Jason Amada opened a store.

But it wasn’t like the local mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar establishments that populated the New York City blocks he grew up on. He shed the physical storefront, opting instead to build an e-commerce company from scratch. In many ways, he repeated the same steps taken by generations of New Yorkers before him. Yet, in becoming an online reseller on Amazon and eBay, Jason Amada is pursuing the “American dream” in the digital age.

However, this isn’t a path he’s charting on his own. Many other prospective retailers have joined the fray. In addition to its billion-dollar sales, Amazon already has a global platform in place. Entrepreneurs, like Jason Amada, can capitalize on this infrastructure. By opening a dedicated Amazon store, owners have an opportunity to create a robust, immersive brand while cashing in on some sales of their own.

Drawing on his personal experience and background in finance, Jason Amada offers five tips every aspiring seller should complete before even opening an Amazon seller’s account.

Choose your niche

“What do I offer that’s unique?” The answer will determine long-term success. Jason Amada asks another question too, one that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also offers as advice: “What’s not going to change?” Chasing the hot product is unsustainable. Stake your claim in a competitive marketplace by creating a strong brand. Building a strong store can be a grind, so find something you are already passionate about.

Find products to sell

It’s impossible to generate sales without a product. Unless you’re making and manufacturing your goods, you’ll likely want to deal in “private label” products. Private label means any products that are manufactured by one company but offered for sale under another’s brand. This method includes improving upon other already-popular products and absorbing them into your online store.

Research existing products

Next, make sure the product you intend to sell is viable enough to make money. Begin by looking at the “Best Seller Rank.” The lower the number, the better. This updates on an hourly basis and is a direct reflection of overall sales. Researching this can be done manually through Amazon’s site. But there are also web browser extensions and specialized software that can make this task easier. Jason Amada advises you to assess the competition too. 

Source your products

Start by finding a manufacturer who can supply the goods you need. Shop with multiple companies, comparing wholesale pricing, shipping, and order minimums. Keep in mind that everything is negotiable. Be friendly but firm, reminding yourself that you are the customer. Pro tip: Tell the manufacturer that your first order is a “test run” and that larger shipments will come in the future. This limits your initial commitment.

Build your brand

You’re more than a product. Build a name, logo, and identity. This will be a vital component of your marketing strategy. For this reason, your brand should reflect your core values. But, as Jason Amada points out, this doesn’t need to be perfect before your first sale. Don’t get too caught up in making your iconography perfect. Get your brand and products out the door. Evolve your brand over time.

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