Selling on eBay, Etsy, or on Amazon as Merchant Fulfilled (MF or FBM) is an easy way to add additional revenue to your business.
But, it means that you have to ship all the individual orders to the customer.
It isn’t hard, but can appear intimidating.
I can show it to you.
First, you’ll need some supplies for packaging and sending your orders.
Common sources are Staples or Office Depot, Walmart, or Amazon. In the beginning, you can purchase small quantities from these sources.
Once you get some volume, you can purchase bulk from specialized shipping supply companies like www.uline.com, or in most medium cities, from packaging supply companies.
What will you need?
- Shipping Scale – one that weighs ounces and up to 60 or 70 pounds will serve all your future shipping needs.
- 2-inch, clear Packing tape and dispenser. The single rolls come with a plastic tear-strip. For the future, get a heavy-duty hand dispenser.
- Bubble padded envelopes. They come in various sizes and are numbered for convenience. We use the #0, #1, #3, #5, and some #7. What you sell will determine which ones will work for you.
- Some specialty boxes. Many of your orders might qualify for USPS Priority, so you can get free boxes from www.usps.com or your local Post Office. Others might qualify for Priority Cubic, generally a discounted Priority rate. Get quantities from www.uline.com
- A printer to print packing slips or invoices, and the shipping labels. A laser printer will produce smudge-proof prints, while an ink-jet risks smearing the text or barcodes on your labels if they should get wet.
(You can also get a Rollo or Dymo printer that will print 4 x 6 shipping labels and address sized labels for Amazon FNSKU labels.)
You don’t have to have all of these in the beginning, but if you end up shipping many orders, you’ll need most.
The Shipping Process
I like to build Systems and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures or Processes) that are easy to follow, and easy to teach others if I hire the work out.
The basic process we use is:
- Print Invoices or Packing Slips for all the orders
- Pick or pull the items on the Invoice
- Package or weigh and measure the order if I haven’t already entered that information in the item details of the selling platform
- Purchase and Print the Postage for all the orders
- Trim the postage labels to size
- Package each order individually and attach the appropriate label
- Take the orders to the Post Office or UPS drop-off, or request a pickup.
(We live in a rural area. We recently got a giant roadside mailbox that holds many orders so we don’t have to head to the Post Office as often.)
- If you ship more than a few orders at a time, you can request “Tubs” from the Post Office to hold several packages and make it easy to handle the packages. You have to do this from the PO retail counter or from the back dock if you have access there.
Amazon Merchant Fulfilled (MF or FBM)
To handle Amazon MF, open your Seller Central / Orders / Manage Orders. Click the View Seller-Fullfilled Orders link over on the right.
Select the orders you are going to ship. Use the Select All check-mark to do bulk operations.
When you’ve selected your orders, a couple of buttons above the orders list become active. The gray one is Print Packing Slips. Clicking that will bring up a print screen so you can print all your Packing Slips at once.
The golden button is Buy Shipping. Clicking that will begin to calculate and generate postage for all the orders.
Some will require dimensions and weights before it can calculate rates. Others might need to change the method of shipping. Making entries and changes refreshes the screens and re-calculates rates and the total.
If all appears to be correct, at the bottom-right will be a Buy Shipping button. Clicking that will purchase the postage using your Amazon funds balance, or your payment method if your balance isn’t enough.
Now, you can print the labels on plain paper. (The labels get generated in such a way that the 2-up half-sheet labels won’t work.) If you have a Rollo or Dymo printer, you can print stick-on labels using that.
Trim and apply the labels to the right package. DONE!
For eBay orders, the process is the same, but printing and buying postage is slightly different.
Go to your Orders tab. Select the orders to ship. Print the Packing Slips. Buy the Shipping. Apply the labels.
From your Dashboard, select Orders & Shipping from the left menu.
Select orders using the check-box, or the Select All link.
Use the Print button on the top to print Packing Slips.
Purchase and print your postage and labels. Trim and apply the labels.
Selling on eBay, Etsy, or on Amazon via Merchant Fulfilled is an easy way to add revenue to your business.
Shipping individual orders isn’t hard, just time-consuming, especially if you don’t have a system.
You can ship using the Post Office, UPS, FedEx, or DHL, especially if you have accounts with those carriers.
Go ahead. Ship Them Orders!!!