In 2020, small business can no longer ignore Amazon as the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about. In fact, if you are a retailer, you need to see Amazon with their enormous customer base as a partner, not a competitor.
On the Small Business Radio Show this week, Owen Franklin, founder and CEO of Blue Summit Supplies, built the largest third-party seller of office supplies on Amazon. As a former rocket designer, he started his business by googling “how to make money on the Internet”. He used Amazon’s enormous marketplace with over 100 million Prime members to then build his company.
Small Business Needs Amazon to Go Big
Owen says that his business takes advantage of market inefficiencies inside the Amazon customer. He emphasizes that “small businesses without infrastructure can’t compete with large companies; Amazon provides that infrastructure. They enable a small business to get really big, really fast without a ton of capital.”
There are challenges to working with Amazon since it is very data intensive. Owen explains that you need a solid economic offer especially if you are selling a commodity. The customer also wants to know what the product is. Owen believes this is easier in a store than online since you can feel and hold it. He says that “on Amazon, you have to be able to explain the product digitally and it is tougher than you think.”
Owen points out that “visibility with a good compelling offer” is done through Amazon advertising and being able to analyze the data results. He recommends learning this online through free videos that are available on the Internet. He advises business owners to “start small and test; then scale up”.
Owen believes in the importance of data and data infrastructure if you want to scale. He says that “if you don’t make the most of your data, you won’t be successful. There must be data behind every decision. If you are not looking at the data, your competitor is, and they are going to beat you.”
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