How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners — The Ultimate Guide

April 13th, 2017

The question of “how to start selling on Amazon” is one that I get asked often.  I have written many posts about how to sell on Amazon successfully, but never a comprehensive guide to selling on Amazon made especially for beginners.  This post will start at step one and let you know what it takes to make money selling on Amazon.

My goal with this post is to show you the full process of what it takes to sell on Amazon.  After reading this post I believe you will have enough information to decide if selling on Amazon is something that you wish to pursue.

Before we get into the details I will give you a quick introduction of my experience selling on Amazon.

I have been selling on Amazon since 2008 when I was a freshman in college.  In September of 2013 I quit my full time job as an accountant to pursue making a full time income selling on Amazon, and have been running my own business ever since.  During this time I have learned many things that have helped my business succeed.  In both 2015 and 2016 my business did well over $1 Million dollars in sales each year on Amazon alone.  It’s been a ton of fun, and it’s exciting to see sales continue to grow.

I didn’t start selling on Amazon at this level. My goal with sharing that is to give you an idea of the potential.  In October of 2013, my first month selling on Amazon full-time, I did about $3,000 in sales.  You can read the full results post for that month HERE, but my point is to show that you can start selling on Amazon at a small scale. If you read through some of the monthly financial results posts after that you can see the progression of my business.

With that brief intro, let’s get into what it takes to sell on Amazon.

Selling on Amazon for Beginners: An Overview

I will first provide an overview of how selling on Amazon works.  Amazon is the largest online retailer in the world, and you can have products you sell listed for sale on Amazon.  In return for some fees that you pay to Amazon, your items can be displayed to millions of customers.  We will get into what products to sell later in this post.  For now, let’s take a look at what it looks like when you have an item for sale that you are selling on Amazon.  Note: Click on the image to enlarge for a better view.

There are a few noteworthy items in this screenshot:

  1. The arrow and underlined name in the center of the screenshot is a “3rd Party Seller” on Amazon.  (Note: if you start selling on Amazon, you will also be classified as a 3rd party seller.)  They are in what is known as the “Buy Box.”  What this means is that when a buyer clicks the “add to cart” button” it will be this sellers item that is added to the cart to purchase.  In this case the seller in the Buy Box is ROLANDA.
  2. The seller that is in the buy box has their listing “Fulfilled by Amazon.”  This means that Amazon will handle shipping this item to the customer.  We’ll get into more details on what Fulfillment by Amazon means shortly.
  3. On the right hand side of the screen you can see that there is a section with “Other Sellers on Amazon.”  This section also displays 3rd party sellers on Amazon, however these sellers aren’t in the “buy box.”
  4. You might notice that “Amazon.com” is not listed as a seller in either the buy box or the other sellers sections.  On many products you will see Amazon.com listed as a seller of the product you are looking at.  Generally speaking, 3rd party sellers see better sales on their products when Amazon.com is not a seller on the same item.

When you sell on Amazon your item will be displayed in either the buy box or in the other sellers section of the Amazon product detail page.  Generally there are only 3 different sellers shown in the other sellers section on the main product detail page.  If there are more than 3 other sellers, which is very common, then the buyer will have to click to view all of the available offers to see every seller who is on the listing.  It’s also important to note that all sellers for the same item display on the same page. If you’ve sold on eBay in the past, then this will be a  bit of a change.  When selling on Amazon, you are able to add your product offering on the same product detail page as other sellers.  In the case of the Catan game above, there are 81 total seller that have this item for sale at the time of the screenshot.  The buy box seller and the other sellers section are the only sellers who are featured at the current time.  Getting the buy box is a key part of seeing success on Amazon.  The exact algorithm is not known, but 3 of the top factors you can control are: your price, your feedback rating, and your fulfillment method.

The fulfillment method is very important to maximizing your results on Amazon.  Using Fulfillment by Amazon as your fulfillment method will be one of the best things you can do to generate sales when selling on Amazon.

How to Sell on Amazon FBA

Fulfillment by AmazonI just mentioned that Fulfillment by Amazon will most likely be the best option for you to fulfill your products, so let’s walk through how selling on Amazon FBA works.

  1. Find a product that you want to sell on Amazon.
  2. List the product for sale on Amazon.  At the time you are listing the item you will set the selling price of your item.  We’ll get into more details on this later in the post.
  3. Prepare the item to be shipped to a Fulfillment by Amazon warehouse.
  4. Box up your items and ship them to the warehouse location that Amazon assigns.  Note: you will be able to box up many different items together.  Your only responsibility is to get the items safely to Amazon’s warehouse.  You don’t have to worry about packaging things up in a manner that will go directly to the end customer.  So if you have 20 copies of a board game you want to sell, you can ship all 20 in the same box to Amazon as long as Amazon has assigned all 20 to go to the same warehouse.

At this point your work is just about done with the product.  Here are the steps that Amazon will take once the items arrive at their warehouses:

  1. Verify that you have sent the correct items in the proper condition.
  2. Upon verifying the items are correct, Amazon will activate your listings.  This means that your seller name will appear on the applicable product detail page, and your item will be available for sale.
  3. Amazon will store the item in their warehouses until a customer orders it.
  4. When a customer orders the item, an Amazon team member will ship the item to the customer.
  5. Once the item has shipped, Amazon will deposit your share of the sale into your seller account.  Your share is the selling price less Amazon’s fees.  You will receive an email from Amazon every time they ship an order for you.
  6. Every 2 weeks you will receive a deposit to your bank account for items that have sold for the prior 2 weeks.

Essentially, you are responsible for finding items to sell and getting them to Amazon.  After that, Amazon takes care of the rest of the process.

Still feeling lost when it comes to selling on Amazon? You can learn everything you need to know in my self-paced course, Make Your First $1,000 Selling on Amazon. From setting up your seller account to finding profitable inventory to getting the right legal protection — it’s all here. Learn more now.

What Are the Benefits of Using the Fulfillment by Amazon Program? 

There are a few key benefits to selling on Amazon using the Fulfillment by Amazon program.

The biggest one that impacts Fulfillment by Amazon sellers is the free shipping benefits offered to customers: Fulfillment by Amazon - Prime Shipping Benefits The screenshot above takes a look at some of the benefits that shoppers on Amazon have who are a part of the Amazon Prime program.  Amazon is rolling out some additional benefits and now offers, free one day, same day, and 2 hour delivery on certain items in select cities.

When you sell on Amazon using the Fulfillment by Amazon program, your items are available for all of these prime shipping benefits.  That means customers can get Free 2 day shipping on the items that you sell.  The fast shipping times are very appealing for customers, and makes them more likely to purchase an item from you versus a seller whose item is not available for prime shipping.

In addition to the fast shipping, customers also know that items that are shipped via Prime will have the same return policy as items that are sold by Amazon.com themselves.  What this means is that customers can be extremely confident that their items will arrive exactly as described and when expected.  In the unlikely even that their expectations are not met, then they know that Amazon’s customer service will get the issue resolved for them.

The extreme confidence that customers have in the program are 2 major benefits that will help your items to sell faster.  The other key benefit that I will mention is that Amazon does most of the heavy lifting when you use the Fulfillment by Amazon program when selling on Amazon.  You are able to ship items to Amazon in bulk, and they handle getting the items to the individual customers.

What Is the Other Option Besides Selling with Fulfillment by Amazon? 

I mentioned above that there was another option when selling on Amazon that does not require you to use Fulfillment by Amazon.  The other option is to “merchant fulfill” the items you sell on Amazon.  This means that you will keep the items you have for sale at your location and when an order comes in you will ship the item directly to the customer.  There are times when this can make sense, but 99% of the time using Fulfillment by Amazon will be a better option.

