Amazon is the world’s largest marketplace. As of 2022, 44% of the US population had bought a product on Amazon in the last month, and approximately 40% of all online shopping started there.
But selling on Amazon may seem like a daunting task, especially for beginners. You probably wonder where to start, what can and cannot be sold, how you can optimize your products’ reach – the list goes on and on.
No worries, though!
If you have been considering selling your products on Amazon and want to learn more about them, we’ve got you covered with this guide.
Today we’ll show you how to start an Amazon FBA business from scratch; from how to pick and list your products, to how to promote them and scale your Amazon biz.
But first things first:
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Table of Contents
What is Amazon FBA and how does it work?
Let’s start with what selling on Amazon is and how it differs from the rest of eCommerce.
Amazon FBA is a fulfillment service provided by Amazon that lets you store your products in Amazon’s warehouses, and they pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products.
So, the biggest difference between Amazon and other eCommerce businesses is that Amazon does most of the work for you. As a seller, you don’t have to worry about dealing with customers or processing payments.
Here’s how it works:
You list your product on Amazon and someone buys it. Instead of you having to buy the packaging, ship it and deal with any customer service issues that might arise, the FBA takes care of all of that for you.
Amazon’s customer service team, for example, will handle any customer issues with shipping or refunds. Any time an order is placed, Amazon processes your order and ships it to your customer. You don’t have to worry about anything except sales.
Another big difference is that you don’t actually have to create your own products. You can sell other people’s products — called private labeling — or sell products made by other brands.
This can be a great way for beginners to dip their toes into eCommerce and see if it’s something they want to pursue.
How to learn how to sell on Amazon
- Amazon Selling Machine – With years of experience under their belts, Jason Katzenback and Matt Clark created a training that takes you by the hand, step by step, through each stage of building your Amazon FBA store from scratch.
- The Selling Family – The Selling Family is a blog that shares Amazon FBA information. You can sign up for their newsletter, read articles, and take online courses.
- The Amazon Code – This e-book explains how to build an Amazon business from the ground up. Some folks have seen it as THE blueprint for building a real online store.
- Just One Dime – Just One Dime is an Amazon FBA training course created by Seth Kniep. It’s one of the best in its class, and comes with a variety of programs, including Amazon FBA Mastery, Amazon Arbitrage Mastery, and Build an Amazon Brand.
- Proven Amazon Course – The Proven Amazon Course is a member website that helps you start a business by selling on Amazon. It’s got all sorts of training materials for teaching people how to get their eCommerce business off the ground.
- Amazon FBA Ninja – This Kevin David’s online course will take you through the entire process of selling on Amazon from start to finish.
- Blue Sky Amazon – Blue Sky Amazon is a two-part course about how to make money selling products on Amazon from Sophie Howard, who’s been doing Amazon FBA for 8 years.
- Amazon Freedom – This is one of the most popular Amazon courses out there. It was created by Dan Vas, a popular youtuber and ecommerce expert.
- Zero To Brand – The Zero to Brand course will teach you how to start a business selling on Amazon and succeeding with private label products.
- Nine University 2.0 – This 7-weeks program covers how to develop a profitable Amazon business, including how to pick items to sell and set prices.
- AMZDFY – Kevin David’s AMZDFY program is a business mentoring program to help you get started with Amazon FBA -Kevin David is a recognized Amazon seller with an actual net worth of $20 million.
- Search Find Buy – This is Ben Cummings’ crash course on selling on Amazon, so that you can get down to marketing your products on Amazon as soon as possible.
- Rainmaker Challenge – This is another short online course that’s designed to give you an insight of how to get started with Amazon FBA.
You can check more Amazon training courses here.
The good thing about selling on Amazon
1) Amazon handles shipping and warehousing
If you do your own shipping and logistics, you know how much work it is. Just the process of getting a package from point A to point B involves keeping track of inventory, managing storage space, working with various suppliers and manufacturers, dealing with shipping companies, and handling customer service. And that’s not even all of it.
If you’re selling on Amazon, there are no worries about all that. The platform handles everything for a very reasonable fee.
2) Huge traffic potential
You can sell products on Amazon that no one has ever even heard of and still have the potential to make sales. Amazon is so popular that even if people aren’t searching for the exact product you have listed, you have a chance to turn them into customers by making it easy for them to find what they’re looking for.
3) Lots of data at your fingertips
Amazon has an enormous amount of data that sellers can easily access by using their Seller Central account. This data is typically used to optimize listings, but it can also be used to shape business decisions, like which products to sell or which markets are most worth trying to break into.
