Amazon has been considered a cradle of remote sales for years. Why? Because quite simply, there’s nothing else like this platform. Lately, the very mention of this e-store has become so ubiquitous that countless entrepreneurs from different corners of the world have started championing it in the framework of their own businesses.
No wonder the US based store has such reputation – with well-thought-out logistics, quality of service and fast delivery, the trading platform becomes a marketing oasis for more than 2 billion users worldwide every year. More so, for the majority of American customers Amazon is the first spot when it comes to online purchases. With such a hot customer base at disposal, it’s not a sin but a noble mission to start selling your own goods there.
Wouldn’t that be amazing to build your business in this holy marketing grail and generate profit? If you wonder how to be on the same wavelength with successful entrepreneurs who generate millions, here’s our detailed guide that covers the entire process – from account creation to product listings formation. Following this, you will manage to sell your first product fast and easy.
So go inside here and let’s get to the meat and potatoes of Amazon for business.
How to Start Selling On Amazon?
The first thing you should do is think systematically, because for many sellers the very idea of moving from theory to practice is associated with perplexities. While in fact, everything is much simpler, even though the process is multistep and might look intimidating. So here’s what you need to do to get started:
- Decide What Product you Can Sell. Keep in mind that “wanting” is not to be confused with “being able to”. These words have a subtle difference which some merchants seem to neglect while being on the fence about products selection. The thing is that you won’t find one-size-fits-all product on Amazon, but entrepreneurs strive to sell items of low demand anyway, which explains why their rankings and profits might be scarce.
Amazon offers to choose either from 20 product categories open to all sellers or more than 10 to professional sellers. So, make sure you tap into niches and items which align with shoppers’ needs and demands 100% – otherwise, the competition with devour your potential.
- Opt for the Right Selling Plan. Amazon has a smart distribution of plans that give opportunities to starters and experienced sellers alike. As an individual entrepreneur, you can sell less than 40 items a month without a monthly subscription fee, yet with a moderate selling fee that equals 0.99$ for each sold product.
Plus, there are referral fees and variable closing fees you’ll need to pay for. Considering that you want to sell your very first product, this plan will be the most suitable option for you. And of course, once your business takes leaps to new heights, you can always switch to a professional selling plan and sell 40+ products per month. We’ll talk about this plan in more detail shortly.
- Complete Registration. This step is a no-brainer, for all you have to do at this point is create your seller account on Seller Central. This is a conveniently designed website where you can conduct basic seller operations: add product information, update inventory, process orders and manage payments. We’ll also explain how to create seller account in our step-by-step guide below.
- List Your Products. At this stage, you have two simple options to choose from: add items to the Amazon Marketplace catalog at once, or add multiple goods if you use a professional selling plan. Afterward, you have two ways to list your products.
For items on Amazon, you’ll need to specify the number of goods you want to sell, the state of their quality and appearance, and transportation options. For products not yet on Amazon, you’ll need to indicate universal product code, international article number and stock keeping unit. Also, don’t forget to add products’ title and description to optimize your listing.
- Sell. Once you start selling products on Amazon, Seller fees is put in your bank account, and you have the ability to get payment delivery notifications via email.
- Ship. No need to track your selling progress and update your account manually to see when customers place an order. Amazon will send you automatic notifications as soon as it happens. On top of that, you can use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and allow Amazon to complete shipping operations or handle them yourself.
- Receive Money. Time to get financial compensation for all your efforts – Amazon deposits payment into your bank account on a regular basis, thus letting you know when money has been sent.
How Much Can You Earn On Amazon?
That’s the point when you begin to smell the taste of profit before you actually receive it. Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees, and you’ll need to conduct considerable market research before acquiring this resource from sales. There’s no exact number for every seller, since it fluctuates drastically depending on purposes and product selections – that’s actually the reason why competition will never subside in this niche.
The disparities can be downright impressive – some earn money that hardly make ends meet, while others get thousands and millions of revenue. Basically, only the sky’s the limit to what you can make out of sales. So if you want to earn from $1,000 a month and higher, you need to listen to your entrepreneurial spirit and come up with smart strategies to analyze the market properly and tap into the right products. Most importantly, you have to make bold decisions and be ready to sacrifice time – only then will your efforts pay off.
How Does Amazon Work
The first thing to take into account before you sell things on Amazon is that this store is a paradise for shoppers and a vast ecommerce playfield for sellers. Initially, it only sold books. Today, you can find virtually anything that interests users on the platform – equipment, delectable food, furniture, kitchenware, grocery items, clothing, cosmetics, electronics, jewelry, media, musical instruments, personal-care items, and the list goes on.
