Amazon

Complete Guide: What To Sell On Amazon In 2021

Have you been thinking about starting an Amazon FBA business? Becoming an Amazon Seller is not nearly as complicated as it might initially seem, especially when you start the journey prepared.

I started my Amazon selling journey in mid 2017 and quickly generated revenue exceeding $100,000. Much of my success can be attributed to choosing the correct products right out of the gate, and not wasting time and money on products that did not sell.

Amazon dashboard with $120,000 in sales

Check out the 5 best Amazon FBA courses that I’ve reviewed.

Below I’ve outlined the products that sold well for me in the past, along with the guidelines that I use when choosing new products to sell. Now let’s take a look at my complete guide of how and what to sell on Amazon.

Best Products That I Sold On Amazon

My three top selling Amazon FBA products, that are still in high demand, include:

  1. Fire Resistant Document Bag
  2. Weather Glass Barometer
  3. Gold Levitating Globe

The first product that I ever sold, and that generated $30,000+ in sales, was a fire resistant document protection bag. Unfortunately the original product page has since been highjacked, but you can see what the product looks like in the photo below. Here is a competing product currently sold on Amazon.

Fire Bag Sold on Amazon FBA

This product was lightweight, easy to package and very durable. It started out with a high margin ($45 price point), but over time competitors drove the pricing and margins down.

Glass Barometer sold on Amazon FBA

The second product was a weather glass barometer. This product generated $15,000 to $20,000 in sales in just two months during the holidays. Once my initial order of 600 ran out I did not restock due to the product being glass, containing a liquid, and having delicate packaging. Several of the boxes that each contained 50 glass barometers got rained on in transit, which caused the water to soak through the cardboard and into the paper boxes for each barometer. Because of the delicate packaging, 100 or so units could not be initially sold because the packaging was discolored and ruined.

FBA Glass Barometer Amazon Listing Example

Another product that brought me success during the holiday season was a gold levitating globe, much like this.

The margin and price point was fantastic, at a $120-$145 selling price. However, being electrically powered made for some faulty inventory. This product did $10,000 or so in sales in just a few weeks. Once my initial inventory sold I did not restock.

Gold Levitating Globe sold on Amazon

Choosing What to Sell on Amazon

Let’s explore several product categories that can help you identify the best products to sell on Amazon, each offer specific pros and cons for sellers. Obviously there can be money made in nearly every product niche, but I have guidelines that work for me. Of course these guidelines will not be for everyone, so don’t let it fully influence your decision making process.

For me, I’ll only sell products that:

  • Weigh only a few pounds or less
  • Are normal shaped and easy to ship
  • Are not made of glass or an easily breakable material
  • Are not filled with a liquid
  • Do not require batteries or electrical power
  • Could easily result in a lawsuit or be ruled “hazardous” by Amazon 

Personal Computers

Amazon sellers hoping to pay the least amount of money toward referral fees may want to invest in personal computers. Each computer sold via Amazon only generates an 8% referral fee.

Additionally, the standard desktop or laptop may only cost about $6 to $8 to ship, especially when sellers choose to use FBA. If you’re able to find a wellspring of low-cost, high-quality personal computers, you could earn thousands of dollars each week while selling on Amazon.

Still, we tend to think best when we have an example, so let us give you a helpful example of how this category might benefit you. Let’s say that you find a dozen identical desktop computers on sale for $100. You buy all of them and prepare them to sell on Amazon.

Thanks to their quality and features, you decide to list each one at $400. Because you don’t want to deal with customized shipping slips and labels, you choose to use FBA to get these computers to their buyers. Overall, you could earn about $250 per sold desktop.

If you repeated this task each week and sold one personal computer per day, you’d earn about $91,000 each year on computer sales alone. That also equates to about $7,500 per month. That’s a decent chunk of change, especially when you consider how high some of Amazon’s referral costs go.

Unlocked Cell Phones

To sell brand-new locked cell phones, you’ll need special approval from Amazon. However, purveyors of unlocked phones may not require this approval before listing their inventory and selling their goods. Additionally, Amazon only charges an 8% referral fee on sold phones that are already unlocked.

