Newbie just about to open Amazon business account...(5 Posts)
...and a little nervous. Just after a bit of advice/feedback on my plan below. Here's where I am:
- Registered as a sole trader.
- Have test-ordered 8 leather handbags from a wholesaler, in a distinctive style not currently available on Amazon/Etsy etc.
- Luckily, my other half is an ex-professional pack shot photographer and has photographed the models I have beautifully.
- I plan to send boxed and recorded delivery via Royal Mail for these first few as they are quite high ticket items and I'm wary of any claims of non-delivery and want to ensure I'm as protected as I can be. After that I'm not sure which will be the best way to do it, as I work full time and will be packaging orders in the evening and dropping them off at the post office each morning / afternoon - very open to any suggestions.
My planned next step is to open an Amazon and Etsy business seller account as I thought it would be good to have the bags stocked on both to see if one is a better marketplace for this type of item, and see how the bags sell.
This is a test run; if they do sell I'll buy more stock and keep going, and could also open a shopify or similar ecommerce site. If they don't, I won't. Short term goals are steady turnover, getting my head around the process of running an ecommerce business, then when I stop working full time (on the cards within a year or 18 months), increasing sales and building the business.
Pricing wise, my current prospective price would mean each unit I sell would yield a profit margin of 55.75% for an item selling around the £90-100 mark, with all costs in taken into account, and all costs out but the tax I'll need to pay HMRC and whatever Amazon and Etsy take. I am not sure how to calculate added tax to HMRC, but I have got an appointment with a friend of a friend book-keeper who is going to run through how to keep my accounts straight, so I will ask them - hopefully it shouldn't be too much of an issue with only a handful of items to sell while I work it out.
If anyone has any constructive advice on the above, I'd really appreciate your thoughts.
You cannot sell them on Etsy. It is for vintage or handmade goods, not items you buy from a wholesaler.
You will need EANs for each handbag for Amazon.
Make sure you understand the Consumer Contract Regulations. Amazon is very good at helping you be compliant but other selling sites are not.
Be aware that your competition is huge. You may find the bags do not sell at the price you expect, if at all. Your listings will be lost in and amongst thousands of others. If there is nothing original about the bags, it is not a good market to go into.
If they do sell and you want to make a full time business of it, you are going to needs lots of either time or money to invest in stock. It took me three years to get something close to a full time income growing my business organically and I was doing it full time on top of a part time job. It took a further two years before the hours I was putting in became worthwhile.
With regard to your postage, signed for delivery will only insure up to £50. This may be sufficient as in the event of a loss they will only pay out what you have paid, not what you sold the item for. If you are selling a high end item your packaging needs to be immaculate and professional. Include an invoice and print the address label rather than handwrite it.
Make sure you inform your house insurer (failure to do so voids your insurance) and your mortgage provider or landlord.
IME, Amazon take 50% or more of total sales in their fees (inc VAT, ads and courier costs of getting stock to Amazon, etc. ). Selling on Amazon is a bit like walking into a casino....only the house wins. You can make some money, and plenty do, but it's not easy and getting harder and more expensive every week.
Thanks for the advice!
Etsy sells quite a lot of similar handmade bags (these are handmade leather) so I think it may be fine to put them there.
I am also looking at NOTHS though, bit of a toss-up which one to choose.
Delilah is right.
I have a small business and deal with Amazon.
Although etsy only accept handmade products by the first person (made by you not by someone else) they can be a little bit forgiving. However, Amazon is not very forgiving. If they suspend you because you can't provide authenticity certificates that its real leather etc you'll find it hard to get reinstated. And yeh their system is so clever that if you open a 2nd account it will get blocked aswell.
Basically tread carefully on Amazon as they support customers 100% and don't care much about sellers.
And yeah it did take me approx 3years to make a descent income. Therefore, don't overestimate your income too high and be patient :-)
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