Amazon is the largest online marketplace. While people often think of eBay, Etsy, and Shopify when it comes to selling goods online, Amazon may provide the perfect platform for establishing your eCommerce business.
However, learning how to sell on Amazon requires a lot of work. You need to research products, build your inventory, and maintain a positive seller reputation.
The selling process can be intimidating for beginners. Even if you have experience selling goods online, listing products on Amazon may require different techniques compared to your typical methods.
With the right advice, you can establish yourself as a reliable Amazon seller and create a steady revenue stream. Here is your complete guide for how to sell on Amazon for beginners.
Decide on the Type of Products You Want to Sell
While you do not need to select a specific product category immediately, you should eventually narrow your focus to a niche market. This will make it easier to research the latest trends in the market.
When you only pay attention to one or two product categories, you can keep track of the newest products and gain more knowledge about what sells and what doesn’t.
Amazon sells a little bit of everything. However, there are only certain categories that are open to new sellers. There are also categories that require approval before you can list in them.
Books are a popular choice, as they are a low-cost item to acquire. Learning how to sell books on Amazon is often easier compared to selling in other product categories.
People are more likely to buy used books and it is easy to set a profitable price margin. Books are also one of the categories in which you can sell new or used items without having to receive approval.
Select a Selling Plan and Create Your Account
The type of products that you plan to sell may also impact your decision when choosing between the Individual Seller and Professional Seller plans. These are the two plans that are available to Amazon merchants.
The Individual Seller plan is free, while the Professional Seller plan includes a monthly fee. With the monthly fee, you get several advantages to help you sell items.
Professional Sellers do not get charged a per-item selling fee, while Individual Sellers are charged $0.99 per item. Also, professional sellers save on shipping costs for certain categories when fulfilling orders themselves instead of using the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) option.
The Professional Seller plan also provides access to categories that are not available to individual sellers. For example, only those with a premium plan can sell business products, collectible coins, jewelry, gourmet food, and industrial or scientific equipment.
You can always get started with the Individual Seller plan and then upgrade to the Professional Seller plan later.
When you first start selling, it may take several months to build your reputation and learn how to sell on Amazon FBA using the latest advertising and marketing techniques. During this learning phase, you may not need the advantages provided by the Professional Seller Plan.
After creating your account, you can access Amazon Seller Central. Seller Central is the primary web interface that you will use to manage your seller account and list your products. You should spend a little time browsing the menus to familiarize yourself with the layout.
You can instantly start listing products on Amazon. You can either list products that are already on Amazon or products that are not yet offered. When someone purchases an item, you will get paid and receive an email.
Choose Your Shipping Method for Fulfilling Orders
Another decision that you need to make is whether you want to ship your items to an Amazon warehouse or directly ship the items to the customer.
With the Fulfillment by Amazon Program, items are sent to an Amazon fulfillment center and then shipped to the customer. This also allows customers to use their Amazon Prime benefits. They can get free two-day shipping on the products that you sell.
Items shipped by Amazon include the same policy for returns that is used for items sold by Amazon. The trust that customers have in Amazon and the Prime shipping benefits helps you sell more items.
The second option is to fulfill the orders yourself. This is called Merchant Fulfill. With this option, you ship the item directly to the customer after they complete the transaction.
In most cases, the Amazon FBA program is the recommended shipping method. The process for learning how to sell on Amazon FBA does not require the same amount of work compared to selling with the Merchant Fulfill option.
Selling on Amazon FBA is also the only way to get your product to appear in the “buy box.” If you only sell as a merchant, your listing will appear in the “other sellers” section, which does not generate the same number of impressions compared to the main product details page.
Download and Install the Amazon Seller Mobile App
Amazon provides sellers with a variety of tools to help them manage their merchant account, including the Amazon Seller App.
This official mobile app is available directly from Amazon. It includes beneficial resources for setting prices and calculating your potential revenue.
You can use the app to enter the price of an item, the cost of shipping it to Amazon, and the amount that you spent on the item. The Amazon Revenue Calculator determines how much you will be charged in fees and how much profit you will earn.
You should enter every item that you plan to list in the calculator to ensure that it is a wise investment. Typically, a more expensive item should offer a larger profit margin.
With cheap goods, such as items that cost less than $20, you may only earn a few dollars per transaction. However, these cheaper goods tend to sell faster.
