It’s called Amazon Explore, and it’s a great way to make extra money by selling experiences on Amazon.
I have made literally millions of dollars selling on Amazon after starting out with just one single dime. And I co-founded Just One Dime to teach you how you can build a successful ecommerce store, too.
The Just One Dime squad and I had the opportunity to sit down with Amazon’s Explore team. We got the inside scoop on how Amazon Explore works as well as their plans for the future.
Today, I’m going to answer the top 6 questions you need to know about Amazon Explore and show you step by step exactly how to become an Amazon Explore host.
We will explore how Amazon Explore works, how it can expand your reach as an Amazon seller, how shoppers can engage with Explore, associated fees, as well as step by step instructions as to how you can set up your own Explore experiences for customers.
1. What is Amazon Explore, and how does it work?
Amazon Explore is a new service that lets you, as a host, bring customers to your physical store, city, or adventure virtually and in real time. Essentially, it’s interactive TV.
Amazon Explore consists of personal, one-on-one and/or group sessions where the customer sees and speaks with the host, but the host only hears the customer.
With this program, Amazon brings the online world together with the traditional brick and mortar experience. This means brick and mortar stores can now benefit even more from the rapid growth and reach of ecommerce.
When you offer personal shopping on Amazon Explore, you can actually walk the customer around your store, virtually, and show them your goods. When the customer wants to buy something, they simply click on their screen:
BOOM—they just bought your product.
Amazon Explore can help you personalize virtual shopping.
You make a connection with customers when they physically visit your store in a way you normally can’t do online. Now, you can engage with and sell to shoppers without being in the same physical location.
In order to provide a personal shopping experience on Amazon Explore, you do have to have an actual, physical store. However, if you’re a seller without a brick and mortar, don’t worry. There are tons of other experiences you can offer, and I’ll show you how you can become a host for those, as well.
2. Why become an Amazon Explore host?
Increase your brand reach across all 50 US States.
As an Amazon Explore host, you can open up your brand to so many new shoppers.
If your brick and mortar store is on the corner of First and Main St. in your hometown, you’re limited only to the shoppers who are within walking or driving distance: locals and the occasional tourist. Online, however, your shoppers can be thousands of miles away.
For example, I order my coffee from South America. I can’t go there whenever I need a caffeine fix, but I can have it delivered to my home in Austin, TX.
Now, better than simply shipping your product to a shopper on the other side of the world, you can invite these same customers into your store to purchase tailored recommendations.
As of right now, the shoppers you help through Explore will all be located in the US as Explore is only open to US customers. However, that’s bound to open up to more global audiences in the future.
Wherever you are located, if you get started as a host now, you can put yourself ahead of the curve, get a head start on your Amazon Explore reviews, and gain invaluable early brand recognition.
And keep in mind, only shoppers need to be in the US in order to participate in Amazon Explore; hosts can be located anywhere around the world.
Anytime Amazon launches a new program, they often offer incentives to its first sellers. I’ll never forget when they launched a little something called brand registry. Today it sounds like old-hat. But there was a time when brand registry was fresh to us Amazon sellers. If you got in early, you got advantages, because Amazon was still testing the system. You can now take advantage of a similar opportunity as an Amazon Explore host.
Create memorable experiences that encourage repeat business and word-of-mouth growth.
With Amazon Explore, you can create brand experiences that customers will remember you for in a way far beyond the experience of basic online shopping.
The same level of personal service you find at independent, brick and mortar stores is now available no matter where you are, which makes Amazon Explore especially great for small businesses.
Imagine you just got into golf and want to buy your first set of clubs. You visit a small, specialty golf shop, but there’s so many types and brands of golf clubs, you become completely overwhelmed. You don’t know where to begin. Sensing this, the store owner walks you through the different irons and putters, helps you adjust your grip, and educates you about popular golf brands. They help you pick out a reasonably-priced set and even recommend a coach.
Now, imagine you walk into a big box sporting goods store on the same mission. You visit the golf section, you stumble around on your own for 15 minutes without really knowing what you’re doing while two employees gab about last night’s episode of The Bachelor.
Which scenario would make you want to spend your money and recommend that store to all your fellow golf novice friends?
Here’s a hint: it’s not the latter.
As an online seller, you now have the opportunity to offer that same, next level of personalized, one-on-one, shopping. Shopping at stores around the world from your computer and the personalized services of a brick and mortar used to be mutually exclusive. Now, Amazon’s allowing you to do both online with Explore.
3. What kinds of experiences can you offer for shoppers to buy?
Amazon Explore hosts can offer experiences in the categories of:
- Personal Shopping
- Culture & Landmarks
- Food & Drink
- Learning & Creativity
- Wellness & Beauty
- Nature & Outdoors
4. How does a shopper find, buy, and take part in an Amazon Explore experience?
US American Amazon shoppers can browse the Amazon Explore page just like they would browse any product categories. They click on the three lines in the top left hand search bar.
