Amazon is a great marketplace for experienced sellers, but it can also be an amazing place for new sellers to generate their initial order volume, but before you sell on Amazon, you need to make sure you clearly understand their policies and potential selling pitfalls before you start listing items.
With Amazon, it is extremely easy to get started. Amazon has marketplaces for buyers and sellers all over the world. Unlike needing to promote and market a website and generate your traffic, Amazon already has traffic and potential buyers looking for a huge range of products. However, like any successful marketplace, there are also other sellers which can impact your margin when listing similar items.
As a seller you need to focus on your feedback and ranking by quickly processing orders with the supplier, keeping your clients current with any changes to the order status, and responding quickly to customer questions, as well as making sure you reach out to your customers after the sale to encourage them to leave positive feedback. You don’t need to be the lowest price on Amazon to get the sale, but you do want to be one of the higher rated sellers by quickly increasing your sales volume and positive feedback.
You likely have some experience buying products on Amazon….if not, you should certainly spend some time on Amazon as a customer and order a few products to experience the marketplace. Being familiar with things from the purchase side of the transaction will only help you to support your customers when they have questions on the process, and it will let you experience how other sellers interact with their customers.
Selling On Amazon Is As Easy As 1-2-3
1. Registering As An Amazon Merchant
If you already have an account on Amazon, you will still need to register as a merchant so you can sell products. You could convert your existing account, or you may want to just create a new account for your business and branding. When you try to register as a seller on Amazon it will ask you if you want to register as an “Individual” or “Professional Plan”.
You will want to activate the Professional Plan which has a small monthly service fee. This will allow you to list thousands of items without any product listing fee. The Individual Plan could be a fit if you only want to list and sell 40 items or less each month, but let’s be honest….you aren’t looking to sell on Amazon so you can only get 30-40 sales/month….so just start things right with the Professional Plan at Amazon. They often offer the first month free, so you can still test the waters with selling on Amazon while listing thousands of items and saving money vs the per product listing fee structure of the Individual Plan approach.
When registering the account, you will need to have a few details ready such as the bank account for your payments from your customers…this is where Amazon will deposit your payments and profits. You will also want to have a card on file so they can bill you for your fees and merchant costs. It is easy to register the name of your business, address, contact details, etc. Amazon does a great job of walking you through the account setup process. You can always change or add to the account details at any time, but if you need to skip a section so you can verify some details, just write it down so you know which parts of your seller account you need to come back to for quick reference.
2. Getting Your Product Catalog Ready For Amazon
Now that you are a seller, it’s time to think about the products you want to sell (ideally you already know, but some people like to put the Amazon cart before the horse). Inventory Source has already completed much of the work you need to do to sell successfully on Amazon. We have a large list of trusted and vetted suppliers you can automatically upload products from directly into your Amazon Seller Account.
This is one of the easiest ways to get started selling on Amazon, you will just need an approved account with one of our suppliers to start selling their products. If you don’t have an account yet, you can use our free supplier directory to research the supplier’s product catalog and other details, then apply directly to any of those that you would like to work with. The approval is typically within a few business days, based on the distributor’s reseller application review process.
When looking at Amazon sales, it can help to select a supplier that has a product range with which you are familiar. This will help you to better approach the pricing and address product questions from any customers. However, unlike some other marketplaces, you won’t need to change the titles and descriptions of your listings, so you can still be successful, even if it is a product range that you don’t have much direct experience with for online sales.
It should be noted, that with Amazon, you will want to focus on distributors that have a large number of UPCs for their items and you will want to make sure your supplier provides a quick turn around from the time you post the order to when they submit the tracking codes. Our goal is to help simplify your selling online selling process, and this is why with each supplier, our directory displays their default product count as well as how many of their items come with a valid UPC. We also recommend just starting with one supplier on Amazon for now so you can get familiar with the sales channel, and you can easily add more distributors to your account later.
3. The Amazon Inventory Source Solution
You have an Amazon Seller Account for Amazon Seller Central. You have located a wholesale supplier from our directory and have been approved directly as a reseller for their program. The last step is adding the Automation Service from your InventorySource.com account, and our specialist will be able to address your questions and get you all set to automatically load and update your listings.
