FBA.

FBA stands for ‘fulfilment by Amazon’. What is means is that Amazon looks after all of the seller’s stock. When a customer places an order, it by-passes the seller altogether and goes straight to the FBA warehouse. Amazon then picks out the order and delivers it to the customer.

Amazon FBA also handles most of the customer service. They process all customer returns and only the most specific queries get forwarded on to the seller.

To the customer, there is almost no difference between purchasing from Amazon directly and from a person selling their items on Amazon through Amazon FBA. They get the same delivery options, the same returns policy and the same customer service team.

In the image below you can see that the torch below is sold by ‘TriumphInnovations’ and ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’. ‘TirumphInnovations’ is an Amazon FBA business.

fulfiled by amazon

An Amazon FBA business is a great intermediary between a bedroom eBay business, and a full-time brand with a large staff. As a seller, you don’t have to look after the stock and it takes the same amount of work to sell 10,000 items as it does to sell 10. But to the customer, they get a quality of service that is on par with the biggest brands in the word.

As a seller, you can run a one-man-band business that sells thousands of items each month, all remotely from anywhere in the world. In fact, I am currently in South America with Amazon FBA businesses in Europe and North America.

You acquire the stock and get it delivered to Amazon FBA. Then all you need to do is focus on getting sales.

amazon fba business

In this article, we will talk about the main two types of Amazon FBA businesses. (there is one other type is completely different that I covered in this article: Retail Arbitrage).

  1. Invent a product from scratch. Get it professionally designed and manufactured. Then work your arse off to try and convince people that they really want it and will buy it. This is the approach we follow and I documented for the table tennis bat cases in this post. It’s a lot of work and you run the very real risk of discovering that people don’t really want whatever you have invented.
  2. Reinvent/improve on someone else’s product. Simply find a not very good item that is selling well and create a better version of it. There are hundreds of items on Amazon that are just rebrands of readily available white-label products. You can even find the same factory that makes the original item and get them to do your manufacturing. As of 2016, this is the easiest and still a very profitable route to take.

How to Source Your Products

We’ve spoken a lot about Amazon, but there is another global company that is almost as important. Alibaba.

Alibaba is a Chinese online wholesale market where factories and distributors from all around the world display their items. Most of these companies will work with you to create and manufacture your unique product.

Since Alibaba came on the scene it has got very easy to create a basic Amazon FBA business. Too easy. And has led to Amazon getting flooded with white-labelled products that are straight from Alibaba with a brand attached and a huge price markup. Most of them don’t sell well, but there are plenty that do.

Here’s an example.

pest control same

The only difference between the two is the adding of a brand name… and the price increase.

You can buy them in bulk on Alibaba, branded with your own brand for between $1 and $7 each (depending on how many you purchase and how good you are at negotiating), and people are buying them on Amazon for £16.95. Even with all the fees and costs (which we will talk about later), that is still a very good profit margin.

Now I can’t be 100% sure that it is the same factory that makes both of them. But it doesn’t really matter. Provided the factory is able to make us a better version, then we’re in business.

Now that pest repeller looks pretty low quality, but you can also find very high quality, well-respected brands on Alibaba.

The next images are of a very popular supplier of boxing gloves on Amazon and Alibaba.

amazon fba business boxing gloves

On the Alibaba factories’ website, they describe themselves as: “the official supplier of ‘RDX’ one of the world’s leading fitness brand, along with many other brands.”.

I am not suggesting that you should try and create fake RDX gloves. That would be unethical and also bad business – it wouldn’t take long before you were shut down. But I am suggesting that if you can come up with an improvement to the boxing glove, you could legitimately contact that factory on Alibaba, get your own unique boxing gloves made, add your own branding and start competing with RDX.

Getting a really good idea for a product can take quite a bit of time and research, and is worth not rushing. In fact it is a full topic in its own right. You can check out my in-depth guide here.

In short, there are some paid for tools that really help with the research. The most popular being JungleScout. It costs $99 a month, but if you work hard in that first month you will only need to pay for one.

Getting Your Stock From Alibaba to Amazon FBA

The final piece of the puzzle to setting up an Amazon FBA business is how you get your stock in bulk from the factory to the FBA warehouses. On the surface, it can be very complicated. Every country has different customs processes and Amazon have some pretty complex requirements for how they need your items to be delivered.

Thankfully there are plenty of companies that deal with all the hassle for you and make it really easy, they are known as freight forwarders and customs brokers. I recommend Flexport. They are funded by Google, have a really good online interface and due to the transparent price comparison service, are cheap.

The steps are fairly simple:

  • The factory delivers the stock to the Flexport freight forwarder.
  • The freight forwarder gets the stock into your destination country and deals with all taxes and paperwork.
  • The freight forwarder hands the stock over to the Amazon partnered couriers who books them into the FBA warehouses.

Simple eh? Well that’s the basics of an Amazon FBA business:

  • Find a factory on Alibaba.
  • Open conversations with them and design your product.
  • Get a large batch of the item manufactured.
  • Use a freight forwarder such as Flexport to get the items from the factory to Amazon.
  • Get marketing and sell your items.

Now let’s dive into the nitty gritty.


If you have done some browsing on Alibaba, you may be a bit shocked at how cheap the factories are selling wholesale quantities of their goods for. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as simple as taking the price you sell it for and minusing the price you paid, There are a lot of costs to include.

I am talking about pricing and margin early on because it is so important. You can’t start talking to manufacturers until you know how much margin you need.

Luckily Amazon has a handy calculator that you can use for most of the costs:

retail arbitrageJust find an item similar to yours, or enter in your product’s dimensions.

On top of these costs, there are a few other ones you need to add in manually.

  • The price of the item.
  • Shipping to the country.
  • Tax and customs charges.
  • Delivery to the Amazon FBA warehouses.

You can talk to Flexport and the Alibaba factories to get all these costs.

A typical example might be:

  • You expect to be able to sell the item for $16
  • It costs $4 per item to buy.
  • Shipping is $1 per item.
  • Tax and import duties are $0.75 per item.
  • Delivery to the FBA warehouse is $0.2 per item.
  • FBA fulfilment fees are $3.05 per item.
  • Amazon closing fee is 15% of sale price, so $2.4.
  • Your profit is $4.6 per item.

That is still a good margin and provided we can get sales is a good Amazon FBA business.

Because of the way the Amazon fees work, your ideal product will be:

  • Selling for between £15 and £50 ($20 and $70).
  • Small and lightweight.
  • Simple and with not too many moving parts.

And of course, an item that people want to buy. As mentioned earlier, finding the best products to sell on Amazon has it’s own whole post here. In short, there are a few great tools that can help you research the ideal product. JungleScout is probably the best and most popular.

Once you understand how the margin and fees work, the next step is to start chatting with some manufacturers.

Open communications with different manufacturers.

I suggest talking with as many factories as possible.

With Alibaba it is so easy, just use the search bar for whatever you are looking for and click “contact supplier” next to the companies that look interesting.

When searching add the word ‘OEM’ to the end of your search. For instance “Flashlight OEM”. It stands for ‘original object manufacture’ and should filter out all the re-sellers and give you the factories that actually manufacture the items.

You might as well shoot off the same message to lots of different factories and then play them off against each other. The factories know the value of even a new Amazon FBA business and will want to work with you.

Alibaba contact supplier

It is very hard to describe what I look for in a good factory beyond “a good feeling”. I think it comes with practice. I suggest that once you have spoken to them, try having a chat over Skype. If their English is so bad you can’t really communicate, then it is probably not going to work out.

Once you have narrowed down your search to your favourite 3 or 4 factories, ask them to send you out a sample. Some places will send you one for free, others will charge you but then take the cost off any large order you eventually make. A few will ask you to pay full price.

Once you have samples from a couple of factories you are happy with, it is time to move onto the next step.


Now remember, we are not just looking to re-sell their products. We want to improve and customise them.

This process can take quite a long time, but it is worth getting right. If you can get the designs done professionally, that could really help to really speed the process up. You can hire a freelancer on Freelancer to help you.

Or you can make amateur suggestions and ask the factory to turn them into products. Here are some designs we made in Microsoft Paint for our table tennis bat cases.

One of the keys to an Amazon FBA business is keeping costs as low as possible. So make sure to think through what is the best use of your money.

eastfield version 2

During this design phase, you need to incorporate a barcode. A barcode (or UPC code) is a series of digits that is unique to your product all over the world. There are plenty of websites where you can buy barcodes, this is the website I use.

Once you have the perfect prototype it is time to get them manufactured.

Negotiation and Manufacturing

Although I hate negotiating, on Alibaba it is a requirement. You can often get 40%-70% off the asking price.

As it is so easy for customers to price compare a lot of factories are starting to realise that they can get more business by opening with their best price. But I think it will still be another few years before you don’t need to negotiate.

