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How to sell products on Amazon

Find out how you can profit from one of the world’s biggest online retailers.

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Amazon is the largest e-commerce marketplace in the world, with its online platforms spanning 180 countries and attracting millions of international customers. If you’re considering setting up shop, here’s how to sell on Amazon Marketplace for beginners.

How does selling on Amazon work?

The Amazon Marketplace is an e-commerce platform that allows third-party sellers to sell their products. The benefit of selling on Amazon? Exposure. Amazon offers sellers access to over 150 million monthly visitors.

Sellers are responsible for writing product descriptions, creating listings and setting price points. Shipment can be handled independently or by Amazon. Depending on your seller account, you’ll pay a monthly subscription fee or per-item fee to sell your products.

Who can sell products on Amazon?

You must have the following information to set up a seller account on Amazon:

  • Business name, address and contact information
  • An international credit card with a valid billing address
  • Your phone number
  • Your tax ID information

When you sign up, Amazon verifies your account by sending a secure code to your mobile device or email address to complete the process.

What can I sell on Amazon?

Businesses in the US can sell products in more than 20 product categories, including:

  • Baby products
  • Beauty
  • Books — hardcover and paperback
  • Camera and photo
  • Cell phones
  • Clothing and accessories — t-shirts, shoes, and more
  • E-books
  • Electronics
  • Handmade goods
  • Jewelry
  • Grocery and gourmet food
  • Health and personal care
  • Home and garden
  • Music
  • Professional services
  • Sports
  • Textbooks
  • Tools and home improvement
  • Toys
  • Video games and consoles

How do I price my products?

Pricing your products can be a challenge — you need to turn a profit while remaining competitive enough to attract buyers.

Here’s what to consider when determining your price points:

  • Overhead costs. It costs money to sell on Amazon, from sourcing products to Amazon seller fees. When setting a product price, consider your overhead, including customer return fees and product write-offs.
  • Competition. What are your competitors charging? Research price points in your product category on Amazon.com as well as overseas Amazon marketplaces.
  • Flexibility. Selling on Amazon requires price flexibility. Be prepared to shift prices based on your Amazon search rank and what other sellers charge.

How much does Amazon charge me to sell?

There are two subscription tiers available to Amazon merchants: Individual and Professional.

Individual

Individual accounts are best suited to those who don’t anticipate selling more than 40 items a month. There are no monthly service fees associated with this account, but you’ll pay a per-item fee of $0.99.

Professional

If you expect to sell more than 40 items monthly, a Professional account is your best bet. A monthly fee of $39.99 applies but Professional account holders don’t pay per-item fees.

In addition to monthly and per-item fees, both Individual and Professional sellers pay referral fees. These fees vary by product category, but typically range from 8% to 15% of the total sales price, excluding taxes.

Depending on the product and service, you could be responsible for other fees, including rental book service fees, closing fees, high-volume listing fees and refund administration fees.

How to sell on Amazon for free

Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to sell on Amazon for free. The cheapest option is to open an individual seller’s account, because you can avoid the monthly fees, paying a small transaction fee of $0.99 per item instead. That way, you won’t be required to spend any money unless your item actually sells.

How do I handle shipping?

How you organize shipping depends on whether you prefer to fulfill orders on your own or through Amazon.

Ship it yourself

If you opt to handle your own shipping, Amazon charges the buyer a shipping rate based on the product category and selected shipping speed. Then, Amazon credits your account with the amount it charged the buyer. You’re responsible for packaging and shipping the product.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)

If you don’t want to tackle shipping on your own, use Amazon’s shipping service, Fulfillment by Amazon. Get started storing and dispatching products through Amazon’s fulfillment centers:

  1. Add FBA to your Amazon Seller account
  2. Create your product listings within the Amazon catalog. You can do this in batches, one item at a time or by integrating third party software with Amazon’s API.
  3. Prepare your products using the correct packaging and labels.
  4. Ship your goods to Amazon fulfillment centers.

When you use FBA, Amazon charges monthly warehouse fees to store your inventory. Rates vary, but can range from $0.69 per cubic foot to $2.40 per cubic foot. You’ll also pay a fulfillment fee based on the size and weight of your products, which can range from $2.41 per product to over $100 for larger items.

How to sell on Amazon Prime

The most straightforward way sell on Amazon Prime is through FBA, because then all of your products automatically become eligible for Prime. However, to qualify for Prime through FBA, your sales metrics and order volume must meet Amazon’s minimum requirements.

Your other option is to use Seller Fulfilled Prime, which is when you ship Prime orders directly from your own warehouse. According to Amazon, to qualify for this you must:

  • Offer premium shipping
  • Ship over 99% of orders on time
  • Maintain a cancellation rate of less than 0.5%
  • Let Amazon address customer service inquiries
  • Agree to the Amazon return policy
  • Use a Seller Fulfilled Prime carrier to deliver orders
  • Use Amazon Buy Shipping Services for at least 99% of orders

If you want to sign up for Seller Fulfilled Prime, you’ll have to pass the trial period to prove that your company is capable of achieving these requirements.

