Amazon held their first Women’s Entrepreneur Conference (WEC) at their headquarter location in Seattle, WA this past week (August 16th), and I was lucky enough to attend. Close to 300 ‘Amazonian’ women entrepreneurs enjoyed a day packed full of guest speakers, workshops, support stations, and good old-fashioned networking!
The resounding message throughout the conference was that Amazon leadership wants to help sellers grow and protect their brands. According to the team, nearly 50% of all products sold on Amazon are from individual sellers, like myself. These sellers are regarded as high priority in Amazon’s continuous pursuit of expansion and growth. Within this segment, Amazon is starting to see women-led businesses grow thru programs such as Amazon Business, Handmade at Amazon and Amazon Exclusives.
I’d like to share the highlights of what I learned from the conference and the key take aways for all Amazon sellers. Because this list is rather long, I’m splitting this up into a three blog posts:
Today, I’ll cover “The Future of Amazon,” as stated by Peter Faricy, VP of Amazon Marketplace:
- Expand your Business with Amazon Business
- Expand your Business with Global Marketplace
- Fulfillment by Amazon Prime
Three Ways to Expand your Amazon Sales
Peter Faricy, the VP of Amazon Marketplace covered the following three expansion methods as The Future of Amazon. These are the areas in which their platform are seeing significant success. As Amazon sellers, it’s important to stay on top of these signals in order to adapt and stay relevant in the ever changing world that is the Amazon Marketplace. Personally, after hearing the benefits that the Amazon Business Program has to offer, I decided to sign up for it. The FBA Program has been at the heart of my business and growth over the years. As for signing up to other Amazon Global Marketplaces, I’m still considering these options.
1. Expand your Business with Amazon Business
Amazon Business is a business-to-business selling platform, or B2B. This type of selling is undergoing a digital transformation and is primed for success on Amazon. Amazon Business was launched in April, 2015 to help businesses experience the same buying ease that consumers experience on Amazon.
Since launching last year, over 400,000 businesses are officially registered to purchase under Amazon Business, with thousands of new business accounts being created each week. This number doesn’t take into consideration the various departments within a business entity that are buying separately. Once that is factored in, this number grows considerably.
Amazon Business generated more than a billion dollars in sales its first year. It continues to grow at a rapid pace with customer purchases increasing by nearly 20% per month since launch.
Imagine a sizable corporate business buying your product in bulk as holiday gifts for all their employees…..or potentially, your organic, gluten-free fudge brownies are so delicious they buy it as snacks for their 500 person conference event? Tapping into this market can be powerful for any small business. Previously, reaching these businesses entailed knocking on doors or having an “in” with the departmental buyer. Amazon has now created a marketplace to have these business buyers find us!
Currently, there are 37,000 Amazon sellers registered to sell under the Amazon Business program. (hint, hint….Apply to Get in Now!)
Below are some relevant features offered to Amazon Business sellers:
- Business pricing – You can reach your specific customer base through targeted listings
- Quantity discounts – Encourage large orders with a tiered discount structure
- Profile editor – Showcase your logo and tell your company’s story
- Credentials – Differentiate your business with 18 quality and diversity credentials
The credentials section of your Amazon Business profile is where you can really gain a competitive advantage. As stated by Amazon, more and more businesses want to (or simply have an obligation to) buy from sellers who hold certain credentials. Government businesses are a good example of this as some agencies have to allocate a certain percentage of their budgeted orders to female and/or minority owned businesses.
If you’re an existing Amazon Professional Seller interested in expanding to Amazon Business, check your eligibility through Seller Central here:
2. Expand your Business with Global Marketplaces
There is tremendous opportunity to sell globally and the opportunity is only getting bigger.
Here are some numbers and facts shared by Amazon at the conference:
- Canadian online sales are expected to grow 80% from 2014 to 2019, including Amazon and other online businesses
- There are 8.4 million monthly unique visitors on amazon.ca, which represents a 14%+ year over year growth
- Amazon Mexico launched in June 2015 and is one of their fastest growing marketplaces.
- 25 categories launched
- 45 million offers on amazon.com.mx
- 70 technical projects scheduled for 2017
- 126% growth in the last 6 months
- Amazon UK is one of the largest EU Marketplaces in terms of monthly unique visitors
Still, with all the great news of global expansion, many sellers are hesitant to send products to Amazon International Fulfillment Centers. Quite frankly, we simply don’t know the buying habits of customers in these various countries. What colors do they gravitate to? Do they like to purchase mainly household items or gift items when they purchase online? What are their needs or wants so we can cater our products to that? Is it worth the additional time and investment to set up shop in these countries?
Thankfully, the Amazon Global Selling Team is here to help and wants to encourage sellers to contact them. They will help you with the registration process and additionally help advise you on best SKU’s in your portfolio to offer in these countries.
You can email them at [email protected] to schedule an introductory call. From there, a dedicated account manager will guide you through the whole process.
3. Get 100% of Products Available on Prime (FBA) – This, for the most part goes without being said. Though it’s always great to hear it from the VP of Amazon Marketplace, Peter Faricy. Amazon wants to warehouse all your products so you can focus more on what you do best, creating new products/brands and marketing those items. Among the many benefits of having Amazon fulfill your items, there are also plenty advantages of using FBA including business automation and added boost for the Buy Box.
Currently, there are certain oversized and hazmat items that are restricted FBA items. Amazon is working on this. So be prepared to finally have some of these items available for the FBA program in the near future.
This news of Amazon having a goal of 100% Prime items also brought a wave of uncertainty as a seller. If we are all on the FBA program, then there goes one part of our competitive advantage in being Prime sellers. Should one worry about this? No. Instead, one should prepare and plan accordingly for the changes to come. Uniqueness in product offerings and actively catering to the needs of a target audience will rule over the rampant private labeling of generic items.
Stay tuned for Part 2 Highlights of the 2016 Amazon Women’s Entrepreneur Conference!
For more tips on how to sell on Amazon, make sure you click and sign up to my Amazon VIP Tips here: