Amazon has gone from being a self-contained online store to being a platform for anyone to become an online merchant. Amazon has different merchant statuses for the individuals and companies that sell on its website with differing fee structures, product visibility and classes of product merchants can put up for sale. The highest of these statuses, platinum merchants, get preferential visibility and can sell the widest variety of items.
Anyone can sign up to sell products on Amazon's online store. However, a particular seller's merchant status will dictate how and what he can sell as well as the fee structure Amazon will charge for every item sold. Merchants who pay no monthly fee for posting items for sale can only list items which Amazon is already selling itself. The item will be listed under a separate "Available from these sellers" link on Amazon's main product page, and the seller must pay a fixed closing fee in addition to Amazon's commission out of the sale price.
Pro Merchant Subscription
By paying a monthly fee, sellers can upgrade their status to "Pro Merchant." By paying this fee, the fixed closing cost is replaced by a variable closing cost. Additionally, sellers can create their own pages for products which Amazon itself is not currently selling, in addition to creating listings for products it is. Pro merchants also get access to tools that let manage all of their listings at once, and can post an unlimited number of items under listings or product pages.
Amazon's pro merchants can move up to gold and platinum merchant status. Platinum merchants are the highest tier of Amazon's sellers, and receive a number of preferential perks. These include improved visibility of their product pages and item listings over items from lower tiered merchants, as well as the ability to sell items in categories which are restricted to platinum merchants. This restriction is meant to ensure that only merchants which Amazon deems to be high quality are selling items such as clothing or computers on its site.
Getting Platinum Status
Amazon invites pro merchants into its platinum tier based on monthly sales volume, customer feedback, and a number of other criteria which Amazon does not disclose. Amazon will send invitations to join the upper tiers to existing merchants that meet its criteria, as well as reaching out to major retailers to directly join the program and sell their products on Amazon. Existing pro merchants who have not received an invitation to become a platinum merchant can also contact Amazon directly to ask to be considered for platinum merchant status.
Micah McDunnigan has been writing on politics and technology since 2007. He has written technology pieces and political op-eds for a variety of student organizations and blogs. McDunnigan earned a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of California, Davis.