Overall, this could be the most cost-effective category. Unlike personal computers or video game consoles, phones tend to be very light and easy to pack. The average smartphone only weighs a few ounces, which makes shipping a breeze. To make matters even more attractive, many contemporary smartphones sell for hundreds of dollars.

Unlocked cell phones are often far more desirable than locked varieties, and some shoppers may be willing to spend far more on an unlocked model than a locked one. For all these reasons, Amazon sellers who decide to sell unlocked phones may be able to make an astounding amount of profit.

Video Game Consoles

One of the most significant challenges facing sellers is acquisition. Still, with the right supplier, this challenge becomes a non-issue. Sellers wanting to earn profitable income from video game consoles will need to ensure that their purchase price is always lower than their selling price.

This might seem like an obvious tactic, but consoles vary in price and demand depending on the time of the year, current console availability, and buyer preferences. As manufacturers release new consoles and products, older models will experience a dramatic price drop.

This trend is something that all Amazon sellers should familiarize themselves with. Still, smart sellers may be able to earn enormous profits by selling consoles. Not only do video game consoles sell for moderately high prices, but they also incur a low Amazon referral fee of only 8%.

Besides the initial cost of acquiring the consoles, sellers won’t need to spend a lot of money to earn money from these products. Of course, some consoles can be quite hefty, which may increase fulfillment or shipping costs.

Jewelry

You may already be aware of the fact that jewelry can fetch high prices. However, you may not know that Amazon rewards sellers who deal with high-quality jewelry by lowering referral costs. Any piece of jewelry that sells for more than $250 only incurs a 5% referral fee.

Compare that to the 20% referral fee attached to jewelry that retails at less than $250, and you’ll quickly begin to understand why “bigger” is better. Sellers can find wholesale or bulk jewelry online, then tailor their pieces to meet potential buyers’ demands. In many cases, specialized jewelry is a better option.

For example, engagement rings can sell consistently throughout the year, but profits may be relatively low due to the number of sellers providing engagement rings. On the other hand, mother’s day jewelry may not sell during most of the year but could fly off the shelves as May approaches.

By customizing your jewelry selection to match the current market demand, you could ensure maximum profits without allowing your stock to sit in a warehouse for months at a time. Overall, the result is a high-profit item that incurs very few referral fees, shipping fees, or storage costs.

Furniture

The most significant downside of selling furniture on Amazon is shipping. Most furniture types aren’t very lightweight or easy to move, raising fulfillment costs to excessive numbers. Still, furniture is often one of the more expensive items, garnering hundreds of dollars in profit per sale.

Though it is possible to go through life without purchasing or using any furniture, most of us enjoy our sofa, bed, or plush desk chair. We crave new furniture, especially after moving, buying a home, or getting married. As such, the furniture market is always present.

Sellers that list items at more than $200 can expect to pay a 10% referral fee on those items. Those that opt for the less expensive furniture listings will pay a slightly higher 15% referral fee. And naturally, shipping costs take the cake for this category. Sellers may need to spend anywhere between $10 and $50 to fulfill furniture orders due to weight and handling costs.

Fine Art

Both jewelry and fine art could be excellent moneymakers for your Amazon store, but only if you invest in the highest-quality products. That’s because Amazon charges between 5% and 20% per fine art item sold, depending on the selling price. The more expensive the piece, the lower the referral fee.

For example, if you sold a painting for $50, Amazon would charge approximately $10 in referral fees for that item. However, if you were to sell a sculpture for $6,000, Amazon would charge $300 in referral fees. While the more expensive item might technically garner higher costs, sellers get to retain most of their profit.

If you’re determined to sell bulk amounts of fine art, try to keep high-quality inventory and stay away from simplistic printed options. This way, you can enjoy a far more satisfactory monetary return on each sold item. However, you may want to remember that larger pieces will garner more considerable shipping fees. Heavier, broader works also tend to sell for more, so finding a balance is crucial.

