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Selling on Amazon

Amazon

by Eli Sakkal, CEO Butterflyphoto.com

What makes Amazon a great marketplace for your products? It’s a trusted source with a loyal customer base who enjoy a vast product catalogue. There’s high traffic as the #1 shopping destination in the world. Amazon is completely unique because it allows any retailer to compete directly with them, by showing your price for a product right alongside theirs—there’s nothing stopping you from getting your name in front of millions. And, because they take care of technology and infrastructure, it’s a huge weight off your shoulders, allowing you to concentrate on sourcing products and buying right.

Amazon will collect the sale price from the buyer, deduct their referral fee (and a transaction fee if you are not a Pro Merchant), and once you upload a tracking number to verify you shipped the item, they’ll deposit the funds directly into your account.

Follow these rules, it will pay off. The velocity and sales that come from Amazon will be nothing like you’ve experienced anywhere.

1. How Do I Get Started?

Signing up for an Amazon merchant account is simple. When you are ready to upload products, you can either use the Add a Product Tool, or Amazon’s Seller Desktop Tool, which allows more flexibility when selling many items. There are also third party applications which make uploading easy. If your product is already sold on Amazon, you can enter Amazon’s unique identifier to automatically bring up all the details.

2. Have the Best Price.

Whenever a customer searches for a product, the merchant with the best price and inventory will come up. Underneath the “Buy” box, Amazon will list “More Buying Options” and other vendors who sell the same product. You want to be that merchant that gets the sale when the customer clicks “Add to Cart.” 90% of sales are through the  top Buy box.

3. Behave!

Amazon has low tolerance. If you are banned, it’s impossible to sell on the platform again. Never try to manipulate your ratings and reviews. Neither can you try to market to your Amazon buyers—they are Amazon’s customers, not yours. Never substitute items or ship counterfeit or subpar merchandise—give the customer what they ordered.

4. Provide Excellent Customer Service.

Answer emails right away. If a customer has a problem, solve it. Check your orders every day and ship right away. Amazon knows when you ship, and if you’re late, they’ll hold it against you. Sell quality products and maintain positive feedback.

5. Be Flexible with Your Pricing.

Don’t be married to margins. It’s a competitive marketplace, and if you’re not competitive, you won’t sell—but always keep your fees in mind because you don’t want to lose money.

6. Be Ready for the Holidays.

Amazon sales increase fivefold during the holiday season—be stocked up and ready to ship.

Other Quick Tips

Fulfilled By Amazon—the Dollars and Sense When you send your inventory to one of Amazon’s 46 fulfillment centers, they’ll handle all your shipping, customer service, and returns, as if the customer made a purchase directly from Amazon. Your items are highlighted in searches as part of Amazon Prime. Customers like Amazon Prime items because shipping is free and quick. You don’t have to do a thing.

Ship Cheap. When using Amazon FBA, you can leverage Amazon’s shipping rates—not only for the products that go to your customers—but also when shipping your products to Amazon. Using Amazon’s rates, a 70 pound package shipped to Amazon’s Pennsylvania distribution center costs only nine dollars. Even though Amazon does not charge customers shipping, the shipping cost that you need to absorb by taking advantage of Amazon prime is negligible—37 cents per pound.

No Warehouse? No Problem. You can ship 1 or 100,000 items to Amazon’s warehouses—there isn’t a minimum or maximum. When storing and shipping your items, Amazon will charge 45 cents per square cubic foot per month that your inventory occupies. Can you manage a warehouse for cheaper than that?

Any Other Charges? Besides for regular Amazon commissions, shipping, and warehouse storage, Amazon charges $1 per order to handle the order and $1 to pick and pack the item. Your savings from warehousing and shipping will more than cover these fees.

 

What Does eBay Want From Me?

Maintaining a High DSR

Your DSR, or Detailed Seller Rating, is your most important stat in the eBay community—more important than your feedback. eBay tracks everything, and you have to be on your toes. Once you start selling, you’ll see how valuable it is to have a high DSR rating. Sellers with high DSRs also eventually receive a discount on eBay fees. There’s four criteria that goes into your rating:

A) Item Descriptions. Are your items described accurately? Are the photos of the actual product? If you are selling a Rolex watch, and you take images off of the Rolex website instead of the actual product in your possession, you can be suspended.

B) Communication. Do you respond quickly to customer queries?

C) Shipping Time. Do you ship quickly? Are customers happy with how quickly they receive their items? This may be a problem if your customer is cross-country—customers do get impatient, so get your products out as soon as those orders come in.

D) Shipping Fees. What are your shipping charges? Are you overcharging? If you ship for free, it’s a big plus in eBay’s eyes.

Why Amazon?

  • 152 million active users worldwide
  • 79 million unique visitors a month in the U.S.
  • 8.3 million unique visitors every day in the U.S.
  • Amazon shoppers’ average household income: $75,000
  •  In consumer electronics: $83,000
  • Amazon Prime members average household income: $96,000
  • In consumer electronics: $119,000
  • 71% of Amazon shoppers are homeowners
  • 41% of Amazon shoppers have children
  • $52 billion in sales in 2011
  • 37% of units sold are through 3rd party sellers (like you!)
  • 2 million Amazon sellers

There’s no one who can’t sell on Amazon 

 

Read the other articles in the series:

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