Amazon is delighted to be supporting this year’s Mumpreneur Conference 2014 and to present the Wired award which recognises the achievements of mums across the UK whose businesses are thriving online.
What is Amazon Marketplace?
Amazon Marketplace provides a platform for many thousands of businesses to sell their products to millions of customers across the whole of Europe from a single seller account. One such business is The Wooden Gnome owned by mum of two, Jackie Vannet. Jackie wanted to spend more time with her children and so started her entrepreneurial adventure by selling toys online. Read more about her experience here.
Amazon has more than 2 million active seller accounts worldwide.
Businesses of all sizes – from small start-ups to household names – are able to sell through Amazon Marketplace. For more examples of great businesses finding success on Amazon please click here.
How does Amazon Marketplace work?
Businesses and sole traders can list their products directly on the Amazon website. In 2013, more than one billion units worldwide were ordered from Marketplace sellers on Amazon. Benefits of the service include payment processing, fraud protection, an innovative self-service platform, large volumes of traffic and frontline customer service.
How Amazon Marketplace can help you
Increasingly, British businesses are taking advantage of being able to offer their products to customers on all of our European websites – Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it and Amazon.es – and to customers across all 28 European countries, from a single seller account.
Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA)
Through Fulfilment By Amazon (FBA), we offer Marketplace sellers the option for Amazon to handle all of the picking, packing and delivering of goods directly to customers including arranging goods to be shipped across Europe, as well as returns and exchanges. We also provide customer service on all FBA orders.
Thousands of UK sellers are currently using the FBA service which provides a pay-per-use ﬂexible model. You can decide to send part or all of your inventory at any time, scaling up and down to meet your business needs. Read here about the experience of Julius Oliveti and how he is taking advantage of FBA, which is driving increased sales but also allowing him to spend more time with his children.
To learn more about Selling on Amazon, FBA and Amazon Global Selling please visit the following links:
Small Businesses Thriving on Amazon
Just one of Amazon’s seller success stories is the electronic accessories design company, Lente designs, established by businesswoman Helen Rolfe and her husband from their home in Buckinghamshire. After years of running other people’s businesses and looking to escape the rat race of London with her young family, Helen built a new career in retail and the couple successfully set up their own business, built their website and launched on Amazon.co.uk. While looking for a business opportunity the couple were struck by just how expensive and bland tablet covers on offer were. Their plan was to design and create a range aimed specifically at women, and sell online.
“We wanted a range of tasteful, more British tablet cases that would appeal to a female audience”, says Helen, who creates the covers once product developer Ash has devised the concept. “None of our items cost more than £20, so they are ‘gift price’ items”, she says.
As new parents, they were also keen to minimise the risk associated with building and investing in a new venture. “Selling on Amazon seemed like a gentle introduction to running our own business,” Helen says. “From the start it felt like a safer way of expanding, and it helped us check that we had a solid product that customers liked.”
Through exposure to Amazon’s customers the company has even expanded to the US marketplace, opened its own office and warehouse and grown its team with an extra pair of hands. Helen recalls, “Thanks to the success in the UK, we are now also employers. Having that additional support for a few days each week has meant that we’ve been able to enjoy family life a little more and even go on holiday for the first time in years!”
Having worked in the banking industry for 20 years, Lincoln mother-of-two Jackie Vannet realised it was time for a change. “I was missing out on all the little things in my children’s lives. They are my world, and I didn’t want them to have a mum who was at work all the time,” Jackie explains.
So in 2005 she decided to leave her job to sell toys, inspired by her daughter, Bethany, who was five at the time and loved educational and traditional games.
Jackie started her entrepreneurial adventure by making a list of Bethany’s favourite toys, which she used to launch her own online store, The Wooden Gnome. Right from the start her shop had a group of loyal customers. “All of my neighbours and friends came to me for new toys for their kids–they were always very happy with Bethany’s choices,” laughs Jackie.
Having received great feedback from her first customers, Jackie decided to go a step further. In 2006 she launched her educational toy store on the Amazon.co.uk Marketplace to reach “more mothers and fathers than I ever thought possible.”
With an ever-increasing range of toys and a growing customer base, Jackie was finally both a successful businesswoman and a much happier mum, enjoying the time with her children she had always craved. However, with Christmas sales accounting for almost half of Jackie’s yearly turnover, The Wooden Gnome’s growth was causing the festive season to become almost unmanageable and was taking the spark out of what should have been a special family time.
“In the lead-up to Christmas 2012 I was spending all of my time packing orders for delivery. It got to the stage that I was hardly sleeping or seeing the family in order to meet the demand we were experiencing,” recalls Jackie.
After the Christmas rush, Jackie decided to test out the service Fulfilment by Amazon to get her work-life balance under control. Now her toys are stored in Amazon’s fulfilment centres, and when customers buy them, Amazon takes care of all the picking and packing, as well as providing customer service.
Now, for the first time in years, Jackie has time for the things that mean the most to her. “My life has completely changed for the better. I can manage my business from home and still find time for myself and for those I love. I get to pick up my kids from school every day and to enjoy the magic moments like reading with them and catching up on the playground news.”
With almost 800 different toys in The Wooden Gnome store on Amazon.co.uk and the majority of Jackie’s business coming from Amazon customers, Jackie is feeling motivated to further develop her business. She has just started the next raft of expansion plans by selling into other European marketplaces and is already seeing the benefits with new customers from outside the UK shopping with her. Jackie is also enlarging her product range–with her daughter’s help, of course. “It’s a real luxury to spend more time with my daughter, playing with and identifying her new favourite toys, which in time thousands of other kids may also enjoy.”
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