Then they choose “Amazon Explore”.
Shoppers can filter by type of experience, location, duration, reviews, and price.
Alternatively, shoppers can choose “Amazon Explore” from the drop down menu to the left of the search bar.
Then, they can search experiences by keyword.
Amazon Explore experience pages look a little different than product and store pages.
Notice on the individual experience page, instead of “add to cart”, the buy box reads “Book your session”.
For most experiences, shoppers have the option to select an individual or a group experience. In individual experiences, shoppers will video chat with hosts by themselves.
In group experiences, up to seven shoppers on different devices can take part in the experience together. Much in the same way hosts can’t see shoppers, shoppers on different devices can’t see each other, although they can still talk over video chat. Group users can also use fun emojis to react to their experience, raise a hand to ask the host questions, and more. The fee is less per person in group experiences to split the overall cost evenly with all guests.
Viewers can also scroll down to the “About” section to see who their host will be and read up on the host’s background and credentials.
There are also tutorial videos on each page. Each one states what shoppers can actually do during that particular session. There are options to speak with locals, take photos, and more.
For example, if a shopper is wondering how to take photos during their experience, they can watch that video. And it’s quite simple: all a shopper has to do is press a button on the computer and it automatically takes a screenshot of whatever it is that they are recording with their host.
Amazon Explore further allows hosts to combine multiple types of experiences into one engaging session.
For example, you could give a cultural tour of Tokyo that integrates personal shopping along the way.
You would take your audience down streets that feature other merchants’ stores the shopper could buy from and BOOM—you’ve added a personal shopping element. Your viewers would tell you which places they want to check out, you point the camera that way, and if they want to buy something, it’s as simple as a click.
Keep in mind that with this add-on, you are responsible for purchasing and shipping any items your customers buy from other shops during your session. Amazon will reimburse you for this amount once the customer has paid.
As a host, you can choose to create an experience that includes an item that you send to your shoppers after their session, all of which is included in the initial experience price. For example, shoppers have the opportunity to tour Los Angeles’ famous Berrics skatepark with Tony Hawk.
And when they do, they receive a swag back featuring a skate deck signed by the famous skater 🛹.
Shoppers can also create their own custom denim jackets with Mississippi’s Libby Story Boutique, which are shipped two weeks after their session.
Once the shopper chooses an experience, they select an available date and time. Each experience page lets viewers scroll through several date and time options set by you. This allows your customers to pick a time that works for both you and them, which is key since, as a host, you can be pretty much anywhere in the world!
Customers can also decide if they want to experience their session individually or as part of a group.
Finally, the customer clicks “Book your session”.
Customers have to pay for each session before it begins. If a customer purchases in the actual session, they pay after the session has ended. All session and in-session orders can be found in the viewer’s “Your Orders” page in their Amazon account.
For Amazon Explore to work, shoppers do need to be able to stream the host’s video feed on their computer. Amazon Explore does not currently support phones, so the shopper must have a computer with either an internal or external mic. VR headsets aren’t supported right now, either, but how cool would that be?
Additionally, a shopper’s internet speed must be at least 5 mbps. 5 mbps is one fifth of the minimum broadband speed in the US, which means this won’t be an issue for most audiences.
Finally, while shoppers need a mic to talk with hosts, they do not need a camera of any sort. Because video feeds are one way, shoppers see hosts, but hosts do not see shoppers. As a host, you’ll probably want to look nice, but your customers might tour in pajamas.
5. What fees does Amazon charge Explore hosts?
I combed through all of the information on Amazon Explore, and there’s nothing about fees. When does Amazon ever not charge fees?
So our squad emailed Amazon and asked them what’s up.
We actually met with the Amazon Explore team behind the scenes. And here’s what they said: Amazon was initially waving the vast majority of host fees.
Amazon understands that Explore is a fresh, new program, so they are forgoing cash now, so they can earn more in the future, which is smart. That said, we’re still unclear as to how Explore is going to manage fees as we get further into 2022.
Based on our conversation, it also sounds like Amazon does not plan to make a ton of cash from hosts’ session fees. Instead, Amazon will profit primarily from referral fees for products sold during sessions. But, of course, that’s all subject to change.
All of this is to say that Amazon is offering a unique opportunity for sellers to make extra money, and there is no better time to become an Amazon Explore host than right now.
If you’re wondering about FBA fees, for now all of the sales you make through Amazon Explore will be FBM—fulfilled by merchant. This means you must pack up and ship any products your shoppers buy in sessions yourself, but you also won’t have to pay fulfillment fees. We asked if inventory in Amazon fulfillment centers can be integrated with Amazon Explore sales and we got a “no promises” type of answer. They can’t commit…yet.
Also, you don’t have to pