In this short article, I will like to write about how to start selling online using Amazon. Although other online selling platforms like eBay, Shopify, mercari, etc are all good platforms to sell online, my no. 1 recommended place to get started is still Amazon. I like Amazon very well and I will let you know in this article why I chose Amazon over other selling platforms. Amazon is still the best place to sell your used items such as books, toys, kitchen items and much more.
Who is Amazon and why do you care?
Amazon is an American multinational technology company that focuses on e-commerce, cloud computing, digital streaming, and artificial intelligence. It has been referred to as “one of the most influential economic and cultural forces in the world”, and is one of the world’s most valuable brands. It is one of the Big Five American information technology companies, alongside Alphabet, Apple, Meta, and Microsoft.
Jeff Bezos inspired vision has been to create a customer-friendly marketplace, thus ultimately making Amazon the largest product selection when it comes to retail and continuing to grow into other markets. Amazon is America’s everything store that offers a complex catalogue of products. Amazon was incorporated on the 5th of July, 1994 by Jeff Bezos, a former Wall Street hedge fund executive (though I only heard about Amazon in 2014). I learnt the reason why he chose Amazon was because it started with the first letter of the alphabet, in addition to its association with the vast South American river. Amazon started selling books and learnt (did my research) that he started the business from his garage. He already has a vision (business plan) of what he wants Amazon to be from its conception to incorporation, so it is good to say that we all need to have plans and goals for whatever we want to do or achieve in life. Let us, therefore, run our own race as we have set it out. To actually make it in life you must begin with the end in mind which was what Jeff Bezos did.
How to get Started Selling on Amazon
The first thing you need to do is to register with the Amazon of your choice which can either be in the USA, UK, and other countries where Amazon currently has online marketplaces. Here is how to register and become a seller on Amazon. First, type into your search browser, www.amazon.com, once it comes up, scroll to the bottom of the page where you will see “Make Money with us” and click on “Sell products on Amazon”. Once you click on the link, look to your right where you will see the button “sign up”, click on it and when it opens up you will see a prompt as in the image below:
Enter your name, email and password and click next. You will need to confirm your email by a one-time password (OTP) to the email address that you registered with. Once you activate the OTP you will be able to complete the creation of your account where you will able to add your address, bank details and other necessary information such as your telephone number. Once you create your account, Amazon will like to confirm the following before your account can be activated:
Business name and address (this can be your individual name if you don’t want to register as a business)
Credit card and bank information
Proof of ID (this can be national ID, driver’s licence or international passport)
5 Reasons Why Amazon Marketplace is one of the Best-Selling Platforms
If you are an online seller, then you will know that Amazon marketplace is a powerhouse when it comes to eCommerce. It is one of the most popular platforms for selling goods and it offers a range of advantages that other selling channels cannot beat. Many businesses choose to sell their products only on Amazon due to its massive reach and popularity. So if you are thinking about starting an online store to sell your products, Amazon will be top on your list. Not only that, if you are tight on budget you can start by listing items that you already have in the house that you no longer required such as books, electronic items, toys, etc (the items you don’t need are what other people are looking to buy). Amazon allows sellers to sell used items on its platform based on conditions such as:
1. Used like new or open box
2. Used very good
3. Used good
4. Used acceptable
Amazon has a great user base and in the month of September 2022 alone, visits to the site were in the region of 2.4 billion. This means there is a large potential audience for your products. Listed below are the main 6 reasons why Amazon is popular for both sellers and buyers:
Low Initial Investment
Amazon is very friendly to new sellers as you don’t need a big investment to get started. You can start with the items that you have in your house that you no longer required and once you sell all the stuff, you can then look for other items to resell from places like yard sales, thrift stores, etc. In addition, Amazon’s listing fees are relatively low and as an individual seller, you won’t have to pay any fees until your item sells. You can start with an individual plan where you will pay only $.99 when your item sells. Once you are ready to move up and start competing you can upgrade to a Professional Seller account which is just $39.99 per month and will open up some powerful selling tools.
Ability to Reach Millions of Customers
Amazon is the number one stop for millions if not billions of people to shop online and currently has 157.4 million (as of the time of this article, might change) active prime members, that is, the buyers with a monthly subscription fee which includes access to special benefits such as 2-day free shipping. As a seller, this means creating product listings on Amazon gets your products in front of millions of interested shoppers. This is the kind of exposure that other marketplaces cannot beat or offer, especially for a fast-growing-minded business like Amazon.
