3 Mistakes When Creating Your First Amazon Store

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.

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:

  • Adobe
  • Business Writing
  • DVDs
  • Gifts & Toys
  • Grammar
  • Gerry McGovern
  • Information Architecture
  • Proposal Writing
  • PDF
  • Robohelp
  • Technical Drawing
  • Technical Writing Software
  • Technical Writing
  • Training
  • Magazines
  • 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?
Instead, they:

  • 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?
While they may start out looking for books, when they come to an ecommerce site, their priorities change. One way to capitalize on this is to learn how to upsell. More on that next week!
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.

The Jeff Bezos Regret Minimization Framework

I preferred to avoid risks, especially big ones, until I saw this short video by Jeff Bezos. In less than four minutes he changed my perspective on how to take risks and have more confidence in your decisions.

I preferred to avoid risks, especially big ones, until I saw this short video by Jeff Bezos. In less than four minutes he changed my perspective on how to take risks and have more confidence in your decisions.
He describes the framework he uses to deal with risk-taking and gives examples of how you can apply this approach to your life.

[Video] Jeff Bezos & Risks Assessment

How to use the Regret Minimization Framework?

Like most great things, it’s very simple. If you have trouble making a decision, for example, leaving a high paid job with all the nice perks to start up a business, then you can use this framework.
After all, this is the way he justified his decision to himself when starting Amazon.
We’ll come back to justification later on but, for now, keep it in mind.

Regret Minimization Framework

To reduce the fear you have of taking a risk, try this:

  • Imagine you are now at the end of your life, about 80.
  • You look back on all you have done and all you have NOT done.
  • You regret certain things you did, for example, hurting others and causing them pain.
  • BUT you deeply regret NOT doing things when you had the time, energy, and opportunity to do so.

As we age, it’s what we COULD have done but did not that hurts the most. Other things we accept as they were part of growing up, maturing or things beyond our control.
Think about this…
Ask yourself, at the end of my life, would I regret not taking the chance to setup the business (when you really felt it would work)?
Chances are you’d regret it deeply. You won’t regret that you didn’t make enough money, or had a bigger car, or wore fancy clothes but you would regret not doing what you felt was part of your calling.
Others might call this your destiny, vocation, fate, talent… it doesn’t matter what you label it as. It was something you felt you could achieve and you let the opportunity go. That will hurt if you don’t take it.
Bezos assessed his life and decided that he could forgive himself for many things but this business (Amazon.com) had to happen. He didn’t want to meet himself later in life and have to justify his (lack of) decision.
and…
Taking a long-term view allows us to stop thinking about the mundane daily worries that clog our thinking.
By reviewing our lives from a future place (eg as an 80 year old looking looking backwards), we’re removed from the little things that distract us.
The other side of this is how we justify this decision to ourselves.

How We Justify Things

Another way of looking at this is how we justify our decisions.
Look at how you justify things you buy.

I often disguise my true motives with loftier aims. For example, I bought an iPad because I wanted to be in the loop. Like a small child, everyone else had one, so I wanted one.

The justification was… this is an education tool/I can learn how to monetize my business with this/my kids will learn things with it.

When I go on expensive holidays, I can justify it be pointing to all the hard work I put in over the year. But, at the back of my mind, I simply feel that I deserved it. Explaining that to other can be tricky, awkward, and embarrassing depending on who you’re talking to.

Conclusion

Emotions often drive our decisions: we use logical arguments to justify the outcomes.
We can reduce our fear of Risks if we fast forward to the end of our days and revise these decisions. From that place, what seems like a risk to us now, appears almost irrelevant.
Why would you not take the risk?
I would urge you to watch the video and see if you agree with what Mr Bezos has to say. His arguments are very compelling.
Let me know what you think.

What Amazon Can Learn from Taobao, the Largest Chinese Ecommerce Portal

Taobao.com is the 11th most successful website in the world. It makes more money than most all US ecommerce sites, except Amazon, and this may be about to change. The way ecommerce works in China is different than in Europe and the US. Partly this is to do with low credit card penetration, complex delivery logistics and customer support.

Taobao.com is the 11th most successful website in the world. It makes more money than most all US ecommerce sites, except Amazon, and this may be about to change. The way ecommerce works in China is different than in Europe and the US. Partly this is to do with low credit card penetration, complex delivery logistics and customer support. Continue reading “What Amazon Can Learn from Taobao, the Largest Chinese Ecommerce Portal”

Outsourcing Isn't a Problem for Silicon Valley But Is for Detroit

andy-rappaportFor those involved in out-sourcing or off-shoring, Andy Rappaport discusses why outsourcing works for the IT industry but fails in the automobile industry. He writes that “the U.S. IT industry has been able to innovate over the past 20 years even while ceding leadership of component technologies and basic processes.” Continue reading “Outsourcing Isn't a Problem for Silicon Valley But Is for Detroit”

Amazon Gets Flash Driven Search Engine

This search engine visualize a relation network of products in Amazon, from the statistics data “customers who bought this item also bought”, by digging related products again and again. Amaznode is not only for searching but also good for researching and making an associate link.

Amaznode is a relation-based search engine for Amazon which is made with Adobe Flash9. It’s pretty slick compared to most search engines and reminds me of Google’s Wonder Wheel.
This search engine visualize a relation network of products in Amazon, from the statistics data “customers who bought this item also bought”, by digging related products again and again. Amaznode is not only for searching but also good for researching and making an associate link.
Amaznode enables you to make a direct link to a specific search query, and you can also add your own Amazon associate link.
You can see it in action at: http://amaznode.fladdict.net/#keywords=iphone&locale=us&searchIndex=Books&affiliate=fladdict-20
Google’s Wonder Wheel?
You can see it in action here:
http://www.google.com/search?q=technical%20writing&hl=en&newwindow=1&output=search&tbs=ww:1&&tbo=1
Google Wonder Wheel
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Should you use PayPal from inside Yahoo Mail?

You can now use Paypal directly from inside Yahoo. Why bother you might ask? Well, before we get into that, let’s see how it works. Or does it work?

Yahoo Paypal Checkout ProgramYou can now use Paypal directly from inside Yahoo. Why bother you might ask? Well, before we get into that, let’s see how it works. Or does it work? Continue reading “Should you use PayPal from inside Yahoo Mail?”

Amazon TextPayMe – Most Popular Text Commands

Amazon TextPayMe – Most Popular Text Commands

You can now use Amazon’s TextPayMe to send payments to your friend by mobile/cell phone. Remember to send your text messages to ‘262966’ (AMAZON).
To send a payment
Command: ‘pay’ or ‘p’
Text ‘pay’, the $ dollar amount and the recipient’s mobile number. E.g. Pay 5 2065551234 Continue reading “Amazon TextPayMe – Most Popular Text Commands”

Amazon.com Acquires Lexcycle iPhone reader, Stanza.

Amazon.com Acquires Lexcycle
Amazon.com, Inc. has acquired Lexcycle, the company that created the iPhone reader, Stanza. Customers will still be able to browse, buy, and read ebooks from Lexcycle content partners. Earlier this year, Amazon announced a new, free iPhone application that allows customers to read Kindle books on mobile devices.

Amazon.com has acquired Lexcycle, the company that created the iPhone reader, Stanza. Continue reading “Amazon.com Acquires Lexcycle iPhone reader, Stanza.”