Even though e-commerce has been around for more than 30 years, there are still plenty of opportunities for dedicated sellers to make an impact in this buoyant space. While e-commerce stores such as Shopify, Walmart, eBay, and Etsy make selling online seem attractive, the best way to make a solid income is with Amazon. Read on to discover the 13 ways you can earn money with the world’s largest online marketplace.
Amazon offers huge opportunities for anyone wanting to increase their income and start selling online. Even with a market downturn and other factors that may spell doom and gloom for the economy, selling on Amazon is still a fundamentally profitable business.
Moreover, the e-commerce giant is still raking in millions in revenue—over half of which is fueled by third-party sales. Fact: Amazon’s revenue for the quarter ending September 30, 2022 was $127.101B, a 14.7 percent increase year-over-year.
So what can you do to earn money on Amazon?
Private label sales using Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) network is still the most effective way to earn money on Amazon with around 70 percent of all Amazon sellers sell online using private label.
So what exactly is private label? It's a process of creating and manufacturing an already-existing item with improvements added—such as your own brand description and logo. You then sell the item to customers as a branded product. This process is also called white labeling or brand creation. It’s been around for many years, and you'll see private label in many retail stores such as Target and Walmart (Target’s Mainstays brand and Walmart’s Great Value are examples of this type of product).
With Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA), Amazon can deliver your product to customers in two days or less, otherwise known as Amazon Prime. Thousands of e-commerce business owners list their products on Amazon in this way and make great money from their sales. It’s easy, swift, and uncomplicated.
Even though it’s not difficult to do, private label is known to be high risk and high reward. Unlike selling wholesale, there are costs to cover but on the upside, the seller has full autonomy over their business. You can also launch and manage over 50 private-label products under one brand on FBA—and easily expand to other Amazon marketplaces.
More than 50 percent of Amazon private-label sellers earn $5,000 or more in monthly sales. Nearly 60 percent of Amazon private-label sellers experience profit margins greater than 16 percent. Out of those private sellers that have been trading for more than a year, 20 percent have taken more than $10,000 in profits overall.
There are ways to make the private label process swifter and easier for sellers:
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is a perfect way to publish your own e-books without having to pay anything upfront.
Kindle Direct Publishing gives you the option of publishing either an e-book or a paperback book—or both if you so desire. If you decide to go for a paperback, you will print your book using Amazon's print-on-demand service, which includes shipping to your customer. There is no need to shell out for bulk inventory before your first sale, either, since the buyer clicks ‘buy’ and kickstarts the printing and shipping process.
As we mentioned above, it’s free to list your e-book on Amazon; however, the revenue made from the title is split between you and Amazon. You have the option of publishing as many e-books or paperbacks as you want under various pen names and categories.
If you prefer to create paperback or hardback copies of your book, you also have the option of placing a wholesale order with Amazon under your Kindle Direct Publishing dashboard. Amazon prints the number of copies you desire and can even ship them to you. You only pay for the printing of each book once you’ve made the sale (the cost is taken off the total sale price).
The only downside to Kindle Direct Publishing is that you must publish quite a few e-books to make money. The more you write, the more you make. Some lucky authors make up to $40,000 per month but these writers tend to be prolific and write at length on popular topics.
Selling wholesale on Amazon requires you to buy bulk quantities of products to sell using Amazon’s FBA network. Unlike private label, you’re selling other companies’ products and don’t need to focus on manufacturing and/or branding. This is one of the most common ways to sell on Amazon.
Sadly, in the last few years, selling wholesale on Amazon has become a lot more difficult than it initially was, but having said that, it’s still a good way to earn money on the major platform. Yes, it is a lot more competitive than the private-label market—since you often have to share the Buy Box with other resellers. Sometimes it can be a downward spiral on prices since the only leverage sellers have is price; this means they furiously compete with each other by decreasing prices. In this way, the profit is all in the buy.
So if you can’t source your goods for a low enough amount, you simply can’t make money. Still, 61 percent of wholesale sellers on Amazon rake in $5,000 or more a month.
Use an online sourcing program such as TacticalArbitrage: you’ll be grateful for the time saved and money easily earned.
Tip: Ensure you take care of all those missing items each year with a lucrative profit recovery program such as Refund Sniper. It’s not uncommon for sellers to sign up and find as much as $5000 in missing inventory owed to them—and a $5000 check in the mail!
If you don't want to buy, sell and trade items on Amazon you can always join Amazon as an IRL driver. That's right, the Amazon Flex Program allows you to join the company's fleet of drivers and contribute to their delivery service.
To sign up, you will need to answer some questions and download their app and if they accept you then you can start making money immediately driving for them. It's like Uber for Amazon deliveries—emphasizing family-friendly hours.
Amazon pays their Flex drivers between $18 to $25 an hour, typically five-hour shifts so that people can return to their families for dinner.
If you have long harbored a desire to be a lifestyle blogger or to be published online, this one might be for you. With the Amazon Associates affiliate marketing program, you can create your own content and make money when you send your readers to Amazon to purchase something you’ve recommended.
Simply sign up, find a product you like on Amazon, then send all your contacts and audience a link. It's that simple. If they buy it—you get paid a commission. Nice, right?
If you have a blog or social media page with a good amount of followers then the Amazon link will go out to quite a few more people, so you can actually make quite a lot of money doing this.
You need to sign up for the Amazon Associates affiliate program to start receiving the special links that only you can share. Once you share a link and someone makes a purchase, you earn a percentage of the sale.
The Amazon Associates program is one of the most popular affiliate programs on the web. The commission percentages can be low—usually only 3-5 percent—but the number of people seeing and buying the products can make it a good deal after all.
