It’s no secret that Amazon’s seller population is primarily men, despite the platform being open to anyone. Though both men and women begin selling on Amazon at a variety of stages in life, there is quite a gap in the percentages associated with each gender for younger and older age groups.
Over two-thirds (69%) of Amazon sellers are men, while just over one-quarter (26%) are women. But don’t fret, because women are starting to show more of an interest in bringing their small businesses onto platforms like Amazon and eBay, especially since COVID-19 has been at large for the past six-months.
For years, Amazon has been developing its own private label products with its AmazonBasics line, marketing them alongside products from third-party sellers. But how can third-party sellers compete against an already established product line and brand? It makes it quite difficult for those small business owners to thrive in the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) sphere.
And earlier in June, Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers has piqued the curiosity of antitrust regulators in California, Washington state, and Europe over how the company allegedly uses its colossal size to compete directly with other retailers on Amazon.com.
With the prevalence of video streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch garnering attention for entrepreneurs, thought-leaders, and other influencers, consumer education is leaving the classroom and finding itself spread wide across cyberspace.
But selling products with the Amazon FBA program seems easy-peasy right? Hardly. It requires a certain skill set you either have or you learn, fast. Which is why Amazon FBA courses have spread just as fast as COVID-19 has (sorry, not sorry). Yet, how do you know what courses to look to and take, as these courses come in different price ranges with different sets of skills.
Grit Daily spoke with Nine University’s Kale Abrahamson, who with his co-founder, Taylor Hiott, which trains buyers and sellers how to navigate Amazon’s FBA program. Back in January, Abrahamson and Hiott spoke with Forbes about why programs like Nine University are becoming essential for third-party sellers to thrive. “For years Amazon has had a Brand Registry where a company could become more official on Amazon. That was the highest you could go there,” Abrahamson explained. “Now it sounds like they are taking that to a whole other level.”
In our conversation with Abrahamson, we learned that finding a training program for FBAs which stress the need to differentiate listings helps provide support with a strong brand name. Take for example, Amazon’s launch of over 50 in-house fashion labels, which have helped contribute to outpacing Macy’s as an apparel retailer. You would think this would be a great niche to enter into for your business.
“We highly encourage our students to stay AWAY from clothing and apparel generally as a category, male or female,” Abrahamson advised. “That category has many of the opposite characteristics that we teach our students to look for, such as low margins, extremely well-branded and deep-pocketed competition, and tons of sizes which means tons of SKUs and inventory headaches.”
Entering into this space requires the seller to genuinely differentiate themselves. There are much better things to sell on Amazon FBA, Abrahamson believes, referring to Nine University’s proprietary software which helps make that possible.
How Can Women and SMBs Thrive Online in Today’s Digital Age
They say pictures are worth a thousand words, right? Well how about a platform that knows no barriers or inequality? Or utilizing the resources platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and others put out there, for good, rather than superficial ‘how hot do I look’ attention?
The power of live-streaming and engagement helps keep you connected with your customers and allows you the direct ability to communicate with them to get an accurate understanding of what they consider to be ‘attractive’ or valuable.
We are watching the world’s most iconic and powerful brands take a serious hit because of the global coronavirus pandemic. But, we are also watching these brands and mom-and-pop stores utterly fail because of their inability to adapt to and accept the technology that has been presented to them for the past five years.
“Black, white, male, female, whatever. We teach them all and Amazon treats them the same, which is quite wonderful. We especially love seeing our female students absolutely crush it in this program.”
Abrahamson recalled one of their students, Suzanne, who came into the program, super fired-up and ready to go. “She posted like crazy, attended every livestream, and simply got to work. Time goes on, she keeps working in the background. We see her pop-up in our 24/7 FastTrack coaching chats and see her on with her 1-1 coach.”
But what about Suzanne’s involvement holds the program’s confidence? “Her questions keep getting more and more advanced and in-depth. You can just tell she’s starting to ‘get it’. She settles on a product, orders samples. But then she deliberates, biting her nails. Then she orders the product and waits. Once it arrives, she gets her pictures, included through our sister company HBB, and her listing looks stunning on Amazon. Of course, sales start slow, while she continues to build reviews. Then all of a sudden, BOOM. She’s suddenly blowing up the Facebook groups saying ‘SCORECARD’ (our community lingo for getting a sale on Amazon). It’s a blast because everyone gets fired up and works that much harder.”
It’s what we know as a positive feedback loop. Starting a business on Amazon isn’t easy. But recognizing that early on, can help you avoid bad habits that many adopt simply to take a shortcut.
2020’s Newest Competitor: COVID-19
So how has COVID-19 changed the way badass women entrepreneurs can sell their products online?
The Nine University CEO described many types of badass women they had in their program.
“There’s the creative types, who have literally incredible, differentiated products, but couldn’t give a crap about marketing. Then there’s the business minded ones, who would sell male socks if it was more profitable than female socks. Not to mention the simple fact that all the customers are on Amazon.”
And COVID-19 has only accentuated this. “So badass female, male, if you can figure out how to rank your products on Amazon, it’s like tapping into the firehose of the supply and demand curve that you never knew existed.”