9 Surefire Ways to Make Money on Amazon
Does it seem like most of your paycheck ends up going directly to Amazon? With over $10 billion in net profits last year, they have recently become the largest retailer on the planet. Most of us use Amazon every day to buy gifts for others, schedule house cleanings, or even buy groceries.
To start earning back some of that paycheck, you can actually make money from Amazon instead of just spending it. Many of these can be done from the comfort of your own home, making use of skills or items you already have. Others can help you grow your own business from the ground up.
For those of you who want to know more about how to make money with Amazon, we put together a list of 9 surefire ways you can earn with Amazon. Read on and see if any of these might help you start on the road to success.
1. Just Sell Things Online!
The most obvious way to make money with Amazon is to get to the core of their platform- selling stuff. You can make money selling on Amazon and get your products (or someone else’s) to literally millions and millions of their customers.
There are actually more ways to sell through Amazon than you might think. And many of these are a lot easier than you think as well. There are options for people of many different skillsets or those looking for different work lifestyles. Let’s dig into some of the most popular and interesting ways below.
Use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
With this service, you let Amazon do most of the work while you focus on product promotion. FBA includes product storage at their fulfillment centers, customer service handling, packing and shipping orders, and even tackling returns.
One of the best features of FBA is that it gives your customers access to Prime shipping (and free shipping) as well, something that you can’t guarantee if you are packing and shipping products yourself. Having that coveted Prime logo next to a product can lead to significantly more sales opportunities.
To use FBA, you pay Amazon a fee to store your materials and for processing the orders that are packed and shipped. There aren’t any extra costs to you for Amazon Prime or other free shipping offers.
FBA isn’t itself a money-making venture but it’s an element that can be part of many selling strategies. You can actually save yourself a great deal of time and money when selling your products if you use FBA, but you need to do the math to make sure it’s actually worth it.
You can also make use of “Multi-Channel Fulfillment” where you sell from different sites but still have Amazon store and ship your products.
Start Your Own Private Label
There are a few different ways you can acquire the products you choose to sell on Amazon. You can sell products you manufacture on your own, or you can sell products that others already produced and just market them under your own ‘private label.’
You’re probably asking, “What? How on earth does that work?” It’s actually a really simple and pretty profitable method for Amazon sales. Most major retailers already engage in the private-labeling practice, and you probably weren’t even aware of it. For example, Target’s Mainstays brand is a private label, meaning they added their own branding to physical goods created by someone else.
Taking advantage of this seller’s route is pretty simple but requires a good bit of startup research. First, you need to know what product you want to sell. We don’t recommend just picking a product that you like, want to sell, or think will sell well.
Actually put in the time to research what sells well and what turns a good profit for the seller. There are a number of different programs out there that will help you scour the web for evidence-based ideas. Try to stick to simple products when you first get started.
You don’t want anything complicated, overly-regulated (such as alcohol), expensive to ship (read: heavy), or seasonal. You might want to think of something along the lines of soap rather than fragile glassware.
Where private label selling gets complicated is finding your product supplier and manufacturer. You need somebody to make and provide the product you choose, and to affix your branding to it. There are also sites and services that will handle this for you if you’re not sure how to get started.
Once you’ve got those elements in place, you just need to get your product listed and start selling!
Source Products with Arbitrage
Another way to acquire products is by buying them elsewhere and selling them on Amazon at a markup. You can do this by buying from clearance or bulk offers online, from big-box retailers like Walmart, or even from yard sales and thrift stores.
However you find these products, make sure you know what kind of price increase you need in order to make it profitable. And then check to see what others are charging for similar products to see if that minimum sale price will be feasible.
To get started with this, you can actually try selling things from around your house! There’s a built-in profit there if you don’t need to spend money to get your hands on the product.
Make Your Own Products
The Handmade platform is an Amazon store specifically for handmade and handcrafted products. Sellers submit to an application process in order to verify that they are actually making their products, so you can be sure of the authenticity of what you are purchasing.
You can make and sell all sorts of things through Amazon Handmade: Art, Clothing, Baby Toys, Jewelry, Paper Goods, Pottery, and much more.
2. Advertise Your Products on Amazon
You probably already know that many websites are paid to advertise Amazon products, but did you know that you can advertise your own products on Amazon as well?
