So you want to sell on Amazon, but don’t know where to start. I’ve been there. In fact, I was just there a few weeks ago. I had a few old video games that I wanted to get rid of, and I thought Amazon was the perfect place to sell them.
To help others who want to start selling on Amazon, I’ve documented step-by-step the process I took to sell my first items through Amazon FBA.
In sticking to simplicity I’m calling this guide, “How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners Using FBA: A Step-by-Step Guide”. While this guide is tailored to selling using FBA, it’s very possible to sell on Amazon and ship the items yourself. However, I found the convenience factor of FBA too great to overlook.
What is Amazon FBA and why should I use it?
If you’ve ever bought an item off Amazon, you’re probably familiar with their free 2 day shipping through Amazon Prime. It’s one of the main reasons people shop on Amazon.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could offer free 2 day shipping on the items you sell? Good news, you can!
That’s the reason you use Amazon FBA. With Amazon FBA, you simply ship your items to an Amazon warehouse and they take care of the rest for you. So if you ship them one box with 25 items you want to sell, Amazon will pick pack and ship each of those items for you as they are sold.
You just have to make the initial effort, and after that you can cruise to profits.
How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners Using FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)
In this guide, I’ll take you through the entire process of selling on Amazon. Not only that, I’m going to show you how I took these same exact steps to sell my first few items using Fulfillment by Amazon.
Step 1: How to Create an Amazon Seller Account
First, you need to create an Amazon Seller account, if you don’t already have one. You can create one on this page here.
The first question you’re asked is, “Do I want a Professional or Individual account?”. The answer is simple: if you’re going to sell more than 40 items a month, use a Professional account; otherwise, select an Individual account.
Why is 40 items the cut off point? Amazon will charge you $1 per item when selling on an Individual account. So if you’re going to sell 40 items a month, you might as well pay for the $40 a month Professional account.
In my case, I was only selling a few items, so I chose an Individual account.
Once you choose your account type, you’ll be asked to login or create an Amazon account using your preferred email. From then on you will need to provide:
- Charge Method
- Seller Information
- Identity Verification
Your charge method is obviously a credit card. It won’t be charged automatically though, so don’t worry about that yet.
For your seller information, you’ll need to provide your name and address, as well as a “Display name”. This will be the name buyers see next to the item you’re selling. It can be anything you want, but remember, it’s public. I chose “Sterling Blue Lion” because I thought it sounded regal and trust worthy. (I also had been watching too much Archer and the name Sterling was stuck in my head.)
Next, you must verify your identity through a phone call or text message.
Your account is now created! Now, you should be greeted with a home screen that looks fairly empty.
Step 2: How to List Your Items on Amazon
Once you have your account, you need to list the items you want to sell.
For some people, we may be skipping a crucial step – choosing what items to sell. However for this tutorial, I’m going to assume you’ve already done this. If don’t know what to sell first, simply find some items around your house you want to get rid of (that’s what I did).
To add your first product, you want to go to “Inventory” in the top of your screen and click “Add Product”.
Once you click “Add Product” you will be prompted to search for your product. I searched by barcode, however you can also search by the product name. Unless you’re selling an item you’ve manufactured (which I’m assuming you’re not), you shouldn’t need to create a new product.
Once you select your product, you’ll be taken to a screen to enter important product information. There are three main things you need to enter.
- The price you want to sell your item for
- What condition your item is in
- Whether you want Amazon to ship the item or you want to ship it yourself
For pricing, you choose what you feel comfortable selling your item at. Personally, I searched for the item on Amazon, looked at the used items that were eligible for free shipping, and priced my item slightly lower than the lowest price available.
For the condition, be as honest and descriptive as you can. All you are required to enter for the condition is a selection of “Acceptable”, “Good”, etc. However you’ll be much more likely to sell it if you offer an additional description. Is your game missing the manual, but has the cover? Mention it. Is the book a library book you bought? Mention it.
Don’t list an item at a better condition then it is. You won’t get away with it. If a customer expects a a “like-new” book, but gets one with tears and highlighting, they’re going to request a refund. Doing this can result in negative reviews, which will make it very hard for you to sell in the future.
