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Many years ago, Amazon started letting other people sell items on their website right alongside Amazon’s inventory. These third party sellers are people just like you and me.
The beauty of selling on Amazon instead of your own website is that Amazon is already heavily used and trusted and has all of the infrastructure in place. So, you don’t have to worry about finding buyers or establishing relationships with your customers.
You also don’t have to worry about taking credit cards since Amazon takes care of that too. And, if you want to, you can send your items into Amazon’s warehouses and let them take care of the shipping and customer service as well.
I started selling on Amazon in 2004 when I was trying to downsize a massive collection of books that I had acquired over the years. Since then, I have sold all kinds of items on Amazon and made many thousands of dollars in the process.
There are many ways to sell on Amazon that range from beginner level to advanced. I’m going to break down a few of these for you here.
The easiest way to get started selling on Amazon is to sell used books. You can sell your own personal collection or you can go to thrift stores, garage sales, and library book sales and amass super cheap inventory this way.
Here’s a tip: fiction doesn’t make money. The books you are going to make money on are not best-selling novels because the market is too glutted.
The books that have the best profit potential are non-fiction books about obscure topics. Current textbooks, books about niche business topics, and some health and religious books are often good choices. Usually, I can make between $5 and $10 profit on each of the books I send in.
I once sold a book that I got at a yard sale for $2 for $180. No joke!
Retail arbitrage is all the rage these days, but it is getting harder and harder to do this. Retail arbitrage is when you go shopping in a store like Walmart or Target and buy items that you can then turn around and sell on Amazon for a profit.
You might buy items on clearance or use coupons or other discounts to get your price down. Then on Amazon, you can raise the price to higher than normal because people are willing to pay for the convenience of ordering on Amazon.
Toys, groceries, sporting goods, clothing, health and beauty items and more can all be sold on Amazon this way (once you are approved to do so). This used to be a gold mine. And even today, it makes a lot of people a lot of money.
The problem though is that so many people have started doing this, that the competition is too fierce on some items which makes the prices of those items on Amazon fall down to levels that are no longer profitable. So proceed with caution here.
The most difficult way to get into selling on Amazon is by doing wholesale. This means you go directly to the company that creates the item you want to sell and purchase large quantities at wholesale pricing and then turn around and sell it on Amazon.
I consider this to be an advanced method because, in order to get approved for most wholesale accounts, you have to have an established business. You also have to have large purchasing power. Most wholesale accounts have large minimum orders, sometimes in the thousands of dollars, although not always.
So not only do you need to know what you are doing on Amazon, but you need to know what products will sell, what doesn’t have too much competition and so on. It’s not something I would recommend a beginner do.
No matter which method you choose, I recommend that you consider using Amazon FBA to manage your inventory. FBA stands for “fulfilled by Amazon.” This means you send your inventory into Amazon and they store it in their warehouses and ship it out to customers when someone buys it.
It costs you more money in fees this way, but your sales will be much higher. FBA items are noted as “Prime” items on the Amazon website. Anyone with a Prime membership can get these items shipped for free sometimes in as little as one day.
Many people will only purchase Prime items. So by having your items in the Amazon warehouses, you automatically increase your sales. The extra fees are well worth it. It also makes your work load a lot lighter since you don’t have to ship items to customers and manage all that entails.
Amazon Seller App
I also recommend that you get the Amazon Seller app for your smartphone. It lets you scan barcodes of items and see what your profit would be if you sold the item on Amazon. There are also some paid software systems that have more features, but the Amazon Seller App is free and is a good way to get started once you are approved to sell.
I’ve only barely scratched the surface with this article when it comes to selling on Amazon. There are many more ways to sell. There are several more tools and tactics you can use within each of these methods.
Some items cannot be sold on Amazon unless you are approved to sell in those categories. All of these things must be considered when selling on Amazon. But once you get through the basics, the profit potential is amazing.