How To Sell On Amazon Marketplace – Make Money With Amazon. Amazon is a popular platform for both sellers and shoppers. To cope with the rising demands of the sellers, it has rolled out its FBA service. This service allows sellers to leverage the platform’s powerful distribution network and customer base to make their business dream come true. For retailers, it’s the most popular choice of platform.
FBA stands for “Fulfillment by Amazon” which means Amazon will store your products in the Amazon inventory, fulfill your orders, and offer customer service. If you want to use the Amazon FBA service, you have to create an Amazon seller account and add FBA to your account. It’s important that you set your business up in compliance with the guidelines on the website.
Amazon, the big retail giant, has been dominating the e-commerce industry for years. Based on a report conducted by Statista, Amazon’s growth from 1997 to 2019 has been from $0 to $280.52B. Imagine the amount of money they have earned in 25 years. They can all thank Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, and CEO for his relentless focus on long-term growth.
Since Amazon has staked their claim on being a global e-commerce powerhouse, you should jump on the opportunity to sell on their platform.
Although there have been entire books written about how to sell on Amazon, selling your products using this online marketplace can be a pretty fast, easy process—especially if you’re already chosen your products, found a supplier, and evaluated potential costs before setting up your account.
This being said, regardless of their size, every new Amazon seller gets started with the same five steps. Here are the details of what you need to do to start selling on Amazon.
Step 1: Sign Up For An Amazon Seller Account.
In order to set up your Amazon seller account and get started selling on Amazon, you’ll need to choose a seller plan, provide some information about your business, and understand Amazon’s seller policies.
Choose a Seller Plan
When you sign up to sell on Amazon, you’ll choose one of three different selling plans, depending on the scale of your business:
- Amazon Individual Seller: If you own a very small business and plan to sell fewer than 40 items per month, you can sign up as an Amazon individual seller. This will cost you just $0.99 per sale, plus a few other transaction fees.
- Amazon Professional Seller: If you plan to sell more than 40 individual items per month, you’ll need to sign up for a professional account. Amazon will charge a subscription fee of $39.99 per month, plus some transaction fees on each sale.
- Amazon Vendor: If you manufacture products yourself, you can sell these goods as a wholesale business to Amazon. They will handle product listings, fulfillment, and shipping, and when they run out of stock, they will order more from you.
Be aware that certain products require approval to sell—and, if approved, only sellers with professional accounts are eligible to sell those products. Some products that require approval include specific software, laser pointers, and hoverboards.
Before you choose which type of account to sign up for, check out Amazon’s comprehensive list of products requiring special approval to see whether you’ll need to get the go-ahead before becoming a seller.
Additionally, Amazon also prohibits certain items, like prescription drugs, from being sold on their platform—so be sure to consult those restrictions as well. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that if you choose to sign up as a professional seller (and meet certain requirements) you can apply to list your products.
Amazon recommends that you use the professional seller plan. Image source: Amazon.com
Create Your Amazon Seller Account
After you’ve chosen which plan you’ll sell under, you’re ready to set up your Amazon Seller Account. To complete your account setup, Amazon will request:
- Your Business Name: This is the name that will be visible to customers in the Amazon Marketplace.
- Your Legal Name and Address: This information is stored in your account for Amazon’s reference. If you’re a registered business entity, or have a fictitious business name or DBA, use the exact name and address under which you’re registered.
- Contact Information: Amazon will use your contact information to send you order notifications, guarantee claim notifications, and service and technical updates. Customers will use your customer contact information to reach out with questions about your orders. Contacts for Amazon and customers can be the same or separate.
- Where Products “Ship From”: Although your “ship from” location doesn’t change the shipping time or cost for buyers, some customers will use this information to make a buying decision between similar listings.
- Bank Account Information: Amazon delivers payments for products sold every 14 days directly to your business bank account.
- Shipping Options: Select which worldwide regions you’re willing to ship to, and indicate whether you’ll offer expedited shipping.
Set up Your Seller Profile
Once your account is active, the next step to learning how to sell on Amazon is to complete your public seller profile. Think of the Amazon seller profile as your Amazon-based social network profile for your business: This is where Amazon customers will get to know your company, view your shipping and return policies, review customer feedback, and more.
Here are the main sections you’ll want to complete in your seller profile right away:
- “About Seller” Section: This is where you’ll introduce buyers to your small business. Let them know who you are, tell the story of how you started your business, share your company philosophy, and add any other information that may help the buyer establish an emotional connection to you as a seller.
- Your Seller Logo: Customers will see your logo on your At a Glance page, on your storefront, and on the Offer Listing Page. Your logo must be 120 x 30 pixels in size, and the image can’t contain a URL or any reference to your own website.
- Return and Refund Policies: Provide instructions for how customers should return items, including the address where the merchandise should be returned to, and inform customers about the estimated time to process a refund. Keep in mind, though, that Amazon policy requires sellers to allow returns for a minimum of 30 days.
Once you provide all this information, you’ll be able to access your Seller Central Dashboard, you can start listing products, and start selling on Amazon.
Image source: Amazon.com
Step 2: List Your Products.
