December 02, 2021

Quick Guide On Amazon Individual Vs. Professional Seller Account - Which One Is Best for You?

Every month, more than 197 million people visit Amazon.com. Yes, that’s just the “.com” domain. Remember that there are many more marketplaces available that aren’t even counted.

That massive number shows that there are a lot of opportunities for Amazon sellers to build a source of passive income.

If you have made your mind up about becoming an Amazon seller, then the first thing you should know is which seller plan will meet your requirements.

Do you not know what your requirements are?

This guide will discuss all the benefits of Amazon seller plans and help you decide whether you should sell on Amazon as an individual or with an Amazon professional seller account.

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Is the Amazon Individual Seller Account for you?

The Individual Seller Account is a perfect solution for those who…

  • Want to sell less than 40 units a month, as Amazon charges $0.99 per unit to individual sellers.
  • Are seasonal sellers and want to get rid of garage clutter or just flip a few products.

Keep in mind that Amazon individual sellers have limited access to seller-central features that will be discussed later in the article.

Is the Amazon Professional Seller Account for you?

If you want to make Amazon selling a great source of income or a place where you can create a brand, then Amazon professional seller is the option you want.

A professional Amazon seller account costs $39.99 monthly as a subscription fee. This subscription gives you access to multiple features, and these will also be discussed later on.

Paying this subscription fee saves you from paying $0.99 per unit in fees.

Don’t worry, if you want to create an Amazon pro seller account, here are some detailed instructions that will help you out.

Key Differences Between Amazon Professional and Individual Accounts

Let’s discuss both accounts’ key differences and limitations and which can help you achieve your specific goals.

Before choosing an Amazon seller plan, there are 6 critical elements that you should consider, and here they are:

1. Do You Fall Under the Limited Category Restriction?

An Amazon seller can sell in 33 different product categories on the site. However, if you plan to sell on Amazon as an individual, you will be restricted to only 18 categories.

The rest of the categories are called gated categories, and these are only for sellers with professional Amazon accounts.

Here are those 18 gated Amazon categories:

  • Automotive & Powersports
  • Baby Products (For specific sub-categories)
  • Collectible Coins
  • Consumer Electronics (For specific sub-categories)
  • Entertainment Collectibles
  • Fine Art
  • Grocery & Gourmet Food (For specific sub-categories)
  • Health & Personal Care (For specific sub-categories)
  • Music & DVD
  • Office Products (For specific sub-categories)
  • Outdoor (For specific sub-categories)
  • Personal Computers (For specific sub-categories)
  • Pet Supplies (For specific sub-categories)
  • Software (For specific sub-categories)
  • Sports Collectibles
  • Video, DVD & Bluray
  • Video Games (For specific sub-categories)
  • Watches

If you want to sell in any of the above categories and sell more than 40 units a month, then the only option you have is the Amazon professional seller account.

Here is a detailed instructional guide by Amazon that helps you understand which category requires which sort of documents to get started.

2. Buy Box Eligibility – Do Not Let Competitors Steal Your Sales

Buy Box is one of the most critical features that directly leads the customers to buy from you instead of buying from your competitors.

Plus, this feature is only available for Amazon professional seller account subscription users.

Still Confused?

For example, in the above image, the brand name is “Mempedont,” and this seller owns the buy now button. This means if a customer clicks on the “Buy Now” button, they will directly buy from the brand “Mempedon.”

However, if you do not own the Buy Box, still have ranked your listing, and somebody has attached their product on your listing, then there is the possibility that they can snatch your sales.

For example, you might have seen “Used & New (7)” written below the Buy Box. That phrase means that seven different sellers have attached to your listing, and one of them owns the Buy Box, and it’s not you.

Luckily, some tools in the market send you a quick notification about any change made to your listing, including stealing the Buy Box. These tools also spy on other competitors attached to your listing and update you about the changes being made in their listings.

