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Amazon's Gated Categories: How To Get Approved In Restricted Categories

Amazon's Gated Categories: How To Get Approved In Restricted Categories 0

ungated category

 

In this article, we will teach you the various gated and ungated categories in Amazon as well as what you should do to get ungated.

Amazon wants customers to be able to shop with confidence on Amazon. For certain products and categories, Amazon might require additional fees, performance checks, and other qualifications.

So before we jump into the proper process of getting ungated on Amazon, let's review the good news! Guess what? There are tons of categories that are automatically open to everyone, including new sellers!

These are the categories:

  • Baby *
  • Beauty***
  • New & Used Books (not including Collectible Books)
  • Camera & Photo
  • Consumer Electronics **
  • Fine Art (but new seller applications are limited)
  • Health & Personal Care***
  • Home & Garden
  • Kindle Accessories
  • Musical Instruments
  • Office Products
  • Outdoors
  • Personal Computers
  • Pet Supplies
  • Software **
  • Sports
  • Tools & Home Improvement
  • Toys *
  • Video Games **

* Some restrictions apply during the holiday season.

**Specific products may still require approval.

***There are sub-categories that may still require approval, and an application fee.

 

The Categories That Are Restricted On Amazon

amazon restricted category

So now that we have covered all the categories that are open to all sellers on Amazon and we have also cleared up some confusion about the categories that are sometimes (or were) gated, let's get to the real deal! what are actually restricted categories on Amazon?

 

 

These are the restricted categories:

  • Automotive & Powersports
  • Clothing & Accessories*
  • Collectible Books
  • Entertainment Collectibles
  • Gift Cards
  • Grocery & Gourmet Foods
  • Industrial & Scientific (the BISS category)
  • Jewelry (Note: Amazon is not currently accepting new seller applications for jewelry)
  • Luggage & Travel Accessories*
  • Major Appliances
  • Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses*
  • Sports Collectibles
  • Watches

These categories are listed as restricted in some places or pages on Amazon, but it actually appears that these are open, but just be careful because some BRANDS require approval. 

Restrictions Based On Product Condition

restricted program

Used items cannot be sold in the following categories:

  • Beauty
  • Clothing, Accessories & Luggage
  • Grocery & Gourmet Food
  • Health & Personal Care
  • Jewelry
  • Shoes, Handbags & Sunglasses
  • Toys & Games *
  • Watches

NOTE: Amazon has long banned selling toys in used condition but would allow sellers to list them in Collectible condition. This is considered a “loop-hole” because that is where buyers and sellers go for “used” toys.

Why Does Amazon Restricted Categories Exist?

gated and ungated category

Understanding Amazon’s Point-of-View

Every single requirements page for the Amazon restricted categories reads the same:

“Amazon limits the addition of new sellers in [this] category to ensure that customers can buy with confidence from all sellers on Amazon.com.”

 

HOW TO GET UNGATED IN AMAZON RESTRICTED CATEGORIES

ungated category

What is Ungating? – this is the process of getting approval to sell in Amazon restricted categories

You will really find that some Amazon categories are very restricted for new sellers. Sellers will need to get approved by Amazon in order to sell products in certain categories. There are a lot of benefits to getting ungated so if you want to expand your Amazon FBA business you should consider starting the approval process.

The harsh reality is that most of the best categories with the biggest opportunities are gated for new sellers.

So, what are the advantages of getting ungated on Amazon?

There will be LESS competition in the gated categories and therefore MORE opportunities for sourcing GREAT DEALS. It also means you will avoid any new rules and regulations as Amazon continues to make things more difficult. In gated categories, you tend to get more experienced sellers. This means less inexperienced penny pinchers constantly undercutting prices in a race to the bottom. Amazon sellers usually find their ROI (return on investment) is much higher once you are selling in gated categories.

E-commerce is growing and therefore there is a MASSIVE business opportunity to be had by those who see the potential. It will never be EASIER – Amazon is adding more rules and regulations all the time so we recommend you do it now while it is as EASY as it is ever going to be.

 

Requirements for getting approval in restricted categories

Before you start your ungating journey, you need to ensure your seller account meets some of Amazon’s minimum requirements.

Professional Amazon Seller Account.

A knowledge of good genuine wholesalers and not cash and carry firms.

Invoices correctly addressed to your Seller Account name and registered address and dated within the last 90 days, although our recommendation is to use very recent invoices.

You must be able to provide a return delivery address in the local country (Amazon provide this if you’re doing FBA).

You must be able to provide local language support for customer service in the country in which you wish to sell (gotta love Google Translate 😊).

Good Seller Metrics.

The Basic Process For Getting Ungated On Amazon

In some cases, you'll request approval to sell in a restricted category and will be approved automatically. This happens randomly and without notice. Amazon doesn't specify which brands or categories this works for.

In general, however, you'll request approval by following these steps to start the process:

  • In Seller Central, click the inventory link and select Add a Product.
  • Run a search for the item you wish to sell. Or ANY product that you know is listed in that category.
  • In the search results, click the Listing Limitations Apply link across from the restricted item.
  • Click the Request Approval button to begin the application process.

To check the status of an application, return to the Add a Product tool and click the Selling application status link located toward the top of the page.

Depending on the category you are requesting approval in, the process that happens after clicking request approval could be slightly different.  We will cover some of the different processes below.

 

How to Get Ungated In The Grocery Category

Of the restricted categories, Grocery & Gourmet Food is probably the one that new sellers are most interested in. It has a wide variety of products that are familiar and easy to source, and with low investment. In fact, we wrote an entire book about how to sell grocery items!

Amazon outlines the process to apply to get ungated in Grocery & Gourmet Food on Seller Central, though sellers have had varying experiences with that process and have filled us in on tips that worked for them.

