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August 31, 2006

How to Launch Your Own Ecommerce Store With Amazon AStores

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 8/31/2006 01:56:00 AM
I just spent some time setting up an Amazon.com aStore. In case you don't know, it is Amazon's new affiliate program that enables you to setup your own ecommerce store online - with the click of a few buttons (well - maybe 100 clicks and 30 minutes).
Setting up an AStore is easy!
1) First go to to the Amazon.com AssociateHome Page. If you have an Amazon account, you can login. Otherwise, register for an account.2) Once you are logged in, click on "aStore Page." See the picture below.
3) Next, click on Edit Store.

4) You will be asked to select 9 different products to Feature on your AStore. Just type in "Apple iPod" in the Search Box and click "Go". When the search results return, click "Add". Repeat this until you have 9 products (technically, selecting this step is optional since you don't need to feature products to start a store.) When you are done, click "Continue."5) Then, Amazon will ask you to pick your Category Pages. These are the links to Product Categories that will appear on your AStore. I recommend you just pick 5 categories since adding all of the them with "Select All" really makes the navigation bar look clunky. Click "Continue."
6) Pick your color and design. Choose one of the predetermined layouts or customize the look and feel to your site. I would recommend blending at least the background color which is proven to improve conversion rates. You can add a logo by giving Amazon the url of an image. Click "Continue."
7) Once you are done with the design, pick your layout. I just went with the default which was SideBar Right. You can click on the check mark boxes to include and not include various items like ListMania, Reviews, etc. on your pages. That is a matter of your preference. I just went with the defaults. Click Finish & Get Link!
8) You are done! Take the link in the box and put a link on your personal web page or web site in the format:
<a href="http://astore.amazon.com/affiliate_id" style="">Come to My Amazon Store!!</a>

What I Think About AStores

In any case, after having gone through the process, I think it's a great idea!
Through AStores, Amazon wins by further familiarizing affiliates with its products.
How? I took the AStore for a test drive, and the first thing that AStores asks you to do is to pick 9 products to feature on your page. It took a good 15 minutes to do that, and by the time I was done, I had visited 15-20 pages of products, including products that I never knew Amazon carried - like these huge Samsung plasma TVs that start at just $9499! Nice TV - must be!

How to Improve AStores

I like the idea of AStores, but I do have
several suggestions for Amazon AStores / Jeff Bezos & Company:

1) Allow Affiliates to Customize the Stores. Currently, Astores allows you to pick colors for the look and feel of the store. I think even adding a tiny feature like personalized background/wallpaper would give the AStores more character. After all, if I wanted to shop at Amazon.com, why would I venture into an AStore. AStores should have more character and local flavor - depending on the affiliate's site. The customization that comes to mind is MySpace. It's loose and spunky, and it sure is popular. People spend hours customizing their MySpace page. Why not Astores?

2) Give Affiliates the Ability to Host Multiple AStores. The infrastructure is already there. Why limit it to one store? Think scaleability! After all, isn't build once, deploy many the core paradigm of Amazon S3 and Amazon Elastic Computing Cloud? Not sure what the technical issues are, but should be easy to solve.

3) Provide more skins. By skins, I mean templates of predefined sets of products to feature on the page. I'm sure you have a load of customer data. Why not use it? If I run a venture capital blog ( maybe that's too specific ), I'm sure you know what types of products my readers buy. If someone else runs a blog on homebuilding, I'm sure you've got lots of hardware to sell them. By all means, make it easy to set up an AStore. It takes too much time right now to get one up, especially since the search interface for adding products is - well - I'll say it - it's clunky!

So, those are my three suggestions for AStores! Do you have one too? Post a comment on my blog.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello everyone, take it from me - aStore is nothing but a cheap gift from Amazon.com which doesn't hold much worth. If you compare any highly selling product by looking at the description on an aStore page and an Amazon website listing then you'd be shocked to see that Amazon is supplying very small amount of text to aStore shops. In other words, product description is insufficient, aStore interface is a bit childish (customers won't take aStore seriously) and above all compare the number of customer reviews and images posted on the main Amazon site and the aStore site. Why would someone quit Amazon's main site and buy a high or a medium priced product from aStore?

In short aStore is not worth trying unless Amazon decides to make it more mature, information rich and more interactive.

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