That’s quite a great possibility to catch a big fish in this pond, even if you’re a newbie.
Now that you started analyzing if your product will suit one of the above mentioned categories, let’s take a closer glance at how a product looks like on Amazon from the seller’s perspective, and discuss some key points you need to remember before selling your own goods.
- As you can on from the screenshot above, a central arrow indicates that green tea pods are sold by a third-party seller “VitaCup” (everyone who wants to become an Amazon seller starts promoting their items as third-party merchants). Sellers of this status become available in the “Buy Box” as customers add this product to the cart.
- You can also see the “Fulfilled by Amazon” storage and shipping option near the “VitaCup” name, meaning that the seller chose to appoint Amazon to take control of product delivery to the customer.
- The arrow on the right corner points on other merchants on Amazon willing to sell the same product. In our case, there’s one third-party merchant. A small remark: you won’t see Amazon. com as a seller in this section, and nor will you notice it in the buy box.
- It’s essential to take into account the fact that obtaining Buy Box is a primary thing which no seller can do without. Otherwise, you won’t be featured in this product page section, meaning that customers will be deprived of ease to add your items directly to the shopping cart. Minus one purchase equals minus one chance to get profit, so sell wisely.
Another factor of immense significance has to do with Amazon sellers’ classification. The “everything store” has three seller types, all of which help get your product listed. A time-tested and effective way to initiate sales implies the use of professional account type. This one allows you to sell goods as a third-party seller.
Then there is an Amazon vendors type designed to help entrepreneurs sell products straight to Amazon. If none of these are suitable for you, there’s also a possibility to opt for fulfillment options created both for professional and individual seller accounts. Here’s what each of these types mean in particular:
Professional Seller. As we’ve mentioned before, you can sell 40+ goods under a pro merchant status, in comparison to individual account where the number of products is limited to 40. Another plus of this type is that professional sellers can promote their products in restricted categories and get access to Amazon Seller Central tools. Overall, the account will cost you 40$ per month.
Fulfillment Options (FBA & FBM). These are the selling methods all merchants work with. They are divided into fulfillment by Amazon and fulfillment by merchant. Both of them are available for individual and pro sellers. Here are a few noteworthy differences between them to keep in mind:
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is when Amazon partially fulfills customer’s wishes – takes a big role in product storage and its delivery to the end user. It is thus the most popular and frequently used selling method which grants entrepreneurs an opportunity to use the store’s services for order fulfillment, storage and customer service. This benefit charges you with additional Amazon fees, such as fulfillment fees, monthly storage fees, and referral fee.
- Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) allows you to manage customer service and pricing individually, as well as store and ship product inventories. In this case, you pay only Amazon Referral Fee for each item.
Amazon Vendors. If you use Amazon Vendor Central platform for sales, it means that you have a privileged right to sell goods of any quantity directly to the store, without intermediaries. On top of that, Amazon itself becomes a distributor of your own products, operating on shipping prices, promoting the sale of goods, providing assistance to customers, and ensuring client return. Note: Amazon Vendor Central is available only by invitation.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
We’ve already outlined the main features of this storage and shipping service in the previous section. However, you might need to get some more insights to have a clear understanding of how this method works, as well as be aware of major pros and cons it implies.
Who is FBA Useful For?
This is a perfect marketing solution for business owners whose company is developed and has many products to deliver.
What is Entrepreneurs’ Role in the Framework of FBA?
Let’s figure out exactly what functions you need to perform before the product appears on the customer’s doorstep:
- Choose the item you want to sell.
- Take control of your product stock and fill it up with new goods.
- Foster sales. For this, you can either use the assistance of a Sponsored Products advertising program offered by Amazon or promote the goods by yourself.
- Prepare your products for shipment
- Pack your goods and deliver them to the warehouse spot that Amazon appoints at the stage of listing.
That’s it! Once you’re done with these processes, Amazon will do the rest of the work for you. The rest here means:
- Verification of product’s condition
- Activation of your listings and subsequent item’s appearance on product page.
- Storage of products until customer’s order request.
- Shipment of order to the client.
- Deposit of your sale’s share into your seller account (selling cost minus Amazon’s fees).
So basically, the entire scheme is transparent: all you have to do to make sure the product sells successfully is find the item with high selling potential and let Amazon workers handle other storage and transportation tasks themselves.
What are the Perks of Using FBA for Business?
- The most obvious benefit you can think of is a basic facilitation of processes that involve your brain, hands, and expenses. See for yourself: you could spend large sums of money on delivery procedures and time-consuming operations if not the help of Amazon staff. But now that such service exists, you can pay a moderate fee and get visible sales results much faster.