Our team will get a few basic access details for integrating with your Amazon account, and we will activate your inventory management tools. We will place your automation service on PAUSE status and send you a few steps for updating your pricing and filter logic….so don’t worry….you will have a chance to review and manage any changes you need in your account before you go live with product listings on Amazon.
Things to Consider Before Going Live on Amazon
While getting ready to list and sell products on Amazon is a very simple process, we still have a few recommendations which should help you to more easily manage your long term ecommerce success.
Unlike eBay, when you have the Professional Plan at Amazon, you don’t have to pay to list each item. So, you can easily list hundreds or thousands of items from your catalog to your Seller Central account. While we make it as easy to list the full catalog, we recommend using the filter options in your account to only list a small amount of products when first getting started.
You can limit the number of categories or brands or even control a specific list of SKUs for your initial set of active listings. We know you are excited to sell, and will soon want as many items as you can have on your account, but trust us…..for the first few weeks, it’s best to just have a smaller number of products listed.
This will give you the chance to assess your initial order volume, get more familiar with the order process and shipping details of your supplier. It will also give you more time to get familiar with managing sales from your Amazon account and allow you the opportunity to reach out to your initial group of customers.
Spending more time now with your customers will allow you to start with better feedback and higher ratings which will be key to your on-going seller success. If you find you have any issues or new questions about selling on Amazon, it’s just going to be easier for you to manage this learning curve with a few hundred listings and sales vs the full catalog from your supplier.
With the tools in your Inventory Source account you can easily add more categories and brands and grow the size of your sales channel with a simple button click from your account.
“For the first few weeks, it’s best to just have a smaller number of products listed”
We offer a large number of flexible filter options in your account, and several of these can be an asset when managing your Amazon listings. While you don’t need to worry about filtering products without an image, since Amazon will provide the image, you should use the Low Stock Filter. This will let you mark items with a small quantity count, like items with just 5 or 10 as the quantity, as out of stock with your update. This will reduce the chance of an out of stock sale.
Also, Amazon has some limited shipping options and shipping charges. So, you can use the weight filter to block listings on items over a certain weight. You have less shipping cost issues if you list the lighter weight items from your wholesaler.
Managing Payment Terms and Cash Flow:
With Amazon, it’s easy to generate a lot of orders, and this can be an issue for some new sellers. This is another reason why we recommend starting with a smaller number of products. Your initial sales volume can be an issue depending on how you are managing your deposit and payment accounts at Amazon.
When you are a new seller, Amazon will have specific restrictions on how long they hold the payment from your customers before depositing the funds in your account. Amazon wants to make sure the customers get the products they order before you get the money, especially when you are first getting started.
If you sell $4,000 worth of goods and get paid at checkout, you have the funds to instantly order from your supplier. However, as a new seller, Amazon will hold the funds of your initial orders until you show you can get the products delivered to your customer. You need to make sure that you have credit terms with your supplier or enough room on the card on file with the distributor to pay for the product costs before you get the deposit from Amazon.
Some resellers might prefer to order products with a debit card or use a credit card with a small limit. This can prevent you from completing your orders, if you are not aware of Amazon’s deposit and payment terms.
Make sure you know the payment options you have with your supplier before you list items on Amazon. You will want to pay careful attention to your order totals as they come in from Amazon and your available credit left on the card on file with your supplier. If you start to get close to your credit limit, you might want to end any remaining listings on Amazon to prevent new sales. This will give you a chance to complete and manage the existing orders before Amazon makes the initial deposit, and then you can easily reactivate your listings in bulk.
Managing your ability to fund your first few orders is a simple process, and with a little preparation, it is nothing that should become a concern. Once you establish trust with Amazon, they will reduce the time between your sales and the deposit, making it easier to complete your transactions going forward.
“You need to make sure that you have credit terms with your supplier or enough room on the card on file with the distributor to pay for the product costs before you get the deposit from Amazon.”
Include Amazon Fees Into Your Pricing Decisions:
We have seen any new sellers get started and just set a simple pricing approach for their listings. However, while Amazon does not charge listing fees, there are transaction fees once you sell an item, and these fees can be different based on the product types you list. Make sure you review Amazon’s fee structure for the product types you are listing.
You will want to make sure you factor in this fee when setting your price settings. The fees are an obvious thing to consider when determining your pricing strategy, but it’s still a factor that some new sellers overlook until they start to get their initial batch of orders…..avoid this issue by pricing the fee into your price logic before you activate your first Amazon update.
