How To Start An Amazon Store

Written By Karen Riddick from Second Nature Online (Ethically sourced furniture, furnishings and gifts) based in Dumfries and Galloway.

Karen will be speaking at the Amazon Academy Trading Online event at Dumfries and Galloway Business Week which is a series of events and workshops throughout Dumfries and Galloway.

Dumfries and Galloway Business Week runs from the 1st to the 5th of October 2018


Like many other businesses, Jeff Bezos started his Amazon empire in a garage! The year was 1994 and the garage was in Seattle, USA. At that time, the focus of the company was to sell books online but, fast forward twenty years and Amazon has grown into the largest e-commerce site in the world. It sells just about everything and most UK households now have a buying account.

A lesser known fact might be that Amazon is not simply a retailer in its own right; it is a marketplace on which thousands of other independent sellers operate. If you are a retailer, then you may find that opening an Amazon store could significantly boost your business. It certainly did for me!

Interested? Then here’s what you need to do.

  • Open a seller account and decide which products you want to sell. If the exact item is already in the Amazon catalogue, then you must use the existing listing. If your products are not already included in the Amazon catalogue, then you can create your own listing.
  • Once your products appear in the Amazon inventory, you can decide how to handle your stock and orders. Products which are sold using the Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN) are stored and despatched by you. If you use the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) service, you will send your stock to Amazon warehouses in bulk. From thereon, all orders, returns and customer services will be handled on your behalf.
  • Amidst all of the practical steps, you will also need to familiarise yourself with Amazon’s selling policies and practices. This will ensure that your selling account stays in good health and that you do not face restrictions or suspension.

Of course, this ‘three bullet point’ guide is over simplistic because, in reality, there are lots of steps involved in the process. As with many systems, the devil is in the detail. I say that, not to put you off, but to remind you that you will need to persevere if you want to be a successful Amazon seller. There is much to say on the subject but if I were asked to give three tips I would offer the following.

Firstly; selling on Amazon can feel like a daunting process but remember that there is plenty of help available. Amazon operates a central support service plus a forum on which questions can be raised and answered by independent sellers. Externally, there are numerous books, videos and articles which have been put together by experienced Amazon retailers.

Learning from others is a great way to get up to speed on the basics but bear in mind that every seller has their own unique experience of operating on Amazon. Be selective with what you take in terms of useful advice, and do not absorb unduly negative influences from other sellers. Allow your own experiences to be the main guide to developing your Amazon presence.

Secondly; give serious consideration to the FBA service. Amongst other benefits, your products will become eligible for the Amazon Prime badge. This means that Prime members can benefit from free next day delivery when they order from your store. In addition, holding your stock in Amazon warehouses gives you access to a range of European selling options which may also grow your sales. In our case, switching to FBA brought about a rapid, ten-fold increase in customer orders. It also meant that we could handle more stock and orders than we could have done if operating solely from our own premises.

Finally, remember that Amazon’s popularity and success is partly based on its reputation for first class service and you will need to embrace this. Buyers have high expectations and high confidence levels. At times, you may feel the pressure of meeting the standards, but this can bring advantages to the rest of your business too. Keep a balanced view and do not lose sight of the benefits.

It’s six years since I listed and sold my first product on Amazon, but it now brings in over 1000 orders a month. It has proved to be our most successful sales platform and we have plans to expand further into Amazon Europe and USA.

The growth of Amazon has been phenomenal but so too is the opportunity it has afforded small independent sellers like us. If you are a local retailer who isn’t yet on Amazon – Dumfries & Galloway Business Week may be the perfect time to make a start.



Karen Riddick is a light hearted observer, business-woman and enthusiastic writer from Dumfries.

She has gone from working 9-5 to building a successful online business which now fulfils over 1,200 orders per month. Karen shares her real life experiences in business.

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