Starting to sell your products on Amazon can be very exciting. You’re tapping into a huge market that has around 200 million monthly customers, and you don’t need any technical knowledge, a giant warehouse, or e-commerce experience.
Of course, things can still trip you up as a new seller on Amazon as you get to grips with how the platform works and the best way to sell your products. But it’s still much quicker and easier than starting your own site and trying to attract customers to it.
Some people sell their wares through the global marketplace as a side hustle, while others do it as a full-time job. In fact, if you spend enough time on YouTube, you’ll almost certainly have come across plenty of ads where people brag about how successful they’ve been.
You can find plenty of success stories online, including James Fend, who started out in 2014, selling everything from dog collars to body fat calipers. But their success did not come overnight, it happened by learning what works best and what not to do.
If they started their Amazon businesses today, they would do things very differently. So if you’re thinking of following in their footsteps, here are some of the things you can learn from them.
Fees, Taxes, and Profits
Business is simple – you buy low and you sell high. If you’re selling pens, you might buy them at wholesale for $1 and sell them to the consumer for $5. Each one nets you $4 of gross profit. Or does it?
Many people don’t factor in all the other costs that are involved in running an Amazon business (or any business for that matter) when they work out their financials.
When selling on Amazon, you also need to factor in the Amazon sales fee, taxes you need to collect, shipping costs, and the cost of packaging materials. If you’re using Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA) too, then that fee will also need to be factored in.
When you account for these, you’ll need to sell the product for around $7.90 to make a $4 profit. To help you get it right, you can use an Amazon fee calculator which does the number crunching for you.
There are plenty of people creating their own products to sell on Amazon, such as printing designs onto T-shirts, mugs, and key-rings. There are even companies that can print products on-demand and ship them directly to your customer.
However, you need to be careful about what you include in your designs. Some sellers, who are eager to jump on the latest trends will create designs that include characters from movies, TV shows, and video games. Except, without a licensing deal or permission from the original creator, the use of intellectual property (characters, logos, and other artwork) would be illegal.
Sellers should, therefore, be careful about what they include. To be on the safe side, you should only use artwork that you have designed yourself and not copy the work of others.
Alternatively, you can use materials that are no longer under copyright. For example, the “Keep Calm and…” designs that were popular a few years ago are ok to be used since they’re more than 50 years old. Similarly, using imagery of playing cards is ok since games like blackjack are several hundred years old and the cards themselves even older. Some fairytales and nursery rhymes are also free from copyright thanks to their age.
In short, remember that if you don’t stick to these rules you risk having your Amazon account suspended or facing legal trouble.
Barcodes can be confusing if you’ve never dealt with them before, but they’re vitally important when selling on Amazon.
The company uses Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) to identify each product on its website. This is usually assigned automatically by the site when you add a new product.
If you’re selling pencil cases that come in two sizes and four colours, you will have eight different ASINs, since they’re tied to the individual SKU rather than the product in general.
You’ll also need to assign barcodes to each ASIN. Amazon doesn’t do this for you, so you’ll need to get them yourself.
If the product is already listed on Amazon, then you can usually just add your offer to that product, in that case, you won’t need a barcode. However, if you’re creating something completely new, you’ll need to sort them.
Thankfully, it’s actually quite easy. There are plenty of places online that sell barcodes, though it’s worth shopping around as the prices can vary wildly.
By keeping these tips in mind when you begin trading, you’ll start your new Amazon business off on the right foot.