Amazon has become the do-everything, sell-anything platform of the modern era. Nothing beats the ease and convenience of one-click shopping paired with Prime shipping. Nothing.
Here are just a few reasons why Amazon has become the leading ecommerce platform in the western world:
- Amazon has 300+ million active customers spread over 180 countries
- Third-party sales on Amazon are growing at 52% year over year
- Amazon has 150+ million Prime members
- Amazon dominates mobile shopping with an app that’s almost 2x as popular as second-ranking Walmart.
- 89% of online buyers agree that they’re more likely to buy from Amazon than any other ecommerce site
- Small and medium-sized businesses in the US collectively sell an average of 4,000 items every minute
With stats like that, it’s no wonder Amazon has more than 1.9 million sellers currently using the marketplace. And things are picking up fast—at this rate, it’s expected to gain more than 1 million new sellers this year alone.
The competition is heating up, but you’re not too late to the game. Far from it. As Amazon continues to grow in popularity for buyers, there’s always a place for new sellers. However, you’ll need to get your ducks in a row to succeed on this platform—you won’t win with a willy-nilly half-in approach.
Let us help kickstart your Amazon selling experience. This guide will show you everything you need to know about how to sell on Amazon as a complete beginner.
5-Step Process for How to Start Selling on Amazon
First, let’s get your account set up and your first product listed. We’ll walk you through everything from registering as an Amazon Seller to choosing the best fulfillment strategy for you.
1. Register as an Amazon Seller
Here’s what you’ll need to register as an Amazon Seller:
- Bank account number
- Bank routing number
- Credit card
- Government-issued ID
- Tax information
- Phone number
Choose the Right Plan
Next, you’ll need to choose your selling plan. You have 2 options:
- Individual Plan: You’ll be charged $0.99 per sale on this plan, regardless of how many items you sell. You also won’t get access to any advanced selling tools or programs. Sorry.
- Professional Plan: You’ll be charged $39.99 per month for a Professional Plan. This will also give you access to APIs, advanced selling reports, and additional seller programs (like Launchpad and Handmade).
Don’t worry about making the wrong decision—you can always change plans later. However, if you’re just getting started and don’t anticipate selling more than 40 items a month, go with the Individual Plan. It’ll give you time to get acclimated to the Amazon Seller Marketplace without any overhead.
Get to Know the Fees
Beyond your plan subscription fees, you’ll also have:
- Selling Fees: Includes referral fees and variable closing fees.
- Shipping Fees: If you fulfill orders by yourself, you’ll be charged Amazon shipping rates based on the product category and the shipping service your buyer selects.
- FBA Fees: If you choose Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you’ll have to pay fees for storage, fulfillment, and other optional services.
Curious what your sales margins might look like after all the fees? Try Amazon’s Cost Calculator to estimate your per-unit sales margin based on your products and fulfillment method.
2. List Your First Product
The boring stuff is behind you—now onto the fun part: listing your first product. Depending on your plan, you have a few options. Sellers using a Professional account can bulk upload products or create listings based on inventory—Individual seller accounts will need to list products one at a time.
To start listing a product, you’ll need to find the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) (such as a UPC, ISBN, or EAN). If that number matches an existing listing, you won’t need a product ID—you’re good to go. However, if you’re adding a brand-new product that doesn’t exist on Amazon yet, you may need to purchase a UPC code.
Your product listing will also need the following elements:
- Product title
- Description and bullet points
Remember, this is the product listing—not the product detail page. The product detail page is the page with descriptions, images, customer reviews, FAQs, and the like. The product listing is just the basic image and information for your product that’ll be listed in search results and display ads.
Take your time finding the right image for your product. Images should be at least 500 x 500 pixels and on a plain white background. The product should fill approximately 80% of the image area.
3. Optimize Your Product Detail Page
Once you’ve listed your product on Amazon, it’s time to build a product detail page to sell it. This is where the magic happens.
Your product detail page is where customers go to learn everything there is to know about the product. If you’ve ever bought a product from Amazon (and, really, who hasn’t?), this is the page you visited before eventually clicking the “Add to Cart” or “Buy Now” button.
If your product is unique, it’ll get its very own product detail page. However, if you’re selling the same thing as other sellers on Amazon, the platform will combine data into one product detail page.
If you’re building a brand-new product detail page from scratch, here’s what to keep in mind:
Titles can be up to 200 characters and must contain product-identifying information. For example, you wouldn’t have a listing that says “Xbox Series X.” Instead, it should read something like “Microsoft Xbox Series X Video Game Console With 1TB Storage + 2 Controllers.”
Your title is arguably the most important element of your product listing. It should include keywords that your buyers will search for and selling points that’ll get them to click and learn more. When writing your titles, think about what your customers are looking for—if there are 5,000 other similar listings, what’s going to get them to click yours?
