Every day there are excellent questions asked by people just getting started on their Amazon journey in the Facebook groups I frequent. Facebook feeds move so quickly that many times these questions aren't accessed by the people who really need them. Each week I'll select a few questions to answer here on my blog so that they will be available for other newbies down the road.
Today's question: Do I need a Bluetooth laser scanner to sell on Amazon?
WHAT is a Bluetooth laser scanner? For those of you who are new to the FBA game, a Bluetooth laser scanner is a small electronic device (see the image to the right) that uses a laser to read a barcode and sends that information to an app on your phone that converts the scan into data. It can make sounds or vibrate but in the end a scanner is just an information relay device.
Going back to the questions at hand, the simple answer is NO you don't NEED a Bluetooth laser scanner for retail arbitrage (RA) sourcing. Unlike a computer or a smartphone, a Bluetooth laser scanner is not an essential tool to successful selling on Amazon. Then WHY is it a recurring topic of conversation in Amazon FBA Facebook groups? Let's look into why…
A Scanner will do the following:
- Increase scanning speed: No more waiting for your phone to focus on the barcode. A scanner will grab the barcode instantly and provide you with information about an item on your smartphone in a few seconds.
- Decrease handling of products: With a scanner, you are able to scan a product where it sits, even on the top shelf, as long as you have access to the barcode. You can also attach your scanner to the back of your phone with velcro for one-handed scanning.
How do you know WHEN you should consider getting a Bluetooth scanner for your Amazon FBA business?
- Do you have the necessary cash flow to make the investment? A Scanfob 2006 is $279. If you are only pulling in $300-$500 per month in sales, you won't have any capital to spend on inventory if you spend all of your earnings on an expensive tool.
- Is retail arbitrage (RA) the biggest part of your sourcing arsenal? If you are spending your time out in stores scanning products, learning product lines, figuring out sales cycles then your head is in the RA game. If you prefer to sit at a computer and source online arbitrage (OA) or make contacts with wholesale distributors then a scanner isn't the tool for you.
WHERE can you get a Bluetooth laser scanner?
My scanner of choice is a Scanfob 2006 available from Serialio. This is the only scanner I have ever used. I have had it since I switched from eBay to Amazon in November 2014. It was really easy to pair with both my iPhone 4S and iPhone 6. You can pick one up over at Serialio.com (no affiliate).
Still not sure if you need or are ready for a scanner for your business? Feel free to reach out and we can talk through the benefits and how it will affect your business specifically.
If you have questions you would like answered here on the blog please reach out to me at [email protected]
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