In this Article you will learn how to start selling on Amazon. Keep this article handy by bookmarking it in your browser.
If you are new in online selling then this will be your go to articles for everything. We have been there and done that, so we know the pain points of new sellers.
I request you to bookmark this article or add a shortcut to this in your phone. If you are on chrome click on and click “Add to Home”.
Below are the topic we will be covering in this article. Ask any questions in comment section below this article.
- E-commerce In India
- How to Sell On Amazon
- Documents Required to Register on Amazon India
- Decide on Products that You want to Sell, Niche or broad?
- How to Find Top Selling Products on Amazon ?
- How to Find Product Suppliers
- Create Your Unique Brand Name
- What is Mapping Listings on Amazon
- How to Ship Your Products on Amazon
- How to Create Your Amazon Listing
- Packing Amazon Orders
- Checking Order Payments
- GST Concepts for E-Commerce Sellers
- How to File Claims with Amazon
- Closing Thought
E-Commerce In India
The next big thing in India is E-Commerce, it all started in 2012 when Amazon entered into the market.
E-Commerce in India was at $ 38.5 US billion dollars in 2017 and it is expected to grow to $200 billion by 2026. So there is lots of opportunity for new Sellers
How to Sell On Amazon
Step 1: Go to https://services.amazon.in/ and click on Start Selling
Step 2: Fill details like your Name, Email, Phone Number and Password.
Step 3: Verify OTP Sent on Your Mobile
Step 4: Enter Your Company name (It is the name that you have specified while registering your GST Number) and Click on the Seller Agreement check box.
Step 5: Enter your store details like Store Name, Product Category, Address details including pin code and click Continue. You Address should match with that in your GST Certificate
Step 6: Enter your GST Number and PAN number to continue
Step 7: In this screen enter your cost for shipping goods to the customer. The best option right now is to select free shipping and add your shipping cost in your selling price. You can change it later too
Step 8: Enter Your bank details. Enter Bank Account Number, Account Type, Your Name, IFSC Code, etc
Step 9: Enter your default Product Tax Code. For India sellers it is the GST % which is charged on sale of your products. You can modify this later for individual products as well.
Step 10: Sign a blank paper and Click photo and upload the signature in this step. You can resize the photo using https://resizeimage.net/
Congratulations, Now your Amazon account is registered successfully. Now you can start adding products.
Next topic, will be applicable to you only if you want to sell on Amazon India.
Documents required to register on Amazon India
Note: Below Steps are specific for Amazon India but same applies to any country where you need Identification Proof, Company Documents and a Bank Account
For an Individual or a Private company the documentation required to start selling on Amazon is pretty straight forward. You can do all the documentation and start selling immediately.
Below are the documents required:
- GST Number
- PAN Card
- Aadhar Card for Address Proof
- Bank Account ( Current or Saving Account)
How to Get GST Number?
Time: 15 Days max
Cost: Free or pay upto ₹2000 to any CA
You can get your GST number if you can do the registration process yourself. Or it is better to hire a CA that can do it for you. Don’t pay more than ₹2000 to anyone to apply for GST, because it’s a pretty simple process. And if done yourself it is Free.
There are different types of company that you can form, as an individual you will create a Proprietary firm, which will have Trade Name as your company name. You can watch any video on youtube to get an idea of how to get your GST Number.
You can apply for GST number on gst portal.
How to Get PAN Card and Aadhar Card?
Mostly you already have a PAN card with you. If not, get it done from your CA. For Aadhar card you can apply from any nationalized banks.
Which Bank Account to Get?
If you have a savings account then also it is fine. To start you can use your savings account. Once you are ready to get a current account get that and open it in the name of your Company Name that you registered in GST. Please note that for opening a current account you would need a GSTIN certificate first.
Once all the above steps are completed your Amazon account is ready to start selling.
