How to start selling items on Amazon — a step-by-step guide

Alper Çuğun/FlickrMake money off that unused book or game collection by becoming an Amazon seller.

  • Becoming an Amazon seller is a great way to make a few bucks off that used text book, a thoughtful but unwanted gift, or off of vintage or collectible items.
  • If you complete fewer than 50 sales on Amazon annually and sell items for less than their original price, you don’t need to worry about tax documents.
  • Here is how to set up an “Individual” seller account and start selling with Amazon.

When you think of the process going on behind an Amazon sale, you likely picture a complex network of computers and servers, a massive warehouse teeming with workers (or robots), and a fleet of big white vans rushing products all around the nation.

That snapshot is accurate for most Amazon sales, but in fact a good portion of Amazon sales also come from individuals operating small virtual storefronts from a home office (or living room couch).

Amazon sellers have the advantage of the well-oiled Amazon Seller Central portal, through which they can easily post products, respond to buyer questions, connect to Amazon’s support team, and generally manage their account.

Selling through Amazon can be a welcome alternative to setting up your own website, figuring out how to accept payments, dealing with customer issues, and so forth – the trade-off is Amazon taking a range of commission percentages as a “referral fee” on your sales price, but that’s often a small price to pay for being connected to a massive online marketplace.

Here’s how to set up a seller account and start making cash selling goods on Amazon.

How to set up a seller account on Amazon

Amazon selling screenshotAmazonFind ‘Sell on Amazon’ at the bottom of Amazon’s homepage.

First, you need to decide whether you want to set up an Individual seller account or a Professional seller account. With the former, you will be charged 99 cents per sale, in addition to separate selling fees, but the account itself is free. Professional accounts cost $US39.99 per month but the 99-cent per sale fee is waved.

Both accounts pay commissions on sales. Only a Professional account allows for the creation of new listings; Individuals are limited to selling products already featured on the site. (Don’t worry, you’ll likely rarely, if ever, have something to sell that Amazon doesn’t already offer.)

For our purposes, we’ll be discussing setting up an Individual account. Here’s the step-by-step on that.

  1. Go to and sign in to your regular account (if you don’t have one, making one is quick and easy).
  2. On the homepage, scroll almost to the bottom of the page (to the penultimate block of links) and click “Sell on Amazon” under the “Make Money with Us” header.
  3. Near the top right of the next page, clock the orange “Start selling” button.
  4. You will now be prompted to enter a fair amount of information – the process is easy and step-by-step, but before you begin, make sure you have the following information readily available:
    • Your name, address, and other contact information, including a phone number and email address.
    • A valid, internationally accepted credit card.
    • A phone number at which you can be immediately reached (as in during the registration).
    • Your tax identity information.
    • Your bank account number and routing number.

You are now set to start selling on Amazon! But before you list a single product, it’s a good idea to get your seller’s profile tidied up.

Go to the Amazon Seller Central portal and click “Settings” in the top right corner, then hit “Account Info” in the drop down menu.

Once on the Seller Account Information page, spend some time clicking on each area of the portal (“Your Seller Profile,” “Payment Information,” and “Tax Information,” e.g.) to make sure everything is set up as you want. Don’t overlook the display name of your “store” – you might want to make sure it does not display as your own name.

Listing products on an Amazon seller account

Amazon productAmazon‘Add a Product’ to your ‘Inventory.’

Assuming you are selling a product with an ASIN (Amazon’s own identification number), a UPC (Universal Product Code – the 12-digit number found on product barcodes), an EAN (European Article Number), or a book with an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), listing products on Amazon is remarkably easy.

Screen Shot 2019 02 05 at 10.59.19 AM (2)AmazonThe form for listing a product.
  1. Go to your Seller Central home portal.
  2. At the top of the page, click or hover over “Inventory,” then hit “Add a Product” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Copy and paste or type the ASIN, UPC, EAN, or ISBN of the item to sell into the text bar under “List a new product” and hit “Search.”
  4. Assuming Amazon finds the product, on the next page, choose the condition in which you are selling it (be objective), and set your price (be competitive – you will be able to see the lowest current price).
  5. Note that Individual accounts can’t set shipping prices, so if you want to be the lowest rate, you may need to undercut the bottom price by five or six dollars.
  6. Set the quantity of the item you have to sell.
  7. List the item, then move on to the next.

You’ve now started out as an Amazon seller and can begin making some extra cash.

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