Tag Archives: Help

How to Capitalize on Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping Price Change

Amazon just quietly changed the price for non-Prime members to qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping, a decrease from purchases of $35 down to $25. In other words, non-Prime members now have to buy only a minimum of $25 worth of Prime-eligible items in their shopping cart in order to qualify for free shipping. This can be an order containing a combination of items from every category.

This is not the first time Amazon has changed the price to qualify for free super saver shipping. In October of 2013, the price for free super saver shipping increased from $25 to $35 and remained $35 for almost 2 years. In early 2016, the minimum price increased from $35 to $49. In the middle of 2016, Amazon started to feel the impact of Walmart.com’s $25 free shipping threshold and responded by lowering super saver shipping from $49 back to $35. This week, Amazon has again lowered the minimum price back down to $25.

If you react correctly, then this change by Amazon will actually help your business. Here are some reasons to celebrate this change:

Amazon-Prime-Streaming-Video-Service-Bundles1. With this change, more people will be buying items that are Prime-eligible (this means items stored at FBA warehouses). With more people buying Prime-eligible items, there will be more people to buy your FBA products.

2. The more people who decide to use Prime shipping as a non-Prime member means that more people will be testing out Prime shipping benefits. More customers will fall in love with the free Prime 2-day shipping, and that will cause more people to sign up for Amazon Prime. The more Prime buyers, the more customers to buy your inventory.

It will take a little work, but those that react the fastest will win. I recommend doing some price changes quickly. Here is what I plan on doing with my inventory:

Price-Increase1. Price many items at $25. Search and see which inventory items I have priced between $22 and $25 to see if I should raise the price to $25. Based on my competition, this might be a great idea. This strategy will cause non-Prime shoppers to get free shipping on your items and they will choose your $25 item instead of a competitor’s item priced at $22 + $5 shipping.

2. Another “magic” price point will be $12.50. If the item you have could possibly be bought in multiple quantities, then this is a great price point for people who want to buy two. Two items at $12.50 total $25 and will qualify for Free Super Saver Shipping!

Of course there will be some exceptions to the above rules. Exceptions come into play when you look at other current FBA prices, how many items are being sold of that item, how the particular product category works, and more… but most of my prices will be updated with this thought process in mind! For more from Amazon on the Super Saver price change, click here.

So what do you think about the new $25 price point? How do you plan to react to these changes? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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How to Make the Most of Amazon FBA Split Shipments

Split ShipmentsLast month, we talked about Amazon Split Shipments and the options you have between Distributed Inventory Placement (DIP) or Inventory Placement Service (ISP). Today, we’re going to take the conversation to the next level and talk about how to make the most of whatever placement decision you make. For most of us, this decision should not be a one time decision where we set things up and forget about it. A lot of time and money can be wasted if you don’t have a strategy in how you choose to react to Amazon split shipments.

The following are different shipping situations I have found myself in. I’ll do my best to explain how I have dealt with Amazon split shipments and why I felt it was the best decision to make.

Note: When I mention BNA3, PHX6, RIC2, etc, I am referring to the code names of individual Amazon fulfillment centers that are spread throughout the country.

A. Shipment contains 250 items.

138 → BNA3
  70 → PHX6
  42 → RIC2

I leave this shipment with Distributed Inventory Placement (the default). There are more than enough items in each individual shipment to warrant the shipping costs. It’s not worth it to pay $0.30 per item to send them all to the same FBA warehouse.

B. Shipment contains 30 items.

26 → BNA3
 2 → PHX6
 1 → RIC2
 1 → ABE2

You have four options with this situation:

1. You can send the items in under Distributed Inventory Placement, but you’ll overpay in shipping costs to send only two items to PHX6, one to RIC2, and one to ABE2. This option might cost you about $15-$20 more than it needs to cost.

2. You can turn on Inventory Placement Service and pay around $0.30 per item. This will make sure (most of the time) that they will all go to the same fulfillment warehouse. In this example, you will be charged a fee of $9.00 ($0.30 x 30) for all 30 items to be sent to the same FBA warehouse. Note: Inventory Placement only promises not to split up quantities of ASINs, not that all of your shipment will go to the same place – although most of the time that’s what happens.

