Starting a new Amazon FBA business is no small feat.

There are lots of steps to take, and mistakes can be easily made if you don’t know what to do and when.

Having helped hundreds of Amazon sellers launch and scale their businesses in recent years, we’ve developed a watertight process that covers every step of the Amazon FBA journey.

So, in this Amazon FBA checklist, we’ll break each of those steps down one by one into:

  • Individual checkpoints

…so you can check them off as you go and move forward with confidence.

If at any time you want to download a PDF version of this checklist, let us know where to send it below and it’ll be all yours.

FREE CHECKLIST

Grow an Amazon FBA business without making costly mistakes

free amazon fba checklist

Stage 1: Start

Here’s where the rubber hits the road.

The idea of building an Amazon business that creates more possibilities in your life by leveraging the growth of online retail is about to begin.

In this first stage of the Amazon FBA checklist, our goal is to establish the right mindsets, get a clear understanding of the business we’re going to build, and a plan in place for how we’re going to fund it.

  • Establish your why: The absolute first thing you should do. When challenges come, how strong is your resolve as an Amazon seller? Try the powerful exercise at 7levelsdeep.com.
  • Create a vision board: Search vision board on Pinterest for inspiration. A daily visual reminder of your why.
  • Startup capital in place: Allocate some funds to go towards the initial investment of research software, product samples, and in-depth training.
  • Create a startup pot growth plan: How will you grow your starting capital? Remember your ‘why’, and consider if you can trim some surplus possessions, or work some extra hours… what are you willing to sacrifice to make your ‘why’ a reality?

Stage 2: Select

Once you’ve laid some good foundations, it’s time to dive into product research. The selection phase is one of the most crucial.

Like with most other investments, your earning potential has just as much to do with the buying phase as the selling. Select well, and you’re well on your way.

To do this, we follow what we call the Product Potency Formula:

  • Identify products…
  • That solve problems…
  • For a specific group of people.
product potency formula

Identifying products

To find the right product to sell, the first step in this stage of the Amazon FBA checklist is assessing demand. Check:

  • Demand is proven: We’re not looking to invent but to improve. Ensure demand exists.
  • Demand is consistent: No big peaks or troughs through the year, not a fad or trend that could backfire.
  • Demand is manageable: Assess your budget and shoot for a demand range you can compete with.

PRO TIP

Use tools like Helium 10 to assess demand on Amazon. Use Black Box to filter based on your criteria, and X-Ray to show search result data.

After demand, we need to consider competition by ensuring:

  • No one product is dominating the market
  • No one brand is dominating the market
  • Products with high review counts (1,000+) are not dominating the market

Identifying problems

  • Problems exist: Either for the customer or in the existing products available
  • Room for improvement: Average review rating is 4.5* or below across first page of main search term
  • Opportunities to differentiate: 3-5 achievable aspects have been identified. Eg. quality, features, marketing. MORE:
  • Potential 20%+ net margin: Product is profitable based on estimated costs available (further verification later).
  • Potential 100%+ ROI: Return on investment. How much profit received for each $ invested. The higher the % the faster your business can grow.

PRO TIP

Profitability is in the ‘Problems’ section as your ability to identify and solve problems is your path to profitability against your competition. The absolute worst way to differentiate is price, you must avoid this race to the bottom by standing out.

Identifying people

  • Create a clear customer avatar: An understanding of the type of person who would buy this product.
  • Potential pipeline of future products: 3-5 other products this same customer avatar would buy.

Finally, confirm there aren’t any restrictions that would stop you from selling the product:

  • No patents
  • No trademarks
  • Not hazmat (Hazardous Materials)
  • Not dangerous
  • Not banned

Stage 3: Source

Once you’ve selected a product and identified some improvement opportunities, it’s time to turn those ideas into reality.

When sourcing products we’re looking for reliable suppliers who want to work with us at a price point we’re both happy with.

Here are the key steps:

Finding suppliers

  • Decided on sourcing location: Locally – eg. cosmetics, supplements. Overseas – most others.