Just know that “merchant fulfilling” is an option, but for the remainder of this post, we’ll focus on selling on Amazon using the Fulfillment by Amazon program.

Now that we have an overview of how the process works, we’ll get into the details of how to setup your seller account, how to know how much you will get paid for items that sell, how to find items to sell, how to price your items, how to get your items to Amazon FBA warehouses, and what you can expect once you have items for sale on Amazon.

How Do I Start Selling on Amazon? Step by Step

The first step in how to sell on Amazon is setting up your Amazon seller account.  You can do this by going to sellercentral.amazon.com and clicking the register now button as shown in this screenshot:

After clicking the “register now” link you will go through the process of setting up your Amazon account.  Setting up your account should only take a few minutes, and then you will be able to sell products on Amazon.

How to Calculate Amazon Profit: Using the Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator

If you’ve setup a seller account at this point, the first thing that I would recommend is to download the Amazon Seller App.  This is a free app that is available directly through Amazon that will give you details on the selling price, the fees, among a few other details, of any product that is available on their website.  This app will allow you to use the camera on your cell phone to scan the barcode of any product, and will then show you the pricing and fee information for any item that you are considering selling on Amazon.

If you haven’t yet setup a seller account, then there’s another option that doesn’t require a seller account.  You can view the Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator and get the fee details on any item.  Here’s a look at an example product: Selling on Amazon - FBA Profit Calculator

If you go to the Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue calculator, you will be able to search for any item that you are considering selling on Amazon.  You will then enter the price (red arrow), how much it will cost you to ship to Amazon (black arrow), and how much the product costs you (green arrow).  The calculator will display exactly how much you will be charged in fees, and most importantly at the bottom will display exactly how much profit you can expect to make on that item.

I recommend running every single item you sell on Amazon through this calculator or a different tool that serves the same purpose.  With calculators like this available, you should know exactly how much you can expect to profit on every item that you are selling on Amazon.

Now that we have a tool that shows us how the fee structure works when selling on Amazon, we need some items to sell.

Deciding What to Sell on Amazon

The first potential way to find some initial items to sell is by seeing what you have around your home.  A couple of the most common items that might make sense are books or any gifts that you have received and never opened.

The second option is to buy items that are available at low prices at a local retail store.  Generally these items will be on sale or clearance.  The idea is to find items that are selling for less in the retail store than they are selling for on Amazon.  This practice of buying items at low prices in retail stores and then selling them on Amazon is known as retail arbitrage.  Retail arbitrage is one of the best ways to get started selling on Amazon, as the initial investment is low, and it allows you to learn the process.  The experience gained through retail arbitrage can provide extensive knowledge about how selling on Amazon works, which can be applied to other inventory sourcing methods in the future.

I will go over a quick overview of how I’d recommend getting started with retail arbitrage.  To go through this, you will want to setup a seller account so that you can have access to the Amazon Seller App.  This will provide you with the information that you need to see if an item is worth buying to resell.

After you have the app installed, go to a local big box store in your area.  Wal-mart, Target, Home Depot, Toys R Us, Kmart, Walgreens, or any similar store will work.  Once you are in a store, look for a clearance section or aisle similar to this: Walmart Clearance Section - Getting started with Retail Arbitrage

This example shows a Walmart clearance aisle.  Once you are in this aisle you want to open the Amazon Seller App, and use your phone’s camera to scan the barcode of the products in the clearance aisle.

After scanning a product, you should see a screen like this:

Amazon Seller App - 1st Screen

On this screen you want to check for 2 things.  The first is to make sure you are eligible to sell the product on Amazon under the selling eligibility section.  The second is the sales rank shown in the top left hand corner.  On this particular item we can see that the sales rank is 60 in the toys category, which is an exceptionally good rank.  The sales rank is a piece of information that Amazon provides that gives us an idea of how fast an item is currently selling on Amazon.  A full discussion of sales rank is beyond the scope of this post, but it’s important to know the lower the number the better.  For your first few trips, I’d recommend looking for sales ranks that are lower than 250,000.  As you gain more experience you can definitely tweak this, but ranks under this range are a good starting point.

If the app shows that you are eligible to sell the item, and the rank is less than your threshold, then you want to check and see if the item will provide a desirable return on investment.

To do that, click on the arrow on the far right of the app in the “gross proceeds” section.  Once you do that you will see a screen like this: Amazon Seller App - Fee Details

You will be able to enter the selling price, your cost per pound to ship to Amazon (I use $0.50/lb), and how much you can purchase the item for.  In this example, I’m showing that I can buy this item for $10.

At this stage there are 2 quick checks that you want to go through.  The first is to see if the net profit number shown at the bottom is higher than your minimum profit threshold.  Typically I recommend setting this at around $3 per unit.  This means that you won’t buy any items that you will make less than $3 in profit on.  Having a potential net profit of less than $3 per unit does not allow for very much upside and small drop in price can wipe out your profit.

If the item meets your minimum profit threshold, then you will want to calculate a return on investment percentage.  You can do this by dividing the net profit by the cost of the item.  In this case it’s $7.13 divided by $10, so the return on investment percentage is 71.3%.  When you are first getting started selling on Amazon, I recommend looking for items with a return on investment percentage that is higher than 50%.

So this particular item meets all of the criteria for purchasing the item, and should be purchased.  For any item that fits all of the purchasing guidelines, I recommend purchasing up to 6 of the item.  In this example, if there were 6 copies of this game on the shelf for $10 each, then I would buy all 6 of them.

Then it’s time to repeat this process on the next item, and the remainder of the items in clearance section.  When you are first getting started, I recommend scanning as many items as possible.  As you gain more experience you will likely will be able to avoid scanning certain items that don’t appear viable for resale.  When first getting started though, I recommend scanning as many items as possible.

I recommend going through the process of determining if an item is viable for resale in the order mentioned so that you can quickly move on to the next item for any items that don’t fit your buying criteria.  As soon as an item doesn’t fit one of your criteria, move on to the next item.

At this point, you might be wondering what items are actually selling? or what an actual retail arbitrage tip looks like? If that’s the case I have put together a free PDF that shares exactly what a quick sourcing trip to Home Depot looked like for me.  It shares the exact items I purchased, and how selling those items on Amazon made me $114.40 in profit in about an hour of work.  If you want instant access to the download, you can get it by clicking here.

In this section, I went over what I recommend when just getting started selling on Amazon, over time as you gain more experience, there’s definitely room to adjust these guidelines.

How do I price the items I am selling on Amazon? 

Now, that we have some items that we want to sell on Amazon, we need to know how to price them.  When selling on Amazon using the Fulfillment by Amazon program, I recommend pricing at a similar level to the other Fulfillment by Amazon sellers on the listing.

Let’s take a look at an example (click to enlarge): How to Price an Item when selling on Amazon

To get to this screen, view all of the available offers for the product.  This can be done by clicking the link that says “used & new (#) from” that will display on just about every product for sale on Amazon.  The # field will be filled in with the number of sellers on that particular listing.

Now for the screenshot above, you can see that I filtered the view for only prime eligible items, and items in new condition.  I recommend filtering the view to match the condition and fulfillment method of the item you are pricing.

For the item in the screenshot above, I recommend pricing between $41 and $41.41 if you are looking for a quick sale.

When pricing your items, I do not recommend pricing below the offers you are competing with.  Pricing below your competition can often start a chain reaction of lowering prices, and can quickly erode margins.  On the more aggressive side, I recommend matching the lowest price of the same fulfillment method.  On the more conservative side, I’d price between $0.01 and 1% higher than the lowest price of the same fulfillment method.

As a bit of a side note, if you are willing to wait awhile for the item to sell, I would price the item between $46.52 and $49.95 in this example.  The reason for this is there are a few different “gaps” in the prices these items are selling for.  Whenever I am pricing an item I will look for significant gaps in price between the offers, and if there’s a decent gap, then many times I will price at the higher end of the spectrum to see if I can make some additional margin on the product I am selling.

Pricing is something that you will definitely get a better feel for as you gain more experience selling on Amazon, but these general guidelines should be a good starting point.

How do I list my items for sale and ship them to Fulfillment by Amazon Warehouses? 

I have a full blog post that discusses, step-by-step, how to create your first Amazon FBA shipment. I definitely recommend reading this article if you need help with this.

Do you offer a course to learn how to sell on Amazon?

I do offer a course to help you learn how to sell on Amazon.  The course is designed to help you build your business from scratch to making $1,000 in profit per month.  It will walk you through everything you need to do to become profitable in step by step detail.  You can learn more and checkout the course HERE.

Closing Thoughts

Throughout this post we’ve covered the bulk of what it means to sell on Amazon.  I’d like to close with a few tips and thoughts from someone who has gone through the process before. The first thing that I would say is that if selling on Amazon sounds good to you, give it a shot!  You can test the retail arbitrage strategies that are laid out in this post in just a few hours, and going through that process should be eye opening.  Some people love it, and others can’t stand it.  If you dedicate a few hours to it, you’ll know how you personally respond.

The other main thing that I would say is to set realistic expectations.  Selling on Amazon, particularly via retail arbitrage, takes some work on the front end.  If you are going to go for it, be willing to put in the necessary work on the front end.  The effort can definitely pay off. If you’re interested in seeing what types of results are possible, I’d recommend reading through some of the monthly financial results posts on this blog.  You can read the ones from when I was getting started, or read the most recent guest results post series.  You can access these posts HERE.

Hopefully this post has answered most of your questions about how to sell on Amazon, and gives you a better idea of what selling on Amazon really means.  Although this post is pretty comprehensive, it’s likely you still have more questions.  Let me know in the comments below, what other questions do you have about selling on Amazon?

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202 responses to “How to Sell on Amazon for Beginners — The Ultimate Guide”

  1. Lori says:

    Thank you for your detailed information! I do have this question however, as the math doesn’t seem to add up. In your example it shows $7.50-Selling on Amazon fees, $4.70-Fullfilment by Amazon fees, $1.00-shipping and then $5.70 for TOTAL fulfillment cost. How does this add up? I get costs of $13.20?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Lori,

      In the example you mentioned your math is correct. The $13.20 and in fees is the difference between the selling price of $49.99 and the Seller Proceeds of $36.79 shown in the screenshot. Let me know if you have any other questions on this.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  2. Holly says:

    Hey guys,

    Just heard you on the SPI podcast – great work! This is perfect timing as we’ve been downsizing and have an room full of stuff to get rid of. You just saved me hours of researching. Thanks for the awesome resources!

  3. Curtis says:

    The links to your shipping to fulfillment guide and your financial results pages are dead…gives me a 404 error.

    That being said, great post. I am deffinetly going to give this a shot.

    • ose says:

      Hi Curtis,

      Thanks for the heads up. My site recently underwent a redesign, and looks like I missed those. I just double checked and they are working now. Let me know if you have any trouble accessing them.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  4. Cubby says:

    Hi the link in the section on how to list items and send them to amazon isn’t working. Thanks

    • ose says:

      Hi Cubby,

      I just tested it on my end and it seems to be working now. Let me know if it’s still not working for some reason.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  5. Julie says:

    Hi there and thanks for the fantastic info! I am excited to get started. And props to Pat Flynn for helping me find you! 🙌🏼🙌🏼 Today when I was shopping and scanning items on the Amazon app, everything I scanned was either selling at what I would have to buy it for to start with, or said it was not available to sell on Amazon. Can you tell me or point me to where I find out why that is and how I can refine my searches in stores? Thanks so much!

    • ose says:

      Hi Julie,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Items that show up as not available to sell on Amazon, could either be restricted, or not have any listings available on Amazon. If there’s no listing, then you could create a listing for the product and then list your product for sale on the new listing you created. If it’s because it’s a restricted product, that is because Amazon places restrictions on what certain sellers are able to sell. There are certain brands and product categories that require you to apply for approval to be able to sell.

      Let me know if that helps or if you have further questions.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      • Janine says:

        Hi Ryan!

        I also found you via SPI and decided to accept the challenge.

        In one day I scanned every clearance item I found at my local Best Buy, Home Depot, Target, Big Lots, Academy, WalMart (whose clearance aisle was rather sparse), and Michaels.

        Definitely learned a lot about pricing practices, in-house brands, and why I prefer shopping on Amazon.

        But much like Julie, the few times I came across articles with the right numbers, they were restricted: Samsung phone covers and almost anything electronic, any Star Wars related toy (got a warning about ‘collectibles’ for these), Crayola, Farber Castell, Brides, boat trailer parts, gun holsters, Nike, Under Armor, Wilton cake decorating stuff but not Wilton cupcake displays (but those didn’t make the numbers)… which brought up the interesting coincidence of within certain brands, the ones that fit the criteria were restricted but the others weren’t.

        Half way through the day I realized I should have recorded all of these to try to get some real data. Also there were a significant number that met everything except the BSR, because there was no BSR listed. What’s up with that?

        At the end of the day, I scored two items that met every criteria. So I’m wondering what your thoughts are on the application/approval process for ‘restricted’ items. Apply? Wait until some seller history established? If so how much?

        Thanks so much. I never cared for shopping much but I’m enjoying the challenge here.

        Cheers,

        Janine

        • Ryan Grant says:

          Hi Janine,

          Glad to hear you found a couple of items.

          On the items that did not have a sales rank, this can mean that the item has never sold before, or it can be in a category that Amazon does not have sales rank for. If it doesn’t have a sales rank, you could still buy it to sell on Amazon but it’s riskier as you won’t have any idea of how well it sells. The one caveat to this is if there are “verified purchase reviews,” these will show up in the reviews section of the product. If the product has verified purchase reviews, and no sales rank, then you can still be confident that it sells.

          In terms of restrictions, right away I would focus on items you are already approved to sell as opposed to applying for approval. Over time, it likely will be worth seeking some additional approval.

          Best Regards,
          Ryan

  6. Rashid says:

    Can you sell items with a quantity of 1 each? Like for higher end items?

    • ose says:

      Hi Rashid,

      Yes, you can sell items with a quantity of 1. You can list any number that you like for sale, whether that’s 1 or 1,000.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  7. TJ says:

    I heard you on SPI, great interview. I found the episode very interesting and full of actionable advice. Thank you for that. I’m up in Duluth, I plan on doing this as a part-time business to start with. You have given me courage to get out there and do it. Thank you again!

  8. LaTasha says:

    Hello!
    Found you on SPI. I plan to set up my Amazon seller account and get started. Your selling experiment is an awesome way to get started. I am super excited! Thanks so much for all of the info.

    Regards,
    LaTasha

    • ose says:

      Hi LaTasha,

      You are welcome! Glad you found the site, and let me know if questions come up along the way.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  9. Jamie says:

    One thing I don’t see here is if it costs something to set up an Amazon seller account?

    If i just want to try this do i need to pay to become a seller? (I just sell one or two things, i could end up with a net loss)

    • ose says:

      Hi Jamie,

      You should be able to sign up for a seller account for free. When you setup your account, you will want to use an “individual” account as opposed to a “professional” account.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  10. Jimmy says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Thanks a lot for providing all this content!
    Quick question: Is it possible to start up this business from the Netherlands?
    Are there specific things I should pay attention towards?

