Do You Want To Know How To Sell On Amazon?
What if I told you there was a way that you could buy products on clearance and then resell them on Amazon for a profit? Would the idea of making money shopping be appealing to you? If you said yes, then I have great news for you. Because buying and selling on Amazon is a business that has made me hundreds of thousands of dollars, and this business of selling on Amazon is one you can do for yourself as well.
This post is going to show you exactly how to sell on Amazon, what to sell on Amazon and how to open an Amazon seller account.
I put together this guide to show people brand new to the idea of selling on Amazon FBA that it is possible to learn how to sell on Amazon right now!
How I Personally Got Started Selling Stuff On Amazon FBA
Back in 2008, I found myself out of work and not wanting to go back to working for someone else. So I dove into selling stuff online with everything I had. I started first with eBay and then found out that if I created an Amazon account and used the Amazon FBA program, I could scale my business much higher, without having to put in a bunch more time and effort.
The Amazon FBA (fulfillment by Amazon) Program was the secret I needed to go from making $1,000 a month, to making over $5,000 a month, working part time. With my ebay business, I had to personally list, store and ship every item that I wanted to sell online. Most items I was selling were one off items, so I was starting from scratch with each thing I sold.
Switching to the Amazon FBA business model, I was able to sell things on Amazon much quicker and easier than I was selling them on Ebay. The what to sell on Amazon is a little different than it was for Ebay, but I was willing to put in the work learning how to sell on Amazon. The business model I was using was called retail arbitrage, meaning I bought from local stores and then listed them for sale on Amazon.
My husband was even able to quit his job and sell on Amazon with me. This was just a couple of years after I had started my business selling stuff online.
Together, we spent our days (doing retail arbitrage) sourcing products from local retail stores like CVS, Walgreens, Target and Grocery Outlet. To find things to sell, we would use Amazon scanning apps on our phones to look for products that were discounted enough in the store, and selling for high enough on Amazon that we could make a profit!
One of the best ways we found to source products for our Amazon FBA business was from Liquidation Stores where we could sometimes buy pallets of products at rock bottom prices.
It has been such a blessing to be able to work from home, make good money and sell on Amazon. I'm so glad I decided to open my Amazon seller account and just figure out how to sell on Amazon.
Now that you know who I am, and how I got started selling on Amazon, I would like to share with you how you can start your own Amazon FBA business!
What Does Selling On Amazon FBA Actually Mean?
Many people think that selling on Amazon must mean that you have to open an Amazon website or webstore. That's not the case at all.
When you sell on Amazon, you are basically the owner of an online retail store, except your store is ran on the Amazon.com site.
The way that I teach people how to sell on Amazon FBA is by buying products locally, and then reselling them on Amazon. There are other models of finding the inventory to sell on Amazon, I just feel that this one called “retail arbitrage” is the easiest and best one to start out with as a beginner.
Instead of trying to build your own brand (Private Label), you get to use the reputation that major brands have already created! Buy low - sell high! that is what selling on Amazon is all about.
The other main reason why we sell on Amazon is because of their FBA - Fulfillment By Amazon program. I'll explain the benefits of that in just a minute.
When you find things to sell on Amazon, you list them on a shared product page, label them and send them off to an Amazon FBA warehouse where they store the product and then package and ship it when the item sells. Keep reading for details on how this works.
Why You Should Sell On Amazon Instead Of Building Your Own Site
Let's talk about WHY you would want to sell on Amazon in the first place. This is really important because a lot of people think they can just throw up a website and sell items there instead of on Amazon. This is a mistake because Amazon.com is the largest online retailer.
In fact Amazon is quickly becoming the world's largest search engine as well. People often head to Amazon when they are looking for something — even before searching Google.
When they do actually search Google for a physical product they want to buy, Amazon is usually ranked #1 there too! So Amazon is just grabbing up all that traffic from online shoppers.
I tell you this because it is one of the main reasons we sell on Amazon rather than trying to build our own website. Could you even imagine trying to compete with Amazon.com for traffic? No, Me either!