PRO TIP

Always do your homework. If sourcing overseas, use Alibaba and filter for Verified suppliers accepting Trade Assurance. If sourcing locally ask for client references and certificates of compliance to local standards.

  • Contact suppliers: At least 10 suppliers, asking for initial quotes based on your improvements.
  • Order samples: At least 1, but if possible 2 or 3. Price will usually be around $50 for sample and shipping from China.
  • Verify quality of samples: Give it a thorough test, use it as your customers would. Maybe drop it on the floor a few times and see how it holds up (Not if it’s glass, of course!)

Working with suppliers

  • Negotiate final price and terms: Clarify if FOB or EXW shipping terms
  • Create a purchase contract: Including exact costs, what you’re getting for the money, and what the payment terms are (deposit/balance split, payment method.)
  • Notify supplier third-party inspection will be required: Standard practice, but good to notify. If they refuse, something’s fishy.
  • Pay deposit

Stage 4: Setup

Now your product has been selected and manufacturing is getting underway, it’s time to turn your attention to getting the formalities of your fledgling business setup.

This can seem a bit daunting, but remember – one bite at a time gets us to our goal of a life-changing business.

Get your ‘why’ at the top of your mind (or in front of your eyes with a vision board) and let’s do this.

Business setup

  • Identify best business structure: Varies depending on location. Common choice for the US is an LLC, and for the UK a limited company.
  • Register legal business: Use a company formations service – ZenBusiness for the US, or 1stFormations for the UK.
  • Create a draft business plan: Nothing too crazy – just a clear outline of what you’re trying to achieve. Search Google for some templates, choose a simple one and treat it as a progress exercise.

Brand setup

Choose a brand name that:

  • Is not already trademarked
  • Has a good domain available (.com ideally)
  • Has social media accounts available
  • Is short
  • Is memorable
  • Is not too restrictive (i.e. don’t build yourself into a narrow hole with your brand name. Yani’s Yoga Mats is fine, until you don’t want to sell just yoga mats.)

PRO TIP

With the maturity of the internet and modern-day entrepreneurship, trademarking a brand name containing common words can be tricky. Think outside the box. Example: Try misspelling a word like Lyft, Flickr, Reddit, and Netflix.

  • Domain name registered: For your brand, at this stage a domain and email for your legal company identity is overkill.

PRO TIP

If the brand name you want isn’t trademarked but you’re struggling to find a domain name or social media handles, consider a suffix or prefix. Eg. shopbrand.com, getbrand.com, thisisbrand.com and so on.

  • Social media accounts registered: For most niches Instagram & a Facebook page will be the priority, and possibly TikTok too.
  • Create a basic logo: Use Canva to create something simple for free. You can always update and improve later.
  • Register your trademark
  • Create barcodes: GS1 barcodes are stated as required by Amazon but not enforced. Think long-term and invest in your own barcodes to future-proof your Amazon listings.

Design product packaging, including these elements:

  • Logo
  • Images of product
  • Contrasting colors to rest of market to help stand out
  • Barcode: UPC from GS1 or Amazon FNSKU (FNSKU is usually best)
  • Made in China (or wherever it was made)
  • Safety requirements (if needed)
  • Brand website & social media handles

PRO TIP

Don’t skimp on packaging design. If you aren’t familiar with graphic design, use great resources like 99designs or Fiverr to get something professional made up.

  • Product insert created: Designed to engage the customer in conversation and lead to positive reviews.
  • Send packaging & insert design to supplier

Amazon setup

  • Create Amazon Seller Central account
  • Submit Brand Registry application
  • Create draft product listing
  • Send FNSKU to supplier (if sticking on box) or designer (if embedding in packaging design)

PRO TIP

If you have any doubts about whether Amazon will allow you to sell a certain product due to safety restrictions or hazardous materials, create this product listing before putting a deposit down with your supplier to verify you can proceed.