    Regards,
    Jimmy

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Jimmy,

      Thanks for the comment. I know it’s possible to sell on Amazon’s European platforms, and I would imagine that would be a good option for testing it out. I’ve never sold on anything but the US platform, so I wouldn’t be able to provide advice on the best things to pay attention to when selling on Amazon from the Netherlands.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      • Jimmy says:

        Thanks for your reply Ryan, you are a true inspiration for me.
        I have studied your material and in your guide you recommended to use the “Amazon-Partnered Carrier (UPS)” as a shipping option.
        Is this option available on all platforms?

        Kind regards
        Jimmy

  11. Matt says:

    Great podcast guys! Actionable and very real content.
    Question as I have never sold on Amazon. I live in Hawaii, how do I calculate shipping costs if I were to use FBA?

    Thank you, and keep up the great work

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Matt,

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast.

      From Hawaii I am not sure if you get Amazon’s partnered UPS rates, but I would calculate the shipping costs through UPS.com or Fedex.com. Just input the size of the boxes you plan on sending and you should be able to estimate the costs.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  12. Matt says:

    Great post and podcast recently guys! Appreciate the solid content. I had a question about shipping. I live in Honolulu, Hawaii and wanted to see how I can calculate shipping costs to the FBA warehouse. Is there a workaround if shipping is extremely high?
    Thanks, keep up the great work.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Matt,

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

      From Hawaii I am not sure if you get Amazon’s partnered UPS rates, but I would calculate the shipping costs through UPS.com or Fedex.com. Just input the size of the boxes you plan on sending and you should be able to estimate the costs. It will definitely be higher than shipping from the continental US, but should still be doable.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  13. Jessica says:

    Ok so we just started the Amazon business and we have a couple of items to list.
    The item in question populated as a bookshelf when it is a small pocket organizer. When we do post as a new item, the item’s UPC conflicts with another item (wrong item) on Amazon or can’t be found.

  14. Anna says:

    Great article and loved the interview on SPI podcast. Quick question, don’t you need a paid Seller Pro account to do FBA? I already have a seller account because I dabble in text book reselling, but it’s a free seller account. I am excited to get started and see where it leads!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Anna,

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

      In the past you could with a free account. I would try it with the free account, and if that doesn’t work for whatever reason, then I would upgrade to the paid account.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  15. Sri says:

    Hi Ryan,

    My wife and I heard you on the SPI podcast and are getting started with our first set of inventory. I had a question on sales ranks. If we have high ROIs for specific items (100%), but the sales rank is higher (400K), what would you recommend? How strictly would you adhere to the < 250K sales rank criteria? Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Sri,

      In cases where the ROI is higher it often does make sense to expand the sales rank guidelines. The guidelines that I recommend should keep you out of trouble, but they are by no means hard and fast rules. In any situation like this, I would usually test it out and see what happens as long as it isn’t a huge investment. The reason for this is you will learn much more by trying as opposed to not.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  16. Vanessa says:

    Hi Ryan ,

    I heard you on SPI and was inspired to try this. Thank you for sharing your story and for providing a step by step guide on how to get started. However I am having difficulties determine how much it will cost me to ship products to Amazon? How did you get the .50?

    Thanks Again,
    Vanessa

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast. $0.50/lb is the average based on what my business is charged and what we use to evaluate. You won’t know the exact charges until you ship the box to Amazon, but $0.50 should be very close. If you want to be very conservative, you could estimate $1/lb.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  17. Christian says:

    Good post. More strenght to your elbows.

  18. Daniel says:

    I just listened to you guys on the SPI podcast. It was very good and has sucked me in to the potential of online selling. This may be a dumb question, but I don’t see on this post or in the podcast anything about the Monthly Amazon Subscription fee. I was under the impression signing up would be free.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Glad you enjoyed the podcast!

      There used to be a free account for selling on Amazon, but that might not be available anymore. I’d recommend starting with the lowest priced plan that they offer, it will be either free or $39.99/month.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  19. Priyank says:

    Can I sell products that are manufactured outside of USA ? It wont have a barcode.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Priyank,

      Yes you can sell products manufactured outside the US. You will need to get a UPC for your product to be able to list it on Amazon. Once you do that you won’t actually need the barcode on the product as you can print labels for Amazon’s purposes directly through the platform.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  20. Matt says:

    Hi-Love the information you are providing. What happens when the customer wants to return the item? And anything to be concerned with when it comes to taxes on the profits that amazon sends us?
    Thank You

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Matt,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      Any item that is fulfilled by Amazon will have the same return policies as if Amazon sold the item. So the customer is able to initiate a return directly through their own Amazon account if they want to return a product they purchased.

      In terms of taxes, this is definitely something to pay attention to. You should be paying taxes on the net profit your business earns from selling on Amazon.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  21. Troy says:

    Hi guys. Just heard the interview on Pat’s podcast. I am jumping into it. So i spent the day hitting 4 different stores and I would say 85% of the time when i scan the bar code in the store it does not come up in the seller’s app. It did say i could create my own listing, but i was choosing pretty normal items. this was especially true for clothing. Any advice on this would be great. Thank you

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Troy,

      Glad you are giving it a shot!

      Clothing is a category that requires a separate approval to sell in. I’d recommend either seeking this approval (same goes for other categories that require approval) or focusing on categories that are not restricted. Some of the main ones that you will be eligible to sell in right away include: books, toys, home improvement, home & kitchen, sports & outdoors, among many others.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  22. Cathy says:

    Hi – One question I have is regarding sales tax. How do we handle doing sales tax. I can’t seem to find any information on that.

  23. Lucy says:

    Hello,

    I’ve been wanting to start in this business since the beginning of the year and your post really boosted a lot information and insight on how to get started so I thank you for that.

    However, I do have one question in mind.. Do you think buying items off of retailers like Alibaba is a good start as well? If so, I would like some tips on how to really go about it and just little niches to give me a push, so to say. Thank you!!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Lucy,

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Personally I’d recommend getting started with the retail arbitrage method that is outlined in this post. Then from there you could potentially do a test on Alibaba in the future. Going the retail arbitrage route will decrease the number of things that have to go right to see initial results.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  24. Ahmad Faisal says:

    I haven’t experienced yet but after reading this, I will start selling on Amazon. Thanks

  25. Danilo Miclat says:

    I want to sell on AMAZON, do I need a product to my own? It is possible to sell on AMAZON w/o physical Item. I mean just to promote other product to sell then I earn a commission?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Danilo,

      To actually sell on Amazon then you will need to have physical inventory that is available to ship to a customer. This doesn’t mean you have to ship it as you could drop ship or pay a fulfillment service, but you will need the inventory.

      If you want to just promote products in return for commission on Amazon, then I recommend checking out the Amazon Associates program.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  26. Sam Portelli says:

    Hi and thank you in advance can you sell used stuff on Amazon ,Thank you.

  27. Chelsea Adams says:

    I want to start selling on Amazon, but i don’t know how to do it?

  28. Anand says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Very helpful article with most of the details covered. One question – If I am importing my product from other country, let’s say China, how do I deal with custom duty and custom clearance? Can I still make use of Amazon’s shipping partner (UPS) and they will take care of custom clearance since the shipment will be with them? or do I need to take care of it? I think some details about this are required to be covered?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Anand,

      This post is about specifically retail arbitrage and doesn’t go into the nuances of importing products.

      The short answer is that you will need to get them into the US first before getting to use Amazon’s partnered UPS rates. I would recommend using a freight forwarder to get the items into the US and then go from there.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  29. Maggie says:

    Hi Ryan,
    Thank you so much for your website and guidance. My question: When setting up an individual sellers account, what is the difference between “legal business name” and “unique business display name”? Can these names be changed after the account is created (like shifting name to an initial and last name)?

    I figure the “legal business name” is my actual name which is needed for payment and tax purposes. Still, I really don’t want my name out there since packages will have my mailing address on them and I am concerned about personal safety. Thoughts?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Maggie,

      Thanks for the comment.

