By Travis Fleming
If you’ve been looking into starting an online business then you’ve probably heard about selling on Amazon. Starting an Amazon business can certainly be profitable, assuming you do your research and go about it the right way.
But is this type of business an option for Canadians?
It used to be that people in Canada could only sell on Amazon.ca, unless you were willing to jump through a bunch of extra hoops to sell on the American marketplace. But now it’s easier than ever to sell on multiple marketplaces, making it the perfect time for Canadians to sell on Amazon.com.
Here’s everything you need to know about starting your own Amazon business.
Why You Should Sell on Amazon.com Instead of Amazon.ca
As a Canadian, you might be wondering why you wouldn’t just sell your products on Amazon.ca. Well, of course you can sell on the Canadian marketplace, but you likely won’t make nearly as much money.
There are two main benefits to selling on Amazon.com:
1. Size of the Market: Simply put, there are just way more buyers on Amazon.com. This is partly due to the US population, which is nearly 10 times as large as Canada’s. But also, online shopping just seems to be more prevalent in the US, with a greater percentage of people turning to Amazon to buy goods.
2. Get Paid in American Dollars: Over the years, the American dollar has consistently performed much better than the Canadian dollar. For Canadians selling in the US this is actually a big advantage. Depending on the exchange rate you can expect to receive roughly 30% extra when you convert your American money to Canadian.
You can also choose to sell on both marketplaces if you like, but to maximize your profits it’s probably best to focus on the US.
How to Sell on Amazon.com
Selling on Amazon.com used to be a complicated process for Canadians. In the past, you’d have to create a separate American seller account, get an American bank account (or sign up for a service like Payoneer), and get a US address.
All of this was doable, but it meant a lot of extra work for Canadian sellers. This has all changed now though, thanks to Amazon’s North America Unified Account. With this one account, you can sell products in Canada, the US, and Mexico. You can also get paid directly to your Canadian bank account, thanks to Amazon’s currency converter service.
If you choose to sign up as an individual seller you will have immediate access to both Amazon.ca and Amazon.com. If you sign up as a professional seller you will have access to the Canadian, US, and Mexican marketplaces.
So basically, with the recent changes to Amazon all you have to do is register as a seller and you’ll be able to list products for sale on Amazon.com.
Decide How You’re Going to Source Your Products
So, once you have your Amazon seller account, how exactly do you get products to sell? Well, there are a few different methods you can choose:
- Retail Arbitrage: With this method, you’ll go to local retail stores and try to find items on sale or clearance that can be resold on Amazon for a profit. There are apps available that allow you to scan items to see what they’re selling for on Amazon. If the Amazon price is significantly more than the store price, there’s an opportunity to make money.
- Wholesalers: You can also source products from wholesalers. These are suppliers that purchase products directly from the manufacturer and then resell them to businesses. This strategy will usually provide you with much better sales margins than retail arbitrage. However, you’ll have to buy in bulk which can be expensive.
- Private Label: Perhaps the most lucrative strategy is selling private label products. These are items that you purchase directly from a manufacturer that has your own branding on them. This allows you to create your own unique products that no one else is selling. Like wholesalers, you’ll have to buy in bulk.
If you’re just starting off, retail arbitrage is a great way to give Amazon selling a try. But if you’re serious about building a scalable business, and you have a larger budget, buying from wholesalers or creating your own private label products is the best way to go.
Choosing a Product to Sell
Perhaps the most important part of the process is deciding what exactly you’re going to sell. You can’t just list anything on Amazon and expect to make money, so it’s important to make the right choice.
Here are some tips to help you find the right product:
- High Sales: Find a product that’s proven to sell well on Amazon over an extended period of time.
- Low Competition: Ideally, you want to sell an item that not many other people are selling so you’re not fighting with a lot of other sellers.
- Good Sales Margins: Your total cost for the product after all of your fees should be roughly ⅓ of the price you plan to sell it for.
- Use Product Research Tools: There are a number of product research tools available to help determine average sales, competition levels, sales margins, and more.
Click here for a more in-depth look at the best products to sell on Amazon.
Choose a Shipping Method
Finally, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to ship your products to your customers. Amazon gives you two options to choose from:
1. Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM): You’ll store all of your own inventory and pack and ship all of your orders yourself. This method works best if you’re not selling many items a month, or you already have the resources needed to store inventory and fulfill a large number of orders.
2. Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA): With this system, you’ll ship all of your products to Amazon’s warehouses. They’ll store your inventory and fulfill your orders every time you make a sale. You’ll have to pay some additional fees, but if you’re a lone seller it’s likely worth it. As a Canadian, you’ll need to register an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you plan on using FBA, since you’ll be importing goods into the US.
For most sellers, FBA is likely the best option, but do your research and choose the method that’s best for your business.
If you’re Canadian who wants to sell on Amazon it’s a great time to start your business. It’s now extremely easy to sell on multiple marketplaces, including Amazon.com, meaning there’s even more potential to make money.
If you take the time to do your homework and set your business up right, there’s no reason why you can’t build a successful Amazon business here in Canada.
Travis Fleming is a freelance copywriter with experience in selling on Amazon. He is currently a contributor at AMZScout.net. Travis shares his own experience through guides, for new and advanced marketers and Amazon sellers.
Discuss this and other online business topics in the Online Business Canada Facebook group!
You may also be interested in reading:
Online Marketplaces for Canadian Sellers
Canadian Third Party Logistics (3PL) for Online Sales and Ecommerce
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