First and foremost, you'll need good seller metrics, an invoice showing proof of purchase, and possibly some other paperwork.

Seller metrics include:

Be a PRO MERCHANT – this means you are paying the $39.00 a month for your seller account.

  • Order defect rate: < 1%
  • Pre-fulfillment cancel rate: < 2.5%
  • Late shipment rate:        < 4%

The only reason you would fall below these as an Amazon seller is if you are doing Merchant Fulfilling. Since you are most likely just doing FBA, you will meet the above requirements no problem :)

We wish you every SUCCESS in getting yourself ungated and unlocking the possibilities available to Amazon Sellers.

Amazon is a GREAT platform for selling and the more products you can SELL, the more MONEY you can make!

 Here are a few recaps:

Request approval

Sellers must meet additional qualifications to sell certain brands or list within certain categories on Amazon. Follow these steps to apply for approval:
    • From the Inventory, menu select Add a Product. 
    • Search for the item you want to sell.
    • In the search results, click the Listing limitations apply link next to the item. 
  • Click the Request Approval button to begin the application process.

 

Food & Beverage 

Important: If you supply products for sale on Amazon, you must comply with all federal, state, and local laws and Amazon policies applicable to those products and product listings.
The grocery and gourmet food department’s products are all consumable products available for purchase on Amazon. This category includes hot and cold beverages, snacks, breakfast foods, cooking staples, baby food, and even flowers and plants.

Organic products

Products that (1) claim to be organic, (2) claim to contain organic ingredients, or (3) use the U.S. Department of Agriculture ("USDA") organic seal must comply with the USDA organic regulations at 7 CFR Part 205. You are responsible for understanding and complying with all requirements of the organic regulations, including production, certification and labeling requirements. For more information, see Organic Products.

Examples of permitted listings

  • Properly prepared and sealed foods and beverages that are appropriately packaged and labeled. Products need to be shipped appropriately to protect the quality and safety of the food, to avoid spoilage, melting, damage, and so on. All food packaging must include the following:
    • Product name
    • Name and address of the packaging company
    • Expiration date
    • Net content quantity and weight (the weight of the contents, not including any packaging)
  • Lot-controlled products with a shelf-life of greater than 90 days.
    • Perishable products must be removed from inventory 50 days before the expiration date.
    • For Amazon-fulfilled orders (FBA), units within 50 days of expiration will be removed for disposal and will not be available for return.

Examples of prohibited listings

  • Unregistered infant formula
  • Goat's milk infant formula
  • HIPP formula and milk products
  • Products containing any meat imported from China
  • Betel nut products or products containing betel nut flavoring
  • Kaffir lime leaves imported from Thailand

Shipping and labeling requirements

Each shipment of produce must have: (1) the name and address of the shipper or owner; (2) the name of the person to whom the shipment is being sent; (3) the name of the country, state, or territory where the contents were grown; and (4) a statement of the contents. State and local governments may have additional requirements for both interstate and intrastate shipment and labeling of certain produce.

Additional useful information

See Selling Custom Variety Packs of Single-Serve Hot Beverage Products for additional Grocery & Gourmet Food guidelines.

 

Food & Beverage

Sourced Credit: Amazon Seller Central

 

Want to Launch Your Brand on Amazon?

Schedule a Consultation with us TODAY HERE!

How Can Small Business Participate On Amazon Prime Day

How Can Small Business Participate On Amazon Prime Day 0

amazon prime day

 

Amazon PRIME DAY BEGINS ON JULY 16TH AT 3 PM!!!
 
What is Amazon Prime Day?
Think BLACK FRIDAY, but EXCLUSIVELY on Amazon. 
Over 150 million people expected to shop for an estimated 1 million deals with its sellers. Amazon is the #1 leading eCommerce platform in the world, so it's only right that they created their very own shopping Holiday.
Amazon Prime Day is exclusively for its Prime Members who get to reap all the discounted rewards for 36 hours beginning July 6 - July 7.

 

It's also the first Prime Day with Wholefoods, Amazon's latest acquisition.
Amazon is offering Prime members a $10 credit when they spend $10 or more at Whole Foods between July 11 through 17.
Whole Foods is also offering deals on grocery items, and doubling the cash back bonus to 10% from 5% for Amazon Prime Rewards Visa cardholders.
This is an even bigger opportunity to lock more Wholefood shoppers into their membership.
This is pure marketing genius from a Branding perspective for Amazon.
They get to showcase to other competing retailers such as Walmart, eBay and Target their retail might and the sales generated is just the icing on the cake. Prime Day is also used to advertise their very own products and gain new members through their subscription program which is a requirement to take advantage of all these amazing deals. Sales are estimated to gross 3.4 billion this year for Prime Day, though Amazon does not disclose revenue from previous years.
 
The long-term goal for Amazon is to gain new members to its $119 annual free-shipping program and strengthening existing customers relationship.
This is a model I believe we can all learn from as small business owners.
Over $10 million new members subscribe annually from this model.
How are you re-engaging with your customers?
How are we acquiring new customers and clients?
Amazon tested out its inaugural Prime day back in July of 2015 to celebrate their 20th anniversary. The day was designed to replicate the most popular shopping holiday, Black Friday. For Amazon's loyal Prime Customers and gained more sales than their November deals.
 
I personally love the fact that Prime Day created this sense of urgency and everyone wants to take part, even if the savings are minimal. I was able to score a Dymo Label Printer last year for almost half the regular cost with a few office supplies. People were also shopping for back to school supplies and upcoming Holidays.

chart prime day sales

Competitors such as Walmart, for example, debuted new apps and online tools for back-to-school shopping, including a 3D virtual experience called "Buy the Room," and deals on school supplies. Target also announced a one-day sale to rival Amazon on Tuesday for "everyone—no membership required."
 

How Can You Participate On Prime Day?

