Ever heard of Amazon, the world's biggest website? And that's out of roughly half a billion total websites. Aside from being the number one website in the world, Amazon still continues to grow. About 184 million unique customer visits happen each month which equals around 70 visits per second. This will probably increase over time. Not to mention, there are 3,000 Amazon Go locations (cashier-less convenience stores) planning to go live by 2021 - ten of which should be open by the end of 2018, along with an additional 50 the following year. All of these are familiar with how to sell on Amazon.
With all of this considered, why not consider the possibility of selling your own business products with this successfully popular company? If this idea interests you at all, please continue reading. There are some things to consider first to ensure that this would be a good match. Depending on what your company has to offer, learning how to sell on Amazon could give your business the boost it's been looking for.
Why Should You Sell on Amazon?
Aside from the sheer size of Amazon, there are many other reasons that make selling products through it a great idea - perhaps too many to fit into this short article. So, we will do what we can to at least mention the core reasons that make selling products on Amazon a good option.
Data Tracking And Marketing Development
Amazon allows the availability of certain data tracking tools to those who sell their products through their company. If you're not sure how big this advantage is, think of it like this essentially, you are given a digital bird's-eye view of customer footprints regarding your products. You will know the locations of the customers buying your products, what keywords are being used to find your products, and even buying frequencies regarding time, including seasonal shifts.
Also, say you have more than one product you plan to launch through a different marketing source. By using Amazon first, you could easily figure out which of the varieties of your products have become more popular. This is all thanks to their immediate feedback and customer review feature. Analyzing your product's success by this means has the potential to show so much information which could then be applied to the growth of your product and marketing development.
Traffic And Trust
When learning how to sell on Amazon, it is important to understand that overall customer traffic and customer trust seem to come along with the territory. Apparently, a recent study shows that 50% of shoppers start their product search on Amazon. That is a huge number.
Also, when considering the customer review and satisfaction feature, think about the potential influence your own product could have on customers who are seeing 4.0 out of 5.0 stars or higher. There are many people who trust Amazon's review system, and rightfully so. Once a good product rating is developed, and good reviews accumulate from your own product, customers will trust in your product even more, and the results will show.
As long as we are on the topic of results, understand that selling your own product on Amazon puts you and your goods on the big stage with the big dogs. Certain customer searches could literally be listing what you're selling next to other similar products from much bigger brands. Don't view this as a disadvantage. See it as more of a leveling in the playing field. This innate feature allows for great potential in the growth of a business, naturally. So as long as you are offering a product that can compete, business and product growth on Amazon is very possible.
Convenient And Reliable Shipping
What comes with a large company? Warehouses, and lots of them. Amazon isn't too keen on sharing the exact statistics of information like this, but in 2015, there were estimated to be around 100 shipping centers located across the United States. Now, there are definitely even more.
From a business perspective, having so many shipping centers is an amazing perk to be able to utilize which would ultimately allow your products to get to your customers very quickly. And by quickly, we mean 2 days. Through Amazon Prime's membership system, customers have the possibility to buy products that qualify for 2-day shipping. It's also good to know that Amazon offers a solid insurance on items that get lost or damaged - up to $5,000 per item.
Things You Need to Know Before Selling on Amazon
Even with all of the great benefits Amazon has to offer for those who are interested in knowing how to sell on Amazon, there are some things to consider before fully committing.
Amazon has a fulfillment program that depends on you to send your products to one of the Amazon fulfillment centers to be stocked. This program differs from drop-shipping which is a method that would hypothetically make Amazon responsible for providing products to customers. The type of merchants who benefit most from this supplier/distributor relationship are the following:
- Merchants selling unique products
- Merchants selling hobby or niche products
- Merchants selling refurbished or used products
The Reseller Disadvantage
If your product does not fall into any of the above-mentioned categories, there is the possibility that you may come across an unauthorized reseller. If this is ever the case, Amazon makes it clear that it is the supplier's responsibility - and only the supplier's responsibility - to secure their brand distribution. Naturally, this rule implies that anyone could sell any product on Amazon as long as it is a legit product that is deemed safe to sell to customers. This is why it is important to have products that are truly unique.
Unfortunately, with Amazon being as big of a distribution middle-man as it is, there usually isn't much of a customer relationship other than the one had between Amazon and the buyer. Each individual transaction is viewed as a one-time exchange, and this is why sellers aren't allowed to reach out and re-market to these customers after the sale.
How to Sell on Amazon
After considering the advantages and disadvantages that come with Amazon, we are now going to share with you the steps you can take to initiate this business decision, just in case you decide to do so.
Where To Start?
In order to determine a good starting point for your business if you haven't already it is good to know where you are going to source your product, or what materials are needed to create your product. After knowing that, you'll know how much money will be needed to have enough of your product to comfortably begin your business. We've put together a rough assessment of how much it would cost in total to start selling on Amazon. Obviously, the total of expenses will vary depending on what exactly you're selling and how much effort you put into the overall quality of the product. This is what we came up with:
- Initial Inventory - $100-$200
- Buying and opening an Amazon account - $39.99
- Buying UPC codes - $10
- Investing in photography of product - $0-$200
- Creating your own logo design - $20
This totals to $170-$470.
Details Of The Process
When considering how to sell on Amazon, there are a couple steps that some might appreciate knowing about in more detail.
How To Open An Amazon Account
The first step in opening an account with Amazon is done by simply going to their official site and finding the services section on their page. Once there, scroll down and click on "Selling on Amazon." This link will then take you to the next step which allows you to choose how you will be selling your product, and how you will be paying them for their services.
There are two options, either to "Sell as a Professional," or "Sell as an Individual". It's recommended that beginning startups sell as an individual. In this case, Amazon will charge $0.99 per sale. If selling as a professional, Amazon would charge $39.99 per month. All you have to do next is fill out a form with some required information, and once that's completed, you will then have become an official Amazon seller.
A part of the process that may be unfamiliar to those who are new to the idea of learning how to sell on Amazon would be the UPC code process. This process may sound fancy, but in reality, it's not very complicated at all:
- Step 1: Apply for a GS1 company prefix
- Step 2: Assign a unique product number
- Step 3: Determine the display of your barcode
- Step 4: Order barcodes
- Step 5: Place barcodes
It's a straight-forward process but we should mention a tip to consider before deciding to follow through in buying your own UPC code. It's wise to buy your UPC code from GS1, the creator of the GTIN system, rather than a 3rd party website. Yes, you may be saving some money by choosing the latter option, but there is a lot that can go wrong in dealing with 3rd party vendors. Also, Amazon has cautioned their sellers in the past that they may make this a requirement in the future. So it's best to start on the right foot, for many reasons.
Overall, the steps required to know how to sell on Amazon aren't very difficult to follow. We have mentioned some minor cons in choosing Amazon as a product distributor, but for many, the pros of becoming a seller through Amazon may outweigh those disadvantages -especially if you are just beginning to build your business and you have a unique product.
Those who are still developing their business ideas and are wondering how to sell on Amazon now have the know-how. All one needs now is a little bit of extra cash, time, and dedication - considering you have a marketable product and strategy, that is. No matter how you decide to sell your product, whether that be through Amazon or by your own efforts, having that special product with an attractive style will ultimately be what creates the demand. And if you have demand, your business should have no reason to not find success.