The millions of customers who shop on Amazon will not do so if they do not trust the company. As an Amazon seller, you will be able to gain some of that trust for yourself which will really help when new customers are considering taking the plunge and buying from you for the first time. Amazon enforces a lot of rules to make its marketplace a safe, reliable place to shop. The buyers appreciate this and know that Amazon sellers have to meet these standards to continue selling. Thus your presence on Amazon helps mitigate the risk some customers perceive about online shopping, so you will be able to enjoy the benefits of Amazon’s customer service which is a great thing for your business.
Fantastic Shipping with FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon)
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is a system that allows you as a seller to send your inventory to an Amazon warehouse and the company will handle the picking, packing, and ship your products directly from their warehouse. This then takes the packing and shipping burden off your shoulder and it also means you can offer prime shipping to more than 65 million Amazon prime members — who on average spend over 4 times as much as non-prime members. By using FBA this also means that Amazon will take responsibility for any problems that may arise during shipping, such as late shipments, damaged items or other issues, thus your reputation as a seller will not be at risk. I will discuss below the main benefits of using Amazon FBA. Amazon will take care of every item that you have to sell on Amazon marketplace and you won’t have to lift a finger this will give you the freedom to concentrate on other aspects of your business such as looking for stuff to resell on the marketplace.
Amazon Share of the Work
When you are selling on Amazon, your customers are Amazon’s customers first and foremost. Amazon will handle most of the technical details, to begin with, and they also do much of the customer service especially if you use its fulfilment service (FBA) as it will take care of customer inquiries, order problems and much more. With Amazon on your side, you will find much of your valuable time freed up to work on other areas of your business. You will get a lot more done when you won’t have to spend hours each day packing and shipping items or dealing with customer questions which Amazon itself will answer.
Multi-Channel Fulfilment (MCF) is an Amazon fulfilment service that allows sellers that sell on other marketplaces outside of Amazon like eBay, Shopify, etc. to pick, pack and send the items to the seller’s buyers on the platforms mentioned above and more. You will only need to pay for picking, packing, and shipping fees to Amazon. This is really a great benefit considering that Amazon will process and ship your item directly to your customer without you lifting a finger.
Benefits of Using Fulfilment by Amazon
Products eligible for Amazon Prime Members
One of the main benefits of using fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is that it will allow you as a seller to display the prime badge on your items on Amazon. Prime members love free two-day shipping and all Amazon.com customer can get free shipping on eligible orders. Thus when you list products using FBA, they are eligible for free shipping too. Qualified FBA listings are displayed with the prime logo, so customers will know that Amazon will handle picking, packing, delivery and customer service.
Amazon’s Trusted Service and Returns
Amazon customer service will ensure that it deals with customer inquiries, refunds and returns for your FBA orders. Customers can contact Amazon customer support via telephone or email day or night and this service is provided at no extra charge to you, with the exception of returns processing fee for select product categories.
Shipping with FBA costs 32% less per unit than the slowest shipping options offered by major US carriers. FBA two-day shipping costs 72% less per unit than their two-day options. It is pay-as-you-go with storage space and the orders that Amazon fulfils. The cost of shipping is included in your fees, with no extra charge for Amazon prime free two-day shipping and free shipping on eligible orders.
Sources for Items to Resell for Profits on Amazon
There are so many sources which you can use to source profitable items to resell on Amazon. I would however like to recommend the following sources:
Garages, Thrift Stores and Supermarkets
Used books from popular bookstores and other places
Offline and Online Arbitrage
Wholesale, is also capital intensive as the suppliers, wholesalers, and manufacturers require large quantity orders before you can actually make profits with the items that you source to resell on Amazon.
Private Label — please stay away from private label as you will end up with losses and not profits. No established brand or brands will allow you to compete, talk less of overtaking them. It is capital intensive.
Conclusion — How to Start Selling on Amazon
Selling on Amazon is a great step to take toward your eCommerce success, however, there is always more to learn and more steps you can take to build your business. As you grow you will be able to open your own online store and look for how to source profitable products using suppliers or manufacturers (never use China, avoid them like plagues).