Lastly, you want to make sure you select “I want Amazon to ship and provide customer service for my items if they sell.”. This is essentially the “I want to use FBA option”.
If you made sure to select that check box, and this is your first time selling on Amazon using FBA, Amazon will send you to a registration screen. Simply read and accept the terms of service here.
Step 3: How to Convert Your Items to Fulfillment by Amazon Items
I know what you’re thinking, “Why do I need to convert my items to FBA items if I just selected them to be fulfilled by Amazon?”. I’m not sure either, it’s a little confusing.
That being said, you still need to convert your items to FBA items. To do this, go to “Inventory” and click “Manage Inventory”. From here you’ll want to select the “Actions” drop down and select “Change to Fulfilled by Amazon”.
Once you change your inventory to Fulfilled by Amazon, you’ll be asked about two preferences:
- FBA Label Service
- Stickerless, Commingled Inventory
If you’re selling new items, you can use stickerless, commingled inventory. This means that Amazon will commingle your inventory with other sellers’ matching units. If someone orders from you, Amazon might ship a matching unit that is actually from a different seller, but in warehouse closer to the customer. This allows Amazon to ship items faster for better customer service.
I accepted this, however I also did not sell anything new, so it wasn’t really an issue for me.
Of the two, FBA Label Service was much more important to me. With their Label Service, Amazon puts a label (think white product sticker) on your items for you, instead of you doing it yourself.
I accepted the label service because I didn’t want to print out my own stickers. It was only 20 cents per item to have Amazon label my items. That being said, if you want to keep your margins high, you may consider printing your own stickers and labeling your products.
Once you select your options, you’ll be prompted to either “Convert Only” or “Convert & Send Inventory”. If you’re only selling one item, go ahead and select “Convert & Send Inventory”. If not, select “Convert Only” so we can add more items before we set up shipping.
Your item should now appear in your “Amazon-Fulfilled Inventory” under “Manage FBA Inventory”.
Step 4: How To Create an Amazon FBA Shipping Plan
If you selected “Convert & Send Inventory” or if you have just added your second item, you will be prompted to create a shipping plan. For this you’ll need your Ship from address (most likely your house address) and your packing type.
There are two packing types: “Individual products” and “Case-packed products”. Most likely you’ll be selecting “Individual products”. Only select “Case-packed products” if you’re sending a box with all the same exact type of item in it. For example, a box of 20 Anchorman DVDs.
Once you set up a shipping plan, you will be prompted to add your items. Assuming this is the second item you’ve added, you should see two items. Select both.
Once you’ve created a shipping plan, you can add all the items you wish to sell. Simply go through the same process you went through for the first two items, however, when you get to the end select “Add to an existing shipping plan” rather than “Create a new shipping plan”.
Step 5: How to Ship Your Products to Amazon for FBA
Now that you have all your items in your shipping plan, it’s time to finally ship your items. To do this go to “Inventory” -> “Manage FBA Shipments” and then click “Continue with shipping plan”.
From here enter how many units of each item you’re sending. Then if your item requires prep (most don’t) select whether you or Amazon will prep them. Lastly, select whether you or Amazon will label the product.
Once you approve your shipment, you can purchase shipping from Amazon. You just need to know how much your package weighs. You can either put it on a bathroom scale, or (as I did) just estimate based on the items inside the package.
Once you print out your labels, stick them on your package and they’re ready to mail! Just drop them off at your local UPS.
Step 6: How to Sell Your First Item on Amazon
This is the easy part. Once you ship your package off to Amazon and they receive it, your items will be available for purchase.
Now, you sit and wait for your items to be sold.
If you are selling a more popular item, the wait isn’t that long. In my case, I listed 8 items, and they all sold within 15 days.
Pro tip – video games sell fast!
What to Do Next
Congratulations! Hopefully you’ve either sold your first item or have at least listed your first item on Amazon.
If you haven’t made the plunge yet, but are still curious about Amazon FBA, check out our blog post “Is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Worth the Cost?“.