Guide for selling online

How to sell online: A complete guide for 2022

€39 (excl. VAT) per month + sales fees
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How to sell online

More and more of us have become accustomed to ordering our entertainment, decorations, clothing and more online. We also buy our food and other day-to-day products online.

Right now, there are 9.1 million online retailers around the world. (Source: etailinsights)

And over the next few years, the e-commerce market is expected to continue to grow exponentially.
More than ever, there are opportunities for anyone who wants to get started in
e-commerce. This article will explain how to make your online storefront a success.

What is an online storefront?

An online storefront is a website, or a dedicated space on a website, where consumers can purchase goods or services using their web browser from their computer or mobile phone. This type of business has no location barriers or time constraints and therefore remains open to people from all over the world at all times.

Why sell online?

Online sales have become more popular with the development of the Internet. Launch a storefront today
E-commerce only requires a domain name and Internet hosting. To launch it, you won't need to master complex IT skills like you did a few years ago. There are now sites that allow you to configure and customise your storefront in just a few clicks.

It is therefore a process that has become simple, accessible to everyone and quick to implement.

The advantage of an e-commerce site is that it can remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and be potentially accessible to all consumers on the planet.

All with a minimal amount of initial financial investment.

If you already have a physical shop, its online version will be an essential extension. More than just a place of sale, an online storefront can be customised to communicate the style, history and values of a brand. It is a powerful marketing development tool.

Having an e-commerce site also allows you to analyse the buying habits of your customers. This information will allow you great commercial flexibility by adapting your products and offers according to their behaviour. This could help you meet greater demand and increase your customer base.

Finally, to promote your brand, the costs of online advertising and marketing remain relatively affordable.

How to launch an online storefront

First of all, you need a product. The product that you choose to sell should be based on your passion and interests. You also need to know the profile of your potential customers. You should also know whether you want to target professional customers (B2B) or individual consumers (B2C) and understand what their needs are.
Then, you need a sales strategy. You can be a reseller and look for popular products that already exist to offer them in your storefront. You can also manufacture your own products or buy them from a supplier and sell them under a private label to offer buyers a unique selection. Many sellers combine these two possibilities.

If you have not already done so, you will need to start by creating your business or micro-enterprise.
If needed, you can also register your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry.
Then, depending on the nature of your business, you will be required to register for VAT as per European regulations. This registration depends on multiple factors, such as the country of establishment of your company, your business model and your annual turnover.

You will then have the choice of creating your own website to sell your products or creating an online storefront on an existing website. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
Having your own website can be exciting, giving you complete autonomy and total freedom with your storefront. But it will require time and technical knowledge.

To promote your storefront and attract traffic, search engine optimisation and social media marketing are crucial, but they can be expensive and time-consuming. You will also need to manage all of the logistics for the shipping and return of products, as well as setting up a payment platform. Selling on an existing e-commerce site is one alternative. In particular, this allows you to take advantage of that site's market and its already acquired customer base, avoiding any SEO work. In addition, this type of site often provides access to advertising tools that are easy to access and quick to set up. Finally, payment and product returns are generally taken care of. These potential advantages will save you a lot of time and effort when starting your business.

Advantages of selling on an existing e-commerce site

As we have just seen, selling on an existing site offers many advantages and will save you time, allowing you to launch your business more quickly.
For example, a site like Amazon provides potential access to a global market. It also has an integrated SEO system that shows the best results to customers. It offers services such as Fulfilment by Amazon, which fully handles product storage, packaging and delivery. It also offers marketing and advertising tools that are easy to access.
Also, while the payment options for a personal site are often limited, a site like Amazon offers its customers many more solutions.
Finally, an existing site will exempt you from having to buy a domain name, pay for hosting, and code your site or buy dedicated templates.

Sell with Amazon

Amazon has built its success thanks, among other things, to its policy of excellence towards its customers. Customers are its top priority. That's why Amazon is always looking for new products and new sellers to expand its offer.
Being a partner with Amazon means being able to benefit from the advantages of a website that includes hundreds of millions of active customer accounts around the world and millions of unique visitors per month.
Amazon welcomes sellers of all sizes to its site, ranging from artisanal producers to the largest international companies.

