FBA Amazon: how to start selling on the world's largest marketplace

How to start selling on Amazon

David Seun

Here's a guide for Amazon newbies aspiring to get to the top. We have a list of basic tips to get you started with FBA program. You will also find many services that will prove useful not only for beginners but for experienced Amazon sellers as well.

Amazon holds 50% of the US e-commerce market with a nine-figure estimated annual turnover. The FBA program (Fulfillment by Amazon) is one of the major reasons for its success in the field of online network marketing.

FBA is the main tool for those willing to conduct business via Amazon. This program allows sellers from different countries to use the company's warehouses and easily deliver their goods to the final customer. For example, you venture into selling toys for kids. If you are an independent entrepreneur you have to look for a warehouse, work out the logistics, configure your website, and solve a whole bunch of other issues. The beauty of FBA is that it does all these tasks for you. 

You start your business on Amazon by registering an account. After all the fees are paid, the FBA service selects the warehouse closest to the seller's location. All the seller has left to do is choose the product to ship and sell. The success of the entire enterprise depends on the wise choice of the product. There have been many cases of new sellers going bust because they tried to sell unmarketable goods .

In a nutshell, this is how you enter the Amazon market:

Step 1: Find a product to sell via the website;

Step 2: Settle the deal with the supplier;

Step 3: Deliver your products to the Amazon warehouse;

Step 4: Prepare a listing (description) of the product;

Step 5: Start selling.

Carefully choose the product for sale

It's easy enough to see what sells well on Amazon. For example, you can use one of the browser plugins such as "DC Amazon Quick View" or "Unicorn Smasher" for Google Chrome. It automatically shows products with the Best-Seller Rank. Or you can just check the top-selling goods manually.

In addition to the demand for a certain product it is necessary to look at:

  1. Ease of manufacturing. At the very beginning, it is best to start with simple products where the probability of selling a flawed item is close to zero. It is especially vital if you are working with a new supplier. Low-quality goods will inevitably lead to customer complaints, claims for refund, and in the end your account will be banned.
  2. Low competition. To find out whether the niche is available, you can run a search for the product on Amazon. A result of 3–4 sellers with less than 100 reviews each is a good sign.
  3. Season-related products. It is better if your first product is not specific to a particular time of year. You can check this using the Google Trends service.

Helpful tools

  1. DC Amazon Quick View – is a plugin that allows you to see information about the Best-Seller Rank (BSR) of the product
  2. Unicorn Smasher – is a plugin displaying the sellers of a selected product, their sales volumes, and other useful information
  3. Camel Camel Camel – shows changes in the price of a product, its BSR, as well as the number of potential buyers
  4. Google Trends – shows whether a product is season-related 

Calculate your expenses in advance

Fulfillment by Amazon provides the seller with a variety of business tools, charging a commission on every sale. The commission also includes a fee for packaging and shipping, as well as a monthly storage fee. Two key parameters of your goods influence the commission – the weight and size of the product. Therefore, the smaller the product – the more profitable for the seller. It is better to keep these things in mind before starting a business on Amazon.

You can get an approximate figure using the special Amazon Revenue Calculator . It will help with the cost estimation for your product if it is already listed on Amazon, as well as reveal the expenditures for similar products sold by the competitors. 

You should be prepared for not breaking even with the first batch, and you definitely should have a financial safety net. Experts recommend putting aside at least $5,000 at the start.

Helpful tools

  1. Amazon Seller Central – is an Amazon platform that allows you to track sales data and display it in various formats 
  2. Sellerboard – is a multiple options software for analyzing the seller profitability on Amazon
  3. Keepa – analyzes Amazon listings and displays sales and rating statistics
  4. AMZBase – is a plugin that allows you to find new products on Amazon, as well as provides direct links to the websites selling them

Supplier is your main partner

Many entrepreneurs start with the world's largest supplier database – Alibaba.com. We advise you to link your account to a business email address, not your personal mailbox. This will protect you from spam mail and bring more responses from potential suppliers. 

Don't rush into a contract with the first company that got in touch. First, you should make sure that the supplier has been on the market for a long time and has sufficient product turnover. Before ordering a whole batch, always ask for a sample. Provide the supplier with a technical specification and your vision of the product.

Discuss the delivery method in advance – ocean freight, air freight, or express shipment. Shipment by sea is the cheapest, but also the longest. For example, it can take 30–50 days to deliver a product from China to the United States. Air delivery is relatively fast and of average cost. And express shipment is the fastest and the most expensive.

If this is your first shipment you can use the services of a freight forwarder, who will take care of all logistics issues and deliver the goods to the Amazon warehouse.

Helpful tools

  1. Bansar – a service where you can find a freight forwarder in any European city
  2. Amazon FBA Freight Rate Calculator – allows you to compare freight rate estimates for ocean, air, and trucking shipment in an instant
  3. Clutch – is an aggregator website providing a rated list of freight forwarding companies 

Make a proper listing

Correct product listing is very important. Amazon has standard requirements for listing design. There is nothing complicated about it. The main thing is – the product photos must be of high quality and the specified size. Products on Amazon are indexed by keywords. To see which keywords work for your competitors you can use such tools as Sonar, Merchant words, Keyword Inspector, etc.

You can create the product description by yourself, or you can hire professional copywriters. It all depends on your skills and budget. Never copy someone else's descriptions because you can easily lose your account on Amazon for that.

When you launch the business, it is better to go for a price tag which is slightly below the market price, seeing that your buyer needs a powerful incentive. When you get your bearings, you can gradually increase the price.

Another crucial point is reviews. Without any reviews, the conversion rate will be very low, since customer feedback is the basis of trust in the Internet environment. Experience shows that the product must have at least 15 reviews. You can get the necessary minimum with the help of your friends, via Facebook, and on freelancer platforms like Fiverr or Upwork.

Helpful tools

  1. Keyword Tool – is a service for finding the relevant search queries in Google, YouTube, Amazon, and eBay, as well as for selecting the correct keywords for the product
  2. Sonar – is a tool for researching the keywords and the relevant products on Amazon
  3. Merchant Words – helps you to expand the list of product keywords and determine the search volume on Amazon
  4. Keyword Inspector – tracks keywords for competitor businesses

Use Amazon advertising

You can attract people to your freshly listed product by using a Sponsored Products tool by Amazon.

Amazon advertising services yield $1.2 billion a year.

The seller has two options in terms of advertising: automatic targeting, which uses the keywords specified in the listing, or manual targeting, where the same keywords are submitted by the seller manually.

Since the service does not allow for 100% creative control over the ad, it is important that your product has a good visual representation and an attractive price. Once again, think your listings through carefully.

Generally, Amazon ads operate like Google ads. The client sees your ad, and if you get the click you have to pay a certain amount of money to Amazon.

Helpful tools

  1. Pengstud.com – a website explaining the work with Amazon Sponsored Products in detail
  2. Amazon Advertising – is another useful website for those who want to gain a better understanding of Amazon's advertising tools

 Amazon is an ever-changing marketplace. There is no single perfect way of quick money-making on this platform. To become a successful seller, you need to monitor the trends carefully, build a correct marketing strategy, and most importantly – have enough courage to try new things. Learn from the mistakes of your competitors, improve your approaches, and take risks. After all, in the words of Peter Drucker: “Entrepreneurship is neither a science nor an art. It is a practice.”The Flow Media Telegram Channel