If you’d like to start selling things online but are unsure about how to find paying customers, then you’ll be happy to know – you don’t have to! Instead, you can leverage the over 2 billion people who are already shopping monthly at the largest retailer in the world: Amazon.
Does selling on Amazon really work? According to Amazon’s own data, nearly 225,000 Amazon sellers worldwide eclipsed $100,000 in sales in 2019. Of those, over 15,000 broke the $1 million mark. To put it simply, you can make money on Amazon!
If you’d like to get in on the action, then here’s everything you need to know about how to sell stuff on Amazon.
Registering To Sell On Amazon
Individual Or Professional Account?
To start, if you’ve already got a regular customer account with Amazon (… almost everyone in the world does …), you’ll need to also apply for a “seller account”.
Seller accounts come in two types:
- Individual Account – This account costs nothing to start. For every sale you make, you’ll pay an Item fee of $0.99 plus a variable closing fee.
- Professional Account – This option lets you sell as many items as you want for a fixed monthly fee of $39.99 a month. There will also be referral and variable fees for each item sold.
Generally speaking, if you plan to sell more than 40 items per month, then the Professional Account would be a better deal.
Vendor Or Third-Party Seller?
As you’re setting up your seller account, another question you’ll be asked is what type of seller you are:
- Amazon Vendors – First-party vendors who have wholesale relationships with Amazon (similar to the traditional arrangement of a wholesaler and retailer).
- Amazon Third Party (3P) Sellers – People who use Amazon to sell directly to Amazon’s customers. Third-party sellers are given access to the Amazon Seller Central interface where they can list and sell products.
While you might think that being an Amazon Vendor would be a more lucrative way to sell your items, the majority of the total sales come from 3P sellers (53%) and continues to increase year over year.
Shipping Your Amazon Items
With your seller account established, the next important point you’ll need to decide is the logistics of how items will be shipped. For this, you will have three official options:
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) – You ship your items directly to Amazon. Amazon then stores, packs, ships, and handles customer service for all of the products you sell. By choosing FBA, you also can sell your products through Amazon Prime.
- Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) – With this option, you are responsible for picking, packing, and shipping the products you sell. Unfortunately, sellers who select this option are not eligible to make sales through Amazon Prime.
- Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) – This is a combination of the two options above. You, the seller, can store, pack and ship your own products AND sell through Amazon Prime.
FBA And Side Hustlers
While all three shipping options have various pros and cons, one of the most talked-about ones among avid online side hustlers has been Fulfillment by Amazon.
The reason for this is simple: Amazon does all the work while all you have to do is find the right products and manage your inventory. This saves you countless hours of managing shipments, payments, and returns.
For example, the popular podcast Side Hustle Nation had an interview with a husband and wife team who started out selling items on Amazon part-time. After a short while, they saw the potential for making money, started going at it full time, and have now crossed over the $1 million mark in sales. That’s amazing!
Their story isn’t so unique. Google the term “Amazon FBA side hustle” and you’ll see that there are a ton of other people who taking advantage of this platform.
What Stuff Sells On Amazon?
Finding Items To Sell
There’s definitely an art to finding the right kind of things to sell on Amazon, especially if you’re going to use FBA. Here are a few ways you can do some homework ahead of time so that you focus on finding the right kind of products to sell:
- Amazon Best Sellers List – Amazon will tell you right on their homepage what items are selling hot that day.
- Google Trends – Use Google to see what search terms (and associated products) are high in demand at the moment.
- Jungle Scout Keyword Research – Enter various products and see how many people are looking at pages on Amazon related to it.
Another strategy is to find stores that are going out of business or throwing ridiculous sales. You can swoop in, see what products they have, and buy up some or all of their inventory. More than once, I’ve been to a store like this and seen FBA side hustlers buying up as much stuff as they can.
If it’s used items you’d like to sell, you are allowed to do this on Amazon, but only under limited categories such as books, DVDs, video games, toys, cell phones, etc. You’ll need to read Amazon’s Condition Guidelines to know for sure.
If the item you’d like to sell does not qualify, then you might want to try eBay or another auction style marketplace.
Maximizing Your Selling Potential
Just like listing items for sale on eBay, the way you present your product can make or break your chances of making a sale. That’s why you’ll want to make sure when it comes to your product listing that you hit on all the major elements:
- Title – Be as keyword descriptive as possible
- Bullets – Briefly highlight all of the major benefits and features
- Descriptions – Give more accurate and detailed information about the product
- Product images – Use professional quality product photos from multiple angles
Amazon Sponsored Products
If you’ve got a little money to spend, Amazon will allow you to run sponsored listings. These are just pay-per-click ads based on keywords. Generally, the first 1-3 listings of just about anything you look for on Amazon will say “Sponsored” next to it, indicating its an advertisement.
Though you’ll pay a small fee every time someone clicks on your listing, having better visibility in the search results will greatly increase your chances of making sales. Most marketers encourage you to try it out for a few weeks and see if it works well for your type of products.
One of the most coveted spots you can land on Amazon as a seller is their “Buy Box”. This is the box on any listing that says “Buy Now”.
Since Amazon usually has multiple sellers for any given product, only one person can be assigned to the “Buy Now” box. Therefore, if Amazon picks you, then it’s literally like being moved to the front of the line and being handed a sale.
Amazon has never released exactly how a seller can make it to the Buy Box, but most people believe it’s based on having a competitive price, shipping (most likely FBA receives priority), and positive feedback metrics.
Is Selling On Amazon Worth It?
If all of this seems like a lot of work just to sell stuff on Amazon, it is. But then again so is actually running a physical store.
In many ways, Amazon has revolutionized the way people sell items online and completely erased some of the previous barriers to entry that used to exist. According to the Amazon seller service Jungle Scout:
- About half (50.7%) of Amazon sellers make from $1,000-$25,000/month, which could mean annual sales from $12,000-$300,000.
- One in five (20%) make $25,000-$250,000/month, amounting to annual sales between $300,000 and $3,000,000; another 3.3% make more than $250,000 in monthly sales.
- Only 23.8% of sellers make under $1,000/month in sales, and 2.1% don’t know their monthly sales.
With potential revenue streams like that, I’d say its definitely a side hustle worth trying!