A few things you didn’t know about Amazon

February 06, 2014
Karen

Amazon first went online in 1995, starting as a book store, but quickly expanded into selling lots more. Relentless.com was one of the possible names that was bought to be used for the book store. The domain name still takes you to Amazon if you type it into a web browser!

There are currently seven UK warehouses owned by Amazon. The nearest one to me is a huge blue building on the A51 just outside Rugeley.

Amazon own many brands; Kindle and AmazonBasics are some of the well-known ones. Pinzon and Strathwood are also Amazon’s own brand names which they use to sell furniture and home-wares.

Amazon have their own proprietary product identifier. They call it an ASIN which stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. Every product sold on Amazon is given one of these ten-character codes. Despite having their own way of identifying products, Amazon still insist on most products having a manufacturer barcode assigned to them before they will sell them.

Since the early 2000’s, Amazon have provided a way for third party sellers to list their own products for sale through the Amazon Marketplace. An XML-based Web service is available through an API which allows sellers to use apps that look after their product sales. In 2003, I wrote an app that handled sales and stock levels for a local toy shop. The modern API, while still fundamentally the same, has many more advanced features. Recently, I have written price checking software that will automatically undercut competitors prices allowing a seller to “Win the Buy Box“.

Over the years, Amazon have been accused of anti-competitive practices, tax avoidance, poor treatment of workers and trademark infringement. Despite all the controversy, Amazon still remain one of the largest online retailers.

Are you thinking of selling through the Amazon Marketplace?

The fees associated with selling through the Amazon Marketplace are significant, but most sellers agree that it’s worth it to get their product in front of a huge potential volume of traffic.

I have helped small and medium sized companies to start selling on Amazon. Not only do I have experience of working with the Amazon API to automate the selling process, I also sell on there myself! If you are thinking about selling on Amazon and would like some advice, use the comments box below to ask questions or contact me directly.

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