Introduction to Amazon business
Having an Amazon business can open many opportunities for e-sellers looking to evolve their business. Amazon’s undeniable worldwide reach and brand identity can ramp up any online business. As of July 2016, 183 million users visited Amazon's websites on a monthly basis. The retail giant announced last year was record-breaking in terms of third-party sales, with shoppers ordering more than 28 million items from third-party sellers on Cyber Monday alone.
Selling on Amazon has a lot of advantages. The number one online retailer across the globe can take off your product for you by handling shipping, storage, returns and even customers support through its in-house services. It also provides an easy way to find out how your competition is pricing and marketing its goods, thus giving you a better overview and a chance to boost your own Amazon business strategy. Still, an e-seller needs to be careful in approaching this undertaking in order to remain profitable, otherwise, it will turn into both a money and time waster.
This post will show you best practices to achieving success on Amazon by playing it smart.
Before you opt to run as a registered Amazon business, you‘ll need a credit card to pay for your membership fees and a deposit method (a bank account) to receive your Amazon income. Amazon allows foreign sellers to open an Amazon seller account and remit funds directly to bank accounts in a number of countries with banks compliant with ACH (Automated Clearing House) such as EU, Australia, Canada, and others). Amazon can remit payments to sellers from countries that are not ACH-compliant through third-party companies. These offer specialized payment services that take care of the entire process online and for very favorable fees (you can easily open a US or EU bank account using MoneyNet).
During the sign-up process, you’ll be presented with two account types - Pro Merchant and Individual. Amazon charges a monthly subscription fee of $39.99 for professional sellers - those looking to sell a large range of products (40 and more items per month). On the other hand, the Individual account has no monthly fees but charges a flat fee of $0.99 for each item sold, hence being great for those who intend to sell occasionally (less than 40 items per month).
After signing up, your next stop is Amazon Selling console, a platform with which you can determine prices, perform a quick research on your competitors, and form the look and layout of your store. You will also have access to Seller Central, Amazon’s dedicated site for sellers. Via this web interface, you will find access to Amazon’s Seller app, account functions and support services like FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), Amazon MarketplaceWeb Service to upload feeds, receive reports, and perform other API functions, as well as other tools for your listed products.
Things that make Amazon selling easy
This is where you show your smarts. To make your Amazon venture easier, without having to go through Amazon’s Best Sellers lists in order to be profitable, there are tools and services available that can help you perform market research and easily implement the complete operation from listing your product to shipping.
1. Intelligence tools
There is a wide array of software intelligence tools that can quickly turn into your best friend by covering a number of market segments. For instance, Junglescout and Scoutrabbit are good examples of research tools (also known as product scouts) that track the number of daily sales in various categories, thus making them ideal for gauging demand.
We mentioned earlier Amazon Seller Central, both the web version and mobile app, available for iPhone and Android, that offers features that help identify new selling opportunities, create and manage listings, and respond to customer questions. Then, you have auto repricing tools Sellery, that automatically update prices within pre-established parameters you set so you can stay one step ahead of the competition. You can also use Google Trends to compare the popularity of search terms and within certain geographic areas. This will give you an insight into rising products so you can shape your campaigns for the specific locations.
Not only do these software suites save time, they function as a group by complementing one another. From apps that scout automatically how an item is selling to apps that adjust the price according to scout’s findings and reports, utilizing software intelligence is a no brainer.
FBA or Fulfilment by Amazon allows every e-seller who is selling on Amazon to make use of the company’s warehouses, distribution networks, and customer services. This adds a high level of flexibility and speed of shipping of your goods to your customers. But that’s not all - FBA offers additional features like bar-coding, packing, and different shipping options. Of course, you need to weigh the pros and cons - the benefits of saved time and space against the price of the service. There are fees included with almost every aspect of FBA that can be overwhelming and you generally have little control over your items. The bottom line is that you don’t need FBA to sell on Amazon, but having perks like free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members, free shipping for all Amazon users on eligible orders and a FBA badge (saying it’s a trusted service) can mean a higher profit margin in the long run, especially with large volume sales.
3. Be proactive
Being proactive means staying ahead of your competition, as well as customers. In terms of competition, that means spotting market inefficiency like item price versus location (after all, Amazon is a worldwide retailer so some items will be overpriced in some places and others will be underpriced, meaning you can make excess returns while also losing more money than warranted on some markets), and retaining product availability (not all products are available everywhere, meaning you can sell products acquired locally that might not be available elsewhere) and other things.
As for your customers, set high-performance standards to keep your customer satisfaction at high levels, meaning keeping complaints, poor reviews, negative feedback and return requests to a minimum. Having pre-established performance standards means you can provide the best service while potentially resolving your customer complaints before they reach Amazon.
4. know Amazon’s policies
It’s always a good idea to get acquainted with numerous policies pertaining to various aspects of Amazon business. You’ll avoid wrong practices that will lose you money and violating Amazon’s guidelines. Note that Amazon aren't flexible - you DO NOT want to cross them...
Here are some policies you may want to review before selling on Amazon:
- Product detail page rules
- Shipping policies
- Policies and agreements
- Selling Policies
- Prohibited seller activities and actions
Starting an Amazon business is relatively an easy process, but it will take some time to get to know all the features and finesses that will make sure your business runs smoothly. Take your time to learn about Selling console and Seller Central to know where to find everything you need. In practice, the best way to learn about running an Amazon business is by thoroughly preparing for it and then simply start doing it. There are lots of valuable resources that can greatly help you, such as intelligence software that provides analytic reports and services like FBA that take care of the majority of selling process for you. Be smart and use them, it will make your Amazon life much easier
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