How to Sell Your Board Game on Amazon with Chris Amburn

How to Sell Your Board Game on Amazon with Chris Amburn

My friend Chris Amburn, owner of N.E.W. (New Experience Workshop) Games recently told me that he is now selling his game Shootout! High Noon on Amazon.

Of course this caused me to start asking him questions:

  • “How do you get a board game on Amazon? I’ve always wondered how…”
  • “Do you have to do anything special?”
  • “Was it difficult?”
  • How long did it take?”

I had many more questions before Chris said “want me to do a post on it?”

YEAH!

Now I am glad to have answers to my questions.

If you are like me and have wondered how to sell your board game on Amazon, then this is the article for you.

I will let Chris take it from here.

(Related: Have some game ideas in your head that you want to start working on? Download our free Planning Phase Checklist to take your next step)

Click Here to Get Your List and Start Designing Your Board Games Right Now!

How Chris started selling his board game on Amazon (and how you can too)

In board games just like any other product the most important thing is for customers to be able to buy your products.

Amazon is by far the largest and most-trusted online retailer for customers of everything from jumper cables to expensive jewelry with over three million orders a day.

So having your game available through their website is a great opportunity to make some sales.

While their system is not difficult to use, it can be intimidating without doing a lot of research beforehand.

Having done this research myself I thought it might be helpful to you to have more direct and guided instructions through the whole process.

(Want to know more about Chris? See our interview with him here)

1. Get a UPC code

It’s important to remember that getting your product onto Amazon creates a platform for selling your games.

It is not an end goal.

Little to no sales will be made if you are not actively advertising and marketing your products via Amazon or through your own means.

Before you can begin selling anything on Amazon there is one thing you must secure first: A UPC code (1 per game you wish to sell).

bar code image used as an example UPC, or bar code

Getting a UPC (or bar) code for your product can be incredibly intimidating for an inexperienced publisher. So let me break it down for you.

There are basically two options for meeting this requirement:

1. The first option is to buy your barcodes individually from a barcode reseller.

Resellers have these codes because they either bought them directly from GS1 (the official company that gives out UPCs).

Or they got them from businesses trying to recoup the costs of purchasing more barcodes than they needed back before GS1 changed to a subscription service.

These UPCs are inexpensive, very convenient, and work just fine for putting your product onto Amazon.

You can buy a single code or thousands at a time for a deep discount.

The only downside to this type of bar code is that the first six digits of the UPC number will match with another company than your own.

This will not cause any problems selling to small retailers or Amazon but certain big box stores such as Target or Wal-Mart may not be willing to stock your product using one of these secondhand UPCs.

This is probably not a problem for you or I, but all the same, be aware!

I have also heard that if you or your products cause a lot of difficulty for Amazon they may refuse to sell it with a secondhand UPC. So try to avoid that as well.

I used Nationwide Barcode to buy the UPCs for New Experience Workshop’s games. But there are many other sites that offer these as well as eBay.

You’ll want to look for anything that says that the codes have not been used before to avoid any chances of confusion between your game and some other random product.

But in general it won’t matter all that much because the UPC code you use for your game does not need to be anywhere on the packaging for Amazon.

In fact, if you choose to have your products fulfilled directly by Amazon then you will have to cover up their bar codes entirely! (More on that later)

2. The second option for getting UPCs is to get them directly from GS1.

This will cost you about $300 for 1-10 bar codes and 50$ annually. Yikes!

With all the other costs of starting a business it seems hard for me to justify these expenses unless it is absolutely necessary.

The benefits here are that you are dealing directly with the company responsible for UPC codes in the most official way possible.

And Big Box retailers like Best Buy would conceivably allow your product on their shelves.

2. Sign up for selling on Amazon

Once you have a UPC for your game (again, it doesn’t have to be on the game itself at all!) then you’ve tackled the most confusing and unclear part of selling your game on Amazon.

Now you can take the easiest step: Signing up for the service!

At the bottom of the home page of Amazon and most other pages there is a section labeled ‘Make Money With Us’.

Click on ‘Sell on Amazon’ to get started.

screenshot of Amazon home page Footer with an arrow pointing at the word 'Sell' with text saying to "Click Sell on Amazon"

There are two different options for selling on Amazon and they are pretty straightforward.

1. You can “Sell as an Individual”

This charges you a small $0.99 fee per item sold plus some additional charges based on whether you or Amazon fulfills the item. Or you can

2. Or “Sell as a Professional”

This costs $39.99 a month plus fees but gives you the bonus of a nice little list of perks.

If the way I explained the bar code options didn’t give it away already, I will be giving instructions on the option that does not include a large monthly fee and the rest of this guide assumes you have chosen the “Sell as an Individual” option.

However, I do not expect there to be much of a difference between the two for our purposes here.

(Related: Have some game ideas in your head that you want to start working on? Download our free Planning Phase Checklist to take your next step)

Click Here to Get Your List and Start Designing Your Board Games Right Now!

3. Sign in to Amazon

Signing up is very simple. Especially if you already have a normal Amazon.com account.

At this point you can sign in as you would when normally shopping on Amazon and follow the step-by-step instructions to:

  • Confirm your identity
  • Set up your seller name
  • Confirm your address and all of that typical mundane stuff to finish the registration process.

Once you’ve handled the easy stuff you will find yourself inside Amazon Seller Central which is a wonderland of options that can be explored another time.

To add your product to Amazon you’ll need to…

Screenshot of Amazon Services page with a red arrow pointing to 'Manage Inventory'

  1. click ‘Manage Inventory’ from the ‘Inventory’ drop down tab at the top of the page.
  2. Then find and click the ‘Add a product’ button located at the top right corner of the Manage Inventory page.

When registering a product amazon will first ask that you search to make sure it doesn’t already exist in its catalog (which it shouldn’t).

