Amazon has grown into one of the world's largest and most trusted online marketplaces. Tons of different types of products are sold on Amazon, both by Amazon itself and third-party retailers like you. By some estimates, 25% of all eCommerce sales in the US occur on Amazon and 55% of eCommerce customers visit Amazon first, even before searching for their product on Google. This means that millions of customers choose Amazon as their first destination when shopping online, presenting a vast opportunity for businesses of all sizes.
With Shift4Shop, you can have your own fully customizable, branded online store while leveraging the eCommerce power of Amazon.
With Shift4Shop, your business can have all the advantages of multichannel eCommerce without needing to keep track of sales and inventory on two separate channels. List your products on Amazon, process all your orders, and handle shipping straight from your Shift4Shop dashboard. Shift4Shop's Amazon integration allows you to derive all the benefits of selling on Amazon without needing to split your efforts, and lets you access Amazon's powerful eCommerce features.
Amazon Seller Central is your dashboard on Amazon, used for setting up your profile, viewing analytics and other data, controlling your pricing, and more. To access this central database and start listing your products, you need an Amazon Seller account. There are two types of Amazon Seller accounts aimed at businesses of different sizes.
An Individual selling plan is for those who only need to sell a few items at a time. There's no monthly fee — instead, you pay $0.99 for each sale. This plan is not really for businesses, but rather for individuals who want to sell a few items like used books, so it only gives you access to limited tools.
To get the full power of Amazon at your fingertips, you will need a Professional selling plan, which costs $39.99 per month (but eliminates the $0.99 per-sale fee). A Professional selling plan is built for businesses that may have any number of products to add to Amazon and comes with advanced selling and listing tools. This is the plan your business needs to reach its full potential on Amazon, and the results can be well worth the monthly fee.
Amazon Seller Central is also where you'd normally process your orders, but if you have an eCommerce website with Shift4Shop you can handle all your orders from both channels right in your Shift4Shop dashboard. Shift4Shop's built-in Amazon Order Sync connects directly to your Amazon Seller Central interface to import your orders from Amazon for management in your Shift4Shop store. This means you can sell on both channels without the extra work of managing them separately.
Adding a product to Amazon is different than adding a product to your own eCommerce website or another marketplace like eBay. Unless your product is totally new, you add it to an existing product page that represents that product. Customers can then choose to buy from you or any other seller listed on that product page (including Amazon itself, if it sells that product).
If you own your own brand or your products are completely new, you do have the right to create unique product pages. In this case, you need to ensure you follow Amazon's policies and include all required information.
If you're starting out on Amazon without an eCommerce website of your own, you can add products with the Add a Product Tool in your Seller Central account, or upload a spreadsheet using the proper Excel template. If you do already have your own eCommerce website, you can export your products to Amazon using data feed software like GoDataFeed, ChannelUnity, or Linnworks. These solutions are fully integrated with Shift4Shop and also perform other helpful functions like synchronizing your inventory between your Shift4Shop store and your Amazon account.
Amazon has high standards for customer service, and you need to comply with them or risk suspension of your account. Because of this, it's crucial that you stay on top of orders and process them as quickly as possible. If you're running multiple eCommerce channels, like Amazon, eBay, and your own website all at once, it can quickly become overwhelming to keep track of all of them at once.
Shift4Shop provides built-in functionality for connecting your Amazon Seller account to your Shift4Shop store to enable all your Amazon orders to appear in your Shift4Shop dashboard. This centralized management saves you tons of time and stress by bringing all your orders together in a single interface. This means much less potential for error or customer dissatisfaction.
Advanced Amazon-Shift4Shop synchronization is also available through data feed software solutions like those mentioned above. The additional features, like 2-way inventory sync, make multichannel eCommerce a breeze even for the smallest business.
Amazon allows the sale of thousands of types of products in dozens of industries, although not all industries are open to new sellers. Make sure you check out Amazon's list of Restricted Products to ensure you don't attempt to list anything that's forbidden. You should also check up on Amazon's full list of categories, which also explains the "gated" categories that you'll need approval to list.
