Amazon is an absolute powerhouse and a household name in almost every country worldwide, its diversified from online retail to include computing services, consumer electronics, digital content as well as many other supporting products and services but why is Amazon so luring to both consumers and retailers alike? This article will explore exactly that and also help to highlight why working with an Amazon specialist can help take your business to the next level.
To the average consumer, Amazon is the land of plenty. A place where you can find just about anything at super competitive pricing. From basic electronics to staples and groceries to auto-parts, virtually anything you want or need is a few simple keywords and maybe even a couple of Sponsored Ads clicks away. It’s very easy to understand why the US is seeing more than half of its online shoppers start their online product searches on Amazon rather than any other website (including Google) and why more than 100 million people worldwide pay for a premium Amazon Prime membership to provide them with access to exclusive deals including free shipping and free returns on most products available on the Amazon marketplaces. As the marketplace that has set the standard for remarkable ease in browsing and buying, Amazon serves up millions of indexed search results to purchase ready shoppers every single day. But it’s not only the buying that Amazon has made remarkably easy for shoppers, it’s the delivery and returns processes as well. Buyers and in particular the Amazon Prime members can enjoy easy and free returns on all purchases made on the marketplaces as a key component of the membership. Amazon understands that making the return process simple and free lures in the punters willing to sample anything and everything they wish, carefully boxed and delivered direct to their doorstep as quick as the same day in more than 8,000 cities and towns across the US. Not every product is available for same day delivery based on the warehouse location of the actual item being purchased and the delivery address of the buyer however Amazon is making it increasingly easy and speedy for buyers to get their hands on their products. If the buyer wants to return an item, they simply have to generate a return including a postage paid return label from the Amazon website and select whether they want their return package picked up or dropped off at their local post office. Prime members will be provided with a free shipping return label however all returns must be received by Amazon within 30 days of the original purchase date. In an effort to reduce third party courier costs and take greater control of the end to end delivery and return process, Amazon has recently rolled out a delivery service named Amazon Flex (https://flex.amazon.com/). The service allows just about anyone to sign up as an independent delivery contractor for Amazon, providing the contractor with flexible working hours and reasonable hourly rates with added bonuses. Amazon remains fully focused on making every part of the purchasing, delivery and returns process for their consumer customer base and has publicly flagged a next level package delivery program via the use of airborne drones. The launch date of this innovative and futuristic service is unknown however it clearly shows that Amazon is forward thinking when it comes to the use of technology to provide an increased service level for buyers.
When it comes to sellers or retailers, the marketplace is enticing for various other reasons however the majority of sellers are attracted by the huge Prime membership customer base and other buyers that are active on the Amazon marketplaces. It is estimated that that in mid 2018, Amazon has more than 90 million active Prime membership accounts just in the US alone and over 49% of the online shopping market share so it’s easy to see why more than 1 million small to medium size businesses from the US that choose to sell on the Amazon USA marketplace alone. Most selling categories require no pre-approval so just about anyone can start selling on Amazon however many of the professional marketing tools such as branded logo presentation on the marketplace and the creation of an actual Amazon store is not available to anyone without a registered and active trademark. Competition is fierce on the amazon marketplaces and the selling environment is at its competitive peak around the major shopping holiday and seasonal events throughout the year. During the lead up to the Christmas shopping season in 2017, more than one billion items were ordered from small businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide in just five days, from November 23rd through Cyber Monday. Amazon Devices had their best holiday sales period yet, with tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices sold worldwide. Echo Dot and Fire TV Stick with the Alexa Voice Remote were not only the top-selling Amazon devices for the holiday shopping season, but they were also the best-selling products from any manufacture in any category across all of Amazon. This clearly shows that voice enabled or activated search is growing in popularity at an amazing rate. Sponsored Ads (aka Sponsored Products) which is Amazons paid search or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising has been steadily growing as well. Amazon really stepped up Sponsored Ads in 2018 showing many more paid advertisement impressions in the search results for buyers, effectively driving up revenues and profits extracted from sellers on their marketplaces and it is projected that Amazon will reap in 1.65 billion in net US digital ad revenue in 2018 alone. Many sellers were left bewildered in late 2017 and early 2018 as their Sponsored Ads campaign spend suddenly skyrocketed and they felt powerless to control the new revenue generating beast that Amazon had unleashed upon them. The Amazon marketplaces are developing and evolving at a rapid rate and for many sellers, it’s simply too difficult to keep up with all the changes that are made by Amazon to their platforms and stay competitive at the same time. New entrants to the marketplaces find it increasingly difficult to gain a foothold in their respective categories and are left pondering if the time and effort spent on the steep learning curve to understand how to sell on the Amazon marketplace will actually pay off! Fortunately, there is professional assistance available through a new breed of e-commerce enablement companies and managed service providers such as Elevate located in Thailand. Retailers and new sellers to the Amazon marketplaces can simply outsource the entire management of their selling account including all digital marketing responsibilities to Elevate and effectively hit the ground running by selling on Amazon quickly and professionally. Elevates services extend further than seller account management and digital marketing, they also provide warehouse and distribution services including Amazon FBA preparation, product packaging, quality control, freight forwarding and other traditional services that sellers generally need in order to get their products prepped and shipped in to the Amazon fulfillment centers worldwide.
With Amazon continuing to open more marketplaces globally and attracting many new professional brands and retailers alike, it’s easy to see the attraction on both sides. Whilst Amazon continues to provide such a wide selection or products at competitive pricing coupled with world class customer service, shoppers will flock to their marketplaces. For sellers, the race is on to keep in touch with the market leaders, leverage their strengths and differentiate their products as best they can in order to stand out from the competition.