How Do I Incorporate Selling on Amazon into My Existing Business? - Chapter 5

Amazon Selling - If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them is a book authored by Andrew Tjernlund which will be released as a series of blog posts on AMZHelp.com. If you have any questions about our services or wish to sign up, please reach out.

Chapter 5

How Do I Incorporate Selling on Amazon into My Existing Business?

What's dangerous is not to evolve. – Jeff Bezos

There are two important things a company must do in order to succeed on Amazon without disrupting their existing business: know their business and outsource. Amazon is a new sales opportunity and should be treated with the respect and excitement it deserves, but by taking into account those two principles it can be fairly painless.

The first strategic question is what selling method, previously discussed, the business would like to pursue. Of course, that can be a complex answer with multiple methods used simultaneously, but there will undoubtedly be a first method and choosing that well is critical. Knowing the business makes that easy.

Examples

A company that is a stocking distributor of shoes may choose the FBA method. They already have inventory invested so storing some of the items at an Amazon FC may make little difference. They also are able to control the end price which may be important to retailer pricing restrictions, seasonal changes or fashion trends.

An online seller of shoes may choose FBM as their preferred method. Perhaps they dropship all sales already and offer a huge catalog of shoes. These can be easily transferred to Amazon listings and these FBM offers will not change the cash flow structure of the business significantly.

A specialty shoe retailer may begin with VE. Imagine they focus on horse riding boots and those same brands offer various other equestrian gear and accessories. Amazon may currently have limited access to brands in this category and this seller could realize a huge boost in sales by being the sole provider of these items to Amazon. Rather than trying to guess the mix of unfamiliar products to offer this seller can wait for Amazon orders to come in and then order only the items Amazon has purchased for that week. There may even be some inbound logistical savings by combining the shipping of their shoes with these other products.

Regardless of your initial strategy, create offers on only the items that fit that strategy. Start with one method. It is simple to incrementally grow the number, quality and types of listings, so do not start off an account on the wrong foot with a bunch of failed listings.

Beyond the listing creating, order management and sales actions, all Amazon sellers will encounter new tasks and processes that are specific to the Amazon marketplace. Do not fret, however. First, many reports and alerts are available to sellers directly through the Amazon selling platform. Customer service wait time, order status, return management and many other essential services can be managed in Seller Central or Vendor Central.

Second, much of the information and help needed to run an Amazon account can be provided by industry specialists. Manufacturer’s can provide specifications, images and technical support to help with the creation of good listings and difficult product questions. There are hundreds of software services available to and designed specifically for Amazon sellers. Whether it’s inventory management, automatic repricing or accounting there are several companies competing in that space. Additionally, Amazon specific services have popped up to provide management of your returns, listing optimization and fulfillment.

Third, many Amazon sellers choose to truly outsource this aspect of their business by “hiring” Virtual Assistants (VA). Websites like Freeeup, Upwork and eLancer make it easy to hire experts in different fields including customer service, account maintenance and data entry. Many of their experts are highly educated, yet in areas where a few dollars go a long way. It is common to find productive help from people with advanced degrees for less than $10 per hour.

Last, remember that Amazon is a platform built by sellers, so there are many of them out there. Facebook groups, Mastermind meetings and forums are great sounding boards where advice from people who are in the same situation can provide helpful feedback. For more involved and personal service consider taking an Amazon course or hiring an Amazon consultant to help avoid painful lessons. As with any service of this nature, make sure to choose a true expert that can add value specific to your business.

Amazon Selling - If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them is a book authored by Andrew Tjernlund which will be released as a series of blog posts on AMZHelp.com. If you have any questions about our services or wish to sign up, please reach out.