Perspective: Becoming an Amazon Seller is serious business.
There are a quick few things that you MUST know before touching the entry portal into the seller section of your Amazon account. If – as an online entrepreneur – you want to expand through the Amazon platform – DO NOT take this message lightly. It may be a process that takes only a quick few minutes to set up, but if you aren’t fully prepared, you might lose access quickly with little to no explanation or second chance. I’m going off of my experience and those of many people I have read about in forums. I’ve read about a few services and classes you can buy that can guide you through restoring your account, but it seems like it’s best to just be really smart from the get go. If you haven’t yet begun this venture into Amazon Sellership- be sure to do it fully prepared and by the books!
I don’t really care about this because I seem to have lost my privilege of being an Amazon seller, but I figure I can probably save a few people from the unforgivable by sharing my story and a few final thoughts on the matter…
In the online selling world, I have sold: used, vintage, handmade, digital, and manufactured goods online over the past 15 years. A few years ago, I decided to start poking around in the Amazon seller’s area. I may have gone in with a business concept in mind, but really- I was trying to figure out what the platform was like and maybe begin light use of it to get a feel for it. eBay and Etsy had been my storefronts for several years, so I figured this was a possible next step. I recall eventually adding a few resale items that were already being sold by Amazon. One of the items sold and I shipped it out. I guess the others expired and I never renewed them. Later on, I became an affiliate. I added item links to a few places throughout my blog and vlog. They sent an email stating that I needed at least one sale or my account would be shut down. A few days later someone referred a friend to me for a recommendation on easy photo studio lighting. I sent them a link and as soon as the sale went through, my affiliate account got shut down. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but Amazon didn’t like it. I think that is when my seller account also got axed.
I’ve learned that Amazon doesn’t care AT ALL. Today I tried to create a new account as a platform for my a product that has been selling consistently on Etsy for two years now, but before I even finished the application the system told me that I was denied. The selection system seems to be automated, and if anything looks off with your account or information that can be linked to a previously closed account – AXED. But I’m not surprised. I imagine Amazon HQ already scrambling to fill employment needs at their warehouses. At the same time they are constantly being flooded with new seller accounts. They totally have the option of allowing only the most fit, most prepared and best performing sellers to use their marketplace and survive the automation, thus conserving their real manpower needs. Selling on Amazon is like starting a game – if you can get in and stay in by being top notch 24/7/365 – great! But if you aren’t always totally on top of things 100% from the start, you will lose the game and can’t exactly just start a new one.
Suggestions for those of you out there thinking about checking out the seller platform:
1.) Start a real business and make it as legit as you possibly can by doing as many of the following before even touching that Amazon Seller button:
- Get a Tax ID Number (Try to avoid going in as a Sole proprietor using your SSN)
- Use a business computer
- Get a business address
- Keep it separate from any personal Amazon accounts you may have or use
- Use a business checking/credit card account
2.) Be ready to be active
- Be ready with images and descriptions to add items
- Be ready to be able to fulfill orders
- Be ready to stay on top of this account- using it actively throughout the week (not just relying on when e-mail communication comes in)
- Be sure to communicate with Amazon or customers quickly if they reach out to you.
And if you’re considering that affiliate program- focus on getting your site how you like it and have traffic going to the site first. I remember how easy it was to sign up for this- don’t let that tempt you if you still need time to get your website, vlog, etc. running smoothly and consistently. As you do get everything setup – be sure to read the fine print.
I also suggest looking into the various tutorials which have become available in the past year or so for using the Amazon seller/affiliate tools before creating your own account.
Becoming an Amazon Seller is serious business. Let’s face it, you are stepping into the spotlight of the entire world with your product – be prepared! If you are in the same boat as me, or if you’re a wiz Amazon Seller, and have words of advice to share- please feel free to do so in the comments below!
Good luck to you, my fellow innovators – may you enjoy a long ride on the Amazon wave.