Amazon lets you sell in two ways: through an Individual selling plan and a Professional selling plan. The difference between these two is that the Individual plan fits low-volume sellers while the Professional plan suits business owners with a bigger market and inventory.
But if you own a small business, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should choose the Individual plan. The right selling plan ultimately depends on various factors, such as your business model, products, market, fulfillment methods, and more.
In this article, we'll discuss the key differences between the Amazon Individual and Professional selling plans, helping you choose the most cost-effective subscription for your business.
The Individual selling plan costs $0.99 per sale. It’s designed for sellers who sell less than 40 units monthly. As a “basic” plan, it has limited benefits, such as:
You can also sign up for the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program as an Individual seller, but it will cost an additional fee.
As mentioned, the Amazon Individual selling plan fits low-volume sellers. If you sell less than 40 items every month, paying $0.99 per sale is more cost-effective than paying a fixed monthly fee regardless of how many units you sell.
The Individual selling plan makes more sense if you’re still deciding on a product to sell and would like to experiment with various items. Without the commitment to pay a fixed monthly amount, you can protect your capital even if your product idea is unsuccessful.
Furthermore, you can manage seller-fulfilled orders, allowing you to avoid the fees associated with FBA. You can have complete control over your inventory and shipping tasks instead of being bound by FBA policies.
However, you can still sign up for FBA if fulfilling orders yourself is inefficient, and you're willing to pay an additional fee. Amazon’s FBA program ensures that your products are expertly handled from stocking to delivery. Moreover, FBA products automatically get the Prime badge, allowing you to target Prime members who are more likely to spend more on Amazon than non-Prime users. And the best part is you don’t have to pay or charge Prime shipping rates because it’s included in the FBA program.
While the Individual Selling plan can be cost-effective, you miss out on numerous seller tools and services. For example, you won’t be able to sell a product in a restricted category because only Professional Selling plan holders can enjoy this benefit.
You also won't be able to set dynamic prices and manage inventory in bulk. But if you're still experimenting on various product ideas, you’ll have little use of these features anyway. Besides, you can switch to a Professional plan anytime and enjoy extensive seller tools.
The Amazon Professional selling plan costs a fixed amount of $39.99 monthly. It’s the ideal plan if you sell more than 40 units every month. It allows you to access and enjoy advanced seller tools, such as:
You can also enroll in optional programs, including FBA, Amazon Ads, Lightning and 7-Day Deals, Amazon Global Logistics, and more.
While it may seem expensive, the Amazon Professional selling plan can actually be more cost-effective than the Individual plan. Suppose you sell an average of 50 products every month. In that case, if you have an Individual selling plan, you pay $49.50 (50 * 0.99), while you only spend $39.99 with a Professional selling plan.
Other pros include access to these programs:
With a Professional selling plan, you can build and enhance your brand with A+ Content, a tool that showcases your brand story and product features through creative text and images within the product details page. A+ content can drive more engagement and conversion, potentially boosting traffic sales.
You can also create your Amazon Storefront, a free and self-service branded landing page for curating content that helps customers discover excellent products to buy.
Another tool you can access is Sponsored Brands, which has a similar purpose to Storefront. But instead of a landing page, customers can discover products through cost-per-click (CPC) ads.
You can also track your business's performance with real-time data and analytics, updating you on popular search terms, demographics, and other powerful data.
You can enroll in Brand Registry, a program that protects your intellectual property and creates a trustworthy Amazon experience for customers. It gives you access to tools that enhance your brand representation and report violations.
With Transparency, you can secure your products with unique codes that accurately identify each unit, preventing counterfeits from reaching your customers.
Amazon Ads lets you easily set up campaigns wherein Amazon gives you up to $50 in free clicks. Ads increase your chances of getting discovered, especially by customers who are ready to buy. You can also track your ad spend and performance, allowing you to identify effective and ineffective strategies.
As a professional seller, you can participate in the Lightning and 7-Day deals if you and your products meet the eligibility criteria and if Amazon shares a recommended Deal with you. Offering your products during limited-time deals lets you target customers with high purchase intents, potentially generating more traffic and sales.
Amazon Currency Converter
The Amazon Currency Converter automates global disbursements, so you no longer need to open a foreign bank account or sign up for a third-party payment provider if you’re selling outside the US. You can automatically get paid in your local currency—all you need to do is add your local bank account to your Seller Central account.
If your business is eligible, you can get financing from Amazon Lending to free up cash flow and make crucial investments. Amazon lends funds for inventory, product development, or any other area for business growth. You can use Amazon’s loan calculator to compute the total borrowing cost and what your repayments will look like.
Customer Service by Amazon
Customer Service is a paid program in which Amazon handles customer service for your self-fulfilled orders. It answers customer queries 24/7 via phone, chat, or email. However, this program is only available in Amazon stores in the US, Japan, and Germany.
Strategic Account Services
This program lets you have a dedicated account manager and advisor who can help you scale your business, grow your market, and boost sales. They provide personalized insights and recommendations, operational support, issue assistance, and tips on how to make the most of seller programs, deals, and early access.
Amazon Global Logistics
Amazon Global Logistics is part of the Supply Chain by Amazon program. It ships inventory directly from China to Amazon fulfillment centers and networks in the US, UK, and Europe. It currently has a special offer that grants up to 8% off on ocean freight bookings for 60 days after onboarding if you set up your profile today.
