A Short and Simple Guide to Selling on Amazon

Did you know that more than half of all online consumers will start an online shopping search on Amazon? And even when shoppers locate a product on another website, about 90% of people will go to Amazon to compare pricing and selection? Selling on Amazon is the place to be. In 2016, Amazon Prime members in the United States alone numbered 63 million!

But the popularity of online shopping hasn’t only benefited consumers around the world; it has also given an opportunity to aspiring business owners. With the help of Amazon, you can set up an online shop of your own and start generating an income stream surprisingly easily.

Selling on Amazon isn’t just for e-commerce pros either. Instead, the system has been designed with novices in mind. In a minimal amount of time, you can set up your shop and start selling to customers around the country and across the globe.

Amazon’s Success with Third Party Sellers

Amazon has been allowing individuals to sell their products on its website since 2000. As a result, over 40% of total unit sales on Amazon are completed by third party sellers, and every seller has the chance to list items in myriad categories to reach a variety of customers.

When you sell on Amazon, you also have the option of shipping items to customers yourself or allowing Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to take care of keeping products in inventory and shipping them, so you can keep your logistics simple.

Selling as an Individual or as a Professional

When you set up a seller account on Amazon, you have the option of selling as an individual or as a professional.

As an individual seller, you will have the opportunity to list products in more than 20 different categories. Amazon will take fees from each sale. They include a fixed fee and other fees, but you will keep the remaining profits. This plan is best if you are predicting that you will only sell 40 items or less each month.

As a professional seller, you’ll be able to fill out an application for selling products within 10 or more additional categories when compared to individual sellers. However, you will need to pay a fee each month to maintain your status as a professional seller, and you’ll also be charged extra fees when sales are made. Therefore, this seller category is best for those who are planning on going big and selling over 40 products each month.

Additional benefits that come with a professional seller account include:

  • The ability to control what you sell and where you sell it. All you need is a single account to control it all.
  • The convenience of bulk listing tools to make posting inventory a snap. You’ll also get helpful reporting tools.
  • The ability to customise shipping rates and offer discounts and gift wrapping for items that do not include music, videos and DVDs, software, and video games.
  • The eligibility to be included at the top of product detail pages, increasing your odds of generating more sales.

Whether you choose to sign up as an individual seller or as a professional seller, you have the option of using Fulfillment by Amazon to handle all of the customer service and shipping. Amazon’s customer service reps will answer questions from your customers, and they will also handle returns and refunds on your behalf. This means that you can manage your online business in a hands-off, headache-free way while focusing on increasing your profit margins.  

What to Expect After You Register

After you create your seller account on Amazon, you can immediately begin listing your products for sale. If you’re an individual, you will be able to add your inventory one product at a time, but if you have a professional subscription, you can set up your inventory in batches to save time.

  • You can sell products that are already listed on Amazon by finding an item and then setting up your listing in a snap. Simply search for the product, click on the “Sell on Amazon” button within the listing, indicate the quantity that you have available, describe the condition of the item(s), and then choose the shipping options that you want to offer.
  • If you have products that Amazon isn’t already selling, you just have to provide the SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) and the UPC (Universal Product Code). You will assign the unique SKU for internal use and inventory management, but the UPC is constant throughout an item’s shelf life and can be scanned and recognised by anyone. After providing these codes, you can then submit an item’s attributes, including its title and description.

Once your listings have been created, you can sit back and wait for your sales to come in. Then you can either ship the items yourself as they sell, or you can stick with FBA and let Amazon fulfil the order from start to finish before giving you your cut of the profits.

To get paid, Amazon will deposit the money right into your bank account. Notifications will be sent when payments are transferred to your account. It really is that simple, which is why so many people have been getting their start in e-commerce on Amazon.

How to Increase Your Odds for Successful Selling

While you can certainly list your products for sale on Amazon and sit back as you wait for the buyers to come to you, if you want to increase your odds of becoming a successful online seller, you’ll need to put a bit more effort into the process. This is especially true if you are listing new products on the platform.

