Guide to Sell Phones Online

Sell mobile phones online: How does it work?

A comprehensive guide to help you start selling electronic items like mobile phones online and understand everything from signing up to delivering your products to customers.
£25 (excl. VAT) per month + selling fees
Sell mobile phones
As the e-commerce market segment continues to expand, a large number of diverse products are being sold online by a wide range of sellers, giving buyers more choice than ever before, including those looking to sell mobile phones. Entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, and retailers are exploring this space, and one popular product category is electronic devices, particularly phones, with iPhones and Android phones being particularly popular.

Nearly every individual owns at least one mobile phone– and some people, such as businesspersons, sometimes own two or more. In 2021, the UK had an estimated 79.8million mobile cellular subscriptions [Statista, 24 October 2022]. The two most popular operating systems (OS) remain the iPhone’s Apple iOS and Google’s Android OS, with the split nearly even – with iOS accounting for roughly 50% of the share, while Android OS holds 48.5%, as of September 2022 [Statista], [24 October 2022]. This only goes to show how these devices have made strong inroads into our daily lives.

With the ubiquity of these devices, it was inevitable that people would resort to buying phones online as well – after all, they are now such a familiar product that one finds it comfortable to shop for them online. This is also bolstered by retailers or online stores that provide accurate information, excellent customer service, and a robust fulfillment and returns policy.

Online, you can find various brands offering mobile phones at varying price ranges and with different features, making it a convenient option for those looking to sell mobile phones. This includes everything from top brands with their own stores, electronics retailers selling multiple brands, as well as individual sellers selling mobile phones either on their own sites or on established websites like Amazon. With the current demand, selling phones online is possibly a profitable business idea.

Want to sell phones online? Here’s how you can start

To start selling phones online, you need to start by gathering information about different mobile phone brands and models that are in the market segment. This includes knowing about various manufacturers and retailers. In addition, you need to also keep a close watch on the market segment to know when to sell which items.

With new phones from various large brands being released every year and older ones going obsolete, it is key that you remain on top of current trends, such as which are the best-selling models in your area or your city – or even which phone models are popular among different age groups. Further, whenever a new model is released, the market price for older models undergoes a drop, which can be quite steep. This is something you need to be aware of and prepare for, because having a lot of old stock at this time could potentially lead to a loss as customers will prefer the newer models to the old ones.

Your next step is to figure out where you will source all these items. You can buy them from existing retailers, order directly from manufacturers or wholesalers, or get them second-hand from local vendors, certified second-hand electronics dealers or refurbishers, and, in some cases, directly from brands or manufacturers themselves.

The number and variety of items you want to pre-order depends on the business model you have chosen. For example, if you plan to sell only premium products like iPhones, then you may choose to order only those brands. However, if you plan to sell various models and brands, you can try to strike a balance between ordering a smaller number of the latest smartphone models, which could offer higher margins, or with a larger number of inexpensive or mass-market models that have lower margins but can sell faster, or a mix of both. You can also explore ordering a variety of phone accessories (for both iPhone and Android models) to sell in your store.

Getting clarity on all legal and warranty provisions for electronics is another important facet. If you are thoroughly informed about market conditions, such as the current demands and trends, you can build a strong base for your business before you even begin.

All of this will help you figure out what you want to sell and how you can go about it with your online phone store.
women on the phone selling mobile phones

What types of phones can be sold online?

You can sell new, second hand or refurbished mobile phones online, as well as open-box or open-package models (see below). In addition, there are accessories, such as earphones, chargers, speakers and all sorts of mounts that you can provide on your online store.

Along with phones, you can even add tablets, smart watches and other related electronic products to your online store and create a holistic brand out of your business.

Remember that, for electronic items, it is very important to be aware of their origin and authenticity. You need to ensure that you are getting original, verified pieces with all the necessary documentation. This is important to both guarantee your authenticity as well as to ensure you do not fall prey to fake products or scams.

Once you know what kinds of mobile phones you want to sell, you should next decide whether you want to create your own website or use an existing site such as Amazon.

Features of an online electronic store for phones

With so many millions of people shopping for phones online, there are certain minimum requirements you need to keep in mind when starting your own online business that sells mobile phones and accessories.

