HOW TO SELL ON AMAZON 18


E-commerce is one of the most important business models in the present time, and it is expected to continue to grow. All the important retailers have their online shop, and even some are changing to an all online type of business.

There are some big players of the e-commerce, but without a doubt, Amazon is the biggest. This company started as an online bookseller. With the success of the books, Amazon started to add different products. Amazon´s online model business was so successful that today is the number one online seller of the world with more than 310 million active subscribers around the world by the first quarter of 2016.

Amazon revenue comes from sellers that pay a fraction of their sells for using its platform. Amazon also sells some products and has a Prime membership in which clients are offered free shipping.

It is possible for anyone to start selling on Amazon, you only need to open a seller account, fill all of Amazon requirements, like having a credit card in which they can charge you all of their fees.

Ok, let´s get in details here.

HOW TO SELL ON AMAZON

Types of Amazon sellers

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION

AMAZON SUBSCRIPTION

When you subscribe in the USA Amazon, the first option you will see is “Start Selling” for 39.99 a month, but if you look a little down below you will see a small option of individual seller, which is free, but it has a fee on every sale that you make.

There are some differences between the two types of accounts. First, for every sell that you make on the individual plan Amazon will charge you 0.99 USD, and in the professional account, there is a monthly fee of 39.99 USD a month, meaning that if you sell more than 40 items you will be paying more on the individual account. Another difference is that in the Individual account you can only have one listing, only one product to sell. You can sell any number of this product, but if you are planning on selling more than one type of products you need the professional account. Also, the professional accounts have several more functions to manage your inventory, and with this seller account you are available to make campaigns to promote your products, some kind of ad words, so your products show on top of the search listings.

If you are new and just want to get to use the interface of seller central (Amazon place for managing products for sale) the individual account should be enough, and when you decide, you can upgrade to a professional account.

Also, when you subscribe to an individual seller account, you can start selling in the USA and Canada marketplace, and if you subscribe to a Professional account you will be able to sell in the USA, Canada and Mexico marketplace.

Now you have a seller account on Amazon, what are you going to sell?

Type of products to sell

There is two kind of products that you can sell on Amazon:

Branded products

Every branded product has a unique code number (UPC code or Universal Product Code). When two or more sellers sell the same branded product, like a Samsung flat screen tv model SAM52N  (it´s an example, not a real tv model), they share the same UPC code, because these codes are unique to all products. When more than one seller offers the same product, only one of them has the “Buy Box”, which means that when someone do a search for this tv model only the product of one seller will show, and with small letters below this seller information appears that there are more offers from different sellers, and you have to click here to see the others offers, something that clients doesn´t do very often.

Who has the “Buy Box”? The seller that has the best selling ranking, and if you are unlucky, Amazon will be selling this same product and always will have the “Buy Box”.

Unbranded products.

Most of these products are from China, they don’t have a brand and when you buy this kind of products you can buy a new UPC code and you can attach it to your products. This way you own your products brand (which you can attach to your products as well), and when you sell this kind of products nobody else will have the “Buy Box” but you, not even if they buy the same product from the same vendor because you will brand your products with your unique name and UPC code.

As you can see, unbranded products are what can deliver more gains and sell opportunities. So I will continue with unbranded products for selling on Amazon.

Selecting the products to sell

This is probably the most important task when you are starting an online store anywhere. For starters, it is recommended that you select only one product, and when this product starts doing well you can add another one, this way you will be growing and you won’t risk too much capital.

But, what product to choose? You need to choose something that is selling good, that has high demand, but also something that it isn’t too big, the smaller the better because the delivery fees from China can be expensive for larger products. Amazon also has some product categories that are locked for starters sellers, like watches, electronics, and clothing.

Despite all these conditions, there are thousands of products that you can choose from. The first webpage you want to check is the Amazon Best Sellers, then, check Best Buy and search for products that have a lot of sells, then you can check Ali express and check for products that have many orders. Make a list of at least 10 products that you could sell, then narrow it until you only have one product. As I said, this is the most difficult part. There is a webpage that you can use for guidance, www.merchantwords.com, here you can write down a product and this page will display the number of searches of that product inside Amazon. It is recommended that the product that you choose has at least 40 to 50 thousands searches per month. You can make some searches, I don’t remember 4 or 5, freely a day, if you want to do more you have to pay a monthly fee.

The next step once you have chosen your product is to buy it from China.

How can you safely buy from China?

ALIBABA

ALIBABA

I´m going to focus on Alibaba, which is one of the biggest retailers of China, Thousands of factories are inscribed in this platform selling products of all kinds.

