Become an Amazon seller today! Do you like the idea of selling online? Have you ever considered selling products on Amazon? Maybe you’ve thought about it but then… life just gets in the way. The idea seems too difficult and time consuming. Well, it doesn’t need to be like that. Let’s see how you can make it happen for yourself, one step at a time.
Set up your Amazon Seller account
Make sure you set up your Amazon Seller Central account early in the process because it can take time for Amazon to approve your application. They can reject your application if you don’t fill it out properly. So, make a start on getting that part finalised.
Once you are set up you will need to choose your plan. You can select the ‘Individual Selling Plan’, which is a ‘pay-as-you go’ plan that has limited order management tools. This means you only pay fees to Amazon each time you sell an item.
The other option is to select the ‘Professional Seller’ account, which requires a $39.99 USD monthly subscription fee for access to more order management tools, like using advanced tools and advertising platforms.
Keep in mind, Amazon has 18 marketplaces world-wide that you can chose to sell from, with some of the most popular being the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Australia.
Select your product
Think about what kind of product you’d like to sell online. What are you passionate about? What do you think would sell and be profitable in today’s market? Do your market research. Take a look on Amazon’s website and see what products are on the first page. Read the customers’ comments in the reviews and get a feel for what people like, and their suggestions for improvement. Take them on board. Look at the best sellers and know what’s popular on today’s market.
Keep in mind that what you think will sell and what is actually being purchased in the marketplace can be two very different things. That’s why doing your market research first is important, to be sure you’re investing in a product that people want.
It helps to think about a problem that you or someone you know may have and find a product which solves that problem. For instance, when you’re at the beach you are never satisfied with the size of your towel. It never completely covers your body when you lie down and you end up getting sand all over you. It’s so annoying! The solution? Get a bigger towel that deflects the sand.
Having a product in mind that solves a problem is helpful to the potential buyer and will increase your chances of making sales.
Find your product
Search on Alibaba.com for products you are interested in. Alibaba ships products from China and other countries around the world. If you’re starting out try selling something less costly, light, easy to package and transport, such as phone protection screens. The lighter the product, the lower the shipping and storage fees will be.
Find at least three sellers and compare prices. Chat to the seller over a few weeks and ask them questions about their best offers, shipping costs, estimated completion date and tell them you are an Amazon seller, so they are prepared.
Chatting to a seller overtime is also a good test to see if they provide good customer service and are serious about your business. Take note of things like how fast they answer your questions and how accommodating they are to your requests for changes to the product.
Amazon has specific requirements for the product type, labelling, weight and packaging, etc. Make sure you are across these requirements before you start purchasing, so you don’t land yourself in trouble.
Ask the seller many questions. Check how long they’ve been operating for; 2 years or more is considered a decent amount of time. Check if the seller is a Gold Supplier. All Gold Suppliers in China have to pass an on-site check, whilst other countries undertake a Supplier Verification Check.
Another thing worth checking is if the seller has a relationship with Trade Assurance. This means that you have the option to pay extra for this service, which ensures you get your money back should the quality of your products be inadequate or your products arrive late.
Make sure you are in regular contact with your supplier so they can contact you if they have questions about the packaging, such as whether you want your logo on the products and packaging, and what type of packaging you prefer. Most sellers use clear plastic poly bags to keep the price down however, they may have more attractive options available. It’s really up to you.
Shipping your product
Prior to shipping your product make sure you have set up your shipping packages in your Amazon Seller Central account. This means asking your seller questions about the quantity of boxes, box dimensions, weight, etc, because you need to generate barcodes and send these to your seller to stick on all of your boxes.
You also have the option of requesting Amazon to print and stick the barcodes on your boxes once they reach the warehouse. Barcodes are created in your Amazon Seller Central account. Do some reading and make sure you’re across the requirements so you don’t waste time.
You can ask your seller to ship the products for you directly to an Amazon Warehouse, in which case they will charge you a fee. Alternatively, you can organise shipping by yourself via a third party called a ‘Freight Forwarder’. Shipping by air is more expensive, but of course much faster. You can also choose to ship by sea which will take longer but is less expensive.
Amazon also offers a service called ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ or ‘FBA’. This is the process whereby you send your products to an Amazon Fulfillment Centre and they pick them up, pack them into boxes, ship them and provide customer service (processing exchanges and refunds) for your products.
Arrival of product
Once your product arrives at the warehouse and is ready to sell, Amazon will notify you on your Seller Central account that you are now ‘live’ and ready for business. Keep an eye on your sales, as well as any returns. Amazon may reimburse you for returns, depending on the situation.