What are the key differences?
The primary difference between individual and professional Amazon seller plans is your projected volume of sales.
Typically, individual Amazon arbitrage seller plans are for sellers who will likely sell 40 units (or less) of their product each month, while professional Amazon seller plans are for sellers who plan on selling more than 40 units per month.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you start selling products on Amazon.
Are you going to sell more than 40 products per month?
If you answered “yes,” then you should probably consider signing up for the professional seller plan. Here’s why:
The professional seller plan on Amazon comes with a monthly subscription fee of $39.99. In contrast, the individual seller plan on Amazon does not have a monthly subscription fee.
However, individual sellers are required to pay a $0.99 fee for each of their sales transactions; the professional seller plan does not. Therefore, if an individual seller sells 41 products in a month, they will have to pay $40.59 (41 x $0.99) in seller fees.
On the other hand, professional sellers only pay the $39.99 subscription fee, regardless of the number of products they sell.
Note: these fee calculations exclude referral fees, special fees, and/or fulfillment fees which are the same for both individual and professional seller plans.
Do you want to sell in restricted categories?
Both Amazon individual and professional sellers can sell in 20 Amazon categories. Professional sellers, though, have access to an additional 10.
The 10 bonus categories include: Automotive Parts & Accessories; Business to Business (B2B) products; Collectibles Coins; Fashion Jewelry; Fine Jewelry; Fine Art; Grocery, Food & Gourmet; Industrial & Scientific; Professional Services; Sports Collectibles; Video, DVD, & Blu-ray; and Watches.
In addition, certain variations of products — such as Collectible Books — may require a professional seller account.
If you want to sell in any of these categories, you should consider an Amazon professional seller account.
Do you want to win the Buy Box?
One of the biggest advantages that Amazon professional sellers have over Amazon individual sellers is their eligibility to win the all-important ‘Buy Box’. (The Buy Box is the section of a product listing page that allows buyers to automatically add your product to their shopping cart.)
But, if you aren’t an Amazon professional seller — and even if you are the only seller on a listing — buyers will have to go through more steps in order to make a purchase.
According to Statista, 82% of all purchases happen through the Buy Box.
Do you want to advertise your products on Amazon?
Another huge advantage that Amazon professional sellers have over individual sellers is the ability to create sponsored listings on Amazon.
Using Amazon’s pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, Amazon professional sellers can spend money to boost their products to the top of Amazon’s search results. This often results in more sales and profits for the sellers.
Amazon individual sellers, however, cannot create advertisements for their products on Amazon.
Other Amazon professional seller features
In addition to the reduced cost when selling more than 40 products per month, and bonus categories that come with using an Amazon professional seller plan, here are some additional advantages Amazon professional sellers have over individual sellers:
- Manage inventory through feeds, spreadsheets, and reports
- Create promotions, gift services, and other special listing features
- Calculate US sales and use taxes on your orders
- Grant use permissions and account privileges to other users
Why become an Amazon individual seller?
The biggest question you need to ask yourself when choosing an Amazon seller account is how involved you want to be in your Amazon business.
The individual seller plan is good for people who want to get rid of a few extra items around the house. It’s also a good plan for those who want to give selling on Amazon a try before going all in and expanding their business to something like private label.
Finally, an individual seller account is a good way to gain access to Amazon’s seller dashboard and forums without committing to a $39.99 monthly payment.
Why the professional plan is the best for doing online arbitrage?
If you like to do online arbitrage, you certainly need a professional seller account. However, in the case that you are a newbie and not sure that you like the business or not, you can start with the individual plan for a month. Then, if you feel like you want to continue selling, you can upgrade to the Professional plan. The two most important reasons to use the professional plan for doing online arbitrage are:
The professional sellers can sell some products that are gated for individual sellers. In the online arbitrage business, one of the most annoying things that can happen is that you find a profitable item, but you can’t sell it! So, in order to mess fewer opportunities, it’s better to have a professional account.
If you do online arbitrage, it means you want to buy and sell lots of products in a month, indeed more than 40. So, it’s rational to pay for a professional seller plan instead of paying a dollar per item.
Amazon Individual vs Professional Seller Plans: which one is right for you?
Ultimately, the plan you choose to use boils down to the reasons why you’re planning to sell on Amazon in the first place.
If you only want to get rid of a few items and make a little spare change, then select the individual seller plan. However, if you want to actually build a business and make a regular income selling on Amazon, signing up for the Amazon professional seller plan is the smarter option.
What made you decide to become either an individual or professional Amazon seller? Let us know in the comments below, along with any questions.