9 Things To Know Before Starting An Amazon Business Or Ecommerce Side Hustle

starting amazon business e-commerce side hustle

With so many successful businesses already operating on selling platforms like Amazon, it can be enticing to join them to share in their success. Once you look at it in more detail, though, you will quickly see that while desire and enthusiasm play a part, it is far from the whole story. If you are going to make your mark as an Amazon seller or even just survive the first few months of an ecommerce venture, then there are other areas you need to look at and perfect before getting the ball rolling. 

With so much to think about in e-commerce, you might find it hard to focus on what really matters and never get started as a result. To avoid this common rookie mistake, you should instead prioritize these nine key areas and work through them to stand the best chance of creating an online Amazon business to be proud of. 

1. Sourcing The Right Products 

When looking for the right products to sell, you need to look a lot deeper than just the goods that you might be interested in purchasing yourself. As your livelihood is likely to depend upon sales, you are going to want to invest in products that are in high demand by customers as well as having a tidy profit margin. To find out what these products are, you will have to spend time looking at and researching different markets. 

When you think that you have found the perfect one (or at least a viable shortlist), you will have to investigate how much it will cost you to purchase, store, and sell, and if you are thinking of selling these items with free shipping, sent to customers. If you can still make a healthy profit on each item after these costs have been removed - you are ready to get your hands on a few to use as a trial. 

2. Product Quality 

It is a good idea to try out a few different suppliers to make sure that the quality of the product is excellent and the same regardless of supplier. This is because if you happen to be selling a product that is of an inferior quality to other competitors you will not hold your customers for long. You will also find that you gain more negative feedback, but more about that key issue a little later on. 

In short, if you would not be happy paying your asking price for the item – you shouldn't expect your customers to either. If you find that the quality is too poor, you may have to find another supplier or move to an entirely different product entirely. 

3. Attracting Customers 

Even just the quickest browse on Amazon will draw your attention to the sheer number of sellers that are already established and making use of this amazingly powerful selling platform. Regardless of what product you choose to sell, it is highly likely that someone is already there, selling and making money from it. This can be a daunting factor for someone who is either new to the whole eCommerce world, or new to selling platforms like Amazon. However, this well-populated marketplace is still one of the most affluent ones to run an eCommerce business from due to the number of customers flocking there every day. 

To make your products more accessible to customers and become a formidable opponent for your competitors, you are going to need a bit of assistance. This help can come in the form of Amazon marketing experts who understand the workings of Amazon as well as how best to market a product on the site. They use tactics and strategies that you may not have even heard of if you are new to selling online and can help you with listing design, those all- important pictures, graphics, and photos to make your products and listings stand out from the crowd. They can also help you in other areas – even if you are currently selling on Amazon - to boost your conversion rates and help you boost your bottom line. 

4. Storage Facilities 

As you start your Amazon business, you will need to also think about the storage options available to you. If you have thought about or are currently storing your merchandise in your home, then you need to realize that tripping over various products waiting to be sold will not do your business momentum or capabilities any good. Nor will it improve your relationships with those you are sharing the household with, even if, at the start, it is perfectly OK. As your business grows, you will soon find it hard to relax in an overly cluttered house, and your loved ones will no doubt share in your frustrations. 

To sidestep this particular pitfall, you will need to research other storage options that are open to you. Renting a self-storage unit could be one of the easiest solutions at first - as you are likely to be paying a monthly fee, so you are not tied into a long and drawn-out contract. However, you will have to make sure you are able to get the amount of access to your stock that you need. This is because some storage companies will specify a day and time you can have access to your locker or storage unit or limit the number of times you can visit. This is no good if you are using it to store products for your business and hoping to sell items stored within it on a daily basis. 

You should also think of the location. Ideally, any storage solution you choose to rent for the purpose of housing your goods should be close to the building where you run your business. This will save you time and gas when you are sorting your products for either storage or shipment. 

