Never a company to rest on its laurels, Amazon is at it again. This time, the company has launched a new app to aid sellers on its platform.
The Amazon Mobile Seller App is available for download for free for iPhone on iTunes. The company plans to launch an Android version as well.
According to a new discussion board that Amazon set up, the new app promises to help users:
- Search for new items to sell on Amazon. Check current prices, sales rank, and customer reviews of items on Amazon by using text search or scanning barcodes.
- Estimate the profitability of your items before you sell. Add product cost information to see the estimated profitability of your items after primary Selling on Amazon and Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) fees.
- Respond to customer messages. Provide great customer service by responding to customer questions quickly with the app.
- Support from Amazon. Have a question about selling on Amazon? Use the app to contact Seller Support.
- Secure access to your Amazon Seller account. All activity is routed through Amazon's servers.
What could this mean for the distribution space?
It is making it easier than ever for the man on the street to sell on a high-visibility ecommerce platform with little to no upfront investment.
While this doesn’t automatically imply that Joe Smith in Cleveland, OH is going to start outselling Applied Industrial Technologies from his home office, it does give Joe more access to tools that can help him become a product distributor with less overhead than a traditional brick-and-mortar store.
With this app release alone, I see three major ways this could transform selling on Amazon:
1.) It’s giving predictive analysis to the everyday seller. The new (Free!) app allows users to estimate their profitability before they physically sell the product. This is huge. Data that distributors have spent decades searching for and enormous amounts of capital to acquire is now embedded in an app that any person with a smartphone can download.
2.) It’s automating customer service. This app promises to help sellers “provide great customer service by responding quickly to customer questions in the app.” My guess is that the app will send push notifications to users the moment they get a question regarding one of their products. With our penchant for carrying our smartphones with us everywhere, sellers are going to be poised to respond within seconds – a much shorter lead time than they would if they were moderating everything through email. And it will all be done in an app designed just for this reason.
3.) It’s creating a larger time frame in which ecommerce can function. These same sellers using the app will most likely be moderating their sales on their personal phone – which they will have with them nights and weekends in addition to the 9-5 during the week. This expands the traditional Monday-Friday customer service window to all hours of the day, every day of the week.
Overall, the app is making ecommerce easier and more affordable to execute. Are you doing the same in your company?