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About the Author
Brad Schepp and Debra Schepp are the authors of 14 books, including the popular eBay PowerSeller Secrets. Their work has been featured in publications such as Newsweek, The Chicago Tribune, and U.S. News and World Report.
Read an Excerpt
This is a book of secrets for success from some of Amazon’s top sellers.
They’re some of the brightest entrepreneurs of this still-new century.
They work for themselves, but under the smart, knowledgeable a somewhat-stern watch of the Internet’s top retailer, Amazon.com.
Some of these successful business owners brought their thriving businesses with them when they came to Amazon. Others set out to build e-commerce businesses that might never have existed without the Amazon platform.They all have fascinating stories to tell and a wealth of knowledge they have been willing to share with others who’d like to follow their paths to success.You can be one of them.
We wrote this book to help you get there. Along our journey together a you’ll learn about people like Kathy Wojtczak of Element Jewelry &
Accessories. She’d been operating a bricks-and-mortar store until she tested the Amazon waters in 2005. Now, she would never turn back.
You’ll meet experienced e-merchants like Michael Jansma of GemAffair and Andy Mowery of debnroo. These two Amazon top sellers were hugely successful eBay PowerSellers first.They saw some changes at eBay that drove them to look for other, better environments for their businesses. They soon realized that Amazon fit the bill.You’ll meet Dan Morrill, who never owned a store before, but set out to build a successful online bookstore of his own, with Amazon as its cornerstone.
But back to you, our reader.We’ll share with you the advice these sellers offer and the knowledge base they’ve gained to help make your trip to a successful e-commerce business faster and more comfortable.
Amazon isn’t quite like its famous competitor, eBay.You can find books and seminars galore to help you build a life for yourself using that site. But Amazon hasn’t received much attention of that kind, and it’s not as easy to immerse yourself in a self-directed
Amazon education. So picking up this book is a great first step.We’ve not only provided shared advice and “secrets” we’ve gleaned from these sellers, but we’ve also put those secrets within the context you need to understand them.We realize that selling on Amazon is new to many of you, so we’ve helped you find your way around this neighborhood and explained how it works.We’ve also profiled some of your most successful new neighbors at the end of each chapter.
They’re a fascinating lot, and we’ve enjoyed telling their stories, convinced that you will enjoy reading them.
Happily for us all, the sellers who worked with us were all great teachers, as well as being smart businesspeople. Anyone who’s ever been to school knows what a huge difference that makes.Your teachers throughout this book will help you learn by sharing their experiences and engaging your curiosity. They might even make you smile. They’ve helped us sprinkle surprises throughout this book a including these great tidbits:
• Profiles, or real-life Amazon success stories, complete with pictures
• Savvy advice from experts, such as one of the world’s top shipping experts, Mark Taylor, and e-commerce marketing wizard Dale King
• Details needed for moving to other selling venues, such as your own WebStore
• Quotes and stories from some of Amazon’s most successful sellers
Perhaps most important, Gary Richardson worked with us to prepare this book. Gary was Amazon’s number-one seller in his category for 2007. He helped us keep things fresh and real. Gary was our sounding board, our teacher, and our cheerleader every step of the way as we prepared this book for you.We’re excited to share the benefits of his experience with you as you travel through these pages.
We’re convinced that you will agree with us.You made a great decision to read this book. Here’s a brief rundown of the chapters that follow.We’ll guide you all along the way, from sourcing products for your Amazon business to building a successful presence on the
Chapter 1. Amazon, and You’re Done.You may think you know all about Amazon because you’ve bought a few things from the site, but trust us, you’ll be amazed at just how far-reaching the Amazon empire has become.We’ll describe that empire briefly, and throw in a little history to add some context.We devote much of this chapter to Amazon’s Marketplace—a very good place to start selling on Amazon.
Chapter 2. Which Way Should I Go? It turns out that selling on Amazon’s Marketplace is not your only option for making money there.You can also become a Pro Merchant. Seller
Central also fits in here. Additionally, you can sell through your own Amazon WebStore(s). Amazon gives you plenty of options for building a business, and while that can seem intimidating at first, it’s ultimately what you want: choices.
Chapter 3.You Have to Buy It Before You Can Sell It. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve set up shop on eBay, Amazon, or
Main Street; if you don’t have a steady stream of great products to sell, you won’t be around very long. Our years of speaking to new entrepreneurs have shown us that this is the number-one question all sellers have:Where do I get more products to sell?
