Sell On Amazon: 7 Steps
Competition in the ecommerce space is fierce – especially when it comes to Amazon.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with it. I’ve written this guide to help you start your Amazon empire the right way. And, I’ve worked with 22 top Amazon experts to offer real advice – not just the same generic thing you get from many other guides like this.
These experts are a mix of successful Amazon sellers, digital marketing consultants who’s job focuses on helping Amazon entrepreneurs scale their businesses, and more.
As you’ll see in these Amazon statistics, Amazon is the largest online retailer. Selling your products there lets you earn a piece of the pie and helps expose your brand to new customers.
Ready to start selling on Amazon? Read this 7 step beginner’s guide to make sure you set yourself up for profit.
Learn How Selling On Amazon Works
You’ll pay fees to sell on Amazon. Amazon now hides its individual selling plan, which allows you to pay a $0.99/item fee. This is the option you want if you’re not ready to commit to a monthly subscription fee.
The professional seller account is $39.99/month and does not charge per-item fees. If you’re serious about learning how to sell on Amazon, you’ll likely make more than $39.99 a month selling products there, so it’s worth the investment.
1. Thoroughly check all Amazon seller program policies, including the Seller Code of Conduct and other general policies, Product and Listing Requirements, Shipping and Tax Policies, as well as the Product Page Style Guide.
2. Join Facebook groups for Amazon Sellers – there you will find a great source of inspiration, best practices and support. Here are some of them I can strongly recommend: The Amazon Sellers Network, FBA Ninjas!, Amazon Selling for Beginners, Amazon FBA Beginner Mastery.
3. Use software to help you automate the process of starting, maintaining and optimizing your Amazon listings. The Orange Klik YouTube channel contains short demos of the relevant tools on the market. You can also check out Sellzone.
And my final advice to those thinking about starting an Amazon business – don’t be afraid, and give it a try! Recently, I interviewed a 70-year-old woman successfully running an Amazon business, her story is incredible and very inspiring. Just being brave, you can make your dream come true!
You’ll also pay referral fees, which are a percentage of the selling price. This percentage varies, depending on the product’s category. For some categories, the fee is as much as 17%. If you’re selling products in the media category, you will also pay variable closing fees.
If you fulfill orders yourself, Amazon shipping rates apply. The rates are based on the product category, as well as the shipping service the buyer chooses.
If you visit a local retail store, buy something, then resell it through an online marketplace, you’re using retail arbitrage to make money. At first, it may not seem like this method would work. The key, however, is catching the retail products on sale or clearance, so you can maximize your profit.
Use the Amazon Seller app to scan clearance and sales products you find at your local retailers. If you find items that offer more than $3 profit after fees and shipping, you should list them on Amazon.
You can get started immediately, after you register for your Amazon seller account and download the Amazon Seller app. Use this list of retailers to build up your inventory:
• Bed Bath & Beyond
• Best Buy
• Big Lots
• Home Depot
• Office Depot
• Rite Aid
Why do you need the Amazon Seller app? It will give you the exact fees you’ll pay to sell it, which helps you make an informed decision about what to buy and sell.
While the $3+ profit is important, you also should make sure that you are eligible to sell the items. Ideally, the sales rank is under 250,000, and your ROI is more than 50%.
When you white label a product, you’re taking something that is re-brandable and resellable from one company – putting your brand on it and selling it yourself.
A manufacturer produces generic products or services. The marketer (you) buys the products and rebrands them to make them yours. Then, the customer buys directly from you.
New Amazon sellers often find it easier to use white label products since it makes it easier to focus efforts on marketing rather than product research. Popular white labeling options include:
• Water bottles
• Smartphone accessories
• Essential oils
If you want something more exclusive than white labeling, you can look into private label products. Where white label products are generic and sold to any business, the private label is a brand exclusive to you.
Take for instance, acetaminophen – it’s a white label product sold to any retailer who wants to create their own brand of pain reliever. Equate, however, is the exclusive Walmart private label brand – used for acetaminophen and countless other products throughout the store. Great Value is another private label brand from Walmart.
If you’re not into sourcing your own products to sell on Amazon, you may consider an Amazon affiliate business. Instead of signing up for a Seller Central account, you’ll sign up to join the Amazon Affiliate program, known as Amazon Associates. You’ll choose the products you want to earn a commission from, then advertise them on your own website. By including affiliate links to those products on your website, you’ll earn a percentage of the sale each time someone uses your link to make a purchase.
Rather than Seller Central, you’ll manage your products and sales from the Affiliate Central dashboard. This approach gives you a way to sell on Amazon without having to invest in anything other than your own website.
In dropshipping, you don’t keep products on hand. Instead, you purchase products from a third-party, who then ships the products to your customer for you. Your customer never knows the products didn’t come from you.
Dropshipping is a popular ecommerce business model, but when it comes to Amazon, there are a lot of rules. Amazon requires you to always be the seller of record. You must identify yourself as the seller on everything related to the product, including:
• Packing slips
• Any other information related to the products
You’re also required to remove anything that identifies the third-party seller before you ship the order, including the above. And of course, you’re responsible for accepting and processing returns.
Pros and Cons of Selling on Amazon
Amazon is full of third-party sellers, and when done right, you can be one of the successful ones. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t some drawbacks worth considering.
• It’s easy to get started as an Amazon Seller, even if you’re a beginner.
• If you’ve got an exclusive product and a decent profit margin, you can benefit from the Amazon partnership.
• Potential for more sales because Amazon has so much traffic
• Low marketing costs
• No need to carry stock
• Sellers can hijack your listings. They use your legitimate Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASIN) to list counterfeit products. Those sellers get all your marketing effort, and you get all the bad reviews for the fake product on your actual listing.
• Amazon fees add up quickly. If you don’t have a considerable margin, you may lose it by paying Amazon.
• You don’t get control of the experience for customers.
• You’ll still be responsible for customer care and nurturing – even if Amazon fulfills your orders for you.
Amazon vs. Selling on Shopify or Other Ecommerce Platforms
When you sell on the Amazon marketplace, you have to play by the rules. If you sell on your website or another platform like Shopify, you’re not as locked into specifics. You have more control over the customer experience and checkout process.
Since many platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce allow for omnichannel selling, you can leverage the marketplace on Amazon without exclusively selling there.
It’s worth noting that you’ll have fees and restrictions regardless of the route you take. Even if you don’t use something like Shopify, you’ll have hosting fees and transaction fees due to your payment processor. Certain products will be off-limits per your web host and payment processor. This is why doing niche research ahead of time makes such a difference.
For instance, if you want to sell products on your own site through PayPal, you cannot sell:
• Any products that present a risk to consumer safety (narcotics, steroids, etc.)
• Drug paraphernalia
• Anything that encourages, promotes, facilitates, or instructs others to engage in any illegal activity
• Stolen goods, including digital ones
“Before you begin with selling on Amazon it’s always a good idea to skim through their policies because marketplaces like Amazon are very strict about the process. There is also an important difference between selling on Amazon as a brand owner or as a reseller because each option has different steps that you need to take. For example, as a brand owner you want to go to Amazon first and register yourself in their Brand Protection program.”