My day job was driving me insane.
I knew “someday” that I wanted to own my own business, but I just wasn’t sure what that business would be.
I wanted Freedom–Freedom from the daily grind, from the monotony.
Begging for time off just wasn’t an enjoyable thing. I worked for a big company and dreaded going to work every day.
Sometimes driving out to a client site, I’d think, “what if I just kept driving by and skipped work forever?” I wanted to quit that job so bad.
I guess I didn’t have the nerve. I kept showing up each day, in pain because I did not enjoy the work I was doing.
Work Smarter and Earn a Much Better Income
Before owning a business, I felt trapped. I didn’t want to wait a whole year for “raise season” for a raise. I wanted my income tied to my performance.
I got up the nerve and turned in my resignation and took a sales job hoping that it would help me build the skills to own a business someday.
Problem was, I struggled. I had some great weeks, but it became obvious that things weren’t going so well for the whole sales account, and people were jumping ship like crazy.
For some reason, I kept sticking it out, enduring the pain. This wasn’t like me. I knew I can be successful. Why am I having such a hard time?
Take Control. Don’t Let Your Future Be Dictated by Anyone Else
Worries of a family to provide for and a mortgage payment hovered over my head. How were we to make it?
I looked into so many opportunities. I searched how to make money online and as you can imagine, ran into a lot of junk. A lot of stuff that was either over my head, ethically challenged, or just plain outdated.
I didn’t need a quick fix; I needed something that could provide for my family year after year. Something that could be reliable, not just providing cash to pay the bills but money I could use to build a better life for me and my family.
The business I eventually started was the business of selling real-world products on Amazon.com which is the major place to sell online, and where I’ve found success. Read on to find out How to Sell on Amazon.
Other Amazon Sellers Make Too Many Mistakes. Avoid the Pitfalls.
Experience speaks, and little details that made a huge difference in selling on Amazon were being missed by most of the sellers. It was like they preferred to hit their heads against the wall.
Simple Details that fellow Sellers on Amazon were missing:
- What type of account to establish
- How to create a good listing with bullet points and descriptions that sell
- What types of product variations to create
- How to market correctly
- How to run great promotions (ads & sales)
- What type of fulfillment to use
- How to take great pictures
- How to follow Amazon’s guidelines
- How to create new items
- How to encourage reviews
- How to prepare for the Holiday Retail Rush
I needed a business I could run from home without having to hire employees.
Amazon and its Seller Tools Made that Happen.
I wanted the freedom that having my own business could offer, but I also had a number of things that I did not want in a business.
I did not want a business that:
- Worked me to death
- Made it so I could never see my family or travel
- Would tie me up shipping onesie-twosie orders every day
- Made managing returns and refunds a pain
I didn’t want to become chained to my business.
I wanted a business that would let me:
- Take a dream vacation to Europe
- Have time to walk my kids to school while everyone else is heading off to their jobs
- Experience the freedom to “do my own thing”
- Establish a good “emergency fund” of savings (I didn’t like being at the end of my rope)
- Have time to work on my own interests outside of business
An Amazon business was the perfect thing to help me realize those goals and stand out from my friends working jobs that they hated.
FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) Practically Started my Business
One of the Amazon services that few know about (in fact, it’s one of the best kept secrets) is a Fulfillment Service called FBA where Amazon will ship your products for you.
This is not drop-shipping; it’s way better, and provides a better value for you and for your customer.
A seller or merchant ships product in bulk to Amazon, and when a customer orders, Amazon takes care of the rest: getting it there, customer support, and returns handling.
It’s awesome, enabling, and it’s one of the best tools for how to sell on Amazon…
But order fulfillment (even with FBA) is just one small part of being a successful Internet Business selling on Amazon.com.
I’ve seen people use the fulfillment service and lose money, not sell inventory, and go negative, because the other aspects of their Internet Business are all wrong.
How do you Sell Successfully on Amazon?
First ask, what is success to you?
I wanted and needed income replacement. I needed it to be the major source of my income because my options were limited at the time.
Starting with the right vision, knowing that you want to do well, and provide a good income whether it replaces your old income or supplements your current income with some extra spending money, starting right is important.
I learned the hard way through hours and hours of research and the school of hard knocks. We had a lot of mistakes and setbacks along the way because we didn’t have good guidance of how to do it.
