How did I manage to sell $45,000 worth of products on Amazon.com in just a few months (full report here) as a pregnant stay at home mom who signed up to sell products on Amazon.com?
How did I decide what to sell & what were some of the nearly 2,000 units that I sold?
How difficult is it to start listing products on Amazon.com?
What are my best tips & biggest regrets?
What do you need to start selling on Amazon?
Disclosure: many of my posts contain affiliate links. If you use them I will receive commissions, at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclosure policy here.
How to Sell on Amazon
Below are my experiences as an Amazon seller.
You’ll notice I only started selling online in April, so this income isn’t even from a full year!
I started selling on Amazon just weeks after I first learned about Jessica Larrew, and her online Amazon Boot Camp training course.
Jessica has been interviewed by the biggest names online & her experiences are priceless. She is THE leading expert in Amazon selling, so thank you Jessica for sharing your knowledge!
Literally within days of first learning about Jessica’s Amazon Boot Camp training course I was selling for profit on Amazon.
I love that Jessica stands behind her training & offers a 100% satisfaction policy.
This takes the risk out of signing up for the course, so you can get started ASAP.
Click here to learn more about Jessica’s course.
How to Sell on Amazon
You probably never noticed it, but Amazon.com has a link to Sell at the top of every page!
You need to choose between the 2 different types of seller accounts available:
- Individual seller
- Professional seller
If you plan to sell more than 40 items each month, then you have to sell with a Professional account.
This post is so popular that I want to offer a place to meet & chat with other moms who are looking to sell on Amazon. Click here to come join us on Facebook.
How to Sell on Amazon? Christmas!
If you reviewed my 2014 online income report you know that December is a HUGE sales month.
December was my HIGHEST month BY FAR with almost $12,000 in sales.
Christmas sales on Amazon are CRAZY, but don’t worry – there’s still time to get in the game!
Click here to get started now & be a PRO by next Christmas!
Even though you would expect a sales spike in the Toys & Games category, the holiday period offers increased sales everywhere in Amazon.
This gives you an idea of what I sold JUST IN DECEMBER!
Here you can see that Toys in general were popular (I just had standard toys, but would have done much better if I went with the “HOT” must-have toys), but Heath & Personal Care and Home Appliances were massive too.
HELLO CHRISTMAS BUMP.
It’s real, it’s predictable & yes, there are a lot of sellers who ONLY sell during the run up to Black Friday & Christmas because IT’S SO PROFITABLE!
People seriously start shopping. And buying. Everything.
And as my inventory started selling, I INCREASED prices because I didn’t want to run out of inventory.
And people kept buying even at the higher prices, because stock was running out.
And you know – last minute Christmas shoppers are willing to pay more.
Selling Your Own Product
It is just as easy (and much more profitable) to see your own products on Amazon. It does take a little more work to setup a brand new listing from scratch.
But think about this – if you invest the “work” involved in setting up your own listing on Amazon’s website, you will be able to sell your products at the BIGGEST RETAILER in the world. Not the biggest online retailer, the BIGGEST period.
Now, compare this to trying to get your products onto the shelves of a Wal-Mart or Target store & then tell me how much work is involved!
What a fantastic opportunity you have to SELL YOUR PRODUCT at Amazon!
If you are already selling on Ebay or Etsy, I encourage you to sell on Amazon. Amazon’s sheer size & volume will dwarf any sales you have on Ebay or Etsy.
Here are some questions & answers I gave to someone who is looking to sell their own product on Amazon.
Selling Existing Products
After you’ve signed up as a seller, you need to find items to sell. Here you have 2 options:
- Sell an item that is already currently being sold on Amazon
- Sell an item that is not currently being sold on Amazon
As a new seller, I suggest you start by selling items that are already being sold because:
- You won’t have to create a new listing for a new item
- You can see the current price the items are being sold for as well as the price history using CamelCamelCamel
The key to making money on an item already being offered for sale is the price you spend on the item. The basic rule is you want to be able to sell the item for around 3 times the purchase price.
So, if you find an item at Walmart.com for $6, you need to be able to sell it for at least $18 on Amazon.com. With this ratio you will have spent $6 on the item, Amazon.com will take approximately $6 commission, and you will be left with $6 profit. $6 profit on a $6 investment – where else can you find a 100% return these days!?
WARNING: Once you get the hang of with this, you will start thinking “hmmmm, I wonder what that sells for” as your kids are opening gifts received at birthdays & Christmas!! Yes, I’m talking about myself here!
Selling Used Products
There is also a HUGE market for selling used products on Amazon, following the exact same rules as above. That is one of the BEST ways to get started on Amazon, since you don’t have to invest your own money in product. Think of it like a garage sale that is open to the whole world. :)
A great way to go for used products is to sell as a Merchant rather than Fulfilled by Amazon.
