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Online Strategies for Small Business Success Small- and medium-size businesses like Washington State-based Palouse Brand, find success through Amazon partnership despite challenging times.

Courtesy of Palouse Brand
Sara Mader, owner of Palouse Brand—a family farm in Washington State that sells products on Amazon.

This year has been extremely challenging for small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs). The pandemic and resulting economic fallout has presented unprecedented setbacks and changes in consumer behavior. Even so, U.S. SMBs selling through Amazon have seen record sales growth, selling more than 3.4 billion products over a recent 12-month period.

Sara Mader, owner of Palouse Brand—a family farm in Washington State that sells dried beans, peas, grains, and other food products on Amazon—has experienced a surge in demand for her non-perishable goods. To keep up with production, she's hired more than 50 new employees over the last few months, and expanded her operation into a second warehouse.

"It was a bit overwhelming in the beginning," Mader says on her reaction to the increase in sales. "I knew I needed help, and I was intentional about hiring single mothers and those who were recently laid off from other jobs to join my team." Overall, SMBs selling through have created an estimated 1.1 million jobs.

Sales are up, too, as COVID-19 has led to increased consumer spending online. According to mid-August numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce, online sales grew by more than 30 percent between the first and second quarters of this year. American SMBs selling through Amazon are feeling this increase, averaging $160,000 in sales—up year-over-year from about $100,000.

"Many of the specialty stores that offer our products were shuttered in the early days of the pandemic, and Amazon became a lifeline for us and customers seeking to purchase our products without access to a physical store," Mader says. "Our sales are up 400 percent over last year, and in July we launched a new line of sustainably grown foods."

Mader's advice to business owners looking to replicate her success is to "be prepared to do the work." She admits that running her business and keeping up to date with her Amazon store is time consuming, but says that she sees a near-immediate return for every hour she invests into growing her business.

Learn the secrets to selling more online.

On September 1-3, Amazon is bringing together SMBs for its largest event dedicated to American seller success—Amazon Accelerate, featuring more than 60 sessions of Amazon executives and employees, current sellers, and independent online selling experts sharing insights and strategies for success with Amazon.

On the second day of the event, Mader will share her business tips and advice on the "Building a $1 Million Business" seller panel, hosted by Amazon Launchpad. She'll be joined by: Matt Hyder, founder and CEO of Recoup Fitness; Leticia Workman, director of marketplace growth for Groove Life; and Colleen Sundlie, president and co-founder of Date Lady. Together, the panelists will share best practices for navigating through small-business challenges and maximizing the opportunity with Amazon.

Whether you currently sell on Amazon or are considering selling online for the first time, Amazon Accelerate is an ideal event to hear from Amazon, connect with peers, and learn strategies to grow your businesses and adapt to the variability of the current climate. The event is entirely virtual and free to attend. You can learn more and register at Registered attendees will be able to view all conference sessions on demand through the end of September.

Amazon also offers a number of other free resources to empower small-business owners to be successful partners and join the ranks of the more 2 million U.S.-based independent businesses working with the company. Amazon Small Business Academy offers free webinars on a variety of topics about getting your small business started and learning to sell online, and Amazon Seller University helps you to master selling on Amazon with free tutorial videos. Amazon has also collected advice from global business leaders for entrepreneurs. The Day One: Insights from Entrepreneurs videos provide quick tips from the top minds in business from around the world.

SMBs selling in its store come from every state in the U.S., and more than 130 countries around the world. Click here to learn more about the millions of SMBs growing with Amazon.