We’ve all heard of Amazon. Whether you personally love Amazon or hate it, the reality is that Amazon is snagging major market share. Much of the dialogue independent retailers have about Amazon is focused around how to compete with the e-commerce behemoth… and while competing with Amazon is a valid strategy, Amazon can also be a valuable resource for indie retailers to gain traction for their own brands. Before you throw your computer or smartphone across the room, however, consider this: CNBC reports that 44 percent of US ecommerce sales took place on Amazon last year, which accounts for around 4 percent of total retail sales.
While it’s true that selling on Amazon isn’t for everyone, it is a great place for new and seasoned retailers and brands alike to increase their online visibility and sales. To help, check out the following 3 reasons indie retailers are opting to join (or at least temporarily sell through) this retail giant.
#1. You Can Take Charge of Product Quality and Pricing
Since Amazon has such a minimal vetting process for sellers and allows them to sell third party inventory, there’s a darn good chance that your goods are already being sold through the online marketplace. By taking control of your brand image and regulating pricing of your products on Amazon, you’ll be able to ensure that your products on Amazon are up to par with your standards. It’s essential to be aware of which exact companies are selling your stuff and what quality control initiatives are in place to maintain the integrity of the brand. James Thomson, author of The Amazon Marketplace Dilemma, elaborates on this concept in Forbes, “If the brand ensures that its equity is adequately represented, and it knows and communicates with the companies selling its products on Amazon, then the brand will find itself much more willing and able to turn the Amazon channel from a management headache into an accelerated growth channel that complements what the brand does in every other channel.”
#2. Use It to Spread the Word About Your Business
There’s a difference between building a brand and selling a product. Your seller profile and product descriptions are the perfect opportunity to differentiate your company from the competition. Statista reports that 183 million customers logged on to Amazon each month in 2017. If you’re able to compellingly communicate the uniqueness of your products and talk about your company’s ethos in a way that resonates with customers, then some of the folks that happen upon your company when searching for bare-bottom prices on Amazon might be compelled to do a little additional research about your company. Keeping this in mind, make sure you put as much effort into branding your company on Amazon as you do on other selling channels. Additionally, be sure to read up on Amazon’s Seller Guidelines so you know what does and doesn’t fly when marketing your brand through the e-commerce supergiant.
#3. There’s Minimal Investment Required to Get Started
This one is a biggie for small to mid-size retailers who may not yet have a strong online or mobile presence due to the cost of getting started. You don’t have to pay a subscription fee when you first get started selling with Amazon, or to lay down the money to create your own website. Instead, you pay a listing fee of .99 per month which you can upgrade to a $39.99 monthly fee later on to reduce your listing prices, according to Amazon’s Seller FAQ page. Selling on Amazon first can be useful in determining whether or not there is an online demand for your specific products, so you can gauge the public’s reaction to your brand before making a major investment.
Finally, selling on Amazon is obviously not a viable or profitable option for all retailers. If you have a dartboard with Jeff Bezos’s photo in your living room then, frankly, it’s probably not the right channel for you. Yet listing your products on Amazon is a great place to get started selling online – and if you’re online already – selling on Amazon may be essential to monitor how your products are already being marketed to millions of potential and existing customers. Remember that Amazon is made up of millions of independent sellers just like you… so instead of assuming it isn’t right for your business, consider how it may in fact be a smart strategy for you to consider.
Take advantage of ASD Market Week’s 90+ free retail strategy sessions this March 11-14, 2018 in Las Vegas.
By Jasmine Glasheen, RetailMinded.com