Amazon is a great place from which to sell any number of products but deciding on how and what to sell on Amazon can be a complex issue.
Why is this?
With over 5 million existing products there is a lot of competition and if no-one sees the product, because they don’t know it exists, they aren’t going to buy it.
There are essentially three ways to sell products through Amazon.
- You can sell your own products as an Amazon vendor
- You can sell someone else’s products branded as your own or
- You can promote and sell existing Amazon products as an affiliate marketer.
Let’s look at each of these methods before you decide to take the plunge.
Sell Your Own Products As An Amazon Vendor
You have a product and want to take advantage of Amazon’s huge traffic volume of over 150 million monthly visitors.
Amazon would love to add you and your product to their site and will help you to list your product and achieve your goals.
If you go to Amazon.com and scroll down to the bottom of the home page you will find the following information with links to the relevant pages of how to make money with Amazon.
As you can see there are a number of ways to make money using Amazon.
For selling your own products click on the first option – “Sell on Amazon” this will then takes you to another page that provides you with a little more information as to what Amazon can do for you and your products. The two selling plan available.
Read the information and then click on “Start Selling” – pretty simple so far but now comes your first decision.
Which plan of the two on offer do you go for?
If you’re new to this I suggest you go with the individual plan for now with no monthly subscription – you can always change at a later date.
Be sure to click on all the links to educate your self as to what best suits your needs. Make your decision based on what you learn and there is no rush Amazon is not going anywhere.
The non subscription plan does have limitations in terms of what you can sell as certain categories are not open to you and have to be approved by Amazon.
Whatever option you select will take you to the sign-up page where you can enter your details and get started.
Be sure to read and understand their Terms and Conditions – you don’t want to land up with a suspended or deleted account for something that could easily have been avoided.
Having a product (or products) to sell is the first step but ensuring success will take a lot more by way of marketing to get your product seen by potential buyers.
People generally search by brand name or product type.
Branding is important and chances are it will take you a while to establish a brand.
When searching on Amazon for a particular type of product – say something like a “pressure cooker” – the customer will always be directed to the top selling items of that particular type of product.
The goal is to get your products presented to prospective buyers and there are a number of ways to do that – possibly a subject for another article or tutorial.
It does take a lot of hard work, some additional financial commitments and you can expect to take 3 -12 months before things take off – and then only if you have done the required marketing.
For now though you may be interested to read this post from Jerry Huang who is an Amazon superstar.
In it Jerry has a 3-step plan to get your product ranking.
- The Grind – building your business from 0 to 20-50 sales a day and 50 reviews
- The Growth – once the grind stage is met expanding the product line and service
- The Gold – 30 -50 sales a day with 3 or 4 products
You will need a business plan to cover:
- Your goals -the amount you would like to earn.
- Your timeline – a detailed breakdown of what you can expect from month to month.
- The cost of doing business – includes all business related expenses, not just the cost of the product and includes Amazon’s share of sales plus the monthly subscription, telephone expenses, internet costs, accounting fees, banking fees, advertising costs etc. Knowing your exact costs is the only way to determine the products end price to meet the goals you set for yourself.
- Allow for refunds and kickbacks – have a contingency account for these expenses. they happen but if you have a great product you shouldn’t get too many “returns.”.
- Know your competition and their pricing.
Pros of Selling Your Own Product on Amazon
- Huge potential market
- Amazon does the heavy lifting and distribution for you
- Saves costs on warehousing etc.
- Customers have confidence buying from Amazon.
- Affiliates will be able to promote your product too – see selling as an affiliate below.
Cons of Selling Your Own Product on Amazon
- You have to have a product
- You will need to lay out some cash
- Lack of brand recognition initially
- Lots of competition from other vendors
Branding A Product And Selling It As Your Own on Amazon
What if you don’t have your own product but feel you can make money from someone else’s efforts.
A different situation but certainly possible.
Deciding on a product is the tricky part and will depend entirely on what your goals and aspirations are.
Consider whether you want to sell a big ticket item, that may have fewer sales than an inexpensive one with large turnover.
Because you will need to do some marketing, in the same way as if this was your very own product, it may be easier to select the type of product that you are familiar with.
A good place to source ideas would be Amazon itself and Walmart.
To do this simply go to either retailer, select the type/category of product you would like to brand as your own and promote on Amazon.
Search their “top-sellers” in that category and take a look around at what people are buying and who your competition is.
Once you have decided on the product you feel you would be happy to promote its time to find a source to provide you with the product.
A local supplier with whom you can liaise is probably best but you may have to go beyond your borders.
AliExpress.com and AliBaba are two such sites where you can find thousands of cheap items for sale.
Be aware of a couple of things:
- Quality – do not buy badly made items that use poor quality materials. I would suggest you buy one or two of the items so that you can personally inspect them. Don’t rely solely on reviews.
- Prices are usually much cheaper if you buy in bulk – decreasing your cost per unit.
- Ask the vendor what it will cost to have the products branded with your own logo and possibly name. Once they have agreed to do this – ask them to send you a sample. Make sure it is of the standard and quality you expect.
- Check shipping prices and delivery dates.
You still need to have a business plan and clearly defined goals.
Once you know the cost price of your goods start doing the calculations, taking into account all your business expenses, to determine your end price. Do not be fooled into thinking that doubling the price will be good enough – this is often a formula for failure.
Assuming every box is ticked and you are going to go ahead then the steps for selling on Amazon are the same as mentioned above – as you now have your own product.
