As the two month anniversary of Amazon Australia’s launch approaches, Canberra-based Swamp Industries’ founder and managing director Tom Graham and sales manager George Pass discuss their experience with the marketplace giant and shares some tips for success.
Your Product Doesn’t Have to Be a Perfect Match
In fact, it’s even better if it’s not.
Sound technician and aspiring musician Graham started out selling audio cables on eBay in 2005. The school leaver was attracted by the low overheads and minimal risk of online retailing and has since expanded Swamp Industries into musical instruments and audio accessories, which are sold through a website, eBay, physical showroom and now Amazon Australia.
The company was chosen by Amazon to be part of its first sellers program despite the marketplace not having a ‘musical instruments’ category. Because of this, Swamp listed its products in electronics and other categories that aren’t an exact fit, but Graham said retailers shouldn’t be deterred by this.
“You can still put your product up,” he said. “Even if they don’t have your category you can still get exposure through people using search… Most people don’t use category search these days anyway, they are using search itself.”
The Devil Is in the Detail – Be Prepared to Get Stuck In and Learn
After being approached by Amazon just two weeks before the launch, the Swamp team threw themselves into learning as much about the marketplace as they could. Despite having had extensive experience retailing online, it was imperative that Swamp was across Amazon’s requirements.
For example, Amazon is very particular about the product descriptions, images and details you upload, said Pass. “These have to be 100 percent correct and filled in prior to uploading or you won’t be able to list.”
| Related Reading: How to Optimise Your Product Listing on Amazon Australia
Gaining a First Mover Advantage – You’re Not Too Late!
Although Amazon has been live for nearly two months, if you have a unique product and still haven’t signed up—now is the time. Both Graham and Pass said that getting the ‘first mover advantage’ was extremely helpful and boosted sales.
Although Amazon has been live for nearly two months, if you have a unique product and still haven’t signed up—now is the time.
“Get in as early as possible,” said Pass. “Getting a first seller advantage is the key to getting more buyers and boosting the popularity of your listing,”
Graham agreed, “we made more sales in the first week than we are currently making because there was a lack of competition."
“Those products that sold well from the first day are still selling well for us. I’d recommend getting on early because you’ll always get an advantage if you’re ahead of the pack.”
| Related Reading: How to sell on Amazon Australia and other Amazon FAQs
Pricing Your Products – Consistency Is Key
As Swamp currently sells through three online channels—its website, eBay and Amazon—Graham said it is important for the company to ensure pricing across all three is the same.
“It may be different for other sellers, but we have found customers will eventually come across the other price and if it’s the cheaper price they will always call or email you, or look at another seller next time."
“If you want to go lower on Amazon, do it across all your other channels as well, otherwise you’ll cause customer confusion.”
Speed and Service – Don’t Get Left Behind
Part of what Amazon sells is an exceptional customer experience, and so the marketplace records how quickly you’re shipping product and how quickly shoppers are receiving it. Because of this, Graham advises retailers to ship daily with a cut off time as late in the day as possible.
“It’s very important when you’re getting started on Amazon to make sure you’re shipping promptly [so you] can build up positive algorithm points,” he said. “It’s important to do your good work at the start, as it’s much harder to recover if you’ve got bad data.”
Sales vs. Exposure – It’s About Being Seen
Pass said Swamp decided to join Amazon Australia primarily to be seen by shoppers. “Amazon comes with its own brand and look that will attract customers that our eBay and website sales channels may not attract,” he said.
A retail management platform like Neto makes it simple to get started and, now that they’re live, the team from Swamp say they rarely have to think about the channel. As Amazon doesn’t charge per product listing, it made sense for Swamp to put its entire range on the marketplace.
“By putting our entire inventory on Amazon we are creating the potential for brand awareness,” Graham said.
“Even if we’re not making sales on a particular item, we still consider it good to have product up there because it doesn’t cost us anything and it helps customers see our brand.”