- Fulfillment by Amazon allows you to forget about headaches related to order return requests. If previously entrepreneurs had to communicate with customers directly to find out the reasons of return, now this work is completely orchestrated by Amazon employees. Plus, you no longer need to pay for replacement and keep customers updated whenever the product status changes.
- It’s all about shipment. As long as you know that you don’t need to spend a fortune and pay shipping companies to get your products delivered, Amazon is at your disposal. Most sellers who charge customers for shipping only lose the points, for no shopper wants to pay extra money for this option. But if you choose to work by the FBA method, you get access to Prime delivery service and spend less, for Amazon has solid experience of collaboration with high-rated shipping entreprises.
- No need to keep goods in house. Part of the reason why thousands of sellers move to the world of ecommerce is that they don’t have to bother about making room to store their products in. From here comes no need to second guess if your basement will manage to accommodate all your items. FBA enables you to spend close to nothing (a small charge from monthly inventory fee), and make sure your products are kept in a safe place before delivery.
- More chances to get global. Raise your hand if you know entrepreneurs who find the experience of selling internationally intimidating. Evidently, there are risk factors that deter sellers from expanding their marketplace, such as loss of money, as well as time and effort in case the whole idea falls short. Luckily, there are multiple FBA fulfillment centers across the globe which you can freely use without being afraid that your money will disappear.
What are the Cons of Using Fulfillment by Amazon?
- Pricing. Yes, FBA will cost you a $40 monthly fee, but the cost per unit remains flexible. This means that if you decide to sell heavy or large goods, FBA can be detrimental for your profit margin, since you can pay up to $137.3 for each unit from these categories.
- It can be challenging to control product volumes, especially when holidays are nearby. Of course, the FBA program leaves you informed about your current stock levels, but it doesn’t notify you of inventory shortages. So once such situation takes place, don’t expect the program to send you alarms – just check regularly if your stock requires replenishment by yourself.
- Delays and losses are not a rarity. Unfortunately, even with such a reliable service as FBA, there’s still no guarantee that your product(s) won’t get lost or arrive to destination in time. Sometimes delivery systems process too many orders at once, which in turn might result in retardation and worsening of your seller rating. Apart from that, sudden situations like these can lead to absence of repeat purchases, as well as loss of clients and profits – which gradually leads us to point 4.
- The sum of your compensation won’t align with your bottom line. Not only can you become a victim of accidental product loss or significant delay, but you also risk receiving no refund. And the worst part is that even if Amazon will agree to give you reimbursement, they’ll calculate its amount based on internal assessment of product’s worth, not taking into account its value for your bottom line.
- You can’t get involved into the packing process. Understandably, the Amazon FBA program was created primarily with delivery efficiency in mind. That’s why it won’t allow you to add the spirit of prettiness and cuteness to your order if it requires some sort of customization. Hence, no personalized marketing materials and elements can be added to your product to enhance its look. Yet, alternatively, you can always use another fulfillment company that’ll gladly help you pack any order the way you want.
Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)
Unlike FBA, fulfillment by merchant means that a seller fulfills customer’s needs on their own and is therefore in charge of all selling processes, including purchasing, packing, and shipping. Here, the role of Amazon is absent whatsoever, for entrepreneurs use their own time and effort to deliver the ordered items to customers.
Who is FMB Useful For?
Fulfillment by merchant is a beneficial helper for small-size businesses and individual entrepreneurs who don’t operate on giant companies, and thus have no need to address providers and ask for shipment assistance. Also, it’s the most effective method when it comes to exclusive goods of unique value which do not require frequent shipment. Simply put, FBM gives a helping hand to merchants who intend to sell customized small-volume products.
What are the Advantages of Using FBM for Business?
- The most notable benefit here is the rise of your margin, since you don’t have to pay Amazon fees that double or even triple if you want to ship a heavy item.
- The likelihood of your product being delivered with delays is reduced to zero. Given that you manage delivery procedures yourself, you can always track when and where the item will arrive. And even if your product will get lost in the middle of the road, you won’t lose much because you don’t pay additional fees, remember?
- You can pack your items in a customizable manner (add handwritten notes or additional marketing materials).
- There’s no need to worry about paperwork issues in case of direct cooperation with the customer.
- It’s easier to control the state of your inventory given that you sell less products. Hence, you can timely detect stock shortage and replenish it anytime without any risk of discovering empty inventory one day.
