I have been selling used and new items for over 15 years. Whether the item is old, I couldn’t return it, I got tired of it, or I found a great deal on it and resold it for a profit, the result is that I have been able to make a lot of money by selling stuff.
In fact, this month I have already made $454.00 PROFIT by selling stuff that I had in my garage. One of my favorite places to sell is on Amazon.com. They make selling really easy because:
a- People trust Amazon. They have a great reputation and almost everybody has bought something from them before.
b- Selling things on Amazon is super easy!! They have the most user friendly database I’ve ever seen. If you have never sold on Amazon.com you simply go to Amazon.com then click on the word Sell (or click here) and go through the EASY step-by-step-prompts.
c- Selling on Amazon gives you the advantage of having trusted reviews associated with your product and usually that helps it sell even faster. If your product is highly disliked and a 1 or 2 star on amazon you may want to sell it elsewhere.
d- Amazon has a huge database with all the information of typical items. You just key in the items unique barcode and set your price. Amazon has all of the details already there for the buyer (talk about a quick way to sell).
e- Finally, Amazon pays you on schedule and they are super reliable in making their payments.
Now, when I first started selling on Amazon I made some pretty big mistakes…which is why I’m writing this article. I’ve noticed other private sellers out there making these or other mistakes too. So here are 9 mistakes Amazon-Sellers make and how to avoid them.
1- They assume Amazon’s shipping rates are accurate. I’ve sold tons of stuff on Amazon and not ONCE did the shipping come out as low as Amazon accounts it to be (even using USPS). Although Amazon does allow you to print off the shipping labels on their site, the price will go up after the size and weight are inputted into their calculators.
Granted the price difference really does depend on the size of the item (a new printer I sold cost $29.00 to ship because I needed to buy a big box, tracking and insurance). Amazon calculated it to ship for $12.00! Another item I just shipped was a smaller light box but it was an expensive item so I needed insurance. The shipment was $16.00, $10.00 more than the $6.00 Amazon quoted. Sellers should add add 50-100% of Amazon’s shipping cost to their set shipping cost. This number will be more accurate to the total shipping price you will have to pay. For example, a $5.00 Amazon shipping rate will most likely cost $7.50-$10.00 to ship with tracking at USPS.
2- Forgetting to leave a review. If you have used the item or know a lot about it then leave a review on the items you are trying to sell. I usually do this if it has less than 4 ½ stars. Sometimes your review will help others to see what a great product it is and purchase it. At other times your review (if there are not many) will take your item from a 3 star to a 4 star item. Or from a 4 star to a 5 star item.
3- Failing to compare all the other prices on your item before setting your price. Before I post anything I always look at all the prices (including the shipping). I use these prices to determine where I want to set my price.
Further, a lot of private sellers forget about the cost of convenience. Amazon usually has an option to get an item shipped out for free all together in one package. Many fail to compete with this. Instead of competing, private sellers base their price off of Amazon’s free shipping items and match the price.
When you set your price you need to make buying the item even more appealing than convenience. Set your price low enough that a buyer would save a good bit of money by buying your product including shipping, rather than the Amazon’s sponsored product minus shipping.
I will usually take my product down (depending on what it is) 5-20% off of the free shipped item that Amazon is sponsoring. As a result, I sell my items very quickly. Oh, and make sure to take into account the fee that Amazon is going to charge you so you know exactly how much you will be getting out of the deal.
4- Not marketing your product well. Especially if it is a used product. Failing to upload photographs of the item will make it much harder to sell. People love to see a photograph of what they are going to buy. So make sure to upload a few really great photographs and your items will sell much faster.
In addition, make sure to put a detailed description and notes on the item. You are marketing an item to a huge audience of buyers, make it look good, sound good, but be honest. Don’t falsely advertise that something is in LIKE NEW condition if it is scratched up. Falsely advertising will get you returns and bad reviews.
5- Not selling something that is NOT currently being sold by anyone. I just sold an expensive motherboard that had been sitting in storage for years. It had 5 star reviews when I punched in the item code into Amazon but hadn’t been sold for over a year ago. I thought it would be interesting to see if someone would still buy an old-but-still-new product. I was pleasantly surprised. It only took 4 months and the motherboard sold for a premium amount. Not too bad!
