Amazon Seller / 6 MIN READ

How Long Does it Take to Start Selling on Amazon?

More than just the world’s largest online marketplace, Amazon also presents a world of opportunity for those looking to build their own business. Becoming an Amazon business seller can be a lucrative endeavor, if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to learn how to start selling on Amazon. The trade-off that comes with increased opportunity is that the competition is even fiercer. So you’ll have to work extra hard to set yourself apart from other sellers. That can take a while.

Of course, whenever you start a new business, patience is an essential ingredient in creating a long-term success. Though having an Amazon store may seem like an easy way to establish a loyal customer base, there’s a lot you need to consider before you begin to hit your stride. From selling on Amazon fees to how to find products to sell on Amazon, you’ll have to be strategic with your store’s launch.

Drawing out short-term and long-term goals can help you time everything just right. But in order to do that, you’ll need to have a better idea of what to expect upfront. Perhaps you’re thinking of becoming an Amazon seller but aren’t sure how to get started. How long it takes to get approved by Amazon, let alone turn a profit, depends on a variety of factors, including the products you’re selling.

But what goes into the setup process? What kind of onboarding can you expect? Here is what you need to know to build your own successful Amazon business.

Becoming an Amazon Business Seller

Step 1

The road to becoming a world-class Amazon business seller begins like every other journey: with a single step. In this case, you need to check a few things off your to-do list before you even register, starting with deciding what kind of products you plan to sell. Amazon allows you to choose from more than 20 different categories.

Step 2

Once you know what your focus will be, you need to select a selling plan. You can choose from a Professional or Individual plan. The Professional plan allows sellers to sell an unlimited number of products for a fixed monthly subscription fee of just $39.99. Meanwhile, the Individual plan does not require a monthly fee but charges $0.99 for every item you sell. These are in addition to other Amazon seller fees, of course. But, if you’re planning on building a business on Amazon, the Professional plan is easily the one you want.

Step 3

Once you apply, then you might have to wait for a while to get approved. This process usually takes anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. So be patient. After you do receive Amazon’s green light, you’ll be able to create your account on Seller Central. From here, you’ll manage your account and customize your interface as you see fit.

Step 4

Following the registration process, you’ll want to begin listing products to the Amazon Marketplace. As a Professional seller, you’ll be able to use bulk tools to add many products in one fell swoop. When you add products to your store, you can list both products already on Amazon or those not yet present on the site.

For existing products, you’ll need to add information such as your quantity, the products’ condition and how buyers can have it shipped. When adding new products to Amazon, you start by determining the UPC, EAN or SKU code for each product. Then you can list more specific details like the product name and description.

Step 5

Now it’s time to begin selling! Whenever a customer places an order, Amazon will notify you. You can either handle fulfillment yourself or allow Amazon to do it for you. For every item you sell, your regularly scheduled payments will be deposited automatically into whichever bank account you choose. When this happens, you’ll be notified via email so that you never miss news of your latest payment.

Products You Can Sell on Amazon

As we mentioned earlier, you can sell a wide variety of items in your Amazon store. More than 20 categories are available to all sellers, and Professionals have access to even more. For these, you’ll need specific permissions from Amazon to list products. The reason for this is so Amazon can maintain certain standards of quality. Remember, the customer experience is ultimately the most important thing to Amazon, as it should be for you.

The vast majority of product categories are open for anyone to sell their products. There is no permissions process necessary, though some product types require specific guidelines before you can add new items to your store. Be sure to check whether the product categories you are interested in include any such requirements. If not addressed in a timely manner, these could hold up your store’s profitability even moreso.

For more detail on which product categories require approval, you can always visit Seller Central for details.

The Wide World of Amazon Seller Fees

We offhandedly mentioned that all sellers are required to cover certain built-in selling fees. Before you get too excited about all the profits you’re going to make selling your products, it’s time for a reality check.

Selling on Amazon can be lucrative, yes, but also requires some investment to get started. Let’s break down the various types of selling fees you’ll encounter.

Per-item Fees

This one we covered a bit already. Here’s how it breaks down. Professional Sellers incur no per-item fees, thanks to their monthly subscription rate. Individuals, however, must cover $0.99 fee for every item you sell in your store. Per-item rates may also include shipping, gift wrap or other charges the buyer has paid, though standard shipping rates only apply to Professional sellers for media products.

Referral Fees and Variable Closing Fees

All sellers must pay a referral fee on every item that is sold. Some product categories require a per-item minimum referral fee, but sellers are only responsible for either the standard referral fee or its per-item minimum (whichever is greater). On media items, all sellers must also cover a variable closing fee. In some regards, Professional sellers can get away with fewer fees, but variable closing fees are not such an exception.

Fulfillment Fees

How much you pay here will depend on what kind of fulfillment you select: Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) or Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). If you opt for FBM, you’ll be responsible for the shipping rates described above. These are based on both the product type and the shipping type your buyer has selected. FBA Amazon sellers, however, will incur the additional cost involved in the fulfillment process. So you’ll pay for order fulfillment, storage and any other optional services you select. FBM sellers maintain full control of their products, but many Amazon sellers find that FBA is worth the added cost, as it streamlines their operation significantly.

Start Selling on Amazon

In addition to presenting you with the opportunity to create and foster your own business, selling on Amazon offers a ton of benefits. Now more than ever, the site relies on small business owners like you. Third-party sellers account for over half of Amazon's total unit sales, making the site a bonafide hotbed of potential customers for your upcoming store.

You’ll be able to reach buyers throughout North America and retain control over what products you sell and where you sell them. In fact, with an Amazon seller account, you can manage your and customize your account with ease. With Fulfillment by Amazon, you can take much of the workload off your own shoulders and maintain a level of quality service that will only help your store grow. Then, with Amazon Marketplace Web Service, you can handle bulk listing and generate critical reports that can uncover how you can push your Amazon store even further.

So what are you waiting for? Although the process sounds intimidating, you can actually accomplish quite a bit within your store when you get moving on it. Hopefully, the above discussion has helped clear up any doubts or misconceptions you may have had. There’s a whole internet’s worth of consumers looking for a product just like yours.

You can’t hope to build your Amazon store if you don’t first get everything in place. Start now; don’t wait for the perfect moment to get your new business off the ground. It may never come.

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Originally published Nov 14, 2019 11:38:21 AM / Updated April 3, 2020