Selling on Amazon — a step-by-step guide

A man opens an Amazon package.

With more than 300 million active users and a reputation for ease of use and customer service, Amazon is the first stop for 74% of online shoppers.

As the world’s largest marketplace, there’s a lot of money to be made by those retailers who set up shop inside. But it may seem overwhelming to you and you’re not sure where to start.

The good news is anyone can sell on Amazon, and it’s relatively straightforward to get started. This article will explore the key steps you’ll need to take:

Before you start selling

Amazon gives all types of sellers, large and small, the potential to reach hundreds of millions of customers. But before jumping into our complete guide to Amazon selling, let’s learn how it works and what the cost of selling on the platform may be.

How much does it cost?

Depending on your selling plan, fulfillment strategy, product category, and other components, the cost of selling on Amazon will vary. There are a variety of options to fit your selling goals.

A graphic shows how the cost of selling on Amazon varies depending on your selling plan.

Selling plans

Before you can sell, you’ll need to register and choose one of the two plans Amazon offers that will best suit your business needs. The Individual plan has no monthly fee, but charges $0.99 per sale. The Professional plan has a flat fee of $39.99 per month regardless of how many items you sell.

The Individual plan may make the most sense if you sell fewer than 40 items a month and don’t require advanced selling programs or tools. If you’re still figuring out what to sell, you may want to opt for the Individual plan.

The Professional plan may be the right option for you if you sell over 40 items a month and need access to APIs and additional selling reports. If you wish to sell through programs such as Launchpad or Handmade, a Professional plan could be the better fit.

Referral fees

For each item sold, Amazon charges a referral fee. Referral fees are usually between 8% and 15% — depending on the product category.

Fulfillment fees

Whether you fulfill your own orders or use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), the cost to ship your orders will vary. When using FBA, Amazon handles your logistics and offers Prime shipping for items you sell.

Additional Amazon fees

You may incur other Amazon fees, depending on how you set up your store. Optional programs that carry additional fees include premium account services, advertising, long-term storage, and book rental services, among others.

What else will you need?

Apart from the fees to join the Amazon selling community, there are a few other things to purchase and consider.

Accounts with suppliers

Where you get your products to sell is another expense to keep in mind. You have to find the right suppliers for what you want to sell and research the options that fit your budget range.


Licensing is usually not necessary when selling online, but this may vary depending on your state. Check your state guidelines to see what kind of licensing you may need prior to starting. For Amazon sellers, there are states that require that sellers have a sales tax license or seller’s permit.

SEO and advertising tools

To reach more customers, you may want to consider SEO and advertising tools. You can create Sponsored Product ads to help customers find your products quickly by making them appear on product pages and related search results.

Other expenses

Amazon offers a variety of other programs that are optional but may help accelerate sales. Amazon’s inventory placement service lets you send eligible inventory to a single reception or fulfillment center. By spreading your inventory across multiple locations, customers can receive their purchases faster.

Make sure to research any costs associated with starting your Amazon selling journey and create a business plan that includes a healthy profit margin.

Now that we’ve gone over the costs associated with selling on Amazon, let’s dive into the steps you’ll need to start selling.

Step 1. Choose a selling strategy and decide what to sell

Bringing the best products to the marketplace takes time. There are a few tips that can help you decide what to sell and the strategy to do it.

Looking through Amazon seller program policies — including the Seller Code of Conduct, Shipping and Tax Policies, Product and Listing Requirements, and the Product Page Style Guide — will provide guidance for what can and cannot be sold on Amazon.

Once you know the rules of the road, join Facebook groups for Amazon sellers. This will help you find inspiration and learn best practices for selling on Amazon. After you’ve gotten some inspiration for what to sell, use software that will automate certain processes so you can focus on other important business tasks.

Choose a selling strategy

Before putting your items out on the market, determine your selling strategy. The selling strategy you choose will depend on your preferences and interests, as well as the time and resources you have available.

A graphic shows the steps of a selling strategy.

There are many strategies for selling on Amazon, but before you get started, you need to find the right products and suppliers you trust.

Amazon is the world’s largest online marketplace, used by thousands of consumers daily, and it offers countless opportunities for online sellers to reach new customers.

Research products and suppliers

Once you’ve decided on your selling model and group of products, next you need to research products and suppliers to ensure they are viable and profitable.

How to research products

Consider the following tips and best practices to help you stay top of mind and on top of Amazon shopping pages:

Research product categories. It’s essential to understand what shopping categories consumers are most interested in. This way you bring your products to the right market. The top 10 categories on Amazon are:

  1. Home & Kitchen
  2. Beauty & Personal Care
  3. Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry
  4. Toys & Games
  5. Health, Household & Baby Care
  6. Baby
  7. Electronics
  8. Sports & Outdoors
  9. Pet Supplies
  10. Office Supplies

Check what you can and can’t sell. While you can sell almost anything on Amazon, ensure the specific product you’re listing isn’t restricted for some reason. Not all categories and products are open to all sellers, and you should check the restricted products and categories and products that require approval. There are also different restricted products for FBA.

