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How Do You Record eCommerce Sales in Accounting?

Many eCommerce owners understand the importance of making sales, but do you know how to record eCommerce sales for your accounting system? Ecommerce business owners have some degree of flexibility that physical storefronts cannot afford. Apart from avoiding rent, an eCommerce model makes it easy to fulfill orders from the comfort of your home or warehouse.

However, it can be challenging to set up an eCommerce bookkeeping system. No matter if you sell products online through Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, Walmart, or Etsy, you’ll need an accounting system to manage finances. Recording sales is a big part of that.

What should you know about recording sales for eCommerce? Here is a complete guide for eCommerce businesses.

What is accounting for eCommerce?

Ecommerce accounting is the process of collecting and reporting financial data like business assets and transactions for online stores. Accounting provides the big picture of your financial health. Ecommerce bookkeeping is the daily management of your financial transactions including sales, expenses, and much more.

The first step in accounting for eCommerce is to organize your accounts. Ecommerce entrepreneurs and bookkeepers collect sales tax and financial statements. Accountants can use that data to help businesses make future business decisions. Accounting for eCommerce includes the following categories:

  • Bookkeeping (recording of business transactions)
  • Financial reporting
  • Submitting tax returns

How do you record sales in accounting?

It’s important to distinguish what it means to record sales vs sales tax. You record sales when a customer makes a purchase. Recording sales tax refers to the tax that customers pay upon purchasing goods and services. Businesses remit sales tax to the local or state government within the specified period.

Sales invoices are documents that provide records that show every sale made. They are usually pre-numbered to help bookkeepers and accountants know each invoice’s contents.

Even though recording sales and sales tax are two different things, they go hand in hand. For business owners to account for sales tax, they must first determine the cost of goods sold.

How do you manage eCommerce finances?

Many businesses have achieved success by simply adjusting how they manage their finances. Ecommerce can be unpredictable and highly competitive so having money to scale up your company and cater to necessary costs is crucial. Here is how to manage your eCommerce finances.

If you are just starting your eCommerce business, then there are key items you’ll need to set up first, including:

  • A business tax ID number
  • A business bank account and credit card
  • A payment processing system
  • Accounting software

Registering your company

As an eCommerce business owner, you are responsible for all areas of your business, including losses and debts. So, if you sell a defective product, you are personally liable.

Registering your company means that you will be operating your business as a separate entity from your personal assets. It also shows that you’re running a legitimate business and increases your brand awareness. Your business will have a company name rather than your own.

Setting up business accounts

To register your company with the state, you need to open a business bank account. A business bank account is a valuable asset for a small business because it helps to separate business activities from personal activities. Also, it is more professional to provide your clients with a business name when making payments instead of your full name.

Choosing payment processors

In the online world, consumers want multiple payment options. There are various payment methods that online shoppers use, including:

  • Credit cards
  • Direct debit cards
  • PayPal
  • Stripe
  • Digital currency

Ideally, you’ll want to integrate your payment processing system with your accounting software. This means you can save time manually entering sales and other financial data because the systems work together to pull most of the information you’ll need. It is still a good idea to keep track of your sales with a solid bookkeeping and accounting foundation.

Accounting Software

There are many choices for accounting software. For online businesses, it’s important to choose a solution that syncs with all your tools and platforms. Xendoo plans come with integrations like Xero, Quickbooks, and Gusto. You can sync up your payroll data from Gusto or track expenses easily by using Quickbooks.

What are the best accounting practices for online businesses?

Clear bookkeeping

For small businesses, up-to-date bookkeeping can be challenging. But online bookkeeping systems provide appealing solutions for different types of businesses.

Embracing these technology solutions is the best way to save your financial resources. An accounting system will help save time since you will be able to keep track of your finances.

Separate business accounts for finances

When setting up a business account, it’s important to separate your business and personal finances. Any sales revenue or client payments should go to your business checking account and not your personal bank account.

When all your finances are in one account, it is easier to keep track of the clients who have made payments. It’s also a good way to protect your personal finances from liabilities for your company.

Hire a virtual eCommerce accountant

Hire a bookkeeper with experience in eCommerce platforms like Shopify and eCommerce accounting to manage your day-to-day finances. A reputable bookkeeper will ensure your business stays on track by providing visibility over your cash flow.