How do I increase my Amazon product rank?

Amazon uses a marketplace search engine to rank category products. While Amazon doesn’t disclose much about its ranking algorithm, there are several ways to rise through the ranks:

  • Increase sales. The greater your sales, the higher your Amazon sales rank. Market your product through third-party sites or on social media to raise product awareness.
  • Positive reviews. Five-star reviews are an Amazon seller’s bread and butter, so reach out to those who have purchased your product to request a positive review.
  • High-quality listing. Your listing should feature high-quality photos and your ad and description should be clear and without errors.
  • Competitive price. Know what your competitors are charging and do everything you can to meet or beat their prices.
  • Category. Is your product listed in the appropriate category? Explore Amazon’s category listings and make sure your product is listed in the right place.
  • Shipping options. Fulfill your orders through Amazon to offer your buyers access to Prime shipping — a perk shoppers love.

How to sign up with Amazon

Opening an Amazon seller account can be done directly on Amazon’s website:

  1. Go to Amazon.com, and click Start Selling
  2. Sign in to your Amazon account. You’ll need to make an account if you don’t have one. Click Next.
  3. Verify your account by entering the one-time passcode Amazon sends to your phone or email address. Click Continue.
  4. Tell Amazon more about your business, including its location and type.
  5. Review the Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement. Click Agree and continue.
  6. Enter and verify your phone number by submitting the PIN Amazon sends you. Click Next.
  7. Enter your billing information. Click Next.
  8. Tell Amazon more about what products you plan to sell, including applicable Marketplace categories and inventory figures. You can skip this part if you’re unsure.
  9. Secure your account with two-factor verification. Once Amazon verifies your account, you can begin selling.

Integrating Amazon with your e-commerce store

Some e-commerce providers, like Shopify, allow you to integrate Amazon listings with your existing online store. Create Amazon listings from your store and sync product details across both platforms.

Here’s an example of how to integrate your Amazon seller profile with an existing Shopify store:

  1. Open an Amazon Professional Seller account.
  2. Under Sales Channels in your Shopify account, add the Amazon sales channel to your Shopify store.
  3. If you’re creating a new product page or listing on Amazon, purchase universal product code (UPC) s for your products from GS1.
  4. Create listings for the products you want to sell on Amazon from the Amazon sales channel in your Shopify account.
  5. Tell Shopify whether you’d prefer to track your Amazon inventory manually or have Shopify automatically update your Amazon listings to match your Shopify inventory.

Once integrated, your Amazon orders automatically syncs to your Shopify account and you can track your inventory no matter which platform an item sells on.

How to sell on Amazon without UPC

If you don’t have UPCs for your products — or any sort of GTIN, standard product identifiers — you can request an exemption from Amazon through Seller Central. Eligible cases include:

  • Brands or manufacturers that don’t provide a UPC for their products. This could include handmade or private label goods.
  • Non-branded items, such as wholesale products.
  • Parts that aren’t assigned a barcode, like automotive parts.
  • Bundled products that don’t have a single UPC.

When you apply, include a support letter from the brand owner, manufacturer or publisher proving they don’t include a UPC for products. Also provide a website link so that Amazon can view the products. If a website isn’t available, upload images of your products to a platform like Google Drive and send Amazon a viewing link.

For more information and to file your exemption request, go to the Product UPCs and GTINs page in Amazon’s Seller Central.

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How to get paid by international buyers

Amazon Global Selling allows US merchants to sell across 14 global marketplaces in over 180 countries. Amazon’s Build International Listings tool helps you register and list products across multiple marketplaces with automatic pricing and synced product listings.

So, how do you get paid? There are three ways to accept international payments in Amazon:

  1. Foreign bank account. Set up a bank account in the country your items are listed in and transfer your money back to the US. Setting up a foreign bank account can be complex — you might be required to create a legal business entity in the country you’d like to open an account. You may also need to contend with poor exchange rates and high conversion fees.
  2. Amazon’s currency converter. Use this service to convert international buyer payments into USD and deposit funds directly into your US bank account. It supports over 40 currencies and rolls service fees into an exchange rate that you can view on your payment summary page.
  3. Third-party money transfer service. Several money transfer services offer online seller accounts aimed at those selling overseas through Amazon. These accounts are capable of holding multiple currencies in the country you sell in and typically offer more competitive exchange rates than financial institutions.

Is selling on Amazon worth it?

There are a number of ways to sell online, from building your own e-commerce store to setting up shop on platforms like eBay and Etsy. Whether Amazon is right for you hinges on the product you sell, your target audience and how much you’re willing to invest in rising through Amazon’s listing ranks.

Bottom line

Amazon offers online merchants a sprawling international marketplace to market their wares. As is the case with any business venture, there’s no guarantee you’ll make a profit. Minimize the risk of loss by maintaining a high-quality listing, watching your competitors and staying on top of market trends. And if you’re looking to list on multiple platforms, compare e-commerce platforms that can help.

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