A freight delivery driver exits the back of his truck. He has a box under his right arm and he is carrying a bar code scanner in his left hand.
Small business owners can supplement their sales with an Amazon store. Katy Luxem, Owner of Big Dill Pickleball Co., recommends keeping it simple when you first start. — Getty Images/Sean Murphy

If you could create your own fantasy board of directors, who would be on it? CO— connects you with thought leaders from across the business spectrum and asks them to help solve your biggest business challenges. In this edition, we ask an expert about how a small business can successfully sell its products on Amazon.

In this edition of “Ask the Board,” we’re pleased to feature Katy Luxem, Owner of Big Dill Pickleball Co., a company that sells pickleball paddles and related gear online. She shares her tips on how businesses can successfully sell their products on Amazon.

Big Dill Pickleball Co. has leveraged Amazon to attract new customers and grow. Here are some of its top tips for any business owner or entrepreneur who wants to follow in their footsteps.

Know your category and products

A lot of people envision selling products on Amazon as a side hustle or as a quick moneymaker. While small businesses can be really successful on Amazon, they also should remember that it’s currently the largest e-commerce channel.

There are more than 2 million sellers on Amazon and many categories are incredibly saturated. Before opening a seller account, be sure to do your research and understand the niche you hope to operate in. If there are already 6,000 sellers offering customers the exact item you plan to sell, it’s going to be difficult to succeed.

Comply with all laws and regulations

It’s important to be properly and legally set up as a business so that you can legitimately do business on Amazon. As long as you’re compliant with all applicable laws and regulations, Amazon may collect taxes on your behalf, and you can import and sell products in your state.

Be sure that you adhere to any regulations and laws for your product and category. There are specific guidelines for children’s products, products with batteries, liquids, consumables, and anything that expires, for example.

There are also complexities around gated categories, like medicines. If you don’t know the rules, it’s all too easy to make costly mistakes with labeling, storage, and shipping, causing your inventory to become unsellable.

It’s important to be properly and legally set up as a business so that you can legitimately do business on Amazon.

Katy Luxem, Owner of Big Dill Pickleball Co.

Focus on your brand

To succeed on Amazon or any e-commerce channel, think about your brand as your secret sauce. What makes you stand out from all the other products in your category? Do you have clear logos, colors, language, photos, and other pieces that clearly convey what your brand represents?

To leverage all of Amazon’s marketing tools and perks, you need to be a professional seller with registered intellectual property. This allows you to be part of its brand registry. So not only does your brand count for differentiation, it is also a crucial component to success as an Amazon seller.

Start small

Many entrepreneurs have a ton of ideas and want to put them all out there to see what sticks. But having too many SKUs or being unfocused can be detrimental to your success on Amazon.

Remember that every product you launch needs the support of paid ads and other marketing efforts, like top-notch images and search engine-optimized product copy. It’s very difficult for a small team to do this for hundreds of SKUs right away.

I recommend starting with a maximum of two or three SKUs at launch and building from there. If you already have a business and you’re adding Amazon as an online channel, start with the top 20% of your catalog (the top sellers). Don’t overwhelm your team and keep it simple when you first start. Room for growth is much more palatable than sunk costs.

Create the right pricing structure

Understanding your true costs is the ticket to success in any business. However, this is particularly important on Amazon. No matter what you’re selling, ensure you account for marketing, accounting, legal fees, monthly platform fees, etc., across your pricing structure.

Also, keep in mind that Amazon fees can increase with little notice. In addition, price your products in a way that allows you to discount them for holidays or events like Prime Day.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.