Over the past twenty years or so, the rapid rise of e-commerce has changed the way we think about retail. The growing popularity of digital retail has created a situation where almost anyone can start their own small e-commerce business online. With this being said, getting a thriving e-commerce business started can be extremely difficult to accomplish, especially for those with limited entrepreneurial experience.
This was the case, that is until a small startup called Amazon appeared on the scene in the early 2000s and completely revolutionized the world of e-commerce. After Amazon got its footing on the web, it quickly became the premier destination for those looking to sell their products and carve out a new income stream through the power of e-commerce.
With the power of Amazon’s reach in mind, let’s discuss how your business can quickly expand into the e-commerce space by leveraging the unique opportunity presented by the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program.
Step 1: Choose the Products for Your E-Commerce Business
While setting up your e-commerce business is an exciting milestone, it can be difficult to wholly form a business idea without first selecting a product line to sell. However, there isn’t any need to sweat this choice, as with over 300 million active customers on Amazon today chances are, you’ll be able to find a strong market for whatever you choose to sell. If you already have a product in mind, or if you already run a brick and mortar store, then this step easily takes care of itself.
Step 2: Choose the FBA Seller Plan That’s Right for You
Once you and your business partners have selected the right products to offer, it’s time to choose the FBA selling plan that is right for your business.
Amazon offers two selling options: an individual seller and a professional seller option. The individual seller plan does not require a monthly payment and only charges $0.99 per item sold through Amazon. Alternatively, the professional seller option charges $39.99 per month while enabling sellers to sell an unlimited number of products within a month without incurring additional fees.
At first glance, the individual seller plan appears to be the best option for those selling only a few items a month. This is mostly true, but it is important to note that those who anticipate selling a large volume of items will quickly develop a substantial bill for seller’s fees. For those looking to sell more than thirty or so items per month, the professional-grade seller option is likely the best choice for getting an e-commerce storefront started.
Step 3: Sign Up with Amazon and Set Up Your FBA Storefront
After your e-commerce business has selected a product line and chosen the bestselling plan for its needs, it is time to submit an application for an official e-commerce storefront through the Amazon Marketplace. For a step-by-step process, we suggest checking out Amazon Seller Central, as they have the best information available on the web to help new e-commerce entrepreneurs navigate this process. Thankfully, Amazon has made the process of setting up e-commerce storefronts super easy, so chances are your account will be registered and set up in no time at all.
Step 4: Officially Get Started with Your Product Listings
Once your new e-commerce business is registered with the Amazon Marketplace, it is time to start listing your products. After all, what’s the point of starting an e-commerce business if customers don’t have the opportunity to purchase your impressive offerings? Regardless of how many products you initially list, it is important to remember the virtue of patience, as ground-breaking e-commerce sales typically don’t develop overnight.
Step 5: Sit Back and Wait for Customers to Purchase Your Products
Once your storefront is set up, and your products are listed, all of the hard work is done. At this point, the only thing that you’ll have to do is kick back, relax, and wait for those sweet, sweet e-commerce sales to start flowing in. In all seriousness, the downtime associated with waiting for sales presents an excellent opportunity to work on other aspects of your e-commerce business.
Furthermore, keep in mind that it may take a little bit of time for strong sales numbers to develop. This problem will mostly solve itself over time, as once customers start to leave positive reviews, Amazon’s placement algorithms will begin to take notice and rank your products higher, thus helping to drive better sales numbers over time.
Step 6: Ship Your Products Via Fulfillment by Amazon
E-commerce businesses selling on Amazon have many different options available to them when it comes to shipping their products to customers. To make shipping products as seamless as possible, we strongly suggest leveraging the power of Fulfillment by Amazon services. As we have previously discussed, this program provides a ton of great perks to sellers, including the fact that your products will be automatically shipped from an Amazon Fulfillment warehouse after they are purchased online.
While sellers also have the option of shipping their products directly to consumers, there are numerous issues associated with this practice, most notably the higher shipping costs and a greater likelihood of logistical problems. Because of this, we suggest sellers opt to make their items Fulfillment By Amazon items. This approach is by and large one of the most convenient methods to e-commerce available to small and medium-sized businesses today, as it tasks Amazon with all of the “heavy lifting” associated with e-commerce sales.
Note: When you list products under the Fulfillment by Amazon option, they won’t be listed until they are received at an Amazon Fulfillment Warehouse. This is by design, as such an approach prevents items that may or may not be available for purchase from being sold. While this is undoubtedly a small inconvenience, it helps protect your company’s reputation in the end.
Selling on Amazon: The Ultimate Entry into the E-Commerce Space
As we have seen, getting an e-commerce business up and running on Amazon is an effortless and straightforward way to start your own small business. With vast resources, support, and perks available to sellers, in addition to one of the largest customer bases in the world, selling through the Fulfillment by Amazon program is an easy decision for novice and veteran entrepreneurs alike.