3. You can send in your shipment of 26 items to BNA3, and then delete the other shipments. Maybe next time you enter them in, they’ll all go to the same fulfillment center. Important: I do not recommend deleting shipments on a regular basis. This will hurt your seller metrics in the long run, and should only be used in rare circumstances.

4. You can go ahead and send in your shipment of 26 items to BNA3, but leave PHX6, RIC2, and ABE2 open. While leaving these shipments open, you can add more items on a future date. Once you have enough items (maybe 8-10 items or 8-10 pounds worth of items), then you can proceed with sending them in.

The tricky thing about Inventory Placement Services, is that you need to turn it on before you even start a shipment. If you want to use ISP, then the most likely situations when you would need it would be: 1) if you had a small amount of inventory to ship and/or 2) if you had a smaller shipment with multiples of the same SKU. When you have multiples of the same item, Amazon likes to spread those out at different fulfillment centers. Most likely, these two circumstances would be the times that you would consider using ISP. Just don’t forget to turn IPS off when you’re about to start a new, large shipment.

cardboard-box-open-lgPersonally, I don’t think it’s a wise financial decision to pay $0.30 – $0.40 per item to send them all to the same warehouse. If I have a shipment of 50 items where Amazon wants to send 48 items to Indiana and 2 items to Arizona, I am not going to pay $15 just so that I’ll avoid paying an extra $10 to ship those two items to a Arizona. To me, it’s just not worth it. Most of the time, I’ll simply leave the smaller shipment open and wait until I have enough items to make a full box which, overall, makes the shipping cost lower.

On the other hand, just because it’s not worth it to me, doesn’t mean that Inventory Placement Service isn’t a good decision for you. You may not be able to wait for a larger shipment to send your inventory in. You might not have the storage space to hold even a few items at your house, or the item you just bought might be a super hot toy item that needs to get to FBA ASAP. In that case, do the math and see if Inventory Placement Service is right for you. If you decide that inventory placement is a long term solution for you, then be sure you include that in your costs when you are out sourcing an item for resale.

So what do you think about using inventory placement service? Is it worth it to you? What other split shipment situations have you been in? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Imagine what it would feel like knowing you were not missing out on any of the opportunities that will come your way this year. 

Imagine working on your Amazon business knowing exactly what your priorities are, what you need to avoid, and what you need to accomplish during each month to make progress toward making this year your best sales year ever.

Find out more about The Reseller’s Guide to a Year in FBA: A Month by Month Guide to a Profitable Amazon Business today. The package includes a 200-page ebook, monthly live webinars, and 4 special bonuses.

Freaking Out About Frozen Items Being “Frozen?”

If you have sold any items related to the Disney movie Frozen, then you probably received an email that starts something like this:

Hello from Amazon,

Amazon strives to provide the best possible experience for customers. As part of our ongoing efforts, we have implemented listing restrictions on certain items. You are receiving this email because your listings for the effective ASINs are among those that have been removed as a result of this policy. This removal is effective immediately.

For the remainder of this blog post, I’ll do my best to answer some of the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about the sudden removal of almost all Frozen movie related items being sold on Amazon. Disclaimer: I am not associated with Amazon and these questions are all answered to the best of my knowledge. Before acting on any of my answers, be sure to do your due diligence and consult Amazon directly to confirm the most up-to-date information and policies on this situation.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.00.17 PMWhat does this email mean?

Amazon had many upset customers claim that they were sold counterfeit Frozen movie related items, mostly toys. Even Amazon themselves were selling counterfeits unknowingly. This has led Amazon to do an intensive investigation of almost all Frozen movie related items to insure that the items are genuine. To conduct this investigation, Amazon needed to move almost all Frozen items to inactive status so that the FBA warehouses can pull all Frozen stock to confirm if it is genuine or counterfeit.

Is Amazon accusing me of counterfeiting? Will my selling account be cancelled?

Since even Amazon was unknowingly selling counterfeit Frozen toys, they know that others are doing the same. Amazon is very customer-centric and they want to insure that they are selling genuine Frozen items. The only chance you have of getting your selling account cancelled is if you were indeed selling counterfeits. If you purchased your items from The Disney Store, JCPenney, Target, WalMart, or any other retail store that sells Frozen items, then you should be fine.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 8.57.28 PMHow do I find out if Amazon has blocked my Frozen items from being sold?