Bookkeepers prevent errors by taking all your receipts, invoices, bills, and numbers and recording them correctly in your accounting system.

Virtual bookkeeping and accounting services are becoming more popular among small business owners. You can work with a professional to reconcile your accounts, update your financial statement, and do all the accounting functions without meeting in person.

With a committed bookkeeping team on your side, you can grow your business as you keep an eye on the latest eCommerce industry trends.

To get started, schedule a consultation with an accountant or sign up for a free trial to test out Xendoo today.

 

Lil Roberts on Boss Move Podcast

Lil Roberts joins Kison Patel of Boss Move Podcast to Discuss The Elements of Success

Success is not about luck and chance. It’s about visionary leaders who intentionally pursue the critical elements every business needs to be successful.
Join Kison Patel from Boss Move Podcast and his guest Lil Roberts, Founder, and CEO in the episode Critical Elements of Success as they talk about the secret ingredients for success and how to get them.

Lil Roberts as a speaker at Endeavor Miami

Lil Roberts, CEO Joins The y.FTL Panel at Endeavor Miami

Endeavor Miami hosted their y.FTL panel, the second panel in their y.FLORIDA series. Lil Roberts, Xendoo’s CEO was one of the speakers. As Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem continues to develop they will continue to shed light on the strength of Florida’s entrepreneurs. Honored to be part of an amazing night with incredible people!

Lil Roberts standing in front of a computer with the Xendoo site

These are the women in Miami tech you need to know | South Florida Business Journal

The Miami tech movement wouldn’t be what it is without the women founders, executives, nonprofit leaders, and venture capitalists who have spent years championing the region’s innovation community. An article by Ashley Portero, Senior Reporter, South Florida Business Journal. Read more here 

These are the women in Miami tech you need to know

Black male business owner and white female business owner looking at a tablet, discussing business performance

3 Keys to Working Smarter, Not Harder in Business

Work Smarter, Not Harder

At SmartScout, we built our business around the idea of working “smarter”. Easy enough to say. What steps can small business owners take to work smarter? Glad you asked.

The three keys to working smarter, not harder, in business are education, technology, and delegation. In this blog post, we will show you how you can use these keys to expand your knowledge, streamline your workflow, and delegate work to your team to grow their skills.  

1. Never Stop Learning

What counts as educating yourself? It is both more and less than you might think. Reading this blog, for example, counts toward educating yourself. You either came to this blog because you were already following it, or you were searching for the answer to a specific question. It is crucial to stay informed on what is happening in your business niche so you can keep up with the competition and continue to grow your knowledge. However, this tends to keep you on surface level subjects, and when you find a topic that really interests you, you need to dive in deeper.

Watch Youtube videos, listen to podcasts, and take training courses. Even better is to learn from experts who actually walk the walk. Follow industry leaders on social media, and ask them questions when you can. Attend networking events and trade shows to connect with industry leaders and fellow life-long learners.

Most important of all, never stop learning. Self-improvement is a never-ending game, so find the way it works best for you, and keep at it!

2. Automate with Technology

Automate tedious work with technology to save time and minimize human error. One of the beauties of the modern world is that technology can steamline almost any task. There are solutions for every business function, including product research

For example, eCommerce business owners can save time by utilizing an online research tool such as SmartScout. The SmartScout database enables you to find thousands of lucrative products for arbitrage, calculate and reduce FBA fees, and increase product visibility with strategic advertising – just to name a few! Work that once took hours now takes moments with the SmartScout database. 

The goal is to balance time saved with money spent. If the task is outside of your area of expertise or simply takes up too much of your time, utilize tools that will save you time and sanity.  

3. Let Go and Delegate

Just like you need to give thoughtless tasks to technology, give thoughtful tasks to other people, so they can do their highest level thinking. This gets hard when it comes to things you are passionate about. Ask yourself, what are you holding onto that you need to let go of?

This is the reason why people who are promoted for their skills in a field often struggle as managers. They do not communicate with their team, nor do they trust them to follow through on assignments. To be a good delegator, you must become a good manager. Communicate clearly with your team and trust them with the tasks you give them, so they can help grow the business and their skillset.