Decide on Products that You Want to Sell, Niche or Broad
When it comes to product selection you need to understand what your goal is. Do you want to create your own brand in a Particular niche (Niche means a very specific category like Designer Shoes) Or You want to work as a wholesaler who sells products from any category.
When you choose to go on Niche route, you get to create your brand around your products. People will recognize your brand around that particular niche and will remember you.
Say you want to create designer shoes for men and women, in this case you will only sell things around this only and people will remember your brand as a designer shoes brand. You can charge a premium for your products.
For example, What does Tupperware do ? They sell plastic products in the Home & Kitchen category but they also charge a premium for their products. Other companies like Beardo, sell men’s grooming products, it’s super niche like designer shoes and people remember, and they charge premium for their products.
When you choose to go the Broad route, you can sell any products that you can get in cheap and resell the same on Amazon. Most wholesalers who are entering on Amazon and specially importers choose this route. Since importers can import any product from china they choose to go this route.
This way you get to sell thousands of products but at very less margin. Since your products are easily sold by other competitors and you do not have any unique feature that separates you from your competitors. You will maintain lots of SKUs also.
For beginners who have a low budget I suggest going through the Niche route. You can get good sales even for a single product also. And then you can go from there.
How to Find Top Selling Products on Amazon
The best place to start searching for top selling products is from Amazon itself. Amazon has a place where you can see all the best sellers in all the categories on Amazon.
Go to https://www.amazon.in/gp/bestsellers here you will find Top 100 products from each categories
Go ahead and see what is selling hot in your category.
Next thing that you can do is search through your interested categories and search products you are interested in.
In search results try to find products which have a high number of reviews( Like 50+) but bad product rating (< 3 star), and which are pretty new. You can find the product launch date on the product listing page for a products.
Next thing you can do is just look around and see what people are wearing, buying and talking about. Look on Social media what people are sharing. Check the facebook marketplace, Check Instagram products.
On Instagram many influencers share products they have been paid to show off, it’s called influencer marketing which i will get into details later sometime.
You can notice new trends and start selling such products on amazon. For example when fidget spinner can, no one was selling it on Amazon, sellers who notices this trend made tons of sales on Amazon.
The key to success on Amazon is either make a Private Label Brand, which target a niche customer segment or be a importer or wholesaler who sell any new products that you get your hands on.
Some Popular Categories to Choose:
- Home and Kitchen
- Home Decore
- Artificial Jewelry
How to Find Product Suppliers
I hope you have now a list of products that you think you can sell on Amazon and make profit. I will tell you how to calculate your profits accurately for Amazon.
Let’s now talk about sourcing products. You can source products from Indiamart or Alibaba.com
indiamart is the number 1 website when it comes to finding manufacturers or traders from India. Sourcing from indiamart is the best option for anyone new to online selling. As you will easily find everything that is available for sale in India. You can easily search for importers, traders or manufacturers.
Now there are multiple things that come into play when you are sourcing products.
Call up sellers on indiamart who are selling the product you want in your local area. On the other side if you speak they will always tell you that they are manufacturers but many of them are either importers or traders, who source from local manufacturers. For start you do not need manufacturers as you will have to keep the margin less and focus on increasing sales. Once the sales increase you can look for manufacturers who can give you better prices.
In price negotiation one thing that you need to lie about is the quantity you will order. You need to ask quotations for large quantities. If you mention that you are just starting and need less quantity, they will ignore you. So portray yourself as a big trader who needs large quantities on a regular basis and go from there.
3. Sample Order
If you have negotiated prices and time for delivery the next thing is Order samples. Ask for the sample price and pay them immediately, after that followup on your samples. Nobody is interested in giving out free samples so watch out.
Do the above things not with just one but upto 10 indiamart sellers. Once you receive the samples, check the quality and price and place a small order with a total value of ₹ 30,000- ₹50,000, anything less will.make the seller not interested in dealing with you.
Indiamart Negotiation Script With Sellers
You: Hi, my name is Mahesh. I am a Merchandiser for XYZ Company. We found your contact details on Indiamart. We are looking for suppliers of ABC products.
