Helping You with Your Amazon FBA Business

Merch Update, Prep Centers, Shoes & Q4

Hi everyone!  I just wanted to give you quick updates on Merch by Amazon, using a prep center, selling shoes and Q4.

Merch Update

Last week I wrote a Merch by Amazon blog post.  Since then, I’ve uploaded a few more designs and now have 18 listed.  I have 7 more to upload from the design package that I ordered.  I’m still at just one sale and am seriously hoping that I’ll get a few more sales soon.


Using a Prep Center for My OA Shoe Purchases

I joined FBA Prep & Ship a few weeks ago and they already processed one batch of 20 shoes.  Yesterday I finished ordering 21 more shoes to send their way.  I chose them because they are in sales tax-free Oregon and came highly recommended.

There are 2 online stores that I purchase from often and they charge sales tax when they ship to my Washington address.  However, when I ship to the prep center, I’m not charged sales tax.  I did the calculations and what I saved in sales tax more than paid for the prepping fees.

I did pay a little more for inbound shipping though as they used 2 more boxes than I would have.  Some of that cost was cancelled out because I saved a little bit of money from not having to use my own prepping & shipping supplies.  Plus, since I’m super-slow at filling up the shipping boxes, I saved a lot of time too.


My typical mess after shipping.

I did have one incident yesterday.  I ordered shoes from Boscov’s and they called and quizzed me on the prep center’s name and shipping address.  They let the order go through but I hope that I don’t get banned in the future from them or any other online retailer.  They never called me about any of my past orders that I had shipped to my home address or my UPS address.

The people at FBA Prep & Ship provide great customer service.  I also have used Fulfillment Butler (now Illinois Pack and Ship) and they have great customer service too.  I switched to FBA Prep & Ship for the sales tax savings.

When I joined Fulfillment Butler, I was hoping to save on inbound shipping fees as they’re closer to the Indiana warehouse where most of my shoe shipments go to.  But the second I signed up with them, Amazon started sending my shoes to California.  Go figure.

Here’s a list of Prep Centers courtesy of Jim Cockrum and the Proven Amazon Course Team.

Shoes & Last Item Shipped

For the year, shoes make up 63% of my sales.  Here’s a recent shoe that I sold:

Amazon FBA Payment Report

Product: Timberland Men’s Newmarket Boat Oxford, Size 9.5 Men


Store Purchased: Fisherman’s Marine (Retail Arbitrage)

Date Received at Amazon Warehouse: 07/20/16
Date Amazon Shipped to Customer: 09/18/16
Number Of Days at Amazon: 60

Buy Cost: $29.97
Selling Price:
Net Profit after Fees:
$63.04 – $14.25 (fees) – $29.97 (buy cost) = $18.82

Category: Shoe
Ranking on 07/1/16 (purchase date): 31,110
Ranking on 9/18/16 (ship date): 32,569

Category % According to RevSeller: Top 5%


This shoe may not look like a “winner” as it has a lower ROI and profit.

However, if you look at the total picture, I purchased four Timberland shoes on that shopping trip.  The first one (size 8) sold 10 days ago at a higher selling price of $75.90 which gave me a profit of $35.47.

For the first two sales, I made a combined profit of $54.29 with two more left to sell.  Not bad for an unplanned RA trip to the fishing store with my husband.

Shoe Brand Restrictions

Several shoe brands have been restricted over the past few weeks and most people are stating that they are now restricted in Nike and Adidas.  At this time, I’m still able to sell both of those brands.


I still have these, but am not planning on buying anymore for awhile.

Unfortunately, I did have trouble with Guess.  I found a pair of Guess shoes online and checked to make sure that they were unrestricted by using “Add a Product” in Seller Central.  On that day, I was unrestricted for Guess, so I ordered the shoes and sent them to the prep center.  A week or so later when I went to list the shoe, it showed as being restricted.  I contacted FBA Prep and Ship and they worked with me on returning the shoe back to the retailer.

Whether it’s a shoe or a product from a different category, it’s important that you check to see if it’s restricted before purchasing it.  But keep in mind that it can still become restricted the next day.  I know the new brand restrictions are a hassle and can cost you money, but it’s something that we all need to adjust to.

