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How To Sell on Amazon in 2021: Setup, Fees, & Strategy

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If you’re a business selling products in 2021, Amazon is the place to be. It’s no secret that online shopping is becoming increasingly popular all over the world, and having access to such a massive marketplace gives consumers access to a wider variety of products, and by learning the ins and outs of how to sell on Amazon, you can increase your customer base and grow your business. 

With all the features Amazon has to offer, it can be overwhelming to get started. Let us help you learn how to sell on Amazon. Consider this your guide to selling on Amazon in 2021: how it works, what to expect, the setup process, tracking metrics, it’s all here. We’re here to help you every step of the way. 

Table of Contents

Why use Amazon to sell?

In 2019 alone, advertisers spent $6.88 billion in ad spend – a massive jump from $4.47 billion in 2018. This number is expected to keep increasing in 2021, and getting in on it now will only benefit your business in the long run. It’s also important to recognize that more people are buying on Amazon than ever before. In fact, on average, Amazon is making $17 million in sales every single hour. 

Vendor vs. Third Party

There are two different ways to sell on Amazon: selling as a vendor or as a third party seller. Below you will find the pros and cons to each, and it’s important to know the details to make the best choice for your business. 

Amazon Vendors

The Amazon Vendor Central program is invite-only and requires manufacturers to sell their inventory to Amazon. Amazon pays wholesale rates for the products, then once they have ownership, they take care of everything from pricing to shipping. This is a great option if you want to give more of the responsibility over to Amazon. Here are a few of the perks:

  • Amazon takes care of all the logistics
  • It gives more detailed metrics and buying options
  • You can better predict inventory since Amazon purchases it in bulk

Third-Party

Amazon Seller Central is more open for anyone and doesn’t require an invite, unlike the vendor program. When you choose the Amazon Seller Central program, you have more control over the products, pricing, marketing, shopping, and other logistics. It’s definitely more work than the vendor program, but having that control over your selling process comes with benefits as well. Here are a few examples:

  • You’ll be able to sell on Amazon Marketplace, which already has an established brand and reputation
  • You’ll get more unique visitors and gain exposure 
  • People who are browsing Amazon are typically looking to buy, so selling your products on Amazon will increase your sales 

Which is better?

How you choose to sell ultimately depends on what will work better for your business. The bottom line is that the vendor program does eliminate a lot of logistics, but you have more control as a seller. It’s important to know the differences and choose what’s best for you.

Setting up Your Account

Now that you’re ready to become a seller on Amazon, you’ll need to set up your Amazon Seller account. There are two different plans you can choose from, and just like the types of Amazon seller options above, you’ll want to choose what’s best for you.

Choose individual if… 

  • You plan to make less than 40 sales per month
  • You haven’t decided what to sell yet
  • You don’t need access to advanced tools

Chose professional if…

  • You plan to make more than 40 sales per month
  • You know what you’re selling and are more established
  • You want access to more advanced tools
 

Selling fees

If you choose to sell as an individual, Amazon will charge $.99 per sale. For the professional sell option, Amazon will charge $39.99 per month (additional selling fees apply).

If you go with one and decide you want to switch, the process is simple – you can switch at any time.

 
How to Sell On Amazon

Amazon Operations

FBA vs. FBM vs. SFP

When you’re getting ready to sell on Amazon, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with these three acronyms: FBA, FBM, and SFP. These will determine how you operate on Amazon, and knowing about all three will help you decide which is best for you.

FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)

When you choose FBA, Amazon will take care of all of the logistics (packing, shipping, customer service, etc.) and it allows you to sell on Amazon Prime, which is a major plus.

Here are the pros and cons of FBA:

Pros:

  • Reduces business operations
  • Amazon Prime
  • Returns
  • Customer service
  • Branding
  • You can choose which products are FBA

Cons:

  • It can be expensive
  • Fees change based on different variables

FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant)

If you choose FBM, you’re in charge of packing, shipping, customer service, returns, and all the other logistics, and you won’t have the option to sell on Prime. 

Pros:

  • Avoid fees that come with FBA
  • Have control over all logistics

Cons:

  • Abide by all Amazon seller rules (customer service, shipping, etc.)
  • No Amazon Prime

SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime)

SFP is a blend of FBM and FBA. You take on the logistical responsibilities that come with FBM, but you also get to list your products on Prime and avoid the fees associated with FBA. This sounds like the perfect scenario, but qualifying for SFP can be difficult. It’s definitely doable, but it’ll take some time.