Here are a few things you should consider:
  • Who will create a website for you? If you want to set up your own site, you can use a web development agency, a freelancer, or even do it yourself on various platforms. If you’re using an existing site, however, usually all the requirements are already provided for you, and you just need to choose what you want to customise your online store.
  • What types of payment methods will your shop offer? Since most online transactions involve online payments using payment gateways, where customers pay through their debit or credit cards, your store also needs to accommodate these options.
  • How can you stay up-to-date with all the legal provisions as a store operator, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Packaging Ordinance, cancellation policy and compliance with statutory warranty periods?
  • What will you do for the storage, packaging and shipping of your phones and accessories?
  • How will you handle the returned items in case something goes awry – either a wrong delivery or a damaged item?
  • Who will be the contact person for customer inquiries?
  • How will you get visitors to your online store? How will you market your store to get targeted buyers and how much money will you spend on these marketing campaigns?
Answers to the above questions will help you create a legally compliant, user-friendly online store that meets the demands and requirements of your target audience.

As you might have gauged by now, setting up your own online electronic store involves a lot of steps, which can consume your time, effort and finances. However, using an existing website like Amazon can give you an easier and more cost-effective solution.

Selling mobile phones on Amazon

As of 2021 more than 65,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sell more than 750 million products via Amazon – and more than 60% of them sell to customers around the world, not just in the UK. A wide range of items, ranging from household goods to electronics, including mobile phones, are sold on Amazon every day, making the site a popular choice for interested new sellers.

Amazon also offers a lot of supporting services, such as the Seller University, where, as a beginner, you can learn more about how you can start selling online, how to grow your business, and even how to use Amazon’s in-built advertising solutions.

Here’s how you can get started.
Step 1: Create Your Amazon Seller Account
First, you need to register yourself on Amazon by creating a seller account. Doing this will also give you access to Seller Central, where you can manage product listings, check your inventory, and handle fulfilment, customer returns, etc.

Once you’ve registered, you then need to enter relevant details about your business, and select the ‘mobile phones and accessories’ category as the one you wish to operate in.
Step 2: Choose your Selling Plan
Amazon offers two types of plans: Individual and Professional. The ‘individual’ seller plan is ideal if you want to sell less than 35 items per month. You can create individual listings by associating products with existing pages on Amazon or by creating new pages in the Amazon catalogue. You only pay a fee to Amazon if you have sold an item.

The ‘professional’ seller plan, on the other hand, requires a monthly fee to be paid regardless of whether you list or sell products (although both plans pay a referral fee for items sold). The professional plan also gives you access to inventory tools, allows you to upload multiple files and manage your orders via feeds and reports. It also gives you access to advanced sales tools for a basic monthly fee, which help you advertise your products. This plan is ideal for small and medium enterprises.

You can find out more about Amazon’s selling plans here and determine which option is best suited for your business goals. Once you've selected your plan, the next step is to use the cost calculator to calculate your sales margin per unit. Then, the beginner's guide will help you get started with your business.
Step 3: Choose a Shipping Method
As an Amazon seller, you can opt for one of three options to fulfil your orders. In short, what you need to decide is whether you want to handle warehousing, packaging, and shipping of products by yourself, or let Amazon do it all for you.

These are the three options you can choose from:
  • Fulfilment by Seller (FBS): This is also sometimes called FBM or Fulfilment by Merchant. As the name states, you choose to complete the entire fulfilment process by yourself if you choose this option. When you as a seller choose to fulfil orders yourself, Amazon calculates shipping rates based on the product category and shipping service selected, and then transfers the amount on to you in the form of a shipping credit. Sellers on the Professional plan can set their own shipping rates (except for books, music, video, and DVD products). When a customer buys your product, you receive a credit from Amazon that matches the shipping rate. Keep in mind that the referral fee is calculated from the total sale price, including the item price, shipping cost, and any gift-wrapping charges. On the other hand, sellers on the individual plan have to work with Amazon’s set shipping rates for all products. Shipping credits for different products on Amazon are explained here.
  • Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA): This option is ideal for sellers who do not wish to store, pack and ship their own products and instead want to just focus on selling. With FBA, you first send your products to one of Amazon's fulfilment centres for storage. After that, whenever a customer orders an item, it is picked up, packed and shipped by Amazon, which also provides the necessary customer service for these products and handles returns.
  • Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP): This is yet another model under which you can deliver your products from your warehouse directly to Amazon Prime customers around the world. In this case, you can show the Prime Badge, which indicates that you are committing to use Prime delivery carriers to complete your fulfilment. However, SFP is available only to selected sellers who are on the Professional plan and meet certain set criteria, including having a warehouse of your own and having a record for shipping 99% of your orders on time.
Step 4: List Your Products
For every product you plan to sell, you need to first create a product listing on Amazon for it. if someone else is already selling the same item – for example, a particular model of phone or a certain charger – you can copy the same listing and add more details specific to the item in your store. If you’re the first person to sell that item, however, you have to create your own listing.

