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Amazon – An eBay Alternative

Although it is not an auction site, Amazon is well worth considering as an additional marketplace to offer your products for sale.

Launched in 1995 as an online bookstore, they soon began to diversify and now offer a huge product range which includes CDs, DVDs, computer software, consumer electronics, clothing, tools, toys and games, baby products, household and kitchen items and much, much more.

In 2001 the Amazon Marketplace was launched and has since grown into a hugely popular channel for sellers to list their new and used items alongside Amazon products.

There is no auction format, all listings are fixed price. Listings stay up for 60 days, after which time the seller is given the option to re-list any items which remain unsold.

Although there are no listing fees, Amazon charge low volume sellers a fixed ‘per item’ fee in addition to the final value fee. However, sellers who anticipate selling more than 30 items per month can opt to become a Pro Merchant seller and pay a monthly fee, in which case the ‘per item’ fee is waived.

Inevitably, since there is no listing fee, final value fees tend to be higher than those charged by eBay. However, there are no Paypal fees to pay and no waiting for buyers to send cheques or postal orders. Payment is collected by Amazon and paid into the seller’s bank account every two weeks. So there are no hassles with non-paying bidders on Amazon.

Sellers are not able to set their own post and packing charges, these are pre-set by Amazon. This can be something of a double-edged sword. If, for instance, you are selling a lightweight paperback book you are likely to make a small profit on the postage as well as on the book itself. However, if you are selling a heavy hardback book you would lose out on postage so this would need to be taken into consideration when you set your selling price.

If you have not yet tried selling on Amazon, why not give it a go? I was put off for a long time simply because I was reluctant to move out of my comfort zone and learn something new. However, I had a huge pile of books to sell and just couldn’t find the time to photograph and weigh them all, so listing them on Amazon seemed to be the perfect solution.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the process is. With photographs and descriptions already provided by Amazon, all I had to do was describe the condition of the book and set the price. It took me just a fraction of the time that it would have taken me to list them on eBay.

I was delighted when several of the books sold within the first few days. There are no invoices to send and no non-payers to chase up. I just had to wait for an email from Amazon to say that a book had sold, print off the address label and packing slip from the Amazon website and send the package. And remember, although listing a few books or CD’s is an easy way to familiarise yourself with the process, you can now sell all kinds of things on Amazon.

I am certainly not suggesting that you ditch eBay and move your business to Amazon but I certainly recommend that you consider using it as another selling channel. After all, eBay and Amazon are the two most popular online shopping sites and between them your products could be seen by millions of potential buyers!

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2 Comments

  1. Donald says:

    Hi Lynn,

    I found your site after you left a comment on Dan Thompsons site. He’s a character. Anyway, Amazon. I started selling recently. Old books DVD’s etc. It’s a good way to sell all your old stuff. You can only sell stuff that has an ISBN code (Bar Code). You enter the code and if accepted, the title of the book, photo of the book comes up. You select a price for your item, decide if you’re going local, Europe worldwide etc. There are times that they won’t accept an item for some reason. I think that if they don’t stock the item you cannot sell it. Don’t quote me on that.

    I have sold a dozen items in the last 4 or 5 months. I’m not sure how worthy it is.

    However, if you have more than 30 items to sell I don’t know how that works, apart from, as Lynn says, you need to pay monthly. Would you be able to dropship via Amazon?? I dropship on EBay, DVD’s, don’t sell many. You need to have ashop I think. More cost, monthly fee plus all your fees for each item. Catch 22 I guess.

    Going back to Amazon, I think if you stick to it and check what you are selling your stuff for. Don’t overprice yourself.

    I have bookmarkeed your site. I’ll peruse later on.

    Kind Regards

    Donald

  2. Lynn says:

    Hi Donald

    Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. Like you, I have only sold a few things on Amazon, mainly my son’s old college books and a few PC games. Although you are correct in saying that casual sellers like us can only sell things that are already listed on Amazon, I think Pro-Merchants can add new products.

    For anyone who is serious about becoming a volume seller on Amazon I think FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) is the way to go. From what I’ve heard from more experienced people, sellers who use FBA get priority over those who don’t. It’s something I’ve been meaning to look into and I’ve actually purchased an ebook, “Selling on Amazon’s FBA Program” by Nathan Holmquist but so far I’ve only had time to have a quick scan through it. I’ll review it on the blog when I’ve had a chance to read through it properly.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve had some success with dropshipping on eBay. But as most dropshippers work on tight margins you need to keep costs as low as possible, so it would only be worthwhile having an eBay store if you could be sure of turning over enough products to make it viable.

    Thanks again for paying us a visit, and hopefully, we’ll see you again soon.

    Lynn

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