Supplier: Yes sir. We sell ABC products. How many quantities did you need?
You: We would need 1000 quantities or more per month on regular basis (Remember quantity can vary depending on the product you are looking for, give a figure that looks realistic)
Supplier: Sure. We can supply that.
You: Great, can you please send some pictures with prices for the same?
Supplier: Sure, i will whatsapp you.
Some of them will.not reply. Wait for 2 days and ping again.l on whatsapp.
Do the same with 5-10 suppliers Now if you like the product and price below is the script you can follow.
You: Hi, we like this product. Can you send a sample to us? Please whatsApp the sample cost and payment details so that we can send money.
Supplier: Sure we will send
At this point some suppliers will not courier you, so ping them and remind them.
Now you like the sample of a supplier and the price. Follow the script below.
You: Hi, so we like this sample. Can you send a sample order of 100 pieces to us?
Supplier: But you said you need 1000 quantities?
You: Yes sir. But our boss has asked us to do a sample order first and then based on further orders we will order more.( You can say like the market is not good right now. But we want to start with the sample order.)
Supplier: Yes sir, no problem.We will dispatch your order in a few days. Please do the payment first.
You: sure. Please send the invoice and also let us know how many days will it take to reach the order. Also do we have to pay shipping as well? ( You can negotiate for free shipping)
Now do the payment and follow-up with your supplier. Make good contacts and talk politely.
Alibaba is a totally different game. For beginners it is not a good idea unless the product that you want to sell on amazon is unique. Plus you need capital if you have to order on alibaba for a unique product.
On Alibaba sellers do not communicate properly in english as well, so it is a very big headache to deal with them.
Search for products you are interested in and start negotiation on Quantity, Price and samples. Remember that when you import you will be paying IGST, Custom Duty, Freight charges. When calculating your product cost you need to consider all of them.
How To Create Your Unique Brand
If you have chosen to go the Niche route. It is time to create a Brand Name around your products which is unique and easily recognisable.
Start by creating a good list of brand names that you like. Why I am asking you to create a handful of names is because it may happen that someone else has already registered your brand name, in that case you need to create a new one so having a handful of good brand name is a good idea. Registering brand name with the government of India will make sure that no one else can use the same brand without your permission if done you can file a legal case in court.
How Do You Check if Your Brand is Already Registered?
To check if your brand is not registered follow below steps.
Step 1: To check your first need to find the class in which your products belong. A class in trademark context is like HSN code of a product. Go to https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/tmrpublicsearch/classfication_goods_service.htm
You can check all the classes in this link and understand to which your products belong. If you sell products from multiple categories then note down the class of every product that you intend to sell as you will have to apply in all these classes.
Now you have finalized your class that your products belong to.
Step 2: Go to the trademark website https://ipindiaonline.gov.in/tmrpublicsearch and enter your brand name and class.
If you do not see any search results or results without any registered mark then you can go ahead with the same brand name. Remember to check into multiple classes if you intend to sell in multiple categories.
Step 3: Done, Now create your logo.
Next step is get your logo. You can get your logo done from any graphic designer in your local area, just google logo design near me and you will get enough companies that you can choose from. Check the reviews, call them up and see their samples if you are happy with their sample work, go ahead and get your logo done.
The fees for applying trademark is ₹4500 if you are applying online and ₹5000 if you are applying offline.
It can take from 2 months to 8 months if there is no objection from the government. You can call your lawyer or search for the same in google and apply.
What is Mapping Listings on Amazon
Selling branded products on Amazon is much easier. You just need to map a listing which is already created by another seller. You do not have to spend time on deciding on title, bullet points and description of the listing.
Branded products can be like sony, samsung or any other brand who have given authorization to you to sell on Amazon.