4) The customer base is already established
Amazon has built up a trusted customer base, who know that when they order something from Amazon it will be delivered to their door in 2 days. This is an incredible asset that every seller can benefit from. Buyers feel comfortable shopping on Amazon because they know it’s safe and secure. That’s not to say there aren’t risks – more on that in our next article – but it is still better than starting from scratch.
5) Low cost of entry
You don’t need to hire developers to set up your shop. You barely need to pay for advertising. And when it comes time to ship your products out, Amazon’s fulfillment centers will take care of that for you. All you have to do is find the right product at the right price, and you’re good to go.
The benefit of this is obvious: It dramatically reduces the barriers to entry for e-commerce. If you want to sell online and have some money, you can do it on Amazon, while some e-commerce business models take a huge investment in infrastructure and resources if you opt to do it any other way.
6) You have a lot of support
On one hand, the business is your own and you’ll need to be responsible for it. However, you won’t be alone either. Amazon has several support teams that can help you with anything from product photos and descriptions, to more advanced issues like listing optimization and PPC campaigns.
Amazon’s Seller University is also a resource available to every seller that provides everything you need to know about selling on Amazon in the form of courses, videos, and guidelines.
The bad thing about selling on Amazon
1) Competition is fierce
That’s right. You will not be the only person selling your product on Amazon. It’s a massive marketplace with hundreds of millions of products and thousands of categories. If others are already selling successfully, it’s likely that you can, too.
But the competition can be tough. From a shopper’s point of view, there is an unlimited number of options for purchasing all sorts of products online, with Amazon being one of them. And if you’re trying to get ranked for a specific search term like “pet bandanas,” then you’ll have to compete with other sellers who also want to get ranked for this same term.
Because search rankings are so important in selling on Amazon, and because sellers are constantly looking for ways to improve their rankings and increase sales, it’s easy to see why the competition can be fierce.
2) You don’t control the customer experience
Amazon is a huge marketplace, and with that scale comes a level of impersonality. The company doesn’t have time to deliver the same kind of hand-holding and personal attention that you might be able to offer in a brick-and-mortar store or smaller eCommerce site.
Sellers on Amazon may find their listings buried under a mountain of other products, making it difficult for customers to find them. And if there’s a problem, Amazon usually sides with buyers, not sellers.
3) You have to compete on Amazon’s pricing, not your own.
If you’re selling on Amazon, you’re competing against millions of other sellers. If you’re selling a product that already exists on the site, you can’t compete on quality (you hope). You can’t compete on customer service, because Amazon handles all of the support for your products. You can’t offer a better return policy or faster shipping.
So what can you do?
You have to compete on price. That’s it. And if you think this will lead to a race-to-the-bottom, full of people trying to undercut each other over and over again until there’s no profit left, you are absolutely right. It’s terrible.
Competing on price doesn’t just mean that it’s hard to make money; it also means your business is completely dependent on Amazon’s whims and changes in pricing strategy from day to day.
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8 Easy Steps To Selling On Amazon
1) Discover your niche
The first thing you should do is find your niche market. This could be the most critical step when selling online. It helps you understand your target audience and their needs so you can provide a better shopping experience for them.
You’ll need to be able to compete with other sellers, so if you have experience in the industry or a passion for the products, this will help you stand out from the crowd.
You can use tools like Google Trends, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, etc., to find trending niches with low competition and high demand.
You’ll want to pick something that is:
- Profitable: There’s no point selling something if nobody is going to buy it! Do some research into which products are selling well, and how much they cost. Look at what other sellers are charging and whether they’re making any money from their sales.
- Low competition: If there are already hundreds of sellers offering the same product, you’ll have a hard time breaking into that market. You need to be able to offer something different that makes people choose your product over somebody else’s.
2) Research your products and find suppliers
The first thing you’ll need to do is identify the products that you want to sell.
Now, choosing the right product can be a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the whole process and don’t know where to start.
You can use Amazon as a starting point. Think about the top 20-30 best sellers in your niche and look at their ratings and reviews to see what customers like and dislike about them.
Also, make sure there is a demand for your product. Check out what other sellers are doing in your niche and see how much they’re selling their products for. In general, look for a gross margin of 30% or more. You can use tools like Jungle Scout or Unicorn Smasher (both free) to help you find profitable products.
When it comes to finding the right supplier, you can either:
Use a B2B platform – There are many B2B platforms online. The most famous one is Alibaba. You need to register on the platform and search for the products you want to sell.
There will be suppliers from all over the world, and you should choose the one that suits you best. You can check their ratings on the platform, so it is easy to determine which supplier you want to choose.
Use Google – You can also find your products on Google. Just type in ‘buy’, ‘sell’, or ‘OEM’ with your product name. But please note that these results are not filtered. So, some of them are not real suppliers and may be a scam, so do not pay money before you receive the goods.
