June 25, 2018

Amazon Seller Central: Individual vs. Professional Account

If you are interested in launching an Amazon FBA Business, you have to confront several choices. The first thing that you need to decide on is whether you want to make an Amazon individual seller account or an Amazon professional seller account.

If you are interested in launching an Amazon FBA Business, you have to confront several choices. The first thing that you need to decide on is whether you want to make an Amazon individual seller account or an Amazon professional seller account.

Both accounts come with advantages and disadvantages, and it depends on which account type you decide to take. To help you come up with an informed decision, you must first determine their differences. Here’s what you have to know if you want to create an Amazon seller account.

Individual Seller Account VS Professional Seller Account

Many businesses are looking to create a free Amazon seller account. But, is there such a thing?

Basically, there are two Amazon selling plans. You can either set up an individual account or create a professional account. But how exactly do Amazon sellers differ in terms of their account?

Individual Seller Account

An Amazon individual seller is typically someone who simply wants to sell a few items on Amazon. It could also be a seller who is simply “testing the waters” or doesn’t need the additional features being offered by a professional seller account.

There are a few important things that you need to take note if you’re planning to make an individual seller account. The first thing is this: While you don’t need to pay a monthly subscription fee, you need to pay an additional $0.99 per item for every sold product. This is an addition to the referral fees and variable closing fees that are charged for both accounts.
Aside from the selling fees, there are also other significant factors that you need to consider before creating an individual seller account. These include the following:

  • You cannot use third party services
  • You cannot apply to sell in restricted Amazon categories
  • You won’t be eligible for the Buy Box where the majority of the sales happen. (The caveat though is if you utilize FBA, you’ll still get the buy box!)

It is important to note the listing of products is free for both types of accounts. So, if you’re still asking yourself, “Can I sell on Amazon as an individual?” the answer is yes. However, there is a $0.99 per item fee that you need to settle as mentioned above.

Professional Seller Account

The Professional Seller account is highly recommended to all new sellers. Having a professional account will help you take the business a lot more seriously, especially in terms of meeting the 40 items per month threshold. So if you plan on selling more than 40 items each month, it is best to sign up for the Amazon Pro seller account.

Professional sellers, however, need to pay $39.99 per month. This fee is charged upon the creation of your professional account. The $0.99 per item fee, however, is already waived.

There are major benefits in having a professional seller account, though. Here are some of the reasons why becoming a professional seller is more advantageous:

  • Cost Savings
    The more items you sell on your Amazon professional account, the more your incremental costs decrease. You can sell 300 items and still pay the same fee. It only takes 40 items per month to “break even” on your professional seller fee, and everything that goes beyond that will seem like a bonus. This appears to be a rare gift in the industry, where fees commonly surge the more you sell items.

It’s natural to doubt if you can sell 40 items each month on Amazon, but it actually isn’t difficult especially if you’re using the FBA program.

  • Access to Third-Party Services
    With an individual account, you need to list multiple items one at a time. This makes work time-consuming and tedious. With a professional account, on the other hand, you are given access to third-party services such as repricers, email autoresponders for getting more product reviews, PPC tools etc.

For instance, you can batch list your products using the inventory service and also print labels that are on demand. For new sellers who want to launch multiple products, this tool can be beneficial in creating listings in a couple of minutes. This feature is a great one since time plays an important role in the business industry.

  • Access to Feedback and Review Tools
    If you have a Professional Seller Central account, you not only get access to third party services, you likewise get access to other helpful tools. SageMailer, for example, is a tool you can use to email your customers on Amazon so you can ask for product reviews or seller feedback. This is especially helpful in growing your sales and establishing compelling product listings. Once you create a Professional Seller account, you are recommended to sign up for SageMailer. You can take advantage of the free 21-day trial for every new user.

  • Privilege to Apply for Restricted Categories
    Amazon has several sub-categories that are restricted. These include – but are not limited to – topical, toys, and even groceries during the holidays. So if you’re planning to apply to sell these products, it is best to acquire a professional account.

  • Eligibility for the Buy Box
    If you want to blow through your inventory, one of the best ways is to create a Professional Seller account. This is not possible if you are not a professional seller. Sellers with unusually hot items typically want to win the buy box so that their products can sell out quickly. If you’re an FBA seller, though, it’s an exception.

