Can you make money selling on Amazon? It’s a very common question. There are actually a number of different ways people can make money through the Amazon platform, and each of them has the potential to make you a profit.
In this post we’ll go through the top ways you can make money either on Amazon, or by being an affiliate of Amazon.
Keep in mind that Amazon is likely the biggest and most trusted online retailer there is, so there are massive advantages to teaming up with Amazon in a bid to make money. It only makes sense to consider a business that can capitalise on those enormous advantages.
The Amazon Affiliate Program – Amazon Associates
If you’re not familiar with affiliate marketing, it’s actually a fairly simple process. It basically means you act a sales rep, in this instance, for the products being sold on Amazon. If you promote or recommend a product – say on your own website or social media, or maybe even via email – and someone clicks through on your link and makes a purchase on Amazon, you earn a commission.
One of the good things about Amazon’s affiliate program is that the purchaser doesn’t have to end up purchasing the product you promoted. So long as they purchase anything on the site after clicking your link, if it’s eligible for affiliate commissions, you’ll get paid.
The downside is that the Amazon cookie only lasts 24 hours. That means if the potential customer clicked through on your link days ago and then makes a purchase, you no longer make a commission off of it.
Another downside to the Amazon platform as far as affiliate commissions go is they are not very high, generally ranging from about 2% and up to 10%, depending on the product category.
Why I say that’s a negative is because there are stacks of other affiliate offers outside of Amazon where you can earn anywhere from 40%, and even up to 100% commissions in some cases. The general average is anywhere between 30% and 50% or so.
Having said that, I doubt there are any other products being sold through any other retailer that can boast the customer trust factor that Amazon has. And that’s it’s biggest selling point when it comes to being an affiliate for them. Getting sales isn’t really all that hard because everyone trusts buying from Amazon.
Many other affiliate programs you can simply join up and start promoting the products, but on Amazon you first have to apply to their “Associates” program and wait for your application to either be accepted or denied.
If it is accepted, then you have 180 days to make your first affiliate sale, or your Associates account will be shut down.
I personally don’t think Amazon’s affiliate program is the best in the world, but it’s a lot easier to get sales when you promote Amazon products as compared to other platforms.
I actually do affiliate marketing for a living, and promoting some Amazon products makes up a part of my overall promotional mix. I’ve written a guide on getting started with affiliate marketing. Click here to check it out.
Sell Print Books and eBooks
Jeff Bezos originally created Amazon as an online book selling platform. Now while the company is now global, massive and sells just about everything, both print books and eBooks on the Kindle platform still make up a large portion of the company’s overall sales volume.
As an author you can publish both print books and eBooks on the Amazon platform. Print books are distributed through the “print on demand” (POD) model, meaning they are only printed up and shipped when a purchase is made.
The print book model used to be handled by Amazon’s sister company, CreateSpace, but that platform has since been disbanded and all POD books are printed by Amazon now.
When it comes to Kindle eBooks, delivery of the digital book is instant.
I actually publish and sell both print books and eBooks on Amazon, and I have been doing so since 2010.
Even though I write my own books, you don’t actually have to be an author or writer to publish and sell books on Amazon. You can always hire writers to write the material, and freelance sites like Upwork are very popular for this.
Every book needs a cover, and if you don’t want to design these, you can get pretty cheap book covers designed by freelancers on Fiverr.
So at the end of the day, whether you’re a writer or not, the door is open for anybody all across the globe to make money with both eBooks and print books on Amazon, and the upload process is actually quite simple.
I won’t get into how all that works here, but there are loads of written and video tutorials online that’ll help you out with the process if you need it. But seriously, Amazon have things set up so it’s all very easy to do.
Once you have a book ready, especially an eBook, you can have it uploaded within minutes. Then it’s simply a matter of waiting for it to be approved by Amazon and it’ll usually go live in under 24 hours.
Let’s first talk about what retail arbitrage actually means before we dig into how you can make money with it on Amazon.
There are actually 2 schools of thought when it comes to how retail arbitrage works, but basically it simply means buying a product from one place cheaper, and then selling it somewhere else for a profit.
Now when it comes to Amazon, if you have a seller account with the retail giant, you can advertise your own products for sale on there, just like you can on eBay.
So let’s say you buy up a bunch of products that were on sale at your local Target store. You got them at a huge discount, and now you list them on Amazon for a much higher price than what you paid for them.
It’s almost like buying them wholesale.
That’s one method of retail arbitrage, but there is also another extremely common method, and one that is actually taught in a lot of online courses.
Generally it involves doing some product research on both Amazon and eBay first. What you are looking for is products that are selling cheaper on eBay than what they are on Amazon.
You create a product listing on Amazon based on a product you found on eBay. When someone buys the product on Amazon, you then make the purchase off eBay and have the eBay seller ship the product directly to the customer and you pocket the profit.
It’s almost like drop shipping, except your supplier doesn’t know they are acting as your supplier.
Some people claim the second method is a bit sneaky and unethical, and maybe so, but it’s also extremely common and very popular.