You may be great at haggling and love competing for the best price. If on the other hand you’re more like my, here are my thirty seconds on negotiating on Alibaba.

There are a few things we really care about:

  • Minimum Order Requirement.
  • Price.
  • Lead Time.

At the beginning, the first one is the most important. You may be able to get a great deal if you order 10,000 items, but that would be crazy for a new product you haven’t tried to sell yet. If no-one buys it you’re left paying storage on 10,000 items! I recommend starting with about 500.

On lead time, sometimes the factories can take months to create your product. If you’re just starting out you may well be willing to sacrifice a bit of margin to get your products to Amazon quicker.

If you have a few different good options for manufacturer you can play them off against each other on choose the best deal.

The only other thing I would say about negotiating is: don’t burn your bridges. The first manufacturer may turn out to be a dud and you may want that second one. So even if you don’t go with them, leave the option open for future business.

When you finally give them the go-ahead, make sure to request that the items are packaged together in the same size cartons. This will be important when organising the final part of the delivery to Amazon.

Freight Forwarding & Customs

I’ve already mentioned that Flexport or another freight forwarder will do most of the work of shipping and customs for you. They’re generally good enough that I don’t need to go into much more detail. Except to talk about shipping options.

You have the choice of sending your stock by ship or by plane.

A shipment from China to the UK or the USA will take 6-8 weeks. By plane, it will take less than a week. But plane will be about five times more expensive.

If I am running low I will fly in some emergency stock, but the majority I send by boat. On your initial order you could always send a small amount, say 60, by plane and the rest by boat. That way you can be up and selling much quicker.

Amazon and Amazon FBA

Once your shipment has landed in the destination country you need to get it to the Amazon warehouses.

But first, you will need to create an Amazon account.

I strongly suggest creating the account before you start manufacturing. 

It is free to sign-up as an ‘Individual’ Amazon seller in most countries and anyone from most countries can do it. India is the only exception that I know of, there you need to have an India-based business to register. I suggest starting with just one country, the one you are most local to:

  • Amazon UK (includes Germany, Italy, France & Italy).
  • Amazon USA (includes Mexico & Canada).
  • Amazon India (you need to have an Indian based business to sign up)

There are two types of Amazon accounts. Individual and Professional.

  • Individual is free but you pay an extra fee per item sold, you also have access to less analytics.
  • Professional charges a monthly fee.

Both can be used with Amazon FBA, so I simply suggest signing up for an individual account and upgrading once your sales hit the threshold where the professional account is cheaper.

Creating the Listing on Amazon

Once you have finished creating your account. From the homepage navigate to the inventory tab and select “Add a Product”.

Amazon seller homepage

Select “Create a new product listing”. Then select the most relevant category.

select create new product

You will then be taken to the details page of your new product. There are hundreds of fields, but most of them you can safely ignore as they don’t really add anything. Make sure to fill out:

Under ‘Vital Info’

  • Item Name. I like to include the brand name here as well as it it is what the customer sees when searching through Amazon. e.g. “Awesomo Fly Swatter Mk2”
  • Brand Name. This is your Amazon FBA business brand. e.g. “Awesomo”
  • Recommended Browse Node.
  • Product ID. This is the UPC number that you purchased when designing the product. It is the unique barcode.

Under ‘Offer’

  • Your Price.
  • Condition.
  • Fulfilment Channel = ‘I want Amazon to dispatch and provide customer service for my items if they sell.’

The fulfilment channel is important. This is where you tell Amazon that you want to create an Amazon FBA business and have Amazon handle your stock and customer service for you.

Under ‘Images’

Images are very important. Make sure you have someone take some professional looking photographs of your item.

Under ‘Description’

Make full use of this page and make your product sound as appealing as possible.


Enter a few alternative words that people might search for your item. For instance, if you are selling a pest repeller they might also search for ‘bug repeller’ or ‘mosquito repeller’.

create an item


And that’s all you need. Now click ‘Save and Finish’.

Sending Stock to Amazon FBA

Provided you selected that you want Amazon to fulfil your items, you will next be sent to the ‘Send/Replenish Inventory’ page.

ship from...

Just follow the instructions. At some point, you will be asked for some more details about your item, including the proportions and weight.

Every product sent to Amazon needs to be labelled with a label that is unique for the item and shipment ID. This is an internal barcode that Amazon uses to track and manage inventory. You can either get your freight forwarder to do this or pay Amazon to do it.

I’ve found that the freight forwarder is normally a cheaper option, but there’s not much in it and it is more work on your behalf. To get them to do it you need to negotiate it as an added extra, then download and send them the PDFs of the labels.

amazon fba business labelling

Once you have clicked through all the steps you will have a chance to review and accept the shipment.

Once it is created select ‘Work on Shipment’ to tell Amazon how it is going to be delivered.

The easiest way is to select ‘Small Parcel Delivery’ and choose the ‘Amazon Partnered Carrier’.

Remember how we made sure that all the cartons sent by the factory were of the same size and weight? This is why.

By using the ‘Amazon Partnered Carrier’ (which is UPS) you will pre-pay for delivery based on the number and proportions of the boxes you are sending. Amazon will then generate you a pre-paid label in the form of a PDF file.

Just gives these PDF files to the freight forwarder, they will attach them to the cartons and give them to UPS. Next thing you know your stock will be at Amazon.

amazon fba retail arbitrage

And that’s it… once your stock arrives your Amazon FBA business will be live and people will be able to buy and receive the items without you even having to be told about it.

Well not quite. If you just leave it, no-one will buy your product. The final step in the puzzle is also the most difficult. How on earth do you get people to buy your items?


EDIT: I have now written a large 4,000 word article covering everything I know about marketing your Amazon FBA products

In my experience, I have found the best way to get decent sales for a new product on a new Amazon FBA business is to do a short sharp burst and try get as high up as possible on the best-seller rankings.

Once there the Amazon algorithm will start showing the item to people searching on the website.

Let me explain.

When you start a new Amazon FBA business. You have zero reviews and zero sales. You don’t even have an Amazon seller ranking. There is no reason for the customer or Amazon to trust your product is any good.

Amazon has a secret formula that determines what shows up when people search for something. It’s secret but we can take a guess at how logically it could work. It is known as the Amazon Search algorithm.

Let’s pretend that I am the Amazon algorithm, and it’s my job to choose what we show people who are using the site. Imagine someone searches for a teapot. How do I choose from the hundreds of teapots which ones to show the user?

Well, I think my first instinct would be just to rank all the teapots on Amazon by how well they’re selling. Put the best-selling one at the top and the worst selling one at the bottom.

But that’s a bit too simple. What happens if the best selling teapot is just a big brand name that is rubbish but they are spending a lot on advertising? People are still buying it but they are giving it bad reviews.

Ok, so ratings are important too, let’s take that into account. Perhaps I show a better-reviewed teapot higher than a teapot that has slightly more sales.

But that’s also too simple. What about a teapot that only has one review. Even if it’s a 5-star review I can’t show that higher than a teapot with 100 4.9 reviews. Ok, so I weight the rating in some way by the number of reviews.

But what if there is some new teapot technology out and the best-selling teapot is behind the times? It still has all those good reviews. And it is still the best-seller. But it is unfair because it has been around so long that it would take a new better teapot years to get the same number of reviews.

Ok now I am going to take into account momentum. An item that has only been around a few weeks but is getting a lot of sales and good reviews I will show in a high place.

Ahh. Now we’re getting somewhere. We have no idea how exactly the algorithm balances these factors, but we can be pretty sure that it favours:

Sales, good reviews, many reviews, and momentum.

A brand new Amazon FBA business with no reviews and sales is not going to be shown to anyone. A brand new product that has a lot of sales in the first week and a lot of good reviews is going to be shown to people.

It is our job as a new seller to get as many new sales and reviews as possible in a short space of time. We need that momentum to start showing up organically on people’s Amazon searches.

The simplest ways to do this is by:

  • Asking all your friends and family to buy and review your product.
  • Hosting a competition/giveaway.
  • Send free samples to professional & amateur reviewers.
  • Paid for advertising.
  • Asking previous customers to review your products.

How To Get Reviews On Amazon

I have added this part in to expand on that final bullet point as it is what I get emailed about most. The best long term way to getting reviews is to convince your real customers to write them.

Amazon is very strict on how you can interact with your customers but one thing you are allowed to do is to email them asking for a review. But they don’t make it easy, there is no way to set up automated mass emails from inside Amazon Seller Central. Instead we have to use an outside service.

I personally use Feedback Genius. It is very simple to use and has a lot of customizability. There are different plans to choose from but the smallest one is free which allows up to 100 emails a month. Then $20 for the next 1,000 emails.

