Selling on Amazon is a lucrative field. The tech behemoth has so many ways to create an Amazon store and generate sales.
We talked to leading pet supplies seller Casey Walters, who started ShedDefender to protect his friends’ couches from pet messes. From there, he appeared on Shark Tank and is currently making $1.5 million in yearly revenue.
He makes two-thirds of his revenue from selling on Amazon, which gives you a good idea of how important Amazon is when you sell online.
We’ll share tips about creating an Amazon store, the importance of using Fulfillment by Amazon (also known as Amazon FBA), and how to encourage reviews without violating the Amazon Seller agreement.
Get ready to sell on Amazon!
How much money do you need to start selling on Amazon?
Jungle Scout, a leader in Amazon analytics, did research that found most new sellers start selling on Amazon with less than $5K. This covers their product costs, Amazon fees, and other required costs.
That’s consistent with how Casey Walters started selling ShedDefender on Amazon FBA:
Hear more in our exclusive interview:
Is it good to sell on Amazon with FBA?
Selling on Amazon is highly beneficial to new businesses. Some of the benefits of becoming an Amazon seller include the ability to:
- Increase sales
- Spend less
- Simplify operations
- Grow your business
Want to know how?
Casey used Fulfilment by Amazon to deliver orders with the speed and reliability of Amazon Prime. Customers love the speed of delivery, which will help you increase sales and encourage repeat purchases.
In fact, Casey sells twice as many products on Amazon as he does on his own website, and it means he’s earning an extra $100K per month!
When you sell on Amazon, you can have Amazon manage your shipping. Amazon gets huge discounts because of its purchasing power and delivery network. That’s why FBA saves 30% off standard shipping and up to 70% on premium shipping options.
Selling on Amazon FBA means Amazon handles payment and order processing, customer inquiries, returns, and review software. Free up your time to focus on product development, marketing, and delighting customers.
Grow your business
Selling on Amazon gives you access to a global network with hundreds of fulfillment centers to sell products globally without figuring out the logistics.
How to sell on Amazon
Starting an Amazon business has never been easier. There are so many ways Amazon sellers can sell on Amazon. You’ll want to follow this easy 15-step process to selling on Amazon:
1. Start with market research
2. Find your niche
3. Create a business plan
4. Identify product suppliers
5. Place orders
6. Set up seller account
a. Configure your account
b. Enroll your brand
7. List products
a. Take good photos
b. Be descriptive
8. Research the right selling price
9. Package items with care
10. Select a fulfillment method
a. Amazon FBA
b. Self Fulfillment
d. Amazon Print-on-Demand
11. Manage your inventory
12. Promote products
13. Get product reviews
14. Optimize listings
15. Grow with tools
Get ready to learn how to sell on Amazon.
Start with market research
You’ll want to decide what to sell online. The best way to do that is to establish what kind of eCommerce store you want to be. A good Amazon store will offer something people will pay for, and you won’t mind spending your time becoming an expert on the subject.
Once you have an online business idea, you’ll want to establish its potential to grow into a profitable business. That requires market research.
Find your niche
The key to selling on Amazon is finding product categories to buy products at a competitive price, markup, and generate sales. Check out our blog about the best products to sell on Amazon. We discuss considerations about product categories including:
- Games and Toys
- Health & Household
- Beauty Products & Personal Care
- Grocery & Gourmet Food
- Clothing, Shoes, and Jewelry
- Baby Products
- Home & Kitchen
- Kitchen & Dining
- Tools & Home Improvement
- Pet Supplies
- Sports & Outdoors
- Patio, Lawn, and Garden
Next, you’ll want to write a business plan that outlines your approach to selling on Amazon.
Create a business plan
Your business plan can be as straightforward or as complicated as you want to make it. The more detailed the business plan you write, the more accessible selling products will be. Those with a plan have a 19% higher success rate.
That doesn’t mean you have to be confident you’ll achieve success from Day 1. As Casey told us,
At this point, you have a successful sales performance target, so it’s time to start finding the products to sell in your eCommerce store.
Identify product suppliers
Next, you’ll want to find manufacturers that can create the products you need and ship products to you. You’ll want to look for quality manufacturers that won’t ship counterfeit products.
You might need to find a manufacturer—or check out Amazon Merch to see if they carry the products you want to sell.
Once you have found a manufacturer or wholesaler for your products, you must place an order and get the products shipped to you. Before you order, ensure the products aren’t on the restricted product list.
