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How to sell on Amazon

How to Sell on Amazon for Absolute Beginners: The Ultimate Guide 2019

*This guide will teach you how to sell on Amazon, offering up everything you need to know to get started.


Way, way back in 2015 I needed to find a way to make some quick cash online.

At the time, I thought eBay was my only option. But, as it turns out, there was a better solution: Amazon!

Yet I had no idea how to start.

Fortunately, I learned that the process was pretty easy. And now, four years later, I’ve earned literally hundreds of thousands of dollars selling products on Amazon.

So, if you’re looking for a great way to start a business online, then Amazon is your best bet. Not only is it easy to get started, but Amazon also offers you a lot of great tools that make selling simple.

Let’s get started!

How to sell on Amazon: how I turned a few old books into a six-figure business.

Long before I made six figures selling my own branded products on Amazon, I sold books.

And while my book selling method was a little different than the one used by my competitors, it primed me for the even bigger and even better things to come.

But a little background first.

It all started with a nine-to-five job. And I hated my nine-to-five job. Hated it.

how to sell books on Amazon
My life as a car salesman–ready to call it quits!

It was 2012, and I was hired to sell cars (yep; all the bad stuff you hear about car salesmen is 100% true, at least in this case), and after three years, I’d had enough.

I started looking for a way out.

I always wanted to be an entrepreneur. But, like many, I didn’t know how or where to begin. I was scared to make a move.

Sound familiar?

Then, my internet searches led me to blogs and videos about passive income, and I learned how to sell on Amazon.

I didn’t have a lot of money to start with.

When I began, all I had to invest was a few hundred bucks! And frankly, I didn’t want to risk even that. I mean, who wants to lose their hard-earned money, right?!

Thankfully, I had another option.

I had an old comic book collection gathering dust. To me, it was the perfect opportunity to try selling on Amazon, almost risk-free!

My idea was to sell the comics I’d been meaning to sell for some time, while continuing to learn the ins and outs of selling on Amazon.

All without having to sacrifice my savings!

So, with the thought of being my own boss in the back of my mind, I typed that life-changing address into my search bar: www.Amazon.com.

But can people really make money selling stuff on Amazon?

Back then, I had no idea that selling on Amazon was a thing. I thought that nearly everything sold on Amazon was sold by Amazon themselves.


Nowadays, I know better. More than half of Amazon’s sales in 2018 came from third-party sellers.

In fact, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ also stated that 140,000+ businesses selling on Amazon made more than $100,000 in sales.

How much money can you make selling on Amazon?

One of the cool things about selling on Amazon is that you can (potentially) make as much or as little money as you like.

When I first started selling on Amazon in 2015, I was happy making a few hundred dollars per month selling books.

Later, however, as I learned more about how to sell on Amazon, I wanted to grow my business and my income. So, as I improved my methods, the amount I made each month jumped from $300-$400 to almost $10,000.

All from selling on Amazon as a side hustle!

The amount of money you can make depends wholly on what and how you sell.

But just as a reminder: this course on how to sell on Amazon is all about making things as easy as possible. For that reason, I won’t go into the more complicated selling methods here (links to more detailed courses can be found below).

Here are the two main methods used to sell on Amazon:

Method #1 – Flipping products from stores to resell on Amazon (retail arbitrage).

Retail arbitrage (sometimes called online arbitrage) is the easiest way to learn how to sell on Amazon.

If you’ve never heard the term, retail arbitrage is a fancy word for buying a discounted product at a retail store (like Walmart or Target) then reselling it.

The profit you make is the difference between what you paid for the product and what you sell it for.

Example #1

Let’s say you buy 500 boxes of Q-tips at Walmart for $1 apiece. Then you turn around and sell those same Q-tips on Amazon for $10 per box.

After Amazon’s fees, you earn approximately $5.50. Next, subtract the $1 spent originally, and your profit ends up being $4.50.

If you manage to sell all 500 Q-tips at that rate, you’ll make $2,250.

