ChannelAdvisor Catalyst: Amazon

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Matt Henderson, Amazon UK’s director for Merchant Services had some interesting news for retailers at this weeks ChannelAdvisor Catalyst conference. Whilst totally unrepentant that Amazon are a retailer and will compete with their third party sellers he points out that this helps drive Amazon’s three main goals: Great Selection, Great Prices and Great Customer Service. If that doesn’t ring any bells it’s the same goals that eBay are aiming for, although Amazon approach them from a slightly different angle.

Amazon’s growth of 56% in the last year should be the key takeaway for merchants trading (or thinking of trading) on the site, but there are a number of key changes in 2010 which make Amazon an even more compelling marketplace:

Amazon Mobile App
Amazon Mobile App

  • Motor Parts – Amazon are courting sellers to list in this fast expanding category
  • Lighting – this is another category for rapid growth
  • Mobile commerce – As well as the ubiquitous iPhone app which Amazon have ticked the box, on they’re also promoting top selling offers on their mobile site
  • Used Buy Box – Below the now familiar “Blue Buy Box” which appears on all Amazon product details pages they now are starting to show a “Used Buy Box” displaying products from third party sellers
  • Attributes – Similar to eBay Item Specifics if you list on Amazon take the time to fill out the item attributes as it’ll increase your chances of selling as Amazon use them more and more.

The major point to note for Amazon sellers is that using FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon) gives a major boost to your chances of selling. It’s not just that the product is shipped by Amazon cutting costs and giving consumers the opportunity to use Super Saver or Amazon Prime shipping, but it also gives a better buying experience as the product is then fully covered by Amazon support.

Case studies cited by Amazon also showed how sellers using FBA could expand more rapidly due to unlimted on demand warehousing, but FBA also takes away problems at peak sales periods such as Christmas or when a buyer wins the Buy Box as Amazon have the capacity to handle the increased volumes.

If you’re not already selling on Amazon I’d go so far as to say it should be your first priority, almost more so then working on your own website. Amazon comes with it’s own set of problems such as each product has to have a bar code, and that each product has to be either mapped to an existing Amazon product or a new one created from scratch. Once you’ve mastered the Amazon site however, it’s a must as a venue for any serious online seller.

Disclosure – ChannelAdvisor advertise with TameBay

5 Responses

  1. With the exception of books would I be right in thinking that Amazon is for new only and that their systems are not geared up for used and that they do not do auctions or catagories for collectables?

    Several questions in one however I suspect that Amazon may not be a priority for everybody. I sense that Amazon do not want used items on their website as this could undermine the new offerings and at the same time create an administrative burden for Amazon.

    It is clear and clean when a new item is sold. This is absolutely not the case when a sale item is used and judgement is required by the buyer.

  2. You can sell a lot on there. Advantages: Practically fraud free (never lost much outside A-Z Claims in 6 years).

    Disadvantages: The catalogue model is a mess. It is full of duplicates etc.

    Over here at we have developed a solution, a bit like Channel Advisor, that allows you to sell fully multi-channel. Fire and forget.


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