>Whether you’re starting a side hustle or launching a start-up, finding customers is always a top priority. By tapping into an existing customer base and selling goods on one of the world’s biggest retail platforms, you can maximise your revenue and increase your profits.
From household items and clothing to computer components and mobile phone cases, Amazon can be a great way to sell virtually anything. Before you can get started, however, you’ll need to know everything about how to sell on Amazon and how to attract customers via the marketplace.
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How to Do Business with Amazon
If you want to sell goods via the retail platform, you’ll need to use Amazon Marketplace. This is the subcategory of Amazon that allows third parties to use their infrastructure to sell to customers. However, Amazon Marketplace classifies sellers into two distinct categories:
1. Casual Sellers
Casual sellers are those who sell 35 items or fewer per month via the Marketplace. According to Amazon’s current terms, you’ll only be charged completion and referral fees for each item sold if you’re a casual seller. However, it’s worth noting that the range of products you’re able to sell via the Marketplace is more limited if you sign up as a casual seller.
2. Professional Sellers
Professional sellers can be established businesses that want to use the Marketplace infrastructure to expand their customer base, new start-ups that plan to sell a high volume of goods, or even individuals who want to supplement their income with ecommerce. If you sell more than 35 items via Amazon Marketplace, you’ll need to register as a professional seller.
As well as paying a completion and referral fee for every item you sell, you’ll also need to pay a monthly subscription. However, there are some advantages to signing up as a professional seller. As well as being able to sell more than 35 items per month, you can also sell a wider range of goods and access bulk listing features, which make it easier to list and sell in high volumes.
Do I Need a Business Account to Sell on Amazon?
Before you can begin selling goods on Amazon, you will need to register as a seller. However, you don’t have to have a business account in order to do this. Instead, you can either register for a Basic Seller account (if you plan on being a casual seller) or a Professional Seller account.
How to Start an Amazon Business
Once you’ve decided which type of seller you’re going to be, you can sign up to Amazon Marketplace and register for the relevant type of seller account. To do this, you’ll need:
- Bank account information
- A UK credit card (or an internationally chargeable credit card)
- Email address
- A valid phone number (Amazon often contact sellers by phone during the registration process)
- VAT Number (If your company is VAT registered)
It’s as simple as that! Now that you’re registered as a seller, you’ll be able to begin listing items and processing sales.
Do I Need a Business Name to Sell on Amazon?
You don’t have to have a business name to sell on Amazon, although many sellers do trade under a business name. If you’re a sole trader, for example, you may want to choose a business name to display to customers, even though your business isn’t registered with Companies House. Of course, if you run a limited company, you’ll already have an established business name you can use.
However, if you’re an individual, casual seller and you’re selling on Amazon sporadically or decluttering your home, for example, you don’t need to have a business name in order to list goods or sell via the Marketplace.
Do You Need a Business Account to Sell on Amazon?
You don’t need a business account to sell on Amazon, but you do need a Seller account. There are two options to choose from:
1. Basic Seller account (for casual sellers)
2. Professional Seller account (for professional sellers e.g., businesses)
There are no account fees associated with Basic Seller accounts (just a completion and referral fee on each sale). In contrast, there is a monthly subscription fee for a Professional Seller account (in addition to a ‘per item’ completion and referral fee).
Now you know exactly what types of seller accounts are available and which one is right for you, you’ll can move on to the next step: listing your items for sale.
Listing Items for Sale on Amazon
How you list your items for sale on Amazon Marketplace will depend on whether you’re a casual or professional seller.
If you’re a casual seller and the item you want to sell is already listed on Amazon, simply go to the product page and click on the ‘More Buying Choices’ button at the right-hand side of the page. Click, ‘Sell Yours Here’, and you’ll be prompted to add details about the item you’re selling, such as its age and condition. Then, you can make your listing ‘live’, so that customers can purchase your item.
If you’re a professional seller, you can list items for sale via Amazon’s web-based interface or using the bulk listing tool. However, the exact method you use will depend on whether the goods are already listed in Amazon’s catalogue.
Goods Listed in Amazon Catalogue
When using Amazon’s web-based interface, you can list items individually if they are already in the catalogue. Simply enter the name of the product, the price you’re selling it for and how many items you have in stock, and the information from the catalogue will be assigned to the listing.
If you want to use the bulk listing tool for goods already listed in the Amazon Catalogue, you’ll need to enter the ISBN, EAN or UPC for each product, so that a listing can be created.
Goods Not Listed in Amazon Catalogue
If a product isn’t present in the Amazon Catalogue, you can still list it for sale via either the web-based interface or the bulk listing tool, but you will need to include a little more information. When listing items that aren’t in the Amazon Catalogue, sellers are typically required to add:
- Product title
- Product description
- ISBN, EAN or UPC
- Product Image
- Number of items available
Dispatching and Shipping Goods Sold on Amazon
Amazon has strict guidelines that sellers must adhere to, so it’s important to confirm what the requirements are before you list goods for sale. When an item sells, Amazon will notify you via email and you’ll need to act quickly. Sellers must ship items within two days of them being sold, for example, and send confirmation of the dispatch.
As well as relying on sale notifications via email, you can also login to your Seller account to view transactions. Once you have sent confirmation that an item has been dispatched, Amazon will release the relevant funds to your Seller account.
Using Fulfilment by Amazon
If you don’t want to store items that you have in stock or deal with dispatching or shipping them yourself, you may prefer to use the Fulfilment by Amazon service. This enables you to access storage and shipping services, which significantly minimises the amount of work required to run your own successful ecommerce business.
If you use the Fulfilment by Amazon service, your stock will be stored at an Amazon fulfilment centre. When an item is sold, it will be picked and packed by on-site staff, before being shipped to the customer. In addition to dealing with storage, handling, and shipping, Amazon also provides customer service on behalf of sellers using the Fulfilment by Amazon service.
Currently, sellers aren’t required to pay any additional subscription fees to use the Fulfilment by Amazon service but there are storage and fulfilment fees. Fulfilment fees vary depending on the type, size, and weight of the stock, as well as the shipping methods that are made available to the customer. Inventory fees vary at different times of the year. You’ll pay a little more per cubic metre of storage between October and December, for example, due to the extra demand for space over the Christmas sales period.
Many sellers find that the Fulfilment by Amazon service enables them to streamline their ecommerce business and even reduces their costs. However, you’ll need to calculate what your overheads are with and without the fulfilment service in order to determine whether it’s the right option for you.
Accessing Your Funds as an Amazon Seller
When an item is dispatched, Amazon will transfer the relevant funds to your Seller account, but you may not be able to access them straight away. Instead, the funds in your Seller account will automatically be transferred to your bank account every 14 days. The 14-day period starts as soon as you register for a Seller account, so you won’t be able to choose when funds are deposited into your account. However, you will receive an email notification from Amazon when your payment has been deposited.
Can You Make a Profit Selling on Amazon?
Yes. Millions of sellers make large profits by selling a wide range of goods on Amazon Marketplace. To increase your revenue, however, it’s important to refine your listings and set prices that attract customers. Fortunately, Amazon provides sellers with a range of tools and guides to help them hone their listing and pricing skills.
By choosing the right type of Seller account and calculating your overheads carefully, selling on Amazon can be a great way to launch or expand an ecommerce business. With millions of customers already using the site, you can drastically increase your reach and utilise an existing framework to boost your own business. By doing so, you can streamline your workflows, connect with more customers, and maximise your sales. As a result, you’ll find that selling on Amazon can be a lucrative way of launching your own successful ecommerce venture. Why not give it a go!