You don't have to manufacture products or own your own brand to sell on Amazon, but for some products, you do need to prove that you're an authorized reseller. This involves getting an invoice from your supplier, whether it’s a distributor or manufacturer. Note that receipts from another retailer are not sufficient — while retail arbitrage used to be a valid method of selling on Amazon, it's much more restrictive today. If you want to resell items you bought at a store, you'll need to list them as Used rather than New.
If you do own your own brand and/or manufacture your products, you can protect your brand with the Amazon Brand Registry. By doing so, you gain increased control over your product listings including the ability to protect them against counterfeit items and other types of copyright or trademark infringement. Before you can enroll, you need an active registered trademark and documentation proving you are the brand owner. Your trademark must also appear on your products or packaging.
Amazon's Brand Registry is important because of the open nature of selling on Amazon — as long as the requirements are met, anyone can sell any permitted product and multiple sellers' listings are all collected on the same page. As a registered brand, you'll be able to protect your listings against unauthorized or counterfeit sellers.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is an Amazon service that allows sellers to have their orders shipped out by Amazon itself. You ship your inventory to one or more Amazon warehouses with the appropriate documentation and packaging, and Amazon then takes full responsibility for each step of order fulfillment. Picking, packing, and shipping are all handled by Amazon employees, meaning much more time for your business to focus on other tasks. As part of taking on your fulfillment process, Amazon also handles customer service inquiries and issues relating to your shipping.
An important benefit of Fulfillment by Amazon is that it allows your products to be eligible for free 2-day shipping through Amazon Prime, an overwhelmingly popular premium membership tier for Amazon customers. Over 65 million Amazon customers are Prime members, and most prioritize buying from sellers who make Prime shipping available. For this reason, using Fulfillment by Amazon can earn you many more sales. Prime members also spend an average of 4 times more than non-Prime Amazon customers, so they're quite valuable as a target audience.
Even businesses who don't sell directly on Amazon can use Amazon's fulfillment services to ship their products, through a different program called Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF). For this service, Amazon handles the shipping of orders you receive through your own eCommerce website. You can use both MCF and FBA at the same time to have Amazon handle shipping of orders from your own website or other sales channel, as well as your Amazon listings.
Shift4Shop makes it easy to use MCF with our FBA integration, which essentially treats your Amazon Fulfillment Center as a dropshipper for the purpose of shipping out order. You can enhance the process with our Fulfillment by Amazon Connector, which also sends tracking and inventory updates back to your Shift4Shop store.
The Buy Box is the box that contains the "Add to Cart" button on an Amazon product page. When a customer clicks this button, the product added to their cart is from a specific vendor (whether Amazon itself or a third-party seller) that has "won" the Buy Box. This means the Buy Box winner gets more sales, since customers frequently don't browse all the available offerings from different sellers.
Winning the Buy Box is a complicated process that gets very competitive. You need a Professional Seller account and your product must be priced competitively. You also have to become a Featured Merchant which relies on your performance metrics, shipping speed, customer service history, number of products in stock, and several other factors. Fulfillment by Amazon is a huge help since it enables your product for Prime shipping, but it can be very difficult to win (and keep) the Buy Box. Constant vigilance and total attention to customer service are the name of the game, and can pay off greatly!
Amazon customers save their shipping and payment information in their Amazon accounts for later use. You can let them check out with this saved information on your own website by accepting Amazon Pay. Not only does this spare customers from having to enter information on your website, it also signals that your business is secure and trustworthy.
Customers checking out with Amazon Pay can complete their transaction much more quickly, especially when shopping on mobile. They also appreciate not needing to "give" their information to another business, which can help earn you more customers who might otherwise be hesitant to buy from a brand they're unfamiliar with.
Shift4Shop makes it simple to add Amazon Pay to your website, alongside any other payment methods you prefer to use. With more alternative payment solutions than any other platform, Shift4Shop lets you tailor your online store to any type of customer, anywhere.