These brands are owned by respective companies and they give authorization to sell the same in online or offline markets. If you have the authorization to sell a particular brand on amazon then you need to provide the authorization letter to Amazon. Once verified they will allow you to sell on their platform.
In such cases there are already listings present on Amazon for your products. You just need to add your offer and start dispatching orders.
But beware do not map a brand who has not given you any authorization to sell on their listing. If you do that the brand can file infringement against you and amazon will not allow you to sell again on their platform.
Note: We do not suggest anyone to map any listing which they have not created. It is other sellers’ hard work, and if you try to leech on that you will not go long in this business.
How to Ship Your Products on Amazon
There are multiple ways you can sell and ship your products on Amazon. Each method have it’s benefits and shortcomings
1. Self Ship
In this method when the order comes you have to pack the products and handover to your local courier who can deliver to the end customer.
- You can decide which courier you can choose
- Amazon will not approve any claims
- You will have to track the parcel till it is delivered successfully and back in case of return
- If customer create return you will have to arrange the return courier as well
- Customer can file A-Z Claims
- You are dependent on the time of the courier service
2. Easy Ship
In this method amazon takes your parcel and delivers the product. If the product is lost then it is the responsibility of Amazon. If a customer returns a different product then amazon will take the responsibility and will reimburse you. Also since the parcel in the hands of the amazon, amazon can easily track the parcel and provide the updates to your customers
- Easy tracking of parcel
- Amazon will approve reimbursement claims
- Amazon will pickup all the parcels only till 4PM
- Slow delivery when compared to FBA
- No auto reimbursement for Damages
3. Fulfilled By Amazon
In this method you will have to send the inventory to the Amazon Fulfillment center, then as the order comes, amazon will pack and ship the product to your customer. Here amazon is responsible for packing and deliver as well
- Fast deliveries
- Auto reimbursement in case of customer damage
- Packing and Delivery will be handled by Amazon
- You need to stock the inventory in Amazon warehouse
- You need to create Removal orders if the product is in Unsellable conditions
How to Create Your Amazon Listing
Now it is time to create your first listing. Login to your amazon seller central account account and perform below steps.
Step 1: The first step is to Select Add Products option under Catalogue menu in header.
Step 2: Click on Create New Product Listing option to create new listing
Step 3: Select Category under which your product belongs
Step 4: Fill Out all the mandatory information which is required for your products.
1. Product Listing Optimization
Once you have created the listing, do not just create but create an optimized product listing which can benefit from SEO. Below are some guidelines in brief that we want to share with you. More articles will be added on Amazon Product Listing Optimization
- Product Title: Keep you product title under 200 characters and add your title like “Brand Name + Product name + Size/Variation”. So if you are selling formal Mens shoes then it can be like “Bata Formal Shoes for Men, Size 10”
- Product Images: You images are the first thing that you see in your listing, so they are the most important thing in your listing. Your images should be more than the size of 1000px X 1000px, so that they are zoomable.
- Bullet Points: You bullet points should have the information about product features in brief, after product title and images, bullet points are the next big thing that customer pays their attention to
- Product Description: Product description is the least important part of listing from sales conversion perspective. But you should make the whole use of it and input details about your product Remember you can even add HTML tags as well.
2. Pricing Your Product Correctly
Pricing is the most important factor when it comes to online selling. Many businesses close on Amazon because of an incorrect pricing strategy. Remember in online never compete on pricing. If you start competing on pricing, it is time to move onto the next product. Amazon has many fees that they charge when an order is fulfilled, not knowing all your fees and blindly pricing your products will only result in losses. Below are the most typical fees that amazon charges per order.
- Amazon Commission : Amazon Commission is the amount that it charges for every sale that you make. It can range from 5% to 28% depending on the product category.
- Shipping Fees: Shipping fee is the fees which are charged based on the product weight.Amazon calculate your weight both volume wise and actual weight. And charges you based on whichever is more. Volume weight can be calculated using the formula below ( L x W x H) / 5000.Note all dimensions are in cm.