There are a lot of rules about what you can include in your emails. You cannot:

  • Incentivise a customer to leave a good review. That means no “get 20% off your next order if you leave a good review”.
  • You cannot include a decision tree to filter different types of reviews. That means you are not allowed to say “if you loved the product click here to leave a good review, or if you were in any way unsatisfied please click here to message me directly and I will do everything I can to fix it”.
  • You are also not allowed to include a link to your own website in the email.

You may not get caught if you break these rules. But if you are serious about your Amazon FBA business I strongly recommend you follow them. Amazon has been known to ban people from selling on their platform for inappropriate emailing. If that happens that is the end of your Amazon FBA business.

So if you can’t include any of that, what can you include to encourage them to leave a good review? My personal preference is a two email chain.

The first email simply includes useful information about their purchase and asks that if they are unhappy to email me. Here is my template for some table tennis bats I sell, I change the wording slightly depending on the product and the audience:

Hi [[first-name]],

My name is Sam and I’m one of the creators of the xxxx. Thank you so much for your order!

I wanted to reassure you that we’ve got you covered. If you aren’t completely satisfied with something when your order arrives, then let me know and we’ll get it straightened out for you ASAP.

Additionally, if you have any questions about your order or our products we’d be happy to help you out.

If you’d like to get in touch, you can just reply to this message and we’ll respond promptly. No question is ever too small or unimportant.

I’m going to provide some usage tips for your xxxx:

  • After receiving your bat, the first step is to remove the protective film on each of the black and red rubbers. The rubbers should feel a bit sticky to the touch. It’s this surface that enables you to create the incredible spin that our bats are known for.
  • The bat should be stored in its case between use. If left out for a prolonged period of time the rubbers should be cleaned.
  • As you use the bat, the rubbers will start to attract dust from the ball and will lose their feeling of stickiness. They can be cleaned by wiping them down with a bit of water on a clean cloth.
  • After about a year of heavy usage, the rubbers will slowly lose their spin and should be replaced. They are designed to be easily removed and new rubbers can be stuck down in their place. Alternatively, a new bat can be purchased.
  • The bat has been tested and approved by the International Table Tennis Federation, meaning its legal for use at tournaments of any level. So go, win some matches and enjoy the bat!

All the best,

This email sets the tone for the level of customer service I want my Amazon FBA business to offer as well as heading off bad reviews before they happen.

My second email asks for a review:

Hey [[first-name]],

First off, I wanted to say thank you once again for your support. Our small business wouldn’t be able to grow and continue to produce top quality table tennis bats without your help.

I noticed your order was delivered a couple days ago, so I hope that you’ve had the chance to try it out and make sure you are happy with everything.

We are always aiming to improve our products and service, and we would really appreciate if you could take 2 seconds to provide us with some feedback:

[[product-review-link:Leave a review]]

Thank you again for your trust and support.

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments, or even just want to have a chat, send us a message by replying to this email and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

All the best,


The text in square brackets is shortcode which Feedback Genius converts into links that are customised for each customer.

Once you have the marketing for your Amazon FBA business down and have conquered your own country, it’s time to expand:

Expand to Different Countries.

Once you have started to rank in one country it’s time to expand and do the same in others.

The great thing is that with the central accounts of the UK and USA you can expand your selling to a bunch of other countries with just a few clicks.

For instance, with Amazon UK you can cross-list your items on Amazon Germany. When a customer buys your item in Germany it will be shipped to them from the UK FBA warehouse.

Amazon even provides a translation service so that your listings will be spelt correctly in the target language.

international listings

Congratulations! You now have a multi-national global Amazon FBA business.

Expand to Different Products.

Now you are selling strongly everywhere. Time to move on to a new product and start the whole process again. Except this time it should go much smoother and easier.


Ok. So that was long and complicated. Let’s quickly recap the steps to setting up an Amazon FBA business:

  • Decide on a product idea.
  • Find and open communication with relevant factories on Alibaba that manufacture similar items.
  • Request samples and then commission prototypes to be made.
  • Purchase a barcode.
  • Start manufacturing.
  • Use a freight forwarder such as Flexport to get your stock to the target country and through customs.
  • Open an Amazon Seller Account and create your listings.
  • Create a shipment on Amazon FBA and pre-pay for shipping.
  • Give your freight forwarder the pre-paid shipping labels.
  • Start marketing.

Phew. That was a long post. I think I have covered pretty much everything but if I have missed anything out then please drop me an email. I get quite a few emails and don’t have enough time to reply to all of them, but I will do my best.

I also do a tiny bit of consulting at $200 an hour. If you are in whatever country I happen to be in (check my instagram to see where I am) we can meet up, or you can schedule a call with me through Clarity. It could be specifically on Amazon FBA business, or on anything I talk about on this blog.

Further Reading:

Cover photo courtesy of Intel Free Press

  • Amazing and very detailed post as always Sam. Helen and I picked up the retail arbing side of this back in 2015 to some success, we’ve recently purchased Jungle Scout and have started to look at investing in a product. I used to use Alibaba back in 2011 aged just 16 picking up phone cases and selling them from my Uni dorm-room, how times have changed…

    • Nice. Let me know how you get on with Jungle Scout, I’ve heard some mixed things so it would be good to get your opinion.

      • Pablo

        Sam, I’d like to talk about your FBA consulting service. Could you please provide me your email address?

  • Trường Phi

    Great post. I am subcribing to your blog right after reading this.

  • Hi Sam
    Is there a guide available for researching the best products to sell on Amazon?

    • Hey buddy,

      So a lot of people us Jungle Scout. It helps you easily pick out potential products on Amazon.

      Or you can do it manually:

      Here are the bestseller sections ( There are a few hundred categories and sub-categories. Fill in a spreadsheet with the top five items from each category.

      Also in the spreadsheet list: price, number of reviews, average review, size (small, medium, large, extra large), weight, amazon seller ranking, category,

      Once the spreadsheet is filled out you want to find every item that isn’t too big, isn’t too heavy, sells for more than £15 and has under 100 reviews.

      Then from that subset you can choose the best items to compete with. The less reviews they have the easier it will be to compete.

      • Michael Vogiatzis

        Thanks Sam for the detailed reply.

        Just to add on that, Jungle Scout seem to offer the chrome extension for both the UK and the US market, but the web app is only available to the US.

        Do you guys find the US web app being applicable to the UK market to a good extent?

        • Michael Vogiatzis

          UPDATE from the jungle scout support team:

          “There’s no set dates for the UK yet. It’s still early days developing the web app for the US.
          Unfortunately you can’t use information from the US for the UK as they’re separate markets with separate products etc.”

          • Hey Michael.

            I actually often use the USA market when researching for the UK market on purpose. It is more mature and there is a lot more competition. So if I find something that is selling well in the USA but isn’t yet for sale in the UK, that’s a fairly good bet that it will do well in the UK market.

            The main thing to be careful about when comparing the two markets is using it to predict sales volume. I don’t know if this is true across the board, but my table tennis bats sell a similar amount when they are #1 best-seller in the UK and when they are #15 in the USA.

            Hope that helps!

          • Michael Vogiatzis

            Clever strategy Sam. Regarding sales volume, JS chrome extension will give you estimated sales for the UK. However, when you take into account the “knock-on” effect from the US market, things start becoming more interesting!

  • Ajith

    Thanks for the insightful & helpful post Sam!! I have heard different opinion on sales volume from different people about selling on Amazon US V/S Amazon UK. For a seller based in UK, Some say it’s better to start in UK even though the market is small compared to the market size in the US. Others suggest to start with US because of the sheer volume of the market & then scale it to UK and other european counties. What are your opinion on Amazon US v/s Amazon UK market in terms of market size & what do you suggest for a newbie seller based in UK? Thanks again for an amazing post!!

    • Hi Ajith, good to hear from you.

      I recommend starting in your home country. It means that if you want you can go and inspect your items if necessary and you understand the market better.

      I also prefer the UK. You only need to send stock to one warehouse (as opposed to 3 in the USA) and personally I sell more items in the UK than USA. There is less competition here!

      Best of luck!

      • Ajith

        Thanks a ton Sam for taking time out to explain/answer these queries. Much appreciated!! Cheers!

  • Hi Sam,

    This is a jaw-droppingly good post.

    Probably as long as my shortest eBooks LOL.

    I am a Kindle writing and selling dude so this FBA themed post enlightened me. Confused as heck on it and yep, I’ve gandered a few silly get rich quick schemes when folks in the past wrote about it.

    I see why you’re rocking in out in Argentina 😉

    In truth, if you’re willing to learn a niche inside out you can have success with it. Good idea too, Skyping folks to see if you’re connecting and understanding each other.

    Well done!

    Signing off from sunny….alas, non tropical…NJ. For now 🙂


    • Hey Ryan,

      Cheers! I’m going to delve into your ebooks. 124 books is massive. You must be a complete machine. If you ever want to chat and trade some ebook writing knowledge for some FBA knowledge then let me know!

      Ciao for now. Hopefully we’ll bump into each other in sunny paradise.