Why do they all sell on Amazon? Because Amazon lets them reach the hundreds of millions of customers who visit this site every day to make their purchases.
In 2019, more than 200,000 entrepreneurs around the world had exceeded €100,000 in sales on this website.

Amazon is suitable for businesses of any size. Small and medium-sized businesses thrive there and account for more than half of the products sold by Amazon around the world.
The site offers two types of plans for its sellers: the Individual plan and the Professional plan.

The first is for individuals who sell fewer than 40 items per month. The second is for businesses that plan to sell more than 40 items per month.
The Individual plan costs €0.99 per item sold. The Professional plan costs €39 per month, regardless of how many items you sell. Please note that it is possible to change plans at any time.
The Professional plan offers advanced options like access to APIs, reports and sales programmes, such as Launchpad or Handmade.
Once your registration as an Amazon seller is compete, you will have access to a Seller Central account.

This will be your dashboard for selling on the site, managing your account, adding information about your products, putting them on sale, updating your inventory, managing your payments and tracking your customer experiences. You can also find useful content to help you grow your business.

To register, you will need:
  • A business email address or an Amazon customer account
  • A chargeable credit card (international cards are also accepted)
  • A valid passport or ID
    (identity verification protects you, in the same way it protects your customers)
  • Your business registration information
  • A VAT number
Depending on the nature of your business and its country of establishment, you will need to register for VAT. Understanding the various VAT requirements and knowing how to comply with them is essential to contribute to a seamless selling experience on Amazon.

The principle is that businesses charge VAT on their sales so that they can then recoup it on the purchases they make.

VAT is paid to the tax authorities by the seller. The consumer, on the other hand, pays for it in the price of the product purchased.

Of course, you will need to be registered for VAT to be able to recoup it for your purchases.
The VAT rate varies across different countries in Europe.
Amazon offers a detailed guide to help you understand how VAT works.

Register your brand

If you decide to open a business account, you can then create and register your brand. The Amazon Brand Registry unlocks a suite of tools dedicated to helping you build and protect your brand, creating a better experience for your customers.
If you already have a registered trademark or are awaiting registration, you can register it immediately.
If you need help creating and registering your trademark, Amazon offers a service called IP Accelerator that will connect you with a network of law firms specialising in intellectual property or with other experts in the field.
These professionals will help you with all aspects of the trademark filing process with intellectual property offices both in France and in the European Union.
IP Accelerator is free of charge. Connecting with the experts won't cost you anything.

Once you choose a firm to work with, you will pay the firm directly.
Joining the Amazon Brand Registry unlocks a suite of dedicated tools.
New eligible sellers can also take advantage of numerous possible advantages and welcome discounts.

Registering with the Brand Registry is a fairly simple process. You simply need to:
  1. Create a Professional account
  2. If your brand already exists: register your brand
  3. If you don't have a brand: use Amazon IP Accelerator to create and protect your brand's intellectual property rights using the services of reliable, specialist law firms.

How do you customise your storefront to get more visibility?

Once you own a brand, you will need to make it thrive and grow on Amazon.
To do this, it is advisable to establish a list of simple actions, using the options reserved for brand owners. Here are the details:
  • Create A+ Content
  • A+ Content is an Amazon option that allows you to highlight your products and share your brand story. You will be able to add custom descriptions and images in a layout that is more attractive than the default plain text for product descriptions.
    Sharing the story of a brand and answering questions that consumers generally ask about a product are assets that can sometimes help drive traffic and sales.
  • Post videos
  • You can replace the 7th image used for a product with a video. Generally speaking, consumers more readily buy a product for which there is a video.
  • Manage your experiences
  • You can do A/B tests to see which of your content generates the most sales, enabling you to optimise your descriptions to boost your storefront.
  • Increase your visibility through advertising
  • You can sponsor products to increase their visibility and hope for increased sales on Amazon.
    Sponsored Products are adverts designed to reach a suitable audience through placements that appear both on and off Amazon.
  • Amazon Stores
  • The Amazon Store is the place for you to present your story, mission, and products to customers. With the Store Builder tool, you can create your Amazon e-commerce storefront without knowing how to code or having any other special expertise. The page can be configured easily and is suitable for any type of electronic medium.
  • Amazon Attribution
  • This is Amazon's marketing tool for measuring the impact of your advertising campaigns on your sales. You will then be able to optimise and plan your strategy based on the data collected. You will know what appeals to your customers and what generates value for your brand.
  • Brand analytics
  • Amazon will send you data reports that are available exclusively to brand owners. These reports will give you access to the search terms that are most used on the site, repeated buying behaviours, basket analyses, item comparison, alternative shopping behaviours and demographics.
  • Protect your brand with Transparency
  • Transparency is a tracking service to prevent counterfeits.
    These eight special services should allow you to quickly grow your brand.