    1. During Amazon Prime, shoppers are searching the web to score deals on products not only on Amazon but on other channels such as eBay, Walmart and using google as a search tool to compare & score these deals. You can position your website to be optimized for your niche keywords, run Google ad campaigns to target these shoppers and drive traffic to your site to win new customers. Offering some type of discount would be appealing for conversion. So think Free Shipping + a competitive discount off your product. Post your deals on Social Media to let your customers know you are in on Prime Day frenzy. Create scarcity deals as well!                                                             
    2. For those with Amazon Sellers account such as some of my amazing clients, you can also offer a discount off your products to capture the millions of eyes that will be hunting for deals starting Monday. Truthfully you don't even have to run a deal. I've not discounted my items as much and my sales still quadruple on Prime Day. I'll be testing a few discounted price on both days to see if it has a huge impact on sales. But offering a deal would be appealing, especially with all the major brands offering competitive savings. I've positioned our brand on most of the major competing retail platforms such as Walmart.com and Ebay.com, this is definitely our first Black Friday of the year!
    3. Yes, Prime Day is only for Amazon subscribers, but if you're not one, don't think you have to pay the $99 yearly fee to take part. New subscribers can sign up for a 30-day free trial and get access to the deals. Just be sure to unsubscribe before your trial expires
    4. Don't impulse buy, write a list of the things you need and focus on getting deals for those items. Not every deal will be a deal.
    5. If you are missing out this year to sell your brand on Amazon, yes I said your brand. Start preparing yourself to level up to do so. There is coinage being left on the table. Not sure where to start, here's a blog post I wrote that can help you. As an Amazon brand strategist, my goal is to get as many small businesses on the platform to grow there brands and become more profitable.

Here Are A Few Small Businesses You Can Support On Prime Day

Curlmix - Hair Care (Flaxseed Gel)
Sassy Jones Boutique - Exquisite Women Jewelry & Accessories
Minkeeblue - Organizational Travel Bag
Darlyng & Co. - Baby Toys & Essentials
Gabby Bows - Double Snap Barrettes
Urban Intellectuals - Black History Flash Cards
Queen of Africa Dolls - African Dolls and Accessories 
Leah The Creative - Stylist & Influencer
Dreams Inspire Reality - Inspirational T-Shirt

 

Until next time, Dream Big and Execute Hard!
To learn more about our Amazon Services, Schedule A Consultation HERE
7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market? 0

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

 

Now that you have a brand new product that you’re sure will be a hit. The next step would be how to market your new product?

 

Introducing a new product to a particular audience, on the website or in social media seems to be overwhelming and sometimes very expensive to most of the people. They don’t really know where to begin or what to do and so they tend to don’t do anything or start selling immediately on social media platforms.

 

New tactics are required to get the notice that you and your new product deserve. So here are 7 steps for a successful launch of your product:

 

  1. Evaluating your Product

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

There are actually four fundamental factors that you need to weigh to determine if your product is worth pursuing.

 

Are your ideas doable to create based on your capabilities?

Most of the investors get a massive startup marketing or technical help from professionals, but your product still needs to be reasonably within your hands.  Don’t make this frighten you too much. If you really believe that you can do most of the work associated with your invention then you are in a good shape.  Just always remember that even though most inventors do get help most of the time, you still need to do most of the work just by yourself.

 

Is your product profitable enough when produced?

You might not be able to know your exact expenses, but you should consider the materials you will be using for the complexity of product construction and the type of packaging you will really need. If you think you are going to be spending a huge amount and you will be competing with low-cost products, your idea will probably not be worth pursuing.  There are basic exceptions to this rule. Example: if your product is significantly better than the competition or if you are targeting high-end stores and consumers.

Is there really a significant competition?

Just like what Jack Ma of Alibaba said when creating a product. “Be the first” Your product will likely succeed if you are the first to offer that kind of product in a particular market. Products are always easy to introduce if there is either very little or no competition in the market.  More competition generally means lower profits and tougher sales.

 

Does your product have a “WOW” factor?

If people hear about your product and they are amazed and enthusiastic about it, then you should probably pursue your idea.  In business, this is what they call the “wow” factor. This greatly affects the other factors when evaluating your product. This could be the most important part of judging your idea because this “wow” factor is usually the biggest contributor to inventors’ success. Like no matter how profitable you think your product may be, but it doesn’t have that wow factor, it might be difficult to launch that product into the market and you might not be able to get the desired ROI.

 

 

  1. Prototype

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

Contingent upon your item, you could have the capacity to fabricate the model alone. Keep in mind that your model should be made of all an indistinguishable materials; it simply needs to work and resemble your final product. In some cases where you can't assemble the model without the help of anyone else, you may need to employ an expert model developer, a specialist or only an able individual that has experience in producing your product.

 

After you have positive statistical surveying, the time has come to make a product that demonstrates like the model. You will require this to confirm if your thought works the way you figure it will. Your model shouldn't really be produced using the materials that your final product should have. However, it should be nearly the same to be able to demonstrate it to you, to the financial specialists and the potential accomplices that your thought works well.

 

 

 

  1. Market Testing

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

Focusing on the correct market now is urgent since the majority of whatever is left of your means will be intended for making the ideal item, the packaging, marketing, pictures to be used in the campaigns, and so forth for that objective market.

The essential part in deciding your target market is to know and understand what all the business sectors are. Exchange magazines and trade shows are the best sources.

 

  1. Manufacturing

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

 

You should get a manufacturer to begin producing your item. In spite of the fact that US makers are normally less demanding to work with, it can be extremely hard to discover one who will deliver your item. US producers can cost prohibitive. Manufacturers in the US will have a considerably snappier turnaround time and it will be substantially less demanding to finish the item plan and roll out any improvements. You need to weigh what is more vital to you while thinking that the US as your manufacturer or abroad manufacturer. Most innovators end up picking abroad manufacturer because of them being cost effective.

