Let’s be clear: selling on Amazon is HARD. Entering the world’s largest E-commerce marketplace means you are joining more than 9.7 million sellers from across the globe, and more than a million new sellers who join every year. Becoming a successful seller on Amazon requires more than a good product — it requires a full understanding of how the platform works and how your brand best fits into its landscape. At Sales Factory, we’ve had a lot of success launching and optimizing brands on Amazon, and our team has put together a comprehensive list of the things you need to know before becoming a seller. But before we dive in, there’s one thing you need to know from the outset:
First things first: Serve the customer.
Since day one, Amazon has been focused on one thing above all else: the customer. Everything a seller does should flow from their strategy to meet that same goal. When Jeff Bezos started Amazon, his goal was to innovate the highly impersonal dot com world by focusing on the customer first. It’s fair to say that Amazon is committed to this philosophy to a fault — the customers are absolutely always right, even when they aren’t. If the people who purchase from you are unhappy with your product or customer service, Amazon will find out about it, so make sure you serve the customer well.
- Are you going to be a vendor or a seller?
As a vendor, you get to treat Amazon like any other retailer by selling them your product for consistency in ordering. However, Amazon controls the retail price point of your products. Sellers have more control over price and inventory, but you have to handle your own fulfillment. You have to choose what’s best for your business from both a profit standpoint and a customer satisfaction perspective.
- Look for Amazon private label items
If the product you want to sell can already be found as an Amazon private label, you don’t want to launch that product. You will be outsold every time, and the effort won’t be worth it. Customers already love these products, and you aren’t going to be able to sway them.
- Spend money on advertising
Advertising on Amazon is the most efficient way to make its A9 algorithm work for you. This is how customers find you at the beginning — a good product and customer satisfaction is what will drive more your way. After your initial launch, you can scale back to a more optimized strategy, but you won’t get anywhere at the outset without advertising.
- Amazon wants to provide customers with the lowest price possible
For vendors, Amazon will price your product low, which can hurt your margins. For sellers, you may not get ownership of your buy box if you can’t deliver a low price. This is all in service of its customers, not your business, so be prepared to accept the price Amazon wants.
- Shipping needs to be fast … and often free
The consumer believes 2-day shipping should be free. If you are not prepared to meet those expectations, you need to consider setting up your back end to achieve this goal before listing your products.
- Get the Prime badge, if possible
Do your best to get the Prime badge. This is the first thing consumers look for when scanning the search grid — if they haven’t already filtered out all non-Prime products. Customers have come to know that this badge means quality products and customer service, and having one can increase your sales up to 30 percent.
- Be prepared for customer service challenges
Amazon customer service is more difficult than almost any other retailer, because they will always default to the customer being correct. You have to be on top of your buyer messages and resolve conflicts with speed. Amazon customers know that if their issue isn’t handled, they can take an agency claim or defect directly to Amazon — get too many, and your account will be suspended.
- Don’t expect great seller services
Customer service may be king at Amazon, but sellers will have a much harder time dealing with support issues or finding a way to talk to a person to resolve any problems they have. Plus, policy changes aren’t well communicated, so you have to be prepared to change or fix something on the fly.
- Amazon wants to provide the best products for the customer
“Best” in this case doesn’t necessarily mean “best in category.” It’s about what is best for that particular customer. You need to acquire positive ratings and reviews to push deeper in the A9 algorithm (along with impressive sales and in-stock rate). The better the ratings and reviews, the more people will buy your product. The algorithm is trying to best solve the customer’s problem, and you win by selling the most.
Still want to sell on Amazon?
Selling on Amazon is absolutely a difficult task, which is why we provide our clients with the necessary tools, information and expertise to help them create a successful product launch. And if your product would perform better elsewhere, we’ll let you know that too. Here at Sales Factory, we partner with our clients to create customized solutions that help them find success as they navigate the world's largest ecommerce site.