How to make money on Amazon
Many of us know Amazon as a handy site where you can buy just about anything you need. But to some, it's so much more than that – it's an opportunity to make money. Here's how.
It's no secret that Amazon is a very convenient website for shoppers. What's less well known is just how easy it is to earn an income on there – and not just as a seller.
Selling is one of the most common ways to make money on Amazon, and we've got plenty of tips to maximise your profits as a seller below. But it's far from your only option. It's even possible to generate passive income through the site. This will let you earn money in your sleep!
Read on for all the info you need on how to sell on Amazon, as well as our list of the best ways to make money from the site (both with and without selling).
How to sell on Amazon
Looking to start selling on Amazon? It's super easy to get started, but there are a few key things to know before signing up.
The main things to consider are which Amazon selling plan would be right for you and whether the seller fees would be worth it.
Amazon selling plans
There are two selling plans to choose from at Amazon:
- Professional selling plan – If you're selling more than 35 products a month, you could consider this plan. It costs £25 a month excluding VAT plus additional fees (below).
- Individual selling plan – This one's generally better for people selling less than 35 products a month. You won't need to pay a monthly subscription fee for this plan, but you will have to pay £0.75 per item sold excluding VAT plus additional fees (below).
When choosing an Amazon selling plan, think about whether you'd sell a large enough quantity of products at a high enough price each month to go for the professional plan. If not, it might be better to stick with the basic plan.
If you're unsure how many things you'll be selling each month, you could start on the individual plan. If you decide it would be worthwhile, you can consider upgrading to the professional one later on.
But, if you do decide to go for the professional selling plan, it might be worth also thinking about Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA). There are added fees, but it means you can reach more customers, and packaging and delivery are handled by Amazon. We go into this in a bit more detail later.
Amazon selling fees
As mentioned above, there's a fee per item for the individual selling plan (£0.75) and a fee per month for the professional plan (£25). On top of these, there are additional fees that apply to both plans.
These are the additional seller fees to be aware of:
- Referral fee – This fee will vary depending on the type of product that's sold. It's calculated as a percentage of the total sales price, which includes the product price and added charges for delivery and gift wrapping. There's usually (but not always) a minimum referral fee of £0.25 per item.
- Closing fee – There's a closing fee of £0.50 for most media items that are sold. This applies to items like music, DVDs, video games and software. Books have a closing fee of £1.
- Refund administration fee – If you need to refund a customer after receiving payment, you'll get your referral fee back, but a refund administration fee will be taken from it. The fee will either be £5 or 20% of your referral fee, whichever is less.
- High-volume listing fee – This is unlikely to apply to you unless you're selling a lot. If you have over two million active stock-keeping units (SKUs), there will be a fee of £0.0003 per SKU. SKUs are the unique reference codes you give to each product you list.
To find out more, including the specific referral fees for each type of product, check Amazon's fee page.
11 best ways to earn money on Amazon
These are the easiest and most effective ways to make money on Amazon:
Apply for Amazon Launchpad
If you sell products that are particularly innovative and you've got an interesting brand story to tell, you could consider applying for Amazon Launchpad.
Applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis so there's no guarantee you'd be accepted.
But if you are, you'd get access to added selling features. These include customer engagement tools, the chance to have your brand showcased on the Amazon Launchpad homepage and strategic support from an onboarding manager to help you develop your business.
If you do sell on Amazon Launchpad, you'll need to pay an extra 5% referral fee on top of the standard referral fee for each item you sell.
Sell old belongings on Amazon
Not sure what to sell on Amazon to make money? Have a look through your old belongings. There are likely plenty of items that you no longer use that you could sell online.
In some ways, old belongings can be some of the best items to sell on Amazon.
For starters, it means your pre-loved stuff goes to a good home rather than a landfill (an important reason alone).
It also means you can cut out the costs of buying or making things to sell. Instead, you can make a profit from things you already own.
For example, when you're finished with a module at uni, you could sell your old books on Amazon to help fund any new ones you need.
Remember that if you sell used things on Amazon, you need to clearly and honestly describe the condition they're in.
For some inspiration, check out our guide on the best second-hand things to sell.
Start affiliate marketing
Arguably the top way to make money on Amazon without selling is by joining Amazon's affiliate marketing programme.
Affiliate marketing often involves sharing links to products online, such as on social media or your own blog. Then, if people buy things through those links, you'll be able to earn money from the sales at no extra cost to the buyer.
Or, if you have a particularly good following across your social media profiles, you could consider applying to become an Amazon Influencer. This would still involve you promoting products and making money from sales, but you would be given your own page on Amazon where you could choose which items to promote.
To find out more about how it works, see our full guide to affiliate marketing.
Sell crafts on Amazon Handmade
While this could be a great option for you, it's worth comparing the seller fees for Amazon Handmade with the fees on Etsy. Work out whether you'd be earning more or less on there per item, depending on factors like your product's sales price and the cost of post and packaging.
