Amazon Top Seller Secrets

Insider Tips from Amazon's Most Successful Sellers

 Amazon Top Seller Secrets

Authors: Brad Schepp, Debra Schepp
Pub Date: March 2009
Print Edition: $24.95
Print ISBN: 9780814410349
Page Count: 320
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814410462

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Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

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,

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,

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,

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

Web itself.

Chapter Summaries

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,

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,

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,

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?

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