  • Pingback: How To Find The Best Products To Sell On Amazon()

  • Nixy

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for the amazing post.

    I have a couple of questions, it would be great if you can help me with those.

    I am based in Sydney, Australia. Can I sell on Amazon US or Amazon UK? Like getting stuff from Alibaba and selling on Amazon US?

    If the answer to the question above is NO, then don’t bother answering the questions below.

    If so, how would I get paid? I don’t have a US bank account. Will Amazon pay me to my local Australian bank account?

    How about the taxes?

    Looking forward to hear from you.


    • Hi Nixy,

      Yes you can sell in the UK and USA from Australia. You get paid in your local currency via the Amazon currency converter. I believe it can work out cheaper if you set up bank accounts in those countries and use your own currency conversion, but I haven’t experimented with it.

      Tax on profits will need to be paid in Australia. Sales taxes will need to be paid in USA and UK. Luckily you don’t need to register for sales tax till you hit a certain threshold of sales so you can ignore it for the moment.

      You will need to pay import taxes when in the countries you send your stock to.

      Hope that helps!!

  • Hi Sam,

    I am as blogger myself really impressed by the quality and detail of your posts. I am looking to build an Amazon FBA business that is based in the UK. I want to create a spread sheet/action steps document that I can use to go from starting the business through to marketing the product once it is live on Amazon. Do you have any kind of check list that covers each small step in the process?

    Best wishes

    • Hi Mark. I’m glad you liked the blog. I don’t have a detailed check list apart from what I put at the end of the post:

      – Decide on a product idea.
      – Find and open communication with relevant factories on Alibaba that manufacture similar items.
      – Request samples and then commission prototypes to be made.
      – Purchase a barcode.
      – Start manufacturing.
      – Use a freight forwarder such as Flexport to get your stock to the target country and through customs.
      – Open an Amazon Seller Account and create your listings.
      – Create a shipment on Amazon FBA and pre-pay for shipping.
      – Give your freight forwarder the pre-paid shipping labels.
      – Start marketing.

      • Thanks and wishing you every success 🙂


  • Amazing post! Thank you very much <3

  • Heromal

    What’s an alternative to this method if you don’t have $1k in capital? Somewhere along the lines of 3-500.

    • Check out this post on retail arbitrage:

      You can start with hardly any money and it gets you used to using Amazon FBA. Then when you start to make some income you can scale up and start a proper Amazon FBA business.

      • Heromal


  • Elijah Laughinghaus

    This is a great writeup! I am curious though, after finding a manufacturer, don’t you also need to source someone to package and put your brand on the product? What if I want something made, such as a supplement, or other mix of items. For example, I want to mix bath salts with various herbs to create a bath salt product. Where can you find that kind of production?

    • Most suppliers will do that for you. I have a few products where I get different parts made in different places and assembled in one factory. But for bath salts you should be fine :). Just make sure to ask the supplier first!

      • Elijah Laughinghaus

        Well what I mean is, I need to buy from a minimum of two suppliers, possibly three. I have the salt, the herbs, and essential oils. How do I find someone that can put them together in one package?

        • That surprises me. I would have thought that . I suggest finding a supplier who creates nicely packaged bath salts that you like the look of and then coming to an arrangement with them. You can get the other two suppliers to send the ingredients to them.

  • Renate I.

    Hi Sam . I like very much your blog. I live in UK and I want to sell
    products on Amazon US. Do I need a credit card here in UK in $ , £ or
    Payoneer card?

    • I just use my normal UK business bank account with a credit card and in £s.

  • Greg

    Great post Sam, and nice blog. It’s good to see someone UK-based using stuff I read on US-focused sources (James Altucher, Pat Flynn etc). I’ve had an idea for a simple product for a while and I’m currently prototyping so this post has answered a lot of questions on how I’ll get it to market. Thanks very much 🙂

    • Cheers! And yeah I’m a big fan of James Altucher and Pat Flynn. Best of luck, if you have any specific questions drop me an email 🙂

  • jack flower

    It’s nice to get some one with a FBA business in the UK have there say on things! Very detailed and a very humbling post so thankyou for that!. I am just starting out but very keen to get going. Rising up the ranks i feel, is the hardest process. Do i need to worry about tax to start of with i would like to stay within the Law ;).

    • Hello again Jack!

      The taxes involved are:
      – Import duty and import VAT – This will be handled by your freight forwarder and they will send you a bill.
      – VAT on sales – You don’t need to worry about this until you hit £80k of sales in one 12-month period.
      – Tax on profits – If you start a company this will be corporation tax. If you don’t you need need to declare it on your self assessment tax return and will pay income tax.

      It might be worth talking to an accountant about it. Most accountancy firms do a free initial consultation so you can go in and ask all the questions.

      • Olavi Ottenson

        One thing you may want to consider is becoming Estonian e-resident at Then you can set up Estonian company online and while still in EU, which Estonia is part of, you don’t have to pay corporate income tax on your annual profits. You pay tax only if you distribute dividends (some other minor stuff also). While in reality your company would be tax resident locally (whereever you live) it would be near to impossible for your local tax authority to find that out.

        • Do you know anyone who has gone through with the e-residency stuff? I don’t know how hard it would be to open a company/bank account there and if the UK government would consider it legal.

          • When I had a company in Malta we had to make sure that business or operations were actually taking place in Malta for the UK government to consider it legal and not tax evasion. I wonder if the same is true for an estonia e-business.

            Any accountants out there that can give some insight?

          • Olavi Ottenson

            Like I said in my initial comment, if you manage your company from UK, it is highly likely that your company would be either UK tax resident or at least have permanent establishment in UK. Now, this is not a RECOMMENDATION, but I find it extremely unlikely for HMRC to find out you have an Estonian company with Estonian bank account and it is actually managed from UK. Ofcourse, if one travels a lot and manages the company from various places, then it is probably EE resident company.

          • Olavi Ottenson

            Opening a company once you have e-residency takes half an hour. For opening a bank account, you still need to visit a branch once, after KYC requirements are met, you can do all the business online. E-residency program is 100% legal in EU/US/CA, etc., maybe not in North Korea 🙂

          • Gustav Kotkas

            Hi Sam! Drop us a line at . We have a number of clients that have started a company with e-Residency just after the Brexit. We may be able to help you.

        • Olavi Ottenson

          To make it more convenient for e-residents to apply for Estonian bank accounts, the government has started (sent to approvals today, before going to parliament for discussions) to approve a legislation that would set standards for banks to perform KYC procedures over the internet using video calls. It is expected that opening bank account over the internet would become available at the start of 2017. About two months ago a legislation was passed that made video KYC lawful, this is final push to bring it into practice.

      • Andrew Larder

        Hey Sam,
        It’s been great to find this blog and wealth of information it provides… I’m drip feeding through it as and when i get the chance.

        I understand that as soon as you cross that VAT threshold, (or look like you are likely to based on average monthly sales) then you have to start paying VAT.

        This i believe means that ALL of the sales for that year are then liable for VAT, so in affect you would owe 20% of £83,000 if you had turnover of £83,000 (at that point).

        So would this mean you would owe HMRC the best part of £17000 in 1 hit, which you haven’t built into you Margins, as you weren’t charging VAT, before you reached £83k OR is VAT being charged on all your Sales by Azon (from the 1st sale), and therefore you would be able to claim back most of the £17,000 VAT anyway ??

        I hope this makes sense, as it is a bit confusing re-reading it..

        Many thanks


        • Hi Andy,

          I think you’ve misunderstood. Once you register for vat you pay vat on all sales going forward. That first 83k is vat free.

          It’s actually even better than that because some capital expenditure on assets you’ve spent before that can then be claimed for in your first vat return. So for the coffee shop when we registered we actually got a 10k check from the government. I can’t remember the exact details of how it works, so if you’ve purchased any furniture or the like then be sure to speak to an accountant to see what you can do.

  • Gary Kind

    Have to agree with everyone else nice to see a UK-centric post on FBA as everything seems to be US based and no-one really mentions anything about freight forwarders so thank you!

  • Jonathan Loyola

    Are you in Chile? Do you sell from there? how do you pay your taxes?

    • I was in Chile. Now I am in Spain. I have a UK based company that the business is run through. Taxes are paid there.

  • Nathan Hanak

    I am curious how one manages not to get slammed with copyright or patent lawsuits when creating these products?

    I do see that a lot of originality went in to your table-tennis case, so it was fairly clear that it was different enough from the iPad case upon which it was originally based. But what about things like that pest control machine? How is it that someone is able to just swap out the labels, jack up the price, and be allowed to carry on without any repercussions from the original inventor?

  • Alex Tee

    Hi Sam,

    I just started selling on UK but is having difficult selling the product.

    The first week I got 2 sales despite having 0 reviews.

    However, a few weeks have passed and that’s the only sales I have despite having 5 reviews from top sellers.

