I hear from lots of people and small businesses who want to start selling on Amazon and I help and work with a lot of Amazon sellers every single day. I see a lot of people do well – but I also see people who don’t. What’s worse is that for some of them there are reasons for this, out of their control (we will of course talk about the things that are within your control!), and they might have been better off focusing their time and effort into another marketplace.
I don’t mean to be harsh at all when I say that. You hopefully know that my goal is to help as many people as possible do well on Amazon – but it’s definitely not for everyone.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that those who don’t do well don’t have a great product (although this is essential)! It could just be that there’s another marketplace that suits your product better.
On the other hand – Amazon might not be somewhere you’ve even considered selling your products and it could be a really good fit.
You’ve probably heard me say, many times by now, that Amazon is a tricky place to get started – even if you have an amazing product. It’s so hard in fact, that I wrote a free guide all about this – How to Successfully Launch a Product on Amazon or Rescue One that’s Not Selling!
Why Amazon Is An Appealing Place to Sell Your Products
There are lots of reasons! It’s a huge, well known marketplace, many of us shop there (so we’re familiar with it) and there are lots of customers already there. If your product is what people are looking for it can be easier to convert them (than on Google for example), as they’re usually there to shop.
Like with any marketplace, there are good and bad points about selling on Amazon.
- It’s a large recognisable marketplace that people know and trust.
- The customers are already there – so no need to worry about getting them onto the site – you just need to focus on them being able to find your product and converting them into buyers.
- There are lots of inbuilt marketing tools you can use to attract customers – and these get better all the time.
- If you decide to use Fulfilled By Amazon (Amazon FBA), then they can handle the logistics (storage and shipping) for you. This can be expensive, so it’s worth trialing with just a small amount of stock initially.
- You have the opportunity to sell Globally, as there are marketplaces all over the World, so plenty of opportunities for expansion.
- There’s an ‘art’ to creating a great product listing on Amazon and you need one to get found! There are also lots of rules to adhere to and breaking any one of them can get your listing shut down. This includes the wording you use – so be careful about any claims that you make.
- There’s a lot of competition and it gets harder and harder to get started. I usually suggest paying for Amazon Sponsored Products (Pay-Per-Click marketing), but this can get expensive.
- Amazon Seller Support aren’t that supportive! Lots of sellers struggle and many give up, as dealing with them can be so difficult. You need a thick skin and to be pretty tenacious to get anywhere!
- You don’t get any customer details (other than what you need for shipping, if you’re fulfilling orders yourself), making it hard to build up an email list.
What Kind Of Product Is It Best For?
You can sell most things on Amazon. A few things you can’t sell in the UK include:
- Vehicles (new or used)
- Vehicle airbags
- Fetal dopplers
- Used clothes and shoes
- Clothing made from animals
This isn’t the full list and I always suggest checking out the restrictions for anything you want to sell. You might need to request approval first – which can take time. Also remember that the requirements can and do change.
It may well be that it can be sold, but you’d have issues if you wanted to send it in for FBA, as you may have to submit a safety data sheet.
This is a detailed information bulletin containing 16 sections prepared by the manufacturer or importer that describes the physical and chemical properties, physical and health hazards, routes of exposure, precautions for safe handling and use, emergency and first-aid procedures, and control measures of a product.
The kinds of things you might need this for are hand sanitisers, fragrances, foods and cosmetics. This can trip up handmade sellers. For example if you’re selling a candle kit that contains a fragrance oil. Having said that, the only real issue is you can’t use FBA – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, or a reason to not sell and despatch orders yourself.
How Do I Know If There’s Demand For My Product?
I definitely suggest doing a little research before listing your product. If demand and competition for products similar to yours are really high it can be hard to stand out and compete with sellers who already have sales history and reviews.
Equally, if your product is really unique (so people don’t know it exists), or something people might not necessarily go to Amazon for (say handmade products) then it can also be hard to get noticed.
Carrying out your own research
If you want to do your own research for free, my favourite free tool is the Jungle Scout Sales Estimator, which will give you a rough idea of how many sales a product makes on Amazon per month.
I have a blog post and a video that explains how to use it – but it’s pretty intuitive. I’ll link to everything in the show notes.
What you can then also do is get an idea of what the fees would be (also important) using Amazon’s free FBA revenue calculator. Again, this is linked in the show notes.
If you want to invest in an Amazon research tool to do your own research, l I also recommend Jungle Scout. It’s probably the tool I use the most. I have the full tool and a Chrome extension which allows me to see, at a glance, how well any product sells on Amazon and what the monthly revenue is. You can also search for a product and see (for that keyword) what the competition is like, what demand is and how well optimised competing listings are.
The full tool also has product ideas, Amazon-specific keyword tools, as well as analytics to look at your sales, margins and profits. If you’re looking to build or expand your business on Amazon it’s well worth looking into.
If you want to get more in-depth, and avoid going it yourself, I can help you.
I offer Mini Strategy Sessions where you can find out whether it’s worth selling your product on Amazon, plus the steps you’d need to take to make it happen.
- Whether there’s a market for a product like yours (based on research I’ll do on your behalf prior to the call).
- What’s involved in setting up and launching your product on Amazon (including how much time you need to launch)
- My honest opinion on whether you should be selling on Amazon.
- A bespoke market research report (including competitor analysis).
- The Amazon Sellers’ Checklist – which sets out the steps you need to take to get your product on Amazon.
- My Amazon Launch Guide – to help you get off to a great start!
I honestly think this is an investment worth making. Find out whether there’s actually potential for your product on Amazon before you start thinking about spending any time or money on getting started. This can save you lots of money, and time, (not to mention all the frustration and heartache) if you just jump in and then find out it’s actually not the right place for your products.
How To Get Off To A Great Start On Amazon
If you’ve decided that Amazon is a marketplace that might work for you, and you’re tempted to try it out, make sure you download a copy of my FREE guide to help get you off to the best start possible.