The good news is this: Amazon allows us to sell on their platform, thus SHARING that traffic with us. They do the hard work of getting customers to their site, and we get to sell our products to those customers!
Yes, this comes at a cost (in the form of a commission), but that cost doesn't compare with trying to build a website and spending your own money on marketing.
How To Find Things To Sell On Amazon
There are 5 main different ways of finding inventory that people use for selling on Amazon.
The way that we teach people to “source” (the term for finding products) in our Amazon Boot Camp course is “Retail Arbitrage”.
This means buying products from retail stores, either locally or online, and then reselling the products on Amazon.
The goal of Retail Arbitrage is to find products that are being sold at enough of a discount in the store that we can “flip” them on Amazon for a profit even after paying for the item and Amazon taking its “cut,” which is about 30% of the total selling price.
To find the products, we head to local stores with our smartphones in hand. Then we use a scanning app on our phone that will tell us what the product is currently selling for on Amazon. We can then enter our cost of the item and the app will tell us if we would make any profit.
By scanning, I mean we use the camera on our phone, with the app open, and then “scan” the item's UPC barcode.
The picture above is what it looks like when we scan a product using the Amazon Seller App. In the store, we are easily able to see how much an item is selling for on Amazon and what they payout would be if we were to sell the product.
From this information, we would still need to take out the cost of the product we want to purchase.
In the example above, the item costs $15 at Target.
So, we can put into the Amazon seller App a cost of $15 and see the following information.
So, while we are still in the store looking at this item, we see on the fba calculator that our profit would be $11.30 if we sold these socks for $37.99.
In stores, we scan all kinds of things looking for stuff we can sell on Amazon. Usually we start with the clearance items, then we look at specialty / seasonal items.
In order to use the app I am using above, you need to create an Amazon account. You can start out with a free seller account. Eventually, you will want a paid Amazon seller account, but no need to worry about that now!
Testing The Process Before You Create An Amazon Account
If you aren't ready to create your Amazon account, and still want to test out how much you could make selling stuff on Amazon, there is another way!
This method uses the Amazon FBA Calculator to show you how much you would make selling items that are listed on Amazon already. This will show us all the same Amazon fees and details the scanning apps give us, just without having an Amazon seller account.
You can test this out using products you have around your house, or by looking up products you find in online stores.
For example, let's look at this red can opener. It could be purchased for $10 at Target for 75% off.
Searching this item on Amazon, by typing the item name into the search bar on Amazon, we can see (at the time of this writing) that this can opener is listed for almost $30.
Next we would look the item up on the Amazon FBA Calculator and add in the following details:
#1 the price it is selling for on Amazon and
#2 the inbound shipping cost. I calculate this at roughly $.50 a pound.
We get really good rates as Amazon FBA Sellers through the program.
When you click “calculate,” you will get #3 - the amount you would receive from Amazon on that item if it sells for the price listed.
See below for the example and how to use this calculator.
Since this item has a cost of $10 for the can opener, you would then deduct the purchase price from the “Margin Impact” amount shown of $19.43 and get a final “profit” of $9.43!
To test out this process, you can find items online and do this comparison using the Amazon FBA Calculator, or you can even try it with items you have around the house.
Doing this is not necessarily to find stuff you can actually sell on Amazon, I just want you to look at the process of how to sell on Amazon. And how to find out if products are profitable enough to list on Amazon.
Why You Need To Use The Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) Program
Now that you see what it is like to find products to sell on Amazon, we need to talk about the Amazon FBA program and why it is the gamechanger to selling stuff online!
You remember in the beginning I talked about selling on Ebay and how I couldn't really scale up the business?
Well, Amazon FBA is what made it so I COULD scale up the business.
Now we are getting into why selling on Amazon using FBA beats out so many other e-commerce business models!
When we talk to anyone who wants to start selling on Amazon, we always recommend that they use the FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon) program.
This means that Amazon handles a big portion of the selling process for us sellers. Actually, they handle the hardest and most time-consuming parts!