 

  1. Import/Export

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

 

Deciding on importing and exporting Partners and capabilities should be decided on as soon as possible. This will save you both time and money in the long run.

  • Get multiple quotes from shippers to compare.
  • You can start by asking your manufacturer if they already work with a trusted importing company that they can recommend. This can be beneficial for both parties. Their end goal is to get your products to you on time and in good condition for continued business, so they will assist you in this process.
  • Seeking out your local importer can also be a great option.
  • Shippers such as Fedex, UPS, DHL can provide competitive pricing for your if you already have an existing account and can prove you'll do business with them for a long time. An example, Since being with Fedex for over 3 years. We now get over 75% discount on international import and export saving us thousands annually! Simply by asking :)
  • For your first order, you can hire an inspector to check on the quality of your goods before they are shipped to you, to save you the headache of receiving damaged goods or not up to par. 

 

 

  1. Fulfillment

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

Now that you have the goods, it's time to get it to your Customers, Retailers, your Friend, Mom, whomever!

Be sure to factor your shipping expense and supplies into your final cost of goods to remain profitable. You'll need shipping supplies in bulk to prevent you from running out. How will you get the products on time to the customer? Will you ship out the same day, weekly? Be sure this information is listed on your website and visible for your customers to see. You can schedule daily or weekly pickups via USPS depending on your order volume. Or simply drop-off at your postal office. Final packaging is apart of your branding experience for your customers so be sure to invest some time in really crafting this perfectly so you'll have returning customers.

  1. Sell, Sell, Sell

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

7 Steps to Bring your Product to Market?

When you have effectively propelled a product or item, your work has just started. The retail environment is a swarmed and hyper-focused place. You should create effective marketing efforts showcasing a guarantee your item performs in stores.

 

Maintaining your business will take a considerable measure of constancy and persistence, yet in the event that you've influenced it this far you to have proved that you have those characteristics. Try not to get disheartened now, it will take time for your plan to take off, simply continue and adhere to your strategy for success, re-evaluating it every so often.  Above all, stay optimistic.  Remember, starting your own business will take the longest road but in the end, all this will pay off when done and executed well.

 

Since we've invented and brought to market several products, and built an amazing team. We can take the stress out of this entire process for you.

Let us assist you today with getting your idea to market.

Schedule a Session Here

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR INVENTION

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR INVENTION 0

how-to-protect-your-invention

When you come up with a new idea for any product, the next step is its protection and secrecy. No matter how much you try it is not possible to convert your dreams into reality without the help of others so you have to share it with them. Most people these days opt to obtain a patent on their invention. There are different options available that will help you in keeping your idea patent which is as follows:

 

Exact subject of the idea should be known:

It is very important to make the subject of your invention clear in your mind. You must know that not every type of idea can be stolen like you want to start some burger shop but you have any specific recipe in mind then it should be kept the patent. So the exact subject should be known.

 

How much protection you need:

You must know that from whom you are protecting your idea. Whether it is a secret from all or just your competitors. The reason is to make your strategy accordingly.

 

Patent your idea:

According to the law if a person comes up with a new idea or invents some different machine, process or composition then he can obtain a patent on it. Mere ideas are not patentable. If you want to make your design patent then you must present it in drawing form with complete description. The employer in the company will check your product and if it is unique and authentic, he will approve it for 20 years.

 

The provisional patent should be filed:

You can get this filing done at a very low price and it is valid for up to 12 months. It gives you time to decide when you want to apply for your invention in a formal way. If there is any suspicion in the formal patent then the date can be related to the provisional patent for confirmation. If it is not renewed after 12 months then the patent will expire.

 

Consider trade secret protection:

If your invention is not appropriate for patent filing then you must consider trade secret protection which provides broader range. By keeping your trademark secret your invention or product will remain top secret until you want a disclosure. So any sort of formula, program, device or pattern can be protected.

 

Go to Non-disclosure agreement:

If your invention is not patentable, then you should get non-disclosure agreement signed by the buyer. If your product is used in future without permission then you can sue the culprit by showing NDA. All the rules will be selected by you according to the disclosure of your invention or whether you want non-disclosure.

 

Don’t forget precautionary measures:

At first, if you want to keep your product a secret then you should limit the number of people you are sharing it with. Before your idea is officially patentable, you must avoid making it public otherwise you cant do anything. All confidential agreements should be signed before discussing it with people. If you want to make some agreement with companies then you should make NDA signed by authorities.

 

So if you want non-disclosure of your invention then you should follow the above steps to avoid the troubles in future. All documentation and paperwork should be done to protect your trademark.

Should you sell on Amazon?- Pros and Cons on Selling On Amazon

Should you sell on Amazon?- Pros and Cons on Selling On Amazon 1

“Are you ready to expand your brand to Amazon, the fastest growing marketplace in e-commerce?”

amazon-selling

One of the main reasons why every seller should consider selling on Amazon.com is because of one reason- you can reach at the largest customer base online selling platform than found on any of the other e-commerce websites which includes eBay.

Additionally, what is even more challenging is the fact that you can potentially earn more money by doing lesser work!

Amazon is indeed one of the biggest ecommerce stores in the world. Shopify just partnered with Amazon to add some features that will allow entrepreneurs to sell their products through Amazon so easily. You can definitely use Amazon as a sales channel to grow your revenue.

Truth is, there is no perfect place to sell online, but despite that Amazon offers a wide variety of advantages for those who are willing to take risks financially, wish to reach a larger and more diverse online consumer.

PROS 

Amazon has Large Number of Potential Customers

amazon-large-potential-customers

The number of potential customers you can reach through Amazon.com is more than triple the number of potential eBay customers. Statistical data estimates the number of Amazon.com customers at 237 million. In a recent Forbes article, the Trefis Team estimated the number of active eBay users at 70 million. If these estimates are correct, you will reach over three times as many potential customers if you sell on Amazon.com.

