How to Use Amazon as Your Consignment Shop

Everyone knows about eBay, but don’t overlook Amazon. Amazon has several programs for sellers, including one where Amazon handles the entire transaction from purchase all the way to shipping. Here’s what you need to know about selling on Amazon.

Amazon has come a long way since its pioneering inception as an online bookstore. Over the years it has grown into a full-fledged department store, selling everything from electronics to grocery items. And they’ll even sell your stuff too.

More than just books even.

Of course, if you sell books, you can sell them on Amazon in a number of ways:

  • List your antique and collectible titles
  • Sell your self-published books
  • Resell your used books 
  • Find buyers for college textbooks
  • Publish e-books through the Kindle Direct Publishing arm
  • You can even get published through Amazon’s traditional publishing imprint

But there’s so much more you can do through Amazon as a seller of products, those you acquire through normal business means and those you make yourself. Amazon will serve as your consignment shop.

What Is Amazon Fulfillment?

Amazon has a service called Fulfillment by Amazon. As the name implies, Amazon will sell, package, and ship your items to your customers for you, essentially serving as your business’s warehouse. It works like this:

  • You upload a list of products you want to sell and physically send the products to Amazon
  • Amazon adds your items to their inventory and lists them for sale
  • Customers find your products in Amazon’s store
  • Amazon fills the orders as they come in
  • Then, finally, Amazon ships your products to the customer and pays you for the items while keeping its commission for the sale

This is a great opportunity for small businesses that might have small staffs but high quality products to sell. Amazon will handle all of the customer service for your items. You set the prices for your items and Amazon keeps track of the sales and revenue data for you.

RELATED: Amazon and Nexus

What Can You Sell on Amazon?

Amazon has few restrictions about what you can and cannot sell through their website. The few rules they do have are reasonable.

For instance, you can’t sell hazardous materials.  

You also can’t sell prescription drugs, items that are deemed illegal under state or federal law, alcohol (unless you are a pre-approved wine seller), tobacco products, guns and ammunition, and other products that may be dangerous or harmful. Amazon has a complete list of prohibited items on its website.  

There are other items you can sell on consignment with Amazon that may require prior approval. These include:

  • 3D-printed products
  • Collectible books and coins
  • Jewelry
  • Major appliances
  • Wine
  • Sexual wellness products
  • And more

You can see a full list of products requiring prior approval on Amazon’s website, as well. Otherwise, Amazon is pretty open about what you can sell:

  • Media products, which include books, music, video games, DVDs, and software;
  • Non-media products that cost less than $300;
  • Oversize products, such as foam mattresses, storage boxes, computer keywords, home heaters, and more;
  • And other items that cost more than $300.

If in doubt, check Amazon’s seller guidelines or contact Amazon to get your specific questions answered.

How Much Does It Cost To Sell on Amazon?

Amazon charges depend on the item you are selling. In general, Amazon charges a storage fee, an order handling fee, packaging, weight handling, and special handling for large items. These prices vary according to the type of item you are listing, the list price of the item, time of year, and whether or not you’re using Amazon as your sole fulfillment channel or you are engaged in multi-channel fulfillment. Many of those charges, however, can be passed on to your customer, so you have to think through the sales process carefully.

One cool feature of Amazon’s Filfillment service is the revenue calculator. You can determine your expected revenue by entering your price and shipping charges into the calculator and having Amazon estimate your costs for the item while determining your total profit based on those numbers.

The 5 Keys to Successful Selling on Amazon

Using Amazon as your consignment shop requires some organization skills and a solid business plan. You can’t just wing it. Here are the 5 keys to successful consignments using Amazon as your storefront:

  • Monitor your consignment shop daily. You want to stay on top of your sales, shipments, and replenishments. Pro tip: Set up replenishment alerts.
  • Keep your listings updated and active. Be sure you don’t have any missing information. Pro tip: Check competitor prices and set yours accordingly.
  • Minimize errors. Follow all of Amazon’s guidelines on preparing and labeling products. Pro tip: Use Amazon’s FBA Shipment Checklist.
  • Optimize your listings and market your products. Pro tip: Use promotions to drive demand for your products.
  • Manage your inventory. Pro tip: Keep enough stock on consignment to cover demand for your products.

Think of Amazon as the worldwide version of your local consignment shop. It’s the Internet’s megastore. Don’t just list your products and forget about them. Actively market and promote them and you will sell more.

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