Let me list the steps of selling a product on Amazon so you can see what parts the seller handles and what parts Amazon handles (when we use FBA):
- You find a product to sell on Amazon
- You list the product on Amazon.com (does not go “live” at this point)
- You prepare the items to send to Amazon's warehouses
- You ship the items to Amazon's warehouses
- Amazon unpacks and stores your inventory for you
- Your product shows up live on Amazon.com (according to where you listed in step #2)
- Your product is featured as a Prime Eligible purchase
- Amazon BUYER places an order from you
- The Amazon warehouse workers find and ship your product to the customer
- Your customer receives the product in 2 days (if they are a Prime member)
- The Customer is happy!
As you can see, we are responsible for finding products we want to sell on Amazon, listing them and preparing them to sell.
Once the products are listed and are ready for sale, we “hand them off” to Amazon and they do the rest!
When the product is sold, Amazon handles finding the box, scheduling the shipment, packing the item and making sure it gets to the buyer on time.
Fulfillment By Amazon is the MAIN reason that I stopped selling on eBay and went all-in with Amazon.
When I was selling on eBay, even though I was clearing almost $2,000 a month in profit, I didn't have much room or ability to scale the business. If I wanted to make more money, it meant I had to find more products, create more listings, store more inventory, ship more items and deal with more customers.
I was already spending a lot of time on the business. I couldn't imaging DOUBLING IT.
So, when I realized that I could sell more items on Amazon without adding to my daily workload, I was sold! Can you see the appeal now?
I can now send items into Amazon and then take a week off if I want to. That's because all of my sold items will be processed and handled without any input from me!
Many beginners getting started with a new Amazon seller account think that they should just list the products and ship them to the customer's themself. This is a BAD idea!
This is called Merchant Fulfilling. I am going to keep this post all about selling on Amazon using FBA so I won't get all into MF other than to say that, with merchant fulfilling, you handle all of the steps above…AND, you don't benefit from the next big point.
The Biggest Benefit Of Selling On Amazon FBA
I know I mentioned that with merchant fulfilling you have to do all of the work. But to be totally honest, that isn't even the biggest benefit of using the FBA program!
The biggest benefit is that when you use the Fulfillment By Amazon program, your products become Prime Eligible! I touched on this a little when I showed the picture of “Mikes” party supplies.
Amazon does a ton of marketing to get people to join its Prime Program. People spend almost $100/year so that they can have unlimited “free” 2-day shipping on items sold on Amazon.com. There are other benefits as well, but let's just focus on this one. So if someone spends $99 to get free shipping, do you think they are going to choose to buy from a seller who offers free shipping or from someone they have to pay an extra shipping cost to?
Even if the merchant fulfilling seller offers free shipping, buyers still have to wait longer than the Prime 2 days for the item to arrive! If you are a Prime Member yourself, I think you know the hassle of having to wait and pay extra for shipping, right?
As a Prime buyer myself, I ALWAYS choose FBA sellers over merchant fulfilled sellers. EVEN IF the price is higher. I trust that the item will arrive quickly and as described. Amazon has a trust factor built in that people have come to know and believe in.
And THIS is where the power of being an Amazon FBA seller comes in!
Amazon has trained us as buyers to look for Prime Sellers!
Take a look below and see which seller you would choose to buy from if you are a Prime member.
If I place an order from the first seller, I will receive the item on SUNDAY, which is in 2 days. I am writing this on a Friday and the second seller probably won't even ship my order out until MONDAY. And because they are in TN and I am in CA, we are probably looking at an additional 5 days for me to receive the order. So, maybe next FRIDAY I will get it. Possibly longer.
The thing is, I honestly would choose seller number one, even if they were like $5-$7 higher than the merchant fulfilled seller. Just for the convenience of fast and easy shipping.
Thankfully, many people think the same way that I do, so this business model works REALLY WELL!
What It Looks Like To Be A Seller On Amazon
You may not have even realized that Amazon has 3rd-party sellers (people other than Amazon the company) who sell on the site!
