So far we have discussed ways to earn extra income from home with the Amazon associate program. In other words, provided you have a website, you can join one of the many Amazon geo-sites, register as their affiliate (or associate, as Amazon likes to call you) and then promote any of Amazon merchandise on your website, provided it fits and goes alongside your website niche, or subject so to speak. Amazon will give you a small percentage of their profit on the product sold (and it is very small, generally no more than 6-7%) whilst the customer will not get charged any more. It’s the good old principle of affiliate marketing.
But is there a way to make money selling with Amazon, just as you would do on eBay? And how to sell stuff online with Amazon?
Selling on Amazon as a professional
Amazon offers you two main schemes, depending on whether you are a professional in the art of selling merchandise, or if you sell items only every so often as an individual
If you sell as a professional, Amazon offer the Fulfilment By Amazon scheme (or FBA) which makes your job much easier. What they propose is that, for a fee, you send them your merchandise, and they will take care of the rest. Amazon will store the item, pack it and deliver it for you, hence reducing you the hassle of all the logistics part of the business. It couldn’t be easier!
- Advantages: The advantage of this scheme is that not only Amazon handles the logistics of it all, but ensures that the items is sold at a profit for you by pricing the item. And, should a dispute rise with the customer, Amazon will handle that as well. Under this scheme you can sell absolutely any merchandise that Amazon usually advertises on its website, but the stock you propose and then send to Amazon can include items of different nature.
- Disadvantages: As you can see, unlike eBay, with Amazon the element of risk given by the auction format is removed, as Amazon will ensure that the item is sold at a profit for you. However, and on the negative side, Amazon does not do all this for free. Currently on Amazon.co.uk you are charged some £30 per month with the plan to sell at least 35 items per month, plus referral fees which varies depending on which category your merchandise fulfils. For this fee, however, you can promote your merchandise on as many as the five European countries Amazon has websites on.
How does it work
No matter which geo-site you work from, Amazon is very good at guiding you through the motions step by step.
All you have to do is click on the Sell tab on Amazon header to be guided to the next steps, which include:
- Registering your details as a seller – this will create a separate selling account
- Specifying whether you are a business or acting as an individual
- Uploading your listings, and select Fulfilment By Amazon to let Amazon pick, pack and ship your products to the customer.
The next thing you will know is that the customer will see your merchandise listed on Amazon pages, will proceed to the purchase and Amazon will pay you the net figure after deducting Seller fees. It couldn’t be easier.
Selling on Amazon as an individual
This is arguably a much easier option for those of us that do not sell regularly, nor do they keep a wealthy stock of merchandise. The process is much similar to the one of listing item under the Pro Selling Plan, but the difference is that Amazon does not charge a monthly fee.
The main features of this program are the followings:
- Registration is free of charge – you do not have to pay the monthly fee
- You can avail of FBA or decide to handle the logistics – this means that Amazon will take care of the storage, packing and delivery, or you can do it all by yourself, but you will also handle customer services, should a query be raised by the purchaser
- Amazon charges only once the item is sold.
As individual sellers, what we must be careful of is the actual fees. Amazon will only charge some £0.75p per item, but it also deducts the referral fee like with the Pro Plan, depending on which category the item you have just sold falls into. In addition, Amazon also charges a variable closing fee, which again fluctuates depending on category and country of destination.
Amazon gives an example of fees you may be charged when selling using the Individual Plan, which I am showing below:
Who can take part
Like with eBay, absolutely anybody wanting to sell some items, or a stock of merchandise, can take part. You do not need to be a regular customer of Amazon purchasing its items regularly. Nor do you need to be an Amazon associate and promote items on your own website.
So long as the items you are selling can be listed under one of the many available categories Amazon makes available, you can sell new or second-hand merchandise across as many as 5 European countries, i.e. UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.
What’s the difference with eBay
The most shouting feature here is that, unlike with eBay, the risk by selling on Amazon is reduced as you are not at the mercy of a winning bid through the online auction system. It appears that the whole selling process is more controlled, as the item will be sold for a profit.
However, prices and fees are higher than on eBay. So yes, Amazon will assist you with the logistics, the storage and the customer services side of things, but at a price. And if you do not pay the monthly fee, then the perks are not applicable.
Also, it is to be noticed that with the Individual Selling Plan you may not have to pay the monthly fee, but you still seem to be charged the additional referral and variable fees.
On a positive, unlike with most affiliate marketing programs, and with Amazon associate program, where you have to reach a threshold before receiving payment, both Amazon and eBay will ‘pay as you go’, or rather transfer your payment into your bank account as soon as the item has been sold.
Finally, there is the reputation of the two websites to consider. With Amazon, your items will be listed in up to 5 European countries, as per your listing instructions. However with eBay you are bound to reach a wider marketing platform, as my understanding is that your listings reach a worldwide potential customer base. This may mean that you will possibly sell your items more quickly, albeit at a lower price.
I must admit, I have not yet venture in using Amazon for selling items yet – for purchase, oh yes, aplenty, but not yet for selling. But that, I suppose, is possibly due to the fact that I do not sell large amounts of stock altogether, and for this type of infrequent selling, I think eBay may be more user-friendly, once you’ve got used to it.
When wanting to embrace this avenue as a source of income whilst working from home, you need to weigh up pros and cons on both websites.
For both selling methods, you do not need to have your own website, but you certainly need to have access to a computer and to wi-fi connection. Also, and like with all selling enterprises, you need to have storage available and regular intake of stock.
This said, I still believe in the validity of Amazon selling marketplace as a good way to make money working from home. I do believe however that Amazon is more suited if you have a larger stock of merchandise to sell. For professional sellers, it will be worth paying the monthly fee, to the benefit of having Amazon taking care of the handling of the sale.
Ultimately the choice is yours and it very much depends on what experience you are looking for from selling online. Nothing or nobody in fact will prevent you from being able to use both platforms to sell different items. The more platforms you use, the bigger exposure you gain in proposing your merchandise to buyers worldwide.
The one thing I would recommend, should you decide to use both Amazon and eBay at the same time, is that you refrain from advertising the same item on both sites at the same time – that is, unless you have multiple stock!!
Are you already using Amazon to sell your items, or have you ever done so? I would like to hear from you, to find out whether you have had a successful experience, and whether you consider Amazon a viable solution to earn a realistic income. Share your experience with us, feel free to leave your comment below!