10 Tips on How to Sell on Amazon
Selling on Amazon has provided many people with the power to supplement their income, and some are even making a full-time living. If you’ve wondered what kind of skills this requires, or if you will need some kind of special training, fear not. This article will outline 10 easy-to-follow tips that will get you started and on the road to success in no time!
1. Learn What People Are Buying
If you plan to simply sell used or new items you have around your house, it pays to get an idea of whether or not people will actually buy them. Some items are junk no matter how you slice them, and some might be collector’s items you never even knew about!
If you plan to sell regularly for some extra cash, then you definitely need to know what items will give you the most bang for your buck. Almost always, Good or Like New paperbacks sell quickly, but usually not for more than $3 – $5.
Your decisions will be whether you want to go for bulk selling or selling fewer “big tickets” items for more money. It may be best to start small and work your way up.
2. Think Ahead
Some use Amazon for “play” money or as a hobby. In which case, you are not too attached to when an item sells. But for those who are looking to pay some bills on a regular basis, you will need to give items plenty of time to sell. It is difficult to know for sure when an item will sell, but selling for a little while will give you a good idea.
On average, a popular item can sell within 2-10 days. A non-popular item, or one which has many used items for sale, can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months. Like most business ventures, this is a numbers game. List a good mix of popular and less popular items to build up a steady income.
One of the biggest issues can come from not properly re-investing in more items to sell. When you spend all of your hard-earned money on bills and fun, what will you do when you have no more items to sell and no more money? Make sure that every month you re-invest a percentage of your earnings into items to sell the next month. This will ensure you have a steady amount of cash flow, and can even build on itself faster than you might think!
4. Keep Tight Tabs
You absolutely must keep tight tabs on your inventory, whether it is a physical or virtual one. This becomes difficult if you can’t actually see your inventory, so it’s a good idea to keep records both on and off the Amazon site.
Keep track of when you list a new item, how many of that item you have when it sells, and when it ships. Amazon will help with some automated reports, but it is very helpful for you to do your own books as well. Don’t let sales go without shipping or have an item listed that you sold months ago! This will really tarnish your reputation as a seller.
5. Take Advantage of the Post Office
Well, within the legal limits anyway. The US Postal Service provides many different classes and shipping options to help you cut the costs of shipping your items. Media items such as books, CDs, DVDs, etc. can be shipped for a lower cost, so ask about Media Mail options. If flat rate boxes might be cheaper, use them. But do not assume they are always going to be the best options — weigh your items first to be sure!
Once you become a regular at the Post Office, you will know almost as much as they do the best shipping options. Until then, be sure to ask questions and utilize the cheapest options. Remember that some items are illegal to ship via USPS, so avoid selling those unless you want to find more expensive alternatives.
6. Be Completely Honest About Conditions
Never, ever fib or embellish the condition of an item to sell it. It a book has a tear, lists it. If a dress has a small stain, list it. Make sure you utilize the Amazon categories correctly when listing something as New, Like New, Great, Good, or Acceptable. This will keep your seller rating high and reviews glowing.
If you feel that the “problems” with an items condition will prevent it from selling, list it anyway. People buy items for all sorts of reasons. An amateur fashion designer might want that stained dress so he can tear it up and re-purpose it. An artist might want that torn book to use the pages for a collage. You will need to settle for a lower price, and it may take longer for your item to sell, but it is still a possibility.
7. Get on a Shipping Schedule
Decide on one or two days that you will go to the post office each week and stick to that schedule. It’s a good idea not to offer overnight shipping on most items because that could have you going to the post office every day and possibly even multiple times a day.
Staggering your shipping days so there are no more than 3 days between them will ensure every customer gets their items in a timely manner and everyone is happy. It will also stop those trips from eating into your profits. You won’t need this step as well as step 5 if you go with the fulfillment by Amazon where you allow Amazon to do all of this for you.
8. Go Pro
Even if you are only looking for part-time income, it pays to go pro if you will be selling more than 40 items per month. This will waive the fee Amazon charges each time an item sells, and afford you several other “elite” selling benefits. 40 items are pretty easy to reach, so you will want to get the Pro account within the first month or two of selling.
9. Price Fairly
When pricing your items, you will need to reach a balance of competitive and fair. This will come from a combination of the condition of your item, the average selling price, and the number of items already listed by others (in the same conditions as yours.)
A great example is used books. A book may have 145 used copies, with an average selling price of $2. At first glance this may seem unattractive to most sellers, but a deeper look may reveal that over 100 of those used copies are in “Acceptable” condition. If yours was in Like New or Great condition, then you would only be competing with the others in that condition — and their selling prices might be more like $5 – $7.
10. Provide Excellent Customer Service
One commonly overlooked aspect of selling online is the required customer service. Sadly, this is often the reason that good seller get lousy reviews. It is just enough to sell an item and ship it on time, but a better approach to add some personal touches to a customer’s experience.
Some examples of going “above and beyond” in customer service are:
• Contacting the customer with tracking information once the item is shipped.
• Including a “Thank You” note with the item complete with contact information should they have any problems or questions.
• Including small freebies with the item (this is especially good for customers who repeatedly buy from you.)
Adding these little touches go a very long way to improve a customer’s perception of the transaction, and therefore, of you. Of course, it goes without saying that you should always respond to questions or complaints sent via Amazon very quickly and courteously.
Following these 10 tips probably won’t make you an overnight success, but they will help you build a very strong foundation for selling, and make it much easier to make money!