Selling on Amazon Seller Central – Can I make money?

So, the answer to this is possibly yes. There is good and bad to selling on Amazon marketplace.

I’m going to put it out there that if you have a unique product – you could do well on here. However, if you have a unique product, you also fall into another problem where it’s not as easy to list your product. Coming from someone who has only sold electronics on Amazon Seller Central, everytime I go to sell something, I need to look up the B00 number from another listing on the website. This means I can quickly put a product up on the site.

It also means though that what I’m selling has to exactly mirror or replicate the B00 number from the product I’m providing. I have never been able to figure out how to add my own product, description etc. this has never worked for me. I hope others have figured this out, but I have found Seller Central to be non-intuitive in this respect.

When selling electronics therefore, if the hard drive capacity didn’t match up, or it was running a different operating system etc. I’d get a message from the buyer about how I didn’t provide them what was in the listing – understandably so. Most of the time though, I’d message buyers and let them know “hey, although the listing said it has a spindle hard drive, I’m actually sending you an SSD.”  Most buyers didn’t have a problem with the fact that I was giving them essentially a free upgrade.

With all of that being said, the real challenge you run into – like any marketplace – is you have no idea who is buying from you. Sometimes there can be language barriers – or age barriers. I’ve shipped someone over $500 in equipment, for them to try returning to me. This was a large system that was heavy and I didn’t want to take it back as I’d lose out on significant shipping costs (no, Amazon does not fully cover shipping costs – more on this below). When I asked the buyer why he was returning the system, he said something about it missing screws or etc. When I asked is anything wrong, he said no, the system booted fine.

I therefore sent him a few screws and told him to enjoy.

Amazon Seller Central – Be wary of the “A to Z Amazon Guarantee”

Another buyer actually did return a chip to me saying it was not the chip he had purchased. I asked the buyer to take pictures because I knew 100% he was scamming me and this CPU was correct. He sent no pictures and under the Amazon “A to Z guarantee” I had no say in the matter. Amazon refunded him his money, and I never got the CPU back.

That’s one thing you need to be really careful of on Amazon Seller Central. Amazon always leans towards the customer no matter what, so if they gripe enough – even if you’ve done nothing wrong- Amazon won’t request proof of anything. They won’t even tell the customer they need to send the item back or have any way to enforce that either. I lost my money on the item, lost my money on the shipment – and didn’t even get my merchandise back. Thanks Amazon. The way they do this is they will claw money back out of your bank account if there’s a dispute. You’ll get essentially 0 say in any of it – and good luck blocking their claw back at your bank. Amazon kind of does whatever they want in this regard.

Is Amazon Seller Central Safe for Sellers?

My first response to this is “No.” The way I explain this further down is it really depends on your niche or target market. I have had some success with it selling items in the electronics niche, but I was also good at dealing with scammers. I only got scammed once for an older chip; I’d put a price tag on it at $50 or less.

  • Amazon has your credit card and bank account information on file. If there’s a dispute, they’ll simply pull the money away from you. When that happens, there’s nothing you can do
  • Amazon Seller support is canned responses, non-existent, no phone number. Buyers have the power, sellers don’t have much.
  • Buyer can request refund under “A to Z Guarantee,” even for large ticket items. Imagine losing $1,000 on a sale (like a brand new phone) because the buyer said there is something wrong with it when there isn’t. There’s no burden of proof that the buyer has to provide for a refund. They just complain and you lose money.
  • Seller (that’s you) has to take care of shipping. If the buyer says there was a shipment problem, even if you prove there wasn’t – you lose. Never the customer. Keep that in mind!
  • You can’t stop Amazon transactions, like claw backs happening to your account
  • Trying to close your account or remove a payment option from it is basically impossible. More canned support responses.

Amazon Seller Central can get their money from you No Matter What – and Seller Support is Non-Existent

If there’s a dispute, Amazon has both your credit card and bank account on file. Trying to remove these generally results in errors on their platform (probably by design). Good luck working with their support team to remove a bank account, credit card, or even close an account. I requested Amazon to close my Seller Central account multiple times – they never did. Their support is canned responses and generally if you’re a seller, you’re not getting any support. As a buyer, for sure, but not as a seller.

Don’t sell anything outside of your country

Selling anything on Amazon Seller Central is a recipe for disaster if you’re shipping internationally. Even if it’s US to Canada or vice versa. Amazon won’t cover any of the international shipping costs. Even domestic shipments, Amazon does not cover what the cost of the shipment will be. They give you a shipping credit – but be prepared to still take a loss on shipping costs.

Summary – Can I make money selling things on Amazon Seller Central?

So – long story short – is selling on Amazon Seller Central profitable? It can be, if you’re smart, play within the rules; and also somewhat lucky that you don’t get buyers who are out to scam you. Even if you do everything right, you can still get a scammer buyer who knows how to play the game. This is one of the challenges. However, this challenge may or may not even be a concern, depending upon the niche market you’re in. For example, if you have a custom product you make yourself – let’s say baby clothing – the target market you’re appealing to is moms. Let’s say you’re selling items that are low dollar – $10, $20 for little kits of a few items, etc. Based on your target market of appealing to new moms, it’s less likely you’re going to get a scammer buyer.

That chance increases when attempting to sell items depending on niche. In certain market segments, you can get both adults, as well as teenagers or young adults. The market segment changes quite significantly, as well as buying habits. The higher the cost of the item, the greater the chance becomes for getting scammed, too. Let’s say you’re selling a top end phone. There’s a lot of hype surrounding a product like that, and you’ll find some buyers who are in the game simply to acquire your product, rip you off for the price of it and try to sell it somewhere else to someone else. Again, be careful of Amazon’s A to Z guarantee – a guarantee that basically says, we don’t care about our sellers, especially mom and pop shops. Amazon is in business for three people – themselves, their customers, and the big name stores. Be very careful and don’t sell big ticket items outside of your country. Do not ship anything overseas, and if a transaction seems unrealistic, it probably is. Cancel it and report it to Amazon.

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