Keep in mind the keys of how to successfully Sell on Amazon:
1. Understand Amazon’s Playing Field
This is more than just getting to know the rules of selling on Amazon, which is a must, but it’s also knowing the competitive landscape (more tools that does this for you further down).
It doesn’t do much good to work on products to sell to find out too late that there are already too many similar products on Amazon, or that you can’t compete on price or value to the ones already there.
Play by the rules and always work with professionalism, and be smart about how you enter the market with a winning combination of great products where there is great demand.
More at the end of this post on how to do just this, especially when you’re just starting out.
2. Get Amazon Featured Merchant Status
You need a pro seller account on Amazon to become a featured merchant, and it’s easier than you think.
Why is becoming an Amazon Featured Merchant important?
A featured merchant on Amazon has the chance at getting what’s called the Buy Box on Amazon. The Buy Box provides you with the default sales.
Meaning, when someone clicks the big “Add to Cart” button for the product, you get the sale. Depending on the demand for the product, winning the Buy Box can easily double your sales.
You need to get good feedback and have good sales, but once you make it to featured (which doesn’t have to take more than a few months), you’ll be rockin.
Amazon doesn’t give away the exact formula for becoming a featured merchant but the basics are just be a good seller (good feedback, the right type of seller account, and product sales). I’ve seen the status reached in a very short time, so it can be done when done right, and it makes all the difference in the world.
3. Take Advantage of Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Let Amazon ship your products for you and watch your business grow.
It’s one of the best kept secrets out there.
Imagine not having to ship each individual order!
As a seller, you can ship your products in bulk to Amazon and the Amazon Fulfillment service ships the individual customer orders for you.
This frees up your time so that you can spend it growing your business instead of trying to ship each individual order, find warehouse space, and hire employees. It can also get you up and running as a business as soon as your product is received by Amazon and ready to sell.
4. Price your Products to Win & Use Amazon Promotions
Find the sweet spot. One lesson I learned not too long ago was that most of us tend to under-price our products.
Sure you have to look at the competition, but I prefer to play where there is little or even no competition (especially direct competition).
If you need to put something on sale to get a little more sales rank, then go for it.
If you want to earn more profit, try raising your prices. Nothing is off the table, but it comes down to how well you market, and how smart you are about the bullet points, pictures, and descriptions on your Amazon listings.
If you’ve done your homework with the right tools, you can take the guess work out of pricing your items so you don’t leave money on the table (or worse, sell for a loss without knowing it).
Hint: Check our our favorite tool at the bottom.
5. Package Your Products the Right Way
It doesn’t do you much good to send something to Amazon only to have it damaged in the way.
Provide enough packing in your shipment so that if the box were dropped, your products would still be okay.
Use 1/2″ bubble wrap or Kraft Paper, and add extra packing if your items are heavy or fragile.
Kraft paper can sometimes scratch your product packaging if the paper is bunches up with lots of hard wrinkles, so keep that in mind when choosing what dunnage (or packing fill) to use.
Make sure to stay away from packing peanuts. Amazon doesn’t like them, and they create a huge mess.
6. Monitor Success & Possible Changes in Amazon’s Seller Central Reports
Amazon’s Seller Central (the place where you access your seller account) offers great tools and reports.
The last thing you want to do is run out of product to sell, and probably tied with that, you want to make sure you’re making money. The report showing Amazon Buy Box percentage also show if someone else is encroaching in on your products–handy to keep an eye on that one.
Download the reports and use them in your forecasting. The last thing you want to do is run out of a hot item.
7. Build Your Amazon Profits
This is absolutely critical. It can’t be over-emphasized.
Your product margins are everything.
When you buy a product to sell, you have a product cost you need to cover. So many sellers simply want to make a few bucks and price low, but they don’t realize all the fees that need to be covered!
It’s sad to see so many businesses that just don’t get it. They’re running themselves into the ground with work that is costing them money not earning them money!
Don’t let it be you. Get to know every fee involved, know the product costs of your products, the shipping costs involved, taxes, etc.
I keep it all in a spreadsheet that I show in the paid membership training so I can instantly see if a product is a good choice or not.
I also have the Amazon app on my phone so when I’m out and about looking at something thinking it might be a good idea, I can check to see if it or something similar is on Amazon already and determine if it’s a good idea or not to pursue.
I did some consulting with a company that supplies Walmart, Target, Staples (you name it), and their mantra is “No Margin, No Mission.”
Keep track of those margins.