Finance & legal setup

  • Open a bank account for your online business
  • Create expense tracking spreadsheet: Nothing too fancy required – just basic logging of date, description and amount of any business expenses to later refer back to when creating more of a system.
  • Get product liability insurance quotes: Amazon won’t enforce it before you hit $10k/month, but product liability insurance is recommended.
  • Apply for EORI (if importing to Europe)

Stage 5: Ship

Next on your global domination roadmap is to organize the safe shipping of your precious cargo to your destination marketplace.

Thankfully, this is far easier than it might seem. For the most part that is due to freight forwarders being able to handle the majority of the process.

However, you will need to handle some key tasks yourself too, so check them off as you go.

Starting the shipping process

  • Obtain carton weights and dimensions from supplier
  • Calculate total CBM (cubic meters) and weight of all cartons
  • Obtain quotes from freight forwarders based on shipping method (sea or air), CBM, weight, and agreed Incoterms

MORE: Use our free CBM Calculator tool to estimate total shipment size and cost

Preparing products for shipping

  • Contact 3PLs for quotes: Depending on Amazon storage limits, you may have to send some units to a 3rd Party Logistics company, or to your home address
  • Confirm shipping destination: All to Amazon, all to 3PL/home or a percentage split
  • Create your Amazon shipping plan: Tutorial here
  • Create shipping labels and send to supplier: FBA carton label for boxes going to Amazon, address label for 3PL/home for others

Send shipping mark requirements to supplier which at minimum should contain:

  • Brief description of product (2-3 words)
  • Gross weight
  • Net weight
  • Country of Origin
  • ___ of ____ Cartons (left blank to be handwritten on)
  • Heavy carton labels (if applicable)
  • Handle with care (if applicable)
  • Dangerous goods info (if applicable)
shipping mark
  • Confirm final inspection has passed
  • Negotiate with supplier to fix issues that have arisen (if needed)
  • Pay balance on goods: Only if and when you are satisfied with the quality of the goods.
  • Air ship 1-2 units for photography
  • Establish contact between freight forwarder & supplier
  • BOL released by telex: BOL = Bill of Lading. This document will be needed for importing at destination. Asking your supplier to release by telex (basically electronic transfer) speeds up the process vs a physical mailed copy.
  • Obtain commercial invoice from supplier: An invoice summarising goods bought – description, quantities, value. Needed for calculation of duties & taxes when importing so having to hand may save minor delays.

Stage 6: Shape

Whilst your products are being shipped to their target marketplace, you’ve got ample opportunity to create the perfect Amazon listing.

Inside our Amazon FBA course, we teach this in four stages:

  1. Investigate: Research the keywords and key benefits customers are looking for
  2. Create: Formulate the key aspects of the listing
  3. Populate: Generate reviews for your products
  4. Iterate: Continually test and improve your listing

We’ll focus mostly on the first two phases as they are the core of what you’ll need to check off your Amazon FBA checklist before launching.

Phase One: Investigate

  • Compile a benefits list: 3-5 clear benefits your product has for the customer. Features describe what your product does, and benefits what it does for your customer. Focus on benefits.
  • Compile a USP list: 3-5 clear aspects of differentiation between you and your competitors – your Unique Selling Propositions.
  • Compile a master keyword list: A core list of 5-6 initial ranking targets, a broader list of 30-50 ppc phrases, and finally a large list of remaining single words.

PRO TIP

Use Helium 10’s Cerebro tool to spy on what keywords your competitors are using, then use Frankenstein and Listing Builder to crunch those keywords, add them to your listing, and gain keyword ranking to attract more sales.

Phase 2: Create

  • Create an optimized title: Include 2-3 of your main target keyword list in your title, without sounding too spammy
  • Create five benefit-rich bullet points: Use the remainder of your target keyword phrases, along with as many other single keywords as possible without sounding spammy, whilst also highlighting benefits and USPs.
  • Create a detailed product description: Any remaining detailed or technical information to be placed here.
  • Create a scroll-stopping main image: Make it pop; make them stop. Consider your competitors – do something with your main image that achieves its one goal: attracting the click.
  • Create benefit-driven infographics: In most categories; 6 extra spots. Work hard on creating good listing copy (title, bullets, description) first and the content of these images should plan themselves. DO NOT waste an image slot with a photo of your product on a white background.
  • Create engaging A+ Content: Use A+ content to further inform customers and give space for benefits, USPs and keywords.
  • Create an informative product video: It’s an extra investment up front, but gives a clear improvement on conversion rate when done well.

