Springbot Q&A: Getting Started on Amazon Marketplace
If the thought of listing your store’s products on Amazon Marketplace terrifies you, you’re not alone. Many of our customers tell us that they’d like to have a presence on Amazon in addition to their store, but they don’t have the time or knowledge to efficiently establish themselves on the platform. Those who are already on the platform often find it difficult to optimize their listings and win the “buy box”.
The springbots Joe Reger and Michael Isaacs are adamant that neither of these situations have to be the norm. Joe, our Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, and Michael, our eCommerce Marketing Consultant who specializes in Amazon, both emphasize that successfully selling on Amazon is possible for small and medium-sized merchants and is simpler than most think.
To get ready for our upcoming Amazon Marketplaces webinar, we tapped into Joe and Michael’s expertise on why Amazon is important, how merchants can determine if their products are likely to successfully sell on Amazon, and what effects it can have on an existing store.
1. What are the benefits of selling on Amazon? Cons?
Joe: The primary benefit is exposure to a new group of consumers who are in a buying mindset. People go to Amazon to search and buy. In fact, 44% of shoppers start their search on Amazon, so it’s worth having a presence on the platform to capture those organic searches..
The primary downside is that this exposure to new consumers comes at a cost. Amazon charges based on the sales that you get, and this can obviously be of concern as you’re trying to make money. You have to be careful to list products that have enough margin built in to be competitive but also be worth the effort. Think of it as a marketing charge to attract a new customer.
Michael: Some benefits are that you will reach 180 million monthly visitors on Amazon as well as benefit from the built in trust customers have in purchasing through Amazon. Many customers already have their billing and shipping account information saved with Amazon, they trust Amazon payment processing security, and they prefer Amazon’s return and customer service policies.
2. How can a store owner evaluate whether or not their products are right for Amazon?
Joe: When listing on the site, you want to look for areas where you have something unique that isn’t yet on Amazon or areas where you have a price advantage. Springbot has a Choose section within its Amazon integration that helps you prioritize which products to list on Amazon. We show you which products are likely to succeed, and we’ll help you optimize your listing to win the buy box.
Michael: Amazon features more and more types of products every day. They’re no longer the online bookstore, but the everything store! While Amazon sellers used to focus on private label products selling for more than $10 or reselling items through retail arbitrage, Amazon is making a push to diversify the types of products that their customers can find on the website.
Of course, selling on Amazon is easier if products are light and easily shippable. You can also view Amazon’s Best Sellers list to see what products are currently successful and which you can beat out on price and/or quality. Pick products where there is a bit of competition but not so much that you have to go up against many others who have a similar product and head start.
Owners should also consider the Amazon seller fees for each of Amazon’s categories while calculating your margins. At the end of the day, you know what products sell best on your own website, so we suggest listing those products on Amazon first.
3. Will selling on Amazon cannibalize a merchant’s existing store?
Joe: Not generally. Consumers are already trained to check Amazon. This is the behavior that risks cannibalizing your existing store. By being present on Amazon and by being competitive, you bring those customers back to you.
Think of it this way: I want to buy a new pair of shoes, and I search for men’s shoes on Google. I see an amazing pair from your store, and I have to have them, but I’m not familiar with your store and don’t know if it is reputable yet. I’ll search for those shoes on Amazon because I’ve purchased from them before and know they’ve got my back as a customer if things go wrong with the sale (shoes aren’t delivered, don’t fit, etc.).
If you don’t have a presence on Amazon, you’re potentially missing out on sales from people who want to buy from your store but are hesitant. If they purchase your product on Amazon and are satisfied, they already know where to find your store and may return to keep up with sales and promotions!
Michael: About 40-45% of eCommerce searches start on Amazon. Your potential customers are looking to buy on Amazon whether your brand is there or not, so you want to make sure you are there!
You should also keep an eye out to see if other sellers are selling your products already. Since Amazon will not enforce restrictions on who sells which products, others may already be selling your products on Amazon and cannibalizing your sales without you knowing. If you don’t have a presence on Amazon, you are potentially giving up control of your brand and products to other merchants.
4. Why is Amazon important for multichannel marketing?
Joe: Amazon itself is so good at exposing its users to various devices like web, tablet, and mobile. With features like UPC code scanning and lookup, they’re weaving their marketplace into the physical shopping experience. When you list on Amazon, you have access to all of this technology and exposure.
Michael: Amazon accounted for $100 billion of the $340 billion in total ecommerce sales for 2015, so while they’re only one website, they have the presence of an entire channel. Like Joe said, Amazon gives small and medium-sized businesses access to technology they may not otherwise have access to. If you’re on Amazon, customers can purchase your products by scanning UPC codes in a store, make purchases on an extremely mobile-friendly site with one hand, and have products delivered to their doorstep quickly and efficiently.
5. Is selling on Amazon an option for marketers who are strapped for time/resources?
Joe: Springbot makes it easier to list products on Amazon. It’s never going to be push-button simple, but Springbot’s tools help you Choose what to list, Publish those products, and Optimize those listings, saving you a lot of time.
You can sell as much or as little as you want on Amazon. We’ve found that, generally speaking, the more you list, the more you sell. That’s why we added our Amazon Essential integration to our platform — everything is streamlined and you don’t have to list each product from your store individually on Amazon.
Michael: Selling on Amazon can be as flexible as you would like. They allow sellers to list products on Amazon and fulfill orders as they would any other sale, or you can sell products through Fulfillment By Amazon and ship products to Amazon Warehouses where they they fulfill your orders.
These guys have not only a wealth of knowledge about selling on Amazon, but they also have experience with helping our customers to find success on Amazon. We’re combining their expertise and knowledge in our upcoming webinar “Getting Started with Amazon Marketplaces”, designed to give eCommerce merchants all of the tips and tools they’ll need to list and optimize their products for the online megastore.
Miss our webinar from July 28th at 2pm EDT that covered:
- Why Amazon should be part of your overall multichannel marketing strategy and how to get started
- 10 all-star tips to sell your products on Amazon
- What to expect with Springbot’s newest Amazon Essential Integration