What about the tasks that you do not like to do? If you lack expertise in a particular area and do not have a team member to take up the responsibility, partner with a professional. 

Many business owners spend countless hours on bookkeeping, which takes time away from running their businesses and enjoying their lives. By partnering with an online bookkeeper, they can effortlessly keep their financials up to date and stay tax-compliant, all with the support of an expert. This gives them the freedom to focus on what they love – growing their business. 

Need to improve your managerial or tech skills? Head back to the top of the list, and the cycle continues!

Always Getting Better

Successful business owners are always looking for ways to improve. The key is to work smarter, not harder! Continue to learn, automate mundane tasks with cutting-edge technology, and delegate work to save time and help your team grow in skill and knowledge. These simple practices can help you become the best business owner you can be!

What does your Amazon business need to succeed? With SmartScout, you have access to more product, brand, and seller data than anything out there. If you are ready to turbocharge your business, we are here to help!

Startups Podcasts

Low-Burn | Scaling Your Startup S2 E8 with Neyborly’s Ben Seidl & Xendoo’s Lil Roberts | E1224

When it comes to financial health as your scaling your startup there are six steps to healthy financials for scaling your startup. Watch for insightful tips for your small business by our CEO and Founder Lil Roberts, at This Week in Startups – Scaling your Startup. E1224 of Low Burn.

 

 

Lunch with Norm and Lil Roberts

Importance of LIVE events & What’s the Future of Ecommerce | Lil Roberts | Ep. 173

The new buying habits are post-pandemic! What to expect? Xendoo CEO and Founder Lil Roberts is back to share with us the new buying habits post-pandemic and how eCommerce fits into retail’s post-pandemic future.

“We believe business owners should have time to do what they love, build their business – not do bookkeeping.”

A white, red-head female business owner stands proudly in her office, surrounded by packages

Top 7 Requirements to Secure Ecommerce Funding (Hint: They’re Not What You Think)

In the past, online sellers often had to dig into their own pockets to fund their eCommerce business dreams. 

Since small or growing businesses are technically high-risk investments, banks and other financial institutions were reluctant to part with their cash to help eCommerce sellers. 

But times have changed. 

Today, there is a growing number of funding options eCommerce entrepreneurs can tap into to make even their biggest, hairiest goals reality. Great news, given that 9.5% of businesses without financial capital say it negatively impacts their profitability. 

Yet, many eCommerce sellers are stuck in their ways, seeking capital from red tape-heavy banks or going without any funding support at all. In fact, a staggering 50% of UK SMEs don’t look beyond traditional funders—and the tunnel vision can definitely cost them.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. 

To prepare you to face your next funding application with confidence, let’s jump into some of the requirements you’ll need.

Ready for a flexible funding solution? Learn more about how we help eCommerce owners improve their cash flow.

 

Secure ECommerce Funding the Simple Way

  • How to Fund an Ecommerce Business: Know Your Options
  • What Do I Need to Secure Ecommerce Funding?

1. Proof your business is on the right track

2. Know what eCommerce funding you need (and what for) 

3. Showcase your good moral character

4. Get your paperwork in order

5. Show off a little

6. Clean up your credit, stash away cash, and get collateral (but not for the reasons you think)

7. Be mentally prepared to move on

  • The Blueprint for Getting Your Ecommerce Business Funded  

 

How to Fund an Ecommerce Business: Know Your Options

Ecommerce funding has come a long way since its inception, and there is now a potential capital source to suit every business size and budget. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the most common eCommerce funding options:

 

  • Working capital: The seller receives funding to cover gaps in cash flow for day-to-day business expenses like shipping costs, supplies and utilities, or invest in a new product line, ad campaign or additional inventory for peak sales seasons.
  • Cash advances: The seller receives a lump sum and agrees to pay a percentage of their monthly turnover to the lender until the advance is paid in full—note: cash advances aren’t loans.
  • Invoice factoring: The business owner sells their accounts receivables (due invoices) to a factoring company at a discount with fees added on top. The factoring company then releases the funds to them.
  • Crowdfunding: The entrepreneur pitches their idea on a dedicated online platform to the masses, and individuals can choose to invest. There are three kinds of crowdfunding: debt, donation, and equity crowdfunding.
  • Peer-to-peer lending: Usually facilitated through an online platform, the individual receives funding from a person instead of a financial institution.
  • Angel investing: The business owner sells a stake in their business to a high-net-worth individual in return for capital.