Retail arbitrage can work as a method to make money on Amazon, no matter which option out of the 2 you choose, but generally profit margins are small, so there’s no room for error.
To be honest it’s not one of my recommended ways to make money on Amazon, but I thought I would mention it because of its popularity.
Drop shipping has become somewhat of a phenomenon in the past decade or so, and it’s a super popular way of operating an eCommerce store through platforms like Shopify.
It’s also a super popular eCommerce option when selling on Amazon too.
the main reason it’s so popular is you don’t have to purchase any inventory as a drop shipper, nor do you need to concern yourself with packaging and shipping out orders.
These are the key reasons why it’s become one of the top eCommerce options in the modern world.
What is drop shipping exactly?
What you do as a drop shipper is find a supplier, or several suppliers, for the products you want to sell. Your supplier is basically a wholesaler who is willing to abide by the drop ship model.
When it comes to Amazon, you list your products for sale, then when a sale is made, the purchaser pays you the retail price plus shipping charges, and then you send the order through to your supplier and pay them the wholesale price plus shipping costs.
Using your branding, your supplier then packs up the item and ships it out to your Amazon customer. They are none the wiser that the product was drop shipped. They get what they want, you make a profit, your supplier makes a profit and Amazon makes a profit.
It’s so popular because it’s a cheap way of being a retailer. Plus, you don’t ever have to handle products.
A word of caution on drop shipping with Amazon though.
While Amazon is happy to have drop shippers on their platform, Amazon is super customer-centric, and one of the main ways they look after customers is by offering fast shipping turnaround times.
The problem with drop shipping – especially if the products are coming from a supplier in China – is that shipping times can end up being months. To a company like Amazon, that’s unacceptable.
If you are going to be a successful drop shipper on Amazon, then you likely really need to find a supplier located in the country where you plan to sell the products. So if you want to sell on US Amazon, then it’s best to find a supplier located in the USA.
Be An Amazon Seller
As an Amazon seller you are responsible for the fulfillment of any sales and orders made on the platform. This could include being a drop shipper, retail arbitrage, or even selling your own product line on Amazon.
This type of Amazon account is very similar to selling on eBay, but in the case of a professional seller account, Amazon charges a monthly fee rather than a listing fee and a cut of the sale like eBay does.
An alternative is being an individual seller on Amazon, in which case the structure is very much like eBay, where Amazon charge a listing fee for each item you’re selling, and take a percentage of the final sale price.
Being an Amazon seller is one of the most common ways people make money with Amazon.
As an Amazon vendor, you are acting as a wholesaler and supplying products to Amazon for the company to sell for a profit. You distribute the products to Amazon, Amazon pays you the wholesale price and takes care of all the retail and selling side of things after that.
Quite possibly this is one of the simplest ways of making money on Amazon, because if you’re a manufacturer or a wholesaler, all you need to do is sell a bunch of products to Amazon and be done with it.
Amazon goes off selling and you walk away with a nice paycheck.
Fulfillment By Amazon – FBA
These days, using Amazon’s very handy “Fulfillment By Amazon” scheme is one of the easiest and best ways to sell your products on Amazon, because Amazon handles all the shipping for you. It’s almost like drop shipping, except you buy the inventory in advance and have it shipped to the Amazon warehouse in the country where you’ll be selling it.
As an example, if you are selling shoes for kids in the US, you’ll first source a wholesale supplier who is reliable and offering the shoes at the right price. Once you’ve become a member of the Amazon FBA platform, you make your first purchase of stock and have it shipped to the US warehouse.
After the stocks arrive, you then start making your Amazon sales pages so you can sell your shoes. Amazon even helps you out by offering a variety of ways to get more exposure for your products on their site. Things like:
- Sponsored products
- Recommendation emails
- Top 100 lists
- Amazon categories
- And so on…
Every time you make a sale, the team at Amazon takes it from there and ships the product out to the customer on your behalf.
There are some fees involved in using the Amazon FBA service, but they are affordable, making this one of the most popular ways to sell and make money on Amazon.
The real beauty of FBA is it leaves you free to concentrate on marketing and promotion and making sales, rather than being snowed under fulfilling orders. This is really advantageous when it comes to scaling and rapid growth. Your sales increase, but your workload doesn’t.
There is some really great training that shows you step by step how to make awesome money by taking advantage of Fulfillment By Amazon. Check out my review of the training here.
FBA really is the way to go if you want to more effortlessly sell products through Amazon and have every chance of making great money in the process.
The original question was “can you make money selling on Amazon”, and the answer is you most definitely can.
And as we’ve covered in this post, there are a number of ways to make money by teaming up with the online retail giant.
I’ve personally been making money on Amazon since 2010, first as an author/publisher, and more recently as an Amazon Associate (affiliate).
If you are looking to seriously make some money on Amazon and eCommerce appeals to you, then definitely look into Fulfillment By Amazon.
If you have any thoughts about making money on Amazon, or wish to share your own experiences, please leave a comment below.