In this new 2019 guide, we’ll walk you through the 17 best ways to make money on Amazon.
Amazon is the world’s biggest retailer. Even though it only has a handful of retail stores so far, this wildly successful platform is bigger than Walmart, Costco, or any other major retailer. It’s even bigger than Alibaba, Jack Ma’s Chinese eCommerce platform, and Amazon’s growth shows no signs of slowing down.
Since Jeff Bezos founded Amazon in 1994, they’ve made it surprisingly easy for third-party sellers to earn money online.
No other retailer had ever made it so simple for average people to exploit its system for profits. Walmart and other companies have rushed to keep up. But, Amazon is still the internet’s premier destination for people looking to sell products.
In recent years, Amazon has developed a few little-known side hustle opportunities. And some may be even more rewarding than becoming an Amazon seller under certain circumstances.
The options are virtually limitless. Whether you want to sell your own products, try self-publishing books, or other passive income ideas. You can even make money playing games, get paid to watch videos and more. Because of it’s size, Amazon has options for everyone. And I’ll cover all the ways you can make money on Amazon in this guide.
Make Money On Amazon: The Ultimate Guide
The original way to make money on Amazon is still the best way.
More people around the world use Amazon for online shopping than any other platform. The eCommerce giant can provide you with more potential customers than anyone else.
As an average online retailer, you’ll need to compete for placement on Google. Depending on your niche, you’ll be going toe to toe with the biggest players in the industry. That’s tough, to put it lightly. But, selling on Amazon can give you a leg up. If you play your cards right.
You can sell pretty much anything on Amazon. Have stacks of books clogging up your closet? Or, do you like going to garage sales a little too much? Then selling on Amazon is for you. Because it’s a great way to reduce your clutter and get paid at the same time.
Keep in mind that the sky is the limit when it comes to building up your Amazon business. You might start off making a little cash on the side by selling stuff you find at Goodwill. But, before you know it, you might be private labeling wholesale items and making a killing. Again, sky is the limit!
How to Sell on Amazon
Amazon offers two different selling plans for people who want to ship their own products:
- Individual Plan: With this plan, Amazon charges you $0.99 per item sold. No questions asked. However, you can only sell to U.S. customers with the Individual Plan.
- Professional Plan: The Professional Plan costs $39.99 per month. Make sure that you can sell at least 40 products per month before you make the upgrade. With this plan, you’ll gain access to the Mexican and Canadian markets. And, you’ll also gain access to product categories you can’t use with the Individual Plan.
Keep in mind that you’ll also have to pay various other referral fees and shipping fees with either plan. Your ability to make money on Amazon’s seller platform, Seller Central, depends on the solidity of your business model. And, your ability to get your hands on top-notch goods.
Selling products on Amazon is undeniably rewarding, but there’s more than one way to tackle this approach to making money on Amazon. If the prospect of shipping every item you sell sounds exhausting, you might want to have Amazon fulfill your orders for you.
The Fulfilled By Amazon program (FBA program) frees up sellers to do what they do best by leaving the hard work of getting products to customers to the experts.
In contrast to merchant-fulfilled shipping, FBA shipping requires sending large amounts of your inventory to your regional Amazon warehouse. Once Amazon receives your inventory, it will package and ship your products as they sell.
Most sellers who move large volumes end up signing up for the FBA program. In the end, hiring staff to ship items or bending over backward every day to ship out over 100 orders simply isn’t worth it for work-from-home Amazon entrepreneurs, and there’s another big perk to getting your products out there with FBA.
FBA and Prime Eligibility
If you haven’t heard of Amazon Prime, you’ve been living under a rock for the last decade. This guaranteed two-day shipping option has set the trend for fast, free shipping for eCommerce orders, and competitors like Walmart, Target, and eBay have struggled to keep up with Prime’s success.
Many Amazon shoppers won’t purchase items unless they’re listed with the iconic Prime logo, and while it’s technically possible to make merchant-fulfilled items Prime-eligible, most sellers find this approach to involve more work than it’s worth.
