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How to Make Money on Amazon

If you’re just using Amazon for shopping and video streaming, you might be missing out on the chance to make some money. There are many different ways to make money on Amazon and we’ll cover them in this article. Before you quit your day job, it’s important to understand how to make money on Amazon.

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Selling on Amazon: Getting Started

Ever wondered who is selling the items you’re buying on Amazon? You could be one of them. Amazon offers a free first month of selling, with no fees to list your items. After that, how much you pay will depend on whether you choose to sell as a professional or sell as an individual.

Selling as a professional is for you if you plan to sell more than 40 items per month. If you choose this option, you’ll pay $39.99 per month, plus additional selling fees.

Selling as an individual is for you if you’ll be selling fewer than 40 items per month. You’ll pay $0.99 per sale, plus other selling fees.

Certain categories of goods require approval from Amazon before you can start selling them. For the full list, head here. Some categories are only available to Professional Sellers.

To get started with a Professional or Individual account, you’ll create your account on Seller Central, Amazon’s interface for starting and managing your selling account.

Once you’re registered, you can start listing items. If you plan to sell items that are already on Amazon you can simply indicate how many you have to sell, what their conditions are and how shipping will work.

If you want to sell items that aren’t on Amazon you’ll have to identify the items’ UPC/EAN and SKU, codes that correspond to each product. Then you can give the item a title and a description.

When a customer buys an item you can either ship it yourself or use Fulfillment by Amazon and let Amazon handle the shipping.

As with any online selling, selling on Amazon will work better for you if you have appealing images, competitive prices and good customer service.

Related Article: The Economics of Mobile Apps

Selling on Amazon Business

How to Make Money on Amazon

If you’re a manufacturer, distributor or dealer you may be interested in how to make money on Amazon Business. With Amazon Business, you’re not selling to regular folks sitting at home browsing Amazon on their phones. You’re selling to other businesses who may want to buy what you’re selling.

This business-to-business selling platform also comes with the option to use Amazon’s own fulfillment service. There are also features like quantity pricing (a.k.a bulk discounts) that make it appealing to business owners. If you’re, say, a furniture manufacturer you might want to look into Amazon Business. The fees for Business Sellers are the same as the fees for Professional Sellers.

Related Article: The Economics of Video Streaming Services

Becoming a Vendor

How to Make Money on Amazon

Yet another way to make money on Amazon is to become a vendor and sell your items to Amazon, as opposed to selling them to a regular customer or business. The advantage of being a vendor is that you don’t have to deal with customers, store items, tackle shipping or process returns.

So how does it work? For every new item you want Amazon to sell you’re required to send a few free units to Amazon. You’ll need a UPC or EAN for the product, plus an image. You’ll tell Amazon your bank info so you can get paid. Amazon will send you a prepaid shipping label for your items.

Once Amazon has your items it can offer them to its giant customer base. The items will be eligible for 2-day Prime shipping, which can boost sales and isn’t available for items not sold by Amazon.

If the free items you send Amazon during the trial run sell well, Amazon will contact you to buy more units from you. You’ll be paid within 60 days of the day your products hit Amazon’s warehouse.

Becoming an Affiliate

What if you don’t have any items to sell? In that case, you can become an Affiliate and link to Amazon items from, say, a personal blog or a YouTube channel. If visitors to your site click on a link to an Amazon product and make a purchase, you’ll get a cut.

This can be a good strategy for people who already have a following and a website that gets good traffic. You don’t want to bombard your readers with links, but linking to items, particularly if reviewing products is already part of your online brand, can be a win-win for both you and your readers.

Self-Publishing

If you think you have what it takes to write a book people will want to read, you can consider self-publishing on Amazon. You don’t need a publishing deal from a fancy New York publishing house to get thousands of readers and profit from your creativity.

Some self-published books that do well on Amazon are works of fiction, while others are how-to guides on niche topics. It’s worth browsing through Amazon’s offerings to find gaps that need filling. A well-written e-book with an appealing image and a bit of marketing behind it can be a great way to make money on Amazon.

Selling Your Apps

Are you a whiz at mobile apps? One way to make money on Amazon is to sell your app on the Amazon Appstore. That way, the millions of Amazon customers will have access to your app.

If you’ve already developed an Android app, it should work on the Amazon Appstore just fine, with no need for extra development on your part. In any case, it’s free to test your app for compatibility on Amazon, and the company says it will take just 90 seconds after you drop your Android Application Package (APK) to determine whether the app is compatible.

Another option for developers is Amazon Underground. Rather than selling a paid app, you’ll get paid for every minute your app is used on Amazon Underground. You wave download and in-app fees to offer your app free on Amazon Underground, and in return you are paid for every minute of user time. Most Android apps are eligible for Amazon Underground and you can get started by creating an Amazon developer account.

As a developer, you also have the option of selling an HTML5 app on Amazon. You can test your packaged web app using Amazon’s Web App Tester. Plus, Amazon now offers an open-source Web App Starter Kit for developers who want to offer webs apps on Amazon Fire TV.

Selling Your Services

What if you’re not a developer and you don’t have a product you want to sell? In that case, you can sell your services on Amazon and reach customers in your area. If you do installation work, for example, you can list your services for free on Amazon. If a customer in your area is buying a flat screen TV on Amazon he or she would also see a listing for your installation services.

You’ll set your prices up-front and wait for customers to find and contact you on Amazon. Or, you can opt to receive customer service requests that you can approve and bid on. Whichever option you choose, Amazon handles payment processing for you.

Bottom Line

As you might expect from such a giant company, Amazon offers lots of ways to make money using its platform. The option you choose will depend on what you have to offer Amazon’s millions of customers.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Freer Law, ©iStock.com/AdrianHancu, ©iStock.com/German

Amelia Josephson Amelia Josephson is a writer passionate about covering financial literacy topics. Her areas of expertise include retirement and home buying. Amelia's work has appeared across the web, including on AOL, CBS News and The Simple Dollar. She holds degrees from Columbia and Oxford. Originally from Alaska, Amelia now calls Brooklyn home.
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