Old books open on a table

Example #2

Suppose you’re at a book sale, and you decide to by a used Physics Textbook for $10. You then list and sell the textbook on Amazon for $50.

Once you’ve paid Amazon’s fees and shipping costs, you’re left with around $36.75. After you subtract the $10 you spent on the book, your profit is $26.75.

Method #2 – Buying bulk products from manufacturers and vendors to sell on Amazon (wholesaling/private label).

Though this method does cost more to get started (and it is more complicated), it is a great way to earn a lot of money on Amazon when done right.

When it comes to wholesale or private label (both fancy ways of saying “buying in bulk”), the idea is to make larger purchase orders of a  product, then to sell those units over an extended period of time.

And while this article doesn’t get into the specifics of this method, at the very least you’ll have an idea of what to expect if you choose to sell wholesale or private label.

Here are a couple of private label and wholesale examples:

Example #1

You buy 5,000 iPhone cases from a supplier, each for $0.10. You sell the cases on Amazon for $10 each.

After fees, shipping costs, and the $0.10 cost for each case, you’re left with a profit of about $5.40 per unit. For 5,000 items, that’s $27,000 in profit.

Plus, you only need to sell 93 iPhone cases in order to earn back your original investment ($5000 x $0.10 = $500).

Example #2

You decide private label’s they way to go, so you create your my own product: a leather-wrapped whiskey flask.

It costs $4 to manufacture one flask, and you buy 500 of them to start. As for Amazon, you set the price to of the flasks to $25.

As soon as your Amazon fees and costs are paid, you earn $18.25 per flask. Minus the cost per flask, and your net profit is $14.25.

If you sell 141 flasks, you earn back your investment. And if you sell them all, you get $7,125!

If you would like to learn more about this slightly more advanced method of how to sell on Amazon, be sure to check out our FREE private label course:
How to Start Selling Private Label on Amazon 2019.

Do I have to be a business genius to sell on Amazon?

Absolutely not!

If you’re even remotely familiar with selling online–whether through Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace–then Amazon isn’t that different, especially if you’re starting with a method like retail arbitrage.

Here is everything you need in order to sell on Amazon (way less than you’d think!).

Amazon has very few barriers to entry for new sellers. At a minimum, you will need:

  • A computer or smartphone with an internet connection.
  • For subscription fees and advertising fees (both are 100% optional when starting out), you will also need a credit card.
  • A bank account so Amazon can pay you.
  • You must live in a country permitted to sell on Amazon; for the complete list, check out Amazon’s website.

Keep reading to learn how to easily set everything up in just a few minutes.

wallet with credit cards

Wondering how to sell on Amazon FBA?

You might have heard the term ‘FBA’ tossed around. It stands for fulfillment by Amazon.

But what does that mean?

Well, as you may already know, Amazon has dozens of colossal warehouses all over the world called fulfillment centers.

These fulfillment centers not only house Amazon’s own products, like Echos and AAA batteries, but the products of its third-party (3P) FBA sellers as well.

When those 3P FBA products sell, Amazon’s staff picks, packs and ships the product for the seller.

This is Fulfillment by Amazon (aka FBA).

In addition to picking, packing and shipping your products for you, Amazon’s FBA program also includes these benefits:

  • It’s cheaper than doing it yourself. This might sound like a costly option, but it’s not as expensive as you might think. In fact, the fees are the same and the cost to ship your product is often far less than what it would be if you were to ship it yourself.
  • You don’t have to store your own inventory. For just a few cents per product per month, Amazon stores your stuff for you. That way you don’t have to clutter up your garage, or lease storage elsewhere.
  • No customer service headaches. Amazon handles customer service, for you, too! Returns. Refunds. If an issue comes up, their professionals deal with it.
  • Your products ship Prime. Amazon’s Prime program allows its Prime subscribers to receive products they order online with 2-3 days (soon to be one-day!). When you use Amazon’s fulfillment network to ship your products, those products qualify for Prime shipping automatically.

