Selling on Amazon.com: An Interview with Tim Mirick
By Ina Steiner
What does it take to sell on Amazon.com, and does it make sense for eBay and online-auction sellers to consider the Amazon Marketplace as a sales channel? We corresponded with Tim Mirick, Director of Amazon Services, who describes Amazon.com's program for third-party sellers.
AuctionBytes: Many sellers may be familiar with Amazon.com as a place to sell books and media. In what other categories may third-party sellers participate?
Third party sellers add fantastic selection to our stores that benefit our customers. Therefore, sellers can list products in our popular categories including: Sports and Fitness, Kids and Baby, Health and Fitness, Clothing and Jewelry, Home and Garden, Food and Household, Tools and Automotive, Computer and Office, Consumer Electronics, Toys and Video Games and of course Books, Music, DVD and Video.
AuctionBytes: What are the requirements for selling on Amazon.com, and are there different restrictions for different categories?
Anyone over the age of 18 can sell on Amazon.com. Depending on your products and categories, there might be a review process that you need to complete.
AuctionBytes: Are the selling fees the same for all categories?
We have a straightforward pricing model that limits seller risk for listing products on our site. Our standard program costs $39.99 per month for unlimited listings plus a referral fee when you sell something; the referral fee varies by category.
Editor's Note: you can find fees and prices on this page: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=1161240
AuctionBytes: If I'm selling about $1,000 a month in collectibles or antiques on another venue, does it make sense for me to consider selling on Amazon.com?
Of course! It only benefits your business to sell through another marketing channel and selling on Amazon gets your product in front of ten of millions of active customer accounts. It's easy to set up and the monthly fees are affordable as you get started. You pay only a flat fee regardless of listings until you sell something.
AuctionBytes: Amazon processes payments for merchants. Would Amazon ever consider accepting PayPal from shoppers?
Like with any feature suggestion, we are always looking at what benefits our customers and that will drive our decisions.
AuctionBytes: Has Amazon.com considered integrating with Google Checkout?
We don't discuss our business strategies but we are always looking at ways to enhance the customer experience.
AuctionBytes: Many AuctionBytes readers use auction-management tools, ranging from simple listing tools to sophisticated inventory-management solutions. Are there multi-channel selling tools that integrate with Amazon? Are there any that a typical eBay or online-auction seller might be familiar with?
By selling on Amazon, sellers can list their products in Amazon's already existing product categories following the same format as all other Amazon.com product detail pages. Amazon does offer sellers multiple methods to get their listings on Amazon.com including the Amazon Seller Desktop tool that allows you to manage your feeds easily. We are constantly looking to improve the listing experience and make adding products to the catalogue easy and fast.
AuctionBytes: Fraud is a major concern for online shoppers. Does Amazon.com bring anything to the table that other sites may be missing?
Amazon offers an A to Z guarantee for customers. This includes purchases from Amazon Marketplace, Auctions, and Merchant sellers when customers pay via Amazon.com. Tens of millions of active customers already know buying through Amazon is safe and these A to Z-guaranteed customers are accessible to all sellers.
AuctionBytes: Does Amazon.com restrict third-party sellers to North America?
We allow third party sellers to not only ship internationally but we also have third party programs in the UK, Canada, Germany and Japan.
AuctionBytes: AuctionBytes had interviewed a seller that uses Amazon WebStores for an article that ran in September (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y06/m09/i20/s02). What kind of experience have WebStores sellers been having, and are you pleased with the adoption rate? What are the challenges to overcome?
WebStore by Amazon is still a new product but we have been very pleased with the adoption rate. As a company we are relentless in our pursuit of improvement and we are working to make all of our third party offerings, including WebStore by Amazon and Fulfillment by Amazon, even more powerful and easy to use. As an example we just launched a "one click" launch feature that allows a merchant to have a fully featured web site in minutes. To see WebStore by Amazon success stories, please visit the site at http://www.amazonservices.com/webstoreSelfService/success.php
AuctionBytes: What are the benefits of selling through Amazon versus other venues?
By choosing any of our programs including Merchants on Amazon, Fulfillment by Amazon or Webstore by Amazon you can leverage more than a decade of online retailing expertise and proven technology. You have access to tens of millions of active customer accounts and world-class operational infrastructure. We think that working with Amazon is an easy choice to grow and scale your business successfully.
Note: AuctionBytes wrote about WebStore by Amazon (a storefront offering) and Fulfillment by Amazon (a fulfillment service) when Amazon launched them in September 2006:
All sellers registered to list their merchandise on Amazon.com may create Amazon Marketplace listings. However, listing in certain stores is restricted to pre-approved sellers only:
You can learn more about selling on Amazon.com on its website:
About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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