You have decided to sell on Amazon, to tap into its potential for a global reach and its established value perception in the minds of customers. You can use Shopify to quickly sell on Amazon, syncing your stocks and sales across channels. Before you start selling though, here are a few basic points you need to understand.
Selling on Amazon
There are many different ways to sell on Amazon. You can also be an Amazon Vendor rather than a seller. As a Shopify Store owner, you will be more focused on being a Seller. You then have different options within this, based on the fulfillment method.
So, what are all these?
Around half the sales on Amazon are made by third-party sellers. So who are they? If you plan to sell your products on Amazon, you are one. You either sell products that you source from another vendor or you sell products that you make yourself.
For this, you need to have a seller account on Amazon. You can start with a free account but if you want to take your business to the next level, you should choose the Professional Seller account.
Professional Seller Account
A Professional Seller account gives you access to the Amazon Seller Central. Here, you can manage your inventory and pricing, extract some meaningful reports, and get access to other useful tools. Also, only professional sellers have access to the coveted Buy Box.
Now that you have decided to set up your seller account, how do you wish to handle orders? You can handle shipping, delivery and returns yourself (FBM) or let Amazon handle these (FBA).
Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM)
Under this option, you list your products on Amazon. When a customer orders a product sold by you, Amazon provides you with the shipment address and other information required for product delivery. You then have to take care of packaging, shipping, and delivering the product to the customer. You will also handle any returns and other customer issues related to the sale.
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)
Under the Fulfillment By Amazon program, you list your products on Amazon and then ship your products to the appropriate Amazon Warehouse called Amazon Fulfillment Center. Once an order is received, Amazon then takes care of the packaging, shipment, and handling of returns. In essence, you’re making Amazon your logistics provider. Besides the normal referral fee for selling on Amazon, with FBA, you will also have to pay a Fulfillment Fee. However, you will get the benefit of the powerful and established Amazon delivery system, leaving you free to concentrate on other aspects of your business.
Amazon also sells directly to customers, instead of through third-party sellers. There are several ways in which Amazon does this. One way is the Amazon Vendor program. There are two options here – Vendor Express and Vendor Central. Vendor Express is an opt-in program, anyone can enroll. Vendor Central is an invite-only program. Amazon invites successful brands to enroll for the Vendor Central and sell their products on Amazon.
With the Vendor programs, you sell your products wholesale to Amazon. After which, Amazon takes care of listing, marketing, selling, shipment, delivery, and customer service.
These are products that either Amazon sources from another vendor and rebrands it or products that Amazon makes and sells itself. For example, products under the Amazon Basics range is sourced by Amazon from another vendor and rebranded. Whereas, products like Amazon Kindle and Echo are designed and developed by Amazon.
Terms and Policies
Remember, while selling on Amazon, customer service and satisfaction is extremely important. So, your shipping speed and delivery, least issues in product quality, good returns, and refunds policy, etc. are all included in your performance metrics. If your performance metrics are consistently poor, your account may get suspended.
Your account may also be suspended for Terms of Service violations like paid-for reviews, copyrights violation, selling counterfeits, etc. If you open a new seller account while operating an existing one, your account will be suspended.
Amazon provides many tools and services for sellers/brands to better manage their products and trademarks.
Brands can now register with the Brand Registry program. For this, your trademarks have to be registered with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). Once you have successfully registered your brand and trademarks, you can use the Brand Registry dashboard. This provides you the tools to monitor the usage of your trademarks and immediately identify and report trademark infringements.
Amazon Prime customers get special privileges like free shipping on many items, two-day delivery, same-day delivery, etc. FBA Sellers are automatically eligible to sell to Prime customers. However, FBM sellers can also apply for the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program. Here, your performance metrics, customer reviews, and ratings will be considered. If you qualify, you can select which products will be Prime Eligible. You can even make some of your products Prime Eligible only in certain regions.
Becoming Prime Eligible is important because many studies have shown that Prime Members spend around twice as much on Amazon as non-prime customers. Also, 50% of American households have a Prime Account. So, that is a huge market to target.
Subscribe and Save
Sellers who qualify for Prime can also offer Subscribe and Save programs for certain of their products that are purchased regularly like grocery and household items. You can also offer these items through the Pantry program. All these help increase your sales volume. They also help promote customer loyalty.
Amazon has a global reach. You can take advantage of this to sell seamlessly across borders. Set up a North America Unified Account and export your listings to Canada and Mexico. Select the products you want to sell, change pricing rules, currency, etc. For the European Market, choose the Amazon EU setting. Being part of the FBA program, you can ship your products to one central warehouse or Fulfillment Center, usually in the UK. From this FC, your products will be shipped to the UK and four other countries – Spain, Italy, France, and Germany.
You can choose to sell certain products exclusively on Amazon through which you’ll receive increased visibility and protection for your products and brand. These are Amazon Exclusives and will receive special marketing and promotion from Amazon. It is a good way to promote and gain attention for new products.
Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) is another facility that you can utilize. Sell through any channel including your Shopify store. Then have the orders fulfilled by Amazon. You can use this full-time or only on certain occasions like seasonal sales, holiday sales, etc.
Amazon gives you several options to sell on its marketplace. As an Amazon seller, you then have many more programs and facilities you can make use of to increase your sales volume and brand visibility. So, set up your Professional Seller account, integrate this huge marketplace with your Shopify Store, and sell on Amazon.