The moment you sign up as an Amazon seller, the clock starts ticking. Amazon will hold you to its monthly performance metrics from day one. And being prepared makes all the difference: with this checklist, you’ll be ready to ace every step of selling on Amazon. We’ve covered everything from the most basic preparation to the next steps necessary to grow into your success.
1. Get your paperwork in order:
It’s a lot easier to start selling with your paperwork in order. Some of this will be needed for the account opening process, some of it is common sense, and some of it helps to protect your business in the future.
You’ve got to have a valid email address. But I’d consider setting one up especially for your Amazon seller account – maybe add a new account to your business email or if you don’t have one, open a fresh Gmail and keep signed in on an alternative browser so checking it regularly is easy.
You’ll need to have the credit card you’re going to use for your business handy and solvent.
You’ll need your tax ID. If you’re selling as an individual, have your Social Security number handy; if you’re selling as a company, you’re going to need your company’s Federal Tax ID number. When you’re in the process of signing up to your Amazon account, you’ll need to fill in an Interview document.
If you’re planning to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), there can be other tax issues. For a single seller with a single location, FBA tax is simple. But for a multistate entity, it can get complex.
If that’s you, it’s cheaper and simpler to talk to a specialist tax attorney or adviser before you start selling on Amazon, in the same way, that it’s far cheaper to have a good accountant than muddle through it all yourself. (Small business owners know what I’m talking about here!)
2. Figure out your logistics in advance
Once you jump in and actually start selling on Amazon, fixing these logistical issues becomes much harder. It’s easier to set things up so they never become a problem in the first place.
Amazon has its own internal returns policy which you have to meet or exceed in order to be an Amazon seller. It’s a good idea to read this page, figure out what you’re going to do that’s at least as good as Amazon’s policy, and write that down somewhere, even if it’s a sticky note on your desktop. When you get an item returned, that’s the wrong time to be figuring out what to do about it, especially since you only have a 24-hour window to begin the process.
You can oversimplify and say: smaller items work with FBA, bigger ones less so. Or you can read our blog post about how to figure out if FBA is worth it for your business.
But if you’ve decided that you do want to go the FBA route, there are a couple of things you’ll need to consider.
FBA works very differently if you commingle your items. Commingled selling lets Amazon sell your items and those of other sellers interchangeably, assuming that the item is the same.
The problem with that is, you can end up with your products – which you have control over and have carefully verified – mixed up with someone else’s who hasn’t bothered checking, or is selling fake stuff on purpose. Then when an order of yours gets shipped, it’s their poor quality product that arrives – and your reputation that gets trashed.