- Fixed Closing Fees: This is a fixed fee charged by amazon based on the price of the product.
- Pick and Pack Fees: These fees are only charged in FBA.But do not be so happy they indirectly charge this in Easy Ship and Self Ship as well, they add it into shipping fees for those programmes.
- Monthly Storage Fees: This fee is only charged in FBA. Since your products are in their warehouse. Cost of storage fees is calculated by taking some of the volume of all your products using the same formula. You can find your monthly storage fees in your FBA reports.
- Delivery Shipping Fees: This cost is associated with Easy Ship Prime programme. This programs give your products Prime tag while still using easy ship. This fee is charged by Amazon for every Prime order by Non Prime customer. Many sellers who are enrolled into this programme are unaware of this fees.
- FBA Courier Cost: This cost is not charged by Amazon but it is the amount which the courier company charges when you send your products to Amazon warehouse this cost can vary from ₹5-₹15 per KG.
- Miscellaneous Cost: Cost of you packing staff, cost of the packing material, etc. This cost are very minor per product but add can add up significantly if you are not checking this regularly.
Packing Amazon Orders
We have already discussed what all shipping options are available for sellers on Amazon India. Here we will speak about how you go about packing and shipping your products safely.
Amazon has banned use of thin plastic poly bags with less than 50 micro. They recommend their sellers to use paper rolls to replace plastic alternatives. Use 3 ply or 5 ply cardboard partitions or boxes.
Below are some practical tips for packing your products:
- Non Fragile products: packing non fragile products is pretty easy. Just cover the products with a protective plastic and place it inside a cardboard box thick or thin depending on the material of your products. If you are shipping your products to the FBA Fulfillment Center then you first need to wrap your products in plastic polythene and put them into a big cardboard box. Since Amazon will pick and pack your products in their own cardboard boxes you do not need to spend money on individual cardboard boxes.
- Fragile Products: Fragile products which are made up of plastic, acrylic, glass or ceramic need extra care. Pack these products in thick 3-5 ply boxes. If you are packing multiple units in a single order then separate each unit with thick cardboard partitions, so that they do not break while in shipping.
- Food products: Standard size food products should be packed in thick cardboard boxes. While shipping your products could be at the bottom of the big bag that courier boys carry.Which will spoil your products
Checking Order Payment
You now have a great product that is so unique that it sells 100 units per day. You have also calculated your profits and those are great too. What can go wrong now ? Well many things out of that one that we will discuss is Payments. I will write more articles on how to do payment reconciliation for Amazon in detail in upcoming articles. For now I will explain some simple things for new sellers..
How to Check Order Payments
To check Payment for an order there are multiple ways. I will show you both today.
Step 1: Login to Seller Central and go to Orders->Manage Orders
Step 2: Copy one of the Order Ids and Go to Report->Payments
Step 3: If Order is a COD order then click on “COD Transactions and Non-Transactional Fees”
otherwise if order is prepaid then click on “Electronic Transactions (Credit Card/Net Banking/GC)”
Step 4: Copy the Order Id and Click on Search. You will see the payments against this order.
Step 5: Click on the Total Amount to see the details Amazon Fees, Shipping Fees including GST details as well. The amount in the blue is the amount that Amazon will transfer to you if the order is not returned by the customer.
Every order on Amazon goes through multiple life cycles. For example:
This is the best case where Order is shipped and Successfully delivered without any return.
2. Shipped->Delivered->Returning To Seller
In this case Order is still returning to the seller and sometimes it is lost by the courier. Amazon will refund some fees based on their policies.
3. Shipped->Delivered->Returned To Seller->Returned To Seller
In this case order is returned by the customer and is delivered to the seller.
4. Shipped->Order Cancelled->Returning To Seller->Returned To Seller
In this case order got cancelled while in transit. Such orders are called RTO orders. Based on Amazon policy for RTO orders you will be refunded some fees.