For merchant-fulfilled items to remain eligible for Prime status, you have to maintain a perfect track record of two-day shipping, and it’s also usually necessary to offer one-day shipping as an option.
How Do You Become Prime Eligible?
As a merchant-fulfilled Prime aspirant, therefore, you can’t afford to miss a single day at the office or flub any of the orders you send out.
Most items in the FBA program, however, are automatically eligible for Prime status. Therefore, you can simply ship your inventory to Amazon whenever you receive a low stock notification and bask in the increased conversion rates that Prime status provides.
It’s worth pointing out that FBA is only worth it if you move a high volume of products every month. For the convenience of having your packages delivered for you, Amazon charges relatively high fees, and if you aren’t sure whether the FBA program is right for your needs, you can use Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator to check if your monthly volumes make this service worth it.
Deliver For Amazon Flex
If becoming an Amazon merchant isn’t the path for you, don’t worry; we’ve only scratched the surface when it comes to all the ways you can make money on Amazon.
Product options on Amazon continue to expand. The online platform has given birth to an entire job ecosystem. They offer everything from contractor jobs and part-time gigs to great full-time and some of the best self employed jobs anywhere.
How Does Amazon Flex Work?
One of the most intriguing new ways to make money on Amazon is to deliver orders as part of the Amazon Flex program. Taking inspiration from the success of services like Uber Eats and Postmates, Amazon Flex calls upon average people to deliver packages to Amazon customers in their area.
According to Amazon, you can make up to $25 per hour as a Flex driver, but your success as an amateur delivery person all depends on your commitment to driving all around town every day and taking packages wherever they need to go.
As a Flex partner, you’ll use your own car to deliver packages, and you’ll need to have a good grasp of how your city is laid out.
Additionally, Amazon only offers its Flex services in areas with high population density; if you live in the middle of nowhere, USPS, UPS, and FedEx will be able to handle the final stages of fulfillment just fine on their own, and there won’t be any need for your on-demand services.
In high-density urban areas, you might even be able to deliver Flex packages on your bike. Just don’t be that Flex driver who steals packages or lurks in front of an Amazon customer’s home!
Work From Home: Amazon Customer Service
Working in customer service might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you consider your options for making money from home.
If the prospect of handling customer inquiries from the comfort of your home for around $10 per hour sounds good to you, however, you might want to become a part-time Amazon customer service representative.
As part of this work-from-home position, you’ll need to talk to customers on the phone and engage in live chats to resolve common issues like missing packages, order cancellations, returns, and refunds.
Keep in mind that Amazon always needs extra customer service associates around the holidays; if you have some spare time on Cyber Monday and you want to earn some extra money, show Amazon that you have a high school diploma or GED and customer service experience to get started.
Keep an eye on Amazon’s Virtual Locations job listing page to get an idea of when eligible positions are available. In addition to customer service, Amazon offers a number of other virtual positions that might be highly lucrative if you have the right skillset.
Sell Private-Label Products On Amazon
So far, we’ve covered ways to make money from selling items you’ve produced yourself or you have lying around the house.
In recent years, however, private-labeling products has become an increasingly popular approach to making money on Amazon, and if you play your cards right, you could make an enormous amount of cash by pursuing this selling approach.
The basics of private-labeling are simple. Find a cheap item on Alibaba, eBay, or another wholesale-friendly eCommerce platform, and buy in bulk.
How Does Amazon FBA Work?
Then, slap your own label or another form of branding on the product, and make an Amazon listing. Lastly, enroll your private-labeled product in the Amazon FBA program, and ship it out to an Amazon warehouse for fulfillment.
Private-labeling is one of the simplest ways to make money on Amazon, and it can be incredibly lucrative. Just make sure to pick high-quality products when you’re getting started; if you buy thousands of unit of the cheapest Chinese junk available and turn it around for a momentary profit, it’s likely that your product page will become inundated with negative product reviews that could easily sink your business.