1. Log in to Seller Central. 2. Click on Inventory and Manage Inventory. 3. Type in the word “Frozen” in the search bar and hit return. 4. You will be able to see all of the items in your inventory that relate to the word Frozen. Items that are blocked will have a blocked icon and also state that it’s blocked.

When will I be able to sell my Frozen items again?

Once the investigation is complete, your genuine Frozen items will become active again and will be available for sale. There is no current timetable for this investigation, but I’m sure that Amazon wants to get this taken care of as soon as possible. Amazon is losing a lot of money because of this and wants to get back to selling Frozen items again soon.

I bought Frozen items from Amazon so that I could resell them on Amazon. What if I bought one of the counterfeits that Amazon sold me?

If Amazon concludes that you are indeed selling counterfeit Frozen items, then they will most likely deactivate your account. I would assume that since you have proof that you bought the item from Amazon that you can tell them that Amazon was the original source of the counterfeit item. In fact, if I were in this situation, I would not wait until my account was deactivated to tell Amazon this fact. If you bought a Frozen item on Amazon to resell on Amazon, then I would open up a ticket and explain yourself to Amazon so that they know this ahead of time. This might save you a lot of time and trouble if you are able to inform Amazon about this before they deactivate your account. If your account gets deactivated, then it could take weeks or months (or never) before you can get your account reinstated. Be proactive and let Amazon know ahead of time that you are concerned that some of your Frozen items are counterfeits because you originally bought them from Amazon themselves.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.04.08 PMCan I create a removal order and get my Frozen inventory back?

No. Almost all of the Frozen movie related items are currently being held for investigation. You can’t ask for a removal order, and you can’t ask for Amazon to send it to a buyer via MCF (Multi-Channel Fulfillment). Once the investigation is complete, your genuine Frozen items will become active again and will be available for sale or removal.

I just bought some Frozen items to send to Amazon. Can I still send them in?

No. Amazon will not allow you to send any more Frozen items at this time. If you try to send them in now, you will get a notification that the item is currently restricted.

I just sent some Frozen items to Amazon. What will happen to those?

Your Frozen items will arrive, get checked in, and immediately become inactive. They will also be included in this counterfeit investigation.

I just shipped some Frozen items to Amazon — should I call UPS and have my shipment re-routed back to me?

This is completely your call. If the majority of the items you are sending to Amazon are restricted Frozen items, and you are ok with re-routing your shipment and dealing with how Amazon would react to a re-routed inbound shipment, then make that call. I personally would not.

Screen Shot 2014-05-23 at 9.07.53 PMCan I sell Frozen items Merchant Fulfilled?

No. Amazon seems to have completely removed all selling privileges on almost all Frozen items.

I’m selling a Frozen item, but it’s not restricted. Should I be worried?

Amazon seems to be adding more and more to the list of restricted Frozen items, so some items not currently restricted could become so soon. You could try to lower the price of the items to sell ASAP, or you could just wait and see if the item will become restricted.

I have Frozen items to sell at home. What should I do? 

You can still sell Frozen items on eBay, Craigslist, or any other non-Amazon platform. If you are dead-set on selling these items via FBA, you could still hold these items and wait until the investigation is over.

What’s going to happen next?

There are a few rumors going around. The first rumor is that Amazon will weed out the counterfeiters and selling will resume to normal. The other rumor is that Frozen will be opened up again to sell, but will only be sold by Amazon, Disney, and any approved vendors. These rumors are just that… rumors. It’s not worth worrying about, but it is a good idea to prepare yourself for whatever might happen next. 

So how have you handled the news from Amazon about Frozen inventory? What do you plan to do to make the most of this situation?

