Selling on Amazon for beginners: A 'cheat sheet' for getting started

Selling on Amazon for beginners: A 'cheat sheet' for getting started

Wednesday, April 26, 2017Lauren Macdonald If you’ve decided to sell your products on Amazon, you’ve made a wise choice. Over 50% of consumers begin their search for a product on Amazon.com, which means that your products will be on one of the highest-traffic eCommerce websites in the world.  But with that, comes a lot (and we mean A LOT) of competition.

The key to being successful on Amazon is ensuring that your products stand out amongst the others, because there will be many, and consumers will only scroll through products for so long looking for the right one to buy.

But, there’s so much more to selling on Amazon than just ranking high in the search results, so we’ve created a short ‘cheat sheet’ for those of you who are new merchants on Amazon (or for existing Amazon merchants that want to get better at selling).

Here’s what you need to know…
How to create an Amazon seller account

The first step is creating an Amazon Seller account, if you don’t already have one. You can do so by clicking here.

When doing so, you’ll need to decide between Amazon’s Individual or Professional selling plans.

Individual: With an individual seller account, you’ll have no monthly fees. However, you’ll have to pay $0.99 per sale, then a referral fee of approx. 15%
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Professional: Choose this plan if you will sell lots of items every month. When you use it, the $0.99 fee per sale disappears, however the referral fee is still there and you will be charged $39.99 monthly for your Professional seller account.

We recommend starting with an Individual plan if you’re unsure how many sales you will have right off the bat. Once you begin selling roughly 40 items a month, switch over to a Professional plan to be more profitable.

Note: some products can only be sold by Professional sellers. If you want to sell food, for example, or collectibles, you have no choice but to sign up for a Professional account.
Deciding which shipping option is right for your business

When selling on Amazon you have the option to handle your own shipping, or use a service called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

Handling Your Own Shipping: This option allows you to have more control over your costs. FBA would require you to pay for storage every 30 days and would also require you to pay for the handling on Amazon’s end, as well as to ship the items to their warehouse. For that reason, managing your own shipping and handling is frequently cheaper and allows you to charge less for your product or take more money home on every sale. However, handling your own shipping will result in more logistical difficulties as you’ll need to figure out storage, and process all of your orders on your own.

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): Fulfillment by Amazon comes with some major advantages if you’re willing to pay the extra costs—your product becomes eligible for Prime, making it more appealing to customers; you don’t have to worry about storage; and you don’t have to do nearly as much running to the post office. However, using FBA means that your fees continue to stack up. You’ll have to pay storage fees, weight handling fees, “pick and pack” fees, and possibly more, on top of the costs of shipping the product to Amazon rather than directly to the customer.

Note: There is a Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator that you can use to determine if FBA is the right choice for your business. Simply put, those who want to maximize their level of control, create the highest profit potential, and the smallest amount of paperwork generally prefer shipping on their own. Those who want to streamline daily operations and prefer more total sales to higher profits per sale, generally choose to use FBA.
Conquering the world’s largest eCommerce marketplace

Once you’ve set up your Amazon seller account and decided on the shipping option that works best for you, you’re ready to learn how you can become the best Amazon seller you can be.

Amazon Seller Ratings: Your Amazon seller rating is one of your best tools for increasing sales. When a buyer looks at your product among listings from other sellers, they have two things to base their buying decision on—value and trust. You can compete on value with lower prices and better shipping options, but in order to compete on trust, you’ll need an excellent Amazon seller rating.

Here’s the 3 most important things you can do to protect your seller rating:
  1. Deliver as promised- this means delivering what was promised, when it was promised, how it was promised.
  2. Communicate with your customer, fast- if a customer sends you a message, you must respond within 24 hours. Any later, and you’ll start losing points.
  3. Provide great customer service- if a customer demands a refund (within reason), then provide it quickly and professionally. If customers are forced to seek assistance from Amazon under the A-to-Z Guarantee, you’ll wind up with a -500 score for that sale.
Amazon Seller Return Policies: One of the more complicated things about selling on Amazon is grasping their return policies. They have different policies for just about every category, and it can sometimes feel impossible to keep everything straight. Look here for more information regarding Amazon’s return policies.

Understanding UPCs, EANs, ISBNs and ASINs: Not sure what these important Amazon terms refer to? Here’s where to find the answers: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/seller/asin-upc-isbn-info.html

Connect Amazon with your ERP to save you time, and money: An accounting integration solution can help you achieve faster order fulfillment. Find out how you can integrate Amazon with your ERP here.

 
Still have questions about selling on Amazon? We’re ready to help!
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