Amazing amazon February 05 2014
So I decided in October of 2012 that I really needed to take the plunge and list on amazon. I love shopping amazon as a customer because of their free shipping and huge selection, and I knew I would benefit from being listed on amazon as a supplier because of their ginormous customer base.
There are a couple of different ways to sell on amazon:
You can list your products and fulfill the orders yourself – with this option amazon makes a commission on your sales (15% for my category), plus they collect $1 per order but you do not pay them a monthly fee, fulfillment fee, or inventory/storage fees.
You can also list your products as FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) – with this option, you pay them $39.99/month, but that gives your product "prime" status: your product ships free of charge to all amazon prime members, and also free of charge to anyone spending $35 or more. They still make commission on your sales (again 15%), but you do not pay them the $1 per order fee. Other charges you incur are fulfillment and inventory/storage fees because you are shipping product to their warehouse and they are shipping it for you to your customers.
I opted for the FBA option. I know lots of amazon customers only browse products that are FBA, and I wanted as many eyes on my products as possible. I will tell you that while I think listing on amazon is probably the single best thing I've done so far for my business, it is not a quick process. They require an enormous amount of product information, they have specific rules for the type of images you can add to your listings, and they have very strict specifications for packaging your product and shipping inventory to their warehouse. It took several weeks for me to muddle through all of their requirements, and my listings were live in November of 2012.
Listing your products on amazon does not instantly equate to gobs of orders. As you get orders, positive product reviews and positive customer feedback, your product shows up higher and higher in search results. As your product shows up higher in search results, you get more orders. So it's a constant cycle of more orders & reviews = higher rankings = more orders, etc. Although a lot of customers hate to write product reviews, those product reviews actually improve your ranking on amazon and lead to more orders, so they are really important to those of us selling there.
November and December of 2012 were both very slow amazon sales months for me since I just got listed. 2013 was my first full year on amazon, and my sales throughout the year increased steadily. There are definitely a few glitches to selling on amazon (more on that later), but amazon was my largest source of business income for 2013. As of today, I am seeing a 555% increase in my product sales over last year. I don't know where else I could achieve this kind of amazing growth for my product. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them! ;)