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Seller Central Tip #4 – How to Check for Reimbursable Lost Items

Recently we’ve been running a blog series called Seller Central Tips, including posts on the following topics:

Today we’ll look at Tip #4: How to Check for Reimbursable Lost Items

FBA Amazon How to Get Reimbursed for Lost ItemsAs we discussed in Tip #2, Amazon warehouses handle millions of items a day, and it’s understandable that a small percentage of items would become damaged in the shipping and handling process. Such damage is inevitable, and Amazon is usually very reasonable about reimbursing FBA sellers for this damage — IF you look for the flags in your inventory and request the reimbursement.
The same goes for items that are lost at FBA warehouses. We’ve made it part of our regular routine to check our Seller Central Shipping Queue for shipments with item number discrepancies, and we think you should too! To do this routine check, follow the steps below:
1) Log in to your Seller Central account. Under the “Inventory” tab, click on “Manage FBA Shipments” to pull up your Shipping Queue.
2) Filter your list of shipments by clicking the radio button “At the fulfillment center.” This will pull up your list of shipments that have a status of Receiving, Delivered, or Checked-In.
3) Look for shipments that are marked as “Receiving” but have a delivery date more than three days earlier than the current date. Any shipment still marked as “Receiving” but with an older date might contain a lost item. The FBA warehouse does not mark a shipment as “Closed” until every item in the shipment has been scanned and accounted for. If the time frame hasn’t TimeFrameHasntPassedpassed, the shipment will contain a message stating you can’t reconcile discrepancies yet.

4) For any shipments older than three days past delivery with a “Receiving” status, click the shipment name to bring up the shipment info, then click “Reconcile” to see what problems might have occurred during the process of AtTheFulfillmentCenterscanning in your items at the warehouse. You will see either a positive number or a negative number in the “Discrepancy” column, depending on whether the warehouse workers found extra items or whether they couldn’t find an item. Either way, at this point you’ll need to click the drop down menu under the “Action Required” column.

5) If there is a positive discrepancy, you need to choose whether you accidentally shipped an extra item or whether this is an unexpected discrepancy and request the warehouse to research it. For a negative discrepancy, under the “Action Required” column you can choose “Units MissingPleaseResearchnot shipped” (if you forgot to include the item in your shipment) or “Missing – Please Research.” When we’ve asked Amazon to research missing items from shipments in the past, we’ve received one of two responses: either they research the case, find the item in the warehouse, and return it to our inventory — or they research the case, can’t find the item, and reimburse us for the loss. For either of these possibilities, you want to stay current in checking your shipping queue for these discrepancies. The sooner the warehouse resolves the discrepancy, the sooner you can be reimbursed or have the item back in your inventory and available for purchase.
You would be surprised what types of items can be lost in an Amazon warehouse and need to be researched. Most typically we have lost smaller items likes books or tiny toy packets, but recently we lost three oversize toys from the same shipment. I requested the warehouse research these lost items, and within one day Amazon notified us that we would be receiving a reimbursement.
Have you had any experience reconciling discrepancies in your FBA shipments? We hope this Seller Central Tip allows you to find missing items from your shipments or receive reimbursements where they are due.

 

Finding Joy in FBA

This post is from Rebecca, Stephen’s wife and business partner.

Everybody is born with gifts, talents, preferences, and passions. Sometimes these talents and passions are obvious from childhood. Other talents become clear later in life. Stephen and I truly believe that utilizing those gifts and passions on a regular basis is key to a successful business, including a successful FBA business. If you’re working every day at something you love, you are more motivated to work hard and you’re in a better position to excel at that work.

I’m saying all this about “do what you love and love what you do” as an English major and professional writer. I have ZERO business background or experience prior to working with Stephen on FBA. And yet, I can truly say that I love my part of doing FBA as a couple. If I only thought of it as a way to pay our bills, not as an enjoyable and meaningful job as well, I wouldn’t be doing it. But we’ve found a way to use my unique non-business-background gifts to help our business grow — and we think you can do the same thing.

Here are a few ways to make your talents, your strengths, and your passions prosper your business:

1. Shop where it most suits you.

I love thrift stores. Always have. I’m drawn to the quirkiness of so many thrift store owners, and I love that each thrift store encounter feels like a treasure hunt. I don’t always enjoy garage sales. I give up too easily when there’s a list of 20 sales to cover, and the first 7 or 8 are duds — or closed. So, I have a regular thrift store route that I cover each week, and Stephen (who loves driving around town and talking to all the strangers he meets along the way) does the bulk of our garage saling. This system works for us, so we stick with it for the most part.

DSC039962. Shop for what most suits you.

