Small business owners (and even large retailers) are struggling to compete with the ease, speed, and reach of Amazon. With over 150 million monthly unique visitors in the US alone, plus millions of products spanning every category, Amazon is a tough competitor. In this case, SMBs may need to take the “if you can’t beat them, join them” approach and consider becoming a vendor or seller for Amazon. Having your products or services sold through or by Amazon is a great way to increase your company’s visibility, find new customers, and grow your sales. Here are the ways you can start working with Amazon instead of against it.
Getting Started as an Amazon Seller*
With Amazon Marketplace, you can sign up as a professional or individual seller and begin selling your inventory on Amazon. You can ship products yourself or join the Fulfillment by Amazon program, which I explain below. Selling on Amazon Marketplace can be lucrative for your business – half the products sold on Amazon are from companies that offer products through the marketplace.
If you’ve just developed a new product and want to test demand, you can sign up as an individual seller and list a small amount of product (fewer than 40 items). As a seller, you’ll likely need to build up your seller metrics before you are eligible for Prime shipping. Your seller metrics will indicate how fast you ship and fulfill orders and if customers were satisfied.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Program
By joining the Fulfillment by Amazon program, you store your products in an Amazon warehouse and let the company take care of packing, shipping, and customer service. You pay fees to have Amazon store your products and do much of the behind-the-scenes work for you.
- No minimum number of units you must send to the fulfillment center
- Eligible for Prime and free shipping
- Amazon handles customer service and returns
- Must be an Amazon seller, which requires a monthly $39.99 subscription fee plus additional selling fees as necessary for those selling over 40 items a month. (Individual seller pricing varies.)
- Additional storage and fulfillment fees
Invite-Only Vendor Central
Through the Vendor Express program, it used to be easy to become a vendor and sell your products to Amazon as a wholesaler. Unfortunately, Amazon has discontinued Vendor Express and has gone back to offering only Vendor Central, which is invite only. If you want to become an Amazon vendor, you’ll need to have strong supplier skills. With two-day Prime shipping, Amazon will need vendors who don’t struggle with inventory or shipments. Building your business credit file can help show procurement professionals like those at Amazon that you can handle the demand.
Business Credit for Suppliers
Your business credit scores and ratings could help you be a reliable Amazon supplier or vendor. Amazon can open new doors for your business and ideally increase your demand and sales. In order to keep up with higher demand, you may need to hire more employees, purchase more supplies or inventory, or even take out a loan. Having a strong business credit file can help you get the funding and contracts you might need to deliver on your orders. Learn more about building business credit.
*Dun & Bradstreet is not affiliated with Amazon.