How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners
There is more than one way to make money selling on Amazon. I’m going to talk about the main ones in this article.
First of all, Amazon Marketplace. Marketplace offers you the opportunity to sell products (not just books, but a wide range of things) on the same page of the Amazon website where Amazon sells the product. So you can compete with them head-on and even compete with them on price. Sale prices are fixed: Marketplace is not an auction. You can list an unlimited number of items for free, but what they call a referral fee is charged on every sale. Marketplace is for new and used products.
Marketplace is suitable if you just want to make some extra money part-time, but also want to start a ‘proper’ small business.
The other main way to make money is Amazon Associates. Associates is basically an affiliate program.
How to sell on Amazon Marketplace
It’s very easy to get started with Amazon Marketplace. No need to register in advance. You can open a seller account when you list your first product.
If you already have a buyer account on Amazon, you can add your seller account to it.
To register as a seller, you will need a business name, an address, a display name, a credit card, and a contact phone number. That is all you need to get started.
Go to the Amazon site, scroll down the page to ‘Make money with us’ and then ‘Sell on Amazon’. You will then see two options:
Sell a little or sell a lot? Amazon offers two Marketplace entry points that they informally label as “selling a little” or “selling a lot.”
Basically, “a little” is for casual sellers and hobbyists who expect to sell fewer than 35 items per month. It costs 86 pence plus a referral fee for each sale. You are also restricted to the product categories you can sell on. The advantage, however, is that it costs next to nothing to get started and there are no ongoing charges if you don’t sell much initially.
Selling “a lot” is for professional sellers who expect to sell more than 35 items per month. You pay a fixed monthly fee of 28.75 and a referral fee. You can sell on all Amazon product categories.
It is not always feasible to list low-priced, low-volume products as a ‘sell a little’ seller. To do that, you must be a ‘sell a lot’ salesperson! However, I recommend that you start down the “sell a little” route. You can always update later.
Choose your option, then fill out the online form.
Professional Trader Sellers
Once you sell “a lot,” you probably also want to become what Amazon calls a professional salesperson. Professional traders have access to volume selling tools and bulk lists. There is a web interface that allows you to more easily manage your product descriptions, inventory, and orders. You can also export and import information to and from your account.
Once up and running, the sell a lot / professional trader option will prove to be much cheaper and more importantly, it will allow you to work on tighter margins and make money on sales that those who sell just a little cannot.
Selling on Amazon Marketplace: How to Sell Your Products
Now let’s take a look at exactly how you list your products for sale on Amazon Marketplace.
The idea of Marketplace is that you sell your product on the exact same page that Amazon and any other Marketplace seller sell it on.
So first, look for the new equivalent product in the Amazon catalog. Use the ‘Search’ tool at the top of the Amazon home page. Enter the type and name of the product and Amazon will automatically take you to the correct page to list it.
Then carefully check that the product type, brand and model number or whatever Amazon has found for you is correct.
Once you get to that page, you will find a button called “Sell yours here”. Click on it, log into your seller account, and now you can list your product right away.
Now this is the really smart thing about Amazon.
Assuming the product already exists in the Amazon catalog, a listing is ready for use. You don’t have to write a description or upload a photo. All you need to do is indicate what condition your product is in (i.e. new or one of several standard descriptions used), indicate the quantity you have for sale, and fill in the price you need. Also decide what postage options you want to offer. (At this stage you can also decide whether you are willing to ship the product abroad or not.)
If you want, you can add an additional description of up to 2000 characters (not words). This will help you differentiate your product or offering from Amazon and other sellers.
Amazon will then give you a summary of your listing to check and will also confirm what your rates will be if the item sells. If you’re happy with this, just click ‘Submit Your Listing’ and you’re done. Once you have done this, your item will automatically appear on the list until it is sold or for 60 days (indefinitely if you are a professional merchant).
What is an ASIN? ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. Almost every product on their site has its own ASIN, a unique code that they use to identify you. If you know the ASIN, you can list it directly using it. (For books, the ASIN is the same as the ISBN number on the dust jacket.)