Pros of Branding and Selling Product as Your Own
- You determine your own profit margin.
- leverage Amazon’s market to your benefit.
- You don’t have to manufacture anything.
- Taking advantage of Amazon as a reliable retailer.
- Once again Amazon does the heavy lifting and distribution for you.
Cons of Branding and Selling Product as Your Own
- Quality control has to be good. If quality slips your brand dips accordingly.
- Costs of manufacture, branding and shipping may be too high and need to be tightly controlled.
- Potential for a big capital outlay to get started.
- Competition from other vendors with more established brands
- It could be a long time before you get a return on your investment.
- Affiliates will be able to promote your product too – see selling as an affiliate below.
Here’s a pretty good video – a bit long but it reinforces what I cover in this post.
Selling Amazon Products As An Affiliate
Did you know that anyone can sell and promote all the current products offered by Amazon and get paid to do it?
Amazon has what is known as an “affiliate” program that anyone can sign up to and can promote any and all Amazon products under the “affiliate licensing agreement”.
You’ll find the link “Become an Affiliate” in the same section mentioned in my first paragraph.
To protect their good name they do have terms and conditions (T&C) that you will need to agree to and follow. To find out what these T&Cs; are, and to sign up as an affiliate, click on the link and follow the steps. They are much the same as signing up as a vendor.
Please DO NOT try to sign up and then buy products for yourself through your own link. Amazon do not take kindly to this sort of blatant disregard for the T&Cs; and will ban you – or at best suspend your account.
With over 5 million products to choose from it makes selecting your product so much easier and you are instantly good to go.
Sage advice is to promote something you are passionate about – you may even have bought the product from Amazon yourself. As an example if you were a keen gardener or photographer – you would be more likely (and comfortable) to succeed promoting items in those categories.
With Amazon, you will get paid a commission for any product purchased by your customer even if you aren’t actually promoting it. Using the photography example I mentioned earlier – if your customer clicks through a camera you recommended and ends up buying any other product you get paid for that sale. Pretty cool huh?
I’ll go into a bit more detail as to how affiliate marketing actually works later. For now let’s do a brief summary of the pros and cons of affiliate marketing with Amazon.
Pros of Selling Amazon Products as an Affiliate Marketer
- Select anyone of the products already sold by Amazon.
- Instant access to market existing top-sellers in any category.
- Get started straight away with zero “product” and no capital outlay.
- Get paid on any sales you make through your affiliate link – even if you are not actively promoting that product.
- Add to or remove the products you promote.
- Promotional programs and give-away’s constantly available to help you promote.
- Prompt payment after initial 3 sales.
- No paperwork, stock or delivery to worry about.
- Sell from any Amazon store worldwide.
- Benefit from Amazon’s huge traffic and marketing.
- Daily sales updates online – waking up in the morning to see what you earned overnight is a get-out-of-bed motivator!
Cons of Selling Amazon Products as an Affiliate Marketer
- Commissions are low – from 0% – 10%
- You are governed by Amazon’s rules.
- Cookies only have a 24-hour life.
Learn More About Internet Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a very simplistic model in terms of its operation.
Quite simply you choose a niche (a group of people who have an interest in something – such as my photography example but it can be anything at all), do some research to find out what they are specifically interested in.
Join Amazon’s affiliate program – or any other online retailer’s affiliate program if they have one, and there are thousands out there.
Build a website and add content to the site – articles, helpful posts, reviews, news etc. about the things your niche is interested in.
Within the posts add affiliate links which take your reader (customer) to Amazon to learn more about the product and purchase it.
The affiliate link contains your unique code to identify you as the affiliate and Amazon pay you a commission for any sales made from that introduction.
The following diagram shows how the whole system works.
Image credit Wealthy Affiliate University
The customer does a search online for a specific product, to solve a particular problem or other relevant information. To do this the customer uses specific phrases, known as keywords. Because you understand your market, and know what keywords to target, the client lands up on your website where he/she is happy to discover exactly what they were looking for.
They read what you have to say and click on the link that takes them to the vendor where they make their purchase.
As a thank-you Amazon pay you a commission for the introduction.
The client is happy, Amazon is happy and you are ecstatic – not only for earning some money but also for being able to help a customer find what they were looking for.
This is definitely a win/win/win situation.
The methods of getting your website in front of the customer takes a bit of knowledge and applied effort – it does not happen overnight but with consistent and good content being added on a regular basis you will soon start making regular sales and earning commissions.
It’s a fantastic way (the best I know with zero risk) of setting up a permanent online business with endless potential.
You can learn more about Internet Affiliate Marketing through Wealthy Affiliate – an online program that has been around since 2005, when affiliate marketing first came out, and have taught hundreds of thousand of people just like you how to create a full time online business as affiliate marketers.
Click on the image below.
I have covered 3 of the most common ways to make money through Amazon and you should have a better idea of how and what to sell on Amazon based on your specific interests, goals and aspirations.
I have also suggested you take a look at Wealthy Affiliate where you can learn all the skills (such as building a website and learning search-engine optimisation) to get your affiliate site in front of potential customers.
I would just like to add that at Wealthy Affiliate you will also learn how to select and sell your ow products as well as how to sell products that you have branded as being your own. Everything you need to know can be found at Wealthy Affiliate.
Check it out for FREE and with NO RISK by clicking on the image above.
Still not sold on Wealthy Affiliate – read my full Wealthy Affiliate review here.
Please leave me your thoughts, experiences and any comments on the subject of selling through Amazon in the comments below