If Stephen and I go to a thrift store together, we can walk in the door and without a word know what the other one wants to do first: I make a beeline for the books, and he heads to the toys and games. It truly is a delight to me to stand for an hour or more scanning books — seriously, it’s a dream come true that I get to buy and sell books for a living! In the same way that I sometimes give up on a long list of garage sales, Stephen becomes weary of shelf after shelf of books needing to be scanned. He, on the other hand, never complains about digging through bins of toys or shelves of video games. It makes sense that we each focus on the area we’re drawn to — we each do a better job that way.

3. Be willing to try new things and new places.

Sometimes we don’t know what we enjoy until we try it. In the past, I thought the idea of scanning shelves of clearance items at a retail store sounded like an awful way to spend an afternoon — tedious and dusty. But after a couple of times of going out to stores with Stephen and seeing what it’s like (and learning that there’s more thought process involved than just blindly picking up each and every item to scan it), I started to get into it. Again, it’s like a treasure hunt. Now I have a couple of stores where I regularly scan clearance items — and I enjoy it! This willingness is especially important if you’re doing FBA on your own. You can’t always rely on someone else to do the jobs you don’t like.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others — even your partner. 

183983_488455967854185_352660876_nIt’s easy to get caught up in reading forums, blogs, and e-books and start to think, “I’m just not good at [fill in the blank] like other people are. I can’t seem to find [insert product name here] or have any luck at [name of store here].” One thought can lead to another, and soon you’re in a downward spiral of negativity. But you have to remember, the great thing about FBA is there’s room for all kinds of products, all kinds of categories, and all levels of sellers. If someone else’s niche doesn’t work for you, keep looking — your own niche is out there. I have to tell myself this every time Stephen finds a great video game deal — I’m not a loser because I never seem to find video games that are worth anything. Video games are an area of expertise for him, not me, and I can celebrate his victories without feeling defeated myself.

5. Don’t give up working on your weaknesses or the areas you don’t enjoy.

Now, while it’s true that you should try to focus overall on doing work that you enjoy, it’s also true that there are always aspects to any job that are genuinely work (who really enjoys and is “gifted” at sticker removal?). These mundane tasks must be done, and we can’t just slough them off for the sake of only doing tasks we find pleasant. If you need to, hire an assistant (or your teenage kid) to help you with these areas that are less enjoyable to you — or find ways to make them more appealing. For example, sticker removal days are also movie days at our house. And there are days when it works better for me to do the garage saling and Stephen to be busy at something else (see #1 above) — garage sales aren’t my favorite, but if needed, I get out there and do it.

If you want to read more about how Stephen and I make our Amazon FBA business work as a married couple, check out our book, Married to Reselling: Balancing Family Life with Your Online Business. 

Please let us hear from you now. Have you found what makes you joyful in FBA? How did you find it? If not, what are you doing to actively seek the areas of FBA that you enjoy and excel at?

How to Fit FBA Sourcing into Your Busy Schedule

Today’s post comes from my wife, Rebecca, who will write on this blog from time to time. Her post is full of great tips for all of us busy entrepreneurs.

Photo by user CELALTEBER from sxc.hu

Sourcing while busy? It’s possible! Photo by CELALTEBER from sxc.hu

Part of the way we’re able to make full-time FBA a possibility for our family is by strategically planning our time each week. One way I contribute to our FBA business is by sourcing once every few days. With four boys in our family, I have to a lot to keep up with around the house — and as a freelance writer, I have writing projects that require my attention also. But Stephen and I have figured out some ways to get me out of the house and sourcing on a regular basis by combining my business shopping with other errands or social activities.

I’ll share with you a few ways I work sourcing into my schedule, and then I’d like to challenge you to come up with one new way you can source this week. Try the new addition to your schedule for a month or two and see if it adds new products to your inventory on a regular basis.

1. I combine sourcing with my regular household shopping.

Across the street from the grocery store where I shop for our family is a Target. When I do my weekly grocery shopping, I try to give myself an extra half hour or so in my schedule to run into Target and scan their clearance shelves. Sometimes I find stuff to buy for FBA, sometimes I don’t — but the Target is right on my regular route anyway, so it doesn’t hurt to stop and look. A couple of weeks ago, I took about 30 minutes to scan clearance items, filled half a cart, and spent $50 on items that will sell for $150 on FBA, for a profit of $100. Not bad for a half hour of work on my way to buy our groceries!

