Selling on Amazon can be an excellent source of passive income, but it’s not always easy to get started as a beginner. The company has grown exponentially over the past decade and now houses millions of products from all corners of the world, which means that anyone who wants to sell there faces stiff competition.
If you have products you want to sell online but don’t know where to start, this beginner’s guide on how to sell on Amazon will teach you everything you need to know in order to make your mark on the marketplace.
The Pros of Selling on Amazon
In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s money in online retail. A lot of it, actually. Sales in 2015 topped $314 billion and are expected to grow by more than 10% per year for at least another five years.
That kind of growth means millions of new customers are looking for places to spend their money, and many of them go straight to Amazon. If you know how to game their system, you can get your product in front of all those people—and start making money!
Why Has it Taken Me So Long?
If you’re like me, and have been working at your local Walmart for more than 10 years, it might be hard to imagine getting up and quitting your job. But now is not only the best time—it’s arguably the only time you can make an extra income stream from home. Why? In 2016 alone, 44 million Americans are expected to work from home full-time and another 53 million part-time.
The Cons of Selling on Amazon
There are some downsides of selling on Amazon. For example, if you become too successful and popular with your product, you might get booted off of its marketplace. Also, if you’re using third-party fulfillment (the process by which an outside company handles storing and shipping your products), then fulfillment by Amazon will cost extra.
Finally, there’s only one way to know how good a seller you are: compare your metrics to those of other sellers in your category. Without that data in hand, it can be hard to know whether or not things are going well. If all else fails, start looking for more customer feedback through traditional customer-satisfaction surveys.
Is it Worth it?
Selling on Amazon, or any other marketplace for that matter, can be extremely lucrative. So why is it so popular? Well, like many things, it’s not just one thing. There are several reasons people are using marketplaces to sell their goods, including: Ease of use: Selling online requires relatively little effort once you have an account set up and you know what you’re doing.
You don’t need expensive equipment (beyond your computer) or employees (well, unless you decide to branch out into hiring). It’s fairly easy for someone with little technical skill to put together an online store and start accepting orders in minutes.
Low barrier of entry: As mentioned above, building an online store is quite simple; there isn’t much overhead involved in getting started.
I Decided to Take the Plunge
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to sell on Amazon, I would say that one of your most important decisions is deciding what type of account (individual or professional) you want. I would recommend going with individual for a few reasons. For starters, if things start out slow, there is no harm in closing up shop and switching over to professional later. Also, as an individual seller, your selling fees are lower than those who have set up their accounts in other ways.
Picking an Item
When you’re getting started, it can be difficult to determine which type of items you should try selling. Whichever you choose, do some research and learn about everything that’s involved in selling it. What are your potential sales margins? What kind of competition will you have from other sellers and/or online marketplaces? How much work will go into sourcing your item(s) and shipping them out? These are all important things for new sellers to consider.
The Listing Creation Process
Creating an account, selecting categories, and entering your item details aren’t enough to start selling. You also need to create an attractive listing with relevant pictures and specific keywords that will grab customers’ attention. After putting in all that effort to list an item, you want it to get noticed!
So after you set up your listing, it’s time to think about how to get noticed – which means improving your conversion rate through effective marketing strategies. When creating a new listing, make sure to include at least one high-quality picture of your product from multiple angles. It’s best if you can take these photos yourself; if not, ask someone else who has an eye for detail to help out.
Including multiple views of your product helps buyers understand what they are buying and decreases return rates by making it easier for them to spot any defects or damage.
Pricing, Photography, Titles and Keywords – Oh My!
There are plenty of items you can sell on Amazon, but if you’re just getting started, stick with items that are either inexpensive or relatively lightweight. And make sure you get photos of your item from all angles so potential buyers can see what they’re buying before they buy it. It doesn’t matter how great your product is if people aren’t buying it!
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) vs. Merchant Fulfilled (MF)
There are two ways you can sell on Amazon. As an individual merchant, you have to store and ship your inventory yourself, which requires more time, money, and effort. However, selling directly means more profits for you. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) allows you to store your inventory in Amazon’s warehouses and ship it from there when customers buy from your online store. This way you don’t need any storage space or logistics knowledge.
Tips for Merch by Amazon Clothing Merchants [new]
When you first start selling in Merch by Amazon, it can be really overwhelming. But there are ways to make your life easier and more profitable when you’re starting out. Let’s take a look at some great tips for new Merch by Amazon sellers.
Other Ways I Can Make Money Online, Besides Selling on Amazon
Some of us start off selling products on Amazon, but it’s not our only revenue stream. Whether you’re earning money from your own website or affiliate links, there are plenty of opportunities for others in today’s digital economy.
I’ve listed some of my favorite ways below, in case you want more ideas. In fact, if you have any additional suggestions for getting started with selling online, please share them in the comments! I think everyone could benefit from more strategies and sources of income.