If your game does not yet have a page on Amazon for it then you will have to click on ‘Create a new product listing’.

After doing so you’ll be asked to categorize your product before continuing (Toys and Games>Games for your board game)

Then you’ll fill in every last detail necessary to describe your game in the many blanks provided.

You can complete this process in multiple sessions but if you want to get it all done right now you’re going to need to know:

  1. The weight of your game and
  2. The dimensions of its packaging in order for Amazon to accurately calculate the shipping costs.

You’ll also need one more really important thing: at least one photo meeting Amazon’s guidelines.

Amazon has some very particular style guidelines when it comes to product images. A full list can be found here but the main bullet points are as follows:

  • Products must fill at least 85% of the image. Images must show only the product that is for sale, with few or no props and with no logos, watermarks, or inset images.
  • Images may only contain text that is a part of the product.
  • Main images must have a pure white background, must be a photo (not a drawing), and must not contain excluded accessories.
  • Images must be at least 1000 pixels on the longest side and at least 500 pixels on the shortest side to be zoom-able.
  • Images must not exceed 10000 pixels on the longest side.
  • JPEG is the preferred image format, but you also may use TIFF and GIF files.

If you don’t have a fancy lightbox or anything then the best way to get a good picture is to photograph the product under a lot of light on top of a single-color background and remove the background with a photo editing tool such as Photoshop.

For a basic image the type of camera isn’t too terribly important. Just make sure that everything is in focus and the image shows your game as best as you can manage it!

4. Get your board game “Fulfilled By Amazon” (Optional but Recommended)

After you complete this you’ve officially done it….Congratulations!

Your game is now on Amazon! (Possibly pending a short review period based on content and season)

Customers who find your product will see it as being sold in New condition by “Your Company Name” and that they can buy it for the price you chose plus shipping costs.

If you’re happy with that then you’re all set to sell your game.

Customers can purchase it from Amazon. And Amazon will take their charges (about 15%) and send you the shipping fee so you can pack your game up and make sure it gets to the customer safe and sound.

But you might not be satisfied at this point.

“Why doesn’t the listing look like most of the other product listings?”

“Why isn’t my product eligible for Amazon Prime, or free shipping, or any of those other conveniences that people expect?”

For that you will need to have your product labeled FBA, or “Fulfilled By Amazon”.

FBA products are eligible for all the nice perks that Amazon offers because they are fulfilled directly from Amazon’s warehouses to customers.

The fee for FBA purchases are closer to 35% but make your product more available and appear more legitimate to Amazon’s best customers.

You will also incur small fees monthly for warehousing your product based on the amount of space it takes up.

The main benefit beyond the small perks is that Amazon handles everything about orders for your games, filling the orders and passing the profits on to you as they are sold.

To change your product listing from Fulfilled by Merchant to Fulfilled by Amazon, go to the “Manage Inventory” page in Amazon Seller Central and click the dual arrow button on the far right of your product, immediately next to the ‘Edit’ button.

From the drop-down you can change your listing to ‘Fulfilled by Amazon’.

Screenshot of Amazons 'Manage Inventory' page with a red arrow showing you to click 'Change to Fulfilled by Amazon'

(In the Screenshot above, it says ‘Change to Fulfilled by Merchant’ because Chris has already selected ‘Change to Fulfilled by Amazon’. But this is where you will find the option ‘Change to Fulfilled by Amazon’ that you need to select.)

**Note – If your products are listed as FBA then your product listings on Amazon will not be visible unless Amazon has some of your games in their inventory. So if your listing is not visible and you have selected FBA then you still need to ship your games to the nearest Amazon processing center. Once Amazon receives your games then they will make your listing visible.

5. Send your products to Amazon so they will show as being “in stock”

From the same drop-down menu of the dual arrow button, select “send/replenish inventory”.

Just like with the product listing step you will again need to know the dimensions and weight of the package you will be sending along with the number of units you are sending.

Filling out the shipping order is fairly straightforward with one exception.

All products sent to Amazon for FBA must be labled with thier ASIN, or “Amazon Standard Identification Number”.

This is different than a UPC.

Yes, Amazon makes you give them a UPC and then requires your products to be labeled with an ASIN instead. It’s a little strange.

Amazon can also label your products with their ASIN for you, but at the cost of $0.20 per unit.

If you want to do it at home I recommend either:

  • Getting full pages of printable label paper that you can cut out for your products
  • Editing the PDF Amazon provides of the labels so that they fit labels you already have, or
  • Waiting to buy labels of a certain size after seeing the size of the labels Amazon will create for you in PDF form.

Amazon accepted some of my labels with the text slightly cut off. So as long as the ASIN bar code itself is intact it should be fine.

Remember to put the labels fully over the UPC codes on your products if you have them on there!

Once your products are labeled and packaged, attach the shipping page Amazon has you print out.

You can attach it anywhere that won’t annoy the postal carrier you ship it with when they go to put their own label on the package (Amazon’s shipping page is for their benefit, you will need to pay the normal costs for shipping a package to them.)

(Related: Have some game ideas in your head that you want to start working on? Download our free Planning Phase Checklist to take your next step)

Click Here to Get Your List and Start Designing Your Board Games Right Now!

And that’s how to sell your board game on Amazon

So that’s it!

Once you’ve done all that then your game(s) will be available and online.

One last important thing to remember.

Make sure you confirm every step of your shipment to Amazon on the page to the very end and add the tracking information you are given by the postal carrier. Because if you do not finalize the shipment it will still be considered pending even if the package you sent has already made it there!

This won’t cause any catastrophes but could account for a small inconvenient delay.

I hope you enjoyed this and it helps someone.

– Chris Amburn, Owner at New Experience Workshop

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