So you’ve decided to take a plunge into Amazon, huh? Makes sense! The big ‘A’ is one of the world’s largest online retailers with over 90 million unique visitors every single month in the US alone. That’s a staggering amount of eyeballs waiting to catch a glimpse of your product listing.
Not convinced yet?
Sales of 3rd party sellers on the the global Amazon Marketplaces grew by 33% in 2014 to over 2 million items sold. That’s amounting to a staggering gross merchandise volume (GMV) of 32.7 billion in 2015!
In fact 43% of all items sold on Amazon are by third party sellers, from big companies to families and individuals.
The following graph compares the Ebay marketplace GMV to the one of Amazon 3rd party sellers (Source: ChannelAdvisor):
As you can see, sales on Amazon are literally skyrocketing.
But once you know the trend, how can you capitalize on it? How to go on and sell on Amazon yourself?
How to go from Zero with having no product or any experience to having a successful business with products being viewed and purchased by millions of people all over the world?
Well, Amazon has ensured you won’t be frowning in frustration by creating a series of effortless steps that will see you go from newbie to ninja seller in no time.
Your Amazon journey can start by first opening an Amazon Seller Central Account.
Amazon Seller Central Account Types & Monthly Cost
Hold on a sec. Before you actually dive into the deep end, you should know exactly what your options are. Amazon offers its users a choice between two Amazon Seller Central accounts: Professional and Individual.
Professional Seller Accounts, as the name suggests, are designed for users that intend to sell quite a number of products a month. They attract a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 whether anything is sold or not.
Individual Seller Accounts are perfect for the casual seller. Those who maybe want to get rid of some of those horrid gifts they got on their wedding. This account has no monthly fee but is charged $0.99 for every sale.
Perks of a Professional Account
If you plan to sell more than 40 units any single month, then the obvious choice is to go with an Amazon Seller Central Professional Account. And it isn’t just about saving a bit of change, being in this league comes with neat privileges such as:
- Being able to set your own shipping rates.
- Creating listings for unique products that don’t exist yet on Amazon. (This makes it the only option for private label sellers)
- Having access to restricted categories that include Jewelry, Shoes, Clothing, Automotive, Beauty, Collectibles, and Video.
- Using spreadsheets and uploads to create multiple listings.
- Managing orders and inventory using reports and feeds.
- Accessing Amazon Marketplace Web Service to receive crucial tools for promoting your products.
But if you think your account won’t be active for a while, you’re completely free to change to an Individual Seller Account and save yourself the $39.99 monthly fee.
Going International – Global Selling
One of the huge draws to selling on Amazon is the effortless global brand recognition you can get by listing in international marketplaces.
As you can see on the graphic above, apart from the US, there are 10 other Amazon marketplaces, each with their own Amazon Seller Central Accounts, that include Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, China, and India.
Selling in these markets requires you to register an account in them, but Amazon has worked hard to make it so much easier for you. With the North American Unified Account, you’ll only need a single Seller Central Account to access the American, Canadian, and Mexican marketplaces. Once you register on, let’s say, amazon.com, your account is automatically enabled for the two other markets. If you’re a Professional Seller, you’ll only be charged subscription fees for the marketplace you first registered on.
This is the same case for the European Unified Account, which only requires one seller central account to manage those in the other European marketplaces (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain). In addition to the details required to sell in the North American market, you’ll also be required to provide a VAT Number.
You’ll need to open a separate account if you intend to sell in the Indian, Chinese, and Japanese marketplaces. But you should note that sellers who don’t reside in China face certain restrictions in this market, while only those with a locally owned business in India can register on amazon.in.
For most US and international sellers North America, Europe and Japan are the obvious choices, because of these reasons.
But how interesting are these markets in terms of sales volume for sellers looking to open an account?
Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t gives statistics about 3rd party sales volume by country, but based on the revenue we can estimate the marketplace sizes for different countries. In the pie chart below is an overview of Amazon’s revenue share by country from 2012. This data is a bit outdated, since India was just launched in 2013 and is rapidly growing. However newer numbers are difficult to find.
To consider though are different growth figures, since this data is from 2012. India was just launched in 2013 and is estimated to already having surpassed 2 billion GMV.
Another thing to consider is languages. The UK offers a relatively straightforward way to expand to the European Market. Some of the regulations are different there, but you can use the same listing title, description and other sales material. While German and Japan are also large Amazon Marketplaces, as a Private Label Seller you’ll need to create a separate Packaging, Label, Manual, Product Listing in German or Japanese. The same goes for Spain, Italy and France.
How to Register your Amazon Seller Central Account
Now, that you’re armed with all this know-how, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of opening a Professional Account on seller central Amazon.
Seller Central Setup Checklist
For a seamless registration process, here are the items you need to have:
Amazon also provides a short video about what you should keep in mind when registering as a professional seller:
Step 1: Creating your Account
Head to the Amazon Services page and click on the ‘Sell as a Professional’ banner. If you don’t just want to declutter your garage that should be your account of choice.
You’ll then be presented with an option to either use your existing Amazon account or create a brand new one. If you decide to go the new account route, first you’re going to need a valid email address. In the next step, you’ll have to fill in details such as your personal and business information, set a password and cap it all off by checking the Agreement Box at the bottom of the page.
Step 2: Populating the Profile
After all that is done, you’ll be directed to the ‘Seller Information’ Page:
Choose your preferred display name and check for availability, fill the rest of the fields, and click the ‘Save’ button when you’re done.
Step 3: Adding Credit Card Information
Now comes the time to enter your credit card info. Amazon will charge $4 to your card to ascertain its validity. But not to worry, once everything checks out your money will swiftly find its way back to your account.
Step 4: Identity Verification
Amazon will then need to verify your identity by either placing a call or texting you. Simply enter your phone number and follow the prompts to enter your pin.
Step 5: Tax Information
The final step in the process is adding your tax information so that the guys at IRS can rest easy. Once you click the ‘Launch Interview Wizard’ you’ll be queried on your citizenship and required to enter some personal and business information.
You’ll then be prompted to enter your EIN, ITIN or SSN, review a completed W9, and provide your signature after reading a couple of statements.
Once you’ve signed and submitted the IRS form, click ‘Exit Interview’ followed by the ‘Complete Registration’ button at the top.
And voila! Your account is now set up (it might still take a bit of time to get it reviewed and approved). You’ve just taken the first step to starting your new Amazon business! After all already 2 million have taken those steps before you and opened an account.
Feeling overwhelmed or short on time?
For a small fee we can open and manage your accounts in different countries. Just contact us if you are looking for a trustworthy Amazon account management company.
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