Why your retail shop should sell on Amazon (and how to get started)

January 09, 2020
Woman purchasing retail items from Amazon via tablet

In this 7-minute read:

  • Reasons why your retail shop should start selling products on Amazon
  • Pros and cons of selling products on Amazon
  • How to start selling items on Amazon

As the largest online retailer in the world, Amazon can be a powerful vehicle for your retail shop to increase sales. You should consider learning everything that you can about what it takes to sell your products on Amazon to determine whether it’s a good fit for your business. 

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We’ll guide you through the advantages and cautions for selling on Amazon and show you how you can get started. 

Reasons why your retail shop should start selling products on Amazon

The number of people shopping online worldwide was over 1.9 billion last year and that number is only going to keep growing. 

In the fast-paced and increasingly online world we live in, more and more people are enjoying the convenience (and often lower costs) of shopping online. 

Take advantage of those opportunities by making sure your customers can purchase your products online. 

Here are some other benefits of selling your products on Amazon. 

Amazon is the largest online retailer

Amazon is responsible for a whopping 49% of online sales in the U.S. The other 51% is split up between every other online retailer. 

Amazon is also working hard to own market share in diverse industries. (Did you know, for example, that Amazon is now the largest American retailer of auto parts?)

Amazon’s “Prime” membership is exploding in popularity, and makes it even easier and cheaper to spend your “whole paycheck” at Amazon.

amazon icon with hundred dollar bills for small business retail

Due to the speed and ease of researching and purchasing products on this platform, there are hundreds of millions of potential buyers worldwide that you could reach. 

Make money fast on Amazon

You can start making money on Amazon within two weeks of deciding to start selling there (sometimes even within a few days). 

Here’s an example of what your path to selling on Amazon could look like:

Day 1: Decide to sell on Amazon. 

Days 2-3: Prepare and send your products to Amazon. 

Days 7-8: Amazon receives your products and they go live on Amazon.com. 

Day 9-10: Customers buy your products. (Of course this doesn’t just happen by magic, but assuming you’ve done your market research and marketing, this example is theoretically possible.) 

Day 11: Amazon deposits your revenue into your seller account.  

More visibility, trusted seller, easier to compete

The beauty of selling on Amazon is that your products can get better visibility online than if they were just listed on your own website. Amazon is a widely trusted site by Google and is even considered its own search engine. 

When people decide to shop online, they are much more likely to go to Amazon before an independent online retailer. And Amazon is just as likely to show your products to consumers (assuming your products fit consumers’ search criteria) as it is to show the larger retailers’ products. 

So we could say that playing field is much more level on Amazon than if someone were to do a Google search for your products. 

Great customer experience

Amazon is known for its great customer experience, from Prime’s quick and free shipping, to the ease of saving your preferred payment methods, to awesome customer support for returns. 

People already trust Amazon, which brings us to our next point. 

You get to piggyback on Amazon’s reputation

Because of Amazon’s great customer experience, you get to take advantage of their reputation when you sell your products on their site. Most people don’t pay attention to the individual seller of the products they are interested in on Amazon because they trust “Amazon” to get them their products in a timely and secure manner. 

Amazon’s reputation transfers to your products and business when you use the platform to sell your items. 

Sell your products from anywhere

Another wonderful aspect of selling on Amazon is that you don’t have to handle shipping and order fulfillment (if you choose). 

amazon boxes on doorstep for small business order fulfillment

Amazon takes care of that for you when you send them your products. So you can be away from your shop or even on vacation when an order comes in through Amazon, and you won’t have to worry about rushing home to get a product out the door. 

Continuous growth potential

As we’ve mentioned, online sales are only expected to grow in the coming years, and Amazon is likely going to continue taking over market share and becoming even more important to the American consumer.

Consider taking advantage of the continuous growth that can result from getting your products on Amazon, racking up positive customer reviews on your products and business, and growing your revenue. 

Some things to look out for when selling products on Amazon

As with anything you do in business, there are precautions and “gotchas” that you should be aware of when considering selling your products on Amazon. 

Don’t go all in

Be careful about hopping on the Amazon bandwagon completely. Even though Amazon growth is only expected to increase, it’s always a good idea to have a sound fall-back position and keep your capability to sell via your local shop or other avenues.

Take advantage of the benefits that Amazon can offer your business, but also make sure to keep building up your individual brand and online presence outside of Amazon. 

Amazon ultimately has total control on its platform

Amazon has the ability to force you to sell your products at certain prices to help them remain profitable and competitive with other online retailers. 

Usually you’ll get to manage this on your own, but be aware that Amazon can change policies and ultimately has its own best interests at heart. 

Other sellers may copy your strategy, products, or images

Amazon is full of copycat sellers. When another seller sees something that is working well for you, they may decide to copy your products, names, and descriptions to try to take your share of the market.

There are also many “counterfeit” products (often from China) of popular brands and items on Amazon and eBay. 

image of counterfeit watch for amazon retail post

One way to help alleviate this is to watermark your photos and register your brand on Amazon. 

Other sellers may change your product photos

Another reason to register your brand on Amazon is that other people could change your product photos if you don’t. You’ll want to register your brand (kind of like verifying an online business listing) to ensure that other sellers can’t manipulate your listings. 

False negative reviews

As with any review platform, you are bound to get a fake negative review now and then. Sometimes you can dispute these and get them removed, but the best practice is just to monitor your reviews closely and respond appropriately when you get one. 

Go deeper: How to respond to negative reviews

How to start selling products on Amazon

Now that you know the reasons why you should sell on Amazon and some caveats, let’s go through the process of getting started. 

Step 1: Choose what you are going to sell

There are some limitations to what you can sell on Amazon. So research the categories that are available and make sure your selected products make the cut. 

Pro tip: more categories are available for Professional Sellers (see below). 

Step 2: Choose a plan

Amazon has two selling plans: Professionals and Individuals. The Professional plan is $39.99/month to sell an unlimited amount of products. The Individual plan allows you to sell up to 40 products each month and the cost is $0.99/product. 

Each of these plans may include other selling fees on items depending on the type of products being sold. 

Step 3: Create your account

Go to sellercentral.amazon.com and click “Register now” to create your seller account. From here, you will be able to manage your account and products. 

Step 4: List your products

With a Professional account, you can upload batches of products all at once. 

Once you are ready to list your products, you can do this two ways: list products that are already on Amazon (if you are selling commonly available items, for example), or list items that aren’t yet on Amazon. 

With either option you’ll need to include the condition, product attributes, how many products you have, and shipping options. 

With the second option, you’ll need to identify the UPC or EAN and SKU since Amazon won’t have that information. 

Step 5: Sell your products

Once your products are listed, you really don’t have to do anything else to sell them. 

Just wait for Amazon to approve them and push them live, and then you will get notified whenever a sale is made. 

Step 6: Ship your products

Once a sale is made you’ll need to ship the product. You can choose to take care of shipping and handling yourself or you can use Fulfillment by Amazon to let Amazon take care of that for you. 

From here, let the magic happen and start watching your sales grow (if you’re fortunate and your products and pricing are competitive). 

Manage your online reviews with time-saving small business software

Once you start getting sales on Amazon, hopefully that will result in more visibility and sales for your store everywhere else you sell (web store/website, brick-and-mortar shop, etc.). 

When you get more customers, make sure you let them know that you appreciate customer feedback, and you can save time by managing all your reviews with reputation management software. Many consumers rely on reviews when considering a new product, so make sure you are getting all of the opportunities you can. 

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