So if you do look up your item and there is no one currently selling it, list it anyway because someone may have an attachment to it or perhaps have a part break on it and need another one. You never know who might be out there looking for exactly what you have.
6- Going out of town for over a few days and not taking the product offline. Here is the deal. As a seller Amazon generally doesn’t care who you are. What they really care about is how you treat their customers. And mainly if you are QUICK! They give you about 2-3 days to get the item shipped out. If you are out of town and can’t ship the item your account will be seriously dinged!
As SOON as you ship the item enter the tracking number into your account. This informs the buyer and Amazon that the item has shipped. The faster you ship items the higher rank/standing you have as an Amazon seller.
7- Not accounting for the occasional return. I sold a software system that worked great but we wanted a different program so we uninstalled it and put it up for sell. Two weeks after I shipped it out (again costing me about $5.00 more than Amazon allotted) the man claimed it didn’t work.
Well, I had proof it worked, photographs, etc. So I read the Amazon return policy which pretty much says that as long as it is within 30 days you have to return everything EXCEPT software programs. Amazon protects the sale of software because people can just download it and return it, thus stealing it.
I didn’t know whether this man was being honest or not. But I knew the software program worked. I also knew that eating up the shipping out fee ($8.00), the small return fee from Amazon, and then trying to sell it and ship it again was going to end up costing me a lot of money. Rather than making me money I would be paying to have it sold. The buyer and I went back and forth. Ultimately Amazon sided with me but it cost my account a major ding. It took me from the excellent seller status to the ‘fair’ seller status.
So please learn from my mistake and either plan for the occasional return or sell things like working software locally without any return policy. Bonus Tip: If you do get dinged and lowered in your seller status the best thing to do is keep trying to sell more items. It only took me selling two items and getting them shipped out quickly for my fair status to be raised to Good status.
8- Not contesting a bad review or claim. Make sure to answer any and all questions and claims quickly. If someone gives you a bad review and it is not warranted you can contact Amazon and ask them to remove it. Further, you can gently remind your buyers by sending them an email to give you a positive review. This will help buyers to feel more confident buying from you. Bonus tip- If you shipped something out on time but it was close to the deadline and Amazon dings you for shipping it out late, you can also contest this and get your account put back to a better standing.
9- Check your email often. If you don’t have a smartphone and/or are lazy about checking your inbox you may just miss the notification that the item you listed on Amazon sold. Not knowing to ship the item out will end up getting you a bad review on your seller account. Bonus tip: Make sure amazon emails are coming to your inbox! Bonus Tip 2: Respond timely to interested buyers questions about the product.
Wow, that was a lot of information! I probably made you rethink wanting to sell on Amazon. But TRUST me when I say the money you can make off of Amazon by selling things is totally worth it.
I’ll simplify these mistakes and recap the 9 ways to AVOID them.
1- Add 50-100% of Amazon’s shipping cost to their set shipping cost. This number will be more accurate to the total shipping price you will have to pay. I.E. a $5.00 Amazon shipping rate will most likely cost $7.50-$10.00 to ship with tracking at USPS.
2- IF your item is not a 5 star item (and it deserves a good review) take a moment and give it 5 stars.
3- Compare all of Amazon’s prices and determine where your price needs to be to beat out the competition. Make your price appealing enough that the ‘convenience factor’ loses.
4- Market your product well. Make sure to upload good photographs of the item, especially if it is used, and leave a detailed description.
5- List all the items you want to sell, even if it is an old product that hasn’t been sold on Amazon for years.
6- If you are going out of town, either take the item with you, or give it to a trusted person to ship, or remove the item from Amazon so your account doesn’t get dinged if it does sell.
7- Only sell things that you are 1- willing to have returned 2- that can’t be stolen easily.
8- If you get an unwarranted bad review contact Amazon. They have great customer support.
9- Make sure Amazon emails are coming to your inbox and that you check your email often and respond quickly.
Despite the 9 common mistakes that sellers on Amazon may make, Amazon is one of the best places to sell items online! Not only do you have a huge audience of buyers, a sophisticated system in which to sell, and the trust factor that Amazon has worked so hard to build, you also have the ability to get a better price for your items than trying to sell them locally on classifieds.