How to Grow Your Online Business With Amazon.com
As a new online business owner, you have a lot on your plate. You’re learning the ropes when it comes to online marketing; figuring out which niche market you want to be in and what products you should sell; struggling through building a website, growing an email list, and writing sales copy and coming up with offers that resonate and bring in sales. Not to mention setting up and maintaining a shopping cart or order and fulfillment system, customer service, and more… sounds overwhelming, right?
Fortunately, you can leverage the work of others, specifically one of the biggest and most powerful e-commerce sites in the world, to streamline your own online business in several ways. This can shorten the time it takes to start up your venture and provide you valuable experience as you learn how to sell online. You could use your experience to develop a more “independent” business later on. Or, like many entrepreneurs do, you could continue to leverage larger sites like Amazon.com. Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and go through, step-by-step, this business model and how you can get started now.
How You Can Use Amazon.com to Your Advantage
It’s up to you if you want to leverage Amazon for your business, there are few things to keep in mind as you set up your business.
If you’re selling on Amazon, you can sell your own products or products you’ve sourced elsewhere by registering as a “merchant” for a low monthly fee and a referral fee you pay to Amazon for each sale. You could process the orders and send them to customers yourself.
But the easiest way is to let Amazon handle the payments and fulfillment. Basically, you send a large quantity of product to Amazon and every time an order comes in — they deal with it every step of the way until it’s in the customer’s hands. And then they send you your money, minus their fee, on a regular basis. That fee is small compared to what you would pay to store and ship those products yourself.
FBA or Fulfilled by Amazon Means Amazon Takes Care of the Shipping
One of the best ways to get leverage using Amazon is to let them take care of the shipping for you. Shipping takes a tremendous amount of time and resources in a small business, but Amazon has this task completely streamlined and can do it extremely efficiently. This can save a small business money and time.
Now, with this model, you’re leveraging the thousands of people that visit Amazon every minute. And you’ll naturally get a lot of traffic to your listings for that reason alone. It might even be enough to make the money you want for your venture. But for real blockbuster profits, you’re probably also going to have to do some online marketing of your own.
You can maintain your own blog, landing pages, and/or website and then send traffic to your Amazon listings to actually order the products. So how do get traffic to your own sites? You can set them up and maintain them with search engine optimization in mind so that they appear near the top of the Google search results pages. You can set up a marketing sales funnel that captures your prospects’ email addresses so that you can email a campaign (a mix of useful content and sales promotions) to a list of pre-qualified potential customers. Another option is to use Facebook and other paid advertising methods to drive traffic.
Amazon Has It's Own Traffic, but to Kick Start Things Send Your Own
Amazon is one of the most popular sites online. But that also means that the selling environment is quite competitive. To give yourself a serious advantage consider sending your own traffic to Amazon. One of the methods that works best for this is to develop an email list that you can explain the features and benefits of your product to.
Of course, not every product is going to be a best-seller. So it’s important to figure out what’s going to work for your business before you go too far down the road with an untested product.
Research Amazon itself for trends and figure out the best-selling categories and specific products. A good starting point is to research trends. What’s on Facebook and other social media right now? Do any products have a big buzz online? Of course, there are niches like alternative health, weight loss, and pets that are always popular. Even if you already have your own blog, website, or e-commerce presence, you may want to consider adding Amazon.com as part of your marketing mix for the following reasons.
It Has a Built-In Customer Base
Millions of people around the world go to this site every day and buy thousands of different types of products in thousands of different niches. That’s qualified traffic you can’t get on your own with your own website, especially not in your start-up phase. You can use that reach to profit yourself. It’s like you’re setting up shop in the most popular mall in town.
It’s a Brand Name
Because they’ve been around so long and been so successful, this is a trusted site. Sure, they may have issues from time to time with customer service. But out of the millions of people who use Amazon, most interactions are good and the company has built a good reputation as a result. You, as a new business, would have to work hard to earn that sort of trust.
The Systems Are in Place, and You Are, in Fact, Encouraged to Use Them
One of the major headaches being a solo online entrepreneur is setting up an e-commerce platform/shopping cart where your prospect can browse your products and actually order them. When you work through Amazon this has already been done for you. And you can take advantage of that and leverage the trust and credibility of Amazon.com to sell your own products.
