Amazon Advantage- The steppingstone to success for content creators?

Artists who want to sell their creations face several questions and issues. Those who take care of their sales themselves must invest a lot of time and effort, often take a high financial risk and the focus lays no longer on the artistic activities. To claim the help of a studio or publishing house, one waits gladly several years, if not in vain, since usually only the projects which promise the most profit to receive the necessary support. With ‘Advantage’ Amazon opens the doors for artists of all sizes and enables them to reach millions of potential customers.

How does Amazon Advantage work?

amazon-advantage-how-does-it-workAmazon Advantage is a program that empowers authors, musicians, film producers, publishers, studios and other media producers to add their products to the Amazon product catalog. In a direct seller-vendor relationship, Amazon buys the products from the Advantage member and resells them independently on the Amazon platform as the new owner.

To get started, you first create an Advantage account on Amazon’s vendor website. Once this account has been accepted, you start listing the products you want to sell. As an Advantage user, you can design the content of each product detail page yourself, including artist information, cover design, and other features. Once you have added your items to the assortment, you tell Amazon that they are available for sale. If this is the case, Amazon will place an order and send you a notification email. Ongoing, Amazon will usually place this order once a week, depending on how high the demand is calculated. The goods must now be sent to Amazon independently and are available for sale on Amazon after acceptance and processing. Books, calendars, simple magazines, CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, vinyl records, software CDs and copies of video games are accepted for sale.

The basic conditions for participation in the Amazon Advantage program are that you are the owner/author of the listed products, have access to the Internet and an email provider, have a bank account located in the country of sale, and have a scannable barcode on each product that complies with the ISBN, UPC, or EAN guidelines.

How much does Amazon Advantage cost?

In principle, each Advantage member pays an annual membership fee of €99. This fee includes the ability to add an unlimited number of products, the support of the vendor service team and access to Amazon’s vendor management tool on the Internet.

You are responsible for shipping the products to Amazon’s logistics center and must therefore also pay the shipping costs.

In addition, with the agreement of the Terms of Use, you agree to sell your products to Amazon at a 55% lower price than the self-determined list price, which ultimately gives you 45% of the sales price. If Amazon subsequently decides to offer the products at a lower price because of a discount campaign or similar, this does not affect the user, as the relative loss is borne by Amazon. Payment is made monthly, 30 days after the end of the month in which the sale took place.

Is Amazon Advantage the right way?

amazon-advantage-advantagesAlthough Amazon Advantage sounds like a huge opportunity for big and small media designers, there are aspects that speak against working with Amazon.

At the beginning of cooperation with Amazon, or at a rather low level of awareness, the sales figures are usually rather lower, whereby the weekly deliveries to Amazon can quite ruin the margin due to the constant shipping costs. And if you consider how easy it is to take advantage of Amazon’s platform, you can imagine that the crowd isn’t long in coming. The consequences are high saturation and competition, which can make it particularly difficult for smaller participants.

On Amazon, you have the possibility to reach millions of customers interested in buying and thanks to Amazon’s algorithms and data collections you can be happy that the customers who are interested in your products will become aware of them. Even if the product is very special. Amazon treats the products of the Amazon Advantage program identically to its own stocks. This allows you to benefit from Amazon’s marketing mechanisms, such as calculated discount promotions and special product placement strategies. In addition, Amazon offers the products with free shipping and integrates them into the Prime program.

With Amazon Advantage, the performer remains relatively independent despite the agreement with Amazon and frees himself from annoying hurdles and middlemen by going straight into the marketing of the own products. And Amazon is not exclusive but allows the user to sell his titles on Amazon as well as through other channels.

It can be argued that the general costs, in the form of a 55% discount on the transfer of the goods to Amazon, are higher than the usual proportions for distribution via external publishers and studios. But since access to Amazon’s sophisticated and proven sales mechanisms, and the outsourcing of payment processes, shipping and returns, and customer service, provides enormous added value, these costs are, in my opinion, still within the bounds of fairness.