      The legal business name is the name of the actual entity that your business will be operating as. This could be an LLC if you have one setup or could be your name if you are operating as a sole proprietorship.

      The display name, is the name that customers will see on Amazon when they are viewing items you have for sale.

      Both can be changed later if needed. Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  30. Brian says:

    I am in the early/research phase of starting an Amazon business/store, and came across your extremely informative article. Although it detailed how to obtain, price, and sell various (clearance) items, I am wondering if a similar process would apply to products that are the unique creations (inspirational cards/poetry) of the seller?

    Thank you in advance for your response, and the 411 that may accompany it.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for the comment.

      This post is primarily about starting by selling existing products. Some of this would apply to new listings / new creations, but that’s a bit of a separate process altogether. I will add a post about getting started with new products to my list of future potential blog posts.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  31. Becca says:

    Thank you for this post. It is super helpful.
    I am brand new to selling on Amazon and am trying to figure out what I can start out selling. Are Toys and Games, Baby, and Home Goods the only categories that don’t require approval or are there others I am missing?

  32. Danny says:

    I eventually want to sign up for your course and learn to sell on Amazon full time (and quiting my current job). Before I make this commitment, I need to know if having a low credit score will effect my business growing. We had unexpected medical bills (on credit cards) that has caused us to settle with banks. I have a checking account and 2 open credit cards now to get things started. Is the credit card that you use to register to sell on Amazon only for the monthly fee($39.99)? If so, then no worries. I have an $8000 limit on my credit card. If business starts booming for me, and I have to apply for a credit increase, I won’t be approved. If all my business is done through my checking account, then no worries. I’m assuming I’ll be purchasing products with money in my checking account and money received will come into my checking account. And hopefully, the credit card will be just for the monthly fee. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Ryan

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Danny,

      Thanks for the comment. A low credit score shouldn’t negatively impact your ability to sell on Amazon. A credit card is actually only used as a backup payment method for everything on Amazon, so it only gets charged if you don’t have a balance in your seller account to cover it. So the first month or 2 it will charge to your card, but then from there you shouldn’t see any other charges.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  33. Michael says:

    Am I obligated to ship my inventory to the fulfillment center or can I bring it there myself?

  34. MB says:

    Sorry if this was somewhere in the post, but two questions: Does it now cost to sell on Amazon? I’m seeing posts quoting $39.99 per month? Second question: What if you warehouse your items via Amazon Fulfillment and the item doesn’t sell? What does Amazon charge to warehouse the item while you wait for sale? Thanks!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi MB,

      You can still sell on Amazon without a monthly subscription fee, you can see the differences in the plan HERE.

      In terms of fees for items that are stored, you can find more details on that HERE.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      • Nick Fichter says:

        Because there is a detailed description of Buy Box eligibility for Professional selling plans, I am unsure whether the free individual selling plan also can be Buy Box eligible. You said in this piece that getting into Buy Box position is important, so if that is true and the free plan can’t get there (or can it?), wouldn’t that imply that paying the 39.99 for the Pro plan is the way to go??

        • Ryan Grant says:

          Hi Nick,

          To my knowledge an individual account is eligible for the buy box as well. Do you have a link that says otherwise? The main differences can be seen directly on Amazon HERE.

          Best Regards,
          Ryan

  35. Ravi says:

    What if I am unable to sell the item in Amazon ? Can you please list out the downside of my item sitting in the amazon inventory for ever ?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ravi,

      If you are unable to sell the item on Amazon you can have it sent back to you for about $0.50 depending on the size of the item, or you can have Amazon destroy it for $0.15.

      If you do have your item stay in Amazon warehouses for over 6 months, then you will be charged long term storage fees and are pretty significant. There are emails sent out to clearly communicate this that come directly from Amazon well in advance though so the long term storage fees wouldn’t be a surprise.

      For items that are in stock for less than 6 months you will pay a few cents per month in storage fees.

      So the realistic downside is paying a $0.50 fee to have the item sent back to you.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

      • Bryan Kaye says:

        Ryan,

        Once you have the item shipped back before the 6 months, can you send it back soon afterwards or are there restrictions on “resending” back to the warehouse? Thank you for all of your insight.

        • Ryan Grant says:

          Hi Bryan,

          There is generally a timeline for when you can send back in. It varies depending on the year, but typically if you remove an item due to avoiding long term storage fees, you have to wait a couple months at least before you can send the same items back to FBA warehouses.

          Best Regards,
          Ryan

  36. Mike Bither says:

    I want to sell on Amazon, but am a grand-parent and don’t know how. How do I get started in selling on Amazon.

  37. Patrick says:

    Do you suggest signing up with Amazon Seller Account with your personal Amazon Prime account or should you sign up with a different email to keep things separate?

  38. Mark says:

    I am looking at selling something that has good numbers, but bad reviews on the Amazon website. Should I steer clear, or what is the repercussion of selling something that gets a bad review? Will I have to refund? Replace?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Mark,

      Generally speaking I don’t pay attention to the reviews. A buyer is able to see all of the reviews at the time they purchase, so if they are still willing to buy even with bad reviews, that’s not a problem for me. So a product with bad reviews is potentially more likely to get returned, but the worst case scenario would be having to issue a refund.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  39. Ash says:

    I live in Canada, do you have any advice on how I can sell to the US market? Amazon Seller ask to ‘Select Your Market’ as the first step to using the app, would I be selecting the US instead of Canada? Thanks for your time!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ash,

      I don’t personally have experience in this, but when you are setting up your account I would select whichever marketplace you would actually sell on. My guess is that getting setup in Canada first would be easier to get started, and then from there you could potentially expand into the US.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  40. Chad says:

    How frequent is it to have items accrue a charge from the warehouse for sitting too long? How much should the “star rating” on Amazon be taken into account (does a 3.5 star item with 15 reviews move significantly slower thab a 5 star item with 50 reviews and how does that relate back to my first question and the warehouse charges)? Big thank you for all of your work on this!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Chad,

      If you are buying based on the guidelines talked about on this post, then you shouldn’t run into paying excessive storage fees very often.

      This post goes into some more detail on the storage fees. In terms of reviews, that’s not something that I rarely factor into sourcing decisions.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  41. Brandy Llanes says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Great post, very informative! Quick Question, what is the most cost efficient method to ship products to Amazon to maximize profits?

    Thanks,

    Brandy

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Brandy,

      Glad you enjoyed it. I recommend using either UPS or Fedex, both of these will be options when you are creating your shipment to Amazon. You can compare the prices between the 2 on the shipment creation screen as well to make sure you are getting the best price.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  42. Edwin Rogombe says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I am a bit confused; your screenshot shows you have bought the item for $10 and made $7.13 net profit selling through amazon after all fees etc.. correct me if i’m wrong but shouldn’t the net profit be higher than the cost of purchase to have a good deal? it looks like you are gaining less than you bought the item for…

    Best Regards

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Edwin,

      I think you are confusing net profit and net payout. The net payout is the total amount that I am paid for the item after Amazon fees. The net profit is the amount leftover after Amazon fees as well as the cost of the item. Hope that clarifies it, and let me know if you have further questions.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  43. kyong h park says:

    How do I put product information on amazon? Do I need to create or does it automatically shows up once I send merchandise to amazon? Also can I buy products from alibaba and ship them to amazon?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Kyong,

      If you are selling an existing product which is what this post is about, then you won’t have to provide very much information, but you will do that when you are listing your item for sale.

      For Alibaba, you could do that. I don’t recommend it right away, but if you build trust with a supplier it would be a possibility.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  44. Mike says:

    At what point do you recommend setting up legal options? Just starting out I wouldn’t think that would be necessary.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Mike,

      I can’t give official legal advice as it’s different for everyone’s situation. What I did though was setup a legal entity once I knew it was something I was seeing results with and wanted to grow further. So for me it meant setting up an entity about 3 months in.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  45. Erin K says:

    I keep trying to register and is says I have an “incompatible account status” when I try to register at sellercentral and won’t let me register. Any idea why?