Of course, you don’t have to sell things through FBA if you don’t want to. Amazon also allows 3P sellers to their ship own goods, if they prefer.

It’s called FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant).

How do I start selling on Amazon (step-by-step)?

Hopefully, by now, you’re excited to get started.

After all, it’s not every day that you learn you can make hundreds, and maybe even thousands, of dollars selling on Amazon. Not to mention that Amazon will even do most of the work for you if you choose to sell FBA.

So, now that the basics are out of the way, let’s go over how to sell on Amazon step-by-step:

Step #1 – Sign up for an Amazon seller account.

First things first, you’ve got to be an Amazon seller in order to sell on Amazon!

Fortunately, it’s really easy to do.

Simply go to https://sellercentral.amazon.com, and you’ll see the page below. Once it loads, click on the ‘Register Now’ button:

How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners - Register
Your page might look a little different depending on where you live. Either way, look for the button that reads “Register” or “Register Now”

From there, Amazon will lead you through the registration process, and as long as you have the information I mentioned above ready to go, it should be smooth sailing.

Individual Seller or Professional Seller?

If you’re planning to make more than 40 sales per month, then the Professional Seller plan is the better option.

Though the pro plan costs $39.95 per month, you don’t have to pay an individual fee for each item sold. The $39.95 fee covers an unlimited number of sales for that month.

But, if you’re just starting out, and don’t have the money to spare, no problem!

If you expect to sell fewer than 40 items per month, you can choose to be an Individual Seller instead.

And as an individual seller, rather than paying a flat monthly fee, you pay a small fee for each individual sale.

The fees taken out from your sales will be slightly higher than those for the professional seller plan, though. But, on the plus side, there won’t be any upfront costs.

How to sell on Amazon: creating an account

Also, you’ll probably need to scroll down the page to find the individual seller sign-up link. It’s in pretty small print, and should look similar to the one in the image above.

Remember: the goal is to make some money with as little financial risk as possible!

Step #2 – Find a product to list on Amazon.

If you followed step #1, you should be an official Amazon seller at this point. Congratulations!

Now it’s time for your next big milestone: finding a product to sell on Amazon.

But how do you find a product to sell on Amazon?

When I started selling on Amazon back in 2015, the first thing I ever sold was a copy of a comic book I owned.

Random comic books

I didn’t have to go out to a store to buy the product. I just had it lying around the house. And what’s crazy is that the product sold in less than 24 hours!

I remember being at work and getting a notification on my phone. It told me that the product had sold, and I had to ship it out.

It was super exciting! My first ever online sale!

And that’s the way I recommend you get started too.

Look around your house for something you can sell. Books are usually a perfect first product because they can be sold in a used condition.

Use the best-seller ranking to guide you.

Did you know that Amazon gives every single product that’s ever sold on its site a number known as a Best Seller Rank (BSR)?

The BSR sorts each product on the site by its popularity, and the lower the BSR, the more likely that product is to sell.

You can find a product’s best-seller ranking on its Amazon listing. Just scroll down until you see ‘Product Details’ or ‘Product Information’.

It should be near the bottom, just above the reviews.

How to sell on Amazon: product details
You’ll see that the product’s Best-Seller Ranking is #8,692 in Books

It’s important to note that listings often have a few different BSRs displayed.

However, the one you want to pay attention to is the first BSR, at the top of the list. It is the ranking for the item in its parent category (or department).

You’ll know it’s the BSR you want by the ‘See Top 100 in XXX’ link in brackets, following the ranking. If the link to the category’s top 100 is missing, it’s the BSR for one of the product’s sub-category. Ignore those for now.

As for the #8,692 ranking in the photo above, that’s better than you might think.

A score in the four-figures means that the product is selling dozens of copies. Every. Single. Day.

How can I figure out how well a product will sell?

Just how much more does a #1 ranked product sell compared to a product ranked #1000?