Search for your product in the Alibaba portal, look for suppliers that offer a low MOQ (minimum order quantity). Even the ones that have high MOQ once you contact them you can negotiate and most time they will agree to send you fewer products. I don’t advice to buy more than 100 products for your first time, even if you buy 50 is good to check the market.

There are a few things that you should look for in your provider information.

Gold Supplier:

Is a membership paid to Alibaba, and they certificate the location where the provider is.

Trade assurance:

Is a free service by Alibaba that protects your orders. If you are not satisfied with the products that you received, or you just didn’t receive them, you can ask a refund from Alibaba.

Assessed Supplier:

A third party company assesses the installation of the provider and makes a report that you can get.

 

Make sure that your provider has been a Gold Member for at least 2 years, and that it supports Trade assurance. If it is an assessed Supplier, then the better. Also make sure that they receive payments by PayPal, this way your transaction will be protected as well. Never pay with Money Gram because you won’t be available to get a refund if anything wrong happens.

If you follow these guidelines your transaction should not have any problems.

 

Once you have chosen your provider is time to contact them. Once you click on your supplier name, scroll all the way down where you can send a message. As with everything, always be polite, put the name of the person who will receive the message, next write a little about your company (even if it is you only) and explain that you want to do a small purchase so you can test the market and if everything goes well you will be buying more from them. Ask them for their final price for a number of products that you are buying, and if you want them to put your logo on your products (You should have one beforehand).

If the supplier contact and you are happy with your products then ask for a sample. Usually, samples are free but you have to pay for the delivery. It is important that you receive a sample of the product before buying a lot of them, you don’t want to buy garbage and sell it on Amazon because your buyers will make a review of the product that they get and if you get bad reviews you won’t be able to sell and also Amazon won’t be happy and they will downgrade your seller ranking.

Once you get your sample and have tested it, it´s time to make an order. Negotiate with your supplier and ask them if they have delivery options, and make them give you a quotation. If you are not happy with the delivery fees you can search for a delivery company in Alibaba, just search Air Freight to the USA and you will get many options.

Also, when you get your sample be sure to take photos, a lot of photos before you open your package, and of your product alone from different angles. You will use the pictures for the description of your listing on Amazon.

 

Making the first listing

From your seller central account, you will be able to add products to your inventory. If you are following the route suggested here, your product should be a new one. You will need a UPC code here for your new product. Do a search for buy UPC codes and find a retailer. Buy one UPC.

Once you have your unique UPC you can add a new product to Amazon. You will have to choose the category and subcategories. Once you can add the information of your product, there are some elements that are very important:

Title:

The title should have as much information of your product as you can, the name of your Brand, the name of the product, essentials characteristics like color, size, what is it for, etc.

Pictures:

These should be high-quality pictures with a white background, at least the first picture. If you don’t know how to do this, you can always hire a freelancer to do this. There is a very popular site for outsourcing, is www.fiverr.com. Here you can find freelancers that will work their magic with your images for 5 USD.

Bullet points:

The best way to this is to for each bullet point is to write a characteristic of your product along with a benefit that that characteristic gives.

Description:

Be as explicit as you can, remember, the best conversion is made from the best looking, informative product pages.

 

There is something else that I need to talk and is the way you can deliver your goods. You can choose to deliver your products yourself, in which case once a sell is done you need to go and send the product to your client. This has two major disadvantages.

AMAZON FBA

AMAZON FBA

One: You will use a lot of your time, you will have to do all the delivery processes.

Two: Amazon will degrade your seller ranking if you infringe to fulfill the delivery on the time that you specified, and Amazon is very strict on this.

A way to avoid all this is for you to send all your products to an Amazon center and choose FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) as your way of delivering your products. This way Amazon will take care of all the procedures to make your products arrive at your customers. Of course, this has a cost, but most of the sellers Choose FBA because it can also help on their seller rankings.

When you first start as an Amazon seller you don’t have a seller history. For this reason, your products won´t appear in the first places of the searching results. To start gaining momentum you can do a few things:

  • Tell your friends to buy your products, and after they do, that they make a positive review of your product.
  • Have a paid campaign within Amazon, so your listings have more exposure.

If you want to learn more you can buy an e-book like this one: Amazon Selling Blueprint

 

As you can see, selling on Amazon can be tricky, but thousands of sellers are making huge amounts of money, having between 20 % to 40 % profit. The hard work is always at the start, after that, many processes can be automating and you can even hire a virtual assistant to manage your inventory.

Please leave me a comment if you have any doubts.

