My old drummer Sean has asked me to help him get a shipping center set up for his Amazon-hosted store. There are a raft of items to deal with. This is a link dump for research.

Shipping and inventory software

I posted to AskMe on a busy day and only got one reply, from me old chum Mr. Lope. He noted that the software offered by HarveySoft fit the bill for a former company of his.

Despite the horrible, price-hiding design of the website (Now with useless java-enabled navigation buttons!!) I was able to observe that the pricing page appears to provide initial confirmation of Mr. Lope’s judgement.

More options need to be identified.

  • HarveySoft

  • AirFrame – web-based CRM suite. Interesting idea. Subscription-based pricing, $65/user. No hardware requirement. Definitely work looking into.

Amazon support and integration

Amazon store builder – a bit off topic, but worth remembering. Automates access to Amazon-listed products to be wrapped in a non-Amazon website.

Guidelines for Managing Large Inventories for Marketplace sellers.

Amazon discussion board for zShops users.

Amazon tips for Pro Merchants.

Telephone management

Another poster recommended an open-source telephone tree package, Asterisk, which does look interesting from a features perspective. But I suspect that phone systems will be close to the bottom of my priority list; I haven’t really started working through my feature needs there yet. I like the idea of a no-hardware solution, though; Having the phone company offer the features, perform the maintenance, etc., for a messaging tree system is attractive to me from a desire to provide simplicity and to minimize the physical infrastructure needed.

I have a strong suspicion that the physical location we are moving into will prove unsuitable within a year and until I know that idea is wrong will likely want to avoid hefty setup.

Workspace setup; office supplies

Sean is getting shelving; we’ll need chairs and office supplies and so forth. A trip to Ducky’s and to other local used furniture suppliers is a necessity.

  • Ducky’s
  • Boeing Surplus – Big sale starts May 26, this Wednesday.

  • Dixon’s Used Furniture (no website) – residentially focused, rarely has good office furniture.

  • Seattle University Surplus (no resources, looking into it.)

  • University of Washington Surplus (very limited hours, only open 2 days a month. Next scheduled opening, June 1. Looking into a possiblity of looking at the materiel earlier.)

  • EntreStart used to have a warehouse of old furniture and computers in SoDo but it’s gone now, I think.

I need to make a list of smaller materials needed, and another one about services needed such as recycling, etc.

Computers etc.

Sean has two workstations we’ll begin with. I am sure we’ll need more (they are from an inexpensive supplier that is identified with manufacturing problems). I’ll need to identify and wrangle licensing for a standard suite, as well.

I know I’ll want to add wireless to the LAN as soon as we’re set up, and suspect that notebooks will be desired within a month of getting rolling. I was able to find a hub for my cousin Eric in LA at Fry’s for $30.00 with a $30.00 rebate, so this should not be a problem.

We’ll need a laser printer for invoicing and so forth.

(posted in an incomplete state, will be revised.)

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