Updated: Jul 17
This post is part of a series designed to help student loan borrowers (and anybody else!) increase their income through new side hustles.
Do you want to make more money than you do right now? Most of us would say "yes." Increasing your income may not make you happier, but it can:
Increase your discretionary income
Help you pay off debt
Find firmer financial footing
In 2023, one of the best side hustles to make more money is reselling on Amazon. Reselling items on Amazon is easy to do, has low barriers to entry, and if thought out, carries low levels of financial risk.
Learn More: Sell textbooks to Amazon
A complete guide to reselling on Amazon
In 2023, you may consider a number of different reselling strategies on Amazon, including:
Retail arbitrage: This is when you buy products and goods, either online or in-store, and then resell them at a higher price point on Amazon. Don't worry about the legal status of this, as it is common practice. Just make sure you are not violating any price-gouging laws and regulations in your area.
Sell your used stuff: A lot of people don't realize it, but you can actually sell used products or goods on Amazon. You'll need to make sure that you update the condition of the items accordingly to comply with Amazon policies. Of course, you can also opt to sell used items on other sites such as eBay too.
Sell in bulk from pallets: For those with larger budgets to get your side hustle off the ground, you may consider purchasing and flipping items from liquidation pallets. Buying pallets from wholesale warehouses or online can be a great way to get good deals on items, which you can then resell at higher prices. The con to this strategy, of course, is the higher upfront investment.
For beginners, I normally recommend that you start with selling used items or retail arbitrage since the upfront investments are lower and carry less financial risk. Then, as you earn some money and gain more comfort in selling on Amazon, you can proceed to more complex strategies, like wholesale pallet flipping.
Another recommendation that I have is to reinvest your earnings into your business, at least initially. By using your earnings to buy your new inventory to sell, you make sure that any money you may lose doesn't come out of your pocket.
Make money on Amazon
To become an Amazon reseller, you'll need to sell your products and goods for more than you paid for them. This much is obvious.
But you'll also need to take your selling fees into account. You'll need to price your items with all of this in mind.
You may also opt to participate in the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program to make things easier. Let's run through a basic example:
You find and purchase a discounted set of silverware for $49 - an item that normally sells for $89
You send the silverware to Amazon FBA (for a fee, which can vary based on product specifications)
Somebody purchases your silverware for $89
You pay referral, storage, and order fulfillment fees
Again, the key is to select items that allow you to pay Amazon's fees and still turn a profit. Finding products to sell, therefore, is your biggest challenge. More on seller fees in a minute.
Finding products to sell
To find products with the best potential to earn you high margins, consider the following tips.
1. Use the Amazon Seller Central app
When I first became interested in selling on Amazon, I would take my lunch breaks from work and walk through the mall next door with the Amazon Seller Central app. The app allows you to scan barcodes of items in-store to see what the same exact items are selling for on Amazon.
This proves especially helpful if you find good items on clearance, and the app will help you gauge your potential profit.
2. Use a browser extension like AMZScout
Sites like AMZScout can help you understand your potential profit of purchases ahead of time. Better yet, it can also help you to estimate your shipping and other miscellaneous costs associated with selling an item.
Additionally, you may opt to use AMZScout to help gain competitive insights on your competitor's Amazon selling strategies.
Amazon seller fees
We've grown quite familiar with the Amazon Seller app and its options over the past couple of years. As of January 2023, they were offering the following fee options:
Professional selling - This is the option where Amazon will handle all customer service, shipping, processing, and order fulfillment. Other perks available to professional services include gift wrapping on certain items, customized shipping rates, and more. This package costs $39.99 per month, plus selling fees.
Individual selling - This option will cost $0.99 per item sold, and is best for those getting their feet under them.
From our experience, deciding between professional and individual selling depends largely on a number of variables, including:
How many items do you anticipate selling per week or month?
Whether you are looking to ship outside of the United States
What are your business objectives?
In addition to these plan fees, you'll also be responsible for paying what Amazon refers to as referral fees. These differ depending on the product category an item belongs to, but are most often between 8-15% of an item's total price (including shipping and other miscellaneous fees).
One mistake that I made early on was inadvertently picking items with the highest referral fees. And while these items may be more likely to sell quicker, the high fees can make a dent in your profit margin, hindering your ability to grow your business into the future.
