How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners
There’s more than one way you can make money selling on Amazon. I’m going to tell you about the main ones in this article.
First of all, Amazon Marketplace. Marketplace offers you an opportunity to sell products (not just books but a whole range of things) on the exact same page on Amazon’s website where Amazon sell the product themselves. So you get to compete with them head-on, and even get to compete with them on price. Selling prices are fixed – Marketplace isn’t an auction. You can list an unlimited number of items for free but what they call a referral fee is charged on each sale. Marketplace is for both new and used products.
Marketplace is suitable whether you just want to make some spare cash part time, but also if you want to start a ‘proper’ small business.
The other main way to make money is Amazon Associates. Associates is basically an affiliate programme.
How To Sell on Amazon Marketplace
It’s very easy to get started with Amazon Marketplace. You don’t 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 that.
To register as a seller you will need a business name, an address, a display name, a credit card and a telephone contact number. That’s 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 entry points into Marketplace which they informally tag as ‘selling a little’ or ‘selling a lot’.
Basically ‘a little’ is for occasional and hobby sellers who expect to sell less than 35 items a month. It costs 86p plus a referral fee for each sale. You are also restricted to the product categories you can sell in. However, the advantage is that it costs virtually nothing to start and there are no ongoing charges if, initially, you don’t sell very much.
Selling ‘a lot’ is for professional sellers who expect to sell more than 35 items a month. You pay a 28.75 monthly fixed fee and a referral fee. You can sell in all the Amazon product categories.
It isn’t always viable to list low price, low volume products as a ‘sell a little’ seller. To do that you need to be a ‘sell a lot’ seller! However, I’d recommend you take the ‘selling a little’ route to start out with. You can always upgrade later.
Choose your option, then fill in the online form.
Pro Merchant Sellers
Once you are selling ‘a lot’ you will probably also want to become what Amazon call a Pro Merchant Seller. Pro Merchants have access to volume selling and bulk listing tools. There is a web interface that allows you to more easily manage your product descriptions, inventory and orders. You will also be able to export and import information to and from your account.
Once you get up and running the selling a lot/Pro Merchant option will work out much cheaper and, importantly, will allow you to work on tighter margins and make money from sales that those who sell just a little can’t.
Amazon Marketplace Selling – how to sell your products
Now let’s take a look at exactly how you put products up for sale on Amazon Marketplace.
The idea of Marketplace is that you sell your product on exactly the same page on which Amazon and any other Marketplace sellers sell it.
So, first, find the equivalent new product in the Amazon catalogue. Use the ‘Search’ tool at the top of the Amazon home page. Put in the product type and name and Amazon will automatically take you to the correct page to list it.
Next, check carefully that the product type, brand and model number or whatever Amazon has found for you is the correct one.
Once you reach that page you’ll find a button called ‘Sell Yours Here’. Click on it, sign into your seller account, and you can now list your product immediately.
Now this is the really clever thing about Amazon.
Assuming the product already exists in the Amazon catalogue a listing is ready made for you to use. You don’t have to write a description or upload a photo. All you need to do is state what condition your product is in (i.e. new or one of several standard used descriptions), state the quantity you have for sale and fill in the price you require. Also decide what postage options you want to offer. (At this stage you can also decide whether you are willing to send the product abroad or not.)
If you wish, you can add a further description up to 2,000 characters (not words). This will help you differentiate your product or offering from Amazon and from other sellers.
Then, Amazon will give you a summary of your listing to check and also confirm what their fees will be if the item sells. If you’re happy with this just click ‘Submit Your Listing’ and you’re off. Once you’ve done this your item is automatically listed until it sells or for 60 days (indefinitely if you’re a Pro Merchant).
What’s an ASIN? ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. Almost every product on their site has its own ASIN – a unique code they use to identify it. If you know the ASIN you can list it directly using that. (For books, the ASIN is the same as the ISBN number on the jacket.)