  46. Felicia Griffin says:

    Hi Ryan,
    I find you very inspiring and want to try to sell on Amazon. I like the idea of retail arbitrage but I am curious to know if it is important to peel off all of the clearance stickers off the item before you resell it?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Felicia,

      Thanks for the kind words. It is very important to take all clearance stickers off prior to sending to a customer. They don’t like knowing the price you paid as a general rule.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  47. Francisco says:

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience!
    Is it required or beneficial to have my own website to sell in Amazon? What is the difference or requirements to sell as an individual and as a professional?
    Thank you

  48. Lisa C. says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I had a question about the seller rating ? If I follow all of your steps outlined above, I find a toy, for example, I list it at the same price as the cheapest person selling the same item also using Amazon’s FBA, but it’s my first time selling, I wouldn’t have really any positive ratings or reviews, all the others would more than likely have a much higher rating, did this effect the products you chose to sell at the beginning? Seems like I’d be hoping for the guy not noticing I don’t have reviews to purchase my same item even if I match lowest price, or did these items just take longer to sell ?

    Thanks so much for your blog,
    I look forward to trying to see if I can do this

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Lisa,

      I wouldn’t worry about it right away. We all started off with no feedback. There are people out there who are willing to buy items even if you don’t yet have feedback. I’d just make sure you take care of the customers that buy your items and the positive feedback will come.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  49. Heather says:

    You are amazing. End of story. Thank you.

  50. Chris A says:

    Hey Ryan,

    Thanks for the post and the providing the specific details in your technique.

    I have a quick question about selecting inventory. As part of my online research before heading out to the clearance isles of my local stores I’ve found some great deals through some basic googling where there is quite a large price difference for the product in one of the stores I’ve identified compared to Amazon. However, I’m concerned that if I can find the deal, then so can anyone else and they won’t buy my inventory, leaving me with stock I can’t sell (for a profit).

    For example (and easy numbers), I found a camera in the online clearance section of a national electronics store which has to be collected in person locally. The price of the camera is £100 in this retailer but is going for £200 on Amazon. It has a rank of circa 5000, a couple of sellers and non offering FBA. So following your advice above, this seems perfect! However, I’m just don’t understand why someone would buy this from Amazon without a quick Google first where they would find it cheaper.

    Could you please advise: is this deal a no go and is there a rule of thumb which states that if the product can be found cheaper elsewhere online then it’s not a worthwhile chance? Or could Amazon dramatically drop the price to match and cut out any margin? Any guidance around this would be really appreciated.

    All the best,
    Chris

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Chris,

      If it fits the guidelines in this post, then I would buy it. For the example you mentioned, I would buy 1 and then see how it goes. It doesn’t always make perfect logical sense, but my business sells items like that all the time.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  51. Martha says:

    How long would you recommend leaving the item you are trying to sell in the warehouse before you choose to have it sent back to you? Thanks!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Martha,

      Normally I wouldn’t remove an item for at least 6 months. I will adjust pricing on items, but I don’t usually remove it for 6 months, although my goal is to sell through items faster than that.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  52. Future Amazonseller says:

    Nice blog. One question about your example for wall Mart clearance item. You entered 0.5/lb in shipping to Amazon warehouse.
    1. Is that standard shipping price.
    2. When completing FBA process on Amazon website do we pay shipping price online or pay at ups store.

    Thanks

  53. KB says:

    Hi, thanks so much for all the info, it’s truly very insightful and helpful! When I’ve purhased items from Amazon and they come from the fulfillment center and are either, damaged or delivered to the wrong address, they always immediately send me a replacement. Who eats that cost? Me as the seller or Amazon? Thanks in advance for reply!

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi KB,

      It would depend on who was at fault. If it’s damaged in transit then Amazon should be covering the cost, if it’s an issue with the product that you sold, then you will bear the cost of it.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  54. Dolanna Burnett says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I am new to your site and find it very informative. I too am in the accounting field and have been looking for an opportunity to do something new. I do have a couple of questions for you.

    Do you utilize the Inventory Placement option from Amazon? If so, do you find it more cost effective?

    When you purchase items in retail stores that are on clearance, do you remove their sales sticker? What is the most effective way to do this so you don’t damage packaging?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Dolanna,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I don’t use the inventory placement service.

      I definitely do remove the stickers on the items. I like to use a Scotty Peeler to help remove the stickers. You can find a link to that, as well as a list of all the tools and services I am using to sell on Amazon, on my resources page.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  55. Mark says:

    Hi Ryan,

    You’ve mentioned you have looked into wholesaling options. Do you have any updates on that and/or tips on how to get started with that? I know you built your business from sourcing products yourself, but any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

  56. Rebecca E Bailey says:

    Hi Ryan,
    I really enjoyed the information you have provided. I have a question. Do you have to have a business license and what do you have to do to keep the IRS happy?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Rebecca,

      Glad you are enjoying the info!

      Every state and city has a different requirement. I would recommend checking into what the requirements are in your area. So the answer to your question is that it depends on where you live.

      In terms of keeping the IRS happy, you definitely have to pay taxes on any income regardless of if you need to setup a business license or not.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  57. Steph says:

    Hello, your site is very amazing! Thank you so much! What about buying items at Costco or the 99 Cent Store? Are there profitable, good finds at either of these locales? Cheers!

  58. Ryan O says:

    Hi Ryan,

    Thank you for taking your time to respond to questions, it is very informative.

    Starting out using the ” Make your first $1,000 selling on Amazon Video ” , does this walk you through from start to finish step by step? Does this video show some good insight into how to go about retail arbitrage ? Also does it show you other ways to sell on Amazon in addition to retail arbitrage ?

    Thanks Ryan,
    Ryan

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I’m guessing with this comment you are referring to my course.

      The answer is yes to walking through step by step, and yes to how to go about retail arbitrage.

      It briefly discusses some of the other ways to sell on Amazon but in terms of sourcing methods it focuses on retail arbitrage. The overall principles, pricing, account management, etc, will all apply in the future as well regardless of which sourcing method you use.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  59. Steph says:

    Hello, love your site and all the info! Heard on SPI and want to try your $200 challenge. What about the 99 cent store and Costco/Sams Club? Are those good places to find stuff to sell on Amazon? Thanks again!

  60. Ying says:

    Hi. Thank you for the great information, I am brand new and excited to start my own selling experiment. Quick question: I scanned an item but did not see a rank at the top left- is there a reason for this? Does it mean it it is unranked, or something else?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ying,

      Generally this means that the item is unranked and has not sold before. Typically I won’t purchase items like that as they don’t have any signs of proven demand.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  61. Michael says:

    Hello Ryan,

    Great read Sir!,question, are you still using the KDC 200 barcode scanner If not what are you using as of now?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Michael,

      I do still have that scanner but I rarely use it anymore. The cameras on cell phones have improved dramatically in the past few years, so I typically just use the camera on my cell phone now.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  62. Love says:

    Hello Ryan,

    ~ as a US citizen did you have to obtain vendor’s license to sell on amazon?
    ~ did you have to register your business?
    ~ if so, do you pay sales tax on purchases that took place in your state/county only?
    ~ does Amazon provide with 1099 or some other forms to be added to our annual tax return return filings?

    It’s just so confusing.

