For more than two decades, Amazon has been shaping the e-commerce landscape as we know it. It’s driven new consumer expectations, transformed entire industries and created a wealth of opportunities for brands and retailers. As we enter a new era of online shopping, Amazon remains at the forefront of change. As a brand, the question is obvious:
What’s the best way for me to join in Amazon’s success?
For those who want to sell directly to consumers and maintain control over how their products are listed, priced and fulfilled, the answer is establishing a third-party relationship (3P) with Amazon and selling your products directly through Amazon Seller Central.
On this page, we’ll outline the basics of Amazon Seller Central, how to leverage it, and what brands and retailers should consider along the way.
[For brands interested in a first-party (1P), wholesale relationship with Amazon, see our page on Amazon Vendor Central.]
What is Amazon Seller Central?
In a third-party relationship with Amazon, the brand (i.e., the source of the products) is also the retailer (i.e, the seller) and manages a storefront on Amazon. The brand lists products and receives orders for those products. In this case, the brand uses the Amazon platform to sell and market directly to Amazon customers via the Seller Central interface (though many companies use third-party solutions such as ChannelAdvisor to make the process easier). The brand is responsible for listing products, as well as fulfilling sales and providing customer service. Items sold by a third party often include the same product description as those sold via first party. The only difference for shoppers is the “Sold by” line on the product page, where the name of the brand would be listed, instead of “Sold by Amazon.”
Within Seller Central, you’ll be able to monitor and update your product listings, download business reports about your performance, leverage the Amazon Support team and keep track of your Amazon sales for each of your products.
Warehousing and Fulfilment
Amazon sellers are responsible for warehousing products and fulfilling customer orders.
For brands with established direct-to-consumer fulfilment operations, this process may be straightforward. However, to ensure favourable seller ratings on Amazon, it’s important that customers receive your products within the time indicated in the product listing. For brands that don’t have direct-to-consumer operations or that don’t want to worry about fulfilment of Amazon sales, Amazon’s fulfilment program, called Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) is a popular option. With FBA, Amazon will pick, pack and ship your products directly from an Amazon facility to the customer. Costs associated with FBA include shipping products to Amazon and fees you pay to Amazon for pick and pack, handling, storage, shipping and returns processing.
One major benefit using FBA as a third-party seller is access to Amazon Prime customers. There are an estimated 50 million loyal Prime customers worldwide, and these customers tend to spend almost twice as much as the average Amazon customer. Amazon’s excellent reputation for customer service translates to consumer trust when Amazon fulfils orders.
Third-party sellers on Amazon have access to the Amazon Advertising program, which can be leveraged for a number of different ad types on the search results or product pages, including Sponsored Product, Sponsored Brands and Amazon Stores.
Sellers choose which products they want to advertise, assign keywords to those products and set cost-per-click bids. If the bid is competitive, the ad may appear alongside the search results. When Amazon customers click on the ad, they’re taken to the product detail page, and the seller is charged the per-click fee.
Other promotional opportunities for third-party sellers include money-off, buy-one-get-one and post-order benefits such as discounts on a future purchase.
Seller Central gives you access to detailed sales data about inventory, orders, payments, customer satisfaction, feedback, fulfilment and more. Sales, traffic and seller performance information is available by date and ASIN. Detailed sales analytics on Amazon and other channels are also available within the ChannelAdvisor platform for third-party Amazon sellers. Further, Amazon provides notifications on inventory, fulfilment and pricing opportunities to improve the effectiveness of third-party sellers. ChannelAdvisor displays this information through a feature called Amazon Insights.
How to use Amazon Seller Central
Seller Central is the single interface where you will list, monitor, advertise and fulfil your products.
The first and most important step? Create strong product listings. You will have the option to either match an existing listing (if that product is already being sold on Amazon by another seller) or create a brand new listing (if you’re the first seller of that product).
Once a product is listed and live, it will be available to both B2C (business to consumer) customers and B2B (business to business) customers. Accessing both audiences does not cost any additional fees.
To create a listing, you’ll need:
- Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), such as a UPC, ISBN or EAN. If your product already exists on Amazon, you won’t need a new product ID. You can simply match your product to that existing ID.
- Product title
- Product description and bullets
- Product images
- Search terms and relevant keywords
Seller Central best practices
With more than two million active sellers competing on billions of items, it’s not enough to simply upload your product catalogue and walk away. You have to optimise each individual listing, too. That means paying careful attention to mission-critical details — ones that can not only help your products stand out from competitors, but also turn browsers into buyers.
Optimise your product listings
With more than half of all online shoppers starting their product searches on Amazon, optimising product detail pages on the marketplace giant should be a key focus for every vendor.
It’s not just what you list it that compels people to buy. How those listings are presented can make a big difference in sales and revenue. To optimise your product content for Amazon, you’ll need to have carefully crafted:
- Titles: This is the very first content consumers will see, so it’s important to create titles that are accurate — and to include the right keywords so they’ll show up in relevant search results. This is the place to incorporate your most important product information, while staying within Amazon’s recommended 60 character limit.
- Bullets: Bullet points are a great place to call attention to key features, add details that don’t fit in the title and even address potential concerns. Take advantage of this space to highlight important aspects of your product in concise, easy-to-digest blocks of content.
- Descriptions: When writing product descriptions, don’t simply copy and paste text from your website or other channels. Instead, look for opportunities to showcase the different ways your product can be used or describe how it benefits shoppers.
- Images: With online shopping, there’s no way to touch, feel or interact with your product. Instead, consumers rely on your photos to guide buying decisions. Which means they need to be highly informative. Each of your listings should include a full collection of high-quality images to showcase product angles, features, close-ups and other important elements.
Adding A+ Content to listings will provide a better buyer experience, increase customer engagement and ultimately serve to increase sales.
Only products in your approved brand catalog are eligible for A+ content. Begin by manually selecting which products you want to enhance. Identify the options most likely to result in higher sales and revenue and in which you’re able to invest time and resources.
If you’re having a hard time selecting ASINs, some excellent candidates for A+ Content include products that:
- Are top sellers
- Tell a strong brand story
- Sell at premium prices
- Are already included in seasonal promotions
You can also choose between two content types:
Enhanced Product Description — Provides more details on product features and uses and can proactively answer their questions. Includes:
Custom paragraph headers and images
- Unique image and text layouts
- Product comparison charts
- Bulleted feature lists
- Appearance in Product Description section of the Amazon detail page
Brand Content — Educates customers about the brand’s history, values and product lines, including:
- Carousel display with full screen background on desktop and mobile devices
- Image and text cards
- Links to other products and brand store
- Appearance in From the Brand section of the Amazon detail page
You can use the A+ Content Manager to select your content type and choose from several different design modules per product page. Play around with the various modules to figure out what will work best for the specific product.
Stay ahead with ChannelAdvisor
ChannelAdvisor is a leading provider of cloud-based e-commerce solutions that enable retailers and branded manufacturers to integrate, manage and optimise their merchandise sales across hundreds of online channels including Facebook, Google, Amazon, eBay and more.
Want to learn more? See our platform in action.
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