    I’ve already advertising on Amazon but not sure what else I can do.

    • Hi Alex,

      Sorry to hear that. Sounds like you have lost some of the early momentum. It can be hard to regain but can be done. You need to start getting sales so it starts working its way up the best seller list. Do you have a link to your product?

      I’ve done PPC advertising on Amazon. That can work but depends on your margin. I use it in the USA and bidding about $1.2 a click and per sale I’m averaging at paying something like 14% sale price.

      What friends and family do you have who might be interested in your product? They will be your easiest sale.

      What about bloggers, youtubers or other influencers are there in your niche? Can you send them a free sample in exchange for them writing a post about it?

      What Facebook groups or forums are there around your niche where you can post your product?

      Have you thought about taking part in one of Amazon’s promotions? Prime day, or lightning deals?

      Do you have any friends or relatives who work in the press or PR and could help you draft a press release for your new product?

      • Alex Tee

        Hi Sam,

        Thanks for replying and thank for giving so many suggestions!

        I’m thinking of doing lightning deal but have no idea how to start. I might have to contact the seller support later today.

        I do have a link but do not wish to seem spammy so if you don’t mind, please do a search at for “qissmi”.

        So far, based on my personal speculation, I think it’s because of the product.

        I sold clothing other items leisurely in Amazon US and with little effort (no review only Amazon sponsored Ads) and I was getting 2 to 3 sales per week (given that I only have like 20 in inventory!)

        I did my product research using Terapeak, Google trend and Adword keyword research.

        Months after I have placed an order with my supplier, I found out about Jungle Scout. And to horror, the findings contradicts my initial research greatly – Not a good sign.

        • Mike

          Just curious. Have you sold any more of your products since this post? Made any adjustments that helped?

        • Mark Herbert

          HI, can i just ask how you get the top 500 reviewers to review your product. I like your listing, hope it picks up and gains momentum!

  • Thanks for this. Love the UK centric post.

    Quick question: If I am selling a product for £5, is there a way to remove the P&P as it is roughly £5, which makes my product £10 for the customer.

    You mentioned reviews and offers but if I give away my product for free, people will still have to pay £5 P&P right?

    Thanks in advanced and keep up the good work.

    • I am not sure about that sorry. I don’t sell any products that are below the free shipping threshold.

  • Pablo

    Sam, I’m interested in your FBA consulting services. Could you please provide your email address? Thanks.

  • Rich Stephens

    Hi Sam,

    What kind of services can we expect from the supplier/manufacturer other than product creation and shipping? Are there any additional extras worth looking out for during negotiation stages? i.e can I also send them the EAN/UPC barcodes for them to add to packaging before shipping? Are there manufacturers that can move the product all the way to the Amazon warehouses? also any signs to be wary of?

    Thanks for the awesome blog

    • Hi,

      1 – You can ask for anything you want. For one of my products the component parts are created in different factories and assembled in one. In negotiation minimun order quantity and price are what I focus on.

      2 – Yes you can get them to add barcodes.

      3 – Yes they can move the product all the way to Amazon warehouse but for larger shipment (anything over 100kg) it is much cheaper to it through a freight forwarder. Plus you hit customs issues as shipment size grows.

      Hope that helps!

      • Joe A. Manfredi

        If the parts come from different Chinese factories, how do you get the parts to come together?

  • Moshe Heideman

    Hi Sam, this was incredibly enlightening. Thanks for the detail and transparency. Obviously with hard work and hustle it can be done but I was wondering with your industry experience, what are your thoughts on the longevity and staying power of this business? Will Amazon catch on and crack down? Has it become easier or harder recently? Do you see Amazon FBA remaining a viable business model or the will the profits disappear soon?

    • The thing about an Amazon FBA business is that it is exactly the same as any other product based business.

      You come up with an idea/improve on someone elses idea. Find a factory to make it. Store it somewhere and sell it in a shop. Amazon FBA just makes the last two parts easier than ever before.

      That business model has been around for thousands of years and I expect to be around for thousands of years to come.

      Amazon is getting saturated with many samey products. But that is OK. You just need to create a better product and build a brand. My profits and sales have continued grown and last month was my best month ever. I know some people are finding it more difficult, but that is because they are just rebranding white labelled objects from alibaba. They aren’t providing any value and are not building a brand.

  • Hi Sam
    Does Amazon allow a seller to get product reviews by sending free samples or would the seller be penalised for fake reviews. Also where can you find professional reviewers for Amazon products?
    ps: a search box in header might be handy added feature in the new design?

    • I’ve heard that they are removing reviews that were left by people who used a discount code. But Amazon themselves give products away in exchange for reviews so I think that’s a bit hypocritical of them. Check out the Amazon Vine program.

      Thanks for the tip about a search box. I’ll add it.

  • Gheid couture

    Hi Sam, this have been so helpful thank you for taking the time to write it.
    I live in dubai and would like to do some beauty products with a manufacturer based in US and sell them at amazon. Do i have to have a legal organisation or some sort of company LLC maybe to start this process. Or i can just start going through all these steps as an individual?

    I am also interested in the consultation with you as i have a lot more i need to know about. Many thanks

  • bob tuuner

    Great and thorough article on FBA. Sam, you sell table tennis wallets. For some it’s a niche product. Did you choose to sell this product simply because you saw potential good returns on this or that you have some affiliation / interest in table tennis?

    • Yes I have interest in table tennis. I made a very popular video about table tennis. Check out this post.

      • bob tuuner

        Thanks Sam for the link. Yes the table tennis viral video process was exciting. It’s a big plus to have an interest in some products you sell. I used to play table tennis nationally in the UK many years ago so hence the ask. Not many people would select selling a table tennis product without some affiliation with it. Best

  • James

    I wanted to thank you for putting together the article. It took you time, and it’s helpful to others. I’m unclear on one thing, however: Let’s say I have a pencil supplier. She makes pencils in all colors — each color is a SKU. I want to sell custom color combinations on FBA. How on earth is this done? Do I have each separate order sent to Amazon and then have Amazon box them according to spec? Or do I have the supplier box them at the warehouse? Help.

    • Hi James. Thanks! I would get the supplier to box them and list them under a new SKU. If you want them under the same listing but as a variation you can list them as a sub-SKU. Hope that helps!

      • James

        Very helpful, and very much appreciated.

  • aya zaghnin

    hello , thank you for your article , it’s very helpful. but i have a question please :
    suppose i am sending my products to uk via flexport , how can i get it to amazon warehouses knowing that i don’t live in the uk and i have no contacts there?

    • Once the shipment arrives in your destination country give your freight forwarder the pre-paid UPS delivery labels that you can print of Amazon seller central. They’ll give your shipment to UPS who will deliver it to the Amazon warehouses.

  • bob tuuner

    It’s worth noting Flexport have a waiting list of certain criteria is not met. This is what I got sent back.

    Company & Shipment criteria:

    1) Experience importing: You must have previously imported to the US, UK, or Canada.

    2 ) China/India to the US/UK/Canada: Your shipment is moving from China/India to the US, UK, or Canada

    3) Your Company is Registered to Import:
    – US: requires a US based business entity (e.g., you are based in the US with a IRS number, or shipping to a warehouse that will act as your importer of record)
    – Canada: requires a Canadian based business entity
    – UK: requires a VAT/EORI number

    4) Standard Services: Your shipment requires only standard services including air/ocean freight and basic pickup/delivery (e.g., no white glove delivery). Flexport does provide delivery to Amazon facilities.

    If your upcoming shipments meet the criteria above, please email me back and I will set up a call with your dedicated Account Executive.

    • Hi Bob. Thanks for that. They must have changed their policy/got too much business. Pretty much everything they say they don’t do in that spiel, they have done for me. It’s a shame, their service is very good.

  • Sath Ish

    Very informative. I have an idea now.

  • stukerr

    Hi Sam,

    Only just came across this post – really great stuff, so thank you for the time it must have taken you to put together!

    Just wondering how you deal with quality issues from the factories? Do you employ a QC person to check prior to dispatch? Have you ever had products very different quality wise from the sample?



    • I employ a quality control guy in the target countries. Generally I haven’t had any major issues. A few times there has been a mess up on the order, but generally it has been fine. I have heard some horror stories though so maybe I’m just lucky.

  • Kazmio

    Thanks for such a detailed post from a UK based perspective. Really thorough and much respect to you for doing this without trying to angle for money etc.