Amazon built their platform in a way that it could cater hundreds

People Love to Shop With Amazon.com

amazon-online-shopping

People spend a lot of money on Amazon.com, and the amount of money they spend is increasing fast. According to Amazon.com, about their sales- the reported a revenue (the total amount of money it earns from sales) in June this year is of $81.76 billion. In June last year, Amazon.com’s revenue was $66.85 billion, according to Ycharts.

People spend over three times as much on Amazon.com as they do on eBay. A survey by the firm RBC quoted by Motley Fool writer Daniel Kline noted that the average Amazon customer in the U.S. spends $320 a year on Amazon.

What do these figures mean for the average seller? For starters, you should recognize the incredible amount of business to be had on Amazon. The tricky part is capturing some of this business for yourself.

 

Amazon have built Reputation over the Years

reasons-why-you-need-to-sell-on-amazon

Amazon.com has a much better reputation than eBay. Many people will not shop on eBay because they regard it as cheap and dishonest. Those same people love Amazon.com and shop there regularly.

Every seller should keep this in mind if they are choosing between the two big e-commerce platforms.

 

Amazon Prime            

people-loves-to-shop-on-amazon     

Programs like Amazon Prime can increase your revenues and customer base. Prime does this by encouraging customers to spend more money by offering incentives, such as giving customers free two-day shipping on a wide variety of products with no minimum order.

A survey of 2,000 U.S. Amazon.com customers by RBC found that the average Amazon Prime customer spent $538 a year on the site. Compare this to the $320 that the average Amazon customer spends and you will see the instant advantage to using Prime in your Amazon e-commerce strategy.

 

Amazon Has No Listing Fee

amazon-no-listing-fee

You will not have to pay anything to list an item on Amazon.com. In fact, you will not be charged until you actually sell something. This means you can list more items and leave the listings up longer, which is great news for a seller!

Be aware, however, that Amazon.com will take a hefty cut out of the sales price, usually around 20 percent. Amazon will take out an even larger cut if you participate in programs like Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA).

 

You do Less Work on Amazon

do-less-work-on-amazon

You may be able to do less work when you sell on Amazon.com. Unlike eBay, you won’t have to continually relist items, but you will have to handle the shipping and customer service chores unless you opt for FBA. The Fulfillment By Amazon program handles these tasks for American and UK sellers. (FBA is not available in Australia yet.)

We highly recommend that you read our article on Fulfillment By Amazon (LINK) if you are interested in reducing your workload as a seller.

 

Amazon Testing Purposes

test-product-performance-on-amazon

Selling through Amazon.com is one of the best ways to test the market for a new product. Amazon.com data can show you whether there is a demand for a product, what that demand is, and, more importantly, what you can charge for the product.

 

From Amazon to Your Online Store

amazon-to-online-store

Amazon.com can be a great means of driving customers to your online store. If you can gather contact information from your Amazon.com buyers, you can tell them about offers or products that are not available through Amazon.com.

This is a long-term strategy, but every seller should have this in mind when they start off.

 

Amazon Associates

amazon-affiliates-native-shopping-ads

As a seller, you can take advantage of the Amazon Associates service to promote products related to your industry on your website. This is basically an affiliate program where you earn commissions for sales. There is a danger, however, that there will be a conflict of interest between the products you sell and the products you promote.

The only way to avoid this conflict is to select the products you promote very carefully. The last thing you want to do is cannibalize your business (i.e., compete with yourself).

 

Charge Higher Prices

selling-on-amazon-charge-higher-prices

You can usually charge higher prices on Amazon. Amazon.com is basically a retailer. A retailer makes money by selling items at a competitive price; this is in contrast to a wholesaler (which charges the lowest price possible).

For example, on eBay (a wholesale market) the lowest price for women’s Ariat shirts was $5, whereas the average price for an Ariat shirt on Amazon.com was around $40. Part of the reason for this is that the items for sale on Amazon are usually new, while the items on eBay are often used.

Note: It can be hard to price items on Amazon.com and eBay because both sites list artificially low prices in an attempt to drive sales.

 

Trust Factor

amazon-trust-factor

Amazon.com is one of the most trusted brands in the world. People like Amazon.com and many of its customers in the United States are willing to pay $99 a year to participate in the Amazon Prime service.

So what’s the takeaway point here? If you sell your products through Amazon.com, your business will be associated with a brand that customers know and, more importantly, trust.

 

A Big Chance for the Little Guys

amazon-big-chance-for-new-entrepreneurs

It is impossible for the average person to get a product onto the shelves at a big retailer such as Walmart without spending a lot of money (or having some serious connections). Yet anybody can list a product at Amazon.com and put their wares before 237 million customers worldwide.

 

CONS

Amazon Fees

While some people may feel like the fees are too high, the truth is that they aren’t really when you consider what you’re getting. Imagine if you had to set into place the type of infrastructure that Amazon provides, the technology to check out, the customer base and more yourself? What is that worth?

 

The difficulty of Understanding the Marketplace Infrastructure

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While the infrastructure is indeed awesome for some people, the technology may be too hard to understand. This may require that you hire someone to help train you on how to do shipments and list your inventory properly. Thankfully there are virtual assistants that do only that for their customers.

 

Amazon has No Branding Control

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Selling on Amazon means you’re one of many million people selling products, and unless you are manufacturing a unique item only known to you as a merchant on your own, it will be hard for you to brand yourself. The brand that is on Amazon is simply Amazon.

You can notice that when you search for a product, the search results focus on the variation of products instead of brands.

You definitely have to decide for yourself if selling on Amazon is worth it or not for you. But do consider this: if you can price something well enough or have a unique enough product, you can make plenty of money on Amazon as a seller.