Affiliate Marketing With Amazon Associates
Affiliate marketing is easy with the Amazon Associates program. If you have a successful blog or website that might be driving customers to Amazon with review content, then you’re practically throwing money away by not getting started with Amazon’s affiliate program.
With Amazon associates, you simply plug in a link or a special banner ad that connects to a product you’ve reviewed on your site. If a customer clicks your link and purchases the product you’ve reviewed, you get a portion of the sale price.
How Does Amazon Associates Work?
Amazon Associates is a great example of a way to generate passive income on Amazon. However, this approach to making money on Amazon isn’t for anyone.
To receive a substantial monthly payment from Amazon Associates, you’ll need to get a ton of traffic on your website. The average conversion rate for affiliate sales is less than 1%, and since you usually only get 5-10% of the sale price of orders you successfully convert, an average blog with middling traffic simply won’t pay out or further your career as an Amazon affiliate.
Do Tasks With Mechanical Turk
At this stage in the game, there’s only so much that AI and machine learning can do. In the future, artificial intelligence might even be able to write articles like the one you’re reading right now, but for the time being, marketers and other entities still need services like Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to gather valuable data and perform menial tasks.
How Does Mechanical Turk Work?
As a Mechanical Turk associate, you’ll perform tasks like completing surveys, entering data, and transcribing audio and video. There’s no point beating around the bush: Mechanical Turk doesn’t pay much.
The most you can get by performing the human intelligence tasks (HIT) offered on this platform is about $10 per hour, but if you have some time on your hands and don’t mind doing lots of surveys, Mechanical Turk is a great way to get some extra cash.
Sell Your Crafts: Amazon Handmade
Amazon Handmade is like Etsy with slightly different fees and the added perk of having access to Amazon’s huge customer base. Getting started on Amazon Handmade, however, isn’t as easy as getting started on Etsy; to become eligible for this niche seller program, you’ll need to prove that your products are, in fact, handmade, and show Amazon that you aren’t simply reselling items that were made by someone else.
Amazon Handmade vs Etsy
Here’s a breakdown of how Amazon Handmade compares to Etsy:
- Etsy charges $0.20 for every product you list on this platform,
- And it also charges up to 10% in additional charges for every sale you make.
- Amazon Handmade, on the other hand, charges a flat 15% for every item you sell.
Depending on how much volume you move through per month, Amazon Handmade might be a great alternative to Etsy. Keep in mind, however, that items for sale on Amazon Handmade don’t show up in the main search listings for this platform; customers have to navigate to the Handmade search option to find your products.
Self-Publish On Amazon Kindle
Selling books is how Amazon got started. Because of that, books are still one of the best ways to get paid on Amazon. They offer a variety of options for earning passive income through self-publishing. Most options don’t require any up-front investment (except the time you spent writing).
Sell eBooks on Kindle
If you want to get up to 70% of the sale price of your book without paying anything for your Amazon listing, Kindle Direct Publishing might be right for you. You can list as many eBooks on this platform as you like, and as soon as your book is published, you’ll get paid whenever someone downloads your content.
Sell Print Books on Amazon
Producing a print book might be preferable, and if you decide you’d rather put physical tomes in the hands of your readers, you can always try the print options offered by Kindle Direct Publishing. Since Amazon will need to cover the costs of producing your books whenever customers order them, you’ll get less of the sale price for each book sold; still, 60% is pretty good considering all you’ll need to do is upload your book design and simply wait for potential customers to bite.
Sell Designs With Merch by Amazon
Do you have a T-shirt design that you know would sell if you only had the means at your disposal to produce your merch in bulk? Then you might want to give Merch by Amazon a shot.
How Does Merch by Amazon Work?
With this program, you can upload your shirt design, set a few specifics for how the final product should look, and leave the rest to Amazon. When a customer wants to purchase the shirt you’ve designed, Amazon will handle the production, packaging, and fulfillment of your merch.
