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Capturing New Customers in Amazon's Marketplace

Bruce Merrifield, President — Merrifield Consulting

•Amazon Supply •market intelligence •AmazonSupply.com •distribution industry trends •business model •eCommerceCapturing New Customers in Amazon's Marketplace

In this conversation, Bruce Merrifield and Randy MacLean of Waypoint Analytics discuss the virtues and utility of Amazon's Marketplace. Realistically, any given product line is going to end up on Amazon. Somewhere, someone is going to bring your products to that market. So why would you cede that part of your market to someone else?

Amazon represents another service or business model for you. It isn't healthy to only do one thing or to expect one thing to work for everyone. That attitude isn't customer-centric, and it is a poor way to generate profits. The best companies have multiple service models; for instance, a business-to-business methodology that is distinct from their over-the-counter sales. You can't – and shouldn't – solve every issue the same way.

Amazon shouldn't be your only avenue. However, Amazon is an excellent vehicle to liquidate old or outdated products. You may have used "warehouse sales" in the past, but a clear plan for outdated and stale inventory is much more effective and more profitable.

Niche products flourish in Amazon's Marketplace. Consider a narrow selection of your popular products. Amazon may provide a much broader reach for your top ten, twenty, or even your top one-hundred products. Sell what you have to as many people as you can, wherever they may be and through whatever model they prefer. Amazon is a popular model and can be a gateway for people to find your company and your other products.

The old standards of distribution, marketing, and sales are eroding rapidly. New ideas, new technology, and new attitudes are changing business. Amazon represents a broader reach, deeper market, and a greater opportunity for your products to be seen. You can pull incremental sales from places where you might never have expected them and would have never gotten them before.

So long as you are making a profit and can do so on a basis that is win-win for you and your customers, then you are improving your company. However, it is vital to have clear cost-modeling that defines and confirms the financial benefits of these new models.

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