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Sun Mar 30 2008 21:50:47

Selling on

By: Ina Steiner

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Many eBay sellers are looking at as an additional venue on which to sell. Here's a video from blogger/consultant Adam Morris about trying to sign up to sell on and finding himself in an endless loop.

Amazon is a very strict venue. If you are kicked off, it can be nearly impossible to get reinstated. Here's a thread on the Amazon Seller Soapbox in which sellers discuss such issues, demonstrating that it pays to do your homework before you sell there. Challenges and tips on best practices for selling on Amazon are welcome.


Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: Steve L

Mon Mar 31 01:38:50 2008

Agreed, Amazon doesn't have the best design.

I watched the video, and if Adam would slow down a little, and not try to jump to the Marketplace, he would see the big yellow ''CONTINUE'' button on the right side of the page describing the categories. It would take him right to the sign up page.

Rushing through the pages like that is exactly why eBay sellers are having a hard time keeping their accounts on Amazon. People need to slow down and learn what is expected of them.

There is a ton of money to be made on Amazon. The rules are different, but it's an incredible opportunity for those who will learn them, and follow them.

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by: Alfie

Mon Mar 31 12:06:30 2008

I agree that it can be a little tricky to start selling stuff on Amazon as they don't promote it as well as they could.

However, like most things, when you've done it once it really isn't that difficult and I've had good success so far.

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by: Tanya

Mon Mar 31 14:08:45 2008

I just started to sell on Amazon selling books and it would be nice if they had away that you could suspend or put your books on vacation hold when you have to go away for awhile instead of having to take them off and repost them again later! Otherwise buying from Amazon has been wonderful and I have bought quite a few items over the past few years and always has been a great experience.  I think my selling experience on Amazon will just get better and better as I learn their ways.

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by: Julie

Mon Mar 31 14:27:30 2008

I'd kill to sell my hand made gemstone & gold jewelry on Amazon...sadly, they are not accepting new jewelry sellers & will not give any information as to if/when they will.
I sell $10K+/month on ebay, & wish I could work with Amazon as well.

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by: Steve

Mon Mar 31 16:51:00 2008


You can easily suspend and restart your Amazon sales using the vacation settings. Go to your Amazon Seller Account page and under the Settings section click on Store Settings. On the Store Settings page go to the Vacation Settings section and click on Edit. Then click on Start Your Vacation button. Follow the same procedure to restart your listings. You can find a lot of very helpful information from other Amazon sellers on the Amazon Services Seller Forums.

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by: kohathi

Mon Mar 31 18:27:16 2008

It's good to know that I am not the only one to have a problem trying to sign up to sell on Amazon. Three attempts... so far. It should not be that tricky.

''helpful information from other Amazon sellers....''? Are you kidding. The ones I've tried to talk to are as clubby and cliquish as any old-fashioned newsgroup.

And what happened to Amazon auctions?

FOR Julie....  You do have your own website, right?

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by: Julie

Mon Mar 31 19:01:14 2008

Had a website of my own, & scrapped it for something much more professional & functional.  It's launching in less than 2 weeks.  
It's been a long process as I was set on getting it just right this'll be lovely & have some nice flash as well as a Live Chat window so I can be helpful with custom orders & questions.
I'm ready to step it up, just wish Amazon could be part of the equation.  I like buying there, & would like to sell there, too.
I'm hoping to have a shot @ Amazon sometime- I'm phasing off of ebay more & more as they get sillier & more expensive.  I love my customers & they love my jewelry- I simply need to reach more of them:)
Any ideas as to how to get Amazon to look my way are very appreciated.
Thank you

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by: Adam Morris

Tue Apr 1 01:30:01 2008

Hi all!
@ Steve - Yes I understand that once you get accustomed to Amazon, most things are not difficult to find.  I just happened to be surfing the site after getting 5 seperate complaints in as many days on how difficult it was to sell on  I figured the obvious user interface design flaw I pointed out was an almost humorous addition to my recent conversations.

Many of our clients have great success on Amazon (with better profitability than eBay, in fact).  For every success story, I also have a horror story.  I'm hoping to highlight some of these major problems on my blog through April with the hope that it will allow sellers (both beginner and advanced) to really understand the benefits and risks of selling on the venue.

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by: Monica

Tue Apr 1 05:00:26 2008

The sellers on the amazon forums can be cliquish, it takes time to break in.  

They also don't like people coming in and asking the same question that's been asked to death (that's what the search box is for) but they DO answer thoughtful questions and answer sincere requests for help, I read and post there every day.