Despite the new restrictions, shoes are still my favorite category.  In case you missed them, here are a few shoe blog posts:

Increase Your Profits & Save Time by Selling Shoes

Shoe Progress Report: Sales, Profits and More!

Shoes: Which Brands and Sizes Sell

Fourth Quarter

I’m flying to Arizona this week to visit my dad for a few days.  Once I get back, I’ll be in hustle-mode for the upcoming fourth quarter.

If you’re on Facebook, you’ll see a lot of talk about the Q4 coaching groups.  This year, I’ll be in Robyn Johnson’s group because it’s included in her Unstoppable Amazon Academy that I joined after ASD.  Here’s the link to that and links to other Q4 Coaching Groups:

Robyn Johnson – Q4 Boot Camp

Cliff & Jessica Larrew (The Selling Family) – 4th Quarter Training

Lance Wolf & Barrington McIntosh – Proven Q4 Plan

Beth & Seth Maus – Q4 Success Group 2016

This isn’t a coaching group, but it has plenty of Q4 tips:

Stephen Smotherman – Reseller’s Guide to A Year in FBA

I have past experience with products from all of the above people, so please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment form below or on my Facebook page!

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Shawn Nguy September 19, 2016, 4:24 am

    Thanks for the article, Diana. I appreciate the tips and details you share about your FBA business. Regarding the Q4 groups, have you had experience with each of the groups mentioned above. I am curious how each group compare to one another. Thanks!

    • Diana September 19, 2016, 1:31 pm

      Hi Shawn,
      I haven’t done Robyn or Jessica’s Q4 Coaching before. However, I did purchase Jessica’s Q4 book and did Beth & Seth’s Q4 Training and also Lance and Barrington’s.

      I did get a lot out of both Jessica’s book and Beth & Seth’s coaching.

      Though I haven’t done Robyn’s coaching, I was able to listen to a replay of one of her 2015 webinars. I really liked how she explained how to come up with a December sales goal and she tells you how to work backwards to obtain that. She explains how to calculate how much to spend in Week 1 of October, Week 2, Week 3 and so on to get to your December numbers.

      Also, please read my reply back to Lux as I went over the coaching programs there too.


  • Lux September 19, 2016, 7:24 am

    Just looked up Robyn’s course and realized that it is restricted to sellers who have 3 months of sales of $5,000 or more or $20,000 to lifetime total sales :(( That leaves me out.
    Curious to see if you may have experience with any of the other groups mentioned? Also, are some of these more RA focused while others more OA? Thanks for the great info on your blog!

    • Diana September 19, 2016, 1:07 pm

      Hi Lux,
      This will be my first Q4 with Robyn’s training. I’m using it as there isn’t any extra expense for me since I’m an Academy Member.

      Last year, I did a combo of the other three. I joined Beth & Seth’s toy group in the summer and continued on with their Q4 training. Those 2 sell toys all year long. I learned a lot from them and highly recommend them.

      I also did Lance & Barrington’s training. They put you in groups of 50 and you’re supposed to share “finds” and “hot deals” with each other. If you have a good group of people that will work, but not many people in my group participated. With that said, Barrington happened to be “live” in my group when I was RA’ing. While in the store, I had a question about buying something. He answered my questions and walked me through it which was really nice. I wrote a blog post that explains more about their groups: Mobile Sourcing Group.

      I have not done a Q4 coaching or training with Jessica. However, I did purchase her Q4 book and there’s a lot of good info in it and I do recommend her book. I have purchased several other trainings from her and they are all very good.

      I believe they’re probably all more RA focused, but you can apply the same lessons you learn whether you buy something in person or online. You would use the same buying-thought-process either way. However, when you get deeper into Q4 like towards the end of November, it’s better to buy your inventory RA as you want to get it shipped to Amazon as quickly as possible.

      Just thought of 2 other options:

      1. Join Robyn’s Academy right away and then you should be included in her Boot Camp.
      2. Join the Proven Amazon Course because Lance & Barrington’s 2015 Q4 webinars are included with it. You just won’t get the benefit of the mobile group.


  • Lux September 20, 2016, 4:56 pm

    Thanks for all the info, Diana! This really helps.


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About Diana

I am working towards creating a full-time income by selling on Amazon. It's a lot of work but very fun! If you're interested in selling on Amazon, be sure to follow my blog as I'll be providing you with lots of tips!


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