Whenever we talk about tools for Amazon FBA sellers, we first recommend sticking with the basics to keep costs low.
We are pretty frugal and believe in saving money whenever possible, so one of the things we like about starting an Amazon business is that it doesn't take a lot of money to do so.
You'll definitely need a computer and smartphone, a printer, scanning app, and a few other items to get started selling on Amazon. But beyond that, you can pick and choose what tools to add and when to add them.
As you grow and build your business, you'll reach a point where you'd like to be more efficient and increase your productivity.
It's then, as you become profitable, that it makes more sense to add in some tools to make your workflow faster and easier.
Soon, you'll wonder how you managed to get along without them!
That's how we feel about the tools on the list we're sharing with you today.
You don't necessarily need all of them to get started selling Amazon FBA, but we think you'll agree that it would be really difficult to run your business without them. So the sooner, the better!
We use even more tools than this. But these are what we consider our Top 10 Must-Have tools for Amazon FBA sellers.
I'll break these tools up by what they do, not necessarily the order in which I recommend them.
Services For Your Amazon Business
Inventory Lab is the service we use to list products on Amazon.
When you're first starting out, you can list your products through Seller Central. But most sellers quickly add Inventory Lab because it can do so many things for your business.
We really like being able to track our profit for each SKU that we send to Amazon. You can also see a yearly, monthly, and weekly breakdown of profitability, which is really important! We want to know exactly which items are making us money.
We can also keep track of where we purchased each item, what we paid, and how many we bought.
Inventory Lab is not a full-on accounting or bookkeeping system, so we don't use it for taxes. But it's excellent at helping us quickly figure out how profitable we are as items sell.
We actually use 3 tools to keep track of all of the “money” stuff in our business and describe them each in this article comparing GoDaddy Bookkeeping vs Inventory Lab vs TaxJar.
The cost for Inventory Lab is currently $49 a month. If you pay for a full year up front, it will bring the cost down a little. With the subscription, you also get access to the Scoutify scanning app, which we discuss next.
Scoutify 2 is the scanning app that comes with an Inventory Lab subscription. It's really easy to navigate when you first install it.
One of the features we like and use most is the ability to check sales and rank history right on our smartphones.
When we're out sourcing and find an item that looks profitable, we can research further before deciding to buy it.
With Scoutify, we can quickly and easily check the Keepa or Camel Camel Camel history to know whether a product consistently ranks well and at a price we're comfortable with. You can learn more about how to do research in our blog post on how to read a Keepa chart.
The success of your business is dependent on whether you understand how to choose the right products to sell on Amazon. So we recommend you really learn how to use these charts, and then arm yourself with that knowledge while you're out sourcing!
You can see a detailed breakdown of fees when calculating your profit, and even include your state's sales tax for more accurate results.
We also like how Scoutify shows the Return on Investment (ROI) in addition to net profit because we have guidelines we follow for each of those. You can find a lot more detail on that in our Amazon Boot Camp.
Scoutify is free for Inventory Lab subscribers (so $49 a month).
If you plan on doing a lot of sourcing in retail stores, thrift stores, or liquidation stores, you might want to speed up your scanning with a mini bluetooth scanner.
This little scanner is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. This makes it a lot more discreet than scanning with your giant iPhone!
It's also a lot faster than using your phone's camera to scan barcodes. The camera scanner usually takes a while to focus on an item's UPC code. This bluetooth scanner, however, scans almost instantly. You can also use it to scan items that are just a bit out of reach overhead.
This scanner runs around $200 but it's worth it if you spend a lot of time scanning in stores. For a retail arbitrage seller, this would be a great investment in your business. It will pair with iPhones and Android phones and will include setup instructions.
Shipping Supplies / Tools
The Better Pack Tape Dispenser has made a huge difference when it comes to packing our shipments.
This might seem like a weird thing to be excited about!
The thing is, when we use regular packing tape, we usually put 3 pieces of tape across the top seam and the bottom seam just to make sure the box stays closed.
With this paper tape, we are able to just use 1 piece of tape across the top and bottom seam. Then we feel comfortable knowing that it will stay closed.
This is the type of tape that very large companies use. It's similar to that black tape Amazon uses that says “Amazon” across it.
You can set the dial to the length of tape that you need, and when you pull the lever it will automatically cut that size tape for you. So just pull the lever, grab the tape and seal the box. It's that easy!
The cost is around $450 for the machine and then about $15 for the rolls of tape (they are very large).
Obviously this is one that you don't need when you are brand new. If you feel that you're buying a lot of shipping tape OR that you're spending a lot of time making shipping boxes, then that would be a good time to consider this business upgrade.
A bigger expense like this might also make sense as an end-of-year tax deduction.
