Amazon is fast becoming the go-to place for shopping, drawing in huge traffic and making a tremendous amount of sales. Indeed, the popularity of Amazon is causing major issues for physical and online retailers, as customers are turning to Amazon instead for deals and for convenience.
With Amazon’s popularity, it’s no wonder that so many people are turning to the site as a way to make money. In many cases, people are trying to figure out how to transition from eBay to Amazon as a seller, simply because Amazon seems to offer so much more potential.
With that in mind, I’m using this post to talk about getting involved in Amazon, what you can expect and how to move from an eBay business to an Amazon one.
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Using Amazon FBA
If you’re going to sell physical products on Amazon, then you’re probably going to want to use Amazon FBA. This is the Fulfillment by Amazon program and it offers sellers the chance to decrease the amount of work involved in selling online.
In particular, with Amazon FBA you don’t have to deal with shipping items to customers or with customer service. You don’t even need to store the items yourself. This is very different from Ebay, which doesn't offer such a program, and places the responsibility on the seller to ship, track, and deal with related issues.
Instead, with Amazon FBA you ship your products to Amazon, using specialized labeling. Your products are then stored in Amazon’s warehouses and are shipped out to customers from there.
The immediate benefit of doing so is convenience. By using Amazon FBA, you majorly decrease the legwork involved in your business. In turn, this makes it easier to expand, especially as you don’t have to worry about physically storing products.
Not surprisingly, there are some fees involved. In particular, you do need to pay shipping to get items to Amazon and storage fees as well. However, if you’re careful and plan well, these costs can be very low.
The end result is that Amazon FBA acts as a powerful opportunity for making money by selling physical products online. You end up with a business that you can scale up effectively, meaning that you have more profit potential overall.
Making The Transition
Amazon and eBay are two completely different systems, each with their own quirks. Effectively transitioning from one to the other isn’t necessarily difficult but you do have to be aware of the differences and what to expect.
The first of these is, of course, the auction side of things. eBay is primarily an auction site, while Amazon doesn’t have that feature at all. If your eBay business was based mostly on selling rare items that get bid up due to hype and rarity, then you may not be used to Amazon's straightforward pricing system.
Another difference is the way that people search and find items. On eBay, when people search for an item they are shown individual listings from each seller. In contrast, when people search for an item on Amazon, they are shown product listings, then you can choose which buyer you want to buy the item from.
From within those listings, people then have the choice whether they buy new or used. The default shown is usually an FBA item, though which seller is featured varies. I did some brief FBA training while testing some of the Top FBA courses, but I can't remember how Amazon decides who gets the main box. There's a method, but how that works isn't relevant right now. Needless to say, you can learn this as you transition and train.
To find what individual sellers offer, customers have to do a bit more clicking, until they come to pages like this:
People do certainly buy from individual sellers, which is why so many sellers are able to create successful businesses on Amazon. But, at the same time, the nature of Amazon means that there are different things to consider.
For example, listings from sellers are ranked using algorithms and those will often favor Amazon products. Additionally, buyers are horrible at leaving feedback on Amazon. In fact, most don’t seem to realize that there are two separate places to leave feedback, one for the product, one for the seller. That issue can make it harder to gain a positive reputation on the site.
At the same time, the rules and restrictions on Amazon are different than on eBay. So, you may find that you can do some things on eBay that are prohibited on Amazon. Figuring these out beforehand is absolutely critical, especially as you could lose your Amazon account if you get it wrong.
Because of these differences, you can’t simply assume that techniques from eBay are going to be effective on Amazon as well. In some cases they will work well but often you’ll need entirely different strategies.
So, if you’re going to transition from eBay to Amazon, then one of the key things that you need is to learn about FBA as if you are a newbie. Don't assume! As an eBay seller, you may already have a lot of the skills that you need but learning how to use them effectively on Amazon is not as simple as it first appears.
The simple answer to this issue is an Amazon FBA course. Using a course like this can help you learn what you need to know, without breaking your budget in the process. Doing so can also give you an indication of whether Amazon is a good choice for you or whether you’re better off sticking with eBay.
What Type Of Seller Will You Be?
Personally, I usually only buy new stuff on Amazon. However, there is a thriving used market on Amazon as well. Otherwise, how would some sellers rack of thousands of positive reviews?
Ebay is mainly used items, but there are a number of sellers that do retail arbitrage, selling new items. What's your current business like? Do you want to do the same thing with Amazon or start selling another type of product? Will your niche be the same?
So before you transition, you'll need to decide what type of Amazon seller you want to be. Will you buy in bulk and sell a few items exclusively? Will you resell used items? Will you do retail arbitrage and sell whatever you come across in the stores?