    Thank you.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Love,

      1. This varies by city and state, so I won’t be able to provide an answer that applies to everyone on this one.
      2. I have a business setup as an LLC.
      3. Google “Online Selling Experiment Sales Tax” I have written 3 separate posts on this and how to handle it
      4. yes, they provide a 1099 at year end if you have sold over $20,000 in a year.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  63. Jenny says:

    Hey there! I have some items that say restricted, how do I get approval?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Jenny,

      Certain brands and product types are restricted on Amazon so that is normal.

      If you want to get approval, you’ll want to click the request approval button next to the item you are trying to buy and see what is required. Most often you will need invoices from an approved distributor / wholesaler to get approved for the item on Amazon.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  64. L.E. says:

    How do you delete the scan item history in the app for iphone? Every time I scan a barcode it stays in the “History” list which keeps growing. I want to purge the unwanted scans. How do I clear the scan history?

  65. Omoruyi says:

    Hi, Ryan. This is a great source of information! Thanks for taking out the time post. I actually saw your segment on GMA about two or three days ago, decided to do some further research on you and found this site. Your story inspired me to go for it! I’m all signed up with Amazon Seller, I invested in few items to sell just to get the hang of everything, and am about to send my first shipment out to the FBA facility today. I did have a question for you. When you first started out doing this, what would you say was the biggest challenge or obstacle you faced?
    Thanks again.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Thanks for the comment!

      The biggest challenge right away was just figuring out what to sell. It took a good amount of time to find consistent sources of inventory, so that was probably the biggest challenge right away.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  66. Jeannine says:

    Hi Ryan. I am going to put my all into this venture. I just wanted to know, do I have to buy a printer to print out my own labels or can UPS print them out for me? Wish me luck!

  67. Catherine Falco says:

    Ryan,

    You’re a class act. Thank you for sharing your story and making yourself available for questions for beginners. I hope it come back to you 10 fold.

    Do you know if my 13 yr old can begin this business? I want to strengthen her math skills and what better way to demonstrate it on a small scale than with money in her pocket. I would think a minor could do it provided they have a SS and follow all guidelines? Do you know if Amazon requires you to be over the age of 18?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Catherine,

      Thank you for the kind words!

      I think that’s a great idea to get your 13 year old involved in the business. I didn’t know right off hand, so I did a little bit of research. It looks like for someone under 18, they are allowed to use Amazon services as long as they are doing it under the supervision of a parent or guardian. This link goes to the terms of service, and the “Your Account” section specifically mentions the requirements.

      Hope that helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  68. Fred says:

    This is a great post! Thanks very much.
    I’ve always felt that my local UPS Store was a convenient but expensive way to ship. Is there a more economical way to ship to Amazon?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Fred,

      When you are shipping to Amazon you get their partnered UPS rates, so you will likely find them to very competitive. You can also use Amazon’s partnered rates for Fedex. Those are the 2 best options in my opinion when getting started.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  69. Aaron says:

    Hi Ryan! Great article.

    Are there additional storage fee’s if your product does not move in a specific time frame, or is the product storage built into their fee’s? I can’t imagine them not charging additional storage over 30 days, but you never know!

    Thanks!!!

  70. Chris says:

    I downloaded the scoutify app and the scanner did not work on anything I scanned do you know anything about it ? Or if there’s settings I need to change ?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Chris,

      Did you sign up for an InventoryLab subscription too? That is required to use Scoutify, and can be done HERE. If you have that in place then I would reach out to support@inventorylab.com and they should be able to help.

      Just in case you were aiming for the free app, that one is the Amazon Seller App.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  71. Kerry says:

    Hi Ryan,

    How much capital did you use in the beginning to get started? It seems it’s hard to invest $1,000 to try this. Would it work effectively with $25-50?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Kerry,

      When I started full time it was with about $5,000.

      You don’t need this amount to start, and I think starting with around $100 to $200 is doable.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  72. AnthonyMPark says:

    Great read Ryan. I am having the worst time setting up the seller account. It keeps indicating my Credit Card is “Unable to charge”. I called and verified with my credit card to confirm no restrictions, and credit limit, as well as the details (billing address, expiration date, and zipcode). Am I missing a step here? And is there a phone number i can contact for support? The online FAQ’s are not getting me anywhere

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Anthony,

      Sorry to hear that.

      I would try a different card if you have one. I’m not aware of a phone number, but there are some support options that are available at the footer of Amazon’s site, so I’d give one of those a shot.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  73. Julliette says:

    What a great post. I really appreciate the information and can’t wait to get started selling online. Today I came across some Barbie dolls that are for sale on Amazon but using the link you provided I wasn’t able to add it. They have other Barbie dolls listed but couldn’t find the ones on sale.

    Any thoughts?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Julliette,

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

      What link are you referring to? and can you provide a few more details on what type of issue you were running into?

      Let me know and I should be able to help.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  74. Amy L Cagney says:

    If you have 5 items to sell and ship them to Amazon and it costs…say $25.00 in shipping do you just assume that you have $5.00 less for each item sold and take that out of ROI?

    How does that work if 2 out of 5 of those items aren’t heavy and therefore aren’t the reason that the shipping costs to Amazon are high?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Amy,

      I estimate shipping to Amazon warehouses at $0.50/lb, so it’s factored in to each item before I ever purchase it through the scanning app that I am using.

      So I would try to allocate it to the individual item in advance of purchasing to make sure it will actually be profitable.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  75. Sal says:

    Hello Ryan,

    I think this is the future, as Amazon hasn’t even peaked yet. Anyway, how do I get my inventory directly from a supplier to Amazon warehouse for FBA orders? Is that something I have to pre-approve on the Amazon side via phone?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Sal,

      You would need your supplier to meet the prep requirements that Amazon has. If they can do that and have the required shipping labels, then you should be able to go direct from your supplier to FBA warehouses if you want to.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  76. Amy L Cagney says:

    Hi thanks for the earlier reply about shipping costs.
    I went shopping today and found a power cord. I used my app and it said I could sell it for a profit of approx $13.
    My question is if these things are on clearance, that means that nobody in the store wanted it, so why would Amazon customers want it? I bought some room wall decal stickers for $1 and with potential profit of $19. They have a selling rate of over 4 million. Are people going to buy this??

    Also, I am being paranoid maybe, but I felt like store employees were eyeing me suspiciously as I was scanning. Do you ever feel that way?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Amy,

      An item on clearance just means that no one wanted it locally. Generally there’s still going to be demand for the item online. If you follow the rank guidelines in this post you should only be buying things that people actually want.

      For store employees, I haven’t had issues in the past. They want to sell stuff and you want to buy stuff, so generally it’s a win / win.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  77. Cheryl Nay says:

    Hi, Thanks for giving out all this information to help others. My question is since so many people seem interested in doing this could this market get over saturated? Were there a lot of other people doing this when you started or were you the pioneer in getting this started?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thanks for the comment. I had responded to a similar comment in the past so am copying a portion of my answer:

      I don’t think the market is over saturated at this point. I think as a general rule, it’s never too late to do anything. There are exceptions to this, but think of this, someone new becomes successful with just about all of these every day:
      -people continue to start successful blogs
      -people write successful books
      -people launch successful social media pages
      -people start successful brick and mortar businesses
      -people start successful affiliate sties

      Effectively people are starting successful versions of just about every business every day no matter how long a certain type of business has existed.

      So while it might not be as easy to do Amazon FBA (or any business opportunity that has been around for awhile) as it was a few years ago, I don’t think it makes it too late.

      As long as you are really willing to put in the work and differentiate yourself from the competition, then there’s still plenty of opportunity.

      Ultimately, I don’t think the window has closed for FBA. I will agree that with this higher level of competition that it’s not as easy as it was a few years ago, but there’s still a lot of opportunity out there in my opinion.
      I know many people who have started within the past year and are seeing great results already. I continue to find products available to sell on Amazon for a profit at large national retailers.