Decide How You Want to Acquire Your Inventory
You can sell a wide range of products on Amazon. However, unless you are selling digital goods, it is not the best online marketplace for selling original creations.
Most Amazon merchants sell new or used products. You can sell everything from new clothing to used books or automotive parts.
The method that you use for acquiring your inventory directly impacts your earning potential. Maximizing your profit margins requires you to find items at low prices and then sell them for a profit.
Some Amazon sellers start by selling items that they already have. You may have used items that are still in great condition that you no longer use.
Keep in mind that Amazon only allows new sellers to list used items in certain categories. There are also items that require prior approval. The product categories that do not require approval for used items include the following:
- Cameras and photography equipment
- Musical instruments
- Office products
- Outdoor gear
- Sports equipment
- Hunting equipment
- Video games
- Computer software
If you have items that fall in any of these categories, selling them on Amazon is a great way to start building your seller reputation.
How to Find Low-Cost Items to Build Your Inventory
When you run out of things around the house to sell, you need to decide how to buy low-cost items. You can either obtain items from local businesses or buy them online.
If you visit a local retailer, bring your smartphone with the Amazon Seller App installed. You can scan the barcode of items in the store and then view the current price for that product on Amazon. You can compare the prices to determine whether or not the item offers a good profit margin.
Remember that you can also use the Amazon Revenue Calculator when trying to find items. When searching for low-cost items online, always enter them into the calculator.
There are advantages to shopping locally and buying online. When you purchase low-cost items online, you have more options. There are more retailers that you can compare to find the lowest price.
However, you cannot physically see the product to determine if it is in good condition. There is also a risk of lost or delayed shipments.
Purchasing locally allows you to examine the product before buying. The drawback is that you may not always find the lowest price. You may also find it difficult to acquire large quantities of items.
You may want to try both options. Search for items both locally and online until you get a good idea of which option works best for the type of products that you sell.
Getting Your Item Listed in the Buy Box
If you want to know how to sell on Amazon, you should understand how products are featured on the website. For those that are not familiar with the Amazon website, you should take the time to review the product details page.
When shoppers search for items and click on a product, they can view the details and features of the product. This detail page also includes the price and buying options.
The seller with the top listing for that product appears in the “buy box”. When a user adds the item to their cart from the details page, they are buying it from this seller.
They can also click on the “available from other sellers” button. However, 90% of shoppers simply add the items to their carts without exploring the offerings of other sellers, making it essential to get listed in the buy box.
You will need to use the Amazon FBA shipment option and set a price that matches the average price offered by other merchants. However, the biggest factor is your reputation. You need to slowly increase your seller rating.
Selling Print Books and eBooks on Amazon
Besides selling new or used items that you purchase from other retailers or wholesalers, you can sell your own products. Independently published books comprise a major portion of the book market on Amazon.
If you search for books in almost any genre, many of the titles that you see are written and published by individual authors without the backing of a publishing company.
Amazon even provides additional tools and resources for creating your own book and getting it listed on the website. With an Amazon CreateSpace account, you can upload your completed manuscript, add a cover, and list print copies of your book for sale on Amazon.
After creating your book on CreateSpace, you can transfer the files to Kindle Direct Publishing. This allows you to sell an eBook version of the print book and have them appear in the same listing.
The steps needed for learning how to sell your own book on Amazon are different compared to selling goods as a third-party vendor.
Instead of worrying about the “buy box” or becoming the top-listed seller, you need to focus on promoting your book. This typically requires online marketing outside of Amazon. Paid advertisements can be used to attract visitors from Google or Facebook.
Last Thoughts on Making Money by Selling on Amazon
Learning how to sell on Amazon takes practice and research. You need to experience the sales process yourself and find out what methods work. You also need to continually research the latest marketing techniques and product releases for your niche categories.
During the first several months, you may not sell many items. In fact, you may go weeks without selling a single item. These dry spells should not discourage you from continuing to sell items on Amazon. It can take time for your listings to get noticed and for you to develop a positive seller reputation.
Amazon is the largest online marketplace and provides a simplified platform for selling a wide range of goods. When you first get started, try to find products that sell quickly. These tend to be low-cost items that people purchase impulsively, such as books and home or office supplies.
You should also keep track of your results. Focus more on the products that sell well and cut back on the products that people tend to overlook.
In the end, Amazon is a great place to start selling goods. Anyone can get started for free and you can target customers all over the world.