 

Are you struggling to decide between cash advances and working capital loans? We can help.

What Do I Need to Secure Ecommerce Funding?

Thanks to the flexibility of some of the newer, more modern funding options, today’s funding requirements for growing eCommerce businesses tend to be much more flexible than those of traditional funders.

While most alternative eCommerce funders won’t throw out your application for lacking things like management expertise, collateral, or credit, there are some standards you’ll have to meet. 

Let’s break these down:

1. Proof your business is on the right track

 

Alternative funding providers are all about businesses with results that prove they’ve got a promising future.

No matter who you acquire eCommerce funding from, there’s one thing your provider will want to know: that they’ll get their money back plus a fair return

While you don’t have to be the next overnight Amazon sensation to prove your worth, you must show you’re a viable business and a low-risk investment.

Here are some things you can provide to show your business is worth the investment:

  • Calculations that demonstrate your business has a high ROI, net operating income, and Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR). (More on this in a minute 😉).
  • Documents proving your business consistently turns a profit.
  • Store reports showing sales volume and minimal product returns.
  • Statements demonstrating you have sufficient liquidity to repay a loan, plus its interest and charges.
  • Records showing you’ve been in operation for at least 12 months.

If you meet these requirements, securing funding becomes a win-win situation for everyone, and you’ll have better chances of getting approved. 

 

Looking for a faster solution? Find out how you can pre-qualify for up to $1,000,000 in less than 5 minutes.

2. Know what eCommerce funding you need (and why you need it)

 

By the time you’re ready to start sending applications to prospective funding providers, you should have concrete answers to these things:

  • Your reason(s) for applying for external funding.
  • The intended purpose of the cash injection.
  • How much capital you need.

Not only will this help narrow down the type of funding you need (and suitable providers), it’ll also show you’ve done your due diligence.

Taking on funding is no child’s play, and mistakes in this area can cost you. Funding providers want to know you understand the risks involved and are prepared to take on this commitment.

Here’s how to show eCommerce funders you’re ready, step-by-step:

  1. Create a documented breakdown of the capital amount you need for each task (adjusted with a buffer for unplanned bills).
  2. Work out your return on investment (ROI). Are you making enough returns to make funding feasible? Note long term debt reduces ROI.
  3. Analyse your net profit income. How healthy is it? Will you have enough liquidity in your business to operate once you start to repay successfully?
  4. Assess whether any existing debts will inhibit you from making repayments. Calculate your Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) to help you with this task.

These are the three equations you’ll need:

 

1. ROI % = (Net profit) / Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS) * 100 

I.e. $20,000 / $10,000 *100 = 200%

2. Net Operating Income = Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) – Operating Expenses

I.e. $50,000 – $20,000 – $10,000 = $20,000

3. Debt Service Coverage Ratio (DSCR) = Net Operating Income / Annual Debt Obligation

Not a fan of calculations? Try this DSCR calculator.

And, there you have it! A summary of your most important figures that prove your eCommerce business is good to go.

💡 Top tip: For best results, submit funding applications during peak seasons. When your sales volume spikes, you’ll be able to cover the repayments with plenty left over. This extra wiggle room helps funders feel more comfortable funding your business, and removes the stress of worrying about repayments.

 

3. Showcase your good moral character 

 

Most traditional funders will expect you to show good moral character—but some of the newer funding providers take a fresh angle on what this actually means. 

Here’s what a funding provider might look for: 

  • Overdue bills: Zero overdue bills (like student loans or credit card debt).
  • Missed payments: If you’ve gone rogue on payments to another funder, a credit check will reveal this to your prospective funder.

Note: If you have slipped on paying existing debts, don’t beat yourself up. According to Experian, US credit card debt stood at $756 billion. It’s a problem for many. Take active steps to get back on track with your payments and reduce your debt balance before applying for additional funding.

  • Get your paperwork in order

It may seem like an old-school requirement, but being organised can pay off big time in your eCommerce funding journey. 

