Oh, Amazon. Can we ever keep up with the advances, transitions and market share increases that you constantly roll out?
A huge number of Profit Planners in our community are Amazon FBA sellers. But even if you’re not, it’s worth keeping your eye on the retail juggernaut’s movements. Because despite being a freakin’ gigantic company with influence that reaches ever farther into the global economy, Amazon operates very much like the best small online biz ever. Owner Jeff Bezos consistently pushes the company’s profits back into growth, rather than going the typical corporate route of paying off his stockholders. And his team stays relentlessly ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and culture, whether it’s expanding into grocery sales or inventing an app that brings the social fun back to shopping.
If you are an Amazon seller, you know that Amazon’s growth as a company means growth for your biz. At least, it can mean that. For small businesses that want to take advantage of Amazon’s seemingly nonstop growth, the key is staying ahead of sales trends. When you know where and how Amazon is growing, you can strategize around how to fold those ventures into your business.
Here are 3 ways FBA sellers like you can profit from Amazon's new changes:
Amazon made big waves this summer by reaching into grocery. It’s an understandable move for the company, given that grocery sales account for $800 billion in retail. But this new venture is about more than just selling more stuff. According to Slate magazine,
“Adding groceries to its repertoire gets Amazon that much closer to being a one-stop destination for everything you buy. It gets customers visiting Amazon.com not just occasionally, but several times a week, every week. It reinforces the behavior by which customers search for things to buy on Amazon.com, rather than on a search engine like Google. It builds Amazon’s two-hour delivery business, which it sees as crucial to its future.”
New categories to buy means customers spending more time on Amazon, more often. In other words, groceries on Amazon are good for you.
With this in mind, you might want to think about adding some nonperishable items to your roster of offerings. This is a natural move if you sell housewares like dishes or linens. Adding a few grocery items creates a natural bundle for your customers, perfect for special occasion purchases like holidays or wedding/baby showers. If nothing else, it draws more people to spend more time within your Amazon store.
It’s undeniable that Amazon has revolutionized shipping. According to an article from shorr.com,
“The result of increased purchasing of unpredictable sets of items from online retailers, the Amazon effect describes the need for the transport industries to adapt to Amazon’s practices.”
Analysts even have a name for the way shipping has changed as a result of Amazon: the Amazon effect. (Hey, we didn’t say it was a super original name.)
Amazon is right now testing a new shipping component called Seller Flex. This could create an opportunity to encourage your customers around bigger orders. Educating them around Amazon’s shipping charges is a perfect way to incentivize them to purchase more items at a time.
Amazon’s answer to Siri is a “smart speaker” called Alexa. Housed in the slim cylindrical Echo speaker, this digital assistant can help users with anything from finding great deals on Prime Day to ordering out for delivery to remembering that one actor's name that you always forget.
…and more. So much more.
The Guardian reports that Amazon has opened up the Alexa platform to external developers. Meaning that “anyone can write their own Alexa ‘skill,' from useful mini-apps like MyChef and Philips Hue’s smart-home hub to utterly useless ones like Egg Facts (“Stay up to date on the latest egg-related trivia with egg facts”).”
As of right now, there are currently over 7000 “skills” you can purchase for Alexa. By the time you get done reading this, there will probably be 7521, give or take.
So what can a FBA seller like you do with Alexa? To start with, you can scroll through the most downloaded skills and design some store offerings around them. (We suggest leaving the Egg Facts one alone. That’s weird.) If you're really ambitious, or have a tech-savvy relative to help you out, you can even develop your very own Alexa “skill” and host it on Amazon Web Services (AWS). If your user base is small enough, Amazon won't even charge you for putting it up.
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