Clothing

Selling clothing on Amazon has become a wildly popular thing to do. Many articles of clothing are lightweight and compact enough for easy shipping, helping to bring fulfillment costs down. However, Amazon does charge a 17% referral fee for all clothing items.

The reason why we included clothing on this list is that it’s a high-demand category. People of all ages and nationalities need clothing to keep warm, look stylish, and maintain a little modesty. Like food and water, clothing can be considered an essential item in any person’s life.

There’s also a substantial amount of clothing that’s available. Buyers can choose to purchase dresses, jackets, socks, undergarments, jeans, button-down shirts, and any other type of clothing that tickles their fancy. Children’s clothing is also hugely popular, and when you consider how quickly children grow, it’s an excellent niche to explore.

Clothes are often relatively lightweight and easy to ship, which helps to keep costs low. Though you may pay a higher referral percentage when selling clothing, you might also be able to build a strong brand and reputation for yourself. When using FBA, sellers can manage and sell thousands of unique apparel items without spending hours each day printing shipping labels.

Toys and Games

As with clothing, this category is one of the pricier options in terms of referral fees. However, despite a 15% referral fee on items that fall into this category, most toys and games are relatively small and lightweight.

This percentage potentially puts them into the FBA Small and Light or Small Standard fulfillment categories. When this happens, sellers only need to pay approximately $2 to ship toys and games from an Amazon warehouse to the buyer’s location.

Of course, if you’re opting to fulfill your orders without the help of FBA, you’ll need to set up your personalized shipping schedule and prices. The fulfillment cost of each toy or game you sell is likely to exceed $2, so unless you’re willing to dole out the extra dough for shipping, FBA may be the better choice.

Still, sellers will need to ship their products to a nearby Amazon warehouse before. As such, sellers save some money when using FBA, but they still have to spend some shipping funds. This category may be one of the least financially rewarding unless you’ve got tons of lightweight toys and games to sell.

Creating an Amazon Seller’s Account

Before you can begin selling items on Amazon, you’re going to need to create an account.

While you could opt for the Individual plan for sellers, this option doesn’t leave much room for growth. If you plan on selling more than forty items per month, the Professional plan could be the better option.

Besides, if you’re selling in bulk, you can invest in Amazon FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon). This unique selling tool could help you earn plenty of passive income while growing your Amazon inventory.

When creating a seller’s account on Amazon, you’ll need to choose between two potential subscription plans. They are:

  1. Individual
  2. Professional

These plans differ in terms of price, ease of use, and selling fees. If you’re hoping to sell massive amounts of goods through Amazon, the Professional plan is bound to be the better option. However, if you’re only hoping to part with a handful of odds and ends, the Individual plan may be more satisfactory.

Let’s go ahead and take a moment to examine how these plans differ and how they’re similar. This way, you’ll be able to choose the right one for you and your business. Still, it’s crucial to note that sellers looking to join the FBA movement will naturally select the Professional option.

Individual

The Individual plan is virtually free, though sellers will need to pay $0.99 to Amazon per item sold. Sellers hoping to purvey low-cost items may not earn many net profits while signed-up for this plan.

However, those that choose the Professional plan will need to make monthly subscription payments to maintain their account. Still, sellers with a Professional account won’t need to deal with that pesky $0.99 per-item fee.

Professional

The Professional plan costs $39.99 per month, but sellers can list as many items as they’d like without having to pay a per-item fee. However, Amazon does collect a referral fee on products. This fee varies and is typically represented by a percentage of the sales price.

Still, referral fees are applied to both Individual and Professional accounts. Professionals selling dozens, hundreds, or thousands of items per month are likely to earn more via the Professional subscription than the individual one.

Sellers will also need to pay fulfillment fees. You can liken these costs to shipping fees, and they also vary depending on the seller’s subscription plan and the product category. Still, fulfillment fees are far more costly for sellers who opt to ship their products than those who use FBA.

Understanding FBA

Though I’ve mentioned Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) several times, I haven’t taken the time to explain what FBA is and how it works. Understanding FBA is crucial to growing your Amazon store and acquiring a desirable amount of passive income. Consequently, let’s take a moment to explore FBA.