Fortunately, the brilliant data science team here at Jungle Scout (an all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon) figured out a way to estimate those numbers. It’s called the Jungle Scout Estimator, and it’s free!

All you have to do is plug in the Best Seller’s Rank Number, the Amazon Marketplace (in this case, United States), and the Amazon Product Category.

Then, click the orange ‘Calculate Sales!’ button to generate the estimated sales:

Free sales estimator

From there, just do the math.

With 407 estimated sales per month, that means the book above sells approximately 13-14 copies per day (407 divided by 30 = 13.6).

If you happen to have the same book to sell, and as long as you price it competitively (i.e. the lowest), you should sell your copy within a few hours of listing it.

Pretty easy, right?!

Want a faster way to estimate sales?

The sales estimator is great, but if you want a faster way and even more accurate way to estimate sales, we’ve got a solution for that too.

Jungle Scout’s Extension works directly with your Chrome page.

Check this out:

How to Sell on Amazon: Estimating Sales

Everything you need is displayed in seconds, with a single click on the JS icon.

Plus, you can figure out the average sales for entire search terms, which is useful if you’re using a sales methods like Private Label.

Step #3 – List your product.

So now you’re an Amazon seller. And not just any seller, but a seller with a product! Woohoo!

Now it’s time to list it on Amazon. No worries though. This part is super simple, too, especially if you’re selling a product that already exists on Amazon.

In that case, all you have to do is go to the preexisting listing.

Then, over on the right-hand side, just below the button you click to purchase the product, you should see a gray button that says ‘Sell on Amazon’.

Once you click on that button, it will take you to a page that needs a little more information from you.

Unlike eBay, Craigslist, Facebook, etc., when you sell a preexisting product on Amazon, you don’t have to recreate the entire listing.

All you need to do is set a price and a condition.

Your price should probably match whatever the lowest price is (to ensure a quick sale), and the condition is based on the quality of the product you’re selling.

Just make sure you follow Amazon’s condition guidelines.

Once you list the product, it takes a few minutes for it to appear on Amazon. Once it’s up, though, it’s immediately ready for people to buy.

Tip: Products in near perfect condition can list as new. Just make sure you have all the original components.

Step #4 – When you make a sale, fulfill your product (or let Amazon do it for you).

This is the fun, nail-biting part: waiting for someone to hop on Amazon and buy your product.

When that happens, and if you’re using the Amazon FBA program, don’t worry. By the time you see the sale, Amazon’s probably already pulled it off the shelf, put in a box, and sent it on its way.

They’re that fast.

Otherwise, if you’re fulfilling the purchase yourself, you have 24 hours to ship your product to the customer.

Amazon will help you with this though, by giving you all of the data you need to get your product into the shopper’s hands. They’ll even give you printable USPS labels.

How to make even more money selling on Amazon.

And that’s the basics of how to sell on Amazon!

Pretty simple right?

Of course, that’s just the beginning of your exciting journey as an Amazon entrepreneur.

For more information on how to (and how not to) sell on Amazon, definitely check out one of our detailed FREE courses:

If you have any questions, or if you want to share your own experiences learning how to sell on Amazon, please share or let us know in the comment section below.


7 comments on “How to Sell on Amazon for Absolute Beginners: The Ultimate Guide 2019

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for information! I now know a little more than than before.
    Do you give personal one on one training
    In depth step by step? Like abc & 123 information
    “try this, I recommend this, now you need to get this, I wouldn’t do that,” type of training

    1. Hi Lizzie,

      Check out the Jungle Scout Market! There are lots of Amazon experts on the platform that can help you get started with your Amazon business.

  2. Though I don’t have a computer yet,(. I am only using my IPad Pro I would like keeping this whole information and would love to start selling on Amazon once I purchase a laptop.

  3. Amazon is one of the most optimized platform for selling products online. The E-Commerce is growing at a very rapid pace in India. This guide is really very informative and well written. Thanks for sharing this guide.

  4. This. Is. Golden. All the initial questions I had about Amazon selling have been answered by this article. Thank you!

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