Amazon has just launched a new hub, Amazon Vehicles, which allows customers to research and compare automotive vehicles, parts and even accessories online.
As any driver in the market knows, finding the right vehicle can be an intensive, time-consuming process. You likely know whether you’re looking for a truck or an SUV, but you're less sure about what make or model to choose. Now, you’ll be able to find a lot of answers in one convenient place without having to test-drive every car on the market.
With Amazon Vehicles, the company is looking to create a one-stop shop for buyers. It isn't selling vehicles themselves -- at least not yet -- but clearly the goal is to build a community where people can get their questions answered and be connected with quality sellers.
So, in what ways can entrepreneurs capitalize on this new development? Here are three.
Position yourself as an authority in some segment of the automotive industry.
On average, Google processes more than 40,000 search queries per second. Droves of people are looking for answers to their questions on every topic, niche and industry.
More than likely, you are already aware of the value of answering questions relevant to your own customers and industry. This is the essence of content marketing, the process of creating and sharing valuable content with a target audience to encourage a profitable decision.
Think of the popular question-and-answer site, Quora, which is built on a similar concept: Users can ask and answer questions, much as they would on any forum. On Quora, all content and knowledge is user-generated. As one of those users, you can provide helpful answers to people’s questions, therefore positioning yourself as an authority on a particular topic or industry.
Amazon Vehicles presents a similar opportunity. By writing reviews and sharing helpful tips about various vehicles, you might well become a go-to resource for customers in a specific product category. And, then, building your authority might become a stepping-stone to new possibilities, since authority can be monetized in a variety of ways.
Below are a couple of different models that could benefit from a strong industry presence, though the reverse can also be true: Leveraging these opportunities can help you build your brand.
Build an automotive affiliate site.
In terms of its online presence, the automotive niche has not been the most profitable in the past, but that may be changing, thanks to Amazon Vehicles. But there is work ahead: Building trust and credibility is the toughest part, considering how expensive automotive products can be.
Amazon, however, is already a trusted online marketplace, and people are familiar with it. Now, with an entire new community dedicated to cars, consumers will be able to find more reliable information when it comes time to buy. The Amazon Associates Program has the potential to become quite lucrative, as consumers become more comfortable with the idea of getting their automotive needs serviced online.
If you already have experience building niche sites or affiliate sites, you know what to do. Are you a car blogger? Then this might be one more stream of revenue you can tap into. And if you don’t yet have a site in this niche, don’t worry, there’s still time to set one up.
An Amazon affiliate business is relatively easy to get up and running. Just be aware that building it can take time, which is why the best time to start is now.
This is where being an authority in your industry can play into your ability to monetize. You might think about publishing quality reviews on various cars, parts and accessories, and drive (pun intended!) potential customers to your site. Lead generation is as simple as being a quality source of information. Previously, making money off this type of content wasn't easy. But there are now new possibilities on the horizon.
Build an 'FBA' business.
In terms of creating an affiliate site, building a Fulfillment by Amazon business -- or FBA -- in the automotive niche didn't make much sense in the past. But the introduction of Amazon Vehicles could be a game-changer. Again, people first have to become comfortable buying automotive products online, but that may no longer be a far-off dream.
At the risk of being redundant, If you want to take advantage of this opportunity, now is the time. If you are already running an auto parts store, then you can leverage your existing inventory and list your products on Amazon as a new FBA seller.
But even if you don’t yet have a footing in the auto industry, you can seek out wholesalers or find a reliable manufacturer and source the development of products to sell on Amazon. Focusing on a niche -- seat covers and cushions, for instance -- would be to your advantage, since sourcing the manufacture of many different products simultaneously could become overwhelming.
Instead, becoming known for specific products will help you establish your brand. But, as you find products that sell, you can always expand your selection.
Additionally, selling on Amazon will give you an immediate credibility boost, providing an opportunity to develop and create recognition for your own brand down the line.
Note: You may need to jump through some extra hoops to sell automotive parts on Amazon, but the effort will be worth it if the automotive niche becomes a more profitable one in the online space.
Whether it’s becoming a blogger and sharing reviews with your followers, becoming an Amazon affiliate, starting an FBA business or creating a hybrid business, new possibilities are opening up out there, making it look like there will be ample ways for you grab your share of the automotive market.
Will Amazon Vehicles succeed? Will it be everything we hope for and more? No one can say for sure. But this new car research community represents a pivotal moment for Amazon and entrepreneurs alike. As an entrepreneur, you’re constantly looking for ways to make money. Whether you just want to expand your portfolio or find a business model that works for you, this could be the chance you’ve been waiting for.