Not only can getting your ducks in a row make the application process go smoother and faster, it may also earn you brownie points with the people reviewing your application. 

As the saying goes, ‘how you do one thing is how you do everything’. 

Remember, despite your funder being a financial institution or VIP, you’re still dealing with peopleso first impressions count.

Here are the docs you’ll need to prepare as standard:

  • Proof of address
  • Articles of Association (and the names of directors and associated persons)
  • Company bank statements
  • Financial accounts, i.e., Income Statements, Profit and Loss statements
  • Financial projections
  • VAT returns/ Tax returns
  • Business plan

 

  • Show off a little 

To stand out, you need to get comfortable with a pinch of humble bragging. Opportunities to show off about your business only come around rarely, so when they do, grab it with both hands.

For example:

  • Do you have a business degree or business-related qualification(s)? 
  • Have you worked in retail, sales, or management for X amount of years?
  • Is your team excellent at drumming up funds through pre-launches?

These details will let potential funders know you care about success and are willing to invest in yourself to excel.

 

  • Clean up your credit, stash away cash, and get collateral (but not for the reasons you think) 

An increasing number of funding providers are choosing to overlook bad credit or a lack of assets at first glance—but there’s often a catch, and if you’re not careful you might end up with crappy interest rates, terms, or fees.

Having good credit, savings, and assets will put you in a better position to choose funding types and providers as well as negotiate terms. Plus, it’ll demonstrate to your potential funding providers that you:

  • Are in a stable financial position.
  • Have an alternative source of funding and aren’t in dire straits (desperation is never a good look).
  • Have a concrete backup plan should things take a turn for the worst.

Now you know why it pays to clean up your credit, here’s a game plan to go ahead and straighten up your finances: 

  • Start your credit-building journey by getting yourself and your business a credit card to build credit history and pay off existing debts. The debt avalanche and snowball methods are the most commonly used systems for clearing debt fast.
  • Analyse your progress through a credit score tracker.
  • Build a saving pot for your business by putting away a slice of your profits into a business saving account. Treat it like a bill you must pay no matter what.
  • Finally, work on securing assets for your business, like better equipment and storage units. They’ll impress funding providers and help you optimise the running of your business.
  • If you hit any road bumps, motivate yourself by picturing how impressive you’ll look to prospective funders with savings and good credit. 💪

 

  • Be mentally prepared to move on 

Having the relevant paperwork, collateral, and credit is essentialbut it’s only part of the story to secure eCommerce funding.

So what’s missing? Resilience.

You’ll likely hear a lot of no’s on your journey, so be prepared to pick yourself up, keep your goal in sight, and move on to the next. 

Compared to traditional loans, eCommerce funding is still a new gamethat means funding providers are continuously adapting their rules and approaches, and many are yet to catch up with eCommerce’s speed. 

Does this make life as an eCommerce owner more complex? You bet. 

But don’t forget you have a ton of options that give you the advantage. If you’ve tried to secure funding through traditional avenues before, and it’s just not workingmove on.

Your dream funding option is out there, and your perseverance will pay off. After all, only 20% of US-based small businesses don’t use external funding.

The Blueprint for Getting Your Ecommerce Business Funded  

Thanks to a sharp rise in alternative modern solutions, business leaders can now overcome traditional funding requirements and opt for more flexible terms. 

But you aren’t entirely off the hook. 🎣

Today, eCommerce funding is a whole new ballgame with a new set of requirements to fulfill.

So, learn what you need to get approved by each, then execute with precision. Who knows, you may end up with more funding options that you know what to do with!

At Sellers Funding, our application process focuses firmly on sales performance, not credit history or collateral. If you’re not sure which funding option is right for your business, we can help.

 

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.

 

An eCommerce seller looks at her items for sale on a tablet

Selling on Amazon vs. eBay: What you need to know

Ready to start selling your products online? Or have you already built a web presence and you’re looking to expand? From marketplaces like Etsy to building and hosting your own website on Squarespace or Shopify, small businesses have plenty of platforms to sell their products online. But eventually, most professional sellers find themselves asking: What are the pros and cons of Amazon vs. eBay?

Amazon vs. eBay: Who has the biggest market for selling potential?

