You’ve finally done it! After months, if not years of hard work and perseverance, you not only launched a crowdfunding campaign, but successfully met your funding goal too. Your next step is to keep those orders coming in long after the campaign has ended. The usual route is to set up your own e-commerce store using a platform like Shopify or WooCommerce. This is a great option as it gives you the most control over how your products are displayed, marketed and fulfilled.
The downside is driving traffic can be difficult and expensive, especially for startups with brand new products.
But did you know internet juggernaut Amazon has a dedicated platform just for crowdfunding projects? It’s called Amazon Launchpad and getting your product listed there offers not only a ton of great resources, but access to millions of eager shoppers.
What is Amazon Launchpad?
Amazon Launchpad is a dedicated category within Amazon.com that exclusively sells products funded by crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter, accelerators or other incubators. These products are fulfilled by Amazon, which provides a way for buyers to try new and innovative products using a store they already know and trust.
Perks of Amazon Launchpad
Getting your product on Amazon Launchpad offers quite a few perks that wouldn’t normally be available to standard Amazon sellers. To start off they provide you with your own onboarding support specialist. They’ll help you through setting up your inventory forecasting and other troubleshooting that might pop up.
Probably the greatest perk of using Launchpad are the THOUSANDS of dollars worth of free credits you receive to use for Amazon services.
- $5,000 in AWS (Amazon Web Services) promotional credits to use for things like web hosting, cloud storage etc. (more info)
- Free Amazon Vine Program enrollment. This typically costs vendors between $2500-$7500 and lets you send products to Vine members for review. This is crucial in building your early product reviews.
- 6 month complimentary FoundersCard ($595 value) said to be like the “Black Card for entrepreneurs”. This gets you swanky deals like free upgrades at airports, car rentals and hotels.
- Inclusion in the Amazon Launchpad customer emails, as well as placement on their own social media pages. This gets your product in front of a massive audience and is something most companies would kill for.
- Enhanced marketing content on your detail page. Also know as A+ content, this is extra information shown in the details section of your product page. It can include things like your brand origin, videos and other rich content that other sellers usually have to pay a premium for.
Amazon Launchpad vs Standard Seller Account
Amazon launchpad is an on-boarding and marketing program that functions on top of Amazon’s existing selling platform. That means that signing up with their existing vendor or seller central programs is required first before you can be admitted into Launchpad. If you’re growing rapidly and decide you’d rather sell your product outside of the Amazon Launchpad category, you’ll still be able to utilize your existing seller account.
Their are two kinds of accounts: vendors and sellers. The difference is that vendors sell their products directly to Amazon at a wholesale price, while Sellers list and ship their own products.
Costs to use Amazon Launchpad
Joining is free if you’re already signed up as an Amazon vendor. If you instead have a seller account you pay a flat $39.99 a month. That price is paid outside the Launchpad program too.
Keep in mind that Amazon reserves the right to transition products out of the Launchpad program at their discretion. Startups typically last about a year before transitioning to a standard account.
The first step is sign up for an Amazon Seller account and upload your fascinating and genius product. Then there are a few requirements you must meet before being eligible to enroll in Launchpad:
- Your product must have least 10 reviews. Reviews are crucial for any product, let alone one on Amazon. Luckily, they accept “general customer reviews” which means you can invite existing backers to leave a review on Amazon without re-purchasing the product.
- Product must have at least a three star rating. Quality is key here. This goes without saying, but make sure your finished products and packaging are up to snuff and fully tested before shipping them out to customers.
- Use Enhanced Marketing Content. This is the “A+ Content” in your details section we mentioned earlier.
Once you’ve crossed off those requirement you can head to the Amazon Launchpad sign up page. They’ll ask you for your company and product details, as well as any awards and media mentions you’ve received.
Enrolling in Amazon Launchpad may seem daunting, but the benefits are huge and it offers a great introduction into using Amazon as a sales platform.