Oh, and that can’t include things like “free shipping,” “quality guaranteed,” or those action-encouraging exclamation marks and dollar signs.
Second-most important to your product listing is your image. You can have 1 featured product image and up to 8 supporting product images on your product listing page. Use images that show your product from a variety of angles. Also, get some real-life shots of the product in action or performing its utility.
Go ahead and use all 8 allocated image spots. Buyers want as much information about a product as they can before making a purchase (especially if it’s expensive), and a picture is worth a thousand words.
Variations are slightly different versions of the same product. This could be the same water bottle in multiple sizes or a hat that comes in several colors. Amazon provides the following guidelines for determining if a product should be a variation rather than a separate listing:
- Is the product fundamentally the same?
- Does the product vary in just a few very specific ways?
- Will buyers expect to find these products on a single product page?
- Could the products share the same title?
Add all relevant variations to your product listing page.
Add short, descriptive sentences that highlight key features of your product. Include benefits and distinctions that might make it different than alternatives.
Include keywords throughout your bullet points to attract the right organic traffic. As of now, not all bullet point content is indexed by the Amazon shopping algorithm, but it’s still worth putting in the effort.
Keep this section short and sweet—your buyers should be able to glance at it to get the gist of what makes your product worth buying.
Your description should go more in-depth into everything that your product offers. You’ll want to include important search keywords here, too.
If a potential buyer has made it this far down the page, they’re genuinely interested in buying your product. Write a powerful and descriptive (yet accurate) description to get across the finish line and into the shopping cart.
4. Choose Your Fulfillment Strategy
You’ll have 2 options for shipping on Amazon:
- DIY: Merchant-fulfilled DIY fulfillment is when you store and ship products to customers yourself—there’s no middle person.
- FBA: Amazon will store and ship your products. They’ll also take care of customer service and returns.
If you’re just selling a few products here and there, you can get by with DIY fulfillment. However, tracking orders, shipping products, and handling customer service and returns can quickly become a full-time job. Once you begin to scale, you’ll want to consider a professional fulfillment service.
5. Scale, Scale, Scale
Now that you’ve listed, sold, and shipped your first product, it’s time to scale. Scaling will look different for everyone. It includes adding new products, advertising, expanding your reach, increasing your profit margins, and driving overall business growth.
Consider how you want to scale your business. Do you want to build an international presence, or do you want to automate processes to make your Amazon selling a more hands-off experience?
Regardless of your goals, Amazon provides the metrics and tools you need to make it happen.
And that’s that for the basics of getting started. Not too bad, right? Before you get started, check out these must-know best practices for ensuring you hit the ground running.
Must-Know Best Practices for Selling on Amazon
Get to Know Seller Central
Seller Central will quickly become your best friend. It’s the one-stop shop for managing your account, adding products, updating your inventory, collecting payments, and more. Play around with the hub to dive into your analytics, nail down your prices, and manage your inventory more efficiently.
Download the App
Download the Amazon Seller App to fulfill orders, talk to customers, track sales, and create listings straight from your phone. It’s easy to use and will make managing your Amazon account on the go a breeze.
Grow Customer Reviews
Customer reviews are arguably the most important factor to your product listing’s success. It doesn’t matter how amazing or revolutionary your product is if it doesn’t get positive ratings. And ratings don’t just come on their own—you have to petition and incentivize your customers to leave them.
It’s a lot of work to build up a solid base of customer reviews, but this is how you get the Amazon algorithms working in your favor. More positive reviews mean more exposure, and more exposure leads to more sales (which in turn can lead to more reviews).
Check Your Orders and Inventory Regularly
If you’re managing fulfillment on your own, make sure you stay on top of your orders and inventory. You don’t want to ship products late, and you definitely don’t want to sell products you longer have. Set up a routine for when you’ll check orders so that none fall through the cracks.
Amazon’s popularity is all about ease and convenience. Contribute to that experience by being accessible. Respond to customer reviews, questions, and inquiries promptly—don’t leave anyone hanging.
Customer service is crucial, but it can also become a real time suck. Get ahead of the game and mitigate conversations by being proactive with your listings:
- Be accurate with your product descriptions
- Ship items promptly
- Provide customers with updates if an item’s shipment is delayed
- Respond to customers as soon as possible
Start Selling on Amazon
Joining 1.9 million other sellers on Amazon can seem intimidating, but the investment is well worth your time. Amazon’s platform can expose your product to a boundless audience, accelerating your way to success faster than any other ecommerce site, social media platform, or personal website.
Ready to get started selling online? Enroll in our free ecommerce masterclass to learn how to start a profitable online store in 12 weeks or less. We’ll show you everything you need to build an online store and begin generating sales immediately.