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Do Amazon Sellers Need a Separate Website?
Stay on top of the latest e-commerce and marketplace trends.
The American e-retail giant, Amazon came into existence in the early 2000s. Back then, the platform specialized in selling books, audio CDs, and DVDs only. Over the years, the platform has risen to become a global e-commerce company selling millions of different everyday products.
Today, Amazon presents incredible opportunities for brands and sellers to connect with millions of consumers across the globe.
How to Sell On Amazon
Amazon provides income to over 9 million third-party sellers (3P) spread out across the globe, according to Marketplace Pulse. These 3P sellers mint profits through buying and later reselling Amazon products.
Some brands hire manufacturers to help them create private label products for reselling while others prefer to produce their own custom items. You can also buy and sell used products on the platform. Certain sellers prefer to buy goods in bulk and resell them on this lucrative online marketplace.
Despite the huge income-earning potential, Amazon sellers often find themselves facing numerous challenges before realizing profits. Amazon sellers face hurdles like excessive competition, cash flow limitations, price wars, ever-changing sales tax laws, strict return policies, category restrictions, and seller account suspensions.
All in all, the upsides of starting an Amazon shop by far outweigh these challenges and, with a solid strategy and some good luck, you can beat these odds to succeed.
One of the frequently asked questions by potential sellers is whether one needs a separate website running alongside your Amazon retail account. The best answer to this common question is both yes and no. Here is why.
Setting up shop on Amazon is a great way for you to get started in the e-commerce world. You just need to register your seller account by providing your personal details. Your success is pre-determined by factors like products offered, your operating capital, and the reviews and feedback you receive. To become a top Amazon seller, you also have to comply and adhere to all the detailed terms and conditions provided.
For long-term success, however, there is no escaping having a professional website to compliment your Amazon accounts. It is imperative you work on growing your independent website as you continue making sales on your Amazon seller account.
Here are the merits of operating your own e-commerce website.
Freedom and Flexibility
Having your own website gives you complete autonomy in running your e-retail ventures. As a 3P Amazon seller, there’s a limit to the types of products you can offer. Amazon restricts the sale of products in certain categories.
The platform strictly prohibits the sale of various products in an effort to protect its customers and to discourage counterfeits. On your websites, however, you have full discretion on the products you want to sell.
Beating the Competition
To make a killing on Amazon, you’ll have to outshine the millions of other listed sellers. Amazon’s search engines give preferential rankings to the already established seller accounts over newcomers. Customers tend to engage sellers with solid recognition over newbies.
It becomes difficult to make headway progress if your account doesn’t have hundreds of positive reviews and feedback. The only way for you to rank favorably on Amazon’s searches is by offering low-competition products. Unfortunately, these low-competition products have become increasingly hard to find, and that leaves you stuck.
Having your own websites, however, makes it easier and quicker, for your potential customers to find you. With a meticulous SEO strategy, your website will attract potential buyers in no time. For your websites to gain traction, you will need to incorporate a handful of social media strategies. Consult with social media experts and influencers alike to learn the latest Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram hacks to boost your audience reach.
Better Customer Relations
Having a website allows you to deal with your customers directly. Amazon buyers, on the other hand, deal directly with the giant e-retailer. Interacting with your buyers gives you the added advantage of forging long-term relationships. Your web visitors will most certainly leave their contact details and that makes it easier for you to follow up on them.
Avoid Seller Suspensions
Amazon accounts are susceptible, and sellers risk getting suspended without a moment’s notice. If you’re deemed to have violated the strict Amazon rules, you risk undoing all the gains made thus far.
If your Amazon account gets banned or suspended, you have to start your e-commerce ventures all over again. Many times, these seller suspensions arise due to honest mistakes on your part as a seller. To avoid these costly setbacks, you should work towards having your own e-commerce sites as a fallback plan.
A website or e-commerce store allows you to maximize your retail profits. With a website, you will do away with the monthly Amazon fees and the ever-surging warehouse storage costs. What is more, once you make a sale on your e-commerce websites, you receive your deposits instantly. Opposed to dealing with Amazon, where you will have to wait for 14 days to receive your sales revenues.
Amazon buyers always seek out the cheapest products. Since there is always a seller willing to sell their products for less, you are forced to lower your prices to compete on even ground. To make matters worse, some Amazon sellers resort to selling their products at losses for the sake of garnering customer reviews.
With your own professional websites, you have the freedom to choose your profit margins when selling your assortment of products. Amazon also stifles sellers by forcing them to pay for returned products in certain categories. Customer returns effectively eat up your profit margins and it becomes harder to remain open for business.
E-Commerce for Non-Profits
Remember that not all sellers are after millions in profits. Some Amazon sellers are in it for non-profit reasons. These sellers use the proceeds from their Amazon investments to further noble causes. Their proceeds from nonprofit e-commerce ventures go towards supporting women, providing scholarships to kids in need, and feeding people who are homeless.
The nonprofit website design should be inspirational yet simple. The site should offer a seamless user-experience to compel the donors to take action. The use of brief videos and intriguing imagery to highlight the main themes are strongly recommended with non-profit websites.
The design must have an integrated payment system to accept donations from the well-wishers. It should contain a section where its visitors get to sign up for future charitable events. Such websites must have clear and concise content that convinces the potential donors to give out their money without expecting anything tangible in return. You could offer your site’s donors a branded t-shirt, mug, or bag to show your appreciation.
Uninterrupted Cash Flow
Since Amazon operates with a policy of paying their sellers fortnightly, you need to have cash reserves to replenish your depleted inventories. That makes it a challenge, especially for cash-strapped sellers, to do uninterrupted business.
Amazon does not take into account the fact that these sellers have already spent a fortune on manufacturing, production, and shipping. A website helps sellers avoid costly frustrations as you get paid on the spot.
Restricted or Banned Products
Established brands and manufacturers pose an imminent danger to your success as an Amazon seller. A brand may wake up one morning and decide that it no longer allows third-party sellers to sell their products on Amazon. In such a scenario, Amazon responds by pulling down all seller accounts containing these restricted products. Woe unto you, if you had stocked up on these now-prohibited products as you’ll have to incur all the losses.
Having a dedicated e-commerce website saves you from such unpredictable experiences. It is not as easy for these established brands to track you down and have you pull down their listed products.
Yes, Amazon is a lucrative platform where you can get exposure to millions of potential buyers. Despite the seller’s challenges like brutal competition, exorbitant overheads, and Amazon’s strict policies, you can still make it big.
As a newbie, selling on Amazon directly allows you to learn the ropes of the e-commerce realm. Selling on Amazon allows your new brand to gain credibility in the digital marketplace.
As your brand’s reputation grows, you can consider opening up a dedicated e-commerce website to complement your investment efforts. Your supporting website should be SEO-friendly and have a sleek, modern design if you want to nurture an independent and profitable online retail brand.