By Justine Griffin
Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) More than half of the items sold on Amazon worldwide are through small businesses and entrepreneurs. This article takes a look one Tampa entrepreneur’s experience using the online marketplace.
When Theo Prodromitis was looking for a way to revamp her in-home party business selling sponges sourced locally from the Sponge Docks, she went online.
There are dozens of ecommerce platforms for entrepreneurs to sell products to virtually anyone, anywhere on the Internet — Walmart.com, Jet.com, Etsy.com, and Ebay.com are just a few that work with third-party sellers. But Prodromitis chose the biggest one of all: Amazon Marketplace.
Prodromitis, who lives in South Tampa but grew up in a Greek family in the Tarpon Springs community, is one of more than two million users from 170 different countries who sell their merchandise on Amazon Marketplace. Those sellers sold a record-breaking 2 billion products during the first half of 2017, according to statistics from Amazon. More than half of the items sold on Amazon worldwide are through small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“Amazon wants more sellers because it keeps bringing new product to their platform,” said James Thomson, a partner in the Buy Box Experts consulting group and the former head of Amazon Services, the division of Amazon responsible for recruiting sellers annually.
“They will select specific sellers that they think will be successful and help them. They have very good metrics and measure sales performance closely. So Amazon is happy to lend you money, especially if they have your product as collateral already in their warehouses.”
Prodromitis began her business, Spa Destinations, as an in-home party company in 2003, similar to the Avon makeup or Tupperware at-home party models.
She also sold her lines of shampoo, moisturizing creams, and her signature collection of natural sponges to salon industry professionals.