Amazon.com: Everything you need to know about buying and selling on Amazon
Amazon offers savings, free shipping, convenience and money making opportunities
Shopping on Amazon is both cost effective and convenient. It's great to be able to comparison shop and read reviews from others who have purchased those items. It's often cheaper and there are several options for fast and free shipping. All this from the comfort and convenience of your home. It's also a fantastic resource for selling products; get rid of old unwanted items or operate a home business and sell products in a larger quantity. This guide will highlight all the best reasons to use Amazon.com for both buying and selling to make money from home and save money too.
As an overworked mother of two toddlers, Amazon has been an absolute godsend. I like to comparison shop to ensure I'm getting the nicest product for the best price. I absolutely hate having to go from store to store shopping with my children taking them in and out of their car seats. I would just buy the first thing I saw if I had to buy in stores. Online shopping in general is so convenient for any busy person, but particularly parents of small children.
I also love the reviews on Amazon.com. A product might look compelling or seem like a good deal, but if it doesn't hold up or work as promised it saves a lot of time and aggravation to know that before purchasing. I rely so heavily on reviews that I will actually check Amazon reviews on my smart phone prior to making a purchase in store.
If ordering online meant I'd have to wait days or weeks for my purchases I probably wouldn't do it very often. However Amazon has the fastest order fulfillment and shipping I have ever seen. It's hard to comprehend how they even do it. I use two day shipping (free for prime members) and I typically receive my package the next day. Oftentimes I do my shopping in the evening once my children are in bed. I'll literally have my purchases before lunchtime the following morning. It's nothing short of amazing.
The prices on Amazon.com are typically very competitive. Occasionally I'll see that a product costs more on Amazon than in stores but 9 times out of 10 it's the opposite. Sometimes it's significantly cheaper than what you can get in stores. Plus you don't have to pay sales tax on items purchased through Amazon which in my area is a 10% savings right off the bat.
Update: As of 1/1/13 Amazon is required to charge sales tax on some items depending on where the item is coming from/going to. I've found that most of my purchases are still sales tax free but I am occasionally charged sales tax.
Do you currently shop at Amazon.com?
Get Free Shipping with Amazon Prime
Free Two-Day Shipping and more
Amazon Prime is a program that makes tons of sense for frequent buyers on Amazon. It offers free two-day shipping. The shipping is so fast it's ridiculous. The annual cost for prime membership is $79/year. You can sign up for a free trial and see if you'll use it enough to warrant the expense. I know for me personally it's a no-brainer.
The free two-day shipping is the biggest feature however there are two more great benefits of the Prime program. These include:
Instant commercial free streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows
Kindle owners can borrow a free book every month from the Kindle library. These have no due dates
Not just for Moms
Amazon Mom is designed for parents and caretakers of small children. It's a free program that offers money saving benefits. These benefits include:
3 Months of Prime shipping benefits which can be extended with qualifying purchases up to a year
20% off diapers and wipes that you purchase on a Subscribe and Save basis. (They automatically mail you an order based on the time period you select. The normal subscribe and save discount is only 5%)
Emails about discounts and promotions
Amazon student is similar to the Amazon Mom program however is obviously for students. It includes Amazon Prime shipping benefits for 6 months, special deals and promotions available only to students and free release date delivery on video games, DVD's, books and more. You need a valid .edu email address to sign up.
Amazon Gold Box Deals
Deal of the Day and Lightning Deals
Amazon offers special deals everyday called Gold Box deals. This includes both the Deal of the Day as well as Lighting Deals.
The Deal of the Day is one special offer available all day however it's subject to availability. It's rare but sometimes they do sell out. You can sign up to get a daily email from Amazon with the current daily deal special.
Lightning Deals are available throughout the day for a limited amount of time. When one deal closes another begins. You don't know what will come next but they do offer hints as to what it might be. So if you see something you want act fast because it may sell out before the time even runs out.
