Setting up an Amazon seller account is the first step toward starting a successful business on Amazon. This account is different from the profile used to purchase goods. However, the seller account can piggy-back on your personal profile, making the registration process quick and painless.
1. Getting set up with your Amazon seller account
Amazon Sellers can choose to sell as an individual or professional. Individuals sell under 40 items per month. They’re required to pay a $0.99 fee for each item sold, along with other selling fees, including referral fees and variable closing fees, which are both Amazon’s cut of each sale.
Professional accounts pay a monthly fee of $39.99, but there are no per item fees. This helps if you’re moving large volumes because $0.99 per item adds up. If you’re unsure how in-demand your products will be, sign up as an individual and gauge how well your products sell over the next month or two. You can upgrade an Individual account to a professional one at any time.
Signing up as an individual
The process of signing up as an individual is straightforward. Amazon needs a name, the address you’ll be conducting business from, and a phone number. You will need a phone on hand during the sign-up process because they verify your identity by calling or texting. You will also need to have a debit or credit card on file to pay fees.
Signing up as an individual allows access to Seller Central. From here, you can add products, manage inventory, handle shipping and returns, and check your payments and tax information. Individual sellers have access to 20 categories of items they can sell from without Amazon’s approval. A list is available on Seller Central, but a few examples include Outdoors, Consumer Electronics, and Music.
Signing up as a professional
Signing up as a professional is a similar process to signing up as an individual. However, you pay a monthly fee to gain full access to Seller Central. There are added benefits to signing up as a professional. For example, Amazon provides a whole suite of tools with the potential to manage thousands of orders.
As a professional, you receive discounted selling and the $0.99 fee is waived. You may also offer additional things to your customers, such as customized shipping rates and gift wrapping. As a professional seller, you also are eligible to compete for being listed as a Featured Buyer. Professional sellers also are able to sell in additional categories that are subject to approval for individuals. These additional categories include jewelry, DVDs/Blu-Ray, and clothing.
Downgrading an Amazon seller account
If you no longer need a professional seller’s account, downgrade to an individual account. All items listed on Amazon will continue to be offered, but you’ll now be responsible for the $0.99 fee per item sold. Following the downgrade, any benefits received from using a Professional account are revoked. This includes special listings and customized shipping rates, which revert to the default setting for Individual accounts. You are always able to upgrade your account again and gain access to all the features of a professional account.
2. Setting up your Amazon seller profile and web store
Once you’ve completed registration, fill out the information and policies on your new Amazon seller profile. You’ll also want to set up a web store for advertising products. This will help when selling items because it makes your profile more personable.
Information and policies on Amazon seller profile
Seller Logo: Represents sellers visually.
About Seller: Details history of the company, values, etc.
FAQ and Custom Help Pages: Minimizes the need for customers to contact sellers directly.
Shipping: Lets customers know when you will ship items after they order them and how items will be handled.
Setting up an Amazon Web Store
Amazon Web Store allows sellers to build their own websites with little IT experience. This offer is available for $79 per month plus a 2% transaction fee. This makes it accessible for all sellers to set up their own home on the Internet. You can purchase this add-on after uploading inventory information to Amazon. One of the steps is organizing your existing products into categories on your Web Store.
Quick Launch gets a Web Store up and running quickly. Sellers can choose from pre-designed themes to make their store look professional and unique. Each of these themes are customizable. After selecting a theme and category for your items, your store is ready to open.
Amazon Web Stores comes with multiple benefits in addition to regular listings:
- No contract
- Fraud protection for every transaction
- Use your own domain to point users to your store
- Unlimited free bandwidth and website hosting from Amazon for no additional fee
3. How to prepare and list products on Amazon
Once you’ve researched, found, and purchased products to sell on Amazon, you’re only a step away from making your first sale. Listing products on Amazon officially makes them available to millions of people across the world. Before listing products, you need to prepare some information about them. There are two ways to list your products on Amazon: individual or bulk.
How to list Amazon products individually
Listing products individually is recommended when starting out. It gives sellers a better feel of the information behind each product. To begin listing items, visit the inventory tab of Seller Central, and click “Add an Item.” You will be presented with a search bar and the option to create a new product. The easiest way to do this is by entering identifiable information within the search bar and searching Amazon’s catalog for the product information. If you find your item, there is an option to sell your own.
The three required pieces of information for listing your item are item condition, price, and item quantity. You may also indicate sale date and prices, restock dates, and select shipping items. Lastly, you can create a SKU for your product, which is a unique identifier for managing your products. Amazon creates one for you if you don’t specify one.
The “Create a New Product Tool” is used if you’re unable to find your item After selecting the button, browse to the category that your item best fits under. Keep in mind that some items require approval from Amazon before they can be sold; for example, jewelry or automotive parts. The “Create a Product” page requires more details than if you were to find it in Amazon’s catalog. This is to make sure you provide a complete listing for buyers. You are required to fill in the manufacturer, product name, and UPC of the product. The UPC is necessary because it helps buyers identify products easier, even if you’ve accidentally mislabeled them.
Take a picture of your Amazon products
Uploading pictures of the product is paramount because buyers usually won’t make a purchase without seeing the product. On this page is a drop-down box labeled “Variation Theme.” This gives sellers the ability to list products of different colors or slightly varied designs without listing them one-by-one. You will need a picture of each variant listed.
How to list items in bulk on Amazon
The ability to list items in bulk is a convenience for Amazon sellers who have large inventories. Amazon provides templates of various types of stores. For example, a clothing-related store would require the clothing template. If you have existing inventory that you listed individually or any time previously, it’s recommended that you make sure that all the information for those products is entered correctly. If it needs changes, you can do that in one step while you’re listing new items.