  • breshears

    How can I start selling Amazon products after I get my blog up and running?
    I understand there is no way to build a mailing list of your buyers without violating AMAZON TOS, correct?
    I am absolutely new at this, I have not started yet. I want to be able to quit my job and do internet marketing for a living.
    Thank you and also

  • Anthony

    Hi Sam, I came across your blog after I was searching for info about selling on Amazon. Do you have any opinion about selling FBA versus selling directly to Amazon via Vendor Central? I have the possibility of selling my products on Vendor Central, after being approached by a vendor manager at a trade show. It sounded great, however after doing some quick googling research I came across the FBA model, which seems to have its pros and cons versus Vendor Central, according to various forum chatter I’ve read. Keen to hear your thoughts if you have any. Great blog by the way! I have spent the last two evenings reading most of your posts. The one about being a lazy entrepreneur put a big smile on my face, it really resonated! Well said, I like your style! Also really refreshingly written blog: honest, not hyped, a pleasure to read, and oh so informative. Keep up the good work Sam, I am a fan!

    • Hey mate, good to hear from you! I’ve looked into vendor central a few times and I don’t think it is for me. You give up a lot of control and end up earning quite a bit less per item sold, plus you get paid slower. I assume there is some bonus in search rankings by being sold by Amazon, but I doubt it is enough to offset the disadvantages. But I haven’t tried it, so maybe I’m missing something…

  • Jenny Waylor

    Wow this is an epic post Sam! Thanks a lot for sharing. Didn’t know you’ve been selling for so long.

    I’m in a bit of a pickle. Do you have any experience with Amasuite?
    Deciding whether to pick it up or get Jungle Scout. I’m thinking it might be a good idea to get both since it’s a fairly small investment compared to the business potential.

    • Hi Jenny. I don’t have any experience with it I’m afraid. From looking at the website, they both have moneyback guarantees so you could always try both and get your money back on the lesser one.

  • Joe A. Manfredi

    I’m in the USA do I need to start an LLC. I’m trying to open an Alibaba account.

    • No you don’t. You can do it just under your name for now.

  • mmrs151

    This is by far the best and the most honest article I read about FBA.

    Can’t thank you much. This is brilliant.

  • mmrs151

    May I kindly ask your advice if I correct?
    I live in UK and planning to do FBA in Amazon USA, therefore
    – I have applied for a new company to HMRC today
    – this week I will open the bank account

    My question is, if I am correct in thinking that I need to have the company in UK to do FBA in USA?

    Also, do I need to pay tax in both countries.

    I are not obliged to answer, but will help me great if you share your experience about that.

    Thanks again for such an honest article.

    • Hello,

      You can do use a UK company to do Amazon FBA in the USA. You will need to pay import taxes in the USA and standard company taxes in the UK. Plus if you exceed the thresholds in each state in the USA you will need to pay sales tax, And if you exceed the threshold of sales in the UK you will need to pay VAT.

      Hope that helps!

      • mmrs151

        Thank you so much for your time.

        Is this true if I am not selling in UK too?

  • ling tse

    Hi Sam,

    Many thanks for your great sharing and very useful for me as I am very new on online selling. I intend to make my own label and start Amazon FBA business for Europe market. Can you please share your experience when creating your own product:

    1) Do you also require to design the packaging of your items? I tried to buy some samples from manufacturers and the design of the packagings are quite bad, old and all printing in Chinese. It gave me a bad impression and affecting the purchasing decision.

    2) Found that the MOQ of most of the products on Alibaba is more than 1000pcs, do you have any experience to place order of less than 500pcs for which the MOQ shown as 1000pcs?

    3) You have ever mentioned that it could not be able to work out if the supplier could not communicate in English. Does it mean that they are not qualified to do export trade?

    4) Is it legal if I sell electronic items with non-UK plug on Amazon UK?

    Million thanks!

    • Hi Ling,

      1 – Yes you need to design the packaging. For the bat case in this post: . I just put them in a clear bag with a barcode on it. For some of my other products I designed more complex packaging.

      2 – Yes most things are negotiable. You will be able to negotiated down the MOQ.

      3 – No it’s not that. The issue is that there is a high chance of them misunderstanding my instructions. Especially if it is something quite complex. Like changing one of the materials or the dimensions of the product.

      4 – I don’t know about that one. But why would you want to? You will get some very bad reviews if you supply products people can’t use…

  • Paul Reavey

    Amazing post!!!! Such great content!! I also have a blog about my experiences selling on Amazon

  • Daniel Lennart

    Hi Sam, I have a question, is it possible to add things to the packaging when using freight forwarding, for example a printed brochure or combine several products in a package?

    • It is possible and is quite a common request, but you’ll need to discuss it directly with the freight forwarder. It might end up being cheaper to get it done in China (or wherever you are manufacturing).

      • Daniel Lennart

        Thanks, I already found the answer – common way to do it would be get one supplier for example to print brochures and send them to another supplier making the product to pack together.

  • md pappu

    Hi, SAM PRIESTLEY, very informative, keep continue your writing.

    A better amazon rank and sales (within 7 days ) connect my SEO team skype: md.pappu90

  • Paul Nice

    Hi Sam,

    I saw that you had a business in Malta. I am an ex-pat living in Malta and want to become an FBA seller on a far more simplistic level than you, I’m a bit of an old feller now!

    I am looking to do online arbitrage with UK retail products & have them sent to a UK Prep Facility and then forwarded to

    Do you know for sure if I am allowed to register in Malta to be able to do this?

    I have come across two official Amazon Pages listing Authorized countries, one with Malta listed and one without, with the one without having a latter number sequence in it’s web page name, most discouraging.

    Can’t get any response from Amazon themselves, and can’t go through the process as haven’t a tax number yet. I found this April 2016 article from Times of Malta which would seem to indicate it’s okay: but could really do with your heads up if you know for sure, Cheers mate!

    • Hi Paul,

      I’m afraid I don’t know. You don’t need a company to sign up to Amazon, so you could try and see if it lets you?

  • md pappu

    Thanks, I already found the answer – common way to do it would be get one supplier for example to print brochures and send them to another supplier making the product to pack together.
    ***A better amazon rank and sales (within 7 days ) connect my SEO team skype: md.pappu90 ***

  • natasha

    thanks for the nice info,check guys at my blog and give feedback,i will appreciate.

  • Emily Davis

    Hi Sam,

    I just want to thank you for this blog post and to let you know I have used it and visited more than once to get information, even if it meant I had to search a bit because of typing in different keywords.
    I have even used some of your information for my MSc essay!

    Thanks so much,


    • Hi Emily,

      Thanks! And I hope you get a good mark on your essay.


  • Gary

    Hi Sam

    Great blog. I have a few questions please.

    I am in the UK looking to do FBA in the USA.

    1. Is there a way of finding out what licenses and quality products you create must meet. For example, selling Kitchen knives, do you need a special license to do this? Selling vacuum packed bags, does the plastic have to meet a specific quality?

    2. as per 1, is there a way of finding out what risk warning need to be on items – like for bags, suffocation warnings etc…

    3. I read that you have to register in each US state that you sell in, is this true if your only selling on

    4. You mentioned sales tax in the USA in a state when you reach a certain turnover, what is the turnover and what % is the tax?

    5. Can you recommend a quality customs and freight forwarder.

    Thank you for this excellent blog.


    • Hi Gary,

      1. Each country will be different and Google is your friend. In terms of importation, your freight forwarder will be able to tell you what requirements there are for import. Then on Amazon there is certain requirements for certain products. You can read about that on their website. If you tick both those boxes chances are you’re correct. If you’re really worried then you can always get a lawyer to look into the legals for you.

      2. I recommend looking at your competitor and just copying whatever they’ve put on. It’s not full proof, but hiring a lawyer to look into everything will cost a fortune.

      3. If you hit the amount required for sales tax you are meant to register for sales that in that state. It’s really complicated and isn’t every state, only ones where you have ‘nexus’ (ie where you hold stock). Most people ignore it and don’t register for anything.

      4. Sales tax in the USA is a nightmare and a minefield. The turnover is different for each state and only includes sales where you ship to the customer in the same state. I recommend doing your own research. 99% of FBA seller ignore it.

      5. I use Flexport. Can definitely recommend them. They’re a Google venture backed startup that brings freight forwarding into this millennium.

      • Gary

        Thank you Sam.

        Is there a legal way (or clever way) to get around the customs issue. Most manufacturers expect an order of at least 1,000, which generally brings import tax into play. Is there anything we can do about this.

        • There might be… I’ve heard of people sending multiple parcels below a certain size to get around it. But I don’t bother. I pay the tax. It’s not very much in the USA. It’s more in the UK because of VAT, but as I’m VAT registered I get to claim back most of it.

  • anjali saboo

    Your writing has been very useful. I really loved how you have explained every thing in detail.
    Thank you so much.

  • Rose Thomas

    Hi Sam, have just subscribed to the blog…and what a great post about FBA thankyou! I wondered if you could clarify something for me please as getting totally conflicting info on this, and Amazon themselves are blinding with science:
    For a PL skincare product selling on, I know I need to purchase a UPC & enter it in my listing to generate an FNSKU code. Which of the two do I ask my suppliers to label each product with, and also the pallet that the products are shipped in? If it’s the UPC number does this need to be printed onto my brand label or can I buy in a roll to stick on?
    Or before I do any of this should I apply for A’s Brand Registry and would this mean I don’t need to be concerned with any of the above? Is this something I could do later down the line as I am starting with just one product?
    Would really appreciate your input on this.
    Many thanks!

