The Amazon Marketplace ranks by far as the most popular online marketplace. It remains top among shoppers in terms of visits. And third-party sellers can list their products there. These products then show up among search results. They display right next to the company’s own products and those from other sellers.
For small businesses that sell products online, this means that Amazon presents a unique opportunity to get your products in front of millions of potential buyers who might otherwise never interact with your business. It’s a similar concept to that of eBay or Etsy. But Amazon’s customer base is considerably larger. And many of them are even more motivated to buy since they already pay for Prime memberships.
You can use Amazon as your main selling platform or just as a complement to your existing online or physical store. If you’re looking to get started, here’s a guide for how to sell on Amazon for beginners.
Becoming an Amazon Marketplace Seller
Read Amazon’s Instructions
For those wondering exactly how does Amazon Marketplace work, the site actually makes it very easy for sellers by walking you step-by-step through the setup process. Start by simply visiting the platform’s Getting Started page and follow the instructions laid out in front of you.
Author, business expert and CEO of ColderICE Media John Lawson said in a phone interview with Small Business Trends, “There are thousands of people who claim to know the secret sauce for listing on Amazon. But you don’t need any other real help at the 101 stage. Just do exactly what Amazon says when getting your shop up and running.”
Research Other Sellers
No matter where you’re selling products, you need to have an idea of what the landscape looks like. Amazon’s Marketplace includes everything from mass produced items to one-of-a-kind handmade goods. If you’re selling products that are readily available from other sellers, then you may need to be more competitive with things like pricing and shipping times. For handmade or unique products, you probably care more about standing apart from other products available.
Take Product Photos
Photos are also essential for every ecommerce platform. Amazon recommends keeping product photos relatively simple, with a white background. Lawson also suggests following Amazon’s instructions. You can outsource this part of the process or look up some quick tutorials on YouTube.
Start Listing Products
Once you know the details that you want to include about your products, including names, measurements, pricing and what makes your items stand out, it’s time to start listing. Amazon also walks you through this part of the process to make things seamless.
For branded products that other sellers already have listed on Amazon, you don’t actually need to create a new listing. You can simply add your product to the existing listing, which is what Amazon actually prefers you do. On the Amazon Seller app, you can actually just scan the UPC code and it will add the product to your shop automatically. You just set a price and then shoppers can select your product or ones from other sellers.
Optimize Listings with Relevant Keywords
When people shop on Amazon, they usually start with a search for a particular type of item. That’s why it’s so important to include simple, relevant keywords in your listings, just as you would on other websites.
Lawson says, “One of the most important things you can do is optimize your titles and descriptions. You can use the same free keyword search tools that work for other platforms. Or you can just try typing in your item inside the Amazon search bar and see what other people are putting in.”
Add Your Most Competitive Possible Price
Amazon buyers tend to be very price-motivated. Additionally, low prices can help you get your products included higher in search results, or even in the elusive “buy box,” which is the top result where most sales occur.
Lawson also says that it’s important for sellers to not worry about underpricing items on Amazon for fear of competing against their own online or in-person shops.
He says, “Amazon buyers start their search on Amazon anyway. So don’t consider your store to be a competitor when it comes to Prime buyers. Those people never see your store anyway.”
Sign Up for Fulfillment by Amazon
Amazon offers its of fulfillment service where you can send items to them and have them ship them directly to buyers. This is what will allow your products to be sold as Prime items, which shoppers tend to really value.
Lawson explains, “With Amazon, you don’t just get the eyeballs on your products. People are actually paying to be part of Prime. So if you put your product on there, it’s going to get seen by a select group of buyers — not random people, not tire kickers, not window shoppers — actual buyers who paid money to be there.”
Consider Paid Ads
To give your products a jump start, especially when you’re just getting started as a seller, you might purchase some sponsored listings. These can get your products to the top of more search results and help you build up more sales history.
Emphasize Customer Service
When Amazon is considering the order of search results and what products go into the buy box, it often takes customer reviews into account. This means you need to make sure info about your products is accurate and you respond to customer inquiries or concerns quickly. Using FBA can help you ensure fast shipping, which is another major point for a lot of customers. But if you choose to ship products yourself, make sure you get them out as quickly as possible.
The amount of time you’ve been selling on Amazon can also make an impact on where your products appear in search results. So when you’re just getting started, you might not see the buy box for awhile, unless you really undercut everyone else on price. But over time, you can gain more traction and enjoy more visibility on the platform.