The American dream has evolved tremendously in the age of advanced technology.
Each year, millions of people act on their dreams of becoming business owners and are able to do so with minimal initial investment.
Taking the leap and saying goodbye to clocking in to start a home business may seem daunting, and in some ways, impossible, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The tools to succeed are readily available to those who are willing, but the key is to identify and carve out a unique niche, and most importantly, follow through and work hard.
There are 38 million home-based businesses in the U.S., meaning any given neighborhood could be full of home-based entrepreneurs who are succeeding in business on their own terms, working from home, and likely selling online.
In this article we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of how to start your own business selling on Amazon from idea to execution.
Read on and see just how easy it can be.
Amazon Makes Entrepreneurs
Each month more than 197 million global shoppers use Amazon with their various devices, and 49% of e-commerce in the United States is comprised of transactions made through this online retail giant, putting them ahead of eBay, Apple, and Walmart.
What’s even more eye-opening for future online business owners is more than 50% of Amazon’s total sales are made through third-party sellers, and there are more than 95 million Amazon Prime members just in the U.S. alone.
With this platform being the nation’s leading online marketplace, many ask themselves how they can sell products to get a piece of the Amazon Marketplace pie.
It’s easier than you might think.
Statistics show that 44% of home-based businesses are launched for less than $5,000, and if that seems like a lot for the average middle-class American to invest, the amount of money required to start an Amazon business can be substantially lower.
An individual seller’s initial costs depend very much on where the products they are intending to list are sourced from.
Inventory for any given Amazon store may be purchased from a few different suppliers:
- Retail Stores: Many new sellers source their items from local retail or online stores, typically when they’re on sale or clearance, and re-sell them on Amazon. This business model is known as retail arbitrage and is the most suggested method for those who don’t have very much capital to start with.
- Wholesale Suppliers: These are great for purchasing items at a bulk price, resulting in better margins for the seller.
- Private Label Manufacturers: For those who are truly committed to creating their own brand, private label manufacturers allow sellers to modify and customize products to sell on Amazon, an individual’s own website, or wherever they like.
Some additional estimated costs to take into consideration when jumping into selling products on Amazon:
Amazon Seller Account Fee:
It costs $39.99 to open a professional account if you plan on selling more than 40 items a month.
There are referral fees for each sale, but there is no monthly fee.
Individual seller accounts are free for less than 40 items, but there is a 99 cent fee per sale.
Amazon requires unique barcodes for each product you plan on selling.
They can be purchased individually for $5 or in bulk.
Amazon offers product photography in certain areas for a range of prices.
New York and Los Angeles zip codes, for example, averaged $40.
The price will depend on the quality of listings the seller is aiming for, and can vastly affect how they are viewed against their competition.
Logo and Product Branding:
You can hire a freelancer to create a logo for you for as low as $5 on Fiverr.
Branding is key for creating loyalty with customers and further legitimizes the business in the eyes of the buyer, so you may want to consider investing more money here.
How to Choose Products to Sell on Amazon
Without a profitable product to sell, there is no Amazon business.
When deciding to sell products on Amazon, people tend to overlook and rush this part of the process the most.
A perfect profitable product for your store means identifying items you’re passionate about, outlining a selling strategy you’re comfortable with, making sure there’s still an overall decent profit margin.
You may struggle with where to begin in order to fall upon that “aha” moment when the perfect product niche falls in your lap, but here’s a great launching point:
Narrow Down the Product Research Criteria
The initial breakthrough product is what’s called the “beachhead” product.
In business, particularly startups, the beachhead strategy involves focusing all resources on one key area, usually, a smaller market segment or product category, and winning that market first before moving into larger markets.
In other words, it’s the product that generates sales right away, and then the seller is able to branch out.
Choosing a niche is an important part of the journey to becoming a professional seller.
It can be a difficult and overwhelming process, but everything a seller needs to know about what Amazon customers want is available for anyone to see at any time.
The easiest way to see what the hottest items are is to look at the “sponsored ad” products selling on Amazon.
If someone is investing money advertising them, then chances are the product is a high seller with decent margins.
Once a clear business strategy and product niche is established, the next move is to officially sign up as an FBA Seller (fulfilled by Amazon).
