Crystal here from www.sameasneverhome.com. You can apply to Handmade at Amazon since you do make your own products. The monthly fee of $39.99 is waived until January of 2018, so that will give you about a year to see if it's a good fit for your business.
Be advised that you are NOT allowed to promote your website to those customers in any way, and the rules are pretty strict, but it will bring in some sales. There are no UPC codes required, but again, it will not really help you promote your site. You also have to wait weeks to be paid. Hope this helps!
Thank you Tiffany and everyone for the invaluable information. :)
We sell craft supplies (jewelry supplies/Czech glass beads/Leather cord). Our brand is lighthearted and fun, but we take customer service very seriously. www.StinkyDogBeads.com
I have looked at using Amazon over the past 5 years and each time I look to see if circumstances have changed to make it worthwhile for us.
I use Amazon personally all of the time. We are in Portland OR and have a distribution center here. I even use Prime Now and love it for items I need fast.
The issues for our business:
1. OUR PRODUCTS ARE INEXPENSIVE. We try to stay under $4 per item. This amount does not allow for selling with Prime. We would need to sell in larger quantities to justify cost and restructure listings we have. This is doable but time consuming.
2. CAN OTHERS USE OUR PRODUCT PHOTOGRAPHS? We have invested quite a bit into our product photographs and it is my understanding these photos can be used by others if they do have the same item. I do not want others to use our photographs. I also remember reading photographs have to have a white background?
3. FEEDBACK CAN RUIN A BUSINESS ... Our business receives great feedback from customers and tends to be a "kind" business with happy customers. We bend over backwards to help. Amazon is problematic in that feedback can ruin you. Customer reviews tend to be very cut throat on Amazon. Also, it drives me a bit bonkers when people leave feedback with 1 star because they didn't read description of size or color etc. "The bead was more blue than on my screen" (because monitors differ). "The item is smaller than I thought it would be" is not a seller's fault. Or if the customer is just in a bad mood that day. This is what scares me the most.
When I receive feedback like this I reach out to the customer and resolve the issue almost immediately. On Amazon, we can't take away the review.
4. WE CANNOT SEND BUSINESS CARDS WITH ORDERS? Do I understand this correctly?
Thank you again!
Quick update for everyone that took the time to reach out to me or reply back on this forum. The insight that you all provided was truly amazing.
I applied for Brand Registry through Amazon which wasn't too hard since I manufactor my own products. I had to provide a few items and some photos of my products and my packaging, but then I was approved. Great right? This soloved the issue with UPCs that I thought I was going to have......... but
Then I had to start applying to sell in the categories of beauty and personal care since my product would all pretty much fall under there categories. So far I have been denied and I have submitted 7 different applications. Each time, I have either called, emailed, or chatted with a representative to see if they could clue me in as to why they turned my application down and each time I get a run around.
As part of this application process you have to submit invoices for the products you intend to sell. I have tried to explain to them that I make the products myself, so the only thing I have to submit would be the invoice for the raw materials I purchase. When I submitted that, they said it wasn't from an approved wholesaler. Although they would not tell me who was an approved wholesaler was.
The thing is, I get my materials from the companies that I do. Amazon has all but disgusted me with their attitude. I am coming to the conclusion that they are not looking to approve any new sellers at this time, and the are certainly not the place for someone with a "smaller" business to grow.
I don't know that it's going to be a good fit for my company. When you look at the monthly fee you have to pay to sell ($39.99) plus the pretty steep cut they take for each item, plus the fact that in order to compete in need to offer free shipping on single items (on my website I offer free shipping over $40) There are definitely way more barriers than just the UPCs that I had originally beenot concerned about.
THanks so much everyone for all the advice!
Big discussion. thanks for posting. Here's my $0.02:
Oscar Wilde once wrote that the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about. Meaning, maybe having third party retailers selling your products isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to your business. Think of the reverse situation. What if your products were barely even findable at all? What if you only sold on Amazon as your sole distribution platform?
This happens to many ecommerce companies. And in our opinion, it’s not smart. Customers will perceive these brands as not credible. The assumption is, “Amazon is their only channel? Well then, this must be some questionable drop shipping company who just wants to make a quick buck.”
To prevent this negative perception, you need to create a credible brand experience across the board. Reminding customers every step of the way why they shop with you. That’s what keeps them in the funnel and influences them to pick you, not the third party vendors.
How do you build that credibility? There are myriad ways to do so. Product views, leading with strong unique selling propositions, getting your brand listed on Google or Facebook or some other major public facing channel, and so on.
Anyway we blogged about this if you need more: https://bit.ly/2KuwQ80
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