Tip: Sample the products you’re considering so you can see the quality before you buy. Inspecting the product yourself is cheaper and more reliable than hiring a paid inspector.
3) Check if the product you want to sell needs approval from Amazon
Once you’ve decided on what products to sell, you need to check if the product(s) you want to sell require approval from Amazon.
Amazon has 35 categories of products available for selling, and 20 of these categories don’t require approval from Amazon. You can sell products in any of the 20 open categories, but you need to apply for approval to sell products in the other 15 categories.
If you want to sell products in those restricted categories, you will need to make a request by filling out an application. The application lets Amazon know that you have products that comply with their quality standards and will qualify as good additions to their site.
4) Register for a seller account on Amazon
Once you’re approved to sell on Amazon, you’ll need to create a seller account. To sell products on Amazon, you’ll need a seller account. With a seller account, you can sell both new and used items. The following steps will help you get started:
1. Go to the Amazon Seller Central and log in with the same credentials from your Buyer Account.
2. Click “Start Selling”
3. Enter your business/store name, select an address and enter any other required information
4. Review the Seller Agreement and Privacy Notice, check the boxes and click Create Account.
5. You’ll receive an email with a link to confirm your account registration. Once you click the link, your registration is complete!
5) List your products
If you’re selling items that are already listed on Amazon, the process is pretty straightforward:
You can use Amazon’s existing listings to match products to their UPC (product’s universal product code) or SKU code, then map those products to your own inventory. The system will know what the correct price, description, and title should be for each item.
Now, to add a product that’s not in Amazon’s catalog, you need to provide the product name, brand, manufacturer, and model number. You also have to specify the price, quantity, and condition of your item. Finally, you need to give details about where you’re shipping items from and how much it will cost.
If you sell a lot of different products, this can be a time-consuming process, but luckily there are online tools that can help you get through it faster.
One such tool is TurboLister, an eBay-owned program that allows users to create and edit listings offline. Another is Listing Mirror, which automates the process of listing and relisting products on Amazon and eBay.
There are also third-party services like AMZTracker that will list your items for you for a fee.
Here are some tips for listing your products:
- Use keywords that describe your product. In the product title, include brand names and descriptive terms (like size and color). Make sure to include details about a product’s condition in the title. Include a description of your product.
- Describe key features and benefits of the product. You can also include safety warnings and other important information customers need to know before purchasing your item.
- Include images of your product from multiple angles. Customers can zoom in on these images for greater detail. It’s important to use high-quality images so customers can see clearly what they are purchasing from you.
- Identify accurate prices for your products. Be sure to consider shipping costs when setting prices for your products. You can also set up shipping rates for different countries in the Marketplace Shipping Rates section of Amazon Seller Central.
6) Promote your products
After you’ve set up your Amazon store and when you’re ready to start selling, consider investing in some online marketing tools. These will help you get the word out about your products and are a great way to boost your sales on Amazon.
Here are some things to try:
1) You can run pay-per-click ads on Amazon itself through its sponsored product ads program. These search results ads show up next to people’s search results and let you reach more customers and increase awareness of your product.
2) Amazon’s auto-target tool also shows you keywords that you can bid on and use to promote your products. This is a great way to get started if you’re new to PPC advertising or don’t know where to begin when creating an advertising campaign.
3) If you want to spread awareness of your product outside of Amazon, consider running Google AdWords or Facebook Ads campaigns as well. These platforms allow anyone with an account (and money) to advertise their products online, regardless of whether they already have an established presence there or not.
7) Track your progress and scale
Once you’ve made your first sale, it’s time to start tracking your progress and scaling your business.
The best way to do this is by creating and monitoring a list of key performance indicators (KPIs). These are the essential metrics that will tell you how well your business is doing and where you have room for improvement.
You can use the ‘Reports’ tab in Seller Central to learn about your sales volume, orders, and other metrics. Here are a few KPIs we recommend that you track:
- Profit margins — How much do you spend on products and fulfillment compared to what you earn from sales? A simple way to calculate this is by subtracting your costs from your revenue, then dividing the result by your revenue.
- Turnover rate — How many items do you sell every day, week, or month? This can be a good indicator of demand for certain products.
- Customer complaints — What are the most common issues customers bring up about your products and service? If there are problems that keep coming up, try to find ways to fix them.
Start selling on Amazon today
There you have it, folks: a guide for every beginner. We hope you found these tips helpful and that you’re ready to start selling on Amazon using FBA.
If you’re completely new to selling on Amazon, our advice is to take it slow and really dive into it. Don’t just jump into the deep end!
There are a lot of things to learn about the process, but with time and practice, you will find success.
Good luck with your business and happy selling!