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by: Kristin

Thu Apr 3 12:23:55 2008

Hi all,

I've enjoyed reading the comments concerning selling on Amazon.  I am a glass artist, and decided last month that I would give Amazon a shot.  So I downloaded all the forms, read through the info, etc. But I still had questions.

I'd gotten an email from an Amazon merchant rep and sent him some specific questions.  I didn't want to call him because I want my answers in writing.

No reply from the rep.  So I sent a second email.  Nothing.  A day later I forwarded this email to the merchant customer service.  No reply.  I've sent two more with no response.

My questions aren't complicated. I've checked the FAQs, and the other info and simply don't see what I'm looking for.  So, I'll ask all of you instead.

1) I'm trying to find some kind of instructions on uploading photos for Amazon selling.  What I specifically need to know is whether or not I can use a black background for my glassware. Someone (an artisan site that also sells through Amazon) said that it has to be a white background. If that's the case then I wouldn't even bother. And I'd like to know pixel size, etc. for listings.  Am I missing this in the info for merchants?

The other thing I'd asked about was the shipping charges.  It appears that Amazon has a set shipping rate, and this won't even begin to cover what I pay in shipping charges.  I don't know whether I can set my own shipping rates, or if I'll have to add to my selling price to cover them.

My biggest concern is that if I can't even get an email response to questions on possibly BEING an Amazon merchant, then what happens once I've signed on and have a problem?

I feel like I'm lost in the maze.

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by: toomuchblahblah

Thu Apr 3 14:36:56 2008

I tried to sell my wiis and other electronics there - A) way more expensive than Ebay to list...B) couldn't list them if I wanted to as the category is restricted c)feedback system is much worse than Ebay's. d) Too many categories that you can't sell things in like - event tickets, etc.

Looks like the only real competition for Ebay really isn't competition.

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by: GoMama

Mon Apr 14 16:46:09 2008

I've tried selling on Amazon and they're a PAIN. I tried to sell my video series and that's a definite no no on amazon. I've been using for my videos and ebooks and so far so good.

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by: stuff-and-nonsense

Thu Apr 17 05:46:58 2008

I returned to Amazon as a seller a couple of months ago after an absence of a couple of years, and found it much improved for third-party sellers. I've met with more success than I expected, mostly selling used books and CDs, two categories in which Amazon seems to work much better than eBay. It's been a nice complement to my eBay activity, which consists mostly of games.

The fees do seem to be a little higher than eBay, but then again, when you factor in PayPal fees that come with eBay, there isn't really much difference, since Amazon charges you equivalent transaction fees. My main complaint is that Amazon Payments is not as liquid as PayPal; you have to transfer funds from Amazon Payments to your bank account before you can spend the funds, whereas PayPal funds are available immediately.

As for the thread to which Ina links, take it with a grain of salt. I think I recognize the OP from the eBay seller boards; similar userid, similar problems with seller performance, similar type of merchandise, similar litany of complaints about how he's a victim of just about everything and everybody except space aliens, similar refusal to get his act together and snippy responses to people who are ''arrogant'' enough to point out that his problems are self-inflicted and not common to everyone. Loser all around. Poster boy for nothing except his own pathetic self.

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by: ryan nelson

Fri Apr 18 14:58:54 2008

Amazon is a good menu to sell books on but they are not for the seller they will tell you that they are a buyer market. I find as a public  company that they need to change there tactics and the way they treat the sellers. We are working on filing with the Attorney General of our State a class action against Amazon will leave it there for now, if anyone is interested in a Class Action again Amazon please send me an email. we are working on this now.

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by: Marisol

Sun Jun 15 11:20:42 2008

I was new on Amazon for a short time before they abruptly cancelled my selling privileges, I had only sold around 12 items, nothing really expensive, mostly my used stuff. Two items arrived later than expected (I actually mailed them out together) and the buyers both gave me low scores, the others gave me 4-5 stars, all in all I had 9 people leave feedback. Because of this my overall score dropped to about 80% hence the reason for the cancelled selling priviledges. I knew you had to keep a good rating,but this was shocking to receive an email from amazon stating I was dropped, I tried explaining what happened and only got a cold response basically stating that once you get dropped , its a permanent thing. They are too strict yes, and even though the buyers never complained about the condition of the item, only that it came late, Amazon sided with them. TWO, only two negative scores and they drop me?!