What Is FBA?

FBA is an acronym that stands for Fulfillment by Amazon. It’s a service that Amazon provides to sellers that can assist in transporting and shipping substantial inventories. The primary purpose of FBA is to make it easier for sellers to ship products to buyers.

However, convenience isn’t the only advantage of FBA. Sellers who opt for this service can offer priority shipping items, and all items must undergo Amazon-specific packaging techniques. Consequently, buyers may be more likely to purchase items from sellers that use FBA, and they may feel more confident about their product due to consistent packaging.

However, these benefits don’t explain how FBA works. Before you hop onto the FBA train, you’ll want to take a moment to delve a little more deeply into this service’s inner workings and associated fees. Let’s begin!

How Does FBA Work?

Somewhat surprisingly, FBA is a straightforward process that doesn’t leave much room for confusion. To participate in this program, sellers simply need to select FBA as their preferred option for their listings. After they’ve done this, they’ll need to follow a series of steps.

I’ll go ahead and summarize these steps as:

  1. Ship
  2. Wait
  3. Pay

It seems pretty simple, right? Fortunately, it is! One of the fascinating aspects of Amazon’s FBA program is its ease of use. This characteristic ensures that sellers from all backgrounds can quickly and easily master their Amazon storefront while maximizing potential profits.

Ship

After opting into the FBA program, you’ll need to ship your items to the nearest Amazon warehouse. You won’t need to scour the internet to find this storage center’s address, as Amazon will provide you with an appropriate destination.

However, sellers will need to pay this initial shipping fee themselves. This direct cost can be an expensive endeavor, particularly for those hoping to store thousands of items at a nearby warehouse. Still, once the seller has shipped the things they wish to sell on Amazon, they can kick back and wait.

Wait

This step is the easiest one, by far. After you’ve decided what to sell on Amazon FBA, created your listings, promoted your store, and done everything in your power to increase your store’s visibility, it’s time to wait. This time is the perfect opportunity to exercise, walk the dog, practice your cooking skills, or do anything else you’ve been putting off for a rainy day.

When a buyer decides to purchase one of your items, Amazon associates will find it within the warehouse, pack it, and ship it to the buyer. They will also provide a tracking number that buyers can access while they wait for their product.

One of the coolest aspects of this step is that Amazon also handles any purchaser complaints, keeping sellers focused on inventory management and item acquisition. Of course, when someone does purchase an item from an FBA-friendly seller, fees accrue.

Pay

You’ll need to pay the fulfillment fees associated with your sold goods. Fortunately, most FBA fulfillment fees are relatively inexpensive. Generally, fulfillment fees only increase due to item weight or size.

If you’re selling small, lightweight goods, your fulfillment fees should be equally minuscule. Don’t worry. If all of this sounds like gibberish, you could select an Amazon FBA course that teaches you all of the ins and outs of this program.

How Much Does FBA Cost?

Sellers won’t pay a dime to enroll their products into the FBA programs. The only time they’ll spend money toward FBA is when it’s time for their items to ship to buyers and long term storage fees.

At that point, FBA will apply a fulfillment fee to each shipped order, payable by the seller. These fees are typically less than $3. Still, each seller is likely to encounter different FBA fees related directly to their selling activity and inventory.

Amazon sellers listing moderate amounts of fast-selling, lightweight items are likely to pay the least amount of money toward FBA. Individuals with massive listings and tons of slow-selling, burdensome items (like heavy appliances or furniture) may need to pay more, so it’s best to choose wisely when deciding what to sell on Amazon FBA.

FBA Specialized Services

FBA isn’t a single catch-all program. Though it does feature standard pricing schedules for many categories of goods, there are also a few specialized services that may be worth a second look. I’d like to go ahead and touch on a few of the most notable of these, including FBA Small and Light and FBA Export.

FBA Small and Light

Sellers working with items that are 16 x 9 x 4 inches or less and 10 ounces or less can opt for FBA Small and Light. Those in the United States could enjoy fulfillment fees between $1.97 and $2.39 when choosing this option.