8. Let Amazon Market your Products
Amazon makes it easy to get your products noticed especially if you know the tools available to you that many sellers miss.
Amazon Enhanced Branded Content & Storefront
Amazon Enhanced Branded Content pages makes it easy for you as a third-party seller to create a listing that drives sales. Amazon storefront lets you showcase your products and tell the story of your brand.
You can now protect the brand and private label products you create with the Brand tools Amazon offers its sellers.
Amazon Promotions & Coupons
Amazon Promotions allow you to create coupon codes that you, and deals that allow you to drive more sales. For example, you can create a promotion that gives 10% off if a buyer purchases 2 or more of your product. The wording gets displayed right on the product page.
Amazon also recently introduced Amazon Coupons for 3rd party sellers. This is different that coupon codes. Items placed on coupon get special placement on the coupon page, and there is a very small cost associated with running the coupons, but it’s a great way to get some volume sales going on your items as well as helping to fix any of your slow selling products on Amazon.
Amazon is pushing their Advertising service. You pay when a customer clicks your ad which appears in the search results as “Sponsored.”
Now why would you pay Amazon when your product could just appear in the search results naturally?
Well, it’s really hard to get your product noticed at the start. It begins with no sales history and no reviews. Amazon Advertising lets you get your products noticed on the first page of search results, and getting noticed is key to success on Amazon. You can also set your ads to show on specific Amazon product pages, making an even better targeted approach to reaching potential customers, and it couldn’t be easier to set up.
The easy to access advertising reports show if the advertising is really paying for itself. In our experience, it usually does, and it’s a great tool for getting noticed in the beginning.
Amazon has now allowed 3rd-party merchants to create lightning deals. It’s an amazing tool that when used correctly can get your products selling fast.
9. Increase Sales During the Holiday Selling Season
During the holidays, it’s possible to see 5 Times the normal sales on some products.
It can be one of the greatest times of year for your business unless…your product runs out of stock.
You don’t want to buy so much product that you have too much after Christmas, so you need an easy way to forecast your demand during the holidays.
There are lots of crazy ways to forecast demand. But is forecasting important if it’s just you working from home? …yep.
Your products may be highly seasonal (slip-and-slides for example), weather related, holiday related, etc. But almost everything gets a big lift at Christmas.
It depends on your products.
Sellers can Experience as Much as 5 TIMES the Normal Product Sales at Christmas.
If you’re not prepared, you’ll sell out of all your inventory, and kick yourself because you can practically taste the sales that you’re missing while you try to get product back in stock.
I created a simple seasonal profile forecast in a spreadsheet to manage forecasting. It’s not perfect, and I’ll still run out of items (which stinks), but I’m a lot better prepared week by week.
Keep it simple, and a seasonal profile works out just fine (when you learn what your peak seasons are that is). Walmart offers their suppliers seasonal profile information, and that’s good enough for me.
10. Choose a Niche that Works for you, and Sell your Own Branded Products
If you’re going to be selling sofas and mattresses and still want to work out of your basement, you’d better have a big basement.
If you have a warehouse, no problem, but if you’re going to do this on your own, you’ll need products that you can easily manage.
Now there are some tricks and tips for getting the big stuff in, and you don’t have to touch it. It’s part of the advanced strategies.
Choose products and a market that you are genuinely interested in.
This will help you write the best sales copy because you’ll be familiar with the market, and you’ll care about it. You’ll be able to show potential customers why your product is better, and shoppers will pay more for the product they feel is better, and that’s always a good place to be in.
You can sell other people’s products, and that’s fine to start, but to create a business that lasts and that keeps the competition at bay, consider creating your own branded products.
Having your own branded or private label products on Amazon opens up opportunities to have your own branded store, protect your products from the competition, and truly create something of value.
Below, Learn How to Create Your own Branded Private Label Products that Can Launch your Success on Amazon
Your Freedom and Fulfillment is Worth it
Selling on Amazon provides entrepreneurs all of the world the chance to create successful businesses allowing for fun and important things like:
- Spending time with family
- Setting your own schedule
- Vacationing where and when you want to
- The choice to leave the daily grind
Make your Business Work for you and Not the Other Way Around
With the right set-up, you can go far, but it still can be a challenge to get buyer attention on Amazon, and that’s why marketing is critical to your business success.
It’s about finding the best message-to-market-match, and that’s why we recommend the trainings we do which can help you learn from the mistakes and successes of successful sellers.
It’s time to take control and discover new possibilities!