By Greg Mercer, founder and CEO of Jungle Scout, the leading all-in-one platform for selling on Amazon.
Do you want to know what it’s like to be an entrepreneur? Sell online. As I see it, having your own e-commerce business teaches you the skills you need to run a business and lead a team faster than any other way.
That’s how I got my start. Selling one product on Amazon turned into selling three dozen, and it set me on a mission to make the process easier for others. I took my experience and built my own product, which I’ve since grown into a global company, now an all-in-one platform to help other entrepreneurs and businesses succeed on Amazon.
My experience selling online gave me invaluable, fast, hands-on experience that allowed me to start and grow a new company. Here’s what I learned along the way.
Commit To Best Practices
Your entrepreneurial journey is what you make it. In order to thrive on Amazon or other e-commerce platforms, adopting these best practices will not only make you a successful seller but help you become a more well-rounded entrepreneur:
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• Lean into your competitive streak: In the Amazon world, things move fast. Some “winning” factors for products (like sales rank and Buy Box ownership) change by the day. You’ll need to constantly watch and understand competitor moves. Take notes.
• Sharpen your attention to detail: I’ll admit, keeping up with every detail of your product is a challenge. However, slight tweaks in your listing or your keyword strategy can make all the difference. You must always monitor your product’s performance, especially when competing products are widely available to shoppers.
• Channel your curiosity: With millions of products from so many sellers, it’s critical to improve your seller knowledge. You have to keep track of how e-commerce, the platform itself, competitors and consumer expectations are changing. You’ve heard the phrase “Stay hungry, stay foolish.” Amazon is the perfect example of that.
Incorporating these philosophies into your business management will allow you to advance faster, but there is one secret ingredient every Amazon seller needs.
On one hand, when you sell on Amazon, you’ll learn that nothing will surprise you — and that is probably the case with most new businesses. Managing a business with constant change is not new. Between pivoting for changing market trends and building new strategies to monitor your competitors, you’re always adapting. Fortunately, there are plenty of helpful tools out there to guide you along the way.
On the other hand, selling on Amazon is relatively new. It requires entrepreneurs to learn from a much (dare I say it) scrappier playbook. There aren’t certificates or university courses for how to sell on Amazon, yet it’s a massive industry.
The most important learning from selling on Amazon is to be resourceful. There are plenty of amazing resources out there to help you get started selling on Amazon or elsewhere.
But the onus is on you to make use of these resources to best educate yourself. When you set out to launch your business, you’re encountering uncharted territory. You need to self-teach, and by the process of trial and error, you often learn the hardest but most effective lessons. I recognized these seller roadblocks, and I created my company to help a community of sellers get what they need.
Honing your resourcefulness is an excellent exercise in entrepreneurship and creativity. If Amazon is your first business venture, I think you’re ahead of the curve.
Seize The Opportunity
Other entrepreneurs have caught on to the gold mine opportunity that is e-commerce and have expanded their reach online.
According to my company’s survey of more than 1,000 Amazon sellers, 20% said that adding a new sales channel to their existing business was a top reason to start selling on Amazon.
Expanding a current business on Amazon requires you to be diligent about what products you want to sell. Doing thorough research is key for product development and to understand how you can prosper in Amazon’s competitive landscape. Often, if your product can succeed on Amazon, it can succeed in other channels as well.
Selling a product on Amazon requires you to be more intentional about how you market your product, too. How will customers respond to your product listing and images? Amazon’s consumer base can be ruthless in their product feedback, which will quickly help you identify areas for improvement or promotion.
Finally, selling on Amazon or other e-commerce platforms gives you all the benefits of fast data. You learn to keep close track of how your business is performing because you have real-time sales data and can iterate quickly.
Make Amazon Work For You
Fun fact: In 2018, third-party sellers accounted for 58% of Amazon’s total physical gross merchandise sales. In 2019, third-party sellers generated $54 billion in revenue — up about 26% from the year before.
So what kind of third-party sellers use Amazon to build a business?
According to my company’s survey of Amazon sellers, an impressive 54% of sellers own their own companies outside of their Amazon businesses, while 37% of sellers make their money on Amazon full time.
Or maybe Amazon is your side hustle, as it is for 18% of Amazon sellers who earn extra money on top of their existing income. These sellers know the satisfaction of creating opportunities for financial independence.
Regardless of what type of seller you are or how much you sell, you can take pride in knowing that investing in your business on Amazon means investing in your talents as an entrepreneur.