Monday, 22 December 2014

How to win at selling on Amazon with these tips

Image of Amazon logo in front of a warehouse with a statement saying 'tips on how to streamline your amazon selling efforts.

Amazon is a big, baffling ecommerce site that can leave most businesses confused at the thought of selling on their global platform. The good thing to know is that if you’re in this predicament you’re not alone. Many small businesses want to jump at the opportunity to take advantage of selling to the many millions of customers that Amazon attracts daily. Amazon offers plenty of documentation that can walk you through the process of setting up your business on their virtual territory. However the amount of literature provided is great, but would be way too time consuming for anyone to digest. So that’s where this article comes in handy. Below you can feast your eyes upon simple tips that can streamline your Amazon business, saving you time and money. #WinningSituation

First- Choose your how you want to sell on Amazon
Sellers have two options when it comes to deciding how they want to partner with Amazon.
The first option is listing your products and you fulfil those orders. When you sell your products, you ship the product to the buyer. The buyer pays Amazon and Amazon pays you, after fees have been deducted. Should there be any customer service enquiries this would fall upon the seller to manage and resolve.

The second option is listing your products and having your orders fulfilled by Amazon (also known as FBA). In this partnership the seller sends products directly to Amazon’s fulfilment centres for storage. As orders come in, Amazon will use their distribution system to ship the item to the buyer and also handle the customer service if returns are necessary. But wait, this sounds groovy and all, but this services comes at a price. The fulfilment by Amazon comes with higher fees for selling.

I said you had to choose from two options. Well I lied. You actually have a third. Set up your business on Amazon, list your products and then outsource the rest to a fulfilment company. This way you have more control on your inventory, customer relationships, postal dispatch services to name a few.

Second- The Basics!
Sadly, there is no way around this bit. Buying on Amazon is a tad bit different than selling. So you will need to have a browse in the Amazon’s Seller’s Resources. My suggestion would be first to get your head around the lay of the land on the backend of their selling platform. Then take a peek at the FAQs. It’s amazing how much time anyone can save by just going directly to the FAQs.

Third- Research the Competition on Amazon
Before you start listing your products investigate what type of competition you’re up against on Amazon. Amazon attracts millions of customers which makes it a gold mine for sellers. So be sure to see if other sellers are selling your same products. Pay attention to the prices of those products and what kind of delivery options they offer. This way you will be armed and ready to take on your competitors without the stress and frustration. Keep in mind seller’s feedback scores are what make and break your competition, not just prices and delivery options.
Forth- Advertise and Market Your Goodies
Amazon hosts millions of sellers which makes it tough for beginning sellers to strike it rich at first. You will need to boost your presence and let the virtual communities know you exist. Don’t just think you can set up shop and expect to make it big. Yes, you may get a few sales here and there, but with advertising and marketing you can easily jump start your revenues. Thankfully Amazon offers an advertising program which is similar to the Pay Per Click strategy of Google Adwords. This service allows you to target specific customer types, leveraging Amazon’s high traffic volumes.
Other Options:
                • Google Adwords
-          Create ads that target your preferred audience, keywords and countries.
                • Social Media Activities
-          Build up your brand on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc… Use these channels to drive traffic to your products.
• Social Media Advertising
-          Use Facebook’s and Twitter’s advertising channels to broadcast your products to the masses instead of relying on hashtags and the slow drip feed of social visitors who happen to stumble upon your social activities. Let these advertising tools work for you.
Fifth- Inventory Management
Once your shop is off the ground and running, it will probably be one of the happiest moments in your virtual life. As every order comes in, you get excited, bells are ringing and the bank bells are buzzing. With all this excitement you can easily lose track of what you’re selling, where and what has been sold. The last thing you want to encounter is a disgruntled customer for having to wait longer than expected for his order to arrive, due to stock not being accounted for. Use a spreadsheet, use the Amazon inventory monitoring tool, or just let a fulfilment house take on that stress.

Sixth- Have a Rainy Day Fund
When things get moving you must be prepared for the unexpected. Setting aside additional funds will help ease the stress during these times.

Seventh- Photos and Product Copy
Prior Planning Promotes Proper Performance, Presentation, Passion, Peak Performance.
The nine P’s of success above will prove to be your guiding light if you allow them to be. Let’s face it, you’re thinking about joining the ranks of the other Amazon sellers. So why wait till the moment you wish to list your products to take photos, edit photos, write copy and such? Once you have finished your research that you’ve completed as stated in the third tip, start writing copy. Use your competitors as a benchmark. Take some photos of your products and keep in mind of the Amazon photo requirements. Be sure to keep comprehensive records of descriptions and images of your products. Organisation will be the key to your success!
                • Amazon allows you to post up to six photos as part of each listing.
                • Pure white backgrounds are preferred.
                • Photos are not permitted to contain additional test, graphics, or inset images.
                • Dimensions:
-          Minimum- 200 x 200 pixels
-          Maximum- 2000 x 2000 pixels
-          Image resolution: 72 pixels per inch
Eighth- Partner with a Fulfilment Provider           
Let’s paint a clear picture. Amazon is a beast, both as a shopping platform and fulfilment provider. If you disagree, did you catch in the news how they are testing drones to deliver orders? A part from TGIF restaurant group no other companies that I am aware of use drones. Now for the ‘but,’ Amazon fulfilment does look pretty easy as a one stop shop for sellers but it doesn’t come cheap. So don’t let Amazons fulfilment prevent you from being an Amazon selling success.
Start out small, by doing your own fulfilment processing. This way you will understand and really appreciate the process of filling your customer’s orders. Then once you’re to a point that you cannot succeed on your own, call up a Fulfilment House. Fulfilment houses are an extension of your business, operating under your terms and conditions. By utilising a fulfilment house for your order processing, storage, customer service services you can save on your overhead costs. 
Don’t let Amazon imprison your business to the confines of their business model. Like the saying goes ‘think outside the box,’ and partner with a fulfilment provider.

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By Erik Miller
JEM Marketing & Fulfilment Services Ltd.

The Invisible Link- Between your business and its customers
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