5. Shipping Options 

You will also have to work out shipping options as well. At first, you may be happy taking the odd trip down to your local post office with an arm or two of parcels. However, as your business picks up, this may seem less desirable and more of an arm-aching chore. You may find that you need to find the right couriers to make collections directly from your business which will be more cost-effective for you and save you time and energy traveling backward and forward. Then, all you will have to do is make sure that the packages are ready for collection by a certain time. 

Of course, another option that you may find particularly pleasing – especially if you are having difficulty finding a suitable storage solution, is to take advantage of Amazon's FBA service. This is where you will be able to send all of your stock to an Amazon warehouse where they will pick and pack it and send the products straight to your customers on your behalf – leaving you to be able to focus on sourcing and selling your products. 

It is important to note, however, that although you will be selling on Amazon, the FBA service is not free, and you will have to pay for its use. There are also product restrictions on what Amazon will not provide this service for, so it is imperative that you check this service is available to you before working your business around it. 

6. Exclusive Package Deals 

You will also want to make your products a little different from your competitors, so consider putting together some exclusive Amazon packages for your customers. This can boost sales and customer loyalty if done correctly, but you should think about what combinations you can offer. They should be complimentary products such as offering a shampoo and conditioner combo or fine surface filler along with a small filler knife. This way, customers can be reminded about which other products they need (as a kind of upsell), and they won't end up going anywhere else for those items. 

Pricing is vital here as well. By selling two items together, you are likely to save on shipping costs anyway but also offering a discount will attract more sales. It doesn't have to be a huge amount; just 5 or 10% is probably all that is needed to stop a customer going through the trouble of looking at what other sellers have to offer. 

7. Valuing Your Customers 

As you are running an eCommerce business on a selling platform with multiple sellers and competition will be strong, you have to understand that it is all about your customers. Even if you already realize this, keeping them loyal will require hard work and commitment on your part. 

One of the easiest ways to make your customers feel valued is to thank them for their orders, and you can do this by including handwritten "thank you" notes on their packing receipts. If you want to step it up a little more and potentially enhance your sales further, you can also include free samples of other products in the range that you have for sale. If your portfolio consists of one product, then you have the opportunity to use custom or personalized swag items to gain your customer's attention. 

8. Attaining Customer Feedback 

Businesses within selling platforms like Amazon thrive on good, positive feedback, so it is important that you are aware of what your customers are saying about your business, service, and products. Many sales actually hinge on what the reviews say, and customers will go elsewhere if your feedback is negative or gives a less than shiny impression. 

For this reason, you need to focus heavily on your customer experience, ensuring that they are happy with their purchase. This will require a follow-up of some sort and if the result is less than your customer deems fit, you will need to take action to ensure that the issue is worked out amicably and that it doesn't happen again. 

9. Growing Your Amazon business 

It is likely that once you get a grip on all of this, your online shop business will start to grow, and your sales become in line with your goals and expectations. However, you should always look to the future and be aware of how your business can expand in the Amazon marketplace. 

• New Products In The Same Niche – you should continuously be researching other products so that you can bring them under your business roof and offer your customers. Ideally, these should be within the same niche as your current range, and you will then be able to sell to your customers past and present. If your niche is rich with different products to offer your customers your level of growth will be that much easier to ascertain, and your customer base should broaden as a result. 

• Expanding Into New Territories – another way that your business can expand in the future is by moving into new territories. Amazon is a global business and has footings in around 20 countries including the US, UK, India, Japan, and Mexico. This means that there are huge markets available to step into should you wish to take this expansion route. However, it is important that before you do, you research your products are in demand in the country you are thinking of, as different products have different names and meanings in other countries. 

A Few Final Thoughts On Amazon And E-Commerce Businesses

Starting your own Amazon business can be exciting but you need to think practically if it is going to stay that way. Product selection is vital, as quality is of paramount importance if you are going to get a foothold in your chosen niche. Shipping and storage are also key for online stores, as you need to make sure that you have enough products on hand and that they reach the customer on time and in one piece. 

Before you think about e-commerce startup expansion, you should consider customer feedback to see where you can improve your current operation so that any investment is not wasted. This is a lot to think about, but by taking each step in turn and using expert help to get things off the ground, you stand a good chance of turning your new ecom business into a success.

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