Online Selling Avenues: Amazon
Amazon began in 1994 as an online bookstore - the brainchild of entrepreneur Jeff Bezos. Bezos recognized the early potential of e-commerce and adapted one of the most successful mail order industries (books) to the internet. It soon expanded to other types of media, and ultimately it has gained a presence in multiple types of markets. It has become, in essence, the online "one stop shop."
Amazon's innovation didn't stop there though. Apart from its role as an online retailer, Amazon offers many products and services. It has continually expanded, seeking new ways in which it might make a profit - many of which can assist small businesses or entrepreneurs. One of these services is Selling on Amazon, a method by which any individual can sell an item on Amazon.
Amazon has continually grown, becoming the top internet resource for online shopping - even surpassing eBay! Because of this, expanding to Amazon as one of your alternative platforms is an excellent way to increase your profits.
There are two categories of membership to sell on Amazon: Professional and Individual. Professional accounts are for sellers who plan on selling many items every month - 40 or more. Individual accounts are for those that plan on selling fewer than 40. The basic payment difference favors 40 items as the point to switch from Individual to Professional because while Professional sellers are required to pay $40 per month, they do not have the required $1.00 per item fee imposed on Individual sellers.
Professional sellers can add promotions, create new items in the Amazon catalog and customize certain shipping rates. They also have the ability to list items in some categories that Individual sellers cannot. And to top it all off, Professional sellers have access to special bulk listing tools. Of course, while the perks of a Professional seller are important, it can be a smart tactic to approach selling on Amazon merely with an Individual seller account and upgrade as it begins to bring in consistent sales.
Listing the Item
Even without the bulk listing tools available to Professional memberships, listing an item on Amazon is quick and easy. You simply select the item from the catalog, choose the condition and add a quick note about it. There isn't an easier way to sell online!
With most types of items, Amazon has a preset shipping price and transit time. Amazon automatically charges this shipping cost to the customer, but you are expected to ship it in such a manner that it arrive within the promised time period. (This number is fairly liberal, so you should not have any problem as long as you ship the item promptly after having an order placed.)
Items that are sold are charged a percentage fee of the price. This can be anywhere from 6-25% depending on the type of item, though most are in the 8-15% range. Additionally, media items such as books, videos and software are also charged a fixed closing fee of about $1.00.
Amazon uses its own checkout program rather than third party systems like PayPal or Google Checkout. Because of this, shopper can add items to their cart from multiple sellers and pay at one time. Additionally, customers can use Amazon gift cards when purchasing from third party vendors in this way. Amazon Payments can also be used on independent websites as a checkout system, so if you like it, you can add it to your own e-commerce website.
It's true that Amazon dominates the e-commerce landscape. But rather that try to fight against it as a competitor, why not take advantage of its massive marketing and brand awareness by selling your own products on their platform? This can be an excellent avenue, whether it is your primary method or selling online or merely an additional marketing opportunity.