Increase Your Profit Margin Over Time:
Amazon is competitive because there are many other sellers on the marketplace. The lowest price does not always win the sale, but having a strong seller history can be key to your long-term success and profits. People need to know they can trust you to deliver. For the first month your focus should be on improving your seller feedback and ratings rather than maximizing profit margins.
Until you have significant feedback to leverage that will allow you to establish trust with buyers, a lower price on your listings will be the easiest way for your to win your initial sales.
Think of the reduction in your desired profit margin as a marketing expense. The quicker you can show order volume and positive buyer ratings from your customers, the easier it will be for you to win future sales. Your ratings and feedback are how you build a trusted brand on Amazon. If you are using a reduction in your price settings to quickly get your first orders, make sure you make that count by communicating with your buyers and specifically ask them to leave feedback once they get the product.
Also, some suppliers are able to approve resellers for better pricing on some or all items as you show you are able to generate sales. They might want to reward successful sellers with special discounts over time. Not all suppliers have this option, but as you get your first month of good sales growth showing in your account, it would not hurt to check with the Sales Representative at your supplier to see if they can offer you any better pricing plan.
Any improvement in the pricing level or shipping terms at your supplier can give you more room for profits, even if you raise your prices later. The point here is to recognize that you can gain long-term profit potential by starting with a pricing plan that is more focused on order volume than order profit margin.
Managing UPC/ASIN Issues:
The single biggest issue that can catch new sellers by surprise is the potential for a UPC/ASIN mismatch. When you list items on Amazon, your inventory feed includes the UPC for each item. Amazon takes this UPC and they match it to an internal product code at Amazon called an “ASIN”. The ASIN is what Amazon uses to display the title, description, and image of the product listing. This process is why it is so easy to list items on the Amazon marketplace, even if the product content from your supplier is not overly detailed.
However, there is potential that a small number of your products can be matched by Amazon to the wrong ASIN. This means your customer might think they are ordering one product, while the SKU at the supplier is for a different item. If you are not familiar with this process, we strongly recommend you review this more in our help article on Amazon ASIN & UPC Mismatch Issues.
Inventory Source helps significantly reduce these types of issues, but it’s still important to be familiar with the process. First, for any items where there is a known UPC/ASIN match we already prevent these items from listing on your Amazon account. As we identify new items with this issue, we continue to block these types of products from your sales account.
Second, we also include the product title from the supplier in the comment field of the listing. Amazon controls the title and description that display, but with the product listing and order, you can easily see if the supplier title we add for you. Before you submit the order, just compare these two titles to make sure the item is a match. If you see the listing is for two different items, you can resolve the issue with the supplier or your customer before the product is shipped. Just remove the listing from your Amazon account so it is instantly removed, and email the SKU to our Support Team, and we can help deactivate the product from future updates as well.
If you have more questions about how UPCs and ASINs are matched at Amazon or options you have to resolve these issues, just reach out to our Support Team at any time. We can help make any adjustments you need to your listing approach, including integrating with a list of ASINs that you have approved before your items list.
Getting Started On Amazon – The Most Important Step
The most important step for selling on Amazon, is just making the decision to get started as an Amazon Seller. Once you have made this decision, Inventory Source is here to carefully guide you through the process and manage your Amazon listings and updates with our Amazon Seller Central Automation Service.
We will get your inventory management controls ready for you to review in your account and address any questions you have before you list your first product. While we can list the products and update them for you automatically everyday based on the latest details from your supplier and your account settings, we also provide you a copy of the exact inventory feed that we submit to your Amazon account.
In the Custom File section of your InventorySource.com dashboard you will see the link to your Amazon file. You will not need to process this file at Amazon, this is done for you automatically, but it can be helpful to download the file directly if you have any questions about the product details that are submitted to your Amazon account for processing at any time.
Partnering with Inventory Source to manage your Amazon product listings and automated inventory updates is one of the most effective ways to generate sales volume and grow your ecommerce business. Our team is here and ready to get you started. It does not matter if this is your first time selling on Amazon or if you are looking for a solution to leverage your Amazon experience and your existing sales history. Our solutions simplify the Amazon sales process by helping you automate your day to day operations and grow your business online.