How many products you can list at a time is dependent on the plan you choose: Professional sellers can list items in bulk, whereas Individual Plans allow you to only list one product at a time.

Using the Amazon Seller app, you can use the barcode on new mobile phones to make your listing. If the scanned devices are not yet available on Amazon, you can request a listing for it to be created.

Further, for items like mobile phones, you need to provide a lot of accurate, relevant information, such as high-quality photos from different angles, a comprehensive description, list of features and functionalities (especially for digital products), comparison with other models, and various technical details, such as model numbers, technical specifications, warranty details, the manufacturer’s UPC (Universal Product Code), etc.

You will also need to find out the compatibility of each phone with various wireless accessories and include this information as part of the product description.
Step 5: Set Your Selling Price
You can find out the current lowest prices for certain products using the ‘Match Low Price’ tool provided on Amazon, which allows you to compare the current sales prices in the market segment and helps you match that price to stay as a competitive seller. You can set your prices based on the product listing conditions and the fulfilment method you have chosen (FBA or self-fulfilled). Again, based on your selling plan, you can set prices for either single or multiple listings of your products.
Step 6: Promote and Market Your Online Store
Amazon also gives you multiple tools to advertise your brand and products, which help create more visibility and reach a wider audience. Amazon Seller University, for example, offers free training videos to help you learn the basics of sales, sales tools, advertising and sales promotion. You can also check out Amazon Ads to learn more about marketing your business.

Another important aspect of building your business is promoting your online mobile phone store on social media platforms., for it can be a very powerful tool to increase your business presence. It will also help you find out where your target group is and increase your promotional activities there.
man sitting on a chair looking at guys holding a phone

Rules and prohibitions for selling phones on Amazon

When you are starting out as a seller on Amazon for the first time, it is important to first learn and be aware of which electronic devices you are allowed to sell on Amazon. For example, you cannot sell potentially dangerous products, items that violate copyright laws, or products and devices from countries or regions with restrictions. These include signal jamming devices, laser pointers, and unlicensed video game amplifiers, to name a few.

You are generally permitted to sell electronics products in the UK that (1) are legal for sale, (2) comply with the relevant legislation, (3) do not interfere with other electronics, and (4) where applicable, are marked (including with the CE or UKCA marks).

Last but not least, remember to go through and follow all the product and content restriction policies – not doing so can potentially get you banned as a seller on Amazon.

Selling second hand phones (Amazon Renewed)

To sell second-hand or used mobile phones, you need to have a robust method to assess and, if necessary, repair each phone in order to sell them again as fully functional refurbished models. If you do not have the technical knowhow to do this, you may need to purchase already refurbished used phones from another retailer or wholesaler who specialises in that.

Another type of used device is ‘open package’ or ‘open box’, where the product is more or less new and unused, but the package has been opened for some reason. Often, these could be items ordered in error, and the buyer changed their mind after opening the package and thus returned it. These could also come via organisations or offices that ordered in bulk, then discovered they didn’t need as many, and so returned the remainder as open-box pieces.

If you choose to sell used phones or open-box items on Amazon, you can do so under the Amazon Renewed label, which has strict guidelines you need to follow before you list these products online for sale.

To sell used products as well as products with open packaging on Amazon, you must qualify for it. This process requires that you meet the following criteria as a selling partner of used phones on Amazon Renewed:
  1. If you are a high-volume refurbished selling partner, you can submit invoices showing a total value of £20,000 in qualifying refurbished purchases in the previous 90 days from the date of the application. For approval to list the Apple brand in the smartphone category, you should submit invoices showing a total value of £1 million in Apple refurbished products.
  2. All your products are to be refurbished to work and look like a new product either by you or a third-party refurbisher. You have to submit a minimum of 10 images of a sample unit for product and packaging review: 1) Box in which the product will ship, 2) Box in which the product is housed (inside the shipping box) — white or brown box, 3) Picture of product inside the box (with packaging), 4,5) Product pictures from the top and bottom, 6–9) Product picture from all four sides.
  3. If you are already an existing Selling partner on Amazon, or from the time you start selling on Amazon, you must have an Order-Defect-Rate (ODR) of 0.8% or less in the 90 days prior to each sale.
  4. You will be required to submit additional documentation related to your product inspection processes in case of specific brands.
  5. The same guidelines will also apply to all other used or refurbished products, such as tablets, laptops and so on.

Selling mobile phone accessories

When selling phone accessories (for both iPhones and Android phones) such as chargers, phone holders, screen protectors, adapters, smartwatches and headphones, you are required to list the correct information on the compatibility of phone models. For mobile phones, it is particularly important to describe which accessories are suited for which devices in order to ensure there is no confusion in the mind of the buyer – which can also reduce potential returns on accessories that don’t work with a specific model.