If you want to apply for SFP, you’ll go through a trial period with Amazon when you’ll need to fulfill at least 300 orders and complete all of the requirements that Amazon expects from their sellers.

International Selling on Amazon

Selling internationally on Amazon can seem overwhelming at first. You go from being accessible to just one country to opening your product up to the entire world, which comes with more opportunities for growth as well as more risk of shipping delays, products getting lost on their way, or even credit card fraud if you’re not careful. 

Whether or not you decide to sell internationally is completely up to you, but it’s important to weigh all the pros and cons. It might be a great idea for some, and not so great for others – do whatever is best for you. There are different guidelines for selling in different parts of the world, so be sure to do your research before you make a decision. Here’s a great resource if you’re thinking of making the jump. 

Optimization

Amazon is massive – almost anyone can become a seller, so you’ll need to do everything you can to make your products stand out. It can be overwhelming to think about the different aspects of creating the perfect listing, but as long as you remember the basics, you’ll be favored in the Amazon algorithm and find success on the platform.

When you’re creating a listing, the most important aspects are the title, the photo, the description, and the bullet points.

Product Title

What to do vs. what not to do

Do:

  • Capitalize the first letter of every word
  • Use numerals instead of spelling out numbers
  • 200 characters max

Don’t:

  • Use all caps or all lowercase
  • Go over 200 characters
  • List size if it’s not relevant
  • List the color if it doesn’t come in variations

Photo

Choosing a photo for your listing is easy when you follow the right guidelines. When in doubt, keep it as simple as possible.

What to do vs. what not to do

Do:

  • Showcase the product accurately
  • Use a white background
  • Use 500×500 or 1,000×1,000 px to increase quality
  • Be consistent with your images
  • Make sure the photo and product are clear

Don’t:

  • Use graphics or illustrations
  • Include anything that doesn’t come with the product (including watermarks and logos)
  • Show the product in a package
  • Any nudity is prohibited

Product Description

The product description is where you’ll explain what your product is and let the customer know the details. You’ll want to include what it is, how you use it, size specifications, color specifications, and anything other relevant information you think your buyer will want to know. For the best product description, make sure your information is accurate and you’re using correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

There are a few things you should avoid putting in your description as well. Promotions, your business URL, any email addresses or contact info associated with your business, and your name should all be left out.

Amazon also has some product description guidelines, so you’ll want to review them here to avoid having your listing removed.

Bullet Points

When buyers are shopping on Amazon, they’ll often look for information they can gather quickly and easily in order to make a decision on purchasing – this is why your bullet points are so important. They’re easy to skim through and digest, giving your customer an easy way to decide to purchase your product. Here are some helpful tips on writing bullet points:

  • Be as descriptive and specific as possible while staying concise
  • Use fragments instead of sentences, don’t put a period at the end, and always capitalize the first letter
  • Write numbers as numerals and spell out metrics (feet, inches, etc.)

Again, avoid including promotions, business URLs, any email addresses or contact info associated with your business, and your name.

Creatives

One concern that some people have when they’re making the decision to sell on Amazon is that their style and branding will be lost in the midst of Amazon’s style and branding. Brand recognition is so important when you’re building a business, and Amazon knows that –which is why they have plenty of tools and features for you to customize your specific Amazon shop. There are three different features to help you stick to your branding while selling on Amazon:

  1. A+ Content
  2. Enhanced Brand Content
  3. Amazon Stores

A+ Content

Here’s how to to set it up:

  1. Go to Vendor Central and log in
  2. Hover over the “Merchandising” menu
  3. Click “A+ Detail Pages
  4. Choose your package (you can have Amazon build it for you or do it yourself)

Choose your package (you can have Amazon build it for you or do it yourself)

Sellers who use the Amazon brand Registry have access to A+ Content. This allows access to enhanced photos as well as more customizable text placement. Using A+ Content boosts conversion rates and attracts more shoppers, so when it’s used effectively, A+ Content can have a massive positive impact on the brands that use it.

