Is 2020 going to be the year you finally make the leap to selling on Amazon? If so… welcome to the jungle.

We’re not saying that to frighten you off. In fact, far from it. Amazon shouldn’t just be an ecommerce platform for your business. It should be your primary one. With sales reported in excess of $59 billion for the first quarter of 2019 alone, we’re not the only ones who are Amazon advocates. So are over two-thirds of the U.S. population.

But while you may have prioritized Amazon sales as a primary goal, you may not have considered your own pre-launch procedure. You may have a marketing strategy in place. You may have conducted a detailed comparative sales analysis. And you may even have a revolutionary product line. But have you thought about your inventory? Have you considered logistic processes? How aligned are all your ecommerce distribution channels? In short—is your business ready to launch?

 

ASINs, EANs, ISBNs and UPC Codes

We’re not going to lie. Bar codes can be one of the more confusing parts of establishing an Amazon ecommerce storefront, particularly if you’re predicting a high amount of global sales along with your domestic volume. Here’s how they break down:

  • ASIN:  Amazon Standard Identification Numbers. These are unique blocks of 10 digits which Amazon uses to identify and track sales. With the exception of books (which carry the same sequence as an ISBN,) each code ASIN is automatically assigned for each product.
  • EAN: The European Article Number can be either 12 or 13 digits which  identify both the product and manufacturer.
  • ISBN: An International Standard Book Number consisting of either 10 or 13 digits used solely to identify and track commercial book sales.
  • UPC: In the US, a Universal Product Code is 12 digit commercial barcode which identifies non-book retail products.

But why are these codes important? For retail purposes, products need to be identified quickly in order to expedite purchasing. But these codes don’t just identify your product. They track its sales. And they’re necessary if you want to conduct retail sales anywhere, not just digitally.

Unfortunately, UPC codes (the most commonly used identifier in the Amazon chain system) aren’t automatically assigned—and they aren’t free. In fact, they can cost you up to $3,500 in service fees depending on the amount needed. This has led to a black market of resellers offering to recycle codes at a much lower cost. It’s a scam, and one that can lead you into being barred from selling on Amazon altogether. Save yourself the potential trouble. There’s only one authorized source Amazon allows for UPC codes: GS1.

 

Branded Trademarks

Brand identity should ideally be one of the key components of any business. But how much are you actually investing in it?

We don’t just mean developing a branded experience. Any retailer will automatically need to distinguish themselves if they hope to survive in the marketplaceand selling on Amazon is no different. In fact, with features such as A+ Marketing, Amazon’s Seller Central services has never made it easier for a business to highlight their product strength. And it’s also never been more competitive.

Failing to trademark your name might seem like an oversight in a marketing strategy. But it’s a common one. And without it, you don’t just open yourself up to intellectual property theft. You fail to distinguish your business. No matter how straight forward your name or business may be, take the time to review the trademark process with the US Patent and Trademark Office prior to your launch.

Your Distribution Networks: Your Lifeline

Ecommerce can present retailers with an even more critical dilemma than traditional brick and mortar storefronts: inventory. More specifically, balancing both the supply from your manufacturers and the demand from your distribution networks.

You need a consistent production schedule. You need realistic sales projections. You need reliable distribution. And you need to understand the return on your own marketing efforts as well as your own sales and fulfillment channels.

For better or worse, Amazon has made its name on being a customer-centric platform. But not necessarily a seller-centric one. Let both your manufacturing and your distribution partners know you plan to sell on Amazon and that they’re likely going to see a dramatic increase in demand—in some cases, greater than 70 percent for Amazon FBA sellers.

Your customers are the backbone of your business and your distribution networks keep your business in the air. With a complete understanding of both, your e-commerce business will continue to soar to new heights.

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Color More Lines provides white glove, global account management of your ecommerce platforms so mission-driven companies can focus on new product development, branding and growth strategies. Find out more at www.colormorelines.com.