Launching a business on Amazon can either seem like a breeze or the most daunting goal you’ve ever set for yourself. Neither is entirely true, but it’s safer to think the latter than the former. The market is indeed very competitive, but it’s by no means a gargantuan task to get you started. While there are comprehensive guides available that’ll walk you through each step (see below), there are a few things you should be aware of before you take the plunge.
Here are 8 tips for launching a business on Amazon:
1. Take one step at a time
It’s important to take it one step at a time when it comes to building your business on Amazon. The key to a happy life, according to psychological studies, is to have low expectations. That’s not to say that your ambitions shouldn’t be sky-high. Things will take time.
For example, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your business on Amazon won’t be either. Fortunately, there are handy online guides that’ll teach you how to build your empire step by step, even if you’re on a budget.
2. Invest in low-ticket products
It’s tempting to go for products with a big price tag because they often yield a large profit margin. Beginners are not advised to take this route, however. Why? Because you can wave goodbye to that large profit margin if you only have a small stock purchase budget to work with.
You need to buy in bulk from the manufacturer if you hope to knock down the price and increase your profit margin. Going for low-ticket items will allow you to negotiate with the manufacturer, as you’ll be buying hundreds of things rather than tens of them. Buy products that match your buying power, and then move up the ladder from there.
3. Don’t play the undercutting game
Many entrepreneurs build their business by undercutting the competition. That’s not a good strategy for a budding business, because your budget and sales volume probably won’t allow for it. You’ll be competing with the big boys (sometimes even Amazon themselves) who buy in vast quantities and therefore have very favorable buying and shipping costs.
It would be better if you instead focused on competing on quality of service rather than price. Feel free to knock yourself out in the undercutting game later, once you can afford your warehouse.
4. Avoid branded products
It’s challenging to make a profit out of selling branded products, such as Apple or Nike. The game of branded goods is exceptionally competitive, and you’ll quickly find yourself in the deep end — just like if you compete on price.
While there is a chance you can stumble across branded goods on clearance, even these will be difficult to get rid of on Amazon. It would be better if you instead spent time developing your business brand.
5. Avoid cheap imitations
Don’t be fooled by Chinese factories on Alibaba that claim to sell branded goods. They’re usually cheap knock-offs that’ll only hurt your seller rating on Amazon. It’s no secret that China produces many imitations, and you don’t want to risk being caught up in a criminal case.
Some of the most sought-after fake products are electronics. Ask yourself if you’re going to risk your imitation product blowing up in the face of your customers is worth the extra profit margin.
Big brands are also aware of the fact that factory workers in China are tempted to sneak out a few iPhones to sell for their private gain. Naturally, the companies monitor these factories to make sure that doesn’t happen.
6. Put your money where your mouth is
Anyone who’ve scrolled through the job listings on sites like Craigslist will know that there is an abundance of offers that are too good to be true. Work from home and make all the money in the world with no up-front investment.
Guess what? Cliches like “it takes money to make money” and “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” are all true. Launching a business on Amazon will require you to budget for your products, shipping of your products, your Amazon seller account, product photography, graphic design, online marketing, and other expenses related to running a business.
7. Don’t do everything yourself
It can be tempting to save money by taking your product photos, designing your logo, create your Facebook ads, and filing your accounts. After all, there are loads of free YouTube videos on how to do these things yourself. Don’t do it.
Chances are the result will scream amateur hour. Your friends might be impressed, but your customers won’t be. Your job as an entrepreneur is to work on your business and not in it. If you can’t afford to hire professionals to accomplish these tasks for you, then wait until you can. Your time is better spent working in your field of expertise.
“Position yourself with something that captures your curiosity, something that you’re missionary about.” – Jeff Bezos
If you think industries are changing rapidly out there in the real world, then wait until you learn about online businesses. Reading this article is just the start of your learning curve.
Amazon is just a platform, but even so, there are many things you have to stay on top of. You have to know about carving out a niche, ranking well on Amazon, advertising your products across social media channels, and improving your online reputation.
Never stop learning because the landscape is changing every year, if not every day. Make sure to read up on basic Amazon business tutorials, and subscribe to relevant blogs to stay up to date.
Starting a business on Amazon is a lot easier and cheaper than starting a business from scratch. The online platform is already built for you, and Amazon has warehouses in which to store your goods. It’s possible to do it from home with a laptop and an Internet connection — but you need capital to get your business off the ground.