 

The 9 Basic Tips for Selling on Amazon

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To get a good idea of how your business will perform in this marketplace environment, you’ll want to get a clear picture of what selling on Amazon entails.

 

1. What is the Buy Box?

When browsing on Amazon, customers will navigate to a product’s main page and click on the “offers” links below the product description (as indicated by the red circle on the screenshot below) to see the majority of available sellers. vblog_Amaon1

However, Amazon also gives merchants the ability to compete for the coveted “Buy Box” – the CTA button in that familiar shade of yellow. $56 billion of Amazon’s $62 billion sales happen right here, so it’s important to understand how it works.

The Buy Box is the box on a product detail page where customers can begin the purchasing process by adding items to their shopping carts.


2. How does Amazon determine who wins the Buy Box and the order of the merchant offers list?

Because a key feature of the Amazon platform is that multiple sellers can offer the same product, becoming the featured seller who wins the Buy Box is very difficult. In fact, it’s pretty unrealistic to think that your site is ever going to get ranked high enough to become the featured seller. But even if you never win the Boy Box listing, it is still important to understand how it works and how different parts of your site are weighted. Many of the things Amazon values fall in line with e-commerce best practices, so it’s in your best interest to be doing these things anyway. A number of factors affect where a merchant appears in the offers list, including:

Competitive pricing. This includes not only the product cost but shipping costs as well. Many shoppers expect to see low prices while browsing Amazon.

Competing offers. Generally, the more sellers there are, the harder it is to climb to the top.

How much history the merchant has on Amazon as a seller. Merchants who have long, positive selling histories with Amazon have better chances of obtaining one of the top spots.

How many Seller reviews the merchant has on Amazon. Online reviews have a huge impact on driving sales, and can really end up making or breaking your business.

There are many other factors as well, and there are some pretty good articles out there about how to optimize your sales. As a general rule of thumb, the most effective solution is to ensure that any transactions you receive through Amazon run as smoothly as possible. That means delivering your product in a timely manner and communicating with your customers along the way.

However, if you’re looking to break into the market a little quicker, here are two shortcuts that can help:

Start by selling a low-competition item to boost your seller ranking. This will increase the probability that the offer will show higher for more competitive products.

Try offering a very competitive price for a popular product. This draws in bargain shoppers and can increase your seller ranking. You can check out Amazon's "Most Wished For" list to see the most popular items by industry if you need some inspiration.

 

3. What is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)?

Fulfillment by Amazon is a program where you send your merchandise to one of the many Amazon fulfillment centers to be stocked; then customers buy products from you, and Amazon ships them. This sort of arrangement allows you to focus on other aspects of running your business while Amazon handles many facets of shipping and customer service. Other benefits include extending the reach of your products to Amazon Prime members and gaining an extra push towards winning the Buy Box, even if your products have a bit of a higher price. With Volusion, merchants have the ability to set up different shipping options including drop shipping, which allows flexibility to try using FBA. You can learn more about Fulfillment by Amazon here.

 

4. What types of merchants tend to benefit the most from selling on Amazon?

Three kinds of merchants tend to perform particularly well on Amazon:

Merchants selling unique-to-them products.  (e.g. companies who produce their own products, such as a company that designs its own jewelry)

Merchants who sell hobby or niche products. Amazon generally won't start fulfilling or carrying hobby or niche products, so there's less of a risk you'd have to compete with Amazon itself.

Merchants selling refurbished or used products. Amazon has a huge market for these products, as they attract shoppers whose main concern is price and don’t mind waiting for shipping. It is worth noting, however, that used products cannot win the Buy Box spot.

That said, the benefit of owning your store’s URL and fully branded website cannot be overstated; this gives an extra level of credibility and authority, and visitors are more likely to remember you versus someone else. Many merchants who achieve popularity on Amazon still find it essential to have control over their own e-commerce website and branding. This allows them to achieve a fully independent store presence and market to large audiences outside of Amazon through other marketing channels.

Other frequently asked questions about selling on Amazon Marketplace

Now that we have the basics covered, let's get into the nitty-gritty. Here are a few common questions about the details of selling on Amazon:


5. Why should I associate one of my products with an Amazon product that's already listed?

Products are only allowed to be listed once in the Amazon catalog, so creating a second product detail page for an existing product will result in your listing being removed. By matching your product to the product detail page that already exists, your offer has a chance to be seen.

 

6. Why can’t I use certain shipping methods at first?

Amazon doesn’t allow new merchants to offer certain shipping methods right off the bat, such as two-day shipping. These shipping methods have to be earned by establishing a history of reliable shipping at the slower shipping speeds.

 

7. Why aren’t I being compensated correctly for shipping?

Amazon determines how much they think it should cost to ship a product based on the merchant’s origin, the customer’s address and the given weight of the product. However, oftentimes the amount of money that Amazon reimburses merchants for shipping won't match the actual shipping cost.

 

8. How can I increase the number of reviews on my Seller account?

Please note that merchants are forbidden from soliciting or paying for Seller Account reviews. Any sellers who engage in these practices risk having their accounts suspended. Your best bet is to give customers a great shopping experience (including aspects of product price, clear and informative customer communication and shipping reliability) so they want to vouch for you on their own. If your business is hurting for reviews, we have some advice to help you out.


9. Are there any policies I should look over before I start selling on Amazon?

Here are some policies you may want to review or view on their website before selling on Amazon:

  • Product detail page rules
  • Shipping policies
  • Policies and agreements
  • Selling Policies
  • Prohibited seller activities and actions

When you want to sell on Amazon, the best advice we have is to first know your business, and know what you're getting from it. A new Amazon integration means a lot of new opportunities. By doing an audit and focusing on your business' needs, you'll be taking your online success to the next level in no time.

Good luck in your selling venture!

Need help selling on Amazon? Not sure where to begin?

Schedule a Consultation

    

My Top 10 Best Marketing & Productivity Tools - You’ll absolutely Love to Grow Your Business

My Top 10 Best Marketing & Productivity Tools - You’ll absolutely Love to Grow Your Business 0

Marketing strategy begins right after you are done with content research and writing. Try skipping it and there would be little to no engagement with your newly published content, which later on you’ll think about where it all went wrong.

With so many social media and other networks in marketing out there, marketing on the internet now makes it more complicated than the traditional billboard and print ads that we have used for marketing in the past.

Being consistently active in your audience is still a little too much to ask for both new and veteran marketers and bloggers.

What most companies have figured out is how to utilize the use of available tools at hand to save more time on marketing and researching new topics much easier. Big data is now influencing online marketing, especially in the 2018 and keeping ahead of it, is imperative.

Having engaging content is one of the key things that will make you stand out, and the right tools to get it into the hands of readers are very much needed. To help you speed up your online marketing efforts, you will definitely need the right marketing tools to make things easy for you especially on the promotional fronts.

Below are the 10 Best Marketing and Productivity Tools that you might actually want to check and see which one can greatly contribute to your social media success.

 

IFTTT for content-automation on Social Media

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IFTTT means “If this, then that”. This marketing tool lets you set up some rules that will make running your social media marketing empire so much easier, called applets.

An applet is triggered by changes that occur within other web services such as Gmail, Facebook, Telegram, Instagram, or Pinterest. [5]

For example, an applet may send an e-mail message if the user tweets using a hashtag, or copy a photo on Facebook to a user's archive if someone tags a user in a photo.

You can create rules that will trigger specific actions when something happens. Example: You can create a rule that means every time you get a Google notification for a specific alert; it is automatically added into a Google doc so you can check them all at the end of the day.

The rules you will be creating can eliminate lots of manual back-and-forths, and can massively help you streamline your process in a way that emphasizes and enhances your individual productivity. IFFTT saves me tons of time on Social Media from reposting the same content on several social media platforms.

 

Facebook – The Most Popular Social Media Network

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Facebook is one of the most popular social network platforms nowadays. There’s huge strength in numbers, and with over 1.4 billion users and over 900 million of those users visiting the site every day, Facebook is indeed a giant in social media. If you’re like most small businesses, you simply can’t afford to have a presence there.

Facebook users encompass all demographics. Whether you’re trying to reach teens or seniors, you can find them on Facebook. According to Pew, some 72 percent of online American adults use Facebook. Eighty-two percent of online adults ages 18 to 29 use it, 79 percent of those ages 30 to 49 use it and 64 percent of those ages 50 to 64 use it. Even among Internet users aged 65 and up, nearly half (48 percent) use Facebook.

Facebook advertising is also affordable. The average Facebook ad would cost just $5.99 per thousand impressions. In addition, you can set and control your own budget so you don’t face unexpected marketing costs.

Facebook advertising is highly targeted. You can target your audience by location, age, gender, interests and other factors. Use the Custom Audiences feature to target existing customers safely and privately. Or, market to local customers with Local Awareness ads that reach customers on their mobile devices.

Facebook also lets you reach out to website customers. Facebook’s re-targeting option allows you to show Facebook ads only to people who have previously visited your business website.

Facebook helps you measure your results. Still, doubt that Facebook is an effective marketing tool? Don’t take my word for it: measure the ROI yourself. The free Facebook Insights tool lets you track the results of your Facebook marketing, including ads and organic posts. You can get detailed information about how prospective customers are engaging with your business on Facebook, such as how many likes you got this week and how that compares to past measures, what type of engagement you received (likes, comments, and shares) on posts, and which ads drove traffic to your website or other actions.

I did a Podcast episode dedicated entirely to Facebook.

 

MailChimp – The Best Email Marketing Tool

MailChimp is one of the most widely used Email marketing tools to get your content delivered directly to your subscriber list. With even support for creating and building an Email list, this free tool has got you covered on all fronts when it comes to Email Marketing.

Gain more new subscribers to your blog and increase your list by making use of MailChimp’s services. I especially love the automation features I'm able to create, such as retargeting emails, welcome emails, abandon cart emails etc.

 

 

Canva – The Easiest Tool for Creating Social Media Graphics

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It’s an amazing tool which allows you to create different kinds of promotional content, including but not limited to:

  • Flyers
  • Posters
  • Menus
  • Business Cards
  • Logos
  • Social Media Posts, Graphics & Banners
  • Magazine & Book Covers
  • Certificates
  • & much more! But what’s the catch? Like you’re getting all of this and that too without a watermark?

Well this time, fortunately, that is the case. No compromise on quality or any sort of watermark.

I’ve found a lot of solutions out there, but unfortunately, most of them include Watermarks. If not watermarks, then limited design options or poor quality, but that’s not the case with Canva.

If you’re one of those people that don’t like starting off from scratch and needs a kickstart, there are numerous amazing templates for you.

Hate crawling the web searching for license-free images or just too busy? Well, they’ve got a free images module built in allowing you to choose from an unlimited range of photos.

You also get to choose from Grids & Frames to give your design a solid structure.

Choose from a variety of charts to showcase in your next presentation.

Set custom backgrounds using photos

Create a team to collaborate with other graphic designers.

 Canva is a lifesaver for a none techy person like myself.

Shopify – The Most Powerful E-commerce Platform

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Shopify is one of the most powerful e-commerce platforms for businesses of all scales. There is a wide range of top Shopify apps in the market, which makes it a tough choice for entrepreneurs to choose what works best for their online stores. My favorite thing about this Platform is the customer service, it's excellent and the user face is so simple to set up a website. 