We won’t call this a particularly direct way of making money on Amazon, but if you do it right, the ads should turn into money eventually. You can choose a variety of different ad formats to showcase and promote your brand. And you’ll be confident that you’re advertising on literally the largest retailer in the world!
Amazon ad space can be seen on the website itself, apps, Kindle and Fire devices, and even some third party sites. And you don’t even need to sell your products through Amazon to advertise them there.
Ads can take a few different forms, most of which you’re probably already aware of from your own shopping experiences.
- Sponsored Products- When someone searches for a particular product on Amazon, they will see a few Sponsored Products appear in prominent places to direct sales in that direction and increase conversion.
- Sponsored Brands- This is similar to Sponsored Products but on a wider scale. With a Sponsored Brand, Amazon will promote your entire product line by highlighting your brand in relevant search results.
- Custom Stores- If you create your own Store on Amazon, you essentially get a landing page for your products that gives you the opportunity to describe yourself and highlight your products in a visually pleasing way. This is popular among social media influencers who want to turn their followings into money in their pockets.
3. Add Amazon Pay to Your Business
Another somewhat indirect way to earn with Amazon is to integrate the Amazon Pay software into your business. Using Amazon Pay as a checkout option provides customers with a quick and reliable way to actually purchase your products.
Many potential customers will ultimately leave a site without a purchase because they are wary of offering their financial information to an unknown agent. If you use a known entity for checkout, they will be much more likely to proceed and feel safe.
Even better, it works with Alexa so your customers can purchase using just their voice! It also works with mobile so you don’t have to worry about forgetting that part of the market.
4. Make and Sell Apps
For those of you that are more tech-savvy, you can make a killing by selling apps through Amazon.
When you’ve created an app that will appeal to a big audience, you can apply to sell it on the Amazon Appstore and reach customers through all the assorted Amazon devices.
The Amazon Appstore isn’t as popular currently as some of the others, which you might see as a disadvantage. However, with the growing popularity of Amazon across the board, more and more users will likely be joining soon.
Get a head start by selling your app through the Amazon Appstore now and it will come across as a long-established product down the road. Additionally, you are more likely to stand out in your niche if there are fewer competitors.
You can also monetize the apps themselves and make money after selling the app (or offering it for free in many cases). You can make use of Amazon API to add Mobile Ads, In-App Purchases, and Mobile Associates. All of these can turn different clicks and purchases into money for you.
5. Write and Publish Your Own Books
Okay, so maybe you skipped right over that last section because you couldn’t program an app to save your life. That’s fair. If your skills lie more in the literary arts, you could consider using Amazon to publish and distribute your writings instead.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is a great way to get your written content out into the world without waiting for a big-name publisher to take your calls. It is free to use the platform and you’ll only pay a fee when your book sells.
With KDP you retain all rights and control over your product and intellectual property and can pull the content at any time. It only takes 5 minutes to publish and readers will see your book available within 1 to 2 days!
You can keep your book in electronic version for digital readers, or you can choose to print paperbacks with KDP as well. You can use the Audiobook Creation Exchange platform to translate it into an audiobook form as well.
6. Become an Amazon Affiliate
The Amazon Associates Program has been earning individual bloggers millions and millions of dollars. Seems too good to be true, but it’s not without a little hard work.
If you have a website with a large following, you can join the Amazon Associates Program as an Affiliate and start to receive commissions for directing readers to Amazon products. Every time they click through and make a purchase, you get a cut.
Amazon has made it easy to do this with a whole host of tools at your disposal to help you learn what’s been working and what hasn’t been. The hard work comes with maintaining the website itself.
You need to make sure people are finding and reading your site, and you need to make sure you are linking them to products they are likely to purchase (although, you get a percentage of any purchase they make on Amazon that day as well). So you’ll need to learn a bit about website development, search engine optimization, marketing, and become deeply familiar with the Amazon Terms of Service.
7. Work Directly for Amazon
Don’t forget that you can always just work directly for Amazon! Like, as an actual employee. They offer all kinds of positions at some of their corporate centers, along with remote customer service telework jobs, positions at their warehouses, and jobs delivering packages.
Warehouse jobs are usually available due to the high demand for the industry and the fairly high turnover of employees. It isn’t easy work and can be physically strenuous. But Amazon offers a solid minimum wage to its employees and tends to have many jobs available. You can apply to work at their warehouses through their website directly.
