How to Sell on Amazon and Make a Six-Figure Income – Amazon Seller Review
How to Sell on Amazon Prime
Have you ever considered selling products online? Well, there’s really no better platform than Amazon. Why? According to Forbes, there are 90 million paying Amazon Prime subscribers in the United States today. Does that convince you? Today, I’m going to share with you How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners from an Amazon pro.
I was intrigued about selling products on Amazon when I read how Saira Perl sold $45,000 worth of products on Amazon in UNDER a year when she was a pregnant stay at home mom. As I dug a little deeper I found that her success was attributed to a course she took from an Amazon seller making a six-figure income.
She graciously accepted and did not hold back thankfully as I think this is one of the best small business ideas.
I’m certain you will enjoy this interview and learn what tools you’ll need to start selling on Amazon successfully.
So let’s get right into it…
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started selling on Amazon?
I’ve wanted to be an entrepreneur since I was in my early twenties. I dabbled with blogging, eBay, and couponing while working a full-time job, but wasn’t sure how (or when) I’d take the big leap to own my own business.
But as it often happens, the decision to become a full-time entrepreneur was made for me when I was laid off in 2008. I had been selling part-time on eBay and knew that this was my chance to pursue online selling full-time.
With the money from my final paycheck, I headed out to yard sales to buy inventory. In just a few months, I had replaced my old $1,500/month income!
Of course, making $1,500 a month on eBay was just the beginning of this journey. My big dream was to bring my husband Cliff home from a job that he hated. But scaling my eBay business enough to support both of us was difficult. With eBay, I had to handle every aspect of the business on my own. All those trips to the post office and packing up individual orders were really time-consuming! To make more money on eBay, I would have had to work way more hours.
It was around that time that I first heard about Amazon’s FBA program for third-party sellers, and I could tell that it would be much easier to scale. I knew I had to at least give it a shot and within about a year of selling with Amazon FBA, I had replaced Cliff’s income. Plus, I was able to do it just by working nights and weekends when Cliff was home from work to watch our son.
In fact, it’s now been over 7 years since I helped Cliff “retire” from his job and we officially became “The Selling Family”!
2. How does the Amazon FBA program work?
Basically, we find our own products to sell, but instead of selling them on our own website, we host our “store” on Amazon.com. Obviously, Amazon already has millions of customers and if we had our own website, we’d have to find all the traffic! As an FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) seller, we’re in charge of finding inventory and shipping it to an Amazon warehouse (they have them all over the country).
Now here is where the beauty of Amazon FBA kicks in: once our inventory arrives at Amazon, they handle everything else. When a customer buys one of our items, Amazon employees pack it, ship it to the customer, and even handle customer complaints and returns.
This is why I had so much more success scaling our FBA business than I had with eBay. I could wait until I had 40-50 items and then send them off to Amazon all at once. After that, I just wait for the items to sell!
There’s one other big benefit of being an Amazon FBA seller. When you ship your items using the FBA program, your inventory becomes Prime-eligible. Since basically everyone these days counts on that free 2-day shipping, my Prime-eligible items are a lot more appealing than another seller’s regular items (which might not arrive for 5 to 7 days).
What’s funny about Amazon is that a lot of buyers don’t even know that there are third-party sellers on the site. It’s not like eBay where everybody knows that they’re buying from an individual seller. By being an FBA seller, the customer has the same great experience as when they buy directly from Amazon.
It’s a lot to explain, so if you want to know more about the ins and outs of the FBA program, you can read my blog post about How to Sell on Amazon FBA.
3. How do you sell on Amazon successfully?
My primary source of inventory is from local retail stores. For online sellers, this method is known as Retail Arbitrage, and it’s the method I recommend for new Amazon sellers.
Armed with a smartphone app that shows me lots of data about what’s selling well on Amazon (and for how much!), I can head to a retail store and start looking for inventory.
That means I can walk up and down the clearance aisles at stores like Walmart, Walgreens, and Target and find products that I can buy for a cheap price in person and then resell for a higher amount online. People buy everything on Amazon, so the possibilities are endless!
I love that this is something that Cliff and I can do together. And then when we bring the inventory home from the stores, our son can help us prepare the items for shipment to Amazon.
We also do some sourcing for inventory online. This is called Online Arbitrage and the basic principles are the same as Retail Arbitrage. I look for items on retail websites that I could resell for a higher price on Amazon. Back in the day, this was a really tedious process, but now there are a lot of great software and tools that basically automate this part!
We have our online inventory shipped to our doorstep, take it out of the boxes, give it a little prep, and then ship it right back to Amazon (often in the same box it arrived in!).