Your friend

Ruben

 


About Ruben

I was born in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico. I am an Electronic Engineer and father of three beautiful kids, two males and one female. I like movies, tv series and console games. I am an entrepreneur and blogger and I want to help people to realize their dreams.


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18 thoughts on “HOW TO SELL ON AMAZON

  • Mondez

    Thanks for the well written step by step outline here. I often wondered about cost of setting up an Amazon business and what it really took to get it off the ground. After reading, I have a better understanding of FBA and the differences. As with anything it is tough getting started, but this helps lay a few things to expect out. Keep educating.

  • Jay Ong

    Very detailed explanation on how to get started on Amazon. I’ve planning to start up a e-commerce store on my own but I’m not sure whether how’s the response from the market towards my product. Which is why I’m planning to sell a small quantity in Amazon to get some reviews from customer as a stepping stone. Thanks for your information on how to setup as a seller in Amazon.

  • Sam

    Hi Ruben,

    I read your article about selling on Amazon and it was very informative in explaining the steps of creating an account and the differences of the individual versus the professional account. You have provided great detail on the sales when selling a product on Amazon and the costs involved. This is good to know when one wants to sell a product to understand how much they will receive after one sale. I like how you showed Alibaba.com when one wants to sell products (unbranded) from China and to how to go about it by first receiving samples before buying it to sell on Amazon. This article has given me good knowledge to know how to go about selling on Amazon and what to watch for to avoid selling bad products.

    • Ruben Post author

      New entrepreneurs can get lost on the vast sea that internet is. This article aims to help those new entrepreneurs that want to start doing e-commerce on Amazon. I am glad it was helpful for you. I wish you success.

  • Brandon

    I’ve been an affiliate for Amazon for a very long time now, but I’ve never actually thought of selling with them. Come to think of it, it’s extra money, easy to do (as I can clearly see), and easy to get views on your product since Amazon has the most traffic, as they are biggest and most popular online store! I’m interested in selling as an individual since it’s free and will have a look right now. Thanks for the great idea 🙂

  • W Tucker

    thanks Ruben for a thorough description of how to get started on Amazon.
    I’ve had some experience and everything you say is true. I think the problem is choosing the right product. As you know it’s tricky to choose a product that is not too competitive but is popular. My experience is not to choose a category that Amazon is selling in. They can beat your price and always make sure their product is ranked #1 or #2 It’s tough to sell against Amazon.
    You give good advice and I’m sure someone could follow your steps and get started selling on Amazon.

    • Ruben Post author

      I am also going to start selling on Amazon, this is going to be my first experience, that is why I did a fair amount of research about this subject and yes, the most difficult part is to choose the first product to sale.

  • Madeleine

    I tried to set up a store once, but backed out when the spreadsheet feeds from my chosen companies from China did not work with my weebly website. Then I checked out Alibaba and hesitated again, wondering if the companies there were safe to deal with. The information about being a Gold Member for 2 years and Trade assurances, will be valuable for me in choosing a product there. I have not given up on the idea of a store, and selling on Amazon sounds much more doable after reading your post. Thanks for the research!

    • Ruben Post author

      I have also heard some some horror stories from people that was scammed, but if you use the guide lines of this article, like the Golden membership and trade assurance, your risk will be minimum.

  • steve

    Hey Ruben, great article! I didn’t actually realize all the possibilities out there on Amazon. However, like your article described so well Amazon makes sure that their products have the lowest prices so it sounds pretty competitive as well. Lots of good information here. I have learned something today. Thanks!

    • Ruben Post author

      That´s why there are so many products with a great price, also the quality of the products is very good, the factories of China have a lo of competition between them and if one company has poor quality products they won´t have sells.

  • John Rico

    Hello there! I’m a college student and I’m looking for away to earn money online. I found your article very informative and helpful since I don’t know where and how to start earning money online. Do you think that this is a great way to earn money for a newbie like me?

    • Ruben Post author

      Hi John:

      A few months ago i was standing just where you are now. Since then I have learned so much new things and right now I am going to try e-commerce along some other things. If you want to start something I advice you to join wealthy Affiliate, a community where you will learn how to be a successful online entrepreneur, and after that, if you want to do something else, try e-commerce. Also if you want to start right away with e-commerce I suggest you to start with Shopify and drop-shopping because with this business model you dont need to invest money apart from the subscription of Shopify. I will be doing an article about this as well.

  • Vince

    What a great guide to selling on Amazon. I’ve been thinking about selling products on Amazon but unsure about this selling landscape. Thanks for setting out everything in excellent detail.
    I’m confident to give it a shot now.