AMAZON

We started selling on Amazon in March last year as a supplement to our own website, to try to engage with buyers who were not looking specifically for handmade wooden toys, but were shopping for a toy.  We found that it was taking time and effort to get traffic to our website and knew that Amazon already had that traffic in spades.

Initially we only listed a few products, but now have expanded to offer around 75% of our toys on Amazon.  There are two models of fees (you can get up to date info from Amazon), and the fees are "pay as you go".  The only setup cost that we had was to create GTINs (Global Trade Item Number - the number you find below a barcode) as these are what Amazon uses to uniquely identify items.

It is easy to list items on Amazon once you have an account, the biggest drawback is that Amazon insists on all items being displayed on a pure white background which requries "photoshopping".  Administration is quick and easy, done online via a webpage.  Payment from Amazon for sold items is efficient, with payment being made by direct transfer into our account every 14 days.

We find that items that sell are more educational in nature, not our more original toys.  But those sales can be good, as many as 15 of an item per day.  Pre-Xmas sales were phenomenal, almost scary at times. 

Although we only list on Amazon's UK website, we do get sales via Amazon from elsewhere in Europe.  We handle our own dispatch, finding we can turn orders round faster than Amazon's own fulfillment service. 

A big part of selling on Amazon is your reputation as a seller, and the longer we are on the site and the more customer feedback we have, the more we are selling. Once you are a seller you can sell anything, you don't have to restrict yourself to toys.  When we first joined I sold some unwated DVDs second hand on Amazon.  That helped to build an initial reputation as a reliable seller which then helped sell more toys.  I feel that we have benefited from the number of shoppers who visit Amazon's site, that people are used to shopping on Amazon and are willing to spend there, and the easy comparison of our toys to other produces generates sales.  Although the average sale value is lower on Amazon than on our own website, it costs us less per sale than on our site and the conversion rate is higher on Amazon.  Selling on Amazon has been a great commercial success for us and we will continue there in the future. 

Sandra Mathew