Saturday, October 04, 2008

3P Sellers Have Lots of Options at Amazon! Updated!

As we step into the 4th quarter of 2008 and online sellers put the final touches on their holiday selling plans, I thought it would be nice to highlight the many selling options on 
I believe this will be a very tough holiday season for online consumer spending, but feel the largest share of that online spending will be happening at Amazon, so it pays to look at your options. 

Here are some highlights about each program and I will do a more in-depth post on each as I get a chance to test them out. I only write about stuff I believe in so I will be spending a great deal of time looking at all of these options.
  • Selling on Amazon - can be as simple as finding your product on Amazon and clicking the "sell yours here" button on the listing page or you can join the Pro Merchants program and list numerous items. If your items are not currently on Amazon you can add them to the catalog. (Some restrictions apply). I've been selling on the platform part-time for the last year and have sold $167,427.78 worth of product. I'm looking forward to an even better year 2.
  • WebStore by Amazon - They have made a number of improvements to the Amazon Webstore and I am in the process of launching my own store. I setup my site using the new One-Click process and had a working site in 30 minutes. It allowed me to select a standard look and import all of my Amazon items without a hassle. If you don't currently sell on Amazon you can upload your product directly into a WebStore and be up and running in no time. [Here is my webstore and a recent post.]
  • Fulfillment by Amazon - I've written pretty extensively about my experience using FBA, so you can follow that conversation here. I highly recommend this service for everybody selling on Amazon. There is no need to commit all of your inventory to FBA, you can send some or all of it.

    A reader of mine just recently started using FBA for about 10 of their 130 SKU's and has seen a tremendous increase in no hassle sales from their FBA listings.
    Amazon is currently running a special offer: Try FBA for FREE after Rebate! Sign up for Fulfillment by Amazon now and get FBA for free (after rebate) on your first 100 units through March, 2009! To me, this is a no-brainer; why not test FBA on Amazon's dime and there is no time like the present with the 4th Quarter already here.
  • Amazon Payments - If you already have a website and want to get access to Amazon's 84 million registered users, why not look into adding Amazon Payments as a payment option. Your customers who use Amazon Payments on your website get the world-class A to Z guarantee and the same checkout experience they are accustomed to on Amazon.
  • Product Ads on Amazon - Do you currently have your own website and want to get access to Amazon's 84 million customers? Product ads may be for you. Some sellers have been using the program to drive Amazon customer traffic to their websites. I'll go into this program more in-depth as I test it out, but in the meantime why not look into it yourself here. [You can't currently use Product Ads for media items]
I just spent yesterday speaking with Amazon executives in each of these businesses and I have to tell you, these folks are committed to helping online sellers succeed. If you have any questions about any of these programs please use the comments section and I'll do my best to help you out. I know it is the beginning of the 4th quarter but there is still time to ramp up before the holiday shopping season. Take some time to look through these programs today.

Just my 15%


Anonymous said...

Randy I sell mostly used clothes. But I've seen stores on Amazon selling used jeans and clothes. In your opinion, would it be worth it?

Randy Smythe said...

Amazon isn't ideal for used clothes and will probably be more trouble then it is worth to get setup on the site.

My suggestion for that type of product is to try Bonanzle and then tell all of your eBay customers that you are selling there. It may be a little slow going at first but the site is growing fast.

Anonymous said...

Randy, What about closed categories? Do you think that amazon may reconsider to open a closed category for an experienced seller?

Randy Smythe said...


They are always evaluating their categories so it is possible that a closed category may be opened up to everybody or even restricted more.

You can create a Webstore for items that are in a closed category but you won't be able to sell them directly on Amazon or through Product Ads.

I realize this isn't ideal but they are very cautious with some of these categories like toys (during Q4) and Jewelry, etc.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

Jim S. said...


And then there is the problem of the UPC codes required in many categories, plus the "blackout" dates. I sell in the Toys (hobbies) category and initially had an issue with most of my (factory new) items not having a UPC code. I finally decided to give it a try with the items that did have UPCs. But I procrastinated, and got my items listed in September. Then I get an email stating that in my category, if I did not have a sale by a specific September date (which happend to be the date I listed my products), I would be blocked from selling between mid-November and early January. So I gave up and closed my seller account. I had tried their web store earlier in the year and ran up against the same UPC issue.

Amazon may want 3P sellers but obviously on their own (strict) terms.

Randy Smythe said...


I tried the Webstore earlier his year and had some problems but this latest version completely addressed them. Of course I may find others as I get more into this.

I think they may have addressed the UPC issue for the webstore but let me see where that stands.

Beady Eyes said...


Is Webstores allowing music and DVD sellers now? I also sell toys, so I'd like to create a site that uses both Amazon's listings to get a credit for selling it (like you are apparently doing?) or list my own inventory. I've asked this before but looking at your Webstore I am wondering if I could now begin to do this?

Thoughts? I am so tired of tinkering with my Prostores site that it may make more sense for me to use Amazon's webstores. When you factor what I pay for credit card processing services, it's about the same at the end of the day.

Randy Smythe said...


I sell media and then fill in with the affiliate items. If you are selling media now on Amazon and using Seller Central it just imports your listings.

Beady Eyes said...

Okay. I am a pro merchant so will that be a problem? I know the inventory is in the "seller central" area of the site when I go to my account.

Tom said...

Been trying out Amazon for the last two months and unfortunately have not had good results. I sell auto parts but in a very specific niche, 1962-1972 Chrysler products, mostly reproduction parts for muscle cars. Have not had one sale so far unfortunately. Going to stick with it for a little while longer but unfortunately it looks like eBay has the only viable marketplace for vintage auto parts at the moment.

Randy Smythe said...

Yeah, just sign-up for the Webstore in Seller Central

Randy Smythe said...


Do your items come up fine when you search for them on Amazon? You might try adding keywords/tags to your listings.
Amazon is expanding their Auto-parts business so it may be that buyers haven't started searching for your type of product over there yet.

Anonymous said...

Hi Randy,
I enjoy reading your blog. I am a small Amazon seller. I am curious about your Buybak site. How is it going?


Randy Smythe said...

Hi Bridget,

My BuyBack site is going real well, the biggest issue is driving traffic to it and keeping marketing costs in line. Pretty much the same as any other website.

Nancy in RTP said...

Randy, I make and sell one of a kind, handmade beaded jewelry from gemstones and pearls. I sold on ebay for over 10 years. This past month I sold absolutely nothing on ebay (in past years, my monthly sales exceeded 12k average). Would there be a place for me over at Amazon?

Randy Smythe said...


I'm not sure that Amazon is the right place for your product. It still is geared toward product that has a UPC code or some type of structured data.

For handmade stuff, I would suggest or

Anonymous said...

I am trying to resolve our blocked account issue. We are in cutting tools business for over 85 years and would like to boost our sale by selling on Amazon. So I tried to open an account via their website but didn't complete the form. I got contacted by Business Development Amazon Services LLC - An Company. With their reps help I completed the registration process. But right away my account was blocked without any explanations. Long story short, now Amazon has blocked our phone # so I can’t call them or their reply to my emails is out of context with no solutions. We want appeal but there is no help on that either. Does any one have any suggestions on how to contact actual person at Amazon? I am trying to resolve this since 3/4/09 without any luck.