Navigating the Amazon

So, my product is on Amazon – this blog post isn’t meant to be an ad, but hey, if you’re interested, go check it out. What I’m going to talk about here is my process for getting a product listed and sold through Amazon.  As the world’s largest internet retailer, you’d better be on there or have a good reason you’re not.

So, the first thing you need to do is register as an Amazon seller.  It’s fairly self explanatory – if you’ve got all your business ID’s and banking info on hand, it makes it easier. Once you’ve got an account (but be careful if you have separate business and personal accounts – when I log on to the buyer side of Amazon, it says “Welcome Chris”.  But I don’t know if my personal self or business self is logged in), you can start listing items.

Since I had a totally new product, I had a little more work to do setting up my listings, but then I got to do things exactly the way I wanted, too. Here are some items about setting up a product on Amazon:

  • First, pick your product category – I used the drill-down menu and got to”Playing Cards”, but I have noticed that lots of deck boxes almost have their own category under the “Trading Card Games” heading – I have to look into that more to see if I can get into that one, too.
  • One big complaint I have about Amazon is that I have to list each color Card Caddy as a totally separate item.  There are some product categories (mainly in clothes & shoes) where you can establish what’s called a parent-child variations.  So when you go to a t shirt’s listing, there’s a separate drop-down box that has the color and another for the size.  But none of the categories I’d list under seem to have that functionality (I have no idea why – seems like something you could make standard for all products).
  • Image requirements: Amazon has a bunch. If you’re having professional photography done, make sure they are aware of them. I think I’m technically in violation of their rules about only having the product in all images (I have cards in some of the images to show how it works)
  • You have to decide if you want to fulfill orders yourself or have Amazon do it.  Having Amazon fulfillment offers a pretty nice shipping benefit to customers (free shipping for Prime members or for orders over $35), but of course they charge you for it.  On my product, I am getting paid about 54% of the price per item after the Amazon listing fee and fulfillment fee.  It’s not too bad, really – I’d get 50% if I sold direct to a retailer and 40% selling to a distributor.  It’s not too hard to set up the shipment for fulfillment by Amazon, BUT…
  • You need your products barcoded if you do fulfillment through Amazon. If you’ve made the investment in your own UPC’s  that will work and that’s what I did.  There’s also a process where you could have Amazon assign you a barcode that you have to print out on stickers and apply to your product. It ain’t cheap to go the full route to get your own barcodes, but if you’re planning on having over 10 different product variations and want the ability to control your own codes, it’s worth it.

There’s still advertising, ID numbers and some other stuff to cover, so that will have to wait for another post!

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