Chris Green was in the Dallas area recently to talk to a large group of online sellers about the opportunities offered by Amazon.com for feisty entrepreneurial types like us. In addition to talking about FBA, of course, he described many other ways to make money on Amazon’s marketplace including book publishing, apps, music, specialty websites and more. I wrote down a few points that I thought you would find interesting.
We’ve only just begun – Chris pointed out that the opportunities on Amazon today didn’t even exist four years ago. The company is changing and growing rapidly. Our future revenue streams may come from activities and products not even dreamed of today.
Amazon is the online heavyweight – Amazon did $61 billion in sales last year. While Walmart did over $466 billion, only 2% or $9 billion was online. Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla in online marketplaces.
They sell stuff you don’t even know about – In addition to products online and their own Kindle product line, Amazon sells cloud services/servers, websites, digital products, apps, book production/manufacturing, cell phones and service, Amazon coins (fake money that turns into real dollars) and more. Even better, we get to leverage the entire platform. We are not restricted to just selling and fulfilling products.
We are 40% of their growth – Third-party sellers like us and merchant sellers make up 40% of all of Amazon’s sales. Wow!
We are really important to Amazon’s growth strategy.
Amazon has the best websites in the world – They offer cheap, very professional seller’s branded websites that are slick and completely integrated with your inventory. You decide what products appear on the website – FBA or merchant fulfilled. Your brand and colors, not Amazon. This is an excellent strategy if you sell a line of specialty products like equine accessories, tools, home goods, toys, unique bundled gift items or much more. It is your site completely integrated with Amazon on the back end including seller central. Your products are on Amazon and the website. You can drive potential customers to the website and they’ll only see your offerings and brand, or they can find them through Amazon. Amazon fulfills and removes items from your website automatically as they sell. Un-freakin’-believable.
Fulfillment – of course there’s FBA for our Amazon customers, but did you know you could use Amazon to fulfill your sales on other marketplaces? That’s right. No more shipping out to eBay, Etsy or other marketplace customers. You have the inventory at Amazon’s warehouse, let them know when something sells, and they send it to your customer. You can offer overnight and 2-day shipping at amazing rates. This allows you to sell your goods on other platforms higher than your competition and it means you don’t have to go to the post office all the time. Pretty slick.
CreateSpace means no one needs a publisher or music label any more – Amazon’s publishing services are amazing and cheap. You can get your book produced as a softcover, hardcover and Kindle version for dirt cheap and it is very professional looking. Want to sell your mp3 album or an audio book? Create Space can do that for you, too. Plus, everything is available immediately on Amazon and you never need to stock books. The big publishing houses find CreateSpace very troubling – and they should. Authors/musicians/performers make more money with CreateSpace and get all the Amazon marketing perks as if they were big-time publishers. CreateSpace will even help you post your content on non-Amazon sites and formats so you can cover all your online bases, not just Amazon.
Apps – Got a smartphone app you want to sell? Sell it on Amazon’s App store! They make it easy and their app marketplace is quickly becoming one of the biggest for both platforms (no surprise there).
Amazon’s End Game – They want to sell every product on the planet through their marketplace. They need us to do it. They want to be the most customer-centric company on earth. They need us to do it. They want to deliver in 2 days or less. They don’t need us for this.
Kindle is the gateway drug to Amazon – Optimized to use Amazon’s digital products and services. Aimed at Prime members – get three months free…you’ll be hooked. Kindle Fire users are buying all kinds of digital content and shopping on Amazon all the time.
New Amazon phone could change the cellular landscape like Kindle changed books – Stay tuned for more on this. Should be introduced later this year. There are a lot of rumors that sound pretty exciting, but nothing official yet.
New Android/iPhone app makes it dead easy to shop on Amazon while in big box stores – the new “Amazon Flow” product (download it for free) allows you to hold up your phone and it will quickly scan and identify all products within range and give you the Amazon price on it. This is a tremendous consumer tool – one that will revolutionize retail. You don’t have to key in anything, look up anything, take a picture of anything. It is fast and easy. We saw a demo and I downloaded it on the spot. Not all the data a seller needs but amazing for consumers.
The Hustle – Scan Power has a new members-only facebook page that will talk about all the opportunities open to us (the “hustlers”), not just selling. Go to: www.facebook.com/hustle
If any of you are authors like me, leap to your keyboard now and grab your vanity URL on Amazon for your author page. I now own: www.amazon.com/author/cynthia for my books. Yep, my first name. Just like Madonna and Beyonce. My author page has info on my book, my latest blog posts, reviews and now my super star URL. That’s how new the program is. Guess who owns www.amazon.com/author/chris? Jump in!
Listening to Chris Green for a night is like drinking from a fire hose. It is overwhelming in a cool kind of way. He is full of great ideas that will make people who are willing to act on them money. He shared that he had told a lot of people to write guides about selling on Amazon and I’m the only one who did it. I think that is true of a lot of things in life. There are many opportunities out there and no one can grab at all of them, but if you can run with a few of them, you could have a nice business going for you. I happened to already be a professional writer so it was easier for me to run with this idea than many folks. What are your strengths? It is possible that there is an Amazon opportunity that plays to them.
In my writings, consulting and teaching, I try to keep things simple and focused so people can be successful selling on Amazon and not get in the weeds too much until they have a firm grasp on things. Once you feel comfortable with FBA selling, however, don’t be afraid to try publishing (on any topic!) if you enjoy writing, or to create a website with Amazon and sell unique products or create a digital product of some kind (music, video, audio books, etc.). Amazon is an amazing marketplace and we drive 40% of it. Amazon needs us as much as we need them. They have an amazing platform, we have amazing ideas, creativity, products and drive.
I can’t talk to all of my readers one-on-one from a time point of view, but I so enjoy the comments, questions and helpful suggestions I get along the way. Together we all make the industry better and more understandable. Chris helped me because he felt that it was worthwhile to have smart sellers on the Amazon platform with him. That we can all be better together. Hearing him the other night inspired me not only with the possibilities but because it all seems possible. I’m inspired and encouraged in a realistic way. This is not some pipe dream or MLM nightmare that I have to sell to my friends and family. Selling (almost anything!) on Amazon is attainable for all of us who have the desire and persistence to make it happen.
My readers have already grasped this and have jumped into the FBA program. If you are ever interested in publishing, let me know. I consult on that, too. Have a great week everyone, I hope this recap has inspired you to think even broader in your business!