Start your 14-day Free Trial Today

 

Evernote – A Tool to help you Keep Everything in Sync

With Evernote, you can keep everything in sync. All of your notes, files, web clips or images are available on any device and computer you are using. From short notes to lengthy research, no matter your writing form, Evernote can you focused on turning these ideas from inspiration to actual completion.

You can save every file you file cool and exciting online or in the actual world. Take photos, record audio, and save it. You can also save entire web pages to Evernote with its nifty browser extensions. You can get the whole webpage: text, images, and links.

If your business involves you always moving but you want to have your notes with you, then this tool is good for you. With Evernote, your memories are readily available and accessible on any computer, phone, or device you are using.

You can also share your notes with business colleagues or friends.

In Evernote, you can keep itineraries, scanned travel documents, confirmations, maps, and plans, so you will have them easily accessible when you need them.

Evernote’s powerful search and discovery functionalities make everything you have collected so far easy to find.

Have fast and effective meetings by showing your work as it evolves. There is no need to build slides, just a single click and your notes can be quickly transformed into a screen-friendly, beautiful layout.

 Try Evernote today and Thank me later!

 

Asana - A Free and Powerful Task Management Application

Collaboration is beautiful. Asana can be used directly through a web browser or its smartphone application.   It’s free and you just need access to the internet.  Asana is not great because of its robust features; it’s great because of its simplicity.   At first glance, you may think this is another application with a steep learning curve, but if you can just allocate a small amount of time to play with the application, you’ll notice how easy it is to pick-up.

Asana feels like an elegant and sophisticated upgrade from a notebook.  It’s fast, intuitive, and easy to manipulate. The application responds and accepts input quickly and saves automatically.  Additionally, Asana’s taxonomy features and user interface make it easy to navigate, prioritize, and organize.

 

Onlypult – The Time-saving Instagram Scheduling Tool

Onlypult is a convenient and effective social media solution that saves time when creating and scheduling Instagram posts.

Instagram does not have an option to schedule posts in advance, not do any of the major social media planners such as HootSuite or Buffer.

The main benefits of Onlypult are:

  1. Post Instagram images from your computer – you don’t need to post to Instagram with your tablet or smartphone.
  2. Schedule Instagram posts in advance – you can schedule one or more Instagram posts to go live at times that are optimal for your audience, complete with text and up to 30 hashtags.

Onlypult offers a free 7-day trial, then converts to a paid plan, starting at $12/month to manage up to 3 Instagram accounts.

 

Here’s How Onlypult Works:

  • log into your Onlypult dashboard from your laptop
  • upload images from your computer
  • add text and up to 30 hashtags
  • schedule your image to post now or up to
  • Onlypult Pros
  • schedule posts individually, or use Onlypult’s Planner feature with your preferred posting times
  • supports images of different size and shapes – the Instagram app only supports square images
  • built-in filters
  • supports up to 30 hashtags
  • calendar view of upcoming and previous posts and interaction (all posts: not just those posted via Onlypult)

Onlypult Cons

  • doesn’t support video (soon, I hope!)
  • analytics don’t offer much information

features are not well-documented and are hard to find, such as changing the time zone

 You can use my referral code to save 10%, you'll love it!

 

Acuity Scheduling - How Clients Schedule Appointments Themselves

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Acuity Scheduling is easy-to-use and user-friendly scheduling solution using which clients can quickly view real-time availability, and book their appointments accordingly. This saves businesses from most of the headaches and mix-ups related to manual scheduling.  Its powerful calendar coordination features automatically notify when an appointment is booked and allows checking schedules from mobile devices. It supports Google Calendar, iCalendar, Outlook and Office 365.

The software eliminates usual scheduling mix-ups through calendars that update automatically, and adjust according to different time zones. This allows clients to easily cancel and reschedule appointments themselves as per their convenience. Managing multiple locations and staff is also made easier, as clients only see the calendar that you want them to see. New clients can be prompted with intake-forms to collect all the required information while they are booking an appointment. This means that you get a more efficient approach towards gathering all the information in one place.

The software makes it easier to track down revenues by breaking down paid/unpaid appointments, no-shows, fulfillments and hours spent by service. Almost everything is customizable to match the existing branding of your company, while calendar can also easily be shared on the social media via Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and email. The calendar can also be embedded to the website for a more streamlined and seamless booking experience.

The solution is also HIPAA compliant, meaning complete security of customer’s information. Being a web-based solution, Acuity Scheduling can be assessed from anywhere using any device with a browser and an internet connection. Clients can make single/multiple bookings as well as class and group appointments. Its support for a variety of online payment solutions, including PayPal and Stripe, allows clients to easily make payments and makes the process a lot easier for the businesses as well.

Try it out Today!

Instagram

instagram-marketing-tool

Best of all, Instagram is a proven social media platform that helps businesses engage current customers and attract new ones. Here’s why most businesses should incorporate Instagram into their marketing campaigns. 

Instagram is growing at a record-breaking pace when compared to Vine which has just over 200 million users worldwide (as of December 2015).

In fact, the growth of Vine slowed down after Instagram added the video sharing feature on its platform.

When it comes to video marketing, beautiful content is what attracts the attention of people on social media. Instagram allows you to spice up your videos using filters.

Add a personal touch or create a welcoming background for your videos and make them more shareable. Vine users will have to miss out the benefits of Instagram filters.

Instagram lets you talk more about its 15-seconds video feature, so this again is something you need to consider when comparing the two video sharing platforms.

From our experience, these are the best-known ways to leverage the benefits of marketing on Instagram and boost your traffic and sales on a budget. 

Hope you enjoyed some of my favorite marketing & productivity tools.

Until next time, DREAM BIG!

 

*Full disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and enroll in any of the apps or programs, I will receive an affiliate commission. I've personally used all of these programs  to build my business.*

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