Tips for Successful Selling on Amazon
When you sell on Amazon, you do have to maintain some best practices to follow. You can’t just haphazardly put up product listings. You actually do have to make an active effort to pull in sales. A few things to keep in mind with your listings:
Make Sure Your Listing Title and Full Product Description Is Accurate
You must ensure that it’s totally clear what you are selling. So things like model number, quantity, and year if applicable. For example, if you were selling an iPhone case. You can’t just list: “iPhone case.” You have to say: “Protective iPhone case. Fits iPhone 5. Colors: Black, purple, white, or blue. Rated for falls above three feet. Made of shock resistant aluminum.” Just an example. But you should understand what I mean about being detailed.
It’s also important to be accurate so that you show up when people use the Amazon search tool to find something they want to buy. For example, if you were selling scissors for left-handed people, you’d want to include that important keyword in your listing.
Sell Your Product in the Listing
Just because this is a product listing page doesn't mean you can’t use your knowledge of marketing, consumer psychology, and copywriting. Show the benefits of the product and tell the prospect how it will improve their life. You could also include an FAQ about your product so all the features and benefits are clear.
This is one area where you can really stand out. If you've ever shopped on Amazon, you know that many of the product listings are average and some are even sub par. By writing sales copy that stands out, you can make your own listing really shine.
Include Multiple Large and Clear Photos of the Actual Product
You want the visitor to be able to see exactly what you are selling so they prospect knows what they're getting. Don’t settle for pulling photos of similar products from Google Image Search and then plopping them in there — it looks shady when people see the same exact photo pop up for different listings.
If you don't get professional photos of your product made, it's a good idea to use a quality camera, good lighting, and a light box to make the most of your product photographs.
Make Sure to Solicit Reviews
Amazon buyers love to read reviews. It’s a big part of them deciding to buy one merchant’s products over those of another. Testimonials are important Proof and build trust.
So encourage your customer to rate your products and write a review. You can do this in a variety of ways. When a product is shipped to a customer, include a note in the package asking them to write a review.
Or you could send your email marketing list a note asking buyers to write reviews. Never, ever make up reviews or pay somebody to write a fake review. Savvy Amazon buyers will notice and maybe even tell the world — which will lose you the trust of customers.
Make Sure You Choose the Right Category and Sub-Categories
Getting found is a big factor in your success on Amazon.com and having your products listed in the right categories is critical when people are searching or browsing for related products. If you’re selling organic soap, you don’t want to be with industrial cleaning supplies, for example.
It's About Being Where the Buyers Are!
The number one rule of marketing and advertising is to be where your market is, and if you're looking for buyers then Amazon.com is a huge opportunity for you to get in front of buyers.
There are more than two million third-party sellers (that would be you) on Amazon. And combined they sell more than 40% of the more than 2 billion items sold through the site. Amazing, huh? With merchants like you being such a big part of their bottom line (remember that Amazon does collect a fee), you can be sure they’ll take care of you.
Of the many sellers, about 0.6% are able to sell more than $50 million of product on Amazon. Sure, that seems out of reach. But it gives you an idea of what you can do when you leverage the power of this e-commerce giant. Probably a more realistic goal is cracking the $100K mark, and about 36% of Amazon sellers do this every year.
This is possible because of the sheer numbers of Amazon customers. There are close to 300 million active users. Of those, 54 million are Amazon Prime customers. Thirty million use the Amazon mobile app to shop on the go — a huge trend these days. Finally, and this is a big one, 44% of online shoppers go directly to Amazon first when looking for a product they want to buy.
While there are many ways to start an online business and make money online, you can see why selling through Amazon is so appealing. The stage is set for your online selling success when you leverage this site. Using the vast reach and influence of Amazon to help power your own business is a great way to kick things off selling online, especially if you’ve never had any sort of online business before.
A lot of the complicated and time-consuming “tech” stuff is taken care of, so you can learn bit by bit as you go. Eventually, you might transition to selling on your own site exclusively. But by working with Amazon, in the beginning, you’ll gain valuable experience and build up a nice income at the same time. Of course, another opportunity with Amazon.com is to make money selling digital books on Amazon Kindle.