Another route to the warehouse is through something known as the CamperForce. The CamperForce is made up of seasonal workers who travel and live by van/RV/camper to work at certain warehouses as needed. Amazon provides space at a local campground and other assorted benefits. It can be a pretty neat gig for those looking to live a more adventurous lifestyle with a little work along the way. It can be pretty tough to land a spot with the CamperForce though.
If picking, packing, and shipping aren’t your thing, maybe you’ll be interested in the final step of the process: delivery. Amazon Flex drivers use their own cars to deliver Amazon packages to customers. As a Flex driver, you sign up for shifts that fit your schedule and can cancel up to an hour ahead of time without penalty.
When it’s time for your shift, you drive to the indicated pickup location, get your packages, and start delivering. The Amazon Flex app walks you through the whole process so it is as simple and easy as possible.
8. Offer Your Services through Amazon Services
Another way you can make money through Amazon is by signing up to offer your services through the Amazon Services platform.
Amazon Services helps connect customers to businesses offering specific services they need. These range from assembling furniture to painting houses and most things in between. Service providers are professional businesses local to the area of the customer.
Customers search on Amazon Services for the service they need to be provided, and Amazon connects them with a local business that can handle the job. Amazon handles the selection, scheduling, and payment of businesses so that the customer only deals with the Amazon platform.
As a Service Provider, you use the Amazon app to see what new job requests have popped up in your area and select ones that fit your needs. You don’t have to pay anything upfront to become a Service Provider, you just let Amazon take a percentage of the final cost.
What’s great about integrating your business with Amazon Services is that Amazon takes care of marketing and advertising for you. They bring customers right to you and even promote your services on relevant product pages for increased visibility.
There are a few requirements in order to be selected as an Amazon Services Provider. You have to have General Liability insurance up to a million dollars and will have to show proof when registering. You also have to show current and valid licensure for any applicable trades such as Plumbing or General Contracting.
9. Create Your Own Products with Amazon Merch
Amazon Merch is essentially another way to sell your art online. If you have a design that would translate well to certain products, upload it to Amazon Merch and they take it from there. You can pick a product color and type and add the description, but Amazon handles the rest.
Customers who buy your product will receive a custom-made product shipped using all applicable shipping methods (such as Prime for Prime customers). You can choose to have the product available publicly to anyone or only through a direct link. You can also order a sample before the final publication to make sure you are happy with the result.
It should be noted that you have to be approved by Amazon before becoming a Merch artist. They are not looking to overload their listings with, let’s face it, really bad designs.
And as with any product you sell on Amazon, you want to make sure you’re getting enough traffic. Do your research ahead of time to see what kind of products people are buying. Maybe you want to capitalize on a recent trend or noteworthy event (such as a political election). Or maybe you want to design a product for a specific audience that you think will enjoy it.
Whatever you choose, base it on research to maximize your time and energy investment. For every purchase made of your product, Amazon will pay you a royalty using its royalty calculation methods.
Honorary Mention: Mechanical Turk
Mechanical Turk is a relatively unknown aspect of Amazon that can send some money your way. When you sign up with the service, you gain access to lists of “jobs” that need completing. These are typically things like answering survey questions, translating short documents, or the like.
The tasks can be very repetitive, but it is a reliable way to make a little bit of money if you have some downtime. It may be best for people that have nothing else to do while they work their day job. This probably isn't a great choice for a career due to the low pay.
We are listing it as an honorary mention instead of including it on the main list because our experiences have resulted in a pretty limited revenue stream. Each “job” might only pay pennies based on how long it takes you to complete, and you may end up needing to do quite a lot of different things before you make any real money.
If you like the idea of mixing things up a bit, this could be a good option for you. We recommend keeping your expectations limited though and using it as a good side hustle in your downtime.
It’s hard to believe there are so many ways to make money on Amazon sitting right under your nose. We hope something in our list caught your eye and got you thinking about how to make money on Amazon and capitalize on its astounding success.
We recommend even combining several of these approaches to make as much money off of Amazon as possible. Conceivably, you can run a successful Affiliates blog and deliver packages through Flex at the same time. You could even be working simultaneously on a novel that you’ll eventually publish on Kindle!
The options are truly endless. Amazon is a powerhouse that isn't going anywhere anytime soon. They are really revolutionary in the sense that that they empower people to create their own successful businesses.
So many others have already gotten started. Why not you?