This important chapter covers strategies for sourcing products—
from finding inventory on your own shelves, to working directly with manufacturers, to buying wholesale lots on eBay for resale on Amazon. (We can tell you from personal experience that
eBay can be a very good source of products for resale on
Amazon.) And guess what? Amazon, too, with its millions of products, can also be a great source of inventory for you when you start selling on your own website.
Chapter 4. Creating Great Product Detail Pages. Here we provide “best practices” advice on describing, classifying a and, yes, pricing your items.You’ll learn tips for creating high-performing product detail pages. And here, as in every chapter, we’ll include success strategies from top Amazon sellers.
Of course, you don’t always have to create your own product pages if your products are already part of Amazon’s vast catalog.
So we’ll also describe how best to piggyback on pages that already exist.
Chapter 5. Automating Your Amazon Business. Smart sellers use software tools, whether they download them from
Amazon or other sources, to help them automate listings, track sales, manage inventory, and run their businesses effectively.The largest sellers work with companies such as Channel Velocity to help them move vast amounts of inventory through more than one channel. An industry insider told us the information in this chapter is difficult to find in a single place, so we were happy to compile it for you.
Chapter 6. Customer Service Without the Smile.
Although your online customers can’t actually see your warm smile, there’s still much you can do to ensure that buying from you is a pleasant experience. Just as on eBay, your feedback score is hugely important, and is a keen measure of your success.
We’ll ensure that you have all the information and success strategies you need to leapfrog competitors and attain (and keep)
the highest score feasible. For example, it is more important to maintain good feedback than to have large numbers of customers. Sellers must also know how to encourage feedback a since Amazon buyers are less likely to leave feedback than are other online buyers. Sellers must learn not to be shy about asking customers to reconsider unfair feedback.
Chapter 7. Marketing Your Amazon Business. Amazon has more than 1 million “third-party” sellers, yet many customers think that all Amazon sellers are the same. As a matter of fact a many of your Amazon customers won’t even realize they’re not purchasing directly from Amazon. So, how can you possibly distinguish yourself in such a setting? Here are true secrets for setting yourself apart from other sellers.We provide tips and tricks from branding experts that would make a marketing whiz at Coca-Cola proud.We’ll show you how to win the buy box and build your customer base even when Amazon fulfills your orders using its own well-branded boxes. Also, we’ll show you how to drive traffic to your listings through reviews, which are very powerful, yet sometimes hard to get. Finally, there’s advice about using Amazon tags, your Amazon blog, and Amazon’s already popular shopping features, such as recommendations and Listmania.
Chapter 8. Shipping: The Workhorse of Your Operation.
Sold! Ship now! Those three words bring joy to the hearts of Amazon sellers worldwide. But two more words, packing and shipping—the less glamorous parts of operating e-commerce businesses—are hugely important.They’re also quite time consuming.We’ll share secrets for making the shipping process as inexpensive and efficient as possible. Did you know, for example, that you could outsource all of this to Amazon through its Fulfillment by Amazon service? More and more sellers are using this program, and the vast majority are glad they’ve signed up. Finally, you’ll learn how to make the best use of packing slips, invoices, shipping materials, and return labels.
Chapter 9. Life Beyond Amazon: Selling Through Other
Venues. OK, you’re an Amazon success story yourself. Now what? Should you also sell on eBay? How about other media-oriented sites such as ABE or Alibris? How can you get your products on comparison shopping engines, which more and more shoppers use to ensure that they are getting the best deals? Most important of all, when should you consider creating your own e-commerce site? Finally, why not leverage all that hard-earned experience by becoming a consultant or trainer?
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1 AMAZON, AND YOU’RE DONE 9
CHAPTER 2 WHICH WAY SHOULD I GO? 35
CHAPTER 3 YOU HAVE TO BUY IT BEFORE YOU CAN SELL IT 61
CHAPTER 4 CREATING GREAT PRODUCT DETAIL PAGES 91
CHAPTER 5 AUTOMATING YOUR AMAZON BUSINESS 119
CHAPTER 6 CUSTOMER SERVICE WITHOUT THE SMILE 145
CHAPTER 7 MARKETING YOUR AMAZON BUSINESS 177
CHAPTER 8 SHIPPING: THE WORKHORSE OF YOUR OPERATION 217
CHAPTER 9 LIFE BEYOND AMAZON: SELLING THROUGH OTHER VENUES 251
APPENDIX A AMAZON’S ASSOCIATES PROGRAM 285
APPENDIX B THE 18 BEST RESOURCES FOR RESEARCHING ANYTHING AMAZON 291