Many reasons exist for selling items through Amazon.com. Maybe you are looking for just a bit of side money, or maybe you want another alternative way to display and offer your handiwork, crafts or art for sale to a wider audience.
Maybe you are looking for a lucrative business you can run from home. In any of those cases, Amazon offers many ways for you to take advantage of their seller’s platform. Eventually, if you like it, you can set up your own virtual storefront.
Initially, the best route is to start using the free version to test the waters and see if selling on Amazon is for you. Information for getting started with both the free and Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) platforms. Selling items on Amazon can be an easy way to clear out the garage and closets, or it can be much, much more. Use the following information to get started, and to learn more about selling online with Amazon.
Amazon really streamlined their process from a few years ago and now with the FBA you do not have to create an online store if you do not care to do so. In fact, you do not have to even have a website or anything other than the item you want to sell.
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While you are listed as a “store owner” you are really just a part of the larger Amazon.com site. You become what is called a Third-party seller. You sell the items, and Amazon takes care of the shipping and handling. You can tell on a typical Amazon.com page whether the seller is Amazon or a Third-party seller by the color of the arrow. A blue arrow is a Third-party seller and the red arrow is Amazon.com directly. You are not competing with Amazon, and in fact many of the items you offer for sale are those items Amazon does not offer, or does not offer at your pricing. The nice thing is, your customers still receive all of their Prime membership benefits as if they were buying from Amazon. This means their Prime two-day shipping is honored, even if the product came from you. What is particularly nice about this is you do not have to worry about advertising, creating a separate website or do any other type of promotion. Amazon takes care of that for you.
Two different categories exist for sellers on Amazon. The free account is for sellers who are only going to sell less than 40 items a month. You are charged .99 a transaction when something sells and depending on the amount charged for the item, a referral fee.
The professional plan is a subscription service of $39.99 a month, but comes with many additional benefits when it comes to shipping and fulfillment. There is no per item fee for this plan and you can offer gift wrapping as an option. Both types of accounts require you to already have an Amazon.com account, which is free to set up.
To set up your account, you go to Seller Central, which is located on the Amazon.com main website. Once you have registered there, you can begin listing your items. If you have the free version you can list one at a time. Professional sellers can upload batches of items at one time. You can list products already on Amazon, or those not sold on Amazon, yet. If similar types of products are being sold on Amazon, then you only have to list how many of the item you have to offer, its condition and shipping information. If it is a product not offered through Amazon, then you must have a UPC code, EAN and a SKU number. You also have to create a short paragraph describing your item. Most sellers offer a product that already is cataloged on Amazon, so there is no need for the additional work listing the item.
For the serious seller, meaning someone wanting to sell consistently for a side gig, part time job, or even full time job, then learning about retail arbitrage is important. Those who make consistent money on Amazon buy products locally for a price point well below retail, then resell that item on Amazon.com. Buying low and then selling high on Amazon is one of the fastest ways to move inventory on the site. The positive side to this is you are selling popular brand name items and you benefit from the positive reputation they already have.
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Professional subscription FBA sellers opt for the additional ability to ship items to Amazon’s warehouse, where they store it for you, then ship it directly from their warehouse. Not only does it save you significant money on shipping, but it also saves you from having to package and ship multiple items from your home.
If you are in the U.S. then you will have to pay taxes on the income you earn. Signing up as an individual does not mean you by-pass the additional rules and regulations. If you sell anything, either as an individual or on the professional plan, you must register your business. This means selecting your business entity, which can be listed as a sole proprietor, individual or other various business types. You must also fill out a W-9 form where you are asked for your social security number, or if you are anything other than sole proprietor or individual business, you must produce your employer identification number (EIN).
When you begin setting up your account through Seller Central, you will notice there is an advertising tab. This is a section Amazon provides to educate you on ways to entice buyers to purchase your product over other similar products. Their HELP section is extensive and chances are the questions you have, someone already asked before you. The seller’s dashboard gives you real time readouts in detail as far as fulfillment data is concerned so you can track your progress, and make corrections and adjustments as needed.
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