Prep is a big deal
Selling on Amazon isn’t only about finding the best products to source and selling them at the right price. There is a great deal of work that needs to be done in between the buying and selling.
That’s right! We are talking about prep — AKA preparing all those products according to Amazon’s standards so they can be fulfilled by Amazon.
Prep is a big deal for Amazon sellers. Why? Because the way you prep your products can either positively or negatively impact your business.
Poorly or incorrectly prepped products can lead to damaged products, refund requests, or even negative feedback from customers. It can also cause issues and/or additional fees with Amazon, all of which negatively affects your bottom line.
On the other hand, when prep is done right, you have fewer problems, smoother inventory management, and happier customers — leading to more sales and more revenue.
It’s about time
It takes time to prep all the products you are sourcing. A lot of sellers start out prepping their own products. This is a necessary step, especially when you have more time (as opposed to money) available to invest in growing your business.
As your business grows, you’ll start to realize that handling your own inventory is getting increasingly more difficult to manage. The more you buy, the more you have to prep, and the more time it takes you away from sourcing. It’s the ultimate business Catch-22.
ready to scale
When you start to feel like handling your own inventory is getting in the way of growth, you know you are ready to scale.
Scaling is a way of growing your business by increasing sales without increasing the effort (time, resources, or money) that goes into making the sale.
One of the most effective ways to scale is through outsourcing time-consuming tasks that don’t directly produce income so you can focus on income producing activities. And, what is the most time-consuming, non-income-producing activity Amazon Sellers do? Yep! It’s prep.
Outsourcing to a Prep Center
For sellers focusing on online arbitrage, one of the simplest ways to outsource your prep is to use a prep center.
Prep centers will receive inventory, inspect it for accuracy and/or damage, prepare it according to Amazon’s specifications, FNSKU label it, and pack it up to be shipped to Amazon.
Outsourcing to a Prep Center means you don’t have to hire employees or rent a warehouse to expand. It means you don’t have to stock supplies. It means freeing up space in your dining room, living room or garage (you know, where you’ve been storing your inventory). And, the best part — it frees up your time to focus on income-producing activities, like sourcing products with the best ROI.
It also means you will be paying for this service, however convenient it may be. So, it is important to find a prep center that fits your needs.
choosing the Right Prep Center
While the price is definitely important when choosing a Prep Center, it isn’t the only thing to consider. Cheapest isn’t always best when it comes to prep so when you are looking for the right Center, take the following into consideration.
Big Prep Centers can often offer lower per-unit prices which is great if you are focused on wholesale or private label. However, if you are looking for a place to prep your online arbitrage buys, a smaller Prep Center may work better. Why? Sometimes retailers will flag the address for Prep Centers and not ship to them. This means your orders could be canceled. A smaller Center can fly under large retailers’ radars so you have a better chance of not having your order canceled.
Prep Ninjas is proud to be a small, family-owned Prep Center. We are large enough to accept pallet shipments but small enough to know each of our clients by name. We pride ourselves on providing our clients with hands-on customer service, excellent communication, and top-quality work.
The state in which a Prep Center is located is important for a couple of reasons. First, if it is located in a sales-tax-free state, you can actually save money by using one. Or, at least help to offset the cost of it. Just think. If the average sales tax rate is 8%, you’d be paying $2 in sales tax for an item that costs $25. Factor in the cost of the supplies and the value of your time and a Prep Center in a tax-free state sounds like a bargain!
Prep Ninjas is located in Springfield, Oregon — one of the sales-tax-free states.
The way the Prep Center prepares each product is important as well. The way it is prepped and packed in boxes influences the condition of the product when received by your customer. If it is prepped well and looks good, your customers will be happy. If it is not — you may receive negative feedback which impacts your seller rating.
Ask the Prep Center about the staff’s training and how orders are completed. Do they take extra time with easily-damaged items or just stick to Amazon’s recommended prep? Do they have client testimonials you can reference?
Here at Prep Ninjas, our owner Jeremy, has 15+ years of experience in shipping and receiving and knows his way around packing boxes securely for shipment. We train our staff according to Amazon’s standards and stay up-to-date on the guidelines. We take extra time with special items to make sure they’ll arrive to your customer in perfect condition. Check out our customer reviews on our Facebook page.
Do Your Research
As with any investment, research and due diligence are essential to do before signing up for anything. And, if you aren’t sure what kind of services will work best for your business model, hit us up here in the chat (lower right corner of the screen) and we can help you figure it out — even if we aren’t the right Prep Center for you.