Remember when Amazon.com focused solely on selling books? Well, things have changed. And in a big way. In 20 short years, Amazon has rapidly diversified into one of the world's largest internet companies - selling everything from phones and furniture to food and Kindle Fires.
A whopping eighty million Americans visit Amazon.com every month - each person wanting to purchase something - making Amazon the 9th most visited site in the US: https:// www.quantcast.com/top-sites/US/
And Amazon does a great job at it, too. They ship quickly, orders arrive on time, pricing is excellent, and post-sales customer service is stellar.
Not happy with what you purchased? No problem. Amazon will take it back. Their no-quibble return policy makes it easy to shop with them.
My family and I just moved into a new home. We furnished about 80% of it via Amazon.com. Everything delivered right to our doorstep.
So it's no wonder large, brick-and-mortar stores like Walmart, Sears and KMart are scrambling to rejuvenate sluggish sales.
It's also no surprise retailers of all sizes are turning to Amazon and asking how they can leverage its volume of shoppers and its operational expertise - how they can be the little white birds on the hippo's back.
Can Amazon serve as a thriving retail center for my products? And can Amazon help me do more than just sales?
As you can imagine, there are many companies that would love to help with every part of your business cycle. They would like to help you find new customers (and keep them!), boost sales, fulfill orders, and provide post-sales support.
Amazon is one them: You can resell any number of your products on Amazon. You can use Amazon Payments to process credit cards from your standalone e- commerce site. You can send containers of product to Amazon and they will pack, ship and fulfill orders as they come in. Complete turnkey.
In fact, Amazon now offers an e-commerce solution called Amazon Webstore: http:// webstore.amazon.com/. Bascially, it's a platform for you to build and operate your online business. The cost is $75/month plus 2% credit card processing fees.
Amazon provides the tools for design, merchandising, catalogue management, inventory management, checkout, payment processing and customer service.
The features I especially like: Integration with free comparison shopping engines like Google Shopping and TheFind.com Integration with affiliate advertising programs like Commission Junction and LinkShare. APIs for integrating with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
Top brands using Amazon Webstore include Fruit of the Loom, Spalding, Black & Decker, and Samsonite.
We recently helped Hawaii Hurricane Company launch a new e-commerce site on Amazon Webstore. Take a look: http://www.hawaiianhurricane.biz/
Mark Doo is the owner and he's had his business on Amazon for 2 years now. Prior to moving to Amazon, Mark operated 3 standalone websites. He found it cumbersome and ultimately expensive to manage them.
What attracted Mark to Amazon's solution was their ease-of-buying, their friendly return policies, and their commitment to customer service. He also welcomed Amazon's flat fee hosting, inexpensive credit card processing, and robust security.
Hawaii Popcorn's hottest selling item is Hurricane Popcorn: http://www.hawaiianhurricane.biz/3pk-Hawaiian-Hurricane-Microwave-Popcorn-Gift/M/B0000D8Q90.htm
I like Mark because he keeps things simple and focuses on the basics. He sells only a handful of items, all of them are winning flavors, he uses Amazon Fulfillment to streamline his operations, and he's fanatical about quality and customer service.
But he doesn't neglect conventional retail. You can find his popcorn in more than 20 locations in Hawaii, including Long's, Safeway, Times, Costco and Walmart.
Earlier this year Mark started selling his popcorn in all of the Costcos in Japan and has been consistently rated one of the top ten selling items in Costco Japan!
So what's the bottom line? If you sell, you have to sell where your customers are at. If they are online, then you need to be there, too.
Your store's online experience needs to be quick, painless and professional. And it's got to feel good every step of the way.
There are a bunch of companies wanting to help you do exactly that. And Amazon Webstore is a good solution offering several unique advantages. It's definitely worth checking out.
FAQs about Amazon Webstore: http://webstore.amazon.com/resources-FAQ/b/9437374011
Amazon Webstore pricing: http://webstore.amazon.com/amazon-webstore-pricing/b/9437432011
Tips on how to sell on Amazon: http://www.skipmcgrath.com/articles/amazon-selling-tips.shtml http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/3957-5-Tips-for-Increasing-Amazon-Sales-by-50- Percent
More about Amazon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon.com
JAMES KERR, Founder and Chief Geek of SuperGeeks. Mr. Kerr's tech tips help businesses improve efficiencies and boost sales. Learn how your company can leverage search engine JAMES KERR, Founder and Chief Geek of SuperGeeks. Mr. Kerr's tech tips help businesses improve efficiencies and boost sales. Learn how your company can leverage search engine marketing. Visit at SuperGeeks .marketing. Visit at supergeeks