By the sheer number of visitors, selling on Amazon is the winner here: 214.8 million people visit Amazon each month, compared to 106.9 million for eBay. However, both of these numbers represent huge potential audiences, so to really make the right choice about selling on Amazon vs. eBay, you’ll want to break it down. 

eBay’s audience is more international than Amazon: 57% of its revenue comes from international operations. Amazon doesn’t release these figures, but analysts estimate about 33% of its sales are international. eBay is also known for having “niche” customers searching for specialized products and second-hand goods. The real winner here depends on what you sell and who you sell it to.

Amazon vs. eBay: Which channel is more competitive? 

Amazon is much more competitive than eBay. Amazon rewards sellers with the highest-quality items at the lowest price. There are far more sellers on Amazon, and you may be competing with factory-direct prices from China or even with Amazon itself. 

On the other hand, eBay follows an auction format that will show shoppers many different options, conditions from new to used and shipping options, allowing sellers more opportunities to reach them. eBay advertising is also less competitive and therefore cheaper. 

Outside view of an Amazon pick up and return center.

Amazon vs. eBay: Which channel offers the best shipping and fulfillment?

Winner: Amazon.

When sellers opt for fulfillment by Amazon FBA, they’re able to use the retail giant’s warehouses, shipping, and customer service – for a fee, of course. They’re also eligible for Amazon Prime and the benefits that come along with it. Just remember that you may have to pay sales tax in those states if you use Amazon’s warehouses. Make sure you follow eCommerce bookkeeping tips to keep your records in order.

While domestic sellers are responsible for their own packing and shipping on eBay, the company does offer its Global Shipping Program. This allows sellers to use its “hubs” to ship internationally, with eBay taking care of the customs forms and import fees and providing tracking. This is another reason eBay is so popular with international sellers. 

Amazon vs. eBay: Whose fees reign supreme?

Overall, most sellers find that eBay’s fees are lower. But this doesn’t tell the whole story. Both platforms’ fees depend on what’s being sold, the type of account you have, and more. On Amazon, you’ll likely want a Professional Seller account, which will run you $39.99 per month. You’ll also pay a 15% commission on Amazon, plus a closing fee. If you go with Amazon FBA, you’ll pay those fees as well. 

On eBay, you’ll pay about $0.35 for each listing you create. With a $28-per-month Basic Store account, you’ll get 250 free listings. Once your item sells, eBay takes only a 10% commission. However, this doesn’t include payment processing, while Amazon does. You’ll also then need to figure out the shipping yourself. 

Once again, the answer to the age-old question of selling on Amazon vs. eBay depends on your sales volume and type of product. Here’s one point for eBay, however: One survey found that eBay was ranked number one by sellers in terms of ease of use, customer service, and profitability – while Amazon came in seventh. 

An eCommerce seller adds items to her online store.

The verdict: Amazon

Pros:

  • Reach a large audience
  • Amazon FBA is a convenient option for most sellers
  • Easy to use interface and tools

Cons:

  • Highly competitive
  •  Slightly higher fees
  • Less freedom over branding, product descriptions, and policies

Which eCommerce sellers are Amazon right for? 

  • Sellers with a high volume
  • Sellers with high-profit margins
  • Sellers of non-specialty items

The verdict: eBay

Pros:

  • Easier international sales and expansion
  • Control over branding, listings, and return policies
  • Lower fees 

Cons:

  • No domestic shipping program
  • Smaller audience
  • Less straightforward user interface

Which eCommerce sellers are eBay right for?

  • International sellers
  • Sellers of used and customized items, collectibles, and niche products
  • Sellers who desire more freedom over the selling process

You can even decide to settle the Amazon vs. eBay debate by selling on both platforms. No matter what you choose – and especially if you decide to sell on both – you’ll need expert eCommerce online bookkeeping to keep your books in order and ensure you keep up with sales tax laws. At Xendoo, we work with eCommerce sellers on both platforms to manage bookkeeping and accounting, so they can focus on what’s important: selling!

A phone with amazon logo

Pros and Cons of Putting Your Small Business on Amazon

Ecommerce is booming. Total revenue will reach nearly $4.6 billion in 2021 and grow at an annual rate of 4.6% over the next five years – reaching $5.6 billion by 2025. It’s easy to see why owners of small and medium businesses are asking themselves how they can get a piece of the eCommerce pie. One popular option—the Amazon small business marketplace. 