FBA Export

If you’re interested in selling your products globally, FBA Export might be the best route for you. You could sell your goods to more than a hundred countries around the globe, and because you’re selling through Amazon, you don’t have to deal with a lot of the red tape surrounding international shipping.

FBA Subscribe & Save

Have you ever seen the Subscribe & Save button on a particular Amazon item? This feature allows buyers to purchase items at a slightly reduced price, so long as they agree to have that item automatically repurchased and shipped every week or month.

Many shoppers enjoy the Subscribe & Save feature, as it helps eliminate stressful shopping. If you plan to sell beauty products, pet products, or other types of household goods, you may want to allow your buyers to subscribe to your items.

Choosing the Right Products

No matter whether you decide to use FBA or not, you’ll need to do some product research before you begin your bulk buying. While you could spend hours reading reports and clicking through slideshow presentations on the subject, it may be far more practical to check out Jungle Scout.

Jungle Scout is an Amazon platform tool that allows sellers to browse hundreds of thousands of items, view data trends, and choose the best products to sell on Amazon. If you’ve never used Jungle Scout before, you may feel overwhelmed by the depth of features it offers.

Still, once you’ve got the hang of it, Jungle Scout is one of the most helpful selling tools you could use, especially if you’re new to selling on Amazon. Let’s take a closer look at Jungle Scout to determine why it’s such a useful and essential service for sellers.

Using Jungle Scout

Jungle Scout functions in several ways. You could open Jungle Scout via your browser (opening a new window specifically for Jungle Scout), and you can also install an extension for your browser that allows Jungle Scout to function while you’re on your Amazon seller’s account.

Using Jungle Scout is a cinch. The entire platform is split into two large sections. The first section is devoted entirely to products, while the second half is a keyword feature.

The product-focused section consists of three individual tools, each with unique advantages. Sellers that access the Product Database function can view a seemingly endless inventory of products that current and previous sellers have successfully sold. Product Tracker helps keep track of sales and other vital figures.

Finally, the last function of this massive section is the Niche Hunter. Sellers that have chosen a specific product category may want to spend several days or weeks browsing this feature. To use it, you only need to select a product category, and voila! Jungle Scout will list all of the products from its Product Database that fall into that category.

The secondary half of Jungle Scout is the Keywords section. This section also contains three functions, each with a specific use. If you’ve ever written or maintain a website or blog, then you’ll likely be familiar with how crucial keywords are.

Keyword Scout displays keyword volumes. This is the number of times Amazon users searched a specific phrase or set of words. Products that gave tremendous keyword volumes are likely to sell more quickly than those with low search result numbers. The inquiries you make on Keyword Scout can be saved to My Lists.

Lastly, there’s the Listing Builder. This neat feature can take a single keyword and give you tons of helpful information to create a listing. The Listing Builder can help ensure that your product description is full of SEO goodness, allowing buyers to find your products more quickly and easily.

Final Thoughts

If you’re determined to grow your Amazon store or create a thriving one from scratch, there are tons of factors you’ll need to weigh and consider, like what to sell on amazon and how to profit from it. However, sellers that choose to invest in Amazon’s FBA are likely to earn more than those who do not.

If you’re eager to earn impressive amounts of passive income while putting in a minimal amount of work (40 hours per year), then choosing to ship your products to an Amazon warehouse could be the right move. Of course, this route makes the most sense for individuals selling high volumes of goods.

Have an Amazon related question? Email me zach@moneynomad.com

Zach Zorn

Zach Zorn is the owner of Money Nomad and an enthusiast of all things tech. Zach has extensive experience creating and managing niche review websites. In 2018 one of his websites was acquired by a private equity firm, igniting his passion even more. Zach also runs an Amazon FBA business that has given him experience with customer service, product manufacturing and design. While in high school Zach helped design several successful apps for Disney. When not on the computer, Zach is most likely off the coast of San Diego or Baja fishing for saltwater game fish.

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