In my earlier post I mentioned about online selling.
There are a couple of ways of doing it. One is by creating an online store (eg. via Tictail or Shopify). The second option will be via the online marketplace such as Amazon or Ebay.
I have tried the online store idea some time back with totally no success. Firstly it is hard to generate traffic to your store, and secondly, you need to create a list of viable products to sell.
With regards to the second option – I have been reading up on being an Amazon FBA seller. Yes, you can do so even if you are staying in Singapore and is a non US citizen. And it appears to be scalable and can be done remotely (with no need for storage area).
I find the following blog posts inspiring:
- “AMAZON FBA BUSINESS UPDATE – PRODUCT IS FINALLY LISTED FOR SALE!” by Cash Flow Diaries (read here)
- “Chapter 9: Amazon FBA Journey from Jan 2014 to Jan 2015” by JASONTAYONLINE BLOG (read here)
Basically, I have my doubts on whether it is really viable and profitable to buy in bulk from China (eg. from Alibaba or Taobao) to sell in the US by shipping to the Amazon Fulfillment Centers. There are numerous articles which state that:
- The Chinese Manufacturers have wised up and started selling directly via Amazon (esp. after you asked them to ship directly to Amazon Fulfillment Centers);
- There are numerous infringement issues when the company (selling the brand) found out that you are selling their brand new products in Amazon (and you are not their approved re-seller). Basically, Amazon will just forward their letters directly to you and it would be wise for you to de-list the product from Amazon;
I guess the first part is to register with Amazon as an FBA seller. I have done so – but it would take 2 working days for them to reply. So let’s see how it turn out.
Next, I would need the following items to be filled up (read here):
- A credit card that can be charged internationally, i.e, a Mastercard or Visa.
- A local bank in my country that supports ACH which stands for automated clearing house which really means your bank can accept electronic transfers
- My local address
- My country uses currency supported by Amazon. Click here to see the list. This is not an issue as Singapore is in the list.
- A phone number (you’ll also need your international prefix number) – I reckon I have to use Skype or Viber.
- A US EIN number. I need to fill out an online form 10-BEN on the IRS.gov website (Internal Revenue Service which is the US government tax collection agency)
Beyond that there is the issue of shipping to 3 different Fulfillment centers (yup Amazon require that you ship to multiple warehouses (read here).
Ok, these I shall KIV first.
I have contact the Chinese Suppliers in Alibaba, and this is rather time-consuming. And I have yet to get my first sample.
From what I have read, it would good to contact multiple suppliers (they should be Gold members if you are using Alibaba) – typically 5 to 7 suppliers for a single product. I managed to contact 2 for one product and have been trying to find the overall cost of shipping to the US and shipping the sample to Singapore.
Like I say, it is one of my mini experiments. There is no due date or dateline I give myself. There is also no amount I intend to make. However, I try to set aside some of my passive income each month trying out.
I do it when I am free. I guess you ever only fail if you stop trying. Yes, you will fall plenty of time…
Put it in another way- if I managed to sell something, that is a major milestone for me. If I managed to sell something at a profit, that is a super major milestone for me.
Heck – getting an SGD 20 NTUC voucher by doing online surveys using time which I couldn’t be doing anything else is something new (though I really think it is a tough way to “make a living” :p) .
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