Welcome to the world of Amazon selling!
While almost anyone can get set up on Amazon pretty easily, it takes a lot to master the world of Amazon selling and IO Scout will help you to become a most profitable seller on Amazon.
It’s not easy to find information from a lot of different sources, so today I am going to be taking an in-depth look at the entirety of Amazon Seller Central.
What will make you a success? What factors could hinder your progress? And what things do you need to know – that you don’t even know about?
We’ve got everything you need to know. Keep reading and become an expert of the Amazon Seller Central world today!
What is Amazon Seller Central?
Amazon Seller Central is an amazing program that most people wouldn’t have imagined could exist years ago.
This is a place where just about anybody can become an Amazon Central Seller.
The reason why a lot of people do this is because you don’t have to sweat the small (or big) stuff. You don’t need to go create a website, learn about payment security, or even worry about customer policy or returns.
The power behind this platform is truly amazing.
Just because it’s powerful though doesn’t mean that everyone can walk right in and become a success. You still need a good bit of knowledge to understand what’s going on here and how you can make this system work for you so that you can become profitable.
How to Start an Amazon Business?
One of the best parts about choosing Amazon to launch a business is that there is not one single right to do it. Still, there are some basic steps you can follow. We will outline those steps below.
Step 1 - Choose your Business Model
If you already have a good idea how you are going to source products, then you have already chosen your basic business model. There are a number of different ways that you can choose to set up your business:
- You can be a private label seller who creates their own product under their own name brand.
- You can choose to buy bulk products for a discounted price and re-sell them for a higher price which is called wholesaling.
- You could find low-cost or discounted items to purchase and then sell for profit which is called arbitrage.
- Dropshipping is another business model where you can purchase items from a business only after a customer has purchased from your Amazon business. Essentially, you are the middle man in this scenario.
- You could also make handmade items to sell on Amazon.
Step 2- Choose Your Fulfillment Method
Based on your choice for business model, you can make an informed choice about two different ways to fulfill your orders. You can either choose to fulfill them yourself or to have Amazon fulfill them.
Step 3- Stock Up on Products
Before you are ready to actually sell your products on Amazon, you should use an Amazon tool to help you determine how many products you might sell for the month or so.
Step 4- Sign Up for a Seller Account
Signing up for a seller account on Amazon is fairly simple. Follow the directions on the screen.
Step 5- Get Approved
Amazon will have to approve your request to become a seller for their business.
Step 6- Create a Listing
The last step is to create your listing!
How to Set Up An Account on Amazon Seller Central?
Before you even get started on Amazon Seller Central , you’re going to want to get some important information ready first.
- Legal Business Name
- Contact Info
- Credit Card
- Tax Information
The process itself is not that scary. It’s not a long process, most sellers can complete this in around 30 minutes or so if they have the information accessible.
To take your first step on this important journey, go to: Sell.Amazon.com
You’ll go through a basic sign-up process there at first to create an Amazon account if you don’t have one.
You have 5 sections to go through as you sign up for Amazon Seller Central:
1. Seller Agreement
This is where you can view the terms of the Amazon Seller program as well as enter your “Legal Name”, whether that’s an individual or if you have a business already established.
2. Seller Information
This is going to ask you to input your major details. You’ll have to enter your address, pick a display name, and enter in details like Phone Number & language selections.
3. Billing & Deposit
Make sure you set up this section with care because it is how you will get paid by Amazon as well as putting a Credit Card on file for any bills you may have to pay to Amazon.
4. Tax Information
Obviously, this is where you provide your tax information. You want to take great care with this section so you get it right. If you’re not sure about anything seen here, you should probably contact your business or financial advisor.
5. Product Information
This is another important section, where you’ll give details about what products you’re going to sell. If you have UPCs for your products, you’ll need to enter that data in here. You’re also going to be asked about what kind of product you’ll sell and how much volume you’re expecting.
After you’ve made it through these steps, you’ll be taken to the Amazon Seller Dashboard – you’re all ready to go!
However, most business owners probably need to do some research before clicking away from here.
How to Choose What Kind Of Products To Sell on Amazon?
There are a lot of tools that you can help you find what exact products to sell on Amazon, however we’ll get to those a bit later.
For now, let’s take a look at some ideas and thought patterns we can use to figure out what area of product we want to sell – then we’ll get into the individual niches and items from there.
First of all, let’s think about some of the things that are best-sellers on Amazon .
This includes items like:
- Clothing & Shoes
- Toys & Games
- Home & Kitchen
Okay, so that gives us some sense of the best-selling markets on Amazon. That might be a bit vague, so let’s go even farther to think about what we should be selling on Amazon.