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by: Jay

Fri Jul 4 22:44:21 2008

Amazon is so full of it and too expensive.  For a Pro Merchant, they charge 39.99 per month plus they get a percentage of each of yor sales.

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by: 123

Thu Jan 15 19:51:48 2009

The fact is that they HAVE to be strict against new sellers or else you'd get abusive, inexperienced, and/or uncaring sellers.  When I order something, it doesn't arrive, and the seller blatantly ignores my refund request, he/she doesn't deserve to keep selling on amazon.

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by: & its extortion tatics on sellers

Thu Aug 27 20:27:40 2009 seller policy sucks. I first opened a seller account on for about a month. I finally made a sell which I accordingly fulfilled. figured out the shipping amount but in reality when I brought it to charged me more than what the Amazon credited me for shipping (so I take my lost #1). When I entered my bank account after a sell for later disbursement of what I sold, suspended my account indicating I violated its policy without telling me what I actually violated so, as a result, I closed my store and no further selling (so I take my lost #2) but the stink of it was held my money hostage for months (so I take my lost #3) even though they got my credit card and bank information when I signed up for the seller account. My question is, "Why are they still holding my money hostage?" Are they keeping these funds from sellers so they can meet their bottom line when it comes to their financial reports??? The last stock quote I got for is about $84. Are trying to play this tactic to boost their stock price??? It really stinks!!! Take it from me, if you have a choice, don't do any business on

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by: amazon_seller

Tue Oct 27 01:28:27 2009

Selling on Amazon is easy, it's also easy to sell on ebay.  It's not hard to sign up to sell on Amazon, that idiot needs to try reading the screen and not trying to rush through everything, he'd see the continue button that took him where he needs to go.  Amazon gives you the potential to make thousands of dollars a month, it's easy if you do it right.  It's all mathmatically based.  Can't have too many refunds, too many negatives, too many claims, too many chargebacks, too many late shipments etc...   these all factor into a defect rate that must be keept under 1%

It's easy.

1.) Too many refunds - use the equivilant to a loss leader here.  Sell an item that has a high sell through rate with low to no profit margin.  This can be used to counter refunds.

2) Too many negatives, good sellers know how to avoid these, if you're not petty and arrogant as a seller, you'll have no problem avoiding these.  You can't please everyone, but you'll know how to keep most happy.

3.) Too many claims - what usually generates these claims?  The buyer not getting a refund for some reason or another, full or partial.  The majority of buyers are honest and not out to rip you off, so with that in mind, if you have a problematic customer don't be so hesitant to issue a refund, sure he/she may be trying to scam you, but depending on the amount you stand to gain or loose is it worth the hassle?  It's up to you, for me on the rare occassion there is an issue, I will certainly consider refunding the customer.

4.) Too Many chargebacks - See # 3, if you settle things with the customer within the first few emails, they are not likely to file a claim with Amazon or with their credit card company

5.) Too Many Late shipments - This is easy to avoid.  Manage your time properly and list your items according to your ability to package and get to the post office, this shouldn't even need to be explained.

Don't be supprised with what they track either.  They monitor your sales to feedback ratio at first, if you sell too many items and get no feedback, they'll review your account and allow you to sell but hold your money temporarly to insure that you're sending items to the customers and not leaving amazon hanging with a bunch of refunds to dish out.

They monitor your stock information and will even inform you that your inventory amounts are running low based on the average amount of that particular item sold by YOU in a 7 day period and suggest that you reorder.

They also enforce a velocity rate, that means they limit the amount of money you can make in a 30 day period.  You usually start with $3,000 a month or so and they increase that amount when you get close to the threshold and you have passed their review.

Amazon is a fantastic site to make money on.  If you follow their rules and understand the mathmatics behind their systematic suspensions, then you can do the best you can to make a great living and keep your store running strong.  Amazon works hard to create and maintain their brand name, this is part of how they do that.  The high fees you all complain about pale in comparison to the huge cost of self advertisment and promotion required for your own website.  You'd have to build your own brand and gain trust w/ customers.  At Amazon you have that benefit, they've done that work and they're protecting it.  You can do your own too, but it'll cost you more than the $39.95 a month amazon charges if you so choose to get a pro merchant account.  You can of course sell there with only closing fees if you choose.

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by: Meghan

Sat Nov 6 18:13:56 2010

I am a new seller on Amazon, and have sold 11 item, 8 of which were to the same person. I e-mailed everyone who purchased something, and have never received an e-mail back. I've also never received feedback, good or bad. What's up with that?

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