I have debated back and forth for the last year on whether or not to try to expand my listing to Amazon as well.
I currently operate a successful Shopify store at www.themedicalmommas.com where my partner and I make and sell our own creations of natural beauty and health products. We get somewhere between 50-75 visitors a day on average and are active on Facebook and Instagram. Our online store has been open for 18 months.
We do keep listings on ebay and Etsy and find that we get a small amount of traffic from these two sites, but not near the amount we get from our Shopify site. The benefit to Ebay and Etsy is that you pay per listing, so we don't have alot to lose by our products being listed (we are not having to pay a monthly fee or anything.)
We have really thought about wanting to expand to Amazon, however the major hangup is that you must have UPC labels in order to sell on Amazon. Our store has about 50 products, so it would cost us $750 dollars to get the labels, then $150 a year fee to maintain them. Then we would have to reconfigure our labels/packaging to fit them on their somehow.
There are lots of "rip off" UPC places on the web that you can buy UPC labels from, however Amazon does not allow this, so from what I understand the only way to sell on Amazon is to get the real deal. (I say something about an exemption for handmade goods on their site, I emailed them about it, and basically I got an email back that said- good luck with getting an exemption.
I currently wholesale to 3 different boutique stores locally in my area, but they have never needed to scan my items, so it has never been an issue. My ultimate goal is for my brand to grow, but I think I am a little while away from being in bigger stores and needing this kind of scanning ability.
I think the pluses of Amazon is obviously the increased visibilty of my brand. Looks like the fees would be $0.99 per item or $39.99 a month.
Ultimatlely I guess it would depend on how much sales you did on Amazon, but my main issue at this time is really investing in these UPC codes. I have built my business one piece at a time from the ground up. I have made improvements as I have had the money to do so, and we are 100% debt free. I don't mind to spend money on them if it would be worth it, I am just looking for some opinions before I jump in. Thanks in advance.
The Medical Mommas
Koreen here from the Shopify Guru Team. Thanks so much for posting. :)
First of all - super work on your store to date. It's looking great, and glad to hear that things have been successful for you both!
I do understand what you mean, it can be tricky to weigh up expanding to a new sales channel, particularly if there are extra costs involved, while comparing these to what you think you would get back in return. However, you are correct in saying that it would indeed help to increase awareness for your brand.
In terms of the barcode labels for your products, you can source these from elsewhere if you like.
This is ok to do, and so it may well be worth having a look around. We have a handy link from our guide here on additional services that provide these.
Our Amazon sales channel set up guide also runs through the costs involved for activating this channel too.
I'm sure our other forum friends will be able to chime in with their personal experiences when selling on Amazon, but in the mean time we do have some great resources to help you in your decision.
I hope this helps!
Thanks for the info!
I am a bit confused though about the UPC barcodes because when I have done research, I have come across different information.
Most sources say that to sell on Amazon, they only allow UPC that have been purchased directly from GS1 and not from a third party. So that when they look up your UPC- the prefix must match the name of your company. The only way to do this is to purchase directly from GS1 and pay the mega fees!
If you purchase from a third-party, your pre-fix will not match the name of your company and most sources say that Amazon will not allow this. Currently the only reason I would need UPCs is to sell on Amazon, so I would hate to purchase from a third party if they would not be valid to sell on Amazon.
Anyone with any knowledge on the subject that is current?
Tiffany, have you looked at Amazon's Brand Registry program? I haven't used it yet, myself, but it sounds like, if you're selling self-branded products, you can create product IDs to use in place of UPCs.
Maybe someone that's used Brand Registry can weigh in?
There isn’t really a one size fits all approach to success for eCommerce. What may work well for one merchant, may not work for another. The key is to test, and iterate. If you’re interested in the Amazon channel, there’s no reason why you can’t test it at a small scale. Just because you have 50 products, doesn’t mean you need to list all 50 on there at the beginning. Try a few of your best sellers to start, and if there’s success, expand your Amazon offering from there.
Trust Seals with Reviews Generation - https://apps.shopify.com/trust
we've sold on amazon for a while now (though don't do much volume) and in other places where UPCs are required. we purchased ours from nationwidebarcode.com and have never had a problem.
hope this helps.
UPC/ISBN/EAN identifiers are all part of the international numbering system for retail products. using a legit EAN (which may be a UPC, an ISBN - or a country specific EAN) is the only way to ensure that the product identifier (and associated barcode if you choose to print one) is unique in the world.
Linda from kindnotes.com. We have our products listed on Amazon without barcodes. If you're creating the product and you're the manufacturer then you should look into Brand Registry. That worked for us. Selling on Amazon has been positive so far.