Amazon Marketplace has transformed the retail landscape and how businesses sell directly to consumers. With over 190 million active monthly users, selling on Amazon can be lucrative for many companies looking to grow their sales. As a member of a supplement company, you may have searched “Can I sell supplements on Amazon?” or “How do I start selling my brand on Amazon?” With hundreds of results sharing information, it can be hard to know where to begin. To help guide initial conversations at your company, here are 5 questions to answer before launching your supplement on Amazon.
1. Can you sell your supplement products on Amazon?
To sell specific products, Amazon requires sellers to meet additional requirements to ensure consumers have a safe and secure shopping experience. Dietary Supplements are one of Amazon’s restricted categories.
In the early discussions about selling supplements on Amazon, take the time to ensure:
- Your ingredients are permitted on Amazon
- Your packaging currently meets compliance guidelines
If the above requirements are met, the next step to selling supplements on Amazon is a Professional Selling Account. As a restricted product on the platform, Amazon requires any company selling supplements to have a Professional Selling Account instead of an individual account. (This is also the account you will need to support marketing on Amazon.)
Are you an Emerging Brand?
At MarketPlace, we partner with Amazon’s Emerging Brands team to help brands jumpstart and navigate the process of getting up and running on Amazon with personalized support. This connection is exclusive to those brands who have not yet set up an Amazon Brand Registry, so before you get started, let’s discuss how we can help.
2. What product assortment(s) are you selling supplements on Amazon in?
Now that you know you have taken the correct steps to get approved to sell supplements on Amazon, consider your product assortment. When looking on-site, many brands will have one product sold in multiple offerings: a single bottle, a two-pack, and a three-pack. Why? It helps build the seller’s digital shelf space in their specific category, which can help increase brand reputation on the site for new brands. This can also add value by giving brands multiple ASINs to advertise on Amazon in the future.
If you currently have a single product that comes in a 30-day supply, consider other ways to offer your product, such as:
- Two-Pack (60-day supply)
- Value Bottle (larger bottle size containing a 45-day supply)
Much of this depends on what is available during manufacturing and packaging, so it is important to begin having these discussions early to best support your Amazon launch.
What’s an ASIN?
You will see the term “ASIN” mentioned when talking about listings on Amazon. An ASIN is an ID number that most product listings have on Amazon Marketplace to help create organization on-site. ASINs are used similarly to SKUs in brick-and-mortar retail. If a seller has variations of the same product on Amazon, you’ll see individual ASIN numbers for each product.
3. Is a 1P or 3P relationship with Amazon right for you?
If you have begun your research into selling supplements on Amazon, you are undoubtedly inundated with hundreds of acronyms and initialisms. Two we suggest you pay close attention to upfront are 1P and 3P.
A first-party relationship (1P) is where Amazon buys your product wholesale and handles most of the selling details. If a listing is “Sold and Shipped by Amazon,” it is being sold 1P.
In a third-party relationship (3P), you are an independent seller on Amazon’s marketplace, giving you more control over your brand and more responsibility for logistics. If a listing is “Sold by _______,” it is being sold 3P.
Each option has pros and cons, but the most critical piece to understand is that 1P requires an invite from Amazon into their Vendor Central portal. Companies receive these invites based on sales data, popularity in the category, and quality of their products. If you are a new supplement company, 3P may be the only choice at first, in which case, you’d manage your sales through Amazon’s Seller Central portal. As your brand grows on and off Amazon, Amazon may approach you with a 1P invitation.
4. How are you planning to fulfill orders?
If you can move forward as a 1P seller, your fulfillment management will be handled once your items are sold and shipped to Amazon.
If you move forward as a 3P seller on Amazon Marketplace, the next factor to consider before launching is fulfillment. If you currently sell online, you may have a fulfillment management system, making this a relatively simple question to answer, although not all e-commerce channels require the same fulfillment model. If Amazon will be your first e-commerce launch, it is crucial to understand your fulfillment process before launching.
For Amazon, let’s dive into three fulfillment options you may choose:
- In-house fulfillment: This option requires brands to package and ship in-house, allowing you the option to scale up to another fulfillment model as you grow. With this fulfillment option, you must manage the entire process efficiently—you will be responsible for storing, packing, and shipping your items.
- Third-party fulfillment: If you are selling through multiple e-commerce channels OR cannot fulfill any orders from your place of business, it may be beneficial to partner with a 3rd party fulfillment solution. These companies’ services can include warehousing, packing, shipping, and handling returns.
- Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA): Amazon’s own fulfillment option, “FBA,” is an excellent option as it can attract shoppers with its “fast, free shipping” via Amazon Prime. The product is shipped from Amazon warehouses for expedited delivery. This value to the customer—and brand—is typically associated with greater fulfillment expenses.
What temperature range does your product tolerate?
Maintaining product safety, quality, and efficacy are key to your customer experience. Supplements that are heat-sensitive—probiotics, for instance—may have limited fulfillment options. Make sure to ask yourself, or any fulfillment partner you consider, what temperature range your product may be exposed to throughout the fulfillment process. According to Amazon’s Seller Central Forum, Amazon Warehouses must meet their quality standards with temperatures ranging from 75 to 155 ˚F in the summer.
As your brand grows, you can change your fulfillment approach. Whichever approach you start with, it is critical to understand the importance of fulfilling orders in a timely and effective manner. Quick shipping, keeping products in stock, and ensuring product quality is maintained throughout the fulfillment process are all necessary for your initial Amazon launch to be successful
5. How do you promote your supplements on Amazon?
Once you are approved to sell your supplement product on Amazon and have settled on your selling and fulfillment processes, you may feel prepared to launch your product. But before you do, consider how you’ll support your launch.
Amazon’s Emerging Brands team has engaged MarketPlace to facilitate new Brand Registries in our categories. Before you initiate Amazon Brand Registry, get in touch to discuss how you can fast-track bringing your supplement product to market on Amazon.
Once you’ve registered for Amazon’s Brand Registry, you’ll gain access to specific on-site tools for brand owners only, such as:
- A+ Content: a space to add images, text, and comparison tables on the ASIN detail page to engage readers and provide more information on the product and brand.
- Amazon Storefront: a one-stop-shop on Amazon Marketplace where brands share branded content and product recommendations.
- Brand Analytics: a dashboard for brand owners sharing current and future trends, popular search terms, advertising opportunities, and more.
Beyond organic brand and product strategy, now is the time to understand Amazon Ads’ role in bringing your supplement to market. Like Google’s Paid Search ads, Amazon Ads are keyword-based, allowing your supplement to appear as customers search keywords in your category. Multiple factors, including product relevancy, on-site promotions, and competitive activity, impact ad performance. Before launch, identify the key terms and phrases your target audience might search for and your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that can help support overarching sales goals.
Working with MarketPlace
If you want to launch your brand on Amazon Marketplace or support current Amazon efforts, this MarketPlace can help, from pre- to post-launch through retail and ads strategy and implementation. At MarketPlace, we’ve been serving the supplement and ingredient industry since 2002 and we’re uniquely qualified to help you get there—let’s talk.