Ep. 018 Keyword Podcast: 6 Ways to Grow Your Amazon Business in 2017

February 20, 2017
Ep. 018 6 Ways to Grow Your Amazon Business in 2017

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Peter Kearns with eGrowth Partners gives us six ways sellers can grow on Amazon in 2017.


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Show Notes: 6 Ways to Grow Your Amazon Business in 2017

Peter Kearns with eGrowth Partners gives us six ways sellers can grow on Amazon in 2017.

In this week’s episode we’re talking with Peter Kearns. He worked at Amazon for four years in Seller Services.  

“We would work with category managers, identifying areas of opportunity for Amazon either with the catalogue or with the number of offers on particular ASINs,” Peter says.

Peter’s specific job was to recruit new sellers to fill gaps in the Amazon catalogue. He was on that team when they decided to start gating categories. If you aren’t familiar with the term gated categories, Amazon requires sellers to get approval to sell in some categories. Right now 22 categories are gated. Peter helped close several of those categories in his area; Grocery, Beauty and Health and Personal Care.

“When we decided to gate those categories and it was specifically for the customer experience to make sure the customer was getting a great experience and it’s just something I look back on and it’s kind of a proud moment because we were being customer obsessed,” Peter says.  

Peter now consults third party sellers with his company eGrowth Partners. He also still identifies areas for growth on Amazon.

“That’s really my sweet spot, helping sellers grow, helping them identify the areas of opportunity within their business,” Peter says.

Peter’s talking with us about what areas are open for growth this year. In total, we have six different areas to cover.

1.Heavy/Bulky Items

Amazon wants the Marketplace to be able to offer more items that are cumbersome to deliver. They want to bundle the “delivery and set-up” in with the price listed online but only make the listing available in the geographical delivery area.

“So for example if you’re selling treadmills and you also are in an area where you deliver it yourself, they’re making it available so you could sell that inventory specifically to your zip code destinations,” Peter says.  

Or here’s another example: if your Uncle Bob has a furniture shop in Boston, he can now list his couches on Amazon and provide the customers the delivery and set- up cost in with the price. Only people in your Uncle Bob’s specifically delivery area will be able to see his listings.

Amazon wants more of these big, bulky items. They want things like:

  • Lawn mowers
  • Sporting equipment
  • Appliances
  • Furniture
  • Anything that requires additional delivery and set-up help.

2. Expanding to selling in other markets.

This one makes a lot of sense, especially expanding to Europe. If you’re making a million dollars in the United States, you can expect to do that same amount of sales in Europe. So by expanding to a new marketplace, you’re increasing your sales, but it won’t come easily.

“You want to make sure that you’re listings are localized  and different rules and regulations, VAT and everything that you need to have in place so it does take a while,” Peter says.

3. Building up your brand.

“Amazon is making more tools available for brand owners. So enhanced content advertising options, those sorts of things, so that is a really valuable space but again you want to do it the right way,” Peter says.

Nearly 60 percent of all shopping searches start on Amazon,  so building up your brand on Amazon is a great way to get it noticed by a lot of customers, but you have to make sure your product lives up to your brand.

“There’s a lot of people out there trying to go private label.  I think it’s opportunity for you to slow down and look at what you’re doing, creating good products as opposed to just creating something to fill a void in your profit or your sales,” Peter says.

4. Selling in Amazon Business

Amazon business helps connect businesses to sell to other businesses, think places like schools or larger companies.

“Amazon business is a very rapid growing space. There’s a lot of initiatives going on with business it’s a great opportunity to tap into a business climate or clientele or customer base if you’re not doing that,” Peter says.

Amazon is actively looking for sellers to sell in all categories in Amazon Business and also bringing in buyers to make large buys instead of just individual customers.

5. Selling in Prime Now

Third party sellers are getting into Prime Now, making their products available for two-hour delivery instead of two days.

“Which I think is a great opportunity if you have that capability. I know that they’re doing it in Chicago where they’ve launched businesses there, drug stores, restaurants, grocery, wine, things like that,” Peter says.

Now the hard thing with Prime Now is it’s not everywhere. It’s only available in 28 areas, but remember amazon is testing drones for delivery. If all that continues to go well Prime Now will continue to expand. Peter suggests that third party sellers constantly work on getting involved in some of those new programs like Prime Now.

“I’m always encouraging sellers to make sure you’re doing it the right way. So that your account can be eligible for any of these other programs,” Peter says.

Now the one caveat to joining some of these new programs is whether or not if fits your company. If it’s just something you want to try, but won’t help you or could hurt your company, don’t do it.

“That’s really a driving factor behind it. What’s your goal and how is it going to help you achieve it or is it gonna derail you from achieving your goal?” Peter says.

6. Several Categories to expand in

In general, Peter says there’s room for growth in every category on Amazon. Peter tells us you should avoid DVDs and Books. There’s lots of customers looking for products in the Health and Personal Care, but there’s a lot of restrictions in that category too.

When you want to expand, you need to stick to what you already know.

“You may be in Consumables and you say ok, now I want to start going into Beauty or I want to go into Baby or I’m in Personal Electronics and now I’m going to start going into you know luggage because I sell computers and now I’m going to sell computer bags or backpacks,” Peter says.

Apparel is another category that’s ready for more products, but you have to check quality.

“If you have access to inventory that has something that sets it apart, you know, not just cheap apparel coming from overseas but actually something that stands apart from other types of apparel I think that that’s always a great opportunity,” Peter says.

Peter gives us one more bonus area for growth, but it’s not something related to Amazon specifically. If you are able to do Seller Fulfilled Prime, you should do it, and here’s why: Prime shipping puts your products in front of a lot of shoppers. If you can get that same status – and ship products yourself, you can open yourself to even more e-commerce opportunities. You can sell on Walmart and Jet.com, along with several other markets.

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