If there is existing inventory, select everything and then “Export to File” under the action tab. If you don’t select all items, your store will be incomplete when you update your inventory. Copy all existing items to the template, and add new items as well. Once this is done, upload the new inventory file under “Manage Inventory” in Seller Central.
4. How to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Fulfillment by Amazon, abbreviated FBA, is an optional service that streamlines the selling process. In a survey, 73% of FBA sellers reported an increase in unit sales of 20% after joining Fulfillment by Amazon. To use FBA, sellers must pay fees for storage space used, shipping costs, order handling, and weight handling.
Getting started with FBA
To enroll in Fulfillment By Amazon, visit the FBA page on Amazon’s website. Clicking “Get Started” enables FBA on your Amazon Seller’s account. It’s available for existing Sellers on Amazon, or you can register a new Seller account through FBA. There are no additional fees associated with signing up, as Fulfillment By Amazon’s aim is to be cost effective for sellers. You pay only for the services in FBA that you use, and you pay as you go.
Sending products to Amazon Fulfillment
Sellers send their products to an Amazon Fulfillment Center. All items must be listed in Amazon’s system for acceptance. Amazon offers several ways to do this: individual listing, flat listing with a spreadsheet, or by using an API to integrate FBA into the seller’s own inventory management software.
Sellers will be provided with shipping labels, info sheets, and instructions on how to ship items. The instructions should be followed precisely to ensure that items are accepted by FBA. Improperly packaged items or prohibited items are returned. Some items require approval, so their availability for sale may be delayed.
How Amazon inventories and stores your product
When Amazon receives the items, they scan and record the dimensions and weight of the products. This is used in determining the fee for storage space. The amount of space is checked nightly, and sellers pay for the average amount of storage used daily. All items are protected in an Amazon Fulfillment Center. Generally, any item received will be available for sale within three days. Inventory is stored in bulk or an individually reached space. Specialty items are stored in climate controlled and secure locations within the facility. All media items are stored in library-like shelves, in a manner that prevents ‘shelf wear.’ If any product is damaged while in the control of Amazon, they will buy that product for the listed price.
Packing and shipping by Amazon Fulfillment
All items stored with FBA are eligible for Prime 2-day shipping. Furthermore, free shipping is given on orders of more than $35. Customers are provided with up to the minute countdown for 1 day shipping while it’s still possible to fulfill. Order volume is managed by FBA, so sellers don’t have to indicate when to ship orders whether they are small or large in amount.
Your products are shipped in an Amazon box that has the brand and name of the seller business on it. If multichannel fulfillment is used, then products are shipped in a generic box that has the potential to be customized by you. Multichannel fulfillment is a process that allows sellers to personally manage some orders, while still having others fulfilled by Amazon. Tracking information is provided by Amazon.
Amazon customer service
When using Fulfillment by Amazon sellers receive the full benefit of Amazon’s customer service center. This way, sellers don’t have to deal with customers unless a bigger problem arises. All returns are processed through Amazon and relisted into the system. Customer service also provides online help pages and contact information to customers requesting it, leaving you to manage other aspects of the business.
5. Amazon policies sellers should know about
It’s understandable that Amazon maintains a long list of rules to protect Sellers, Buyers, and even Amazon itself. At first, it’s impossible for Amazon Sellers to know all of the rules and policies that apply to them. There are a few policies that are easy to overlook, so it might be beneficial for Sellers to learn them before jumping in. Otherwise, you can accidentally violate them and put your account in jeopardy.
Product listing rule violations
- Using the “Create a Product” link for products that already exist. Some sellers use this tool to list their items because they don’t feel like searching the catalog for it. This creates duplicate products within Amazon’s catalog.
- Using the description of items to cross promote other items. The description of an item should only pertain to the item that is for sale. Using leftover space to advertise for anything else you’re selling is a violation of Amazon rules.
- Be careful putting information about your business in the description of items. Physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and website addresses are prohibited. Even if they pertain to your business, these items aren’t allowed in the description of items.
- Asking for positive feedback in the description of your products. It may seem innocent to slip in “If you like this item, leave positive feedback to show support!” However, this is manipulation of the feedback system and isn’t allowed.
Amazon bundling policies
Sellers are able to offer bundles to their customers. This isn’t something advertised in Seller Central, but it’s convenient for both Sellers and Buyers. Sellers can move multiple items in one sale, and Buyers can purchase items that go together without shopping around. Bundles can be created from items of different categories, but the items must compliment each other. Bundles can only be under one category, typically whatever category the highest priced item in the bundle falls under.
All bundles are subject to review by Amazon on whether the items are relevant to each other and appropriate. Failing to follow the bundle policy can lead to an account suspension.
Bundle policy rules
- Selling multiples of the same item does not count as a bundle. Listings that are simply a multipack will be removed, and eventually lead to a suspension if continued.
- Bundle titles must include the word “bundle” and the number of items in it.
- The primary image of a bundle must include exactly all of the items included in the bundle.
- A UPC must be created for each new bundle you create. You may not use the UPC of 1 item in the bundle to represent the entire bundle.
Operating multiple Amazon seller accounts
Under most circumstances, using multiple Amazon Seller accounts is against the rules. It isn’t necessary because one Seller account can sell in multiple categories. If you have legitimate business needs, contact Amazon support about opening a new account, but your original account must be highly rated in customer feedback and in good standing with Amazon. The new Seller account must follow these rules:
- Have a separate email address and bank account for the second account.
- Have no overlap in products and services sold through web stores.
Amazon relies on both buyers and sellers to understand and abide by the policies they have set to keep everything running smoothly. The policies aren’t meant to be restrictive or harsh, they are meant to make Amazon transactions as pleasant as possible for all parties. By following these policies sellers ensure that their business remains up and running. That way sellers can keep doing the important things, like earning money.