Introduction to Amazon’s Marketing Place

Amazon.com is not just a bookstore. They were one of the pioneers of internet marketing techniques, taking huge losses in their early years in order to build up a whole new concept of marketing using online affiliate sales as the main driver of their deeply-discounted books and other media product sales. Today, they are well into the black, one of the most successful businesses online, and still making the Internet change around them as they look forward to the ways the Internet is changing sales and marketing. Best of all, they can help you make money on both small and large scales, supporting your business with their technological acumen or allowing you to sell books from your own website for affiliate commissions.

Though most people think of books first when they think of Amazon.com, that is not their business model any longer. They do sell books. In fact most of their online tool set has been developed to support the sales of books: reviews, ratings, sales rankings, robust product descriptions and pictures, and user favorite lists blended with exceptional traditional tools like customer service and delivery has made them the best site online to buy your books.

Today, however, you can find tens of thousands of other products, from toys and baby products to the traditional new book line and pre-order options, from used books to collectibles to diapers. Why so many different products? It’s because Amazon does not sells them directly.

Amazon is, in fact, becoming a clearinghouse for other sellers as well as a primary seller of books. In 2001, after a number of failed attempts at expanding their line from books and other new media, they launched Amazon Marketplace, selling at first used books to supplement their new book line. Gradually they expanding to the large array of products they have today. Amazon Marketplace competes directly with Half.com and eBay’s non-auction services; customers here are allowed to sell, as well as buy, whatever they like. And their most recent addition, Amazon WebStore, extends their services even further, allowing you to start your own branded store using their robust ecommerce services.

If you’re looking at entering the Internet marketing fray, becoming an Amazon.com Associate may be the way to start. An Amazon.com Associate is simply an affiliate sales client. About 40% of Amazon’s sales, according to the affiliate community (Amazon won’t say) is driven by Associate sales.

It’s very easy to join Amazon.com’s affiliate program. Fill out a short questionnaire on their site, and they send you instructions on how to get pre-encoded links to specific books and products. (You cannot simply send customers to Amazon’s site. Instead, you must be promoting specific books or items.) You get a commission that varies – a higher percentage for higher-priced products, so you’d make a healthy amount on a Kindle but not so much on a paperback – and access to images and information to sell the items. Payouts are not immediate. You must accumulate a minimum amount, and then you are paid quarterly.

If you’re just getting into internet marketing, running affiliate-linked ads for Amazon products in your web page space is one of the best ways to get your feet wet. As a long-term business model, it’s not great, but the pennies and dollars for selling Amazon products do add up over time, and it’s worth retaining the ads even after you’ve moved onto bigger and better profits.

To your internet marketing success!

Arlina Josse

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