Following these guidelines and due process will help you reduce product returns and negative reviews while increasing positive customer experiences.

Pay attention to Amazon reviews and online reviews

The reviews your product and service receive, on a regular basis, are crucial to maintain a good reputation as an online seller. Good reviews can help you build trust with your customers – this does not mean bad reviews will cause irreparable harm. Negative reviews should always be dealt with by being honest and transparent, and explaining to the customer how the error (if any) occurred, assuring them that it will not happen again, and taking reparative steps to make the customer feel better.

Here are a few tips on how to get positive feedback from your customers and potentially avoid negative feedback:
  • Be as detailed and correct as possible in describing the devices and accessories you sell.
  • Shipping the ordered products on time is crucial for timely delivery.
  • Quick responses and a friendly demeanour while handling customer requests/queries can create a positive impact for your business.
  • For any problems that may arise, respond at the earliest with a possible solution.
  • If you consistently follow the above tips and deliver good products and timely service this could potentially increase the likelihood that your product will be listed as ‘recommended’ which in turn can boost your visibility and sales.

Potential advantages of selling phones on Amazon

As an established and trustworthy website that millions of customers use daily, Amazon can make things much easier for a seller to kick start their business. Here are a few potential advantages:
  • As a website with over 600 million visitors every month, Amazon can be advantageous to help create visibility for your brand.
  • Your start-up costs could potentially be lower with Amazon compared to creating and maintaining your own website and online store.
  • You can take advantage of the numerous tools tailored by Amazon to help you with marketing and sales for your business.
  • You may have easier access with Amazon fulfilment centres.
  • You can sell your products not just to the end customer, but also to other sellers in the B2B market segment.
  • FBA gives you a very convenient means to outsource the storage, shipping and delivery of your products, while also conveniently handling returns and customer service for your business.


The online retail world is dynamically changing. The increasing demands for goods and the corresponding supply by various sellers have accelerated in recent times. Selling mobile phones online can potentially turn into a profitable business venture for those looking for an opportunity to build their own brand or start their own ecommerce business. It could potentially become an additional source of income for people with a steady job.

Staying updated and aware of the features of an online business and the different factors that make it a success can be beneficial in the long run. Be thorough in understanding your niche, how a properly built supply chain works and have a detailed business plan before starting your business. The more prepared you are, the better your chances for success.


Is it a good idea to start selling mobile phones online?
Selling mobile phones online has the potential to become a profitable business or even a good side business, if it is done right. It is not for everyone, but a seller who has done their research and is able to manage the expectations of their customers can be successful.
What are the costs I will incur to become a mobile phone seller on Amazon?
As an Amazon Seller, there are different standard fees you will have to pay. For example, you have to pay either a per-item fee or a flat fee per month based on the sales plan you choose. Your shipping costs depend on whether you pack and ship items yourself (FBM or FBS) or outsource the shipping to Amazon (FBA). If you choose to carry out orders yourself, it is possible to use Amazon shipping labels (check here) to offer parcel tracking as a service to your customers.
What kinds of phones can you sell on Amazon?
You can sell all kinds of new, refurbished and used phones on Amazon, including iPhones and Android phones. If the items you are selling do not have a barcode, you need to provide a detailed description about their origin, authenticity, and condition – this is usually the case with used or refurbished mobile phones.
Can I sell iPhones on Amazon in the UK?
Can I sell Android phones on Amazon in the UK?
Can I sell mobile phone accessories on Amazon?
Yes, you can sell mobile accessories such as chargers, phone holders, screen protectors, adapters, smartwatches and headphones on Amazon, for both iPhones and Android phones. Do make sure that you provide comprehensive, precise information about which accessories suit which mobile phone models.
How can I sell used mobile phones or refurbished mobile phones on Amazon?
Under Amazon Renewed, you can sell refurbished and used items. There are specific guidelines you need to follow to be eligible to sell such items in your store. If you are selling used phones, you need to ensure they have been refurbished and are in proper working condition. You can do the refurbishment yourself if you are qualified to do so, or you can use a third-party refurbisher. You can also sell open-box or open-package items on Amazon. These are items that are in new condition, but have had their packages opened for some reason or other, after which they have been returned, unused.
Am I required to sell my mobile phones exclusively on Amazon only?
No, you are not limited to selling your mobile phones only on Amazon. However, if you choose to sell your mobile phones through multiple sales channels, then you should be careful in keeping track of your inventory and organise sales processing accordingly. With this variant of selling, Amazon’s multi-channel fulfilment can certainly help you manage your inventory and sales process.

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