How to Sell on Amazon FBA

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Amazon is the world’s largest retailer, and it is only getting bigger. The good news for anyone looking to make money online is that Amazon allows third-party sellers to reach its massive audience by selling products on their site. That means there are endless possibilities and huge income potential.

Selling on Amazon means many different things to different people:

  • You could sell used items that you buy at yard sales and thrift stores.
  • You could buy products on sale at retail stores and re-sell them for higher prices on Amazon (known as retail arbitrage).
  • You could buy products wholesale and sell them on Amazon.
  • You could write and sell e-books for Kindle.
  • You could create your own custom products.
  • You could find a manufacturer and hire them to create products for your own brand (private label).

Each approach has its own set of pros and cons, and there are people doing very well with each of these business models. My wife and I built a six-figure business selling private label products part-time on Amazon (more on that in a minute), and this article will show how to sell on Amazon.

What is FBA?

Amazon Warehouse

Photo by Scott Lewis / CC BY 2.0

As a third-party seller on Amazon, you can fulfill orders yourself, or you can join their FBA program. FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon, and essentially the program allows you to sell your products on Amazon without having all of the headaches associated with order fulfillment. You’ll send your products to one or more of Amazon’s warehouses and they’ll store the product for you. When someone orders your product Amazon will pack it up and ship it to the customer.

Of course, Amazon will take a cut of the sale as a fee for the service, but it’s well worth the cost. You’ll be able to free up your time for more important tasks related to running the business, and customer orders will be fulfilled and shipped quickly.

And possibly the best thing about selling your products FBA is that they will be eligible for free shipping. Amazon Prime members will be able to get free 2-day shipping when they buy your product. Those who aren’t Prime members will be able to get free shipping on your product if the order meets Amazon’s required minimum for free shipping.

Amazon FBA really is a game changer. The number of Prime members keeps growing, and these people (I am one of them) buy more and more on Amazon. FBA also makes it possible to realistically run an Amazon business as a part-time venture. You won’t need to dedicate your time to order fulfillment, and you won’t need to be tied to your home or office.

Not only does Amazon handle order fulfillment, but they also handle customer returns and any customer service issues related to shipping.

Summary Highlights of Selling Through Amazon’s FBA Program:

  • All of the order fulfillment and shipping is handled for you.
  • All returns and customer service related to shipping is handled for you.
  • No need to store inventory in your home or office.
  • No need to run to the post office every day to ship orders.
  • Your products will be eligible for free shipping (which means more sales for you).
  • Makes it possible for sellers to run a legit ecommerce business part-time.

→ Related reading: 100 Amazing Resources for Amazon Sellers

What is Private Labeling?

I really had no interest in selling on Amazon, or selling physical products in general, until I realized the power of combining the FBA program with private labeling. I was aware of both, but never thought about how the two could work together to make such a great business opportunity.

First, let’s talk about private labeling and what it is.

Essentially, private labeling is when you have a manufacturer or supplier put your logo on a product and sell it under your own brand. You don’t need to own a manufacturing facility, you simply have someone else create the product for you.

Exactly what qualifies as private labeling is a matter of opinion. Many people who sell private label products on Amazon buy a standard, stock product from a manufacturer and simply slap their own logo on the product. If you’ve spent much time on Amazon you may have seen a few different companies selling what appears to be the same identical product, aside from the logo. Sometimes they may even be using the same photos.

Hammock Straps

This is the fastest, easiest approach to selling your own products on Amazon, but it also presents a lot of potential problems. If there are other established brands selling the same exact product as you (or at least, extremely similar), how are you going to get people to buy yours instead of theirs?

And even if you are successful, it’s very easy for someone else to have the same product created and directly compete with yours. On Amazon, this usually leads to price wars that cut profit margins down to the point that you aren’t making any money.

The other approach is to have a manufacturer create a custom product for you based on your design or specs.

Or, you can start with one of their stock products and ask them to make certain changes or customizations that will improve the product and make yours unique. Most manufacturers are very willing to make customizations for you. This is a realistic way for you to differentiate your product from competitors, so you’re not trying to sell the same exact thing as everyone else. This is the approach that we took.

When I refer to private labeling, really I am talking about having a manufacturer create a product for your brand with your logo on it. It could be a product the same as everyone else’s, it could be customized, or it could be completely your own design. Regardless, you’re finding someone else to make the product for you.

Why Private Label?

Despite the challenges that you may face by selling a private label product, there is also a significant upside. Here are some of the main reasons why you might want to consider taking the private label approach:

  • You can completely outsource the manufacturing process, which makes it possible to run an e-commerce business with much lower overhead and risk.
  • When you combine it with the FBA program, you can outsource two of the biggest aspects of an e-commerce business (manufacturing and fulfillment).
  • With both manufacturing and fulfillment outsourced, you have the possibility for passive income.
  • It’s