7 December 2023

My Journey with Amazon: Unlocking the Power of Small Businesses

By Ronald Smith

Hi there! My name is Claire O’Donnell, and I’m thrilled to share my incredible experience of working with Amazon. I’ve had the opportunity to assist small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in expanding their reach far beyond the confines of their local area.

Let me tell you, it has been an eye-opening journey. At Amazon, we firmly believe that every business, regardless of its size, deserves a chance to succeed. That’s why we have dedicated ourselves to providing a blueprint for future success for SMB sellers.

You might wonder, what’s the secret to achieving this success? Well, it begins with our powerful platform. Through Amazon, SMB sellers like you can showcase your products and services to a global audience, reaching millions of potential customers. It’s like having your own digital store that never closes!

But it doesn’t stop there. We understand that entering the world of e-commerce can be daunting, especially for smaller businesses. That’s why we provide comprehensive tools and resources to support you every step of the way.

One of the most invaluable tools we offer is Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). With FBA, you can store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment centers, and we take care of packing, shipping, and customer service. This means you can focus on what you do best – running your business – while we handle the logistics.

Furthermore, our data-driven insights and analytics help you better understand your customers and their preferences. By harnessing this knowledge, you can tailor your offerings to suit their needs, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.

But wait, there’s more! Amazon Advertising empowers you to amplify your brand visibility and attract more customers. You can create targeted ad campaigns, ensuring your products are placed in front of the right audience at the right time. With our advertising solutions, you have the potential to skyrocket your sales.

In addition, we provide support through our Seller University, where you can access a wealth of educational resources and tutorials. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced seller, you’ll find something valuable to enhance your business skills.

So, why am I so passionate about these opportunities for SMB sellers? Because I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of Amazon for businesses of all sizes. With our guidance and support, you can expand your reach, increase your sales, and achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of.

Join me on this incredible journey with Amazon, where we believe that together, we can shape a future where small businesses thrive.

My Journey with Amazon: Unlocking the Power of Small Businesses

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Last week, we had an awesome event called US AmericaFluence, hosted by BizSugar. It was all about helping people succeed with their small businesses online. And guess what? I got to have a really interesting conversation with Claire O’Donnell, who is in charge of a couple of important departments at Amazon. She knows a lot about how small businesses can grow and thrive on the Amazon platform.

There are a bunch of ways that Amazon wants to help small business owners like you sell more and make your business bigger. This is especially important when things are uncertain, like they have been for the past couple of years.

Hey there, check this out! I’ve got a super interesting transcript from our conversation. To listen to the whole thing, just click on the cool SoundClound player I’ve put down below. And hey, if you wanna hear more awesome recordings from the US AmericaFluence event, become a member of the free BizSugar Mastermind community here.

Claire O’Donnell: You know, I think the pandemic was really tough for a bunch of small businesses, especially the ones that relied on physical stores. It was a hard time for them. But you know what? Amazon actually ended up being a real savior for some of these businesses. It helped them reach way more customers than they ever could have with just a storefront. It was like a saving grace for them during the pandemic when everyone was stuck at home and buying things online became super important. So yeah, there were a whole bunch of sellers who found a lifeline in Amazon during that time.

I gotta say, there’s this company called BlueZone Sports that really impressed me. They made a bold move by closing down a bunch of their physical stores and instead started selling their products on Amazon. And guess what? It actually worked! They now have more employees and even more physical stores than before. It just goes to show you the power of selling on Amazon for small businesses. When you sell on Amazon, you’re tapping into a massive customer base and gaining access to fantastic tools and services that are specifically designed to help you succeed. It’s a game-changer, and it can give your business a major boost, especially as we transition back to more in-person interactions.

New Sellers Getting Started on Amazon

Brent Leary: Now, let’s talk about smaller businesses, maybe even those who are just starting out in the world of selling. If that’s you, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind. And lucky for you, I’m here to guide you through it all. So, how can you get started using a platform like Amazon? Let’s dive in!

Claire O’Donnell: I know this is a question that comes up a lot. In fact, last year alone, we saw 200,000 new sellers join Amazon. That’s a huge opportunity, and we would love for you to be a part of it too.

We have a few tools and resources that can help you get started. One of them is the Amazon Small Business Academy. It’s designed specifically for small businesses like yours who may be curious about selling online but aren’t sure where to begin. The Academy offers a variety of helpful tools and resources. We even have a program called Pathways, which provides a structured educational experience to guide you along the way.

Once you’re ready to sign up and sell on Amazon, we have a ton of educational materials to help you get started. Check out Seller University – it’s packed with all sorts of helpful resources. We also have tools and services that can really boost your success and connect you with the millions of customers shopping on Amazon. You’ll love features like A+ content and sponsored brands, as well as our brand stores. These tools are designed to help you optimize your brand and reach more customers.