One thing you want to research is shipping costs and amazon seller central fees.
This is a huge mistake that sellers make when they’re first getting started. You are going to be going into business with Amazon – which is a company that ships items out to people. You absolutely must think about seller fees and shipping fees.
Be careful as you examine different items and think about what will be in high-demand , especially to be shipped to a customer’s front door.
Even items that can break easy could be cause for concern as you are going to be dealing with a lot of returns from unhappy customers.
Now let’s break down some details about those best-seller categories listed above
Amazon has a sweet spot for most products - $50 and less. Of course, you will see premium products get priced higher and you should sell those if that’s where your expertise allows.
However, consumers are generally price-conscious when shopping on Amazon. They don’t necessarily look for the best brands, but they are definitely looking for a good discount.
As you start to look through Amazon, you’re going to need to conduct research on what products you should sell.
You can do this manually – and you should look through Amazon in the niche that you’re thinking about selling.
Ask yourself some basic questions:
- Would I be interested in buying what I see here?
- What recommendations come up in the “Customers also bought section”?
- Does it look like my product would fit in here in both price and quality?
- What is the marketplace missing out on?
Those questions should start to lead you down a path where you can successfully market your product against the alternatives found on Amazon.
Amazon is HUGE. It’s very rare to be the only person selling a specific item on a marketplace this size, so you need to think about your item and how it relates to competitors.
If the thought of doing tons of research is making you a little nervous; take a nice deep breath. There are tools to help you do this work!
In fact, there are 2 that I like to work with that I’ll go over now:
1. IO Scout
IO Scout is an outstanding tool to use when you’re trying to decide what to sell on Amazon. This tool can really do it all.
The main benefit that you’re going to find from IO Scout is finding products that have bigger margins than other products – while maintaining lower competition.
Being new to Amazon Seller Central, your mindset has to shift and you have to always think of things in these two areas; margins and competition. Sure, there are other factors in play – but IO Scout helps you maximize those two important ones.
As a matter of fact, IO Scout actually offers data that is more accurate than other Amazon tools out on the web.
The product database is where you’ll end up spending the most time. This is where you can analyze and track millions and millions of Amazon products. You’ve got about as much information as you could ever possibly need with sales, prices, and so much more.
IO Scout does cost a monthly or annual fee (starting as low as $14.50 / month), so you will have to pay – except for the fact that they offer a 5-day money back guarantee, so you can see if you like it. Here is an IO Scout discount for you, to save more than 60% on one year subscription!
2. Helium 10
Helium is one of the most high-powered Amazon Seller tools out there. They have really committed to being the only Amazon software that you’ll need to help you make good decisions.
Their Chrome extension is powerful because it lets you browse Amazon and get relevant info right as you click through pages. It saves a lot of time and could be very useful to your business.
Helium also does the same kind of product information search that I’ve talked about up above. As I’ve said, they do a nice job of tying everything you’ll need together.
I really like their Scribbles feature – it helps make sure you haven’t missed any keywords that would be important to your product in your listing.
Navigating the Seller Central Key Dashboard Features
There are a few things you should take note of before we get into what the Seller Central Dashboard is really capable of.
You can change the language at any time on top of the dashboard, as well as find help by using the “Search” feature.
There is also an area where messages will appear from customers if they need replied to. As with most software, this is accompanied by a “Settings” screen which has various general settings for your account. You should also check the amazon seller central app.
This is your base spot for dealing with any of them items that you’re selling.
In the Inventory section, you have links to manage either your own inventory or the FBA inventory that you’re selling. You would also be able to add an individual product or multiple products here as well.
It’s important to stay up-to-date on your inventory so that you can send orders in when necessary to re-stock certain items.
This can also give you a screenshot of your business, because if items are selling constantly – you should be able to see those changes in your inventory area.
The pricing dashboard is a whole separate section inside of Seller Amazon Central.
You’ve got access to Price Alerts & Automate Pricing here. Again, this is an extremely important area of Seller Central because so much of the Amazon game revolves around price.
If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, you know that most people tend to look for the cheapest deals. If you don’t price your items effectively, it’s going to be very hard to compete on the massive Amazon marketplace.
You have two ways to look at Orders on Amazon Seller Central.
The first is a quick and easy view at the Orders you have coming in from Amazon. You will see a break-down of orders that are filled by you as the seller, and those that are to be fulfilled by Amazon.
You really need to click through to the “Orders” menu itself to get a ton of detail, but it’s important that you do so because tracking the activity you have on your account is essential to your success.
