Looking for something about the history of Lake Champlain?
Well, at Vermont Public Television, we have that on DVD.
In fact, we have a lot of DVDs taking up room in our warehouse.
For the last few years we had been moving maybe 1 or 2 DVDs a month through our online shop at vpt.org. We're a small state, so that number just seemed normal to us. But, because we had some new titles to add and quickly disappearing space in our warehouse, we finally got around to re-thinking the shop. While looking into new shopping cart and credit card processing solutions for the library, I checked out Amazon Webstore (http://webstore.amazon.com/) and discovered that it could be a good solution for us.
I pushed forward toward Amazon for a few reasons, the main one being that people visit Amazon by the millions every day. As proud as I am of vpt.org, we all know that our traffic numbers don't even come close. A common question: "Do people go to Amazon looking for Vermont-themed videos?" Well, we can just point our Shop link to our Amazon store front. Which brought up Reason #2: we can have people visiting our Shop from two locations.
There was apprehension here at first because it was different (that's usually enough on its own to discourage action), and the store would be "out of our control" since it would live on another site.
In the first two months we've been online with Amazon, we've sold 64 DVDs, and that includes August, which is typically a pretty slow month.
The pricing from Amazon is reasonable. They take a dollar or so for each DVD, but they also add on a $4 postage rate. We all know we can ship these things for less than that. When we add up the costs and the sale price we end up making just under a dollar less than the retail price. Considering that we don't have to deal with any credit card processing or maintaining a web shopping cart, it's a steal.
Setting up the store is really the only expense, but it's not exactly a "set up fee" you pay. There's a Professional Plan that is $40/month. You will need this plan to have the ability to add titles to your catalog. After you add everything, you can downgrade to the basic plan which is free. Whenever you have new titles to add, you can upgrade again and add them all.
Have questions or comments about VPT or Amazon Webstore? Let us know in the comments below. Also, check out Jen Carter's FYI Corner on another Amazon product, the Kindle Fire.
The Presented by Incubation Lab Blog Series tackles the digital media topics that matter to stations, while highlighting and celebrating the online efforts of stations. These regular profiles of products, people and trends can provide you with inspiration and potential collaborators for your own projects.