Business owners create an online shop
Following the advice of of business owners who run Amazon stores can help you boost your own business's success. — Getty Images/ kokouu

If you’re looking to access a wider customer base, it’s hard to rival the exposure offered by e-commerce giant Amazon.com. During the 2020 holiday season alone, American small- and medium-sized businesses sold nearly 1 billion products on the site. Of course, the competition for customers can be fierce, so you’ll want to find ways to make your business stand out as much as possible.

One option is taking advantage of Amazon’s “Stores” feature, which allows you to create an online store for your brand within Amazon.com. You can customize your store to look entirely unique from the typical Amazon layout, complete with multiple pages and media such as text, images and videos. You’ll also get your own Amazon.com web address to use in marketing campaigns.

To help you get started, we’ve provided a rundown of what you need to know to open your own Amazon store, including advice from two small business owners who have done it themselves.

[Read: 6 Steps to Selling on Amazon]

Register your brand

Sellers who want to open an Amazon store must enroll in Amazon Brand Registry, which helps you protect your brand and provides access to free tools and reports. To enroll your brand, you’ll need to purchase an Amazon seller account and have an active registered trademark in the country where you want to enroll, or a pending trademark application filed through Amazon IP Accelerator. Amazon also requires that your brand name or logo is prominently displayed on your products and packaging.

Creating an Amazon store is a free perk of having a registered brand on Amazon. Even if you don’t plan to sell a large number of items in your store, it’s still a good idea to claim that piece of real estate on the Amazon site. “Having a store allows you to control your brand’s integrity online, and being part of Amazon can also help you appear higher up in Google search results,” said Theo Prodromitis, CEO of Spa Destinations, which sells natural beauty products, sponges and loofahs; and co-founder of Ever New, a professional auto detailing accessory company.

Read Amazon’s policies

Bear in mind that Amazon has a detailed list of creative acceptance policies that sellers must comply with to get their store approved for publication. For instance, images and videos must be high-resolution, and your store must not contain contact details such as full or partial email or web addresses or phone numbers; social media addresses; or QR codes.

“I’d recommend that store owners do not rush setting up their store—instead, thoroughly read all guidelines Amazon provides,” said Vinay Amin, CEO and founder of Eu Natural, which sells natural health supplements. “This will avoid any shocks down the line.”

Use Amazon’s free resources

Although creating an Amazon store might seem daunting, Prodromitis assured it’s not as difficult as it may sound: “Even if you have no prior website experience, the Amazon store uses very simple templates and is really user friendly.”

Still, it can be a good idea to take advantage of Amazon’s free resources to help you learn the process of selling on the site. For instance, Amazon offers a step-by-step guide for opening an Amazon store on their website. Prodromitis also suggested checking out Amazon’s Seller University, which offers a series of training videos to help you learn how to sell, advertise and promote.

Having a store allows you to control your brand’s integrity online, and being part of Amazon can also help you appear higher up in Google search results.

Theo Prodromitis, CEO of Spa Destinations and co-founder of Ever New

Choose a compelling hero image and value proposition

“On Amazon stores, other than product photos, the banner at the top of the page is the only real estate store owners have to differentiate themselves from their competition,” said Amin. This banner should include a hero image—a large and prominent image that appears at the top of every page in your store and helps to separate your store’s navigation and content from Amazon’s. You should choose an image that represents your brand and captures people’s attention. “The hero shot needs to captivate your target audience,” said Amin.

Amin also recommended including a succinct value proposition in your banner. “The value proposition needs to explain exactly what your brand and product does,” said Amin. “This may sound easy, but it isn’t, so consider working with an experienced e-commerce copywriter to get this essential branding messaging perfect.”

Use video to tell your story

Consider adding a video to your Amazon store to tell your brand’s story. “This is your chance to create a feeling and capture brand loyalty,” said Prodromitis. For instance, on Prodromitis’ Spa Destinations Amazon store, she includes a video that shares the history of the sponge industry in Tarpon Springs, Florida, and explains how her company is continuing that tradition by sourcing natural sponges from the Gulf of Mexico. If you decide to include a video, keep in mind that Amazon does not permit videos to be longer than five minutes.

Study metrics

Amazon provides performance metrics about visits, traffic sources and sales for your store. You can also access reports about your audience, including age, gender, income, education and marital status. Be sure to study this information to help you optimize your brand’s success. “These metrics can tell an organization a lot about things like seasonal purchase flows and demographics,” said Amin. “The more information a store owner can gather about their clientele, the better they can market to that group of individuals.”

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published January 28, 2021