Over the past few years, Amazon has managed to establish itself as the undisputed leader in online retailing. The company boasts one of the widest customer bases in the world, and the items sold on the platform cover a wide range that includes everything from home appliances and furniture to clothing and music.
And while the company operates its own warehouses and maintains inventory, the e-commerce platform is also home to various third-party sellers who display and sell their products on the main Amazon site. As a matter of fact, nearly 1 billion products were sold by medium and small businesses during the 2020 holiday season.
But what exactly are the steps involved in starting an Amazon store? And what are some of the variables you need to take into consideration before selling on Amazon? The following sections will answer these questions and break down all the moving parts at play.
What You Should Know Before Starting an Amazon Store
Before deciding to sell products on Amazon, you must first consider a few crucial factors integral to how your online business will operate. Here are some of the things you should be aware of before starting an Amazon store.
The Fulfillment by Amazon Program (FBA)
The first thing every aspiring Amazon seller should be aware of is the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. As the name implies, this program allows third-party sellers to use Amazon's fulfillment centers and shipping service to store and sell their products to customers.
This arrangement allows sellers to focus on improving and marketing their store while Amazon takes care of the logistics. Keep in mind that an Amazon FBA business is charged several fees that vary depending on the type, size, and weight of the products being sold.
One mistake that many new sellers make is neglecting to review the various Amazon policies that sellers have to follow. When selling on Amazon, it's important to remember that your business is subject to a number of rules that define everything from product descriptions and product images to shipping requirements and prohibited activities. Check out this section in Amazon's Seller Central to learn more about the rules that new sellers should know about.
The Size and Weight of Your Products
One of the most important things you should watch out for as a new Amazon seller is the size and weight of the items you're selling. This is because large items are less convenient and significantly more costly to ship than small products. Not considering this factor before you start your business will lead to high shipping costs that slowly eat away at your profit margins.
Ideally, you should start with small products that require a simple shipping process. Opting for such items will also allow you to ship via air at a reasonable cost, an option that is much faster and involves less paperwork than sea freight.
While finding the perfect high demand/low competition product category might be a difficult proposition, you still want to avoid saturated niches that have many established Amazon FBA sellers. Breaking into these markets as a beginner is an uphill climb that requires a lot of capital and extensive marketing efforts.
As part of your initial product research, make sure to identify a niche that still has some room for development and offers new entrants the chance to stand out. As a rule of thumb, the product category you choose should allow you to add your own twist to an existing item or improve it in a way that no other seller has yet.
Private labeling is the process of adding your own business name, logo, and design elements to an existing product. In other words, you get to market a unique brand name and sell your own products without going through the manufacturing process yourself.
Creating your own brand offers you a myriad of advantages. First, private labeling can help reduce the competition in your niche by differentiating your Amazon product listings from those offered by competitors in the same space. Moreover, a private label gives you the flexibility to set your own pricing strategy, which opens up the possibility for increased profits.
Start Your Own Amazon Store in a Few Simple Steps
Now that you are familiar with the basic aspects of selling on Amazon, it's time to create your own store on the platform. Here are the steps you need to follow.
Create an Amazon Seller Account and Form a Legal Entity
The first step of the process is opening a seller account. Before you start, make sure you have the following:
- Phone number
- Chargeable credit card
- Bank account
- ID for identity verification purposes
- Tax information
- Current business email
Amazon has two types of accounts for sellers: a professional seller account and an individual seller account. The individual plan costs $0.99 per item sold and is mainly intended for new sellers who aren't planning on advertising, using advanced tools, or selling more than 40 items per month. On the other hand, the professional plan costs a monthly fee of $39.99 and is geared toward sellers who want to sell more than 40 items per month and are interested in using advanced tools, such as APIs and reports. It's worth noting that both plans charge additional selling fees.
As part of the creation process, you'll have to decide whether you want to operate your e-commerce business as an individual or form a legal entity. The second option is ideal for sellers who expect a high volume of sales and intend to generate consistent business over a long period of time.
As for which legal entity to choose, a limited liability company (LLC) is the first structure you should consider. Setting up an LLC and opening a business bank account will help separate your personal and business finances and ensure that your assets are protected in the event of a liability. Additionally, LLCs offer pass-through taxation and are relatively easy to set up.
Register Your Brand
Once you have created a seller account, the next step is to register your brand on Amazon. In fact, the platform gives sellers the option of adding a registered trademark to the Amazon Brand Registry.
There are many benefits to enrolling in this service. For instance, having a registered brand allows you to advertise your online store in a more personalized manner and access valuable brand metrics that help you learn more about customer behaviors and tendencies. And while a registered brand might not be necessary for resellers, online retailers who plan on promoting and selling a new product will have to establish their own brand.
Add Products to Your Inventory
After creating your account and registering your brand, you can start adding products to your store. To do so, you'll have to create a product listing in the Amazon Seller Hub. This listing includes several characteristics and features, such as a product identifier, an SKU to track inventory, offer details, keywords, and product details.
The product page is particularly important, as it's the first thing your customers will interact with. Here are some important details you should pay attention to when filling out the page.
- Title: It should be detailed, descriptive, and less than 200 characters.
- Images: High-quality product photos will make your store look professional and are an effective way to capture the attention of potential customers. Amazon product images are typically 500 x 500 or 1,000 x 1,000 pixels.
- Product descriptions: This is where you have to detail every aspect of the product and outline how it should be used. Make sure to apply SEO optimization techniques and make use of relevant keywords.
- Bullet points: This part of the page should highlight the product's key features and benefits in a short and concise manner.
Launch and Market Your Store
Now that everything is in place, it's time to launch your store. Here are the steps you should follow to get it up and running:
- Click the "Create Store" button in your Seller Central's navigation menu.
- Choose a template to create your customized store.
- Open the store builder to create subpages for the store.
- Submit and publish the store after you're done with all design elements.
When it comes to marketing your store, you can focus on internal marketing channels or external ones. Internal marketing includes any efforts you put toward improving your rankings on Amazon's search results and boosting the visibility of your products on the platform. External marketing refers to all the promotional strategies directed at driving traffic from outside Amazon. Examples of this include social media advertising and the use of SEO techniques to rank on Google.
Streamline the Way You Run Your Amazon Store
As your business continues to grow, the need for more streamlined processes will increase. This is especially the case when it comes to managing your finances. To avoid costly downtimes in the future, it's advisable to anticipate this growth and use advanced financial management solutions from the inception of your business.
Skynova's accounting software provides all the functionalities that Amazon store owners need. This includes tracking income and expenses, storing receipts, and running financial reports.
Let Skynova Help You Grow Your Amazon Store
Selling on Amazon is a full-time venture that involves navigating many issues and constantly adapting to sudden changes in the market. To stay on top of every facet of your business, it's critical to let someone else handle some of your non-revenue-generating tasks, and this is precisely what Skynova's accounting and invoicing solutions can do for you. See what Skynova's software products can do for you today.