The following post is an adapted excerpt from the ebook Beyond Amazon, eBay, and Etsy: free and low cost alternative marketplaces, shopping cart solutions and e-commerce storefronts.

Amazon is one of the largest buyer destinations on the web and getting your products on Amazon gets them one of the highest possible levels of exposure to potential customers. They have high brand recognition and customer satisfaction that your items can benefit from. The biggest disadvantages to selling on Amazon are…

• The cost. Amazon’s Pro option is one of the most expensive out there, comparable to a full service web store solution for what amounts to the ability to sell on a third party platform. On the other side, Amazon Advantage though limited to only certain products, is one of the most cost effective solutions.
• Very little opportunity for branding or cross marketing of your other products. Amazon is, unsurprisingly, all about Amazon. While they give you a bare bones storefront with your marketplace account and Author Pages for writers, there are very few opportunities to build up a customer base either by promoting your other products or through brand recognition. If you’re just looking to push product or if the product is your brand, then this may not be a concern.
Image representing Amazon as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

The selling options on Amazon vary widely depending on what you sell. Let’s take a quick at the options.

  • Amazon Marketplace Individual Account
    Pay fees only when the items sell. This seller account is limited to items already in the Amazon catalogue. If you sell collectibles that are usually available on Amazon as well or are selling signed copies of your own book that is already on Amazon, this program allows you to list your items as a third party seller. You only pay fees when the item sells. This program doesn’t help a seller with older collectibles, crafters and artists with a one of a kind product, or anyone with an item to sell that isn’t already in the Amazon catalog. For those items, you’d need…
  • Amazon Marketplace Professional Account
    Allows you to sell anything you wish (within their TOS) on Amazon and gives you the power to create product pages for any item if it’s not already in the catalogue. Also gives you access to Fulfillment By Amazon (called FBA) which, for additional fees, lets you send your items to Amazon for storage. They’ll also pack and ship your items for you once you sell them which can be a big time savings. The downside? At the time of my writing this, a pro account costs a minimum of $39.99 a month which is expensive even among full featured web stores. There are much cheaper options out there but Amazon is the biggest retail fish so a presence there may be worth the money if that’s your goal.
  • Amazon Advantage
    A much cheaper version of FBA limited only to media rights holders. If you are a publisher, musician, filmmaker, or author you can sell DVDs, video, music and books through this program. For only $29.99 a year (less than a single month of a Marketplace Pro Account), Amazon will store your media items, sell them for you transparently on their site (your items will look no differently then items sold directly by Amazon), and then pack and ship them once they sell. If you own your content, it’s one of the best options out there to sell your stuff without much work or cost on your end. Only downside? Amazon takes 55% of whatever list price you set so you may need to price your content higher than normal to make your profit.
  • Amazon Webstore
    A standalone web store powered by Amazon, this service is designed for the power seller and priced accordingly. I think there are better options for the smaller seller’s needs which we’ll cover later.

Have you sold on Amazon? Which seller service? What was your experience?

Please feel free to share your experiences or ask any questions below. I’d be happy to do a more thorough overview of any service above if there is interest.