WANT TO SELL ON AMAZON? BUSINESSES MUST WEIGH PROS, CONS

AppleMagazine|January 17, 2020

WANT TO SELL ON AMAZON? BUSINESSES MUST WEIGH PROS, CONS
While many small manufacturers and retailers believe Amazon is the place to be, Lyris Autran is forgoing the opportunity.
Autran wants to keep the prices on her leashes, bowls and other products for dogs competitive. It costs money to sell on Amazon.com — a 15% fee on each sale and additional charges for shipping — and that would force her to raise prices. So she sells solely on her website, Dylan & Rainey.

“Our margins are smaller, which makes selling on Amazon cost-prohibitive,” says Autran, whose company is based in Gastonia, North Carolina. She also includes dog treats and hand-written notes in her shipments, a personal touch not available on packages Amazon handles.

Small business owners selling online must weigh the pros and cons of listing their products on Amazon. For many, there’s no question — the company provides small businesses instant access to hundreds of millions of consumers worldwide. Companies without shipping departments can turn over packing and mailing to Amazon. And selling on Amazon can help a company place high in Google and other online search results. But the costs can be hard for small companies to absorb. Another downside for some business owners is they don’t have direct access with customers who buy through Amazon.

The research firm eMarketer estimates Amazon’s share of the online U.S. retail market at nearly 38%, a statistic that influenced Paul Cunningham’s decision to become an Amazon seller.

“It’s sort of necessary to have a presence there for legitimacy,” says Cunningham, owner of Leather Head Sports, a Glen Rock, New Jersey-based manufacturer of custom-made baseballs, footballs and other balls. “It is where people first look when they want to shop.”

But Cunningham has learned that listing a product doesn’t automatically generate strong sales — he needs to advertise on Amazon to help his products be more visible.

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January 17, 2020