The most popular market on the ‘net
E-Commerce monolith, Amazon, was founded in Seattle back in 1994 (a long time ago in the e-commerce world!) and promptly set about the formidible task of becoming the largest Internet-based company in the United States. This is a goal they have certainly reached, generating revenues of $74.45 billion in 2013 and employing 130,000+ staff.
Not only are Amazon the world’s principle seller of books of all types, they are also number one when it comes to the online retail of music, DVDs, video games, gift cards, mobile phones and magazine subscriptions. In a word, they are HUGE.
So how do you, as a small business owner, take advantage of Amazon’s enormous customer base, collosal traffic and worldwide reputation for expansive product range and low prices?
You get selling on Amazon Marketplace.
Launched in November 2000m as a successor to Amazon’s Auctions and Zshops offerings, Amazon Marketplace was recently confirmed as the largest marketplace of it’s type, which makes it the ideal starting place for expanding your business and begining to venutre into new sales channels.
How Amazon Marketplace Works
Amazon Marketplace allows anyone to sell new, used, collecable or refurbished items on the same pages as Amazon sells their own new items.
Straight off the bat, this means that your product listings have the potential to be seen by millions of Amazon’s existing customers. This is the main reason that businesses who already have their own high-quality websites choose to list their products on Amazon Marketplace as well – Amazon has the most footfall of any e-commerce retailer and Amazon Marketplace allows you to tap into that massive customer base.
Many eBay sellers also list their items on Amazon Marketplace, but don’t be confused – Amazon Marketplace is a fixed-price marketplace only, and there are no auction options. Instead, Amazon advises their Marketplace sellers to list at the most competitive price possible. The lower the price, the faster the item is likely to sell.
When an item is available to purchase from an Amazon Marketplace seller (i.e. not from Amazon directly), customers will be offered “new and used” options on the product page in the blue “More Buying Choices” box.
Customers can then choose to purchase the item from you instead of from Amazon. They might choose do this because Amazon is out of stock, because they want a used/refurbished item, or because you have a collectible version of the item (e.g. a signed first edition of a book. You may even be able to compete with Amazon on price in some circumstances.
For whatever reason, a customer may decide to purchase from you, at which point you will recieve an email notifying you that you have recieved a payment. You then havetwo days in which to dispatch the item to the buyer. Easy-peasy.
All the money you earn through selling on Amazon Marketplace is kept in your “Amazon Seller” account, and funds are sent from there to your bank account on a 14-day cycle – so be prepared to wait two weeks for your cash.
Get Selling On Amazon Marketplace
So now you know how it works and you want to start making money. To begin taking advantage of Amazon Marketplace as a seller, simply click here and follow the steps.
Amazon will charge you £0.75 + per-item seller fees when an item sells. This differs from eBay fees where you are usually charged a fee just to list your item, on top of seller fees.
However, if you are planning on selling more than 30 items per month, it might well be worth signing up for a Pro-Merchant account.
The Big Time – The Amazon Marketplace Pro-Merchant Account
A Pro-Merchant account costs £25.00 plus VAT, per month, at the time of writing.
With a Pro-Merchant account, you won’t be charged the £0.75 on each item sold, so if you are selling at least 35 items per month, you’ll instantly be saving money by upgrading. Your funds are also released more quickly if you are a Pro-Merhcant account holder.
Selling via a Pro-Merchant account gets you a few other major benefits:
- Allows you to sell in the following categories: Beauty, Clothing, Electronics Accessories, Grocery, Jewellery, Watches, Health & Personal Care, Personal Care Appliances
- Allows you to view and download sales reports
- Provided tools for automating business tasks
- Allows you to load and track your inventory in bulk
- Makes you eligible for featured seller status
A Helping Hand From Amazon
A further benefit to selling via Amazon Marketplace is that you can choose use Amazon’s “Fulfilment by Amazon” service.
Fulfilment By Amazon is is a service that Amazon provides in which they will store your inventory, pick, pack and ship your orders to customers on your behalf. This means that your items could be made available to customers with Amazon’s super-saver delivery or Amazon Prime super-fast shipping.
Outsourcing dispatch operations in this way has the benefit of improving delivery times, saving space, and most importantly, saving time that you can re-allocate to finding ways to grow your burgeoning e-commerce business.
However, there are expensive fees associated with using Fulfilment by Amazon, so if you aren’t quite large enough to take advantage of Amazon’s international networks of warehouses, you may well be better off saving money on parcel delivery by using our services at ParcelBright.
There is very little barrier to entry when it comes to getting started selling your items on Amazon.
If you sell items that already generate lots of search traffic on Amazon (such as consumer electronics, books, music or DVDs), there really is no reason not to list with the e-commerce giants.
Depending on the categories you wish to sell in, you may be able to try listing your items on Amazon for free with the basic account, before deciding whether it’s worth £25 a month for your business to go Pro.
In addition to being able to use the basic package for free, Amazon often run 3-month long free trials for new users. That’s plenty long enough for most businesses to see whether the platform works for them or not. Give it a go.
Good luck expanding your business using Amazon Marketplace!