How to Sign Up as an Amazon Seller
To sell products with your Amazon account, you’ll begin with the following:
- Visit the Amazon Seller Central
- Select the blue “Register Now” button
- Click “Start selling”
- Fill out the required information
You’re now an Amazon seller!
How to Open an Amazon FBA Account
Visit the Fulfillment by Amazon page and select “Get started.”
The seller will then be taken to the Seller Central, and will be prompted to sign in.
This is where all the important details will be entered.
Here you’ll fill in your personal details (cell phone number, address, etc.) as well as tax information, as it’s not necessary to register as a “legal” business right away to start an Amazon business.
Any earnings will be claimed as individual income at the beginning.
Create Your First Amazon Listing
Now that you’ve built your brand, settled on a product line, and signed up as an official Amazon seller, it’s time to create your first listing.
- Visit the Seller Central and select the inventory drop down.
- Select “Add a Product.”
- Select “Create a new product listing” and start from scratch.
- Choose the category of the products you’re going to be selling.
- Fill out the following prompts to complete the product listing and complete the Amazon FBA listing. The goal is to get the product listing up (but not live) so that the products may be sent into Amazon FBA:
- Title: The product name goes here, you can change this later if you’d like.
- Manufacturer: This is where your company name will be entered.
- Brand: The brand name may also be the company name.
- Your Price: The items can’t be sold until Amazon receives the inventory, so the price isn’t quite important yet and can be changed later. This step is to simply make sure all fields are filled so the listing can be published. If you’re unsure, select a price that’s comparable to the lowest price of a similar product.
- Product ID: Your product ID is the item’s unique UPC code, which we’ll discuss below. This is a required step to sell anything on or offline.
How to Buy a UPC Code
The next step is to buy a UPC Code if the product doesn’t yet have one.
This can be done at BarcodesTalk, where you’ll click through all the steps until the package label can be downloaded.
Open the downloaded folder containing the UPC JPEG image and enter this number in the “Product ID” area of your product listing.
Click on “Save and Finish.”
Your first Amazon listing has successfully been created.
Amazon Product Listing Optimization
One of the most neglected yet important parts of product listings in your new Amazon FBA business is optimization.
There are a plethora of resources that teach new sellers ranking tricks, but nothing will boost your SEO strategy like a well-optimized listing.
Optimizing means making the listing description as robust as possible so the product shows up ahead of your competitors on Amazon and other areas of the web.
The best way to be sure customers will see the product listing is to include all keywords relevant to the item.
This means spending some time conducting keyword research.
Once a list of keywords is established, the next step is to place them strategically throughout the product listing.
Here are some areas to consider:
Place the item’s top five keywords in the product title, but don’t go overboard, as this may confuse the customer on what you’re actually selling.
Amazon’s algorithm will place listings with strategically placed keywords higher in the shopper’s search results.
So, it’s important to make a list of each product’s most relevant keywords and place them responsibly.
Shoot for this: “Chemex Class Series, Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker, 10 Cup”
Not this: “Hot Beverage, Caffeine, Chemex Class Series, Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker, Family, 10 Cup, Breakfast, Coffee Beans, Espresso.”
You should always optimize for mobile first.
Those titles show between 55 and 63 characters in preview.
Add up to 249 bytes of other important keywords in the “search terms” area when creating the listing (also known as “generic keywords.”)
Do not use more than 249 bytes, as Amazon will not index these keywords.
Bullet Points and Product Description
More keywords may be placed in this area, but only if it doesn’t weaken the product listing’s copy.
Other Keyword Types
Some products allow you to define additional keyword types, including the item’s “Target Audience” (like men/women).
Amazon filters them in the search, so it’s a smart idea to add them.
This is where additional product information should be assigned, such as material type.
This information should be filled in as thoroughly as possible to ensure customers can access it via the filter navigation and specific product finders.
Be a Best Seller
Opening up a new Amazon business can be intimidating, but hopefully now you can see just how simple it is.
If all of this is taken into account and applied, any new seller can look forward to their first sale.
We’re cheering you on and hoping that in the very near future, you can become a best seller on Amazon with a promising e-commerce business.