      As the number of sellers has been increasing, the number of buyers has been increasing as well. Not necessarily at a proportionate rate, but it does something to offset the impact.
      Overall, I think you have to put it a little more effort now as compared to a few years ago, but in my opinion there’s still plenty of opportunity left when it comes to FBA.

      So that might be a little bit more than you were looking for, but figured I would share the whole answer that I did previously as well.

      Hope it helps!

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  78. Todd says:

    Hey Ryan – I heard you on SPI, love the blog, and am extremely interested in pursuing this myself. However, before I sign up for your course, I’m wondering if there’s something I’m missing. I’ve gone to Target, Walmart, Big Lots, and Home Depot – and after scanning hundreds of items, only one met your guidelines which provided a $3.16 ROI. I see your pictures of lined up carts outside Target and the van filled with Home Depot boxes.. and I wonder if there’s something I’m just not understanding. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Todd,

      Thanks for the comment. I look at getting started in this business as kind of like fishing. When you first get started it takes a lot more time to get some good catches, and then as you gain more experience it gets easier and easier. So I look at getting started with FBA via retail arbitrage in a similar way.

      Every time you scan an item you learn more about the brand, what you can sell, what you can’t, and other factors. This experience over time leads you to become much more efficient over time.

      Also to be clear with the pics I share on this blog, this is after years of experience, so it’s comparing your first few trips to stores to what I have been doing for years. With more time and consistent effort I do think you would find quite a few items out there that you would be able to sell. The course does help give some ideas of how to approach stores, etc, but it sounds like you overall are on the right track by getting out there and taking action.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  79. Karen says:

    Wow! So informative and helpful. Since you began by selling back college books in college (brilliant!), I thought this would be a quick and easy question.

    You must have shipped books USPS “media mail?” How much did you calculate for shipping per paperback or hardcover?

    Or did you ship Fed Ex or UPS instead?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Karen,

      I was using media mail. At the time I estimated $4 for shipping. Some were higher and some were lower, but that’s the estimation that I used.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  80. Brett says:

    Hey Ryan, your posts and info are great, thank you for sharing. If one does not have a printer is there a way to send FBA shipments to AMZN using UPS or FedEx via their stores?

    Thanks again.

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Brett,

      You do need shipping labels, so you at least need access to a printer. Most UPS and Fedex stores have printers you can print for $0.10 or less per page, so I’d look into potentially using one of the printers in their stores for the fee per page.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  81. Dustin Southwood says:

    Thanks for all the info. Question about your current state of business.
    As a one man show you are defiantly limited in what you can accomplish in one day as far as looking for items, prepping them, ect.
    Eventually the only solution is to hire other people of course.
    So my question is what do you have your employees do? Do they only take care of things at the warehouse while you go look for deals? Or do you send them out to look for deals as well?
    As you grow are you shying away from physically going out and finding these items vs. Buying online at low prices?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Dustin,

      I will plan on doing a blog post in the future that shares what I do in this business / what my team does and how it’s changed over time.

      The short answer is that my team is involved with every aspect of the business. Everything from buying to the back end account management.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  82. Martin says:

    When registering to sell on amazon, where it asks for name, is that the persons name or the name of the store they will be selling under?

  83. Wayne Ellis says:

    Hello Ryan,

    Do you currently buy direct from any suppliers then have them ship to the Amazon warehouse for FBA? If so, how do you decide what products to buy and what suppliers do you use?

    Thank you,
    Wayne

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Wayne,

      I do buy direct from suppliers, but I don’t have any ship direct to Amazon at this time.

      I won’t be able to share the suppliers, and will consider doing a future blog post about how to determine what to buy from the wholesale suppliers.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  84. Shon Nasir says:

    Ryan,
    All great information, very useful, to the point and easy to understand. Appreciated and Thanks.

    Question –

    Which App do you use, Amazon Seller App, or , OAXRAY, or , Tactical Arbitrage??

    Have you tried any beside Amazon Seller App??

  85. Oliver tapping says:

    Hi Ryan

    I really like reading all your useful hints and tips which will really help once I get going.

    I have one question though about a letter of authorisation which I’m being asked to provide,I’m not great at stuff like that.

    I’m in the UK and am just a sole trader,I have put in passport details and tax numbers but before I can actually sell I’m stuck with this,any advice would be great.

    Thank you
    Regards Ollie

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ollie,

      Thanks for the comment.

      My advice is to provide the information as long as you are comfortable with it. There’s generally not much wiggle room in what you can provide when Amazon requests something from you.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  86. Buba says:

    Hi Ryan

    Thank you very much for all info and courage that you gave us!

    I set up my individual seller account (without monthly fee) in order to learn as much as possible and then maybe upgrade it into business seller account… I found note that I can use FBA after 90 days. This is because of individual seller account instead of business or it’s not connected at all in terms what kind of seller account it is? Is there any way of avoiding passive period of 90 days and be able to have individual seller account with right of using FBA?

    Thank you again

    Buba

  87. Nitin says:

    Hi Ryan,

    I am a new FBA user.Whenever I am trying to scan a toy, I am getting message as “Fulfillment by amazon required”

    What exactly does this mean?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Nitin,

      As it’s currently the holiday season, Amazon has some different requirements. You can read the guidelines HERE.

      Effectively what that notification means is that you have to sell it via FBA to be eligible to sell it this time of the year.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  88. Brandon Shepherd says:

    Hi Ryan, loved your story. So I set up an account and sold 3 items, but Amazon suspended my account saying these items could possibly be inauthentic. I posted them as “New”, do you post the items you buy on clearance as New or Used?

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Brandon,

      If they are truly new and unopened then I will post them as new on Amazon.

      If a customer complained about an item you sold that can cause an inauthentic claim, even if the items are authentic. If you submit your receipts to Amazon for the item, then I would anticipate you should be able to get your account reinstated.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  89. Ann says:

    Hi, who takes the pictures of items ? And who gives the description?
    Amazon or we ?
    Thanks

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Ann,

      If you follow the method that is outlined in this post, then you won’t need to take any pictures. They are already on the listings that are created by Amazon or by other sellers.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  90. Matt Hardwick says:

    Hi Ryan,

    When scanning items and checking the gross proceeds, should I always evaluate items based on the matched low price? Or is it appropriate to check the other prime FBA listing prices in the seller app and do the math based on those prices? They tend to be priced higher, which would allow more products to pass the test as I’m searching. Thoughts?

    Thanks

  91. Daniel says:

    Hello Friend;

    I’m from South America, Chile. Do you think that everything you say in your blog can work here? I am happy that you are succeeding. Very brave what you did. Thank you

    regards

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I imagine something similar could be done in your country, but I don’t have any experience selling on Amazon from outside the US, so I can’t say or provide any definitive input.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  92. Thomas Plaza says:

    Scenario, I have 2 totes of hot wheels cars, roughly 200 in original boxes, single and the 5ct box sets. Just take a picture of each and scan upc label and then ship to Amazon and that’s it. After signing up of course but that’s just to get me started n opened for business.

  93. David Katz says:

    Hi Ryan, I just discovered your excellent blog.

    How do you deal with items that have the name of the retail store where you purchased the item printed on one or more of:

    1. The packaging, where the item can be separated from the package (e.g box of shoes)
    2. The tag attached to the item, e.g with a plastic cord
    3. The actual item, e.g. printed somewhere on the item

    Thanks

    • Ryan Grant says:

      Hi David,

      If it’s feasible to remove it without damaging the packaging, then I do that.

      If it’s not feasible to remove, then I just leave it on.

      Best Regards,
      Ryan

  94. Hass Saidane says:

    Hello,

    I have a friend who manufactures plastic garbage bags in overseas, and would like to sell them on amzon, in the US and Europe. I’d appreciate your help and advice on how best to do that.
    Thanks and best regards
    Hass,

    Best

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