Three Pillars of Selling on Amazon Online Stores

Vanessa Hung

10 minutes read

As an Amazon seller and account manager over the years, I have developed the following theory of The Three Pillars of Selling on Amazon. It explains the components needed to build a successful business for the long term. The pillars are the core fundaments for the structure success. What — Product, How — Management, and Why — Marketing. Each pillar is equally important and interdependent. These concepts can be applied to any Amazon business model. Private label, wholesale, arbitrage, print on demand, etc.

WHAT? The product.

Products are key elements of any business but giving it all the money, time, and attention will predict the failure on the quest to become a successful Amazon seller. Products are the things sellers offer on Amazon, tangible items that customers need or want. Often, courses and self-proclaimed gurus over-focus on the product, thinking it is the most important part of the business. The mentality of “Let’s see what is selling on Amazon,” “What is doing well right now,” and “What customers are looking for” is overrated and saturating the market with things that no one wants, needs, or would pay for. Although sellers can have great products, poor management and marketing will make the structure susceptible to failure in the long term.

HOW? The management.

Management ranges from day-to-day tasks on Seller Central, managing a team, the relationships with providers or suppliers, reading reports and understanding finances, customer service, and playing by Amazon standards. Many sellers are underrating the importance of having good software, an efficient team, and learning Amazon’s playbook. When management becomes the gorilla in the room, every task feels like climbing a mountain. We know that to get to the top of a mountain, we need proper gear (software), a team (VAs, agencies, community), and experience (knowledge). The internal elements that build a good management foundation for Amazon businesses are: Software: programs and tools to make tasks faster, automatic, or invisible. For example, repricing, requesting reviews, reading reports. Softwares like Keepa, Helium10, Jungle Scout, etc. This element will significantly improve the account performance and save time and money for the seller. Team: having knowledgeable, efficient, and proactive people in the company is essential to succeed. Hiring the right VA or working with an experienced agency will help sellers cover their weaknesses and focus on what they are good at. Knowledge & Processes: entrepreneurs must always be learning, not only because Amazon is an ever-changing environment but also to be a better leader. Sellers need to understand at some level every aspect of the business to use tools properly and measure the performance to accomplish goals. This doesn’t mean that they need to be experts but having awareness is key. The processes are like formulas and they are critical to the success of the team running software or relationships. Having processes in place will help the business grow. In a community of like-minded people, sellers can find and build knowledge and a team. People with a growth mindset will accelerate the trajectory for success.

WHY? The marketing.

Marketing is why customers will buy your products or why brands will work with your company. It covers both the front and back end of selling. From your product’s packaging, keywords on your listing, pictures and videos, customers’ reviews, PPC, promotions, to maintaining customer relationships, doing email marketing, providing the best customer service. Questions that marketing answers: Why is the company in business? What is its purpose? Where is the value? The quality of these answers is as good as the entrepreneur and team behind the business. This is the ever-changing pillar. The one that gives the style, shape, and color to the building is always renewed based on trends, tricks, tactics, strategies, and Amazon’s algorithm. The pillars are interconnected, and one can not succeed without the others. Knowing these principles will help sellers have a holistic view of what it takes to be successful in Amazon; applying them to their business will be a game-changer. The work here is to evaluate your Amazon business as a building with three pillars. Are the pillars strong? Do they have solid foundations? Are they working together to support the business? The answers to these questions will help sellers find their weaknesses and to build them up to guarantee their success in the long term. Like any structure, flaws in its columns will compromise the building’s integrity at some point. If a business is lacking or weak in any of the pillars, it will fail in the future, even if it is working at present. Especially when scaling is the next step, growth is a magnifying glass for weaknesses. And the more it grows, the more solid its pillars should be. I hope this article adds value and gives you a broader perspective if you are considering selling on Amazon or if you are already selling, let me know what do you think about the theory. Questions? Leave them in the comments and follow me @fulltimeamazon for more.