Security guard Spencer Lindsay works at an Amazon.com campus in Seattle, watching over the software developers and retail experts who toil to expand the frontiers of e-commerce. The 32-year-old is an internet merchant too, building a business on his employer’s platform.
A couple of mornings every week, Lindsay borrows the kitchen of a Peruvian restaurant and grocery. He cooks various sauces including barbecue and teriyaki, which he spices with exotic ingredients he plucks from the store’s aisles.
Lindsay bottles the sauces himself and labels them with Mr. Maurs – an amalgamation of the planet Mars and Lindsay’s middle name, Maurice. The reason why he chose the name was “It’s out of this world.”
He sells the sauces in person to colleagues at Security Industry Specialists, the contractor that provides guards to Amazon, where he has worked since 2013. Lindsay started cooking for profit shortly after taking the job, when the barbecue chicken wings he brought to a work potluck were a success. Word spread and now Amazonians in the know about Lindsay’s talents as a saucier seek him out.
Lindsay shipped his products to an Amazon warehouse last September and had them listed on the site, in the hope of striking a chord with Amazonians on their online turf, as well as reaching beyond the confines of the campus. That was only the first shipment; more would follow.
His Amazon account is set up so that every new order triggers an email. That meant his phone got pinged a lot when word got out that he was selling his stuff online. Lindsay was getting emails all the time. Twelve jars within a couple of hours. This was so encouraging! Lindsay’s budding business showcases an interesting aspect of Amazon’s internet emporium. It’s a place where the company conducts its own retail sales, those of big brands and those of major resellers. It is also a platform for entrepreneurs building their own mercantile empires from scratch.
The hardest part, Lindsay says, is getting noticed among millions of products on the website. That’s why he plans to combine his online strategy with an offline, brick-and-mortar stand. Lindsay understands the importance of integrating Online-to-Offline (O2O) into his business model. So far, he has sold hundreds of bottles of barbecue sauce. He has also attained an important metric in Amazon-land, which helps products become more visible on the site: unanimous five-star reviews.
Everyone can be an entrepreneur, start-up small in online world and gradually moves to brick-and-mortar. This is where O2O comes in. For more information on O2O, you may refer to our previous post.