Amazon is the first name that comes to mind whenever there is talk of a successful ecommerce site. It is a site that is trusted for prices, product reviews and variety in terms of brands for various products across a broad spectrum of niches. It has grown in size and proportion, and it has simultaneously extended its reach by providing the ideal platform for other ecommerce businesses including startups to use and achieve success.
Some of these are listed below:
Using Amazon to sell online- Amazon offers a feature named “sell on Amazon”. This is meant for individuals in business wishing to sell a few products on Amazon or even a larger business wishing to sell over 40 items each month, who are called “Pro Merchants”. The latter have more tools and features to avail of, but this is at a price of $39.99 per month, besides a referral fee that could be a fixed amount of $1.35 per item, or a percentage of the sale up to a maximum of 15%.
This sales channel made available by Amazon is a fantastic way to make an entry in the big market and gain exposure in front of a loyal clientele that Amazon is known for. The only drawback is the fee charged since it eats into the small profit margins charged initially. Amazon also does not allow third party products in every category it has listed on its site, thereby implying that certain product categories are out of bounds for outsiders.
Using Amazon to advertise products- Amazon allows businesses to promote their products by advertising through its pay-per-click program either through “Product Ads” or through “Display Ads”. Both work in quite the same manner as Google Adwords, and many businesses prefer to use this route rather than sell on Amazon and pay a commission, besides having to maintain inventory levels, keep updating images and product descriptions.
Though the same results cannot be guaranteed through this route, and some amount of knowledge and experience is needed to maintain the pay-per-click system, the outcome for most businesses is positive since a lot of exposure is likely and the fee charged is much lower. It also helps in enhancing conversion rates.
Using the Amazon Webstore
The Amazon web store is a complete ecommerce platform offered to new and existing businesses in order to help them setup their own online store. Ideally suited for inexperienced business people it enables them to bring their products to the Amazon market place. They can enroll as Webstore-only customers and pay a monthly charge of $24 per month along with 2% of all their sales, or alternatively, as Pro-Merchants use the webstore with just the 2% commission since they are already paying the $39.95 per month fee.
The biggest advantage offered by the Amazon web store is the ease of set up for a novice seeking a sales outlet online, without having to bother about webhosting since the Amazon servers can be used, and a complete integration with the Amazon market place helps to cash in on an existing customer base. However, some people feel it places limits on growth in the ecommerce world and the amount of support provided may not be adequate for a sustainable business.
Using Amazon for payments
Over the years Amazon has extended multiple features and facilities to other ecommerce owners, including a safe payment channel. Thus customers may buy on any site but can opt to pay through Amazon, simply by clicking on the feature “Check out by Amazon”. This is similar to PayPal and Google checkout since this is also a hosted option for payments and is trusted by many users in this era of frauds and scams. To make things easier for its customers, the PayPhrase feature helps shoppers since they need to type only a part of the phrase to complete a payment transaction on any of the sites using Amazon for payments. It may appear a bit confusing for the first time user and a bit elaborate since all purchase details have to be filled up and the payment processing has to continue alongside the order processing.
Using Amazon’s Order Fulfillment
Amazon is widely recognized for the well established order fulfillment system it has managed to install. The sophisticated system can be used by other ecommerce sites also through the “Fulfillment by Amazon” option, which enables businesses to send their products in bulk to the Amazon fulfillment centers. The system is able to track the products, and maintain complete records and also verify where the products are from, Amazon or another site. Ecommerce sties can outsource this difficult task and focus on more important issues while also gain a competitive advantage. The only flip side might turn out to be the pricing issues involved for using this service, for which the ecommerce business has to weight the investment with the returns.
Using the Amazon Web Services
The most commendable service provided by Amazon goes beyond ecommerce and involves cloud computing and data storage. Amazon boasts of unparalleled computer power and offers it other small and medium businesses in the form of Amazon Web Services which are provided on a pay-as-you-go basis for all web hosting and computing services. For instance, the Amazon S3 Service or Simple Storage Service lets companies store their files of both content and data. The company has to pay each time the files are used and bandwidth is utilized. This service comes in handy for ecommerce sites that have to pay higher rates to their ecommerce platform providers or those which have huge files using a lot of memory space.
Thus, Amazon offers a wide range of services to ecommerce businesses that will help them grow even as they compete with it for many of the products they may be wanting to sell.
This is a guest post from Neil the head of Marketing at eMobileScan. A specialist site that provides solutions to make businesses more productive and cost effective. Their products range from handheld computers like the Motorola MC75 or label printers like the Zebra Zm400. Their solutions are designed to help companies save time and money.