Let’s face it. Anyone can be an entrepreneur. If you’ve got a computer, determination, and Internet access, you can make money online. For a bricks-and-mortar small business, selling your products and services online can boost your profitability big time.
Although eBay was the first to provide online eCommerce services, Amazon is the online selling king. Amazon has gone way beyond selling books, you can pretty much find anything you want to buy on Amazon these days. And with 150 million unique monthly visitors, Amazon can quickly pump up your exposure and sales volume. Amazon caters to sellers — it offers several methods for helping entrepreneurs like you make money and makes it as easy as possible for you to do so.
Whether your small business is in culinary, medicine, construction, or retailing wares — its online marketplace can serve as a tool for anyone to list items they have for sale (new or used). With more people buying online than in bricks-and-mortar stores these days, it’s become both easier and often more economical to sell online.
NOT JUST FOR BRICK-AND-MORTAR SHOPS
Brick-and-mortar shops can easily take their wares online to Amazon, but what about the rest of us who provide services? Just because you aren’t a traditional retailer doesn’t mean you can’t also hop on the online marketplace train and take it all the way to the bank. Are you a chef? Bottle that barbecue sauce everyone raves about, put some unique and catchy packaging on it, and hello Amazon shoppers. Own a hair salon? Got some beautiful hair ornaments you create for special clients and occasions? Create a line of them just for Amazon buyers, give them a brand name, package them up beautifully, take gorgeous photos for posting, and voilà! Amazon buyers and aficionados are always looking for something new and cool.
Since Amazon is also a retailer, there some perks to using their platform. (Whether they offset the drawbacks, such as marketplace fees, is up to you and worth analyzing before getting started). For example, services such as “Fulfillment by Amazon,” lets you ship your inventory in bulk to Amazon and they handle storage, shipping, and even customer service when an item sells. This frees you to tailor your business model. Don’t want to hire a shipping clerk, buy supplies, make runs to the UPS store? Pay Amazon a small fee instead.
On the down side, with hundreds of millions of products pushed daily on Amazon, it’s also a hyper competitive market. Here are some tips to help you succeed:
Pick the Best Products to Sell
Do your research before you begin. If you’re thinking of selling products online, spend about six months at the start understanding what sells on Amazon, what doesn’t, and why. You definitely don’t want to end up with an investment in stagnant inventory that takes up space and eats profit.
Any Average Joe can sell goods on Amazon. Stand out by registering as a professional seller. It gives you more credibility. You’ll pay a monthly fee, but Amazon’s commission percentage is smaller. If you’re an active seller, you’ll end up saving money in the end. There are also a few other perks to being a professional seller, such as fewer restrictions on what type of wares you can sell and creating product bundles to help you upsell and cross-sell other products.
AMAZON’S ASSOCIATES PROGRAM
If you’re a doctor, contractor, a specialist, or if you have some kind of skill to offer, Amazon’s affiliate program, Amazon Associates, might be for you. If you already have a website, you’re halfway there. It’s easy to sign up for this program, where you make money from referring people online to products offered on Amazon. If you have a blog on your site, or publish any content that gives advice to clients, customers, or the general public, you can earn dollars by working affiliate links into your blog or online content directing your audience to products sold on Amazon.
Before you begin, visit affiliate-program.amazon.com to read through Amazon’s information on what products are eligible, how to post, and how to get paid. You can join the program there as well, free of charge, so it’s quick to get started.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
Once you figure out a direction for your website, keep it simple (especially if you’re starting from scratch) — and use the referral links to your chosen products on Amazon.com as much as possible. The more links, the more chances you have to increase your sales. Use basic text links and clickable images. (Images do really well in attracting attention.) You can also use your referral links in emails and newsletters.
NICHE-ING IS SMART
Sound easy enough? Well it is and it isn’t. There are some things you can do to get the most bang for your efforts. First, and again, do your research. Do one of two things: if you don’t already have a specialty or market niche, find one that works for you. If you already do, find the products to compliment what you do. It’s much easier to make money this way if people who come to your site are looking for a product you talk about in your website’s content.
For example, if you’re a doctor, research the biggest trends in health and wellness. If you’re a contractor, learn what people are talking about when it comes to home improvement. What projects are they most interested in starting? What are the most common issues homeowners deal with? Finding nice wallpaper designs? Are there any books or DVDs that teach someone on how to choose wall papers designs, or about what kinds of wallpapers there are and which ones are better and why, or how to create their own designs?
Whatever you chose to focus on, stick with that niche and find products on Amazon that your potential customers’ would want to buy.
Now you have the basic knowledge to start an online business or supplement your small business with an extra online income. But don’t forget to treat this aspect of your business like any other. It’s important to draft a solid business plan before you begin. Read through and understand all of Amazon’s fees for selling, and be sure to know how those fees impact your bottom line. Be bold. There are a lot of sellers out there. Take chances and think big.