In the first quarter of 2021, 55 percent of the units sold on Amazon were from third-party sellers. For a company with sales of more than $300 billion, that’s more than pocket change. But what are the pros and cons? And is it worth the trouble? 

What is Amazon marketplace?

The Amazon marketplace is an eCommerce platform that allows independent vendors and sellers to sell their goods on Amazon. The platform allows Amazon to forego the typical retail model, where it sources materials, then produces and stores each of its products until shipment. Instead, third-party vendors put products on Amazon and take care of the details, while Amazon gets a cut of the profits. 

What are the pros of selling on Amazon as a small business?

There’s no question that Amazon is popular with small businesses: In 2018, nearly three-quarters of Amazon sellers had between one and five employees. And Amazon for small business does have plenty of benefits, like the following. 

You can reach a larger audience

One of the biggest benefits of selling products on Amazon is that it can connect you with a wider audience: There are more than 200 million Amazon Prime members worldwide, and that’s not counting site visitors who don’t subscribe to Prime. That’s a huge audience for Amazon small businesses

Amazon can take a lot of the work off your plate 

Getting set up with Amazon marketplace is relatively easy: Just sign up and add products to the catalog. If you want Amazon to do more work for you, you can sign up for Amazon FBA, or Fulfilled by Amazon, which allows you to use Amazon’s warehousing, packaging, shipping, and customer service. 

Amazon has tools to help you sell 

In addition to Sponsored Ads – which actually make Amazon the third-largest digital advertiser behind only Google and Facebook – Amazon small businesses have access to MerchantWords, a proprietary keyword research tool. It uses actual Amazon data to help you optimize your product names, descriptions, and ads. 

Amazon provides technical support 

Amazon Seller Central is the platform’s support team for Amazon small businesses. It’s available 24 hours a day, although most sellers will be required to submit a request and wait for a callback. Still, most sellers receive a prompt response and are happy with the support they receive 

Closeup of two Amazon labeled AA batteries.

Photo by Syed Ahmad on Unsplash

What are the cons of selling on Amazon as a small business?

Amazon Marketplace sounds pretty great, right? For many small and medium businesses, it is. But it also has a few drawbacks you should be aware of. 

It can be expensive

With charges for selling, referral fees, and Amazon sales tax, the cost of selling on the marketplace can quickly add up. Sellers without a monthly plan will pay 99 cents per item sold, while those with a Professional Plan pay $39.99 per month. If you opt for extra features, like Fulfilled by Amazon, expect to pay more fees. 

It can be time consuming 

Getting set up with Amazon Marketplace is easy – understanding how to be successful there can be more time-consuming. Diving into the tools Amazon provides and optimizing your product take time. Plus you’ll need to figure out Amazon bookkeeping and accounting, inventory management, and more. 

The competition is fierce 

There were 1.1 million active Amazon marketplace sellers in the United States alone in 2019. Amazon Marketplace is also incredibly popular with Chinese merchants, some of whom sell products at super-low, factory-direct prices. You’ll even compete with Amazon’s own private label brands. And fake reviews abound on the platform, with competitors using bots to write thousands of five-star reviews at once. 

It’s Amazon’s world, you’re just selling in it 

Some Amazon small businesses feel they don’t have much power over the selling process. There are reports of Amazon punishing businesses for selling at lower prices on other marketplaces, or pressuring them to sign up for extra services. 

Should I use Amazon for my small business?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to whether you should sell products on Amazon. Certain categories, like personal care, beauty, and home goods, seem to have greater success on the platform. Businesses with high margins, who can afford to give Amazon its cut, can also do well. However, success with Amazon for small business depends more on your ability to figure out what works for you than on the type of business.

Xendoo can help dive into your books and help you make a sound decision on whether to sell on Amazon Marketplace. If you’re already a seller, we can ensure your books are in order – allowing you more time to focus on selling.

 

This post is intended to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute as legal, business, or tax advice. Please consult your attorney, business advisor, or tax advisor with respect to matters referenced in our content. Xendoo assumes no liability for any actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.