How to make money selling on Amazon
Making money reselling items on Amazon is relatively easy - if you know what you are doing. And while there is a learning process to it, there is one truth that we should share before we go any further,
What we're going to say now may surprise you. Selling items you found on sale is not as important as you may think. Imagine you bought a $300 KitchenAid mixer on sale for $229 at a retailer. Yes, this gives you more wiggle room to turn a profit. But this does not matter at all if you are unable to sell it.
What matters more is the popularity of an item. The more potential buyers there are for something that you are trying to sell, the more likely it is that this item will in fact sell.
I learned this lesson the hard way initially by browsing products simply because they were on sale.
Follow these steps to begin selling on Amazon today!
1. Create an Amazon seller account
Of course, to get started, you'll need to tell Amazon that you're interested in becoming a seller. So navigate over to their seller site (or download the app), click that "Sign Up" button, and complete the registration process.
This is where you'll need to choose between professional and individual selling. When in doubt, I typically recommend that you start as an individual seller.
2. Decide what you want to sell
The next big decision you'll need to make is deciding what to sell. In our opinion, the key here is to select items that strike a balance between demand and cost. Pick items that you know have lots of buyers. Again, there are some services on the internet that can help you with this, the AMZScout PRO Extension being a great example of this.
3. Shop for and list your products
You can shop just about anywhere for the products you want to sell. Our recommendation is to periodically browse online big box retailers and stores near you. You never know what you're going to find on clearance somewhere.
After you purchase some inventory, you'll need to list it on Amazon.
You'll need to answer some basic questions on the condition of the items, whether they are new, etc. But after that, you're nearly complete. The last question you'll need to answer is whether you're going to use Amazon FBA. If you're looking to build a profitable side business, it may be a really good idea because you can send your deliveries directly to Amazon, where they will handle all of the storage and shipping of your items anytime something sells.
You'll never even see your inventory in person.
More tips to make money as an Amazon Seller
The first time I tried to sell on Amazon, I failed. Here's how to avoid making the same mistakes that I made so that you can start making some extra money as soon as possible.
1. Sign up for retailer email lists
This tip goes hand in hand with number two. But to help you identify and jump on good sales as quickly as possible, we recommend that you create accounts and sign up for email lists with big box retailers such as:
This way, you'll receive emails from these retailers, presumably containing information about their latest sales. Then, you can compare these prices to their going rates on Amazon to see if you may be able to turn a profit.
We recommend you make a separate email account just for these emails. That way, you'll stay as organized as possible.
2. Pay attention to fees
Of course, Amazon isn't going to just sell your items for you out of the goodness of their hearts. Instead, they're going to want a cut of your proceeds. We touched upon Amazon's weird fee structure already, but you'll want to make sure you price competitively in order to maximize your chances of success.
3. Focus on great customer service reviews
One area that we haven't touched upon is the importance of maintaining good reviews.
A friend of ours once tried to unload inventory as quickly as possible, and because of this, his customer service and timeliness began to suffer. Once this happened, he began to lose what is known as "the buy box." The buy box is that big "Buy Now" item that you see next to a product on a listing page.
Since each product likely has thousands of different sellers, the one seller that wins "the buy box" has a leg up on the rest of the competition. Other than good customer service reviews, you'll want to:
Maintain good customer service reviews
Offer competitive prices
Make your customers happy however possible
It is not unlike the search engine optimization process for bloggers.
Is reselling on Amazon a good side gig for you?
We encourage Americans pursuing side gigs to ask themselves a few questions to gauge whether any venture may be right for them. As it pertains to selling on Amazon, we implore you to ask:
Am I willing to complete the work needed to earn a profit?
Am I comfortable building a little inventory from my personal savings to get started?
Am I confident in my ability to overcome and adapt to any challenges that may arise?
In our mind, you should only proceed when the answer to all three of these questions is a resounding "yes."
The bottom line
Reselling on Amazon can be an excellent way to supplement your income in a low-pressure manner. We've seen multiple colleagues and friends have success, and have prepared you to do the same! As long as you stay true to our tips and tricks, we're confident that you can be successful too.
Affiliate marketing disclosure
studentdebtdestroyer.com is a student loan research and education website provided by Grow Your Green LLC.
studentdebtdestroyer.com is not a student loan lender.
We're passionate about teaching and guiding people to a better personal finance situation. To do this, we create an enormous amount of content, which takes time, resources, and money.
In order to write about and offer these products and services for you, we utilize affiliate marketing and link to certain products and services. If you click on, subscribe, to purchase on these links then we may be paid a small commission. These are at no cost to you, but by earning small commissions, are able to help us keep our website active.
We manually review all products and services that we think are of high quality and value to you.