Amazon was the first ecommerce site I tried to make money with. I’ll be honest, I didn’t make a million… or anything close. But, looking back on what I did then, I learnt that what you expect your customers to do and what they want can be very different.
My First Store On Amazon
If you search for technical writing software and find an Amazon shop for technical writing software… you might find mine.
I thought it would make money. And it did. About six hundred dollars.
You make 8% of what you sell on Amazon, so you need to be selling big time and I wasn’t – so I left and had more luck selling affiliate products, such as BizTree Business Documents, Write English with Confidence kits and Project Management templates for Method123.
What I Did Right
First, it’s hard to know what other technical writers want before you open a web store. What surprised me was that they didn’t buy many technical writing books (which is what I had thought) but lots of gifts.
Lots of gifts. Gifts for kids were the biggest seller with Star Wars and The Simpsons selling tons.
I had developed the site navigation to focus on:
- Business Writing
- Gifts & Toys
- Gerry McGovern
- Information Architecture
- Proposal Writing
- Technical Drawing
- Technical Writing Software
- Technical Writing
- Screen Capture
- Web Writing
- Writing As a Career
Looking at Google Keyword tools, these were some of the terms technical writers were searching for. So, I built the site around these topics.
What I Did Wrong
What I didn’t know then was:
- Technical writers don’t buy many books online. They get them through the company or downtown.
- Technical writers don’t buy much software online. Same thing – they get them through the company.
What do they buy?
- Search for technical writing books online
- Find them on Amazon and
- Buy a present while they’re there… and maybe a book as well.
So, if I was starting again, I’d design the store around gifts for technical writers.
Do you see the difference?
How about you? What do you buy online?
PS – setting up these stores is Free. Just register as an affiliate and it takes about five minutes. You get paid by check every quarter.