Phase 3: Populate

  • Populate listing with reviews: Turn on follow-up emails using a tool like Helium 10
  • Populate listing with questions and answers (either wait for them to come in, or have someone ask them on the listing for you)

Phase 4: Iterate

  • Iterate for more impressions: Test new keywords to drive more visibility in Amazon search results
  • Iterate for more clicks: Test main image, pricing, coupons, and title to drive a higher click through rate
  • Iterate for more conversions: Test infographics, A+ Content, and bullet points to drive a higher conversion rate

MORE: Amazon Listing Optimization: The Ultimate Guide

Stage 7: Sell

The time to sell products has arrived… your Amazon account says your inventory is checking in and the excitement is rising.

Now it’s time to push the final buttons and make sure your launch is a successful one.

Pre-launch preparation

  • Product is in stock and actively available on Amazon/website
  • Listing is fully optimized
  • Pricing is set to launch price
  • Keyword ranking is being tracked with Helium 10
  • Promotional aspects (codes, vouchers, ads) all set up
  • Max order limit in place (eg 10 units to avoid someone clearing you out)
  • Follow-up emails ready to generate reviews
  • Landing page/website set up and tested
  • Amazon PPC campaigns set up

Launch

  • Auto PPC campaign turned on
  • Manual PPC campaigns turned on
  • Launch-specific PPC campaigns turned on
  • Audience notified product is live
  • Sales monitored and price/strategy tweaked according to sales volume

Post-launch

  • Keyword ranking established
  • Launch PPC campaigns turned off
  • Ongoing PPC campaigns optimized
  • Price increased to optimal range
  • Re-order process begun with manufacturer

Stage 8: Scale

The final stage in the Amazon FBA checklist.

Once you have some sustained momentum following your product launch, it’s time to look at scaling your revenue.

We do this by using the law of least effort – more marketing, more marketplaces, more products, and finally rinse and repeat with more brands.

This is a long-term process for FBA sellers, but it always helps to have a vision for the future.

  • Grow product sales with more marketing: Grow knowledge of Amazon PPC, learn Facebook advertising, contact influencers, etc.
  • Grow product sales with more marketplaces: Amazon marketplaces, your own website, eBay, Walmart, etc.
  • Develop brand with more products: A line of related products all appealing to the same customer avatar.
  • Develop portfolio with more brands: Use your gained knowledge to rinse and repeat the process from a far more experienced starting point.
  • Continue your learning
  • Scale to exit: Investors and private equity firms will always be looking to acquire healthy, growing businesses. Get your head down for 2-3 years, put in some hard work, and a 6-7 figure exit is well within the realms of possibility.

Remember, building an e-commerce business is not an overnight process.

It will take more than money to grow an Amazon store and have success selling online – you have to be committed to getting the momentum started.

The good news is, once you have momentum – everything to do with an Amazon FBA business is open to leverage.

There are tools to automate tasks in your seller account, services for outsourcing different aspects of your Amazon business, and teams for growing capacity.

The key is to keep learning, keep growing, and build your Amazon store to the moon!

If you’ve found this Amazon FBA checklist helpful, remember that you can access dedicated courses and coaching covering each topic in depth inside BBU Pro.

Share:
Ben Donovan

WRITTEN BY

Ben Donovan
Ben is the founder of Brand Builder University and has a passion for helping normal everyday people create financial freedom by building successful eCommerce businesses. He lives in Manchester, UK with his wife and 2 children and loves to play sport and watch continual re-runs of The Office (US version, obviously).

FREE CHECKLIST

Your step-by-step Amazon FBA startup companion.

Download
FBA Checklist example