Foregoing private stores or other online alternatives, a large number of individuals and businesses prefer to sell through Amazon.com. With more than 95 million unique visitors each month, Amazon can be an ideal place for vendors looking to increase sales or simply unload items they no longer want or need. And because Amazon enjoys a generally positive reputation with its customers, the site can be a great place for sellers to build brand recognition for their businesses.
Depending on which options you choose, using an online marketplace like Amazon can make the fulfillment process easier for new and small businesses. Not only can Amazon interact with customers on your behalf, saving you time while protecting your personal and private information, but it can also handle the entire shipping process, including returns. As a result, owners can concentrate on building their businesses.
Creating an Amazon Store
Before you can sell your goods on Amazon, you need to create a store through Seller Central. As a seller, you have the choice of creating either an individual or professional account. While individuals can list their goods for free, selling as a professional costs $39.99 a month plus additional fees based on the value of the final sale. Individuals typically pay $0.99 per item sold in addition to variable fees based on an item’s category.
Currently, individuals can sell goods in some 20 categories, while professional sellers have been approved to sell items in more than 15 additional categories. Individual-approved categories include books, consumer electronics, tools and home improvement, and toys and games. On the other hand, professionals must meet various requirements to sell beauty products, clothing, fine art and wine.
Once you have determined what type of account to create, it’s time to register on Amazon.com. As a new seller, you will need to supply an email address and password before beginning.
If you’re registering as a business, you will be asked to supply your business name, the business’ contact information, your credit card information and tax identification number. You will also be asked to verify your phone number by supplying a 4-digit pin during an automated call or text. The process is generally fast and sellers can begin listing items immediately.
Selling Your Wares
To list an item, start by searching the site’s database for the best-fit category. Keywords may include the title of a book or movie, or simply the name of the product in question. If the item has an ISBN, UPC or ASIN, you can also search by this value.
While sites like eBay and Craigslist allow you to list any item barring certain exceptions, Amazon asks that you find a similar product in its database. If you can’t find a similar product, Amazon has a procedure for creating a new product page. You should be aware, however, that new products often require additional approval from Amazon before listing can occur.
After locating the product in Amazon’s catalog, a seller will be prompted to enter information about its quality. It’s important to be as truthful and accurate as possible when describing the item as one of the following: new, used-like new, used-very good, used-good or used-acceptable. You can also provide a note with pertinent details about the item. For example, you can explain that a book is in good condition save a few folded pages.
Of course, one of the most important steps in the process of selling products is setting prices. One of benefits of using Amazon to sell goods online is that you can see what other merchants are charging for similar items. If you want to make sure your copy of The Scarlet Letter sells over the other ones listed, set the price with shipping lower than your competitors. You can also specify whether you want to handle the shipping yourself or allow Amazon to do so.
After making your choices regarding price and shipping time, you can click the “Submit listing” button to make your item available to customers. You can then manage this and all future orders on Seller Central.
Amazon also offers an order fulfillment service, aptly named Fulfillment by Amazon. In exchange for paying Amazon to store your items, they also handle everything from order processing to customer service and product returns. Your items will also qualify for Amazon Prime shipping promotions, which could give you an edge over the competition.
Some professional sellers operate Amazon Webstores. Not only are these store owners able to customize themes and colors, but they can also add their own domain names and ask Amazon to handle their fulfillment needs. Currently, Webstore services are only available to existing Webstore sellers and not to new users.
Becoming a Featured Merchant
The best way to succeed as an Amazon seller is to become one of the company’s Featured Merchants. Although there are no clear-cut instructions for becoming a Featured Merchant, these positions are generally achieved by sellers with strong feedback and robust sales.
Not only do these sellers enjoy increased favor with customers, but they also receive better placement on product pages and may qualify for Buy Box perks. By ‘winning’ the Buy Box, you will get default sales when a client clicks the “Add to Cart” button for your product. It’s important to note that only professional sellers qualify to be featured merchants.
Amazon offers a number of benefits for sellers, including the opportunity to expand their sales prospects while streamlining the shipping process. By ensuring your listings are accurate and keeping price competition in mind, you may just find success by using Amazon to grow your business.
If you’re interested in learning more about online selling, read our article on how to find a product niche and start selling online.