How to Start Selling on Amazon
How to start selling online? Amazon is a good place to start and here are the essential steps I used to begin my Amazon FBA selling journey. It's my virtual toolbox of tools and services. I only recommend things that I have actually tested myself and find worth recommending (can't stand spammy marketers who push rubbish just for commissions!). You might want to bookmark this page for your reference and convenience.
Step 1: Join these 2 Facebook groups. They are extremely helpful and free:
I would attribute much of my success over the past 4 years to 2 things:
More recently, I started the second group with a focus on helping people from outside the USA, UK, etc. who sell or want to sell internationally in those countries.
Step 2: Training & Education. There's lots of free and paid info available with regards to selling on Amazon. The problem is not all of it is reliable. If you are serious about selling on Amazon, and want to shorten your learning curve with proven strategies, here are 2 options to consider.
1) If you are in Singapore, I conduct small group training every 1 or 2 months. After numerous requests from the local selling community who asked me to start something because they realised many of the "courses" in Singapore are run by scammers or teach crazy strategies that are too high risk. You can find out more on my Amazon Seller Singapore Training page.
2) The Proven Amazon Course (PAC) is absolutely the MOST important and BEST investment I have ever made. I tell everyone the couple hundred bucks it costs has been a much better investment than the thousands I paid for my Master's degree fees! The course content is huge and ever growing. From the basics of signing up and sending your first shipment to advanced courses like private labeling (creating your own power brand), PAC has it all covered. But incredibly, that is not all. The BEST part of PAC is the amazing culture and community cultivated by Jim Cockrum. The community here will truly help you get to the next level. I'm already working with several groups in PAC to produce our own brand of products as well as sell big wholesale lots with very high returns which are only possible because we work together! You have nothing to lose with the unlimited time 100% money back guarantee (unlike other programs that charge way more with a short 30 day money back policy).
If you are thinking about selling on Amazon, I highly recommend you start with the Proven Amazon Course.
Update (30 Aug 2015): Just wrote my Proven Amazon Course Review including a screenshot of its contents. Have a look at the review to see the contents in PAC.
Update (26 Mar 2015): Proven Private Label has been added to PAC which makes this incredible course an unbelievable value. Proven Wholesale Sourcing will also be added in May 2015.
Step 3: (Only applicable if you are selling on Amazon from another country): Need a US bank account to receive Amazon payouts? There are 2 options. My first choice is using WorldFirst to receive all my Amazon disbursements.
I have been using World First since Oct 2014 to receive my Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk payouts and this is then transferred into my local bank account in Singapore. Even if you are in a country which is eligible for direct Amazon payouts, one advantage of World First is a better foreign currency exchange rate than what you would get if Amazon pays you from USD or GBP to your local currency such as SGD or AUD, or from sales on Amazon.com in USD to a UK bank account. Companies like VISA, PayPal and Amazon typically charge 3-4% in foreign exchange fees. WorldFirst charges only 0.15%-0.50% per transfer with no other fees. So you would save at least 2%-3% or more per payout, which can add up to quite a lot! Sign up with World First here.
When I signed up for my Amazon.com Seller account in 2013, a US bank account was required. But I live in Singapore and do not have a US or UK bank account. Thankfully Payoneer provides a service to register for a US bank account with a debit MasterCard. Registration is free and Payoneer charges a 1% service fee on all payments made into your account, 1% for all debit payments made from the account, and 2.8% to transfer it into your home currency. By signing up through the link here, you can receive a $25 bonus credit! Sign up for Payoneer.
Update (2 Apr 2015): I strongly prefer World First over Payoneer. I would only recommend Payoneer if World First does not operate in your country. Find out why by reading my in-depth review and comparison of Payoneer vs WorldFirst.
Update (1 Jun 2017): For the past year I have been using WorldFirst over 90% of the time. Due to my transaction volume, WorldFirst now charges me a spread of just 1% for all my USD to SGD transfers! This is down from the initial 2.5% I started with in 2014.
Step 4: Open an account with Prep Services (particularly if you intend to order from US based suppliers). This is a vital tool in my kit. Many of my private label, wholesale and retail arbitrage items ordered from US suppliers are sent to prep services. They do everything needed - receive, check, pack, multi-pack, bundle, poly-bag, label, box and ship out all my products to Amazon's fulfillment centers.
If any of your retail orders arrive damaged, they even help send send them back so you can claim refunds where applicable! If you do not live in the US then you absolutely need this service. Even if you live in the US, you should free yourself to source, grow your business and go to a ball game! Your time and effort is worth far more than the few cents per item you invest to have a warehouse and staff!
Update: I have just written about using FBA prep companies. To find out more about why I think these are so important and how you can get a free list of prep companies go to the FBA Prep Companies review page.
To get your FREE lists of US and UK prep companies, sign up with your name and email address in the box at the top right of this page.
Step 5: Register for a Seller Account. Use this link: http://amzn.to/mstsg. It's a special registration link created by Amazon's Global Selling Team. If you register a Professional Seller account using this link, your account will be specially tagged by Amazon to receive help from their team with your FBA launch *. Having a contact person to work with in Amazon is exceedingly rare and something you should make the most of!
*Please note that the special support from Amazon is only available for sellers from the following countries who want to start selling on Amazon.com US site:
Choosing between a professional or individual seller account. I personally just started with a professional account straightaway. The decision depends on 2 things:
Advanced FBA...now made simple!