The Dymo Label printer can be used in conjunction with a 3rd party listing service (like Inventory Lab) so you can print labels one at a time, as you add items to a shipment.
This printer has done wonders at speeding up our listing and prepping process. It prints labels amazingly fast, and without ink.
The Dymo is a thermal label printer, so it saves you money on ink in the long run. We print thousands of labels a month, so that adds up quickly!
In addition to printing the Amazon FNSKU labels (the ones that you place over the product's UPC code during the shipping process to tell Amazon the product is yours), you can also use the Dymo to print out your own “this is a set” stickers, suffocation warnings or even custom expiration date labels.
You do these from within the actual Dymo software (free to download once you have the printer).
Our Dymo printer has run great for over 5 years! We've never had to replace it or had any problems with it.
The cost is around $80 for the LabelWriter 450 Turbo.
Scotty Peelers are one of those tools that seem pretty insignificant, but are oh-so-helpful!
If you sell a lot of products that have price stickers on them, then these are a must-have tool for sure.
You use the Scotty Peeler to get underneath the label, and then peel it off of the box.
Almost all of our clearance purchases, Big Lots purchases, and Liquidation purchases have price stickers. That means we are peeling LOTS of stickers!
I personally prefer the metal version. But be careful, because I can guarantee that at some point, you WILL get a Scotty Peeler cut, and it will NOT be fun. It's like a painful “right of passage” among sellers.
The plastic version works well, too, and either will last you a long time. Thankfully, the metal version comes with a protective cover. 🙂
The cost is less than $10 for a set. I recently tried a generic brand to save a dollar or two and it was terrible! Definitely buy the Scotty Peeler brand if you want easy label removal.
If you want your labels to slide right off, applying direct heat with a heat gun really helps.
When I talk to FBA sellers about heat guns, the response is almost always the same: “I can't believe I waited this long to get a heat gun!”
I felt the same way when I finally got mine.
Tell me if you've struggled with any of these problems: old labels that won't budget, icky sticker residue on the packaging of your expensive items, stabbing a product (or your hand!) with a Scotty Peeler.
I think most retail arbitrage FBA sellers have struggled with label residue and sometimes Goo Gone just won't cut it.
You can get a heat gun for about $25 so definitely pick one up if you have a lot of price tags to remove.
Self sealing poly bags are a staple for anyone who sells multi-packs or bundles on Amazon.
We also use them to bag any products with an exposed part that needs to be covered.
For those types of items, we get poly bags in very large sizes that work for big toys and things like backpacks, which need to be protected in the Amazon warehouse!
Early in our Amazon FBA business, we used shrink wrap film or open-ended poly bags and a sealer. Now, these self-sealing bags save us SO much time!
There are days when we have 50+ packs to get ready. We just add the product to the bag, pull the strip and fold over to close. So. much. easier.
The sizes that we keep in stock are: 8×10, 9×12, 11×14 & 14×20.
The cost for a starter pack of 100 is about $25. This will give you multiple sizes to see which ones you prefer the most. The multi-pack of 400 costs about $50.
Related Post: Poly Bags for FBA Sellers
It's really helpful to have a USB scanner to enter the items in your shipment. This is not the same as the mini handheld scanner earlier!
You plug this scanner into your computer, and then when you scan a barcode it acts like a keyboard.
It will enter the UPC code into the field your cursor is hovered over. It also presses “enter” in order to move to the next screen.
The scanner works whether you are using a 3rd party listing service or listing directly through Amazon.
This is an item I recommend getting in the beginning of your business — it's low cost and will save you a lot of time. I know that entering UPC codes doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you are entering a lot of items at once, this tool can save you a significant amount of time.
The cost is around $35.
If you find yourself packing boxes in a room other than your office, you can get a wireless barcode scanner instead of a USB one. They work the same way, you just have more room to move around as you pack and prep.
For about $40-$50, you can seriously upgrade your shipping scale. If you've been using a tiny scale or bathroom scale, this will really make your life easier.
Packing up 50-pound boxes is already hard enough without having to crawl on the ground to read the weight on the scale!
The base of this scale is nice and big (it is about a 12″ square). But the best part is the wired remote display.
The remote display is easy to read and we can see it even when we have a giant box on top of the scale.
This is one of those things that maybe doesn't seem like it would make a big difference but it actually makes the packing process a lot faster and easier. It's especially helpful if you weigh your shipments without a partner to help read the weight on the scale.
At $45, this doesn't cost that much more than a smaller plastic scale. You might want to consider starting with this scale right off the bat.
We are always looking at new tools and services. Things are always changing in the Amazon space, so we want to make sure we keep you up-to-date on the best and most efficient ways to run your business.
Fill us in on your favorite tools in the comments below 🙂