    • The best and cheapest way is to apply for brand registry and use their generated skus.

      But if you want to sell to retail stores or other places outside of amazon as well you will need a UPC or EAN number that is put on products.

      Pallets only need to be labelled if you are doing an LTL shipment to Amazon FBA warehouse. When you set up the shipment amazon will give you the pallet labels to stick on.

      • Rose Thomas

        Thankyou so much for your reply Sam, you explain things very clearly and I know now what I need to do. This blog is the answer to a prayer!

  • Alex

    Hi Sam,

    I spoke to an accountant who said that if I am bringing in products from Chine to sell on Amazon UK, then I would have to register for VAT. Is that correct?

    Also, on the Amazon Seller website, I am being asked whether I am an individual or commercial seller. I cannot change this later on. If I am a commercial seller, I basically have to setup a company right? Is there any difference between being a sole trader and a limited company?

    Thanks a lot for the blog. Alex

    • Umm. That doesn’t sound correct to me. I bought lots of products into the UK to sell on Amazon before I was VAT registered. I had to pay VAT on the products, but didn’t need to be VAT registered to do it. Probably worth getting a third opinion. There’s a chance I found some loophole without realising it.

      I didn’t realise you couldn’t change the account from an individual one to a company one at a later date. That surprises me. There will be no differences in the Amazon seller central regardless of what type of entity you have signed up as. I have both amazon seller accounts as an individual and for my companies and they are identical.

      Amazon does have two account types that are different. A pro account and a basic one. But you can switch between the two at any time and have nothing to do with your company setup.

  • Sam Ranken

    I am also doing my Amazon FBA Business . Your blog is really worthful reading and also helped me out. Thanks for sharing! Visit and know more about FBA marketing.

  • Emily Vercelli

    Hi Sam,
    I have prayed fast and boom !!! came across your blog
    I am new starting out and your blog post would be my new bible sir-I pray for your continuous success in all spheres-however one last quick question I brand new just researching to kick start my own FBA in the USA, Please I did not quite understand the whole upc/labeling part-here is my scenario sir Sam I saw manufacturer in China -Everything is settled Now I just created my individual FBA account -when I contacted the manufacturer I would have printed off the labeling from Amazon -my question is best to just print labels /buy UPC code and bulk send electronically to my manufacturer or what should I do ?
    Thanks once again for this blog sir.

    • Yes buy the UPC codes and send them electronically to the manufacturer. They can then put them onto the items as barcodes onto each item.

      Good luck!

  • Graham

    Hi Sam

    I have a question with regards to selling on amazon and cannot seem to find the answer anywhere!

    My question is –

    Can I sell two separate products from two different suppliers under one listing with amazon FBA? (just for this purpose I will use a coffee mug and a coffee spoon for example).

    More to the point can I have two separate products sent to amazon FBA separately and list them under one listing? And when someone purchases the listing, amazon FBA with send both products in the same box to the customer?
    Would this be correct or am I completely wrong?

    I understand I will have to list the item under ‘bundle’ possibly. Basically I need to know if I can send two separate products to amazon FBA and they will send them both out to the customer as I would like to list them under one listing as a bundle but the products wont arrive at amazon FBA together as they are not from the same supplier.

    Would really appreciate any comments or advice you have on this.

    Thank you very much.

    • No you can’t do that. You need to bundle them together before they arrive at Amazon. Sorry! Most freight forwarders or prep centres will be able to do that for you. Amazon are trying to implement some bundle deals that work like you are saying, but they aren’t ready yet and only open to a few beta testers.

  • Chris

    Hi Sam

    I work in the UK for a USA based company. All of the products are manufactured in the  USA.  I’ve tried contacted Amazon FBA several times and cannot get anyone to return a email…  

    question 1:

    We get a lot of traffic to our USA website store from people living in Europe and when they get to go ‘check out’ , we see a lot of European people abandon purchase.. 

    It is my belief they do this because they see at check out : they have to pay for local custom duty, plus the goods are shipped from the USA and this is expensive and can take a long time get stuck in customs etc.

    So could our website and the USA based business handle the payment transaction but the goods be shipped from the various European Amazon warehouses via FBA?

    Question 2

    As a USA based business what’s the best way to supply Amazon Pan European FBA.

    Can we do it via our Amazon US FBA account ? Someone mentioned this on a forum as a option 

    or are we better setting up
    A UK business with UK VAT number and supply Amazon Pan European FBA from the U.K. 



    • Hi Chris,

      1. Yes that can be done. It depends on what backend you are using for your webstore as to whether there is a plugin already available or if you will need to build one. The worse case scenario is that you have to copy accross manually the order details into the FBA system.

      2. It is probably best to set up a uk business with a uk vat number and supply that way. But I am not a tax expert and so that is only my opinion. You should do some more research!

  • Osman

    Hi Sam, first off fantastic and informative blog. I have an issue regarding shipping I hope you can help me with.

    I’m at the beginning of my FBA journey. I’m from the UK and wanted to ship a private label product from a factory in China to the US Amazon fulfilment centres using a courier like DHL, UPS, Fedex etc (air express), which I gather is best for small, lightweight shipments. My first couple of orders will be to test the products viability (500 units).

    I spoke to DHL (UK) to create an account. I explained the shipping terms would have to be DDP and I would be the IOR (importer of record) as Amazon state on their website they cannot be the IOR and will reject shipments if duties & taxes haven’t been paid.

    I asked them how I would go about paying customs duty since I’m from (and based) in the UK and the shipment would be sent door-to-door (China to the US).

    They told me this is called 3rd country shipping, which they don’t do. And because you can only open an account in the country you’re based in, I couldn’t open an account with DHL (US) as I wasn’t a resident. I was told the only work around would have to be sending the shipment to the UK from China, then onto the US. Now I’m not the first non-US resident to be selling into the marketplace. Can you or anyone else help me out, as I’m obviously doing something wrong?

    Thanks for your time and please excuse my idiocy.

    • Hi Osman, good to hear from you. I haven’t used DHL. But I have done exactly that using UPS. Created an account with UPS with a UK company. And got them to arrange a duty paid delivered package from China direct to an Amazon FBA warehouse in the USA. Maybe try UPS?

      Worse case you can go to a freight forwarder and get them to manage it for you. It will be a bit more for a small shipment, but not much more.

      Hope that helps!

      • Osman

        Hi Sam,

        Wow, thanks man. Just had a look on UPS’s (UK) website and yeah you’re right. One of their options include:

        “Shipper pays shipping charges; a third party (could be in another country) pays the duties and taxes”.

        So I’ll be registering an account with them. Out of curiosity, when did you have to pay for the duties/taxes, after or before your shipment to amazon was delivered?

        Was doing some more digging online and found out that most factories in China have accounts with couriers and you can request DDP terms. Some have said that the factories have discounted rates then we would get and others say that they inflate the DDP shipping quote from the courier and take a cut. Not sure if you’ve ever come across that, but I’ll ask my factory and compare quotes. Thanks once again Sam, that’s a weight off my shoulders.

  • Nnamdi Egwu

    Good day, if u are based in Africa how possible can u get all the requirements to start a business with amazon

  • Simon Hartley

    Hi Sam,

    I have just ordered my first batch of 300pcs of my first FBA product. It’s been a long process even to get to this stage but slowly it seems to be getting there!

    My concern at the moment is one of quality control. How did you ensure your products were up to scratch before shipping to Amazon? The samples I have received have been great but I’m well aware they will have put their best efforts into them to secure my business What if quality is not all that on the bulk order and I have no way of knowing before getting bad reviews and returns?
    Like yours, my product is at the premium end of the scale and so a good quality product is imperative.

    Any insight here would be much appreciated. Thanks!

    • So you have a few options. One is to get a quality control company in China to inspect the items before you accept them. There are quite a few companies out there that are designed for this and means you can get the factory to fix any issues. I personally have never used one so can’t recommend any.

      What I do is have my freight forwarder do an inspection when it gets to the UK/USA/etc. I give them a list of things to check for. It costs about 20p per unit.

      Alternatively you can have you first few shipments delivered to you so you can check them yourself. That way you will know what to look out for and can craft an in depth quality control manual for when you decide to outsource.

      • Ohh and the other option is just to risk it. Have a great return policy and exceptional customer service.

        • Simon Hartley

          Cheers for getting back to me so quickly! That’s all really helpful.

          I’m curious though, if you have the option to get your products inspected before shipping, why do you choose to have your freight forwarder inspect on arrival? Surely if there are any issues it’s almost too late by then? What would you do to resolve them?