Taking Advantage Of Multiple Revenue Streams
Moving from eBay to Amazon does have its advantages, especially as Amazon FBA lets you decrease the amount of work you do with regards to shipping and customer support. However, there are some advantages to keeping your eBay business going as well.
The biggest reason for doing so is to have multiple revenue streams.
In any type of self-employed business, getting all your income from a single source isn’t normally a good plan. Realistically, there are simply too many things that can go wrong. This is particularly true when it comes to online business.
With many online business models, including both Amazon and eBay, you rely heavily on the company you’re working with. This lets you take advantage of their various opportunities and processes. But, it also means you have relatively little control. Plus, because you don't work with a person, the company tends to be impersonal in how they deal with issues that come up.
Additionally, both programs do favor customers over sellers. That practice can sometimes eat into your profits, especially if some of your customers are scammers or ignorant, such as blaming you for UPS issues or returning items as “not as described” because they changed their mind about wanting the item.
An even more concerning practice is that eBay and Amazon have been known to close accounts with no warning and little explanation. This can happen if you break one of their rules, such as selling counterfeit goods or selling items that don't work as described. However, some sellers have found themselves suspended without any clear idea why.
This can be a major bummer, especially if you heavily rely on Amazon or eBay for revenue. In addition to following the rules of each site, the best way to protect yourself is to have multiple sources of income.
This may mean continuing to sell on eBay, even while you also run an Amazon FBA business. Even if you just have a few items for sale, it can be worth it to have your account active, collecting positive reviews, and ready to grow if you ever run into trouble with Amazon.
Learning Amazon FBA The Right Way, From The Beginning
Regardless of whether you want to do Amazon FBA instead of eBay or in addition to it, one of the most critical steps is learning the processes involved. Now, in theory, you can teach yourself pretty much everything there is to know about Amazon FBA from free resources available online. In fact, many people have done just that.
However, learning how to be effective at Amazon FBA takes a considerable amount of trial and error. After all, you have to figure out what products to buy, how to get good profit margins and how much stock you need. All of these areas are complicated and it would take a decent amount of trial and error before you get it right.
And… that’s a problem, because trial and error can get expensive quickly with this type of business. Your potential to make money is strongly tied into your cashflow. So, if you spend a significant amount of money on products that aren’t really selling, you have limited money to invest in other items.
Proper training can make success less of a risk. Your risk of wasting time is lower, and your risk of losing money is lower. Basically, you end up learning from people who are already making money with Amazon FBA. This will teach you about where they were successful and what mistakes they made. As such, you get to avoid expensive errors and start off on the right track.
With so many different products and choices available with Amazon, having that type of guidance just makes sense. There are two courses that I recommend that are offer comprehensive training on how to start your FBA business, but are slightly different in how they teach it.
Both courses come in at around $300. That may seem like a lot of money but they are well worth the cost. That's a fraction of what it would cost to go to business school and get an MBA, right?! Plus, in terms of saving yourself the hassle of making newbie mistakes, you would easily end up saving at least that much money versus trying to figure the process out on your own.
So, the first course that I recommend is the Proven Amazon Course by Jim Cockrum. The first thing I noticed with this course was the sheer amount of content. Not only is there training on the basic aspects of Amazon FBA but there is also information about many of the more complex elements. To be honest, some of it was over my head, but after seeing so many success stories run through the Facebook group, I have to believe that it works!
That course includes training about sourcing products, creating and selling white label products, accounting, creating good Amazon listings and even making money with international Amazon FBA.
To be honest, the sheer amount of information was a little overwhelming. Nevertheless, the course acts as a great resource, especially as you can come back to the more advanced concepts once you have mastered the basics. Plus, even if it's overwhelming (as any business venture can be), you have the full support of the product owner and other members inside the very helpful and active Facebook group!
The other course that I recommend is Amazon Bootcamp 2.0. As the name might suggest, this course has a stronger focus on beginners. This is mainly achieved by the way the course is setup.
In particular, the content is extremely easy to follow and there are clear links between the different sections. So, it’s obvious how you should progress from one part of the course to the next.
At the same time, Amazon Bootcamp 2.0 has fantastic high-quality videos. These videos are in a variety of styles and they make the processes of Amazon FBA extremely clear. In fact, those videos answered many of the questions that I initially had, including the specifics about how to package items and send them in.
I do recommend both of these courses and I think they’re perfect for anyone looking to use Amazon FBA, including people wanting to transition from eBay to Amazon FBA. However, for most people, Amazon Bootcamp 2.0 will probably be the better choice, especially as the training does tend to be clearer and easier to navigate.
One other interesting course is Skip McGrath's Complete Amazon Marketing System. He actually is a well known eBay seller that technically “wrote the book on it”, and has successfully transitioned to Amazon. Though it's not my favorite (click the link for the review), there are definitely some benefits to his book and connecting with him and his website.