Just compare the situation with FBA: there, Amazon doesn’t send notifications whenever stocks are on the brink of depletion, so it’s clearly much better to monitor this state individually with FBM.
- You are in power to organize your business however you like.
What are the Drawbacks of Using FBM for Business?
- You’ll need to figure out which space to rent to keep your goods in. This will probably be a room bigger than your garage.
- You’ll have to talk with customers by phone, answer their letters and process requests yourself. If that’ll take too much time for you, get ready to set aside money and hire a specialist who would do all these operations instead of you.
- FBM is devoid of possibility to handle complaints and returns from customers. Therefore, this job is given to you automatically.
- You’ll have harder times trying to win the Buy Box.
How to Create an Amazon Seller Account?
Here comes the definitive moment – registration. Go grab snacks and a bit of patience – you’ll need to do some serious work here.
So, before you start registering, make sure you’re confident about two things: 1) you’ve reached the point in which you’re happy with your market research, product ordering, and business plan. 2) you’ve decided for yourself which selling plan will suit you best (individual or professional).
Now that you’re armed with all necessary information, it’s time to get started officially.
Stage 1. Go to the main Amazon page, scroll to the very bottom and select the “sell on Amazon” button. Then, select “Start Selling”. By the way, you can take a short queeze called “Am I ready to sell?” to know for sure if this business is right for you (in case you still have hesitations, which we bet you don’t).
Stage 2. Create an account by stating your name, email, and password.
Stage 3. Set up your Amazon sell account by entering the following info: legal name, business address, unique display name for your business, website URL, and mobile number for verification.
Stage 4. Then comes the billing method which you’ll have no problem with if you’ve already made a choice to sell either as an individual or professional. At this stage, Amazon will verify your selling plan.
Stage 5. Provide your tax information by clicking a “start tax interview” button. This step is essential, for this way Amazon will register you in the system. On the interview page, specify if you’re a sole proprietor or a business, along with name and federal tax classification.
Stage 6. Here, Amazon asks you to share information about your products, like availability of UPCs (universal product codes) for all goods, whether you create items for sale on Amazon, and the quantity of products you plan to list.
Congratulations! You Seller account is now set up. There, you can add products, browse the catalog, monitor inventory, pricing, orders, advertising, reports, performance and so much more.
How to Find Products to Sell on Amazon
Luckily, today’s ecommerce practices assist in tapping into the right product without you having to conquer dragons or go through fire. Currently, there are at least five ways you can use to help your business thrive faster.
One of them has to do with product research (Amazon shares basic information about market tendencies and top-rated items). The other ways concern monitoring of competition and exploration of competitors’ key selling products.
Then, you can scrutinize Amazon product listings to get an insight about critical parameters – size, weight, sellers rank, customer reviews etc. Finally, you can source products using different platforms (Alibaba or wholesale marketplaces).
Clearly, you can utilize all of the enumerated ways and hope that your efforts spent on independent search will pay off. But who wants to waste so much time on doing research which might leave many questions unanswered anyway? Especially when there are so many useful tools you can benefit from.
Powerful software can help you facilitate the process of looking for high-selling goods and analyzing competitors’ prices. This way, you can predetermine your product success much faster and open the doors to other selling possibilities.
How to Determine the Products’ Price on Amazon?
We’re going to disappoint you, but there’s no way you can physically keep an eye of all price fluctuations on Amazon, nor can you analyze price history for millions of Amazon products manually. However, you can always count on little saviors – top software tools designed for accurate price tracking. With automation comes success, and your success is just around the corner – all you have to do is choose any price tracker to lay all drop and rise statistics bare.
Which software is best to choose? Lookout for the following article to find out more about top-rated tools.
Product Listing Optimization Guide
Every seller, including you, would love to contemplate that pleasing process of visitors converting into buyers. That’s the main indicator of your progress in sales and a top accolade which shows that your work is finally starting to yield good results. But wait for it – you can’t reach such effect without alluring product description, aka product listing.
The creation of listings is half science, half art
On the one hand, there’s a specific algorithm you should adhere to so that your item becomes noticeable on the product page, and thus elevates your ranking.
On the flip side, you need to turn imagination on and come up with some creative content for description – that’s a prerequisite to enhanced customer interest that ultimately leads to a purchase.
On that note, let’s briefly cover the key elements your product listing should consist of, and what steps you need to take to make it optimized.
Element #1. Product Title
Your visitors won’t ever turn to you and buy your product unless you show them what it actually is. Accurate and understandable product title is what makes shoppers say, “yes, that’s exactly what I need”. A part of effective title copy is, not surprisingly, keywords. If you add relevant keywords separated by dashes and pipes, rest assured that your ranking will increase by several points. If you have little idea of how to conduct keyword research, you can always use the help of keyword tools that display what items shoppers are looking for on Amazon.