          • Simon Hartley

            I’m also rather stuck regarding VAT at the moment. My freight forwarder is telling me I need to register for VAT yet and research I have done online suggest that I absolutely should not voluntarily register for VAT until I need to.
            What is your take on this?

            I’m finding it all a bit confusing as to me it seems to make more sense to register, as then I can claim back the 20% I will pay to import into the UK from outside the EU. If I don’t register I won’t get it back.
            Am I missing something?

          • Hi Simon, I think they’re confused because foreign individuals or companies need to register for VAT to import and sell in the UK. Us UK based people don’t need to and shouldn’t until we need to!

            The reason you shouldn’t register is because then you will need to collect VAT from your sales.

            Let’s say you bought the item for £5. You will get VAT charged £1 on that when you import it that you can claim back. Then you sell it for £20 and will have to pay VAT = £3.33. So even though you claim back £1, you are having to give away much more than that.

            (disclaimer – that is my understanding and what I do. I’m not an accountant so don’t sue me if I’m wrong)

          • Simon Hartley

            That’s so simple, I’m not sure why I couldn’t get my head around it!

            Thanks for explaining (I won’t sue haha)

          • Simon Hartley

            Apologies for all the questions Sam (yes I have another one…)

            The manufacture of my order is nearly complete and I have arranged the freight forwarding and purchased my UPC. I am now trying to add the product to my inventory on Amazon so that I’m all set up and ready to go once the goods finally arrive.
            After re-reading your article and numerous web searches, I’m still a bit confused about a couple of things.

            Firstly, as I have purchased a UPC and had the stickers put on the packaging for each product, why do I also have to get Amazon labelling as well? When I read through the labelling criteria on Amazon, it says that their labels must be placed over the manufacturers UPC which leaves me wondering why I need the UPC in the first place? However, the ‘stickerless commingled inventory’ option doesn’t sound right for me either as my barcodes are not printed on the packaging and there is also no other inventory for Amazon to ‘commingle’ my product with as it is an original product with my brand on. Can you help clear this up at all?

            Second, regarding getting my goods to Amazon, you say to select ‘Amazon Partnered Carrier’ but my agreement with the freight forwarder is for a door to door price that will deliver the goods to Amazon. I’m therefore assuming that I should select my own courier so as not to pay twice? Or is this regarding delivery to the customer?

            Any help on these topics would be much appreciated. Thanks again!

          • The difference between commingled and Amazon labelling is that with Amazon labelling they know who the stock belongs to – the Amazon label includes information about you as a seller. That only really matters if you are re-selling products that other people are selling too (it matters because another seller might store counterfeit items and you could get blamed.

            As it is your own brand and you are the only seller that doesn’t matter. So there is no reason not to use commingled. If you’ve stuck your UPC barcode on then that is fine, it doesn’t need to be printed on.

            When I first wrote this article commingled didn’t exist and there was only the option to use Amazon FBA labels. and most of my products still do because they’ve been on amazon for ages. It’s a pain. I pay amazon to stick their barcodes over mine.

            As for your second question. I get my freight forwarder to hand over the stock to Amazon’s partnered carrier when they arrive in the country. That is because the requirements for delivering to amazon are complicated and if a courier hasn’t done it before they’ll probably get it wrong. If your courier knows what they are doing you can let them deliver it.

          • Simon Hartley

            Massive help. Really appreciate you taking the time to get back to me.

  • Dimitra Andritsiou

    Hi Sam,
    I’m from Greece and I’m planning to create an FBA seller account (professional) on Amazon USA. Do I need to apply for a new company in the Greek Public Revenues Service? Or is it possible to just pay taxes in the US?

  • Dimitra Andritsiou

    I’m from Greece and planning to create an amazon fba account. Do I need to apply for a business in the Greek Public Revenues Service? Or is it possible to have the account and pay taxes only in the USA

  • rmaganti

    Hi Sam,
    I am pretty new to this. How and where do you get the OEM manufacturers to incorporate the barcode that is Amazon compliant? When someone orders products that have minimal packaging (for example a laptop sleeve) like a transparent polybag, will Amazon accept the barcode stuck on the transperent polybag or do they expect it to be embossed on the sleeve itself.

  • rmaganti

    Hi Sam,
    I am pretty new to this. How and where do you get the OEM manufacturers to incorporate the barcode that is Amazon compliant? When someone orders products that have minimal packaging (for example a laptop sleeve) like a transparent polybag, will Amazon accept the barcode stuck on the transperent polybag or do they expect it to be embossed on the sleeve itself.

    • Yes they accept it as a sticker stuck on a polybag. The requirement is that it must be the only barcode and obvious

  • Jack

    Hi Sam,

    Thanks for sharing your valuable insights very helpful for newbies like myself. Question on barcodes please, why is it important to purchase a barcode? If one is just to sell a bog standard OEM product from the manufacturer in China will it not come with its own barcode and is it not just an added cost to go purchase special barcodes to then have the manufacturer place these on the product?


    • If you put your own brand on it it is now a new product and needs a new barcode. If you sell the exact same product under their brandname it will probably have one already

  • Nick

    Hi Sam,

    Before I get into designing my own products and requesting Alibaba to manufacture – I found a few niches through Jungle Scout I want to explore. I am planning on branding it, sending it over to FBA warehouses and selling it from there.

    My question. Besides the lack of quality control – What is the downside of simply telling my Alibaba manufacturer to ship directly to Amazon warehouses. I tried to use Flexport, but they don’t accept small shipments.


    • The only other downside is that you are telling your manufacturer that you are planning on selling through Amazon FBA. This used to be more of an issue when Amazon FBA was unknown and everyone was worried about the Chinese factories competing. Nowadays they probably guess that is what you’re doing.

      For small shipments I use UPS.

  • Moe

    Been doing it since 2013, but only decided to start talking about it 2017, just like those on YouTube who in early 2017 started with their “how I made £xxxxx from Amazon” type videos. I implore everyone to actually research this independently and see that it has become incredibly hard to make money from this because millions are doing it, which why many have moved from doing it to talking about doing it and how they did it.

    • I along with a lot of other people have been talking about it for years. Pretty much ever since I launched this blog. This blog post itself is 18 months old – 2017 is just the last update.

      But yeah please do extra research than just going off this one post. And in the words of Bruce Lee:

      “Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own”

  • Milly Millie

    Hello, Thank you for this information. Is it possible send products fromn african countries to the Amazon?

  • gary

    Hi Sam,

    I’ve started my FBA journey by contacting and finding the right suppliers on Alibaba, however i have a concern regarding having my logo put on the products.

    Now correct me if i’m wrong, but i have read and heard about the Amazon brand registry which states in order to sell products with your brand you need to be approved by Amazon?

    Does this mean if i get my products branded by the manufactures in china, i can’t sell on Amazon as i will need to apply for a trademark and get approved and THEN i can sell on Amazon?

    I’m kind of confused about this.



    • You don’t need to be registered with brand registry to sell on Amazon.

      Registering does provide a few benefits. It gives you greater control over the product descriptions and design. It allows you to create a specific brand page. And it makes it easier to get rid of any seller who is selling fake versions of your products. But being registered is not a requirement to sell on amazon.

  • Helcom

    Hi Sam,
    many thanks for this wonderful post. You spent a ton of time.
    One question: I am wondering why you don’t have the labels attached by the manufacturer? “To get them to do it you need to negotiate it as an added extra, then download and send them the PDFs of the labels.”

    • Hi Helcom. I’ve actually changed my strategy now. I now get the barcode included in the packaging and then do commingled inventory on Amazon FBA. Saves a bit of money.

      • Helcom

        Thanks for the reply Sam. I was just wondering because some other sellers seem to have it all done by the factory. Thanks again for the work you put into these articles.

  • Farkhad Makhmudov

    Hi Sam, great overview for starting business in Amazon FBA. I live in the UK and considering starting in the UK vs US. I’m personally keen to the former as it’s easier to find out about legal and tax things because of being local and because of less competition. I know about metrics of finding a good product in the US. What would be the good metrics in number to find good product in the UK like:
    – good demand, should this be 300 and more? what should be the number of sales for the 1st ten sellers?
    – should it be 1500-2000 or any other value?
    – low competition. what number of reviews for top 10 sellers to target?
    – what is the good lowest price? should it be £20 or rather £17-20?
    – what are the good margins?
    – do I necessarily need a brand and/or trademark to start my business or can I survive without it for several couple of months?
    – any other UK specific information

    Your advice would be welcome and very valued

  • Ignace Van Laerhoven

    Hi Sam,

    Today I created a Amazon sellers account.
    I have a question about de logo and or the design of the product.

    If I design a logo online and send it to the manufacturer, do I need to do something to legally use that logo? or can I just legally use it. Because i don’t own a business. do I need to claim a domain name or something els for the logo? Or do I have to start a company first?

    thanks in advance!