How to set up an Amazon Associates eCommerce store
January 6, 2017
Do you want to set up an Amazon Associates eCommerce store to earn affiliate commissions?
The Amazon Associates program pays you up to 10% referral fees for referring traffic to product pages.
You can choose from over a million products to advertise to your customers using a large network, content site or blog. The program provides simple linking tools to help you monetize your website.
It’s a great way to monetize your site, especially if you are getting a good amount of traffic.
In this post, I’m going to show you how you can create your very own e-commerce store full of Amazon products that you can make money off of using your affiliate ID.
This is a long post so, let’s get started.
Step1) What is your niche focus?
Before you set up any of the technology, the most important thing is deciding what niche you will be focusing on and what products you’re going to sell.
You’re not the first Amazon Associate out there and competition is fierce for customers attention. To be successful, you need to find the niche that makes the most sense for profitable monetization.
A lot of people make the mistake of trying to go for the most popular products like cameras, computers, and home electronics. These can be great products to sell, however, you will face the most competition for these products.
A better strategy is looking for a specific niche that doesn’t have a lot of competition. You’re going to want to find products that are not necessarily mainstream but that are popular and purchased online, but that are also of higher value.
Here are some things to consider when looking for a niche and products to sell.
Accessory-Heavy Niches: Merchants make most of their profit on accessories not the big ticket items like TVs and computers. Accessories have great markups of 100% to 1,000%, and buyers are much less price-sensitive about them. Buyers can shop for weeks to get the best deal on a TV, but wouldn’t think twice about spending $50 on an HDMI cable. Choose a niche with lots of accessories and you’ll enjoy higher profit margins and fewer price-sensitive buyers.
Customers with a Problem to solve: People are often searching for solutions to their problems. If you can offer a product-based solution to a painful problem, you’ll find an audience eager to buy solutions.
Customers with a passion: It’s amazing how much money passionate hobbyists will spend. Snowboarders will spend hundreds of dollars on equipment and accessories, and wakeboarders will invest tens of thousands of dollars in boats and related accessories.
The $90 to $250 Range: This price range seems to be the e-commerce pricing “sweet spot.” It’s large enough to create decent per-order profit, but small enough that – with a quality, informative website – most customers won’t need human intervention. Don’t avoid selling products that cost $500, there is still a market for these depending on your niche.
Hard to Find Locally: Changing people’s habits can be hard and it’s not something you want to undertake here. For example. If someone needs a snow shovel, they are more likely to head down to their local Home Depot or Lowe’s. But where would you go to buy surveillance equipment or magicians’ accessories or other specialty products? You will probably go online and start searching. Pick niche products that are hard to find locally but ensure there’s still ample demand for the product.
Is There Enough Demand For Your Product?
Figuring out what to sell can be the hardest part of getting this started. Understanding a product’s demand, competition and suppliers are also important to being the most profitable.
The best way to measure online demand is with Google’s Keyword Tool, which provides data on how many people are searching for a specific term. If you’re unfamiliar with Googles Keyword tool, I recommend you watch this video on how to do keyword research using it.
In summary, make sure to:
Use “phrase” or [exact] match, as these provide the most accurate results;
Look at the local and not the global results;
Look for keywords with lots of “long-tail” variations.
Choosing a niche and the right products to sell is not an easy task but it is important for your success. Don’t rush through this part and do as much research as you can to ensure your best chance for success.
There are many other posts on this subject so do your research for maximum success.
Step 2) Name, Domain & Logo
Now that you’ve found a niche and products to sell, you need to develop a brand that matches. The more professional you look, the easier it will be to convert visitors to customers. Good brands need to invoke trust so don’t rush this step either.
Choosing a name is can be difficult, especially when it comes to registering a domain name. I suggest focusing on your top level niche keyword that represents the market you are selling into
For example, one of my e-commerce websites is called Water Storage Canada. Thinking that the water industry, especially the water conservation industry is growing and would continue to grow probably for a long time. It’s not a sexy niche but there are a lot of products in the $100 to $1000 dollar range like rainwater harvesting barrels, inline hot water heaters and hundreds of other water related tools & accessories.
Once you figure a name that will work for your niche, buy a domain name to match. You can search for domain names on Bluehost.
Once you have name and domain chosen, I suggest getting a professional logo designed. You can get this done for under $100 using Upwork, 99designs or any graphic designer you choose.
Work with the designer to pick good colors for your brand as well. This will help when choosing and configuring your WordPress theme.
Step 3) Get your Amazon Associates Account setup
You can sign up for an account in many countries including the US, Canada, UK and other if your niche warrants it. My Water Storage Canada site is primarily focused on Canada so I setup a Canadian Amazon Associates account.
You can setup multiple region accounts but you need to review the requirements for each country.
Step 4) Hosting & WordPress Content Management System
In order to set up the technology pieces to this project, you’ll need a web hosting account on a server like Bluehost and you need an instance of WordPress. WordPress will be the backbone of this eCommerce store. It’ll be your content management system where you manage products and other parts of your website.
Woocommerce is one of the most popular WordPress e-commerce plugins. It takes care of products, shopping cart, accounts and all the functionality that is required to run an online store. The basic version of Woocommerce is free but you can also get a paid pro version that comes with a lot of other features and modules that can help you create a better all-around experience for your visitors. There is also many woo commerce add-ons to make your store even better.
To install the plug-in, go to your Plugins page in WordPress and add a new plugin. Search for Woocommerce and add it to your site. It will prompt you to install other plugins. Install those plugins as they are important to run your eCommerce store. Make sure that you get all of those set up so that everything works properly.