Another elements of immaculate product title are unique selling point and brand name. Reading these, buyers will know who you are and be aware of all the benefits your product has to offer.
Finally, it’s not recommended to cross the line of 200 characters for the title.
Element #2. Product Features
Without features there are no benefits – remember this marketing rule everytime you’ll need to highlight your items’ features. Now, let’s move on to the basics: it’s best to list all features in bullet points. This way, buyers will pay more attention to your product, thus having a solid proof of why exactly they need to purchase it. Also, don’t forget to include the top features in the beginning of the list, and leave the least significant characteristics for the end.
Additonally, it’s advisable to integrate a couple of keywords into the list of features, but make sure they don’t disturb shoppers from the main content. And keep in mind that the number of bullet points is not infinite – 5 or 6 is more than enough to make readers understand what your product is all about.
Element #3. Product Images
Visualization is often more precious than words, we all know that. And so can you knock shoppers down by letting images speak loudly about your offer. To make your goods look tempting, you need to give images a natural, yet seductive look. Here are a few details that’ll help you create a perfect shoot:
- Bright white illumination will augment detalization and make your item shine
- Place the product at the center, avoid adding disturbing elements, like accessories or other items
- Make a silo image to focus attention on neutral background
- Ensure your image is large enough to enable zooming
- Use no other format than JPEG
Element #4. Product Description
Time to turn technical job to creativity – descriptions give you freedom of thought to write everything that looks relevant and convincing for shoppers. Convincing to the extent when buyers want to purchase your product, even when they might not really need it at a time.
Put yourself in shoppers’ shoes for a moment
What would be your first question if you looked at the product of your dreams? If it’s not an impulsive purchase, the question would probably be, “How can this item solve my everyday issues and be useful for me?”. If a single description of your desired product fails to give an answer, then no other conviction will work for you.
So, try to disclose the practical value of your goods in product description as effectively as you can, while keeping it short, comprehensive, and precise. The readers’ reaction will also multiply if you combine both factual and descriptive data, along with a short highlight of top features.
More Powerful Resources For Selling on Amazon
Hopefully, you’ve managed to absorb the main ideas, suggestions, and tips we tried to cover in this article. And now that you’ve made it to this section, we have a reward for your patience – a list of extra tools that’ll help your products sell at the speed of light. These are the most powerful and effective software resources on the market, using which you can make sure that your sales will bring decent results and high profits.
Amazon Review Checker
Unfortunately, there’s no insurance for negative reviews and complaints directed at your product. But checking every single such review from customers manually is equivalent to complete absence of concentration on other important tasks you need to handle – or to derailment in worst cases. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a review checker tool that automatically sends you email notifications whenever new feedback emerges?
There are plenty of software designed to ease your life and help you resolve issues quickly, so take your time and look for one with adequate pricing and multiple features.
Amazon Sales Estimator
Knowing the exact numbers when it comes to sales forecasts is just impossible unless you have a reliable helper at hand. In view of this, sometimes it’s much better to pay a monthly or yearly fee for sales estimator instead of trying to control the whole thing by yourself. Sales is a very tricky business in which competition rises exponentially, but you can keep head above water and always get your monthly sales and profit stats updated. For this, you can use potent marketing tools to get an accurate analysis of your products’ performance, as well as those of competitors.
Amazon Chrome Extension
Chrome extensions are the tools which form a powerful alliance of features that help your business intergate into selling processes much easier. Specifically, whenever the need to resolve many marketing tasks at once appears, Chrome extension will have you covered. For instance, imagine that you need statisctics on average monthly sales, sales rank, average reviews and opportunity score.
It’d take you forever to conduct such estimations all by yourself, which is why your chances to sell more and earn more would decrease. Nevertheless, you can always count on Amazon Chrome extension that can handle these tasks effectively. At the same time, you’ll only need to perform a certain search on Amazon, and then run your extension to get detailed results in a matter of seconds.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, Amazon selling is an intricate process that takes a hell of a lot of time to understand completely. Well, even this article will take you 10 minutes to read up, let alone figure out how to implement this material on practice. But don’t worry – most entrepreneurs get return of investments in the first three months since their first product launch (and none of them have stopped selling ever since).
So, there’s just one thing left to ask: if you’re not selling on Amazon right now, what are you even doing? Take the plunge and dive into the exciting world of immense marketing possibilities. It might be hard at first, but we promise that the net effect will be worth your effort.