Brent Leary: When you think about all the challenges that new sellers face, as well as those who have been around for a while, it can be overwhelming. You’re dealing with supply chain issues and other factors that require careful consideration. So, what kind of guidance can I offer as you venture into this holiday season?

Claire O’Donnell: I reckon this holiday season is gonna be tough, no doubt about it. We’re all sort of figuring it out as we go along. We can’t really say for sure how things are gonna look. But here are a couple of things to consider, both for us as small businesses and for you as shoppers. One idea is to start shopping sooner rather than later. I’ve noticed that many brands are already running promotions and trying to get customers to do their holiday shopping early. And you know what? It’s actually a good thing. By doing this, we can spread out our sales and not have crazy busy days like we usually get during the holiday season. And it’s good for you too! Who wouldn’t want to be done with their holiday shopping earlier, especially when there are awesome deals to be had?

Brent Leary: Absolutely, I agree.

Claire O’Donnell: When it comes to your supply chain, it’s crucial to pay close attention. It’s something we’re all focused on and worried about. Even at Amazon, we’re trying to navigate this unknown territory. Our team is working tirelessly to ensure we have enough inventory and can deliver packages to our customers. I’m aware that people at the ports are also working hard to keep things moving.

Creating a unique brand that stands out

Brent Leary: It’s impressive to see so many new sellers joining, but how can you make yourself stand out? What are some strategies for setting yourself apart from the rest and taking advantage of the millions of customers?

Claire O’Donnell: I believe it all begins with having a truly captivating product and a powerful brand. Nowadays, customers are searching for something more than just products – they want to connect with brands on a deeper and more personal level than ever before. That’s why it’s crucial to be deliberate in creating your products and branding, and to have a mission that guides the entire shopping experience. And most importantly, make sure that story is communicated clearly to your customers.

When it comes to selling on Amazon, I’ve noticed that many customers like to do their research and make their purchases right there. So, it’s important for you to have detailed and engaging content on your product pages. You should also consider creating a brand store page to showcase your products and build your brand.

Another way to boost your sales is by signing up for fulfillment by Amazon. This allows customers to get products quickly and gives your listings the coveted Amazon Prime badge. In my experience, sellers typically see an increase of about 20 to 25% in sales when they use Fulfillment by Amazon.

By focusing on these strategies, you can effectively tell your story to customers and provide them with the products they want, when they want them.

Prioritizing the seller experience

Brent Leary: You know, when we talk about selling products, we often focus on marketing and making the sale. But it’s easy to overlook everything that happens after someone clicks that buy button. Have you ever thought about how the product actually gets to you? That’s where Fulfillment by Amazon comes in. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but it’s a crucial piece of the puzzle. So, what are some other things that happen behind the scenes?

I am Claire O’Donnell: and in my opinion, Amazon truly excels when it comes to customer service. Chances are, you have experienced this firsthand as a customer yourself. We take pride in having a vast team of dedicated employees who are committed to supporting sellers and ensuring their success. As just one of over 24,000 employees with this focus, my goal is to constantly improve the seller experience. To achieve this, we invest a substantial amount of resources each year. In fact, in the previous year, we invested a staggering 18 billion dollars in logistics, tools, services, programs, and our incredible staff. All of these efforts are geared towards helping sellers, particularly small businesses, thrive.

An Initiative for Black Businesses

I want to share with you some of the tools and investments Amazon has been working on. We have a special program called the Black Business Accelerator, which started in June of this year. Its main goal is to support Black-owned businesses and help them succeed on Amazon. We are very excited about this program because it not only benefits sellers and small businesses, but also our customers who care about shopping based on their values.

But that’s not all, we also have specific investments in our plans. One of our initiatives is aimed at helping rural small businesses reach a larger customer base. We understand the challenges these businesses face when it comes to reaching customers, and we want to assist them in overcoming these obstacles.

When I think about these American sellers, I’m amazed at how they’re scattered all across the United States. There’s a fascinating tale here about small businesses in rural areas who have the power to connect with a massive pool of customers – hundreds of millions of them, in fact. One outstanding example of this is Palouse Brands. They successfully adapted to the challenges of the pandemic by shifting their operations online. As a result, they were able to bring on board 50 new employees in their quaint, rural town. This, to me, is an incredibly exciting story, and we delve into it further in the report.

The Day of Prime

I want to talk about something that hasn’t been mentioned yet in the report. This year, small businesses had their most successful Prime Day ever. If you’re not familiar with Prime Day, it’s a big shopping event for customers. The sales of small businesses almost doubled compared to last year. We also had a small business promotion where we invested around a hundred million dollars to help customers connect with small businesses and increase their sales. I was really thrilled about this.

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