Setting up A+ Content is simple. You will find it in Seller Central under your ‘Advertising’ menu options. There are tons of templates available to choose from, or if you want a more customized look, you can use individual modules to create something different. Here are the EBC modules you can choose from:

  • Sunflower
  • Tulip
  • Rose
  • Orchid
  • Lilly
  • Custom

Amazon Stores

“Amazon Stores” is free for sellers and enables them to customize the look and feel of their page, which helps them keep the same branding on Amazon as they have everywhere else. This is great for marketing purposes as well as brand recognition.

Some people hire Amazon agencies to set up their stores for them. Having access to professional project managers, designers, and Amazon experts can be priceless if you’re not sure where to start setting up your store, and it can lead to more conversions down the road.

Laser Sight Digital has a team of experts ready to help you build a store that will take your brand and products to the next level.

Amazon Advertising

Marketing and advertising are unavoidable when it comes to selling anything online, and it’s no different for Amazon. When used correctly, Amazon ads can add so much value to your brand and increase conversions. There are two different ways to advertise on Amazon: sponsored ads (Amazon PPC) and Demand Side Platform (DSP).

Amazon Sponsored Ads

There are a few different types of Amazon ads you need to know. First, Sponsored Display Ads are available to vendors, sellers in the Brand Registry, vendors, and agencies. This type of ad has the power to retarget someone who has already been shopping, making them more likely to come back and purchase the products they were looking at. Next, Sponsored Products are pay-per-click and are based on keywords. This is the most common type of sponsored ad on Amazon, and it’s essential for growing businesses. Lastly, Sponsored Brands Ads target shoppers at the beginning of their browsing session, getting the product in front of them before they can look at other options.

Demand Side Platform (DSP)

Demand Side Platforms gives sellers the option to purchase ad space on Amazon. Whether you want to create a video or other type of advertisement, this gives you the ability to purchase space and have your ad running on Amazon over a certain period of time. The targeting capability of DSP is very advanced and it’s a great way to get in front of a bigger audience. We typically recommend a brand to have a wholistic Amazon Advertising (Amazon PPC) strategy in place first, before transitioning to an Amazon DSP strategy.

Metrics & Features

Amazon Attribution is a feature that gives you access to all of your metrics and analytics. It tracks where every sale comes from, whether it’s a paid Facebook ad or organic google search. This will be extremely valuable as you build your Amazon store because you’ll be able to track exactly what’s working when it comes to marketing, advertising, and SEO. 

While Amazon Attribution is a great tool to use, there are a few requirements you’ll need to meet as well as an approval process. Here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Work with an Amazon agency (preferred)
  2. Use platforms outside of Amazon for marketing and advertising
  3. Be an Amazon vendor or an Amazon seller brand owner in the United States
 

Brand Registry

With so many sellers on Amazon, there is always a small possibility that you could run into counterfeit issues or fraud. Third-party sellers could try to infringe on your brand, and the Amazon Brand Registry will help you avoid these issues. There are 350,000 brands that have this protection on Amazon, and it also comes with a variety of other features that will benefit you as a seller.

In order to sign up, you’ll need to meet a few qualifications:

  1. A registered trademark
  2. Verification that you own the trademark
  3. An Amazon account

Next, you’ll log in to the Amazon Brand Registry (you can just use your seller Amazon login credentials) and enroll your brand. As long as you meet all of the qualifications, you’ll be able to enroll and enjoy the benefits that come with the Brand Registry! As of right now, there are no extra fees to be enrolled.

 

Becoming an Amazon Expert

There are so many possibilities and growth opportunities when it comes to Amazon, so getting started selling there now will only expedite your success. As you start selling on Amazon and keep learning new things, keep in mind that the most important thing you can do is to keep your customers happy.

 

Is it worth it?

Selling on Amazon takes a lot of research, hard work, and dedication. But once you get up and running, it can be a game-changer for your business and bring levels of success you haven’t reached before. It’s always important to do your research and determine what’s best for you, but at the end of the day, Amazon is one of the biggest eCommerce businesses in the world and it continues to grow every day.

To make selling on Amazon worth it, you’ll want to know the platform inside out and keep your customers as happy as possible. A happy Amazon customer will leave positive reviews, and more importantly, keep coming back. Plan out strategies on how to be the best seller you can be – fulfill orders on time, make quality products, and respond to customer inquiries quickly. As you do this, your business will experience massive growth and you’ll start to see your efforts pay off!

 
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