So, you’re ready to start selling your branded product on Amazon.com. Smart move: Within the last few years, Amazon has become one of the largest retail outlets in the world, battling for the top-retailer title with other giants like Walmart.
Which means if your company sells a product under your own brand, and you’re not selling on Amazon, you are missing out on an enormous market of potential customers.
But what’s your next move? And the move after that? How do you get your branded product up and running on Amazon? This post will give you an overview of the steps you’ll need to take.
- Figure out which Amazon category your branded product fits into
Products sold in the Amazon marketplace are broken into dozens of categories, and within many of those categories you’ll find several rules and restrictions.
For some categories, you will need to get approval from Amazon before you can list your product. For other categories, you’ll be allowed to list your product only if you can ship it within a certain timeframe. And still other categories require that you list only new (as opposed to used or refurbished) products, or to get Amazon approval to sell during the holiday season.
Also worth noting: For some product categories, Amazon will allow you to list your products only if you are signed up as a Professional Seller, as opposed to an Individual Seller. This is just one of many reasons we recommend that you…
- Sign up as a Professional Seller
When you establish a seller’s account on Amazon, you have the option to register as an Individual Seller or Professional Seller.
Amazon offers a helpful side-by-side comparison of these two types of seller accounts. The bottom line, though, is that if your company is selling a branded product, even at a low volume, it makes sense to sign up for the Professional selling plan.
It will cost your business a monthly service fee, but you will receive a lot of value for the distinction as a Professional Seller — including access to listing and order-management tools, access to reporting information, and the ability to sell in product categories that are off-limits to Individual Sellers.
- Create Your Amazon Seller Profile
After you’ve signed up as a seller and given Amazon some basic information about your business — official business name, address, bank account details, etc. — it’ll be time to create your public seller profile.
This is your chance to introduce your company and your brand to customers. You’ll need an introductory blurb to tell customers about your company. You’ll need your company’s logo. And you’ll need to offer some details about your business’s policies regarding returns and refunds.
Think of this seller profile as your company’s chance to make a first impression with customers.
- Sign up for Amazon Brand Registry (Optional, But Smart)
When selling your branded product on Amazon (or anywhere online, for that matter), you’ll obviously need to protect your brand and your company against counterfeiters or unauthorized retailers selling your products.
For this reason, you might want to sign up for Amazon Brand Registry. This program, which is open only to sellers that manufacture or sell their own branded products, gives you additional control over how and where your brand’s content appears on the Amazon marketplace.
When you are accepted into the Amazon Brand Registry, Amazon will designate your company the official brand owner. Essentially, this gives your company two major benefits.
First, you’ll have control over how your brand and products are listed on Amazon. Whereas other sellers often must submit their listings and other content to the Amazon Seller Team for review and approval, as the brand owner you’ll be able to simply upload your content — exactly as you want it — directly to the live Amazon marketplace. No approvals. No delays.
A second benefit is that, as the brand owner, you will be more easily able to catch and deal with unauthorized usage of your content, violations of your copyrighted and trademarked materials, and other means by which unauthorized resellers or counterfeiters might try to use your content without your permission to sell your products.
- Determine Your Fulfillment Model
If your business already has a shipping and fulfillment infrastructure in place (onsite warehouse team, drop shipping partner, etc.), you can continue to use that arrangement for the branded products you sell through Amazon.
But if you don’t yet have shipping infrastructure in place, you might want to research the fulfillment partnership Amazon offers its sellers — called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBA, you ship your inventory to Amazon, and then when you sell a product through the Amazon marketplace, they’ll pick, pack and ship the item to your customer.
There are several benefits to signing up for the FBA program — including the fact that Amazon will make your products eligible for all sorts of attractive shipping options, like Prime free shipping.
Of course, there are costs associated with FBA membership — including charges for order fulfillment as well as storing your items at Amazon’s distribution centers. So you’ll want to investigate this option before signing up.
- Start Listing Your Products
Because you’re selling branded products, you will have to complete a few steps when listing your items that a reseller wouldn’t — because resellers can often find the identical products they’re planning to sell already on Amazon. Your company, by contrast, will be creating the very first listings of these products ever to appear in the Amazon marketplace. (And congratulations, by the way!)
Here’s what you’ll need to provide to Amazon to get your products listed:
- A UPC number
- Your SKU number
- The product title
This will be your own written explanation of the product, and it should be as direct and concise as you can make it.
- Product description
This is your product’s sales copy, and it’s your chance to tell your customer about all of its features and benefits. Take your time with this section.
Here you’ll need to upload high-resolution images, and experts recommend they be at least 1000x1000 pixels (although Amazon will allow them as small as 500x500).
- Product attributes
These are the search terms you’ll include with your listing to drive shoppers entering in those terms in the Amazon search box. Amazon will give you fields of 50 characters to write your search terms.
And keep in mind, if you’ve signed up as a Professional Seller, you will be able to upload your listings in bulk. As an Individual Seller, however, you will have to upload your products one at a time.
- BONUS STEP: Deploy an Automated Brand Protection Solution to Monitor Your Amazon Presence (Optional, But Smart)
As the brand owner, selling your branded product directly on Amazon through your own Professional Seller account, you should be the only business listing your products in the marketplace — unless and until you actually give the green light to an authorized retailer to list your products on Amazon as well.
But many manufacturers and brand owners find that grey-market retailers — and even product counterfeiters — create listings on Amazon for their products, without their permission or knowledge.
Obviously, an unauthorized reseller or counterfeiter with an Amazon listing for your product can create all sorts of problems for your brand. It can confuse shoppers. It can lead to lousy experiences for your customers. It can infuriate and even drive away the honorable retailers in your official resale channel. And, ultimately, it can hurt your brand.
Which is why if you’re selling your products on Amazon — or anywhere on the Internet, for that matter, whether directly or through resellers — you should deploy an automated brand protection solution to monitor your products’ presence online at all times, catch and document any violations of your intellectual property rights or your reseller policies, and help you take appropriate action.
If you’d like to discover how to automate your online brand protection, schedule a free demo.