Payment methods

When you set up a seller account, you must provide a credit card number and a bank account. Amazon will charge your fees to your credit card. The profits from each sale will be paid into your bank account.

On Amazon, customers can use the following payment methods:
  • Visa (including the Visa Signature Amazon Rewards card)
  • Amazon Store card
  • Amazon Secure card
  • MasterCard/Eurocard
  • Discover Network
  • American Express
  • Diner's Club (US billing addresses only)
  • JCB
  • NYCE
  • STAR
  • China UnionPay (credit card only)
  • Credit cards or gift cards
Increasing the number of payment options will enable you to reach a wider customer base across the world. This is a significant asset that Amazon offers compared to the majority of online storefronts. Many potential customers do not complete their purchase because of the required payment method. Thanks to its wide range of payment methods, Amazon reassures customers, allowing them to complete their purchases.

Delivery and logistics

Product delivery and logistics are crucial for the success of an e-commerce business. When they are overlooked, they can quickly become a source of frustration for customers. A customer who receives their product too late or who does not receive what they ordered may never return to this storefront to make a purchase. It will also give the storefront bad publicity. Amazon has understood this well and this is also one of the strengths of its website.
Indeed, good logistics and fast shipping are a source of customer satisfaction and favourable publicity.
In the event that you handle shipping yourself, you will need to partner with a carrier that collects the orders and delivers them to the customer. This will require you to calculate the different shipping costs for each product.
You will then have to accurately track each of your shipments and take care of returns, if necessary.
Without a pre-established plan and careful organisation, handling shipping yourself can quickly prove to be time-consuming and expensive.
All that remains is product storage. This could quickly become expensive, depending on your business type and your location. These are fees to be taken into account and calculated in advance, before launching your storefront.

There are online companies that offer their services to take care of this logistical aspect.

Amazon, which is a leader in this field, offers its own delivery and logistics service that is available to any Amazon seller who wishes to access it.

Why use Fulfilment by Amazon for delivery?

An Amazon seller can choose to ship their products themselves or to use Fulfilment by Amazon. Many sellers use both options at the same time.
On average, sellers who use Fulfilment by Amazon in France have seen their sales increase by 30%.

By using Fulfilment by Amazon, you will let Amazon handle the preparation, packing, and shipping of your orders. Fulfilment by Amazon also manages returns and customer service on your behalf. Finally, it can allow your buyers to benefit from Prime delivery, with free, two-day shipping.

To use this service, you must first decide which product you want to register. Not all products are necessarily eligible. Amazon allows you to verify which products are eligible using the information available in your Seller Central platform.

Next, you will need to label your products and send them to an Amazon fulfilment centre. Once received, Amazon will package and ship the products on your behalf. You will be able to focus purely on your sales and Amazon will take care of the rest.

It is important to understand the two basic fees associated with Fulfilment by Amazon: processing fees, which are priced for each product, and storage fees, which are paid monthly. Processing fees vary based on the size, weight, and category of your product. Storage costs are dependent on the space that your products occupy in the fulfilment centre.

The Fulfilment by Amazon Revenue Calculator tool is available to determine the exact cost of shipping your product with this service and to compare it with your personal shipping method.

Pan-European Fulfilment by Amazon enables you to sell your products throughout Europe.
Amazon will be able to store and distribute your products from the various fulfilment centres in the European Union countries that you have previously selected.
As products are stored closer to your customers, orders will be fulfilled more quickly and more cheaply.