Optimising your Amazon listings is a lot like optimising your website: the goal is to make it easier for potential customers to find your products when they’re looking for them. Ultimately, listing optimisation is a vital step that you need to take if you wish to rank higher in Amazon’s search results.

To make optimization easier, check out the AMZ Tracker software. It’s a keyword rank tracker designed specifically for Amazon, and it allows you to monitor your products’ rankings when it comes to important keywords. With insights into keyword rankings, you will be equipped to optimise every listing to boost your sales. Plus, it also helps you track what your competition is doing, and it will notify you of negative reviews that are posted by customers so you can get in touch with them right away and take the appropriate steps to make them happy.

In addition to optimising your Amazon listings, you can also market your products in a few different ways:

  • Amazon actually has an ad program that is a lot like Google AdWords, so it’s easy to use and affordable. You will only be charged when someone clicks on a link, and you can choose from various categories so you can spend an amount that you feel comfortable with. Plus, you can tweak your ad campaigns once they’ve begun. For example, you can pause and restart a campaign at any time, or you can adjust your budget or change up your keywords. With end-to-end metrics provided by Amazon,  you can refine your ad campaigns to make them more strategic.     
  • On top of advertising right on Amazon, you can also advertise on other websites. A good way to do this is to create content about the products that you’re selling. You can then distribute that content on social media, on your own blog, and on fellow bloggers’ sites. You can even ask bloggers to review your products and include links to your Amazon listings to generate more traffic and boost your conversion rate.
  • In order to reach a broader audience, you can take the route of posting about your products on social media. Let people know how your items are designed to fix a problem, fulfill a need, and make their lives easier or more fun. Include an eye-catching image or gif to catch people’s attention as they’re scrolling through their busy newsfeed. Offer discounts, too, as a means to get people to click through and give your products a try.  

Save Money When Selling Internationally on Amazon

If you are hoping to sell internationally after creating your Amazon seller account, opting to use FBA when you are first starting out can be helpful, as it can simplify your overseas operations.

Overall, when you sell internationally online, you can enjoy the perks of making sales during buying seasons that occur in other markets throughout the year. This helps you maintain a steady stream of income without having to worry as much about slow periods.

One of the biggest drawbacks of selling internationally, though, is the high margins that are placed upon cross border payments. Amazon typically charges 3.9% just to have your international payments transferred into your bank account, so this can definitely eat into your profits.* Ouch!

You can avoid getting stung by high exchange rate margins, if you set up an online seller account on OFX. Essentially, you will be given a virtual account in the foreign markets where your products are available for sale. Accounts are available in USD, GBP, AUD, EUR, CAD, and HKD. With lower exchange rates across a variety of currencies, you’ll have the potential to save as much as 75% every time you bring your profits home.** Talk about a competitive edge!

Start Your E-Commerce Business Today

Overall, Amazon has created a variety of great options for those who want to start selling products online. Whether you are purchasing and reselling items or you have custom products that your business has developed, Amazon will give you access to everything you need to succeed.

Want to learn more about how to improve your profits when selling online? Check out our Resource Hub for Online Sellers.

*As of 19.1.17. https://payments.amazon.com/help/201212280

**Average savings based on a sample of published transaction fees for cross border payments provided by Amazon and PayPal dated 8.24.16. Quoted savings are not indicative of future savings. Third party intermediary fees may apply.

IMPORTANT: The contents of this blog do not constitute financial advice and are provided for general information purposes only without taking into account the investment objectives, financial situation and particular needs of any particular person. OzForex Limited (trading as OFX) and its affiliated entities make no recommendation as to the merits of any financial strategy or product referred to in the blog. OFX makes no warranty, express or implied, concerning the suitability, completeness, quality or exactness of the information and models provided in this blog.

Written by

OFX team

We help businesses and individuals securely send money around the world by making it easier to navigate the complexities of foreign exchange. Our team consists of foreign exchange experts, dedicated support staff and knowledgeable writers.