This type of information can help you to figure out the reason why you lost the Buy Box. In the end, you can come up with a better strategy to get it back.

Buy Box eligibility is a blessing, and only Amazon professional account sellers can get it, which is why individual sellers do not receive frequent orders.

3. Save Time with Bulk Listing

To list a product on Amazon, you need to go through a long process of inputting information, and when you have dozens of listings to upload, things get frustrating.

However, with an Amazon professional seller account, you’ll get access to a bulk file upload feature.

With this feature, you can add all the data to a spreadsheet and only have to upload the spreadsheet once to update the complete data.

This feature can save a lot of your time as well as a lot of frustration. Alas! Individual account users will just have to deal with this frustration.

4. Sell Your Inventory Fast with Sponsored Products and Advertising

Gone are the days when you could generate consistent organic sales on Amazon. As the number of Amazon customers rapidly increases, so does the competition. Hence, organic orders are not the only sustainable solution.

While browsing as a customer, you might have seen the word Sponsored written under a few products. That Sponsored/Advertising tag helps sellers reach those spots that organic sellers can only dream of reaching.

This feature gives certain sellers an extra edge to generate more sales. Here are some examples of sponsored listings.

Example 1: Brand Display Ads - Top of the page

Example 2: Product Display Ads - Top of the search

These are not the only places where you can make your brand/listing appear. The Sponsored Product feature gives you the opportunity to share your product across many other profitable spots as well.

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking: Can I use this feature?

Yes, you can, IF you have an Amazon professional seller account subscription. Otherwise, you’ll just have to wait for the orders to come in.

If you want to learn more about Amazon Advertising and haven’t found a reliable source:

Look no more! We’re here to rescue you.

5. Sell in Multiple Markets to Generate More Revenue

Being a professional Amazon seller gives you more opportunities to expand your brand in different markets.

For example, professional Amazon seller account owners automatically get access to the Canadian and Mexican markets. This means if your product is doing well in one market, it’s highly likely that the product will work in another market as well. That means extra profits selling the same product.

Unfortunately, individual account owners aren’t able to taste this side of the business.

6. Promotions – Surprise Your Customers

While shopping on Amazon, you will have surely seen listings with multiple promotional labels, especially in December, like “Black Friday Deal,” “CyberMonday Deal,” “Lightning Deal,” etc.

To boost sales and sustain listing rankings, Amazon allows professional sellers to add promotions to their listings.

However, individual sellers do not have access to these, which is why individual sellers get far lower sales in the holidays because their competitors are selling at a discounted price.

7. Amazon MWS – The Game-Changer

Amazon MWS (Marketplace Web Service) is an integrated website service API that helps Amazon professional sellers save time by programmatically exchanging data on orders, payments, listings, all sorts of reports, and much more.

This feature offers “selling automation,” which helps sellers reduce their working hours, increase sales and improve customer experience. The best part is that it’s free of charge; all you need is to be a pro seller.

Let’s emphasize its importance with an example.

Checking Inbound Shipment Status – Amazon MWS offers sellers the option to review the shipment’s current status and whether the shipment has reached the fulfillment center or not. If it hasn’t, there is the option to see what its current status is.

Should I Switch to an Amazon Professional Account from the Start?

No, If you plan to start an Amazon FBA brand, then immediately switching to the professional account would be the wrong move, as it would take around 3-5 months for your inventory to reach the dedicated Amazon warehouse.

How?

  • First, it would take you at least a month to select your winning product.
  • Then, you will spend 2-3 weeks selecting a supplier and asking for their samples.
  • The negotiation will take a few more days.
  • Then it would take 15-45 days to manufacture the product.
  • In the end, it’ll take 40-60 days for the product to reach the Amazon warehouse.

Now, ask yourself, would immediately shifting to the professional account be a wise option? You could save approximately $200.

How to Upgrade or Downgrade Amazon Seller Account?

Amazon allows you to switch or downgrade between any of its seller plans.

