These days, MOST manufacturers are selling on Amazon. Still, there are always those out there who have yet to make the leap. There are tons of reasons for not selling on Amazon. For some, it is a matter of being intimidated or worrying about associated costs, inventory versus demand, or for others it might be more about taking a stand against the “man”. Maybe you think resellers are the way to go, or you just haven’t simply gotten around to it.
Whatever your reasons, this post is going to set a fire under all you non-Amazonites.
At Whitebox, we think selling on Amazon isn’t a choice; it’s a necessity. If you want to be successful in ecommerce, you’ve got to bite the bullet. Read on, and find out why.
Also… if you already sell, it’s definitely still worth skimming this post. You might just find a facet of the big A you haven’t been taking advantage of!
ONE: Sheer Size
So, we’re going to start out stating the obvious: Amazon is big. Like, really big. As in the number one website in the world. For all you number lovers out there, Amazon has about 184 million unique visits per month. That’s roughly 70 per second.
Every so often, we’ve talked to folks who worry about Amazon stealing customers from their own sites. And sure, this is a valid concern. But remember, what is more likely to happen is that Amazon brings in new customers. Your website, great as it is, can’t compare to the behemoth that is Amazon. Our website, for instance, ranks 994,218th in the US. (Check out this tool, which is kinda fun, to see where your site falls.) So what website is a person more likely to end up on? Plus, there are always methods to push customers to buy from your site instead.
TWO: As delivery expectations rise, returns will matter more
Overall, Amazon offers some pretty nifty data tracking tools. When it comes to marketing, these tools are indispensable. You’ll have data on where your customers are located, and what keywords are driving buying behavior. Seasonal shifts can be noted for future inventory management and advertizing.
Also, Amazon helps your marketing department look ahead. All that immediate feedback from customer reviews can be integrated into product development or marketing documentation. So, if you’re thinking of launching 5 products or varieties, you might have some data that can help you pick which one to push first.
THREE: Browsing consumers visit and trust Amazon
This goes along with our first point. Since Amazon is so big, people feel comfortable buying from them. And even people who aren’t Amazon fan boys or girls sometimes start on Amazon. In fact, a recent study found that 50% of shoppers start their search on Amazon.
Also, as you develop those positive reviews, you’ll be reassuring new customers about the quality of the product. Even though it’s arguable how credible reviews are, this doesn’t change the fact that Amazon provides a good opportunity to give undecided consumers a little boost of confidence.
FOUR: Opportunity for growth
In addition to roping new consumers in through searches, Amazon also provides some good chances for growth within its own ecosystem. Being part of the site that “has everything” means you get to sell along the big guys. Even though you can’t usually outsell them, you’ve got a shot if you’re on Amazon.
Referrals (i.e. the links that say, “Customers who bought this also bought…”) are another place to bring in more sales. And finally, Amazon ads and keyword optimization (which we manage for our clients) help push your product in both organic search results as well as in the coveted “sponsored” listing positions on the first page.
For an example, check out our client, Birch Benders, when we search “paleo pancakes”:
FIVE: Great shipping speeds and policies
We all know Amazon is the queen of shipping. Even so, it’s good to acknowledge that working with them means having that shipping efficiency as part of your arsenal. Amazon has a LOT of warehouse. They don’t tend to share stats, so it’s hard to find an exact number, but estimates suggest close to 100 shipping centers across the United States in early 2015… which at this point is 2 years ago.
Prime Now is growing, and it might be good for your products. Right now, it is available in 28 US cities. Since Amazon is such a heavy weight, it’s no shock that items get lost or damaged every so often. Luckily, they also offer insurance for up to $5,000 per item. Finally, when that mess up does occur, Amazon will take the fall for you, which means your brand won’t be tied to the whims of shipping.
At Whitebox, we know selling on Amazon can feel a little scary, but it isn’t something you can avoid forever. Fortunately, once you take the jump, you’ll find a lot of the tools and services offered are worth it for your brand. And, if you’re feeling unsure about anything, Whitebox is always willing to talk Amazon strategy.