Here is an example of a product page on Amazon; the red arrow shows that if you click on the “Add to Cart” button, you are buying from Amazon.com.
The blue arrow shows other sellers, people like you and I, who are sharing that page with Amazon in order to sell the same product.
Now, why would someone choose to pay MORE from one of those 3rd-party sellers? Instead of just ordering from Amazon and paying less?
That's a great question, I'm glad you asked 😉
The goal for most people selling on Amazon is NOT to COMPETE with Amazon for sales. I only show the example above to show you the difference in the types of sellers on Amazon.
Let's look at a different item and see what things looks like when Amazon is not one of the sellers.
In this picture, we can see that “Mikes Super Store” is selling the party set on Amazon. He is also using the “Fulfilled by Amazon” program.
That means that as a Prime member, I am able to order from “Mike” and get the same treatment as I would buying direct from Amazon!
So I don't look at Mike any differently than I would if Amazon were selling the item. And the truth is, most people don't even notice that it doesn't say “Sold by Amazon.com.” They just see Fulfilled by Amazon and that they can get Two-Day Shipping on the order.
Then they click Buy It Now!
You see, “Selling on Amazon” means that you get to list your products for sale on the Amazon.com website. Then Amazon's buyers get to purchase from you.
All the while, you haven't had to create a new website, spend money on ads to get customers or even ship your items to the customer…
That's right! Now let's get to the reason we use and recommend you use the Fulfillment By Amazon Program.
Ready To Start Your Own Business Selling on Amazon FBA?
Now that you know the benefits and reasons why the Amazon FBA business model works, you should have a good idea whether this is something that you want to try for yourself.
So let's take a look at how someone gets started in their own Amazon FBA business.
Ready To Start Your Own Amazon FBA Business?
Once you have decided that you want to actually start the process of selling stuff online, you will need to have an Amazon seller account and a few basic supplies before you can get going.
The seller account is required in order to use the scanning apps I mentioned previously. I know it may feel like jumping the gun since you haven't found anything to sell yet, but it's a catch-22 in this case.
From this point forward, if you are a person who prefers to see things laid out in a step-by-step fashion and watch videos to learn, it's a good time to check out my Amazon Boot Camp video course, because I leave no stone unturned!
Create Your Amazon Seller Account
The following video is from The Amazon Boot Camp course and shows you the teaching style I have for the training 🙂
One important note:
Amazon recently changed its “Free Month Of Pro” policy. So if you sign up for the Pro account as recommended in the video, you will actually be charged the $39.99 right away.
Start Looking For Products To Sell On Amazon
Once you set up your account (whether you do the free one or the paid one), you can start using the Amazon Seller App to scan items in stores or in your house. Here is my tutorial on how to use the different Amazon seller scanning apps and how they work.
You are well on your way to finding profitable products to resell on Amazon!
Don't Forget The Supplies For Your Amazon FBA Business
Like I mentioned previously, you do need some basic supplies before you can start selling items on Amazon. You can wait until you have found some profitable products before getting these supplies; you just can't send those products in to Amazon without having them.
The basics are: computer, smartphone, printer, labels, boxes, shipping tape and a scale.
You can see all of our recommended Amazon Seller tools here. This will give you the exact versions of everything that we use!
Learn From Someone Who's Been There!
There is no point in going at this alone!
I created the Amazon Boot Camp with you in mind. You see, when I started selling on Amazon, there were no step-by-step courses available to learn how to sell on Amazon.
I had to figure it all out on my own — with lots of Google searches and navigating through forums.
That is why I decided to create the first complete step-by-step video course for getting started on Amazon.com using the Fulfillment By Amazon program.
In fact, over 4,000 people have gone through this course and are selling on Amazon today because of it!
In our Amazon FBA course you get:
- Screen Share step-by-step instructions to get your Amazon business up and running in no time!
- Plus, you get access to our members-only private Facebook group where we have tons of successful Boot Camp students
You can see all of the details of the course right here.
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