These deals are great year round but during Christmas time I love it even more. They'll run multiple lightning deals simultaneously. Sometimes you know what's coming up and other items just have a hint. These are fantastic deals for really popular products that are sure to be on your Christmas wish lists. It's essentially like a door buster deal without having to leave the house. The deals have really stretched how much and what types of presents I can give. Last year I bought an Ipod Touch for about half off! The price was cheaper than what Apple employees can buy them for (I know because my brother works for Apple). The key to these sales is they go incredibly fast. The really hot items will sell out in a matter of seconds so you have to be waiting for the item to go live and click add to cart ninja fast. I have fun doing it and it has saved me a ton of money.
Tip: I've made money buying products year round buying on Amazon deals and then selling those products on eBay. However all deals are limited to one type per customer so it's not something you can sell in any quantity.
Amazon Vine Program
Product Reviews=Free Stuff!
If you're someone who enjoys reviewing products the Amazon Vine Program is a goal to strive towards by making a lot of high quality product reviews on Amazon. It's an invitation only program that is worth it's weight in gold if you get that invite. It gives reviewers free products (usually new or pre-release items). They only ask that you use the product and then write an honest review. You can get some really cool and expensive free stuff. Some of the criteria that the program looks for in reviewers that they choose to invite include:
How often others vote that your reviews were helpful
Quality of reviews
How many reviews you've written
Length of reviews (two sentence product reviews probably aren't going to cut it)
The types of products you review
Amazon Price Tracker Website
Many people aren't aware of this but prices change on Amazon constantly. If you leave items in your cart, often when you come back at a later time you'll have several notices that prices have changed on multiple items. If there's something you want to purchase and you don't need it in a hurry, tracking the price can help save some money. Check the Amazon price tracker website which can pull up the history of the price of an item. It will tell you if it's at a good place right now or if it's recently gone up. If it just went up it will likely come back down if you can wait a little while.
Returns made easy on Amazon.com
You can return most items within 30 days for a full refund. They may however charge you return shipping depending on the reason for return. If it's their mistake or something is wrong with the item it will definitely be free shipping. Certain items for instance a lot of things in the baby department qualify for free return shipping even if you just changed your mind. You can initiate a return online and print the return label right from your computer. Amazon will set up to have UPS pick the item up at your front door. I've actually had smaller items I wanted to return and the system said it would credit me my money back but I did not even need to send back the item! You can't get better service than that.
Even if you're past their 30 day window for returns they might still be willing to help you. Though you won't be able to process the return online if you call their customer service (which is some of the best customer services I've ever experienced), they will typically help you regardless of the timeframe. I just recently had a shredder break that I had bought 4 or 5 months ago. But I called because I spent $150 for the upgraded unit and felt I should have gotten more time out of it. They returned it for a full refund and I did not even have to pay return shipping. I then ordered a new model which was a third the cost.
Amazon selling experience
Have you ever sold an item on Amazon?
Individual vs Professional Seller on Amazon
Amazon offers two different programs for selling on their site. The program you pick will determine in part how you pay your fee to Amazon. While Amazon is not free to sell on it is free to list. Plus it provides exposure to a massive amount of eyes and potential sales that you wouldn't have had otherwise and it's possible to make very good money selling on Amazon.
If you think you'll sell less than 40 items per month or you're really just trying to get rid of old unwanted items like used books then you'll want to sell as an Individual Seller. The reason for this is there is no monthly subscription fee. Amazon does however charge a $0.99 per item fee on this program. The nice thing is it doesn't cost a penny to you unless your item sells so there's no risk to list.
If you're selling on Amazon more as a business and estimate that you'll have more than 40 sales per month then you should sell on Amazon as a Professional Seller. This program does not charge a listing fee either though it does charge a monthly subscription fee of $39.99. However the $0.99 per item fee is waived so after 41 sales you'd be further ahead. Plus professional sellers have the option of offering gift wrap as an up-charge to customers whereas individual sellers do not.
Both programs will also charge a referral fee (commission) which varies based on the category of the item sold. This fee ranges from about 6-25%. Additionally items sold in the book, music, computer software and games, video & DVD, and video game console categories will also be charged an 8-15% variable closing fee.
How to Sell on Amazon Video