WooZone Amazon Associates plugin
This plug-in is one of the most powerful Amazon Associate plugins out there. It gives you some pretty amazing functionality to automate the process of finding and importing products into your e-commerce store.
On-site Cart – On Site Cart feature allows your customers to checkout with multiple products on Amazon
Insane Import – You can search for products by Categories / Subcategories / Keywords, select the products that you want, and click import from right within the plug-in in your WordPress website admin area. The plugin takes all data available for all Amazon products: Title, Prices (regular prices, sales prices, and all prices variations), images, all products attributes, product reviews and full products descriptions and bulk imports them, hundreds of products at a time from Amazon into your Woocommerce Store.
This is a huge time saver. I’ve imported 1000’s of products in just a few hours instead of the weeks it would take to do this manually.
You can also copy and paste product ASIN numbers into a text box in the plug-in and it will allow you to import all of those products as well. This is my preferred method and I use the ASIN Grabber Chrome extension to help get bulk product ASINs from any Amazon web page.
Asin Grabber Chrome Extension
This is another great tool that compliments the Insane Import in Woozone. This Chrome browser extension allows you to navigate to any Amazon page full of the products you want and with the click of a button, scrape the entire page for product ASIN codes so you can easily copy a list of them and paste them into the Insane Import tool.
Products Updates – Amazon products change all the time, especially prices. Using the Woozone synchronization module all your products stay up to date.
These are just some of the features. You can learn more here.
Now that you see the power of this plugin, let’s get it set up.
Once you’ve downloaded the zip file unpack it onto your desktop. You will now need to FTP the plug-in files up into your WordPress plugins folder. If you don’t know how or which FTP client to use here are a few.
My favorite is FireFTP it’s a Firefox plugin installed into your browser and very easy to use.
Login to your server using your FTP client and navigate to the WordPress plugins folder which you can find the wp-content/plugins folder and upload the entire Woozone file folder and all its contents to your server.
When the upload is done, log back into your WordPress admin site and click on the WooZone link in the left sidebar navigation(at the bottom).
Configuring the Woozone plugin
You need to now configure Woozone to work with your Amazon Associates account.
In order to send requests to Amazon and retrieve data about products and listings. If you do not already have access keys set up, you need to create them and get them from your AWS Account Management page and then input them here. You will also need to input the Amazon affiliate ID in each country you are signed up for.
Follow all the instructions for installing. If you get stuck, read the documentation.
Step 6) Installing and configuring your WordPress Theme
With all of the necessary plug-ins installed, it’s time choose and installs your theme. You can use almost any theme however I would recommend one that was designed to work with WooCommerce. There are many of them out there that can suit your design liking.
Once you have chosen the theme that you want to download it and install it who your WordPress admin dashboard. Click on appearance and then there you will find a way to add new themes click add new and upload your new theme and activate it.
With everything now installed you going to need to configure your theme. Customizing your theme is an ongoing process unless you have a design in mind and are ready to implement that. I take an iterative approach to this and tweak the design as I go.
Themes have many different configuration options and you’ll need to tweak and play with the customizations to get the desired look feel and functionality you think is needed for your particular niche.
Make sure to add your logo, menus and configure all the settings you want to.
Step 7) Import products
Before we import some products, we need to setup the Woocommerce product categories that you will import the product into. You can also import them into the Amazon product categories but I recommend creating your own structure. Each category should have an associated image and description to help your customers but to also help with your SEO.
With everything installed and configured let’s import some products.
For this first round, we’re going to use the search functionality in the Woozone plugin. In the search box type the product category or specific product you want to search for. You can choose a department on Amazon or select all departments. If you’re grabbing lots of products select five pages deep. Then click on Launch Search button.
It will search for all the products that meet and pull them into the “Queued Products” area so you can preview them before choosing to import them. Select all the ones you want to add, scroll down lower choose the product category you want these products imported into and click submit.(If you have no categories, you should set these up before importing)
Your product will begin to import. Wait for them to be done and then check out your home page to see the products.
An alternative approach using ASIN Grabber and product codes.
If you installed the ASIN Grabber extension on Chrome, navigate to an Amazon page that you want to grab all of the products off of. What I do is I sort by popularity to get the most popular products. This gives me the best selling products to import. Press the button in the toolbar you will see a pop-up with a text box with all of your product codes. Click the select all button then copy all the codes to a clipboard. Go back into WordPress and paste these into the “Already have a list” text box and then click “Add ASIN codes to queue” button.
This is just the beginning of getting your Amazon Associates eCommerce store going and on the road to profitability. There are many other things that need to be done now that you have the base technical install setup.
Just doing what I described above won’t make you successful. You now need work on making the design of the site better by adding graphics, configuring display categories on the home page and setting up category pages.
Note on duplicate content and search engine indexing: Because you are importing a copy of all product descriptions directly from Amazon, you may want to edit the product descriptions. Add more content to them to make the unique so that Google doesn’t just think your page is a duplicate and not index it. This step takes a lot of time but is an important one.
There is still lots of work that needs to be done at this point. Here is a list of other things you should start to work on next to build a successful Amazon Associates eCommerce store.
Search Engine Optimization – Optimize every page and product you can. It’s a lot of work but is required to get good organic traffic.
Navigation – make sure your site navigation is intuitive and works properly
Setup Google Search Console including sitemaps so you can submit all your product pages to Google’s search index
Setup Bing Webmaster tools including sitemaps so you can submit all your product pages to Google’s search index
Submit your site to other search engines
Email marketing – start a newsletter capture to remarket to your visitors
I hope this has been helpful in getting you started on the road to building a successful Amazon Associates eCommerce store. If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below of reach out on Twitter.