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Selling on Amazon Marketplace

Amazon launched in the US in 1994 as an online bookseller and has grown to become one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. Last year the global company had a net revenue of almost $90 billion and continues to expand rapidly.

The company has branched out into many different fields, and is constantly striving to innovate in terms of delivery, as well as technology. Amazon has hit the headlines with its plans to experiment with delivery drones and is constantly looking at new ways for customers to get their goods more quickly and conveniently.

Selling on Amazon Marketplace cycle

It’s great to see an e-retailer who understands that giving customers choices in how they have their goods delivered is a key part of an  excellent retail experience.

Amazon also offers amazon seller accounts to individuals and businesses to list their products on the amazon  marketplace and target its enormous customer base, for a monthly fee or commission.

There are many benefits to becoming an Amazon seller because there is no brand better known online, with a complete ecommerce infrastructure in place already.

The company’s online presence, which includes the amazon website and amazon mobile app, is fantastically user-friendly. A recommendation algorithm makes buying suggestions to shoppers based on their previous purchases and searches, which helps them find what they might need, as well as encouraging shoppers to buy more products.

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Here’s My Parcel Delivery's guide on selling on

amazon

Selling on Amazon Basics

Sell on Amazon

What can I sell on Amazon?

Almost anything! The marketplace is a go-to point for anyone looking for books, DVDs, homeware, garden products and fashion.

Be aware that there are some prohibited items including alcohol, mobile phones, adult toys, newspaper or magazine subscriptions and prescription medication. You should read Amazon’s full list of prohibited items to ensure you don’t accidentally list any banned items.

Account comparison

Should I get a basic or pro account?

Obviously, this depends how much you will be selling in your Amazon shop. If you plan on selling more than 33 items on Amazon per month straight away, then the pro account will definitely save you money. The Amazon pro seller account costs £25 per month, plus VAT.

However, if you’re not too sure about whether selling on Amazon will work for your business, then you can try it out with a basic account, which charges 75p, plus VAT, for each item sold.

Have a look at Amazon’s useful comparison table of the two accounts, for more information.

Seller's rules

Make sure you understand the rules

As a third-party seller, it will be your responsibility to ensure you read the rules properly and stick to them! Amazon trades off its reputation and motto ‘it’s all about the customer’, so requires its marketplace sellers to have the same standards.

There are strict rules about responding to customer enquiries within 24 hours, for example. Falling foul of the rules can see your products bumped down to the bottom of the listings. You should read the full participation agreement before you begin selling.

Tips for selling on Amazon

Amazon wants its customers to have an amazing experience whatever they buy – whether that’s from Amazon itself or its third-party sellers.  Therefore, it’s important to ensure every part of your sales process is first-rate.

Feedback

Amassing a set of outstanding feedback gives trust signals to both Amazon and your prospective customers. Online buyers need to know they can trust a merchant before they make a purchase so feedback reviews become very important.

Amazon also uses feedback reviews as one of the factors which determine whether your product gets the buy box. It is against Amazon’s rules to pay for or solicit good reviews, but it’s still a good idea to ask or remind buyers to leave you feedback.

Delivery

If you aren’t using FBA, then it’s vitally important to get delivery right for your customers. The most important thing is offering customers choices to suit their requirements.  Some shoppers need their product the next day so are happy to pay a premium for this service, whereas some shoppers are happy to wait 3-5 days for a basic delivery service.

As an ecommerce business, you need a delivery partner you can rely on, as such a large part of a business’s reputation depends on the fulfilment and carrier side.

My Parcel Delivery offers ecommerce retailers massively discounted prices for a wide range of carriers – enabling them to offer customers a choice of delivery options. It also  means ecommerce retailers do not have to rely on just one carrier, which can disrupt fulfilment if that carrier is having delays or problems.

If you are sending a large number of parcels, signing up for a business account and the rapid book tool, will help you manage these deliveries a lot quicker.

PPC Advertising

Amazon offers its own sponsored pay-per-click adverts, which enables sellers to boost their products for a fee. If your products aren’t getting enough visibility, then it’s well worth looking into this.

Amazon selling can be a vital channel for any ecommerce business to consider. Although there can be lots of competition with other sellers, it could be financially beneficial to spend the time getting it right.

Customer Service

Amazon’s rules of selling state that sellers should respond to customer service enquiries with 24 hours, even at weekends. If this is not possible to do this yourself, then FBA can look after customer service too, which is worth considering.

Learning the amazon marketplace lingo

What is the buy box?

When a customer searches for an item on Amazon, one item is marked in a ‘buy box’. Other purchase options are available, but the customer has to click into these and search through the options. Amazon states that 78% of sales are made through that buy box because it’s the easiest option to choose. This is why it’s really important to understand how to get your product there.

If there is only one unique product, it will, of course, make the buy box. However, if there are a number of sellers offering the exact same product, Amazon will use a number of factors to decide which product is offered to the customer in the buy box

Amazon’s guidance states these factors are: the best price (product and postage included); stock availability, updated inventory, multiple shipping options and good feedback/ good customer experience.

What is fulfilment by Amazon?

Fulfilment by Amazon (or FBA) is an opt-in service where you ask the supplier to ship your product directly to Amazon’s warehouse and they will take care of your pick and pack, delivery EU-wide, as well as returns and customer service.

FBA products are eligible for Amazon Prime and free super saver delivery, so it makes your products much more attractive to prospective buyers. It also enables your products to compete for the Buy Box more easily because they are given the same weighting as Amazon’s retail products.

Amazon can also deal with customer service, which not only frees up your time as a seller, but also provides customers with a consistent level of service.

It costs more money to use this service, but enables a seller to scale up the business very quickly without having to deal with leasing warehousing space or employing staff to deal with fulfilment.

Read more about Fufillment by Amazon for the full details.