2. I combine sourcing with my regular social outings.

Every Thursday I meet a friend to discuss books over a cup of coffee. Her house is in a different part of town from where I live, so it gives me the opportunity to visit thrift stores I don’t always pass on a daily basis. Depending on how much time I have, I plan to visit 1 – 3 thrift shops in that part of town after our coffee date. Again, I just make it a point to work that extra sourcing time into my schedule that day.

3. I combine sourcing with fun activities with my husband.

Stephen and I like to go out for different types of international cuisine, but there aren’t a lot of options close to where we live. Every 4 – 6 weeks, we schedule a day to drive to a nearby town, eat a new type of cuisine for lunch, and visit thrift shops near the restaurant. We plan our route ahead of time so that we can make the most of the day — usually we’re able to source at 5 – 8 thrift shops before or after our lunch date.

At other times we’ve sourced on the way to visit out-of-town relatives or while driving an hour away to pick up someone at the airport. Take a look at your regular activities and do a search for thrift shops or retail stores with clearance sections in the nearby area. Then take a look at the irregular activities that pop up on your calendar but take you to a different part of town or even the state — do searches for thrift shops in those areas to maximize the benefit of the time you’re spending on the road. If you’re already having to make a two hour round trip, why not leave a couple of hours early to get some sourcing done in a fresh area while you’re at it? You’re likely to find items that will at least pay for the gas for your trip, or even a great deal higher profit.

Today's blog is written by my wife, Rebecca.

Today’s blog was written by my wife, Rebecca. www.rebeccadiann.com

We’d love for you to leave us a comment. Are there ways you work sourcing into your non-business-related activities each week or month? What new ways are you planning to add sourcing to your schedule in the coming weeks?

Introducing my Business Partner

The old saying is true. “Behind every good man is a great woman.” My wife, Rebecca, is a tremendous help in making FBA our full-time job. She’s a part-time writer and a full-time homemaker, but she still finds time to help the family business.  She’ll join us along the way and give us valuable and unique insights. I’m looking forward to seeing what blog posts she’ll bring to our community here at Full-Time FBA. But enough from me…

IMG_7782bGreetings, everyone! Until recently, my experience with Amazon was mostly related to purchasing books, one of my favorite things to do as an English major and freelance writer. But a few months ago Stephen and I began exploring the idea of my joining him in his FBA business, and I started to see Amazon in a whole new light. As I understood more about how Fulfillment By Amazon works (how it frees up the seller to do more sourcing, the part of online selling that I’m most intrigued by) I was willing to give it a try.

Before we joined forces in the business, Stephen was limited in the amount of inventory he could send in — limited by the time he could spend driving to retail stores, thrift stores, and garage sales, as well as the time he could spend preparing the inventory to be sent in to Amazon. Stephen has a sharply focused mind for business and is always coming up with creative ideas for how to increase the profit margin or find new inventory, but he needed help carrying out tasks that require a few hours of time in a chunk.

That’s where I could help. He handles the financial side of things and developing the direction of our business. I help him strategize how to prioritize our time to accomplish those goals, and I help to carry out the more mundane aspects of the business, like removing stickers, scouting local thrift stores and garage sales, etc. The flexibility of the schedule means I’m able to work part-time helping him with the FBA business and continue writing part-time to pursue my personal publishing goals, as well as keeping the household running smoothly (we have lots of laundry with four boys!).

Married To Reselling Mini 2

Click on the book above to find out how we successfully balance family life with our online business.

We’ve found that FBA works well for us as a family and allows us to have the kind of schedule we prefer, as well as allows us to pour as little or as much of ourselves and our time into the business on any given day. We work extra hours some days to make lighter days for family outings at other times. Stephen spends more time with the boys than the average dad who works outside the home at an 8-to-5 job, and we wouldn’t trade that for the world.

My contribution to the blog will be occasional posts about the support aspect of the business. Also, I’ll sometimes add a few lines of my own perspective within Stephen’s posts. I’m looking forward to getting to know the FBA community through this blog and to hearing the experiences of others who are in this business.