Amazon sales account for 43% of all online sales. The e-retailer generated $136.0 billion in 2016 and was up 24% over 2015, so it undoubtedly the retail behemoth and shows no signs of slowing. It is certainly worth considering, especially since you all ready have inventory. Here are a few things you should know before you begin:
Amazon takes 15% of the sale and shipping price. That might seem reasonable but you have to look at the prices that items are selling for. On Amazon, it is often “a race to the bottom” when it comes to pricing. You may have to include free shipping and compete on prices which may result in a very low profit. In order to be profitable, you will need to list items that a lot of sellers are not selling.
Don’t bother with books and tarot unless you have unique books and rare tarot, it is not worth your time. Sellers will be selling these for less than you can buy them. There are many, many books on Amazon for one cent plus low shipping, this is not worth your energy, you will actually lose about $1 on such transactions. I do have a couple of small print decks listed that I am the only seller of and I sell quite a few of them but I don’t bother with mass market items.
Amazon is very arrogant. They can restrict your account on a whim. The extra income is nice but don’t become dependent on it. It can be taken away at any time. One seller I know had all of her listings on hold for four months while they tested her jewelry to make sure it was 925 sterling. She lost several thousands of dollars in sales. Amazon restricted my account as some CDs I was selling “might be counterfeit”. There was no reason to suspect they were. I sent an appeal and was reinstated but it really scared me at how arbitrary Amazon can be.
In order to sale sterling silver or gold jewelry, you have to get permission. You have to fill out a form, send several pieces of jewelry to be tested and pay $5000. The $5000 is just to apply. You still may not get permission!! Toys, electronics, perfumes, health and beauty categories are just about impossible to get approval to sell in too.
You will need to have ISBN or UPCs for everything you sell. Most of the products I sell don’t have UPCs. You can, ironically, buy UPCs on Ebay. They are pretty inexpensive. You cannot list on Amazon without them.
Amazon is not the easiest platform to sell on. CNBC has been reporting on how Amazon is allowing cheap Chinese counterfeits so now it is requiring you to show past order receipts or getting letters from the manufacturer to prove you are selling legitimate items. It is a bit overkill.
It may be awhile before you make any sales. I thought once I got on Amazon, the flood gates would open. Not so. When you are new, you don’t show up in searches. The more sales you make, the more sales you make! Give it some time and don’t get frustrated.
While Amazon is not a very friendly marketplace, it is the top one by far. As long as you know what to expect, it can be a productive sales platform.