The advertising tab is a place that’s scary to some people because of the cost; but is another essential part of your business’ success.
You have access to a Campaign Manager, Lightning Deals, and Promotions. All 3 of these are different and can be difficult to implement at times. However, if you’re going to have success in the long run, you will probably need to utilize these campaigns at some time.
There’s something to be said for keeping a margin that is so healthy that you can afford to run these types of advertisements from time to time. That’s why utilizing those tools we told you early about is important.
If you’re barely scraping by with items that have extremely low margins; you’ll never be able to run extra advertising and it may be hard to grow your business.
This is a great tool that can really help your Amazon business become more profitable.
The Coach gives you ideas about things that you could do better. It will send you pricing alerts and some different ways to sell your product.
You should really be utilizing the Coach every once in awhile just as a “check in” sort of feature. You don’t want to miss an obvious idea that would help your business just because you always ignore Amazon’s help to quickly check your stats.
The Payments Summary is going to show the most recent payment that Amazon sent you. It also shows a Balance so that you know what Amazon has yet to pay you.
Obviously, this is the good stuff – but it pays to keep on top of this because you need to make sure your supply chain is always in good health.
The Sales Summary is basically like the Payments Summary on steroids.
I say that because I find the Sales Summary to be much more helpful when assessing my business. Sure, payments are good because we all need to survive. But the Sales Summary gives a much more exact look at the business’ performance over different time frames.
You can look to see 1, 7, 15, and 30 day summaries quickly. If your business isn’t doing well, it’s probably time for an adjustment in one of the areas we mentioned above.
As we’ve seen over the past year – it’s important to stay up-to-date with the news. Amazon will publish information here that they think is relevant to their sellers. It may not affect you 100% of the time, but you don’t want to be that seller who’s caught off-guard by a policy change or by a global event that will affect your sales or distribution.
Performance is an area that you should definitely keep a close eye on. If you have any messages from buyers, they will appear in this spot.
It’s important to answer those messages quickly because you always want to keep a response rate under 24 hours. If you have to set times for yourself to answer these messages; it would probably be wise to do so.
You can also see your Customer Feedback rating here as well. This is different from Product Reviews that you receive, but they are just as important. Basically, if you are adhering to good business principles and customer service standards; you shouldn’t have any problem here.
Choosing Fulfillment Option
You have 3 options when it comes to fulfillment.
You can use FBA, SFP, or MFN.
SFP is more rare because it’s hard to reach those standards. SFP stands for Seller Fulfilled Prime, and it’s basically a hybrid of the 2 models that I am going to go more in-depth on.
FBA stands for Fulfilled by Amazon.
This is a service that is very popular today because all of the “hard” work is done by Amazon. Everything including fulfillment like picking & packing and shipping is done by the big company. You also receive the “Prime” badge next to your product, even if you’re brand new so you get that potential boost to your sales as well.
There are additional costs due to storing your items at Amazon warehouses. However, to offset that slightly, any Prime members’ shipping costs are going to be paid by Amazon.
Obviously, this has a lot of benefit for people who are looking to be hands-free. Just be aware that you do lose control over your inventory once it’s in Amazon’s hands, and you don’t have the ability to customize or change your product at all once that happens.
MFN stands for Merchant Fulfilled Network.
This is essentially your standard “sell items on Amazon” agreement. You won’t have a Prime badge, only a standard product listing. You’re also in charge of all of the storage and fulfillment, which could be a positive or negative depending on how much time you have on your hands.
If you have a big inventory, you’re obviously responsible for any of the costs to house those items, but the seller pays for all shipping costs.
You’re responsible for just about everything with MFN – so you had better be prepared to take responsibility for your customer’s experience.
Benefits of Using Amazon Seller Central
The benefits of using Amazon Seller Central are out of this world:
- Sell to Amazon’s MASSIVE base of customers
- Can fulfill your own order or use FBA
- Payments come in fast
- Great Analytics
- Unlimited Control
- Big Opportunity
- Easy to Apply and Get Started
Getting an Amazon Seller Central account can be an exciting process. While it seems like there is a lot to manage, with a lot of research and hands-on experience, you can start to manage all of these things like a professional.
The best thing to do is to get some excellent software right away so you have the right tools for the job. Program like IO Scout can be extremely helpful to new sellers.
Make sure you understand all of the stats that Amazon is going to “judge” you on, including Customer Feedback and Response Time.
There is a great opportunity out there right now to use FBA to sell on Amazon with limited shipping and fulfillment “pains”, and for the right people – Amazon Seller Central has been a game-changer.
You’ve got the knowledge you need, now go out and make sure that Amazon Seller Central works for you!