Deliver Amazon parcels
If you can drive and have a car at uni, delivering parcels through Amazon Flex could be an ideal way for you to make money in your spare time.
Amazon estimates you can earn about £13 – £17 an hour as a delivery driver. However, keep in mind that you might end up taking home a bit less than this.
As an Amazon Flex delivery driver, you'd be working as an independent contractor, so you'd need to cover costs like mileage, parking and tolls. This would mean that, if you make £13 an hour, some of that money might need to go towards driving costs.
Having said that, it could still work out as pretty good money. Plus, the flexible hours would work well around a uni schedule.
And, to try to cut down the cost of deliveries, check out our tips on saving money on driving.
Sell through Fulfilment by Amazon
To make sure you're making as much money as possible as a seller on Amazon, look into whether Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) or merchant-fulfilment suits your business better.
When you're first starting out, merchant fulfilment would probably be your best bet. This would mean you'd handle your own packaging and shipping. But, as your online store expands, it might be difficult for you to keep up with all of the P&P yourself. Storing all your stock at home can also get tricky.
With FBA, you could store your stock in an Amazon warehouse. They would organise the packaging and delivery of your products. Also, your listings could attract more customers by getting the 'Prime Badge', highlighting that they have fast delivery.
These features do come with added costs, such as fulfilment fees and storage fees. These will vary depending on the size and type of your product, so check Amazon's site for more details.
Publish eBooks on Kindle
To start writing an eBook, all you need is an idea, some free time and a fair amount of commitment.
Whether fiction or non-fiction, there's a huge range of topics that you could write your book about. For some ideas on popular genres (along with extra money-making tips), check our guide to maximising profits from eBooks.
Sell designs via Merch by Amazon
For anyone talented at art and design, it's worth considering Merch by Amazon.
To sign up for Merch by Amazon, you'll need to submit a request and wait for a response from them.
With Merch by Amazon, you can upload artwork and choose the type of product you'd like the design to be printed on, along with its colour. Then, all you need to do is add a product description and set a price for the item.
When people buy your product, Amazon will handle the production, shipping and customer service, and then pay you a royalty for each sale. The amount of royalty will vary depending on the type of product and the set price of your item.
As an example, for a standard t-shirt that costs £15.99, the royalty would be £2.59 (around 16% of the purchase price). However, for a sweatshirt that costs £27.99, the royalty would only be £2.52 (9% of the purchase price).
If you join this programme, do plenty of research before getting started to make sure you're getting the most money from sales that you can.
As a bonus tip, Merch by Amazon is non-exclusive, meaning you could sell your designs via additional sites like Zazzle (which is also non-exclusive).
We have more info about printing on-demand products in our guide to the best passive income ideas.Did you know you can buy open-box and pre-owned products for discounted prices from Amazon Warehouse?
Trade in devices for gift vouchers
The Trade-In programme allows you to send in your old devices and, in return, receive an Amazon gift card for the value of your trade-in. Eligible devices include Kindle e-readers, tablets, streaming media players, the Amazon Echo, home security devices, smartphones and video game consoles.
It's free to do. You just need to head to the Trade-In store and select the device you'd like to trade. You'll then need to answer a few questions about the condition of your item (it might still be accepted if it doesn't work) and Amazon will give you a quote.
You'd be able to print a delivery label that lets you post the product for free. And, once Amazon has verified its condition, the gift card will be automatically applied to your account. It's such an easy way to save money on gadgets.
Do freelance work for Amazon sellers
Selling on Amazon can take a fair amount of work. Because of this, some sellers will need a bit of help with various aspects of their online store. That's where you can come in.
Even if you're not keen on selling things yourself, you'll have plenty of skills that can help you make money on Amazon. As such, you could work for sellers on a freelance basis.
For example, if you're talented at photography, you could offer to take eye-catching product photos for sellers. Or, if you've got a good eye for detail, you could proofread and edit product descriptions.
A lot of people use Fiverr to advertise their freelance services to Amazon sellers. This is a great place to start.
But don't limit yourself to only helping sellers on one site. Look into the alternatives to Amazon such as eBay and Etsy, and consider helping people sell things on those sites as well.Looking for more ways to make money? Check out some other top Fiverr gig ideas.
Work for Amazon
If making money on Amazon isn't enough for you, there is, of course, the option to work for Amazon.
There's such a vast range of jobs available at Amazon. Whatever your skillset, there's bound to be one that suits you. Plus, as a global brand, Amazon can offer great career progression opportunities.
These jobs will be super competitive. It's important to put time and effort into your application and make your CV stand out.
If you manage to bag yourself an interview at Amazon, make sure you've done your research and feel prepared to answer the most common interview questions. Good luck!
Did you know that students can get Amazon Prime for free for six months? No wonder it tops our list of the best free trials...