How to Check Returns
For Easy Ship orders, whenever some return request is raised by Amazon it will be Auto Authorised for refund. Customers will get immediate Refund and the same is deducted from your account.
For Easy ship orders return requests can be seen under Orders->Manage Returns screen.
For each return order you will be able to see details like Return Tracking Id, Reason for Return, Time of return and other details.
For FBA Orders, whenever a return request is raised, the product is shipped back to the origin fulfillment center. In the FBA order screen you can see if the order is refunded to the buyer or not. Go to Orders->Manage Order->View FBA Orders
Though this is not the best way to check for returned orders. As sometimes if the order is refunded it will still not show in the orders section as “Refund Applied”.
So the best way to to check the FBA return reports under Reports->Fulfilled By Amazon
On Left side click on FBA Customer Returns Under Customer Concessions heading.
GST Concepts for E-Commerce Sellers
GST is the most important part of selling. If you are a business operating in india and do not understand the core concepts then your profit calculation will be inflated. Below are some core concepts that we think every online seller must know.
How to Claim ITC
Note: This section is only Valid for Amazon India.
As a buyer in India you will be paying GST to your supplier. And as a seller you will be collecting GST from your buyers.
ITC under the GST regime is very important when calculating the amount of tax you will be paying to the government.
Consider a scenario where you bought goods worth ₹ 10,000 + 18% GST.
You Purchase: ₹10,000 (product cost) + ₹1,800 (18% GST) = ₹11,800
Now say you sold this goods at 12000 + 18% GST.
You Sell: ₹12,000 (product cost) + ₹2,160 (18% GST) = ₹14,160
So you paid ₹1,800 GST on your purchase and collected ₹2,160 GST on sale. So you effective Payable GST to the government will be the difference of Sales GST – Purchase GST
Effective Payable GST = ₹2,160 – ₹1,800 = ₹360 Only.
Surprised? Well thanks to this new tax regime many small businesses have started paying GST.
Always remember to buy from Suppliers who can give you a GST bill. Ignore suppliers who are not registered under GST. If you buy from Unregistered suppliers then you will be liable to pay more GST.
Reports Required to File GST Return
For all the sellers registered under GST have to file GST return monthly. You will have to file 2 GST returns and some annual returns as well.
1. GSTR 1
This return includes all the sales made by you last month. You have to file this return before the 10th of next month. For example: You will have to file return for Jun 2020 month by 10th July 2020. Failure to file this will attract penalty on your part.
2. GSTR 3B
This return includes Sum of all the sales made by you and all the ITC that you want to claim. This return basically tells you how much GST is payable by you.
This return is filed on the 20th of next month. Failure to file this return will also attract heavy penalties.
We will write an article detailing all the steps to file your GST returns every month.
How to file claims with Amazon
Some days after you strt receiving orders on Amazon you will find yourself checking returns and trying to understand why the customer returned it.
If you are getting 100 order a day, expect 10 returns as well. Customers buy online for convenience. Not just for buying but for zero hassle returns as well. Some customer take advantage of return policies and return a used product or completely different product.
In such cases you have to file Safe-T claims. Basically you are asking for claims from Amazon for returns which are either used product or completely different product.
Amazon have policy for this as well. You should only file genuine claims and those should be filed with 7 days, after you have received the return.
All your claims will be get rejected if you don’t follow their policy.
How to file a claim for different product received from customer.
Step 1: Login to your seller central account and go to Order->Manage Returns
Step 2: All successfully delivered returns will appear here. Copy the order id for which you need to file the claim and click “Create Safe-T Claim”
Step 3: Enter the order id and Click “Check Eligibility”
Step 4: Select the Claim reason as “Received different product”
Step 5: Now upload supporting documents and click Submit
We will add more articles to guide you on winning every Safe-T Claim on Amazon.
I wish you best of luck for your online adventure.
There will be many ups and downs but believe in your product and continue your journey, take tough decision if required and move on.
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