Alternatively, you may be able to have them shipped to an Amazon warehouse, though you’ll probably want to check your own products to ensure they meet quality control standards before shipping them to the Amazon warehouse (especially if you’re just getting started).
Next, it’s time to start your Amazon Seller Account.
Create an Amazon Seller Account
All Amazon sellers will need an Amazon Seller Account before they can open their Amazon store and create product listings.
You’ll need to choose a selling plan. There are two options: Individual and Professional. The individual selling plan is free to start and $0.99 per item sold.
Meanwhile, the Professional selling plan is $39.99 and offers lots of tools to boost sales and manage items in bulk.
Configure your account
To become an Amazon seller, you’ll need to configure your account following the steps below:
- Gather your personal and business information (including bank account routing number and credit card that allows international charges).
- Choose to apply for either an Individual or Professional seller account.
- Enter your email address and password.
- Add your business location and type.
- Enter your personal and business details.
- Enter your payment method.
- Hover over the gear icon.
- Click “User Permissions”.
- Enter contact information for new account users.
- Optionally: Manage settings for existing users.
You can create your account using the email address associated with your Amazon customer account or opt to set it up using a separate business email address.
Note that receiving approval to open an Amazon Seller Account can take a few days to a few months.
Enroll in the Amazon Brand Registry
You’ll want to enroll in brand protection through the Amazon Brand Registry. When you have a trademarked brand image, you can sign up, and Amazon will help protect your brand’s intellectual property and provide tools for a more creative brand experience.
Create a product detail page
You can create a product detail page once your Amazon account is set up. You’ll need a product detail page for each product you offer, but product pages allow for variations (different color and size combinations) on a single page.
Two of the most critical features of a product detail page include the photos and the text, which we’ll discuss to help you create a beautiful Amazon store.
Take good photos
Many sellers emphasize the importance of beautiful pictures to help sell their products on Amazon and other eCommerce stores.
Amazon sellers should follow Amazon photo requirements precisely for the most success. Some types of products have additional requirements, but the main requirements are:
- Use a pure white background (255,255,255 is the color code if you do your own editing).
- Show the whole product.
- Fill 85% of the picture.
- Name the image the same as the Product Identifier for books and some other products.
- The long side should be between 1,000 and 10,000 pixels.
- Files should be JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg), TIFF (.tif), PNG(.png), or GIF (.gif) file formats.
Any other photos should follow the exact technical requirements, but you are not required to use a white background or the product identifier as the title. You can include videos, infographics, and models, except for babies.
Pro Tip: Review specific product category requirements before adding pictures to your product detail page.
An Amazon store with compelling titles and descriptions on the product detail page will have more product visibility. Both the title and the description should have relevant keywords to highlight the particular product features that Amazon shoppers are searching for.
Amazon allows up to 200 characters in the product title, so you might use them to target as many search results as possible. Shed Defender, for example, uses the following title:
Shed Defender Original Dog Onesie – Seen On Shark Tank, Contains Shedding of Dog Hair for Home, Car, Travel, Anxiety Calming Shirt, Surgery Recovery Body Jumpsuit, E Collar Alternative
Generally speaking, this is borderline keyword-stuffing (adding many keywords for SEO purposes), and some search engines penalize pages in search results when you stuff too many keywords in a small space. It seems to work alright for the Shed Defender Amazon Store, though.
I’d be interested to see what happens with search results if they cut the title to:
Shed Defender Original Dog Onesie – Seen On Shark Tank
Once you come up with a great product title, you’ll want to include the following information in your product descriptions:
- Sizes offered
- Colors offered
- Product category-specific information requested by Amazon.
- Bullet point list of the essential features.
- Sizing guide to help people choose the right size for garments.
- Answers to frequently asked questions.
Pro Tip: Look at top-performing product pages in your product category to understand what they do. Then, use Jungle Scout to research the keywords people are using to search for products in your category. You can also check search engine optimization tools like Semrush, SurferSEO, or Google Trends.
Research the right selling price
Amazon shoppers are going to compare prices and deals online. You should, too. A dynamic pricing tool is a cost-effective way to provide competitive prices. Amazon includes a built-in option with a Professional selling plan, but you might want external dynamic pricing software that you can use on your own website, too.
These tools make it so that third-party sellers can match or beat the best pricing online, but you need to include minimum pricing so that you don’t drop below the costs of replacing the product, Amazon shipping costs, and additional selling fees.
Package items with care
Whether you are shipping items directly to customers or to Amazon fulfillment centers, you’ll want to have the products in packaging that protects them from the damage that occurs during shipping.