But at the end of the day, sourcing for inventory locally is my favorite because the potential for profit is so much higher.
4. What do you sell on Amazon FBA and How do you manage pricing?
Well, as I already hinted at, people buy all kinds of things on Amazon! That means that I can sell just about anything!
Sometimes seasonality affects what we sell. Around the holidays, we sell a lot of toys, home decor items, and specialty flavored teas and cookies. At Halloween, we load up on costumes and candy.
But the sweet spot is finding items that people need to buy all year long. So never overlook those “boring” items like toothpaste, cleaning supplies, and other household goods.
To maximize our profit, we focus on clearance aisles for most of the year. If I can find something marked down 75% in my local drugstore, then selling it for a profit on Amazon is a lot easier than if I pay full price.
And to make it even better, sometimes clearance items have been discontinued by the manufacturer. People pay a lot for that last bottle of their favorite sunscreen!
Of course, you do have to price within reason. The Amazon market sort of dictates the pricing. As a seller, you always want your price to be competitive (within a few cents) of the other FBA sellers’ offers. I usually just take one morning a week to go through my inventory on Amazon and make sure that my pricing is competitive.
5. How much do you make with the Amazon FBA program?
After our first year as full-time sellers, we were making over $100,000 in profit. We did that by reinvesting our initial profit into the purchase of more inventory.
These days, we have more diverse income streams and we spend more and more time focusing on blogging, our Facebook communities, and on our courses.
Even though our Amazon store is part-time now, we still have over $5,000 in sales each month.
6. How do you manage your time with a family?
We currently have one big sourcing day per week and then we ship our inventory to Amazon once per week as well. Of course, during the busy Amazon season (November and December), we are spending a little more time in the stores. Sometimes we make almost half of our yearly Amazon revenue in the last two months of the year if we do enough shopping!
We do have someone who helps us with the shipments so that we don’t have to spend too much of our time on that. It takes time to put the shipments together and I really prefer to focus on the shopping. The profit is made by buying the right inventory, so that is where my time should be spent.
This leaves plenty of time for the blog and for homeschooling our son which we do in the mornings. And the Amazon business is often a family affair where we can all go shopping or prepare the inventory together.
7. Any cons to working with Amazon?
As you can imagine, having Amazon pack and ship your items does come at a cost. The fees that they take for fulfillment and storage are pretty steep.
But really the traffic on Amazon and access to their Prime buyers make the fees more than worth it. Sure, I could keep more profit if I had my own e-commerce store, but I would have to work hard (and pay for advertising) to get customers!
You also have to be flexible and willing to roll with the punches as an Amazon seller. I’ve been selling there for 8 years now so I’ve seen so many rules changes come and go. As long as you are willing to adapt, then these unexpected changes shouldn’t hurt your business. Of course, I tell my students that there’s no such thing as “unexpected” changes on Amazon – things change all the time!
8. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start an Amazon FBA business?
Amazon FBA is a great business for moms. It’s really flexible so you can do it if you work another job or if you’re a stay-at-home mom who can only work a few hours during nap time.
Of course, just because it’s easy to get started, doesn’t mean it’s not a real business! I think a lot of people see online selling as a hobby, but it’s best to treat Amazon FBA as a business. It’s also not a get rich quick thing. I recommend that sellers reinvest all of their profit back into the business for at least the first three months. That’s what allows your business to grow.
The good news is that you can get started with a small initial investment, especially if you use the Retail Arbitrage sourcing method. If you already have a printer and a smartphone, then you don’t need that many supplies either! I think Amazon FBA is ideal for someone with about $1,000 for their initial investment of inventory, supplies, and training costs.
Of course, paid training is optional, but I know that when we started we wish there had been a course that we could take! That’s why we created our Amazon Boot Camp course. It’s a step-by-step video course that walks you through the Amazon FBA sourcing, shipping, and selling process. In the end, taking a course will save you a lot of time vs having to search the internet for answers or learning by trial and error.
If you’re interested, I’d say go ahead and give Amazon FBA a shot! You can start really small to test the waters and see if it’s a good fit for you. I know so many moms who have taken FBA from a side hustle to pay for family vacations to a full-time income for their whole family. You can use it to make $500 a month or $10,000 (and beyond!).
A great place to start is with our free 7-day email course that will help you start selling on Amazon.
Thank you so much Jessica for sharing such great information with us. If you want to see if this is right for you, I recommend taking her free 7-day email course.
I love talking to people who have found success in different areas. If you like hearing success stories and different ways to make money be sure to subscribe to our mailing list and stay in the know.
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