If you’re thinking of setting up your own e-commerce business, online marketplaces can be a good way of reaching a wide audience at a comparatively low cost, leveraging market trust and gaining access to tried and tested commercial models.
One of the more popular online marketplaces is Amazon. Through its Amazon Marketplace network, vendors can access over 2.5 billion monthly customers and 24 years of lessons learned.
There are three main ways you can use Amazon Marketplace to set up and run your business – Selling on Amazon, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) and Merchant Fulfilled Prime.
Selling on Amazon is a no-commitment plan that gives you access to all of Amazon’s clientele, your own hosted page and the ability to sell directly into most of Europe.
With FBA, you leverage Amazon’s operations to store, ship, stock and fulfil orders. As the seller, your responsibility is to send stock to Amazon’s warehouse, and, from there, Amazon will take care of the rest of the supply chain – including processing returns and customer support. FBA comes with added benefits such as the opportunity to feature at the top of a search page and having your product pages stamped with the trusted ‘Fulfilled By Amazon’ badge.
The final model is Merchant Fulfilled Prime, which is where the seller uses Amazon’s Prime features and benefits only, taking care of stock and fulfilment in-house.
There are many resources that can support you to get started selling on Amazon. A good source is Marketplace Superheroes. Their programme walks you through how to start and grow a global business on Amazon from scratch. The course not only teaches you how to sell, but what to sell – as well as providing support from experienced Amazon sellers.
Once your business is set up on Amazon, you may want to think about opening a business current account to make it easier to keep track of spending.
Many online Amazon merchants find the fire.com business account a good fit, as compared to traditional current accounts it’s quicker, and simpler, to open. Once the team has approved your online application your new digital account should be live and ready for use within 48 hours.
Other suitable features include:
Dual currency euro and sterling account – When opening a fire.com business account you are automatically given a euro and a sterling account. The sterling account has its own sort code and account number, while the euro account has an Irish IBAN. This means that payments received from EU Marketplaces can be routed to your fire.com euro account, while products sold on Amazon’s UK website can be paid into your fire.com sterling account, avoiding extra FX charges.
24/7 access and control – With the firework mobile app and web portal, users can access their account anytime, anywhere. All of the fire.com business account features are self-service. You can easily make changes, such as opening another account, in euro or sterling, at the touch of a button. It’s ideal for e-commerce sellers who need a fully digital, on-demand payment solution to complement their web-based business.
Full visibility – Event-driven notifications alert fire.com account users to activity within their accounts in real-time. With a fire.com account you can gain peace of mind knowing when you’ve been paid and that actions have been completed successfully. For many Amazon Marketplace sellers, their online business is an additional revenue stream and not their full-time job. Knowing that payments are being made without having to sign-in is an ideal feature for time-strapped merchants trying to balance their marketplace business with other priorities.
Taking the plunge into entrepreneurship and setting up your own marketplace business can feel daunting, but there are many resources you can tap to ensure you get off to the best start possible. It’s always useful to start by finding an existing group or network that has been on the same journey as you and leveraging shared knowledge. Once you are armed with lessons learned, think about priming your business for growth by ensuring all of your processes are built to scale. This can be achieved on the payments side by opting for an account provider that has invested in features that look to simplify incoming and outgoing payments and make it easier to get paid across borders.