Check out the Amazon Seller Guide sections below to learn more about how Amazon expects you to ship products that participate in Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).
- Sending and Replenishing Inventory: Provides information on how to pack
- Shipping and Routing: Summarizes packing expectations and expands on shipping requirements
Select a fulfillment method
You’ll need to select a method of fulfillment for each product. The primary options include:
- Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)
- Self Fulfillment
- Amazon Merch
Next, let’s look at these approaches to selling on Amazon.
When you start selling on Amazon with Amazon FBA, you must ship your products to an Amazon fulfillment center. We’ll discuss why you might want to use Amazon FBA and its associated costs.
Why choose Amazon FBA
When you use Amazon FBA, you benefit from Amazon Prime shipping, which means Amazon provides customer service and handles customer returns to Prime members.
According to Statista, 71% of Amazon customers are Prime members, which means you gain access to the customer service standards their customer base expects. You are more likely to get positive reviews if you meet their expectations when you sell on Amazon.
The sales costs on Amazon start at $2.45 per item and increase based on the product type, weight, dimensions, and time of year. You will pay 1.5% to 8% more for holiday packing and shipping.
Costs of storage space
You’ll also pay for storing the products, which is substantially more during the holidays than the rest of the year.
|January to September
|$0.87 per cubic foot
|$0.56 per cubic foot
|October to December
|$2.40 per cubic foot
|$1.40 per cubic foot
Some sellers prefer to handle fulfillment, especially if they profit from their own website or run multiple product shipping businesses.
Pro Tip: I strongly recommend seeking out the input of a shipping and fulfillment specialist before you try to sell this way. The decisions you make when you are managing fulfillment can make or break the company.
It impacts both pricing and customer service, which can cause you to lose money when you sell. (It’s happened to me on a couple of products I tried selling before I created and started implementing various helpful calculators for selling on platforms.)
Dropshipping is similar to Amazon FBA, but a third-party fulfillment center or distributor will ship the product after you sell it on Amazon. You may have shipping delays when you sell using this method if there is a lag between when the customer pays and when the dropshipper gets paid.
The main benefit of this strategy is you don’t need as much inventory to sell on Amazon.
Amazon Merch is a print-on-demand offering that allows you to sell on Amazon by submitting your designs for products. Every time you sell an item, Amazon prints the product, ships it, and gives you a royalty.
Manage your inventory
You’ll need to keep your inventory available when you sell on Amazon. This might mean ordering in bulk and having shipments sent to the nearest Amazon fulfillment center or staying updated on unavailable products through your dropshipper.
Pro Tip: You might need to invest in more sophisticated inventory management tools to update your channels’ inventory when you start selling on multiple sales channels.
There are numerous ways to promote your products both on and off Amazon. You can use strategies like:
- Sponsored brand campaigns: Invest in cost-per-click (CPC) ads featuring your logo, headline, and multiple products. These ads appear at the top, bottom, and inside of mobile and desktop shopping searches.
- Stores: You can customize your Amazon store to highlight your brand, emphasize product listings or categories, and generate sales.
- Sponsored display ads: Amazon has a huge network of affiliate websites that earn a commission for advertising projects. Show ads on and off Amazon with display ads.
- Posts: Create content to help people understand your product listing more. Then highlight it on your Amazon shop.
- Sponsored products: Show a specific product detail page when an Amazon customer searches for relevant keywords. These work similar to brand ads.
- Amazon Live: Create a video to highlight products and sell on Amazon.
Selling on Amazon has evolved to allow you to do most aspects of social media marketing and content marketing directly on Amazon.
Get product reviews
Selling on Amazon requires positive reviews. The more positive online reviews you have, the better. Amazon allows you to automate review requests, but be careful not to break their rules. If you need to solicit reviews for a new product, try Amazon Vine.
Optimize product listings
We’ve already talked about Amazon SEO some, but I cannot emphasize this enough. Consumer behaviors shift, and you have to adjust to them. Use the Amazon Seller app to track your sales and adjust product SEO when you see a drop in sales.
Grow with tools
Selling on Amazon comes with numerous benefits. Because it is the largest eCommerce platform on the planet, they have many Amazon seller tools, plus thousands of approved service providers and apps to choose from.
Ready to start selling on Amazon?
Now, you understand the key strategies to start selling on Amazon. It’s up to you to find the products you are most comfortable selling.
Have you created an Amazon Store before? What parts of selling on Amazon did you find most challenging? Let us know in the comments.