The major requirement is that you need to be an internet influencer for this to work. Without a big social media following it can be difficult to earn the sales and commissions you need to make.
Retail arbitrage is the term used to describe when you buy something for a lower price than you sell it at a profit. It's pretty simple: you go to a store like Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble—or a mom-and-pop discount store—to source and purchase discounted items that you will resell on Amazon at a higher price.
Retail arbitrage is a fast and low-cost way to start trading on Amazon but it can be competitive and challenging to scale. In fact, you can make as little or as much as you want; it depends on the effort you put in.
If you want to be an arbitrager you need to learn patience, as often you find yourself searching retail stores without much success (and you definitely need to keep looking until you find the right product).
What products are best for retail arbitrage? We recommend clothing (including baby clothes), sporting goods, books, home goods, kitchenware, and tools. Most profitable products will be found scouring the clearance items of these stores, so learn where the clearance sections are and get to work.
Tip: Make sure you find success with apps that safely automate your Amazon pricing, help you win the Buy Box, and increase your sales.
With online arbitrage, you’re purchasing products online to sell at a higher price on Amazon, instead of buying the items in a physical store.
Unlike retail arbitrage, you don't need to be physically present where you're buying the items and you can even source items from different countries. You can sell products on Amazon from online stores such as Walmart, Target, CVS, and Home Depot.
The earning figures for online arbitrage vary, depending on how much effort and time you put into your business. You also need to find good products to sell online or else you won't make much money. There are profitable deals to find, you just have to be patient and spend time looking for them.
Tip: Use an app such as SellerRunning to make your job as an online arbitrager effortless.
Fact: Many Amazon employees work remotely from their own homes as Amazon reps, doing various tasks including sales, customer care, and data entry.
From our research, we found a job in Utah as a Virtual Customer Care Advisor for Amazon Pharmacy, an essential role in helping Amazon customers with their medication prescriptions. The position is fully remote, working from home virtually, with a flexible reduced-hour schedule outside of normal business hours. It’s just one of many opportunities to work remotely for the company.
Your income will depend on the job you're doing and the position you're filling, but it’s important to know that in 2018 Amazon started paying a $15 minimum wage. You can find work as an Amazon rep on their website.
This program is a little-known crowdsourcing marketplace for those who need help online with jobs and processes. Whether it’s data validation, research, or participating in surveys, Mechanical Turk is the place where business owners can get help with various outsourced tasks quickly.
As Amazon says, “this could include anything from conducting simple data validation and research to more subjective tasks like survey participation, content moderation, and more. MTurk enables companies to harness the collective intelligence, skills, and insights from a global workforce to streamline business processes, augment data collection and analysis, and accelerate machine learning development.”
Mechanical Turk isn’t as rigorous as other Amazon work programs, so it pays less, with most Mechanical Turk workers making between $6 to $10 per hour. The best place to find out about the Mechanical Turk program is through Amazon itself.
If you enjoy making creative one-of-a-kind products then Amazon Handmade is the perfect place to sell online. It's run by invitation only and allows creative artisans to sell their own goods at their own price and schedule.
Once you create a selling account, submit an application to join Amazon Handmade. If you are approved to sell in Handmade then you won’t have to pay the Professional selling fee, either.
Selling on Amazon handmade will take a little effort to stay on top of your orders and customer communications, but you will be exposed to millions of potential customers simply because you're on the Amazon platform. And this is priceless in itself.
According to data, 63 percent of handmade artisans spend more than $1,000 monthly in sales. More than a third of handmade sellers have profit margins that are above 20 percent. With the massive amount of potential customers you're accessing, however, the sky is the limit—even with Amazon’s fees.
Got a smart idea for a T-shirt or coffee mug, but dread coming up with the cash to create them? We have good news: Merch on Demand by Amazon is for you. It’s essentially a print-on-demand service where you upload your own design into the database so that your designs can be printed on bags, shirts, mugs, hats—anything that you desire.
Once the customer purchases the sale, Amazon creates the product and then delivers it—voila, you earn some money.
When you make a sale on Merch On Demand the company pays you a royalty fee between 13 to 37 percent—depending on the base product’s price. Essentially, the higher the sold price, the higher the royalty you will make back.
You can check out Amazon’s Merch On Demand royalties here.
The growth of the e-commerce industry has given birth to many profitable ancillary businesses such as dropshipping.
You list the products for sale and then when somebody buys them you go off and order the products from your supplier—hopefully at a lower price.
That’s correct: the order fulfillment—the process of stocking, packing, shipping, and delivering products to customers—is carried out by a third party, the ‘dropshipper’. You can start with no outlay whatsoever and use the money you make on your first orders to further the reach and profitability of your future orders.
With software such as the lauded SellerRunning, you can discover a global network of Amazon marketplaces for seamless listing, smart pricing strategies, and increased profitability. Programs such as this allow you to outdo the competition and win the Buy Box with prices that are automatically updated according to your rules.
You ideally need to find a reliable supplier and a proven software program such as SellerRunning; otherwise, you risk not making consistent money with dropshipping.
Amazon has officially joined the gig economy.
Amazon Services allows freelancers to sell what they do online and it’s a great way to earn money and have control of your own time. So if you’re a dog walker, music teacher, or arborist, Amazon Services will help you find gigs in your community and beyond.
You can set your own price and make what the market is willing to pay for your service. Sure, it’s pretty competitive, but with consistent efforts and determination, you might be able to scale your service pretty quickly.
As you see, there many ways to earn money with Amazon. Explore the links in this article and research what you’re planning to invest your time and/or money in. For more ideas about selling online and flourishing in the e-commerce industry check out our blog, too, where you’ll find a plethora of information and ideas.