  • Access to Sponsored Products
    Another major benefit of professional selling is it provides you access to Sponsored Products. This feature allows you to target shoppers on Amazon based on keyword or term search. With the Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Sponsored Products, you can choose keywords, establish a daily budget, and bid for ad placement automatically to increase visibility for your products and boost your sales.

  • Access to Information and Inventory
    Getting order information and managing inventory plays a crucial role in selling your items on Amazon successfully. With a Professional Seller account, you will have access to beneficial reports that will allow you to manage these important elements more closely.

How to Sell Using an Amazon Merchant Account

Now that you know the pros and cons of both accounts, it’s time to get started. Selling on Amazon regardless of the type of your account is pretty much fast and easy. Below are the simple steps that you need to take if you plan to sell on Amazon:

  1. Sign up for an Amazon account
  • Choose your account type
  • Create your seller account on Amazon
  • Set up your profile as a seller
  1. List the items you want to sell
  • List existing items on Amazon
  • List new items
  1. Sell your items
  • Try your best to win the Buy Box
  1. Ship your items
  • Choose Seller Self-shipping
  • Choose Fulfillment by Amazon
  1. Receive payment every time an item sells.

Note: Amazon has a Gift Messaging service, which allows your customers to write their gift messages for either individual products or entire orders. Amazon also has a Gift Wrap service, which allows customers to choose and pay for every item in their order that they want to be gift-wrapped.

Upgrading or Downgrading Your Amazon Seller Account

You’ve probably noticed the notable differences between an individual seller account and a professional seller account. It is important to take note of these things if you want to start selling with your FBA business.

It is also significant to keep in mind that it is possible to upgrade your account whenever you feel like it. If you’re not sure yet how many items you will be listed when you first set up your account, an individual seller account may be a good choice.

There is no need to feel pressured to upgrade your account to a professional one, but that should be your goal. You can upgrade or downgrade your Amazon account anytime, anyway.

If you want to upgrade your Amazon account, you can follow these easy steps:

  • Sign in to your Amazon Seller Central Account
  • Scroll through the bottom of the page, and you will find Settings. Then, click the Account Info.
  • Click ‘Manage’ in the Your Services section.
  • Click Upgrade just next to the type of account.

If you want to downgrade your Amazon account from a Professional Seller account to an Individual Seller account, you can follow steps one through three. Then, click Downgrade in Step four.

Closing an Amazon Seller Account

If you want to know how to cancel an Amazon seller account or close your account permanently, here’s how:

  • Look for the Contact Us page.
  • Select Close your account.
  • Accomplish the form and select Submit request.

You will either receive an email confirming that your Amazon seller account has been closed or a different one explaining why your account cannot be closed at the moment.

Professional Account Allows Accessing Marketplace Web Services (MWS) and Third-Party Services Such as SageMailer

With a Professional Seller account, you can integrate with to integrate with third-party services using Amazon MWS. This way you'll be able to use very helpful tools such as SageMailer. SageMailer helps you to automate your customer service by sending customers a sequence of follow-up emails and feedback requests for leaving a product review. This type of feedback is crucial for creating a competitive product listing and increasing your sales since it provides customers an information for making a well-thought purchasing decision. So when you sign up for a Professional Seller Central account, immediately sign up for SageMailer - there's no risk thanks to its free 21-day trial and no credit card policy.

The Bottomline

This article walks through the major deciding factors that you need to look at when identifying which Amazon account type suits you best. If you are still uncertain which option is the right one for you, and you’re selling less than 40 items each month, an Individual Seller account may be your best bet. And then, once you’re selling 40 items every month or found the need for additional features, you can upgrade to a professional account.

Most new sellers take this route when starting to sell on Amazon. They begin with an individual seller account, and when they notice they are selling more than 40 items every month, they upgrade to a professional seller account.

You have to bear in mind, though, that your decision boils down to where you envision your business to be. An individual plan only becomes ideal if:

  • You’re just looking a way to learn how the system works.
  • You only have a few things to sell on Amazon and don’t plan on growing an actual business.
  • You’re certain you won’t sell more than 40 items every month.
  • You don’t need the additional features being offered by a Professional Seller account

For those who want to grow their business on Amazon, however, acquiring a Professional Seller account will come as an easy decision.

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