There is a learning curve to determining how to sell on Amazon successfully, but once you get the hang of it, selling on Amazon can be simple and intuitive. Once you set up your seller account, you get the ball rolling by listing your products for sale in the Amazon marketplace.
If you’re an individual seller, you’ll list your products on the Amazon Marketplace one at a time. If you’re a professional seller, on the other hand, you can list your products in large batches. Certain types of products, like clothing, support variations of size or color under a single listing.
The products you’re selling on Amazon will fall into one of two categories: Products already listed in the Amazon Marketplace, and new products of which you will be the first or only seller.
Listing Products Already on Amazon
If the product you’re listing is already on Amazon, you can use the stock images and descriptions available on the site. You just have to indicate how many of the products you have to sell, describe the condition of the products, and select your available shipping options.
When other sellers offering the same product run out of stock, Amazon will show your listing at the top. Remember also to try to differentiate yourself from other sellers who have listed the same product. You can offer free shipping, faster shipping, or lower prices to stand out from other sellers.
You can find “List a New Product” in your seller dashboard. Search through the product catalog to see if Amazon already stocks the product. You’ll be asked to provide price, quantity, and shipping information.
You can add one product at a time. But if you’re listing more than 50 products that are already in the Amazon catalog, you’ll use the Excel-formatted Listings Loader to fill in and upload the UPC/EAN codes for your listed products.
Listing a product on Amazon. Image source: Sellercentral.amazon.com
Listing Products Not Yet on Amazon
Do you design or manufacture a brand-new product that isn’t yet sold on Amazon? The great news is that you’ll definitely face less competition. The not-so-great news? Listing new products requires an Amazon professional seller account and involves a few extra steps.
In order to list a new product on Amazon, you’ll need to provide:
- The UPC/EAN Number: A unique 12- or 13-digit bar code used to track products. Multiple listings from various sellers of the same product will have a single UPC/EAN number, and only one product detail listing will be created to match that unique number.
- The SKU: A SKU number is a unique number that you create to track each of your listings.
- The Product Title: This should describe the product as concisely as possible.
Product Description and Bullet Points: Use the bullet points as quick descriptive text to catch the buyer’s interest. You can provide a more thorough overview of your product in the product description.
- Product Images: High-quality images are essential to selling on Amazon successfully. Amazon requires that images are at least 500 x 500 pixels on a pure white background without text or watermarks, and the product should take up at least 80% of the image area. For best results, use well-lit images of at least 1,000 x 1,000 pixels in size.
- Search Terms: For each new product that you list, Amazon gives you five fields of 50 characters each in which to list search terms.
Your product description and images will be key to attracting customers. Make sure the description is optimized for ecommerce SEO and that you include high-quality product images. Once you’ve gathered your product information, you have two options for uploading new product listings:
- If you’re selling 50 or fewer products, you can use the Seller Central Add a Product tool.
- To add multiple products not yet listed in the Amazon catalog, you’ll:
- Go to Seller Central
- Download the Inventory File Excel template that corresponds to your primary product category
- Fill in and upload details for all of your products from one central spreadsheet.
You can also link some ecommerce apps, such as Shopify and BigCommerce, with your Amazon Seller account to automatically pick up product listings.
Listings may be available to customers immediately after your upload is complete—but Amazon may take up to 24 hours to process your upload. If you don’t immediately see your new listing on the offer listing page, be patient and check back the next day for updates.
If it still seems to be missing, contact Amazon through the Seller Portal, or use the FAQ to troubleshoot any upload errors.
Step 3: Manage Your Inventory.
As soon as you upload your listings and set them live on the Amazon marketplace, you can use the Seller Central website to manage all aspects of your selling account. You can check for new orders, update your inventory, monitor your performance metrics, and much more.
Properly managing your inventory is one of the biggest keys to successfully selling on Amazon. As a buyer, you know how it feels when you click on a product you really want or need, only to find that it’s out of stock—and that’s a huge missed opportunity for the seller.
To prevent that situation from happening, there are a couple of different tools you can use. The simplest for small sellers is the Seller Central dashboard. From there, you can manually adjust inventory levels for all of your products.
If you’re a Professional seller, you can also adjust inventory levels with a bulk Excel upload. If you use an inventory management app that integrates with Amazon, such as Vendio or SellerEngine, you can use that to update your Amazon inventory.
Sometimes, sellers choose to sponsor their merchandise with ads if a particular product is not moving fast enough, or simply to increase demand. Sponsored ads are keyword-targeted ads that will move your listings above other search results—marked as sponsored—when a customer types in a specific search term. The cost is per click, and you can set your own budget and track performance.
Step 4: Fulfill And Ship Your Products.
Listing products for sale in the Amazon marketplace and managing your inventory are the hardest parts of learning how to sell on Amazon. This being said, once a customer places an order, the next step is to get that product into their hands.
Amazon offers two options for product fulfillment and shipment:
- Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM): You, as the Amazon Seller, are responsible for maintaining inventory, packaging, labeling, and shipping products to individual customers.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): Amazon stores your products in their fulfillment centers, and they’ll handle packaging and shipping products to customers.
Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM)
Self-shipping is typically a good option for small sellers and those with smaller margins. You can opt to charge for shipping or offer free shipping. The biggest advantage of FBM is that you can keep everything in-house and not lose more of your profits to Amazon fees.
The disadvantages are that it’s harder to qualify as an Amazon Prime shipper when you do FBM, so you could lose out on customers with Prime accounts. The other downside is that it’s more difficult to win the buy box (more on that below) when you choose FBM.
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)
If the nitty-gritty of processing and shipping orders yourself feels overwhelming, go for the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) shipping method. Through FBA, you can use Amazon’s world-class fulfillment centers, customer support, and other operational tools to scale your business faster than you ever could on your own.
3 Avoidable Reasons Why Sellers Fail on Amazon
Selling on Amazon offers limitless opportunities, but things can get downright confusing between finding the right business model and launching a product.
Lack of Training
Successful sellers wear a lot of hats. In addition to understanding the ins and outs of Seller Central, you’ll need to be able to establish supplier relations, understand international and domestic shipping processes, create quality listings and more.
Focus on the Wrong Products
As an Amazon seller, you won’t be without competition. In order to find products that sell, you’ll need comprehensive tools that can provide you with accurate historical and predictive data.
Setting Poor Expectations
86% of entrepreneurs who have launched a product are profitable on Amazon, but only 6% of those agree that selling on Amazon is a get rich quick scheme.
6 Common Pitfalls Of Selling On Amazon
Selling on Amazon successfully isn’t easy. Here are the 6 most common places where sellers go wrong:
- Not collecting taxes properly — You are responsible for collecting the appropriate sales tax for your state. If you don’t set it up correctly, those taxes come out of your revenue.
- Focusing on sales, not profit — While volume is important, it’s hard to make a lot on Amazon with a razor thin profit margin.
- Not labelling products right (if you use FBA) — There are very strict guidelines for your manufacturer to follow. If you don’t, your products won’t be accepted and you’ll be behind schedule.
- Overselling — If you sell products that you can’t deliver, you can be penalized by Amazon.
- Competing against Amazon — Amazon sells certain products directly, and it’s near impossible to beat them. Find a type of product where you only compete against other sellers.
- Skipping marketing — Amazon reduces most of the marketing you’ll need to do, but not all. You should at least do some initially.
A Huge Potential For Sales
The size of Amazon’s addressable audience is likely the most obvious benefit, but worth mentioning nonetheless. When you list your products on Amazon, you have access to a huge pool of already established customers.
According to Erik Fairleigh, an Amazon spokesman, the site has more than 2 million sellers worldwide, who sold more than 2 billion (yes, billion with a “b”) items in 2014.
In fact, more than 40 percent of all products sold on Amazon are from independent sellers doing business through Amazon’s platform. Fairleigh says sellers can instantly reach hundreds of millions of online customers when they sell their products on Amazon.
Earn Repeat Business Without Marketing
Standalone ecommerce sites (Shopify and Woocommerce are good examples) have to spend thousands of dollars in advertising just to let consumers know they exist, but Amazon has a built-in customer base that no standalone site will ever match. And Fairleigh says that Amazon sellers get repeat customers, especially when they offer exceptional customer service.
Others Pack And Ship Your Orders
Amazon makes it easy for sellers who don’t want to worry about packing and shipping their products. They offer Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which Fairleigh points out is both a time- and money-saver, since Amazon handles all storage, packing, and shipping (including free shipping for Amazon Prime members). FBA also streamlines international exportation, returns, and customer service.
Fairleigh quotes a 2014 study of U.S. Amazon sellers in which 71 percent of FBA sellers say their unit sales increased more than 20 percent since joining the program.
Solid Back-End Support
Amazon’s back-end infrastructure provides everything you need to do business including inventory tracking, credit card processing, and sales tax collection (but not sales tax filing), which can be overwhelming when you sell in multiple sales tax jurisdictions. (If you currently run a standalone ecommerce site and use Returns for Small Business, you already understand how important this is.)
Amazon’s algorithm lets customers see a list of recommended products when on the site, and your product could catch the attention of a customer when they’re not even looking for you. In addition, Amazon has a large network of affiliates that may point people to your products by featuring Amazon ads on their own websites.
Lots Of Perks
Amazon sellers get perks, such as giving their customers a familiar, trustworthy shopping experience; access to Amazon’s world-class fulfillment resources and expertise; acclaimed customer service; and trusted shipping options.
There are many ways to make money on Amazon. You can join the Mechanical Turk marketplace and get paid to do virtual tasks, publish an e-book or a printed book through Kindle Direct Publishing. Or you may be able to deliver items through Amazon Flex, if the program is available where you live.
The Fastest And Easiest Way To Sell Products On Amazon – Be An Affiliate
Amazon’s status as the top-selling online retailer makes two money-making opportunities stand out from the rest:
- Joining Amazon Associates, the company’s affiliate marketing program.
- Selling stuff through the company’s e-commerce platform.
Small business owner often struggles making money as an affiliate marketer. Many affiliate marketers who want to start a business online need a website to do it full time. You can create one for free below to kickstart your Amazon business.
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