How to Build an Online Amazon Business
Today we’re going to talk about building a new brand online business selling physical products through Amazon. Later blogs will talk about using your own website but for now I want to focus on Amazon. I’ve been selling on Amazon for some time and things have changed quite a bit since the beginning days of selling through that platform. This article will explain what you need to do to succeed on Amazon and show you an example of a business woman who’s cracked the code.
What Amazon Looks for in a Product-Based Business
Selling on Amazon used to be quite different: you’d take a product, do some basic things to optimize your listing, and then just put it up on the channel. And that worked for a long time for a lot of people. But Amazon has evolved with the times and they are now asking much more of sellers.
They no longer want “one-off” products. We all remember the days of the garlic presses and fidget spinners! Now Amazon wants real brands, actual companies or solopreneurs with a strong vision about who they are, who they are serving, and who their customers are. So now in order to build a successful Amazon business, you absolutely must niche.
What niche basically means is that you're not selling all kinds of different things from home goods to clothing to batteries to electronics. Instead, you are narrowing or niching down into a specific category and you only sell products within that category. My company, Back from Bali, is the perfect example of niching. We still sell a wide range of products but they all fit with the brand I’ve built around beautiful, vibrant, women’s resort wear clothing.
A Customer-Based Approach to Finding Your Niche
Amazon really gives you an easy way to start your research! Start by looking at the broad categories in the dropdown menu and then click through each until you niche down to a narrower definition. Start creating a list of categories you’d be interested in or that need more research to learn if they are a good category to sell in. (In other blogs, I’ll talk about specific tools and methods for this type of product research.)
One of the fastest ways I’ve found to find successful categories and products is to start by listening to your potential customer. This is where things have really changed on Amazon and it’s one of the best ways to build a brand online. If you already are connected to an online audience through social media or other platforms, you’ll be able to judge the level of interest and the type of products they’re looking for in that niche. You can basically do your own market research with your target audience. You can identify their problems and pain points and develop products to fix it or meet their needs. Often, they’ll tell you what’s missing in the marketplace and you can go out and find (or create) the product to fill that gap.
Real World Example: HF, Hot Flush Products
One of my clients right now used this approach to launch her Amazon brand called HF (Hot Flush). She is creating incredible products for pre- and post-menopausal women and these products address the unique issues these women face from hot flashes to health and beauty to mental health. She started by creating a private Facebook group which now has over 800 women members. In that group she posts and gives valuable content and shares helpful information for women dealing with these issues. She chats with them and listens to their concerns and now, in response to all she’s heard, she’s creating products to meet their needs. Best of all, she’s created a loyal following of 800+ women who know, like, and trust her.
So do you see where I'm going with this and how this is different? She didn't just come up with a product idea and immediately go into production or sourcing. She really went first into knowing who her audience was, what their problems were, and what they needed. Then she launched the product and was able to share her story as a real, human being behind the product. And the people in her Facebook group know who she is, they know there's a real person there, and that there’s a real story. She has now built a relationship with these women. And as she launched her first product, she was able to go directly to this private Facebook group, let them know about it, give them a discount code, and give them some information so they can go and buy the product.
Brand Building Starts with the Audience
This is the way to build a brand now on any platform but it works particularly well on Amazon. When you start with your audience and you start with solving a problem that they have, you skip a lot of the product trial-and-error. When you truly connect with your audience, they trust you to consistently show up with valuable content and information that proves you understand their problem. You ask questions to learn more about what they need and find ideas for what they wish they had. When you’ve done this background research, the product ideas will flow – it will seem natural to you but it’s because you’ve done the work to truly understand the market.
This has been the biggest shift I’ve seen in the past few years – whether you’re selling on Amazon, Etsy, or your own website like Shopify. Find the group of people with a particular issue or problem that you can relate to; that maybe you’ve experienced yourself; that you’ve found solutions to already through other products; or that you’ve been wishing someone else would solve.
The “problem” isn’t necessarily a negative issue. We all deal with pain points in our every day life from working in the kitchen to home organization to finding that perfect vacation outfit. Where are the frustrations, where are the places where everyone says “why isn’t there a solution to this”, where are the things in our everyday life that are frustrating but don’t have to be? Those are the places where you can build an audience and develop the products to end those frustrations.
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Who is Leslie Kuster?
I became a 7-figure woman entrepreneur in my 50s -- with my successful Back from Bali clothing brand! It took some getting real with myself to finally say, “Damn it, I want money!” Now I am here to ignite women entrepreneurs -- like you -- to experience the empowerment, independence and joy of creating a business that brings you both money and freedom. Read more about my story here.