Here is a quick guide on upgrading your Amazon seller account:

  1. Step 1: Log in to your Amazon Seller Account
  1. Step 2: On the right side of the page, you will find the “Settings” button – hover over it
  1. Step 3: Click on the Account info button
  1. Step 4: Go to the account management section and click on the upgrade button

Here is a quick guide on how you can downgrade your Amazon seller account:

  1. Step 1: Log in to your Amazon Seller Account
  1. Step 2: On the right side of the page, you will find the “Settings” button – hover over it
  1. Step 3: Click on the Account info button
  1. Step 4: Go to the account management section and click on the downgrade button

Amazon allows you to cancel your subscription at any time. This means there’s no need to worry about upgrading to the pro plan.

How Much Does Amazon Take from Sellers In Total?

Now, here comes the part that nobody wants to hear. We have already talked about how for individual sellers, Amazon charges $0.99 for every unit sold while professional sellers pay $39.99/monthly.

Apart from the basic fee discussed above, the three most common fee types Amazon charges to sellers are:

Referral/Commission Fee – This fee is applied to every seller, whether you are an individual seller or pro seller. On average, the referral fee is somewhere around 8% to 15% of your selling price. But it can fluctuate in some cases.

Learn more about Amazon’s referral system

FBA Fee The FBA fee is the storage, fulfillment & shipping fee that Amazon charges to the seller to store, pick, pack, and ship the products. It is entirely dependent on the dimensions and weight of the product. This fee applies to only those sellers using the FBA model.

Closing Fee – This is an extra $1.80 per unit fee that applies to the following categories: Books, DVD, Music, Software & Computer/Video Games, Consoles, and Video Game Accessories.

These extra costs are the sad side of the business, but this is how selling on amazon works.

Use the free FBA calculator in the Product Research for Amazon to determine if a product is profitable:

  1. Choose the preferred product.
  2. Insert the cost of producing or procuring the product, and the price on Amazon.
  3. The tool will automatically calculate your Amazon fees, and show you how much you’ll make on every sale (Net, ROI, and Profit).
  4. Experiment with different products and categories, and find a winning product at no cost.

How Often Does Amazon Pay Sellers?

Amazon pays its sellers every 14 days. The earned amount will appear in your balance, excluding all Amazon fees.

Bear in mind, only money from orders that were successfully fulfilled and delivered seven days ago will appear in this balance.

Why is that?

Amazon gives buyers a seven-day window to decide whether they want to return the product or not.

Once you withdraw the amount, it will take 3-5 business days to appear in your account.

Can You Have Multiple Amazon Seller Accounts?

Ask this question publicly; all you will hear is that “Amazon will permanently ban both of your accounts then you will spend 1000s of dollars to reactivate your account.”

What if I tell you, yes, you can have two accounts at the same time?

You can have more than one amazon professional seller account if and only if you have a legitimate business need, and Amazon gives you the authorization to open another account based on that need.

Here are some of the requirements that your business must meet:

  • You have multiple brands already and want to expand further.
  • Both accounts are registered under separate entities.
  • You would not sell the same products which you were selling in the first account.
  • You have a product manufacturing facility in line.

Conclusion:

If your goal is to sell fewer than 40 units a month, then you should definitely sell on Amazon as an individual seller. Just pay $0.99 per unit, and you are all set. However, if your monthly units sold is higher than 40, then you are not only paying an extra $0.99 per unit but also restricting your business as you are tied to limited features.

If your goal is to establish a brand, boost your sales with Amazon advertising, save time, work with automation, and sell on multiple marketplaces, an Amazon Professional Seller Account subscription is your next move. Don’t focus on the monthly subscription fee; focus on the end result.

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Read further:

If you have set your mind on becoming a full-time Amazon FBA seller, then start by learning about the launching part of the business and then the advertising. By doing so, you know what you are selling and how you can get it in front of the right people.