Selling Fulfilled by Amazon means the items are sitting in an Amazon warehouse, ready for Amazon to ship for you as soon as they sell. This is perfect for selling high volume item, so you don’t have to store them all in your garage & ship them yourself everytime they sell!
Merchant selling is good when you have 1 or 2 products of a specific type – which is perfect for selling used. You likely will not have 100 of the same book to sell, so just list it & grab it off the shelf & box it up when it does sell!
Real Life Example
Here is a real life example I have bought & sold many times. The Clio Palmperfect Shaver sells on Walmart.com for $6.91.
The same shavers sell on Amazon for $19.99 (as of February 23, 2015 but prices will fluctuate).
If you shopped on Walmart using Ebates you will end up spending even less.
Click below to find details on what to sell on Amazon based on my buying & selling experiences.
How is it possible that I can buy a regularly priced item on Walmart.com and sell it for more on Amazon.com? Why wouldn’t buyers just go to Walmart.com instead of Amazon?
- If someone wanted to by just this 1 razor, Walmart will charge them for shipping. Amazon Prime members don’t pay for shipping.
- Walmart items usually take at least 7 days to arrive. Amazon Prime members receive items in 2 days.
- Many people are willing to pay for the convenience of buying everything centrally on Amazon.com rather than looking through multiple websites to find the lowest prices. They wouldn’t even realize the item is cheaper on Walmart, because they only shop on Amazon.
Ways to Save
The key to making money on Amazon is controlling the price you SPEND on the items to resell. To save money when you buy:
- Whether or not you end up selling on Amazon, you should ALWAYS use Ebates before buying anything online (click here to read my post about Ebates).
- Buy enough to qualify for free shipping. For example, Walmart.com requires a minimum order of $50 for free shipping.
- Buy in bulk quantities to simplify processing & keep items in stock.
- Shop the off-season (more about that below).
You are not automatically allowed to sell into every Amazon category – some are restricted & require additional approval.
Below you will see which categories are immediately available to both Individual & Professional sellers. The categories with * stars * require both a Professional seller account AND a separate application for the specific category.
Applying to sell in restricted categories is a little bit painful. This has been great for me as a seller, because a lot of sellers give up during the application process. I was rejected numerous times before finally being approved! The Amazon support team is helpful, so it may take a lot of back & forth, but eventually it is worth it.
Even though I was cleared to sell in the Toys & Games category, I was specifically restricted from selling Disney Frozen merchandise within this category. Why? No one knows, but according to rumors on the seller forums, there were too many shady sellers attempting to sell knock offs.
List Your Items for Sale
Once you purchase your items & are approved to sell them, you can easily list items for sale. You probably never noticed the Sell on Amazon button on each product page.
From here you only enter:
- How many you are selling
- Your selling price (which can be updated as often as you like, so don’t start too low!)
- Whether you want to ship the item yourself when it sells or whether you plan to send it to an Amazon warehouse to have them fulfill once it sells (Fulfilled by Amazon or FBA)
Supplies You Need
If you have a computer & a printer, there is very little else you need to get started selling on Amazon.
When I started I didn’t have any of these supplies, but I found them to be worth the small investment if they:
- Saved me time
- Made the product look more professional
Here are the supplies I used when selling on Amazon.
If you’re looking to resell new items, you will also need some money to invest in your inventory up front. Or, just hang onto those unwanted Christmas items & start out by re-selling them!
Jessica teaches how to start with an investment as small as $50 in her Amazon Boot Camp training course.
Advice & Lesson Learned
I did start to move toward selling more expensive items (here is my list of what to sell on Amazon). With more expensive items, I was able to make more total profit selling fewer items. This can be a risky strategy, because if they don’t sell quickly my money becomes tied up in fewer products.
I bought items in bulk which was also risky. I got stuck with 500 packs of swim diapers, because sales slowed down sooner than I expected at the end of the summer season. I was relieved in December when sales went back up again (lots of people spend Christmas at the beach?), but that was almost a very expensive mistake.
Another risk is that Amazon will decide to start selling the product themselves. They are able to sell at the same price as Walmart, so you will never beat them on price. This has happened to me a couple of times, but so far Amazon has only sold the items temporarily (usually during peak season for the product). Once they sell out of their stock I have been able to then return to selling mine at the higher price.
One of the best tactics for me has been buying off-season. The yearly sales cycle is fairly predictable based on the weather (winter coats, summer sandals), the holidays (Christmas lights, Halloween decorations), and the events (back to school, summer weight loss).
Buy items on clearance when retailers are dumping their stock & then make sure you have items ready to sell on Amazon for the upcoming season.
Here are a couple more Amazon resources I have for you:
- Join Our Facebook Group
- Supplies I Use
- WHAT to Sell on Amazon
- Amazon Selling: Questions & Answers
- Amazon: Income Opportunities for Bloggers
- You can also listen to my Brilliant Business Moms Podcast interview here!
- Make Thousands on Amazon in 10 Hours a Week