Of course, you only get a small portion of the sale price of your shirt. According to the most recent rates released by Merch by Amazon, merch designers get around $2.21 for shirts that cost $15.99 to the consumer.
Interestingly, your royalty rates increase disproportionately with the price of the end product; for each sale of a $25.99 T-shirt, for instance, you’ll get $9.77 in royalties. If you can design a high-quality shirt that will sell well, therefore, you can generate a significant amount of passive income from the Merch by Amazon program.
Amazon Products Retail Arbitrage
For various reasons, products often cost more on Amazon than they do in physical stores. While it’s isn’t exactly moral to further the process of gouging customers for items they can get for cheaper prices elsewhere, if you don’t mind going to your local retail outlets multiple times per week to stock up on huge quantities of mason jars, LED lawn ornaments, or high-end canned chili, then retail arbitrage is right for you.
The concept behind retail arbitrage is simple; buy products for low prices at retail outlets, and sell them on Amazon for much higher prices. To succeed in this pursuit, all you need to do is keep an eye out for sales in your area and find unreasonably high-priced items on Amazon.
How Retail Arbitrage With Amazon Works
It’s possible to enjoy high profit margins with retail arbitrage. You do so by buying items on other online platforms and reselling them on Amazon. This approach to making money on Amazon is a bit trickier though. Consumers may simply navigate to a different website to buy at wholesale cost, for one. So never underestimate a smart consumer’s willingness to go beyond Amazon to purchase the products they need.
Sell Services On Amazon Services
Amazon Services is this platform’s response to services like TaskRabbit and Fiverr. Whether you’re great at making deliveries, excel at household tasks, or have any other skills you can flex, Amazon Services is a great place to list your availability and start finding clients.
Work At Amazon Fulfillment
I’ll be straight up with you: You don’t want to work in an Amazon fulfillment center. As various exposes have revealed, these giant warehouses where underpaid workers toil to send your Prime packages are like mental institutions without the doctors.
However, money is money, and no list of ways to make money on Amazon would be complete without mentioning the option of taking the risk of becoming an Amazon fulfillment center employee. With so many other awesome options for making money on Amazon, however, you should try your hand at a few other pursuits before you submit your application at your local Amazon warehouse.
Narrate Books With Amazon ACX
If everyone you know keeps telling you that you have the perfect voice for radio, Amazon ACX might be the best way for your make money on Amazon. With this service, you can get paid to provide voiceover work for textbooks, novels, and other types of printed materials. Highly successful Amazon ACX voiceover artists get paid quite handsomely.
Add Skills To Alexa Skills
Alexa Skills is like the Apple App Store for Alexa. It turns out that old AI can learn new tricks, and if you’re an effective programmer, you can teach Alexa to perform tasks like switching to your favorite TV channels, play games with you, or even lead you on a guided meditation. While most Alexa Skills are offered for free, providing this unpaid content can give you the opportunity to sell paid subscriptions to more advanced Skills.
Game One with Amazon-Owned Twitch
Even most gamers don’t know that Twitch is owned by Amazon. While sharing your epic headshots and speedruns on Twitch isn’t technically a way to make money on Amazon, there’s no denying that this platform wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Jeff Bezos’ ever-expanding empire.
Making Money On Amazon: The Bottom Line
Amazon is getting so big that it’s becoming an economy unto itself. A single enormous company has given rise to thousands upon thousands of small businesses that eke out incredible profit margins by making sales and performing dozens of other types of tasks. While Amazon has recently started cracking down on third-party retailers selling counterfeit goods, you’ve got nothing to fear as long as you keep your Amazon products legit and keep putting your nose to the grindstone.
With so many different ways to make money on Amazon, this platform offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a social media savant who wants to give affiliate marketing a shot or you think that Amazon FBA is your best bet, this eCommerce giant has an opportunity that will work for you. You’ll never know just how lucrative making money on Amazon can be until you give it a try; test your entrepreneurial spirit and start raking in cash today.