Selling in another country also means getting to grips with additional VAT obligations.
However, Amazon helps by offering resources and solutions to ensure VAT compliance. The VAT service available via Seller Central allows you to manage your European VAT registrations and returns.

Advertising and marketing your storefront

Once it is created, you will have to advertise your storefront. Competition on the Internet is tough.
This is why advertising and marketing are essential tools for promoting your products, increasing your visibility, and having an opportunity to attract more customers.
You will first need to put a marketing strategy in place.
If your online storefront is hosted on your own site, you will need to work on your SEO: Search engine optimisation. This is the use of keywords in your texts to obtain better results on search engines. You will also need to create accounts for your brand on various social networks.
You will need to regularly post relevant and interesting content from those accounts in order to create a community around your brand.
Email marketing is another effective tool. You will need to collect email addresses from visitors to your site — with their consent, of course. Then, through newsletters sent regularly, you can keep them informed of your offers and new products, keeping them connected to your brand.

So, SEO, social media, and email marketing are all ways to drive traffic to your storefront. However, it takes time to develop them.

Advertising on Amazon

On a website that hosts your online storefront, like Amazon, the issue is different. Of course, there is nothing stopping you from implementing a marketing strategy through social networks and email. That can always be a bonus.

But Amazon has its own advertising system to promote your products.
It offers several solutions:
  • Sponsored advertising
  • Today's Deals
  • Lightning Deals
  • Coupons
When combined, these tools can really boost your storefront.
Sponsored advertising consists of cost-per-click advertisements. They can promote a product or even your brand. Cost-per-click means that you only pay for the clicks visitors make on your advertisements. Campaign reports allow you to track your advertising spending and performance, so that you can refine future advertisements.

Today's Deals are special offers such as free shipping, percentage discounts, or "buy one get one free" offers.
Lightning Deals are discounted product offers that are available for a limited time.
Coupons are immediate discounts for the customer on a selection of products.
Your online storefront is also a marketing tool that should not be overlooked, because it allows you to tell the story of your brand and present your product offers.

FAQ

How do I start selling on Amazon?
The procedure is very simple:
  • Firstly, choose your selling plan based on the number of products you think you will sell each month.
  • Complete your registration.
  • Go to your central sales account — this is where you can manage your business.
  • Enter your products by adding a product ID, SKU (stock keeping unit — usually an eight-digit number), product title, product description, product images, relevant search terms and keywords, and the price for each product.
  • Choose a fulfilment option.
  • You are ready to start selling on Amazon.
Is Amazon right for my business?
Amazon is suitable for businesses of any size. Small and medium-sized businesses thrive there and account for more than half of the products sold by Amazon around the world.
How long does it take for Amazon to pay its sellers?
There is a reserve period to ensure that you have the funds you need in the event that a customer requests a refund.
The exact number of days varies based on your overall risk assessment and performance history. The default period is 7 days from the delivery date.
How much does it cost to sell a product on Amazon?
It depends on your selling plan, sales fees, shipping fees, and fulfilment fees.
Selling plan:
The selling plan costs €39 per month for a Professional plan and €0.99 per item for an Individual plan.
Sales fees:
These are the fees charged per item sold. This includes referral fees and closing fees, which vary for products in media categories.
Shipping fees:
When you fulfil orders yourself, Amazon fulfilment fees apply.
Fulfilment fees:
With Fulfilment by Amazon, you pay for fulfilment services and for the storage space used.
Do I need a S.à. r.l. to sell on Amazon?
No. You can start selling under your name as a sole trader.
What items can be sold on Amazon?
That depends on the product. Some product categories are open to all sellers, while others require a professional selling account. A detailed list of products that require approval is available on the Amazon website.
How do I register as a seller on Amazon?
You must go to the Amazon website and you will need the following items:
  • A business email address or an Amazon customer account
  • A credit card (international cards are also accepted)
  • A valid passport or ID (identity verification protects sellers and customers)
  • Your business registration details
  • A VAT number
Amazon offers a practical beginner's guide with all of the detailed information you need to get started as an Amazon seller.

Start selling today

€39 (excl. VAT) per month + sales fees
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