Some common restricted products include alcohol, certain dietary supplements, and tobacco products. Amazon wants customers to feel confident in choosing to buy from them and that the Amazon Marketplace has high-quality products. For a full list of restricted products, visit the restricted products page.

Research the competition. In order to stay relevant and stand out, you should see what similar businesses are doing with their products. Keep an eye on industry trends and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Ask yourself questions. As you research, ask yourself the following:

How to research suppliers

If a certain product interests you, it’s a smart idea to research the suppliers behind it. Email and call suppliers directly — this helps you avoid potential scams. Make sure the supplier can deliver where you need them to, at an affordable price, and is reliable.

Consider selling digital goods and services

You don’t have to sell a physical product. By selling digital goods, you can avoid many of the headaches that come with working alongside suppliers. Some examples of digital goods and services include:

Books — Kindle. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows sellers to share their book content digitally or through “print on demand.”

Art — Amazon Merch. As an artist, you can upload your images to Amazon Merch and have your design printed on a t-shirt. Merch doesn’t require you to have inventory to sell your products.

Music — Amazon Music and TuneCore. TuneCore is a part of Amazon Music. With it, artists can upload songs, and the songs will be instantly available on Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, and more than 150+ other stores around the world.

Step 2. Create your seller account

Amazon Seller Central is the portal to access your Amazon seller account. It has all the tools necessary to manage sales on the Amazon website.

In Seller Central, you can:

Amazon business account requirements

In order to legally sell items on Amazon, you will need the following:

Amazon Seller Central vs. Vendor Central

Amazon Seller Central is used by brands to sell and market their products directly to Amazon’s customer base. Shipping and customer service can be handled by you alone or with the help of Amazon.

Vendor Central is made for distributors and manufacturers. Distributors and manufacturers are considered a supplier and sell your items in bulk to Amazon, which will then resell your products to its customer base. Becoming a part of Vendor Central requires an invitation.

Amazon Seller app

The Amazon Seller app is a free mobile app that helps you manage your Amazon storefront from your phone. This gives you the flexibility to make necessary changes anywhere you are.

One of its popular features is the ability to scan physical items to quickly look them up on Amazon. There are many other helpful features that make adding and changing business features a breeze — such as the creation of product listings, managing product inventory, adjusting pricing, and more.

A phone screen shows the Amazon Seller app.

Step 3. Choose how to manage inventory and order fulfillment

As you list your first products, you now have another decision to make — whether to ship the items yourself or let Amazon do it.

Selecting the right fulfillment option

Amazon can help you with fulfillments, but you may want to do it on your own — depending on cost and other factors.

  1. Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN). In this option, you fulfill orders by yourself. Sellers list products and manage shipping, storage, and customer support on their own. It’s important to plan where you will store inventory, how you will handle refunds or returns, how products will be packed and shipped, and how you will still provide exceptional customer service throughout all of this.
  2. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With this fulfillment option you send your products to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, where they will pack and ship orders — and manage customer service and returns. This is Amazon’s preferred option for sellers to use for order fulfillments.
  3. Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF). This is an option for those who already have an ecommerce store and want to use Amazon as a fulfillment center. All you need to do is connect your Amazon account to your Adobe Commerce site, sync your inventory, and then you’re ready to start selling.

How Fulfillment by Amazon works

Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) lets you outsource your orders to Amazon and share your products with a global network of fulfillment centers. FBA provides Prime customers with free two-day shipping. Once a customer places an order, Amazon team members handle the packing, shipping, and customer service assistance.

Inventory management

Inventory management is everything that takes place between the moment you receive inventory and when it is sold to the customer. When done correctly, sales go up. However, when managed incorrectly, revenue can suffer.

Successfully managing your inventory is a crucial component of your business. Here are some issues that can arise if inventory management is neglected:

Step 4. List your products

Now you’re ready to create your first product listing. To begin selling items on Amazon, you’ll need to make a product listing in Seller Central. Here is some information to include when you’re deciding how to list an item on Amazon:

If someone else already provides the same product, you’ll match it with a current listing — this means that some information will already be published, such as the product identifier. If no one has published the same product, you can start a listing from scratch.

Small changes can lead to big payoffs for your business. Think about putting together a product listing checklist. Some of the things to consider in helping buyers find your products are ensuring images with listings are clear, titles are descriptive, and features of your product are clear and concise.

Consider the following:

Step 5. Build the product detail pages

Your product detail page should provide customers with the product’s important features. The descriptions and photos should give all the information needed to make customers feel confident buying from your business.

  1. Brand store. This will show up under the product name on the product details page. If you have a brand storefront set up, you can link it so customers can see your other offerings.
  2. Title. This should include your product’s name, brand name, quantity, and specific differentiating features. It’s best to keep product titles under 150 characters.
  3. Product images. Images should show multiple angles of your product, the product in use, and its different features. It’s ideal to have six images and one video.
  4. Bullet points. These are quick, important notes about your product that your customer base will be most interested in. This could include style, functionality, durability, size, material, and so forth. Include at least five bullets.
  5. Product descriptions. Use the description to highlight your product’s standout features and your brand’s story.
  6. Buy box. This is the area where customers can add items to their carts. It is only offered to sellers who offer products at a competitive price — meaning if the same item is offered at a lower price on a different platform, instead of the “Add to cart” button users will see “See all buying options.”

