When you create a Seller Central account, one of the very first decisions you have to make is whether to go with an Individual or Professional Seller Central plan. But since at this point in the process you are brand new to the Seller Central world, you might be wondering exactly how you are supposed to decide between these two services. The decision can be boiled down to a few basic questions you need to answer about your intended business with Amazon. Those questions are:

  1. What kind of sales volume do you plan to have?
  2. What kind of products do you plan to sell?
  3. What type of features and services do you want to have?

Let’s walk through each of these questions and how to use the answers to guide you to make a confident decision about the type of Seller Central Account that makes the most sense for your specific business.

A Quick Overview: The Fees

Before we jump into each of these questions, let’s start with a basic overview of each type of Seller Central account and how they are structured.

Individual Seller Central Account

With an Individual Seller Central account, the seller pays a $0.99 per-item fee.

Professional Seller Central Account

With a Professional Seller Central account, the seller pays a flat subscription rate of $39.99 per month, and the $0.99 per-item fee is waived.

So clearly this leads us to the first question you need to answer.

Question 1: What Kind of Sales Volume Do You Plan to Have?

Basic math tells us that if you plan to sell more than 40 units in a single month, then the Professional Seller Central Account is the best deal. Seems simple enough. So maybe you are thinking you’ll just start with the Individual plan, and once your sales volume breaks 40 units per month, you can upgrade to the Professional plan. Seems like a smart enough way to approach things, right?

Well… not necessarily. By answering a few more questions about your business plans with Amazon, you’ll see that simply going with the cheapest option on day one might cause some issues for you. Really, it is all about where you plan to go, and how you plan to get there.

Question 2: What Type of Products Do You Plan to Sell?

With an Individual Seller Central Account plan you cannot create new listings on Amazon, which means you can only sell products that are already in the Amazon marketplace. If you are dabbling in retail arbitrage this might be a feasible option, but what if you plan to launch your own private label product? In that case, you’ll need to start with a Professional Seller Central Account plan from day one in order to be able to create the listing for your product.

Question 3: What Kind of Features and Services Do You Want to Have?

This is where things really start to get interesting when assessing the difference between an Individual and Professional Seller Central account. Not only does a Professional account allow you to sell higher volumes of product at a more economical price and allow you to create new listings on Amazon, but a Professional account gives you access to a significantly greater array of features, services, and tools that can go a long way in making your business more successful. These features include:

Buy Box Eligibility

That’s right — if you want to compete for the buy box for the product you are selling, you must have a Professional Seller Central account.

Access to Cost-Per-Click (CPC) Advertising

A Professional Seller Central account gives you access to Sponsored Products, allowing you to target Amazon shoppers based on keyword search terms. With CPC Sponsored Products you can set a daily budget and choose keywords, and automatically bid for ad placement to gain visibility for your products and increase sales.

Ability to Apply to Sell Products Within Gated Categories

If you plan to sell a product that falls into a gated category on Amazon, you need to have a Professional Seller Central account in order to be able to apply for permission to sell your product.

Access to Inventory Loader

With a Professional Seller Central account you can save valuable time by uploading multiple items at once via a spreadsheet. For new sellers launching multiple products, this tool can allow you to create listings in a matter of minutes. (Learn more about Inventory Loader)

Access to Inventory and Order Reports

Managing inventory and getting information about your orders is a crucial part to successfully selling your products on Amazon. With a Professional Seller Central account you’ll gain access to helpful reports that will allow you to more closely manage these crucial elements of your business. (Learn more about Inventory Reports and Order Reports)

Access to Marketplace Web Services (MWS) and Third-Party Services Such as Salesbacker

With a Professional Seller Central account you get access to MWS which allows you to integrate your account with third-party services, bringing you the benefits of extremely helpful tools such as Salesbacker. Salesbacker automates the process of emailing each customer who purchases a product from you so that you can ask for their feedback via seller feedback or product reviews. This type of feedback is critical to building a compelling product listing and growing your sales. Once you sign up for a Professional Seller Central account, be sure to sign up for Salesbacker — there’s no reason to wait thanks to the free 30-day trial each new user receives.

Think Like an Entrepreneur

Ultimately, the decision between an Individual or Professional Seller Central account really boils down to where you want to take your business. If you are serious about making money on Amazon, a Professional Seller Central account is definitely the way to go. An Individual plan would only really make sense if:

  • you are looking to just test out something or learn your way around the system
  • you have just a few things you want to sell on Amazon but don’t really plan to grow an actual business
  • you know for sure you won’t sell more than 40 units per month and you don’t want or need any of the features a Professional account offers

But for the majority of sellers looking to grow a business on Amazon, going with a Professional Seller Central account is an easy decision to make.