It’s hard to see any disadvantages to having a Professional selling plan. With access to advanced programs, tools, and services, you can have everything you need to make your Amazon business successful. But, of course, there are costs.
For example, if your sales decline and you can only sell less than 40 items a month, the $39.99 fixed fee will be a burden. What’s more, Amazon collects a seller fee on each of your sales, eating away at your profits. These fees are called Referral fees.
Overall, however, the Professional selling plan makes more sense than the Individual plan if you have a high-volume business and a long-term growth plan. If you’re worried about losing profits, you can always switch to the Individual selling plan to save some bucks.
As mentioned, Amazon collects referral fees from each sale aside from the subscription fee if you’re a Professional seller. The amount varies by product category, and you’ll pay either a fixed percentage of the total transaction or a minimum amount, whichever is higher.
Below is a breakdown of the referral fees and minimum amount per product category.
Amazon Device Accessories
Appliances – Compact
Appliances – Full Size
Automotive and Powersports
Base Equipment Power Tools
Backpacks, Handbags, and Luggage
Beauty, Health, and Personal Care
Business, Industrial, and Scientific Supplies
Clothing and Accessories
Grocery and Gourmet
Home and Kitchen
Lawn and Garden
Lawn Mowers and Snow Throwers
Books, DVD, Music, Software, Video
Musical Instruments and AV Production
Sports and Outdoors
Tools and Home Improvement
Toys and Games
Video Games and Gaming Accessories
Video Game Consoles
The rest of the categories
Terms and conditions may apply to some referral fees. Check out this Amazon page to learn more about them.
We know that the Individual selling plan fits business owners who sell less than 40 products a month, while the Professional selling plan suits those running a bigger business. But what else should you consider before making your final choice?
Your Current Stage in the Business Planning Process
If you’re still exploring different product ideas, it’s recommended to choose the Individual selling plan. That way, you’re not committed to a fixed monthly fee, and you can focus on developing your product. You can put other plans, like expanding your business, on the back burner at this stage.
Your Product Category
While both Individual and Professional selling plans allow you to sell in 20 Amazon categories, only Professional sellers can sell items under 10 more restricted categories. If you decide to sell a potentially restricted product, like fine art, jewelry, B2B products, or food, it’s better to go with the Professional plan.
Fulfillment Method and Featured Offer Sales Potential
Amazon Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) and FBA are available to both Individual and Professional sellers, but you may enjoy more fulfillment perks as a Professional seller.
Professional FBA sellers can win the Buy Box, a section on the product details page that lets customers add a product to their cart by clicking or tapping a button that says “Buy Now.” On top of that, Professional sellers can make their products eligible for the Featured Offer, a product page window above the Buy Now button that offers product recommendations for those who may need help searching and comparing items.
If you’re not planning to purchase inventory in bulk, an Individual selling plan makes more sense. On the other hand, if you anticipate a high demand for your product or your supplier has a minimum order requirement, it's wiser to choose the Professional selling plan.
With an Individual selling plan, you can’t set custom shipping fees for your products. But you can do it with a Professional selling plan, so choose this option to charge more profitable shipping fees.
Participation in Sales Events
If you want to offer your products during sales events like Prime Day, which earned approximately $12 billion this year, the Professional selling plan may be for you since this plan allows you to create deals and promotions, unlike the Individual plan.
Your Long-Term Goals
If you see yourself growing your business from advertising, branding tools, and other ventures in the future, opt for the Professional selling plan. You can access Amazon’s advanced seller programs and services, allowing you to power your business within the Amazon platform for a reasonable price.
Whether you’re an Individual or Professional seller, you can use a marketplace management platform to increase efficiency and monitor your business. Here are the top three tools to consider:
Threecolts offers several software products for managing your Amazon, Walmart, or eBay store. One of its most outstanding products is a profit analytics platform. It provides a single dashboard for all your Amazon global stores so you can track profits and losses in one platform. Plus, it lets you monitor the inventory management costs that Amazon's financial management system doesn't let you track.
You can also organize your expenses into precise categories to get customized analytics. For example, if you hired models for your apparel shop, you could create a category called “Model Talent Fees.”
Additionally, you can categorize profits and losses into groups like sales, taxes, refunds, and more to optimize your bookkeeping system and measure your profitability based on data that's most relevant to your business.
Jungle Scout provides a suite of software solutions for Amazon sellers. They have products for first-time Amazon sellers and experienced ones. For example, if you need a product idea, you can use Jungle Scout’s Product Database. It combs through 475 million Amazon products to help you determine your idea’s potential.
On the other hand, if you’re an experienced Amazon seller with a Professional plan, you can use other Jungle Scout solutions, like Sales Analytics, for instance. It shows current and historical sales data, inbound FBA shipments, and supplier and shipping costs. It can also customize your expenses and analyze your PPC campaigns.
Helium 10 is an eCommerce management solution for Amazon FBA and Walmart sellers. It has a product research tool that works as a Chrome extension to help you analyze Amazon products, determining their sales, costs, and profitability. Meanwhile, Professional sellers can use an inventory management tool to keep track of their bulk items, stock-outs, quantity updates, and more.
Both the Amazon Individual and Professional plans offer unique benefits. At the end of the day, none is really better than the other because every seller has different requirements. However, you’ll only get the “right” plan if you select the one that supports you best wherever you are in your business. Fortunately, you can change your plan anytime, so you don’t need to worry about being stuck in a specific Amazon selling plan.