A screenshot of the Amazon website displaying a camera for sale.

Step 6. Promote your products

Once you have your products listed, it’s time to promote them. Amazon hosts millions of different products on its website, so just listing a product is not enough to get buyers to add items to their carts.

Using the following strategies, you can make it easier for customers to find your products:

Step 7. After the sale, keep up with metrics and reviews

Congrats, you’ve made a sale. But it’s not time to sit back and relax just yet — study the numbers and focus on feedback to continue on your path to sales success.

Keep up with ecommerce metrics

Numbers don’t lie. Use Amazon analytics tools to measure your business’s success.

Manage your customer reviews

Many customers look to reviews before making a purchase. Without reviews, it will be more difficult to sell items as customers won’t be sure if they can trust your brand or product.

Here are some tips to get reviews on your products:

Continually asking for feedback and then acting on it is vital to Amazon selling success.

With more than 300 million active users and a reputation for ease of use and customer service, Amazon is the first stop for 74% of online shoppers.

With more than 300 million active users and a reputation for ease of use and customer service, Amazon is the first stop for 74% of online shoppers.

How to sell successfully on Amazon

You could just publish your products on Amazon and call it a day, but why go through all that trouble to get your offerings out there and not build a loyal customer base? We’ll give you some tips and tricks to build a loyal fan base in no time.

Optimize your product detail pages

Most sales start with product searches. Taking the time to optimize your items for Amazon’s search engine will lead to greater profitability. Look through your product detail pages and see what improvements can be made to organically bring buyers to your offerings through Amazon search results.

Pay attention to your product packaging

While it can be easy to just ship off the item a customer ordered and consider the job done, your packaging represents an opportunity to stand out as an above-and-beyond business to your buyers. Perhaps you can include discounts and coupon codes in the package or other incentives to return to your business. Customers who receive these extras are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase and spread the word about your brand.

Have fair and stable pricing

To build a loyal customer base, you need to maintain fair pricing on your items. Amazon hosts millions of items, and customers can easily switch to another brand’s offerings.

Here are some critical considerations when creating your pricing strategy:

  1. Amazon Marketplace fair pricing policy. Amazon sellers set their own prices, but Amazon monitors items and compares them against similar items. Amazon reserves the right to remove items or terminate selling privileges for actions like setting prices on products that are significantly higher than that of similar items or adding an excessive shipping fee.
  2. Automate pricing tool. This free tool can help you adjust prices quickly and stay ahead of the competition while increasing your chance of being shown as a Featured Offer.
  3. Stable prices. Amazon offers a range of buying options. Building long-term customer relationships comes from offering the best deals, even if this means cutting prices — and potentially putting you below profitability.

Win the buy box

The Amazon buy box isn’t offered to all sellers — it’s only for those who offer products at a competitive price. So, if the same item is offered at a lower price on a different platform, instead of the “Add to Cart” button, users will be shown “See all buying options.” Winning the buy box is a huge victory for your business.

A screenshot of the Amazon cart and buying options

Push advertising

You can post an item and forget about it, but you have a greater chance of making more sales if you put time and effort into advertising. Sponsored advertisements through Amazon can keep you on the top of pages and customers’ minds.

For tips and tricks on how you can bring your business to customers, check out this beginner’s guide to ecommerce marketing. You can also read articles to discover the best ecommerce marketing strategies and learn how to grow your ecommerce business.

Provide excellent customer service

Amazon offers some of the best ecommerce customer service in the retail world — and it’s important that sellers keep that in mind. By continuously acting on feedback and staying up on current trends, your business will stand out among all the other offerings.

Address customer feedback on reviews promptly and professionally and ask what you can do to improve. Be sure to respond to emails within 24 hours and provide solutions with your replies. By consistently adjusting your strategy based on customer feedback, you build transparency and trust among both new and existing buyers.

Getting started selling on Amazon

As the world’s largest marketplace, Amazon offers countless opportunities for online sellers to reach new customers. When you’re ready to begin, go to Amazon Seller Central and sign up for your own seller account.

Despite the many massive benefits of selling on Amazon, it can still seem daunting and complicated to get started. Don’t worry — Adobe is here to help.

Adobe Commerce, formerly Magento, integrates digital and physical shopping experiences with a portfolio of cloud-based, omnichannel solutions — including in-store, retail associate, and order management technologies. Hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS), Adobe Commerce offers scalability and flexibility for B2C and B2B experiences built on a headless, extensible architecture.

You can use Adobe Commerce with Amazon as your fulfillment center within a multiple channel strategy to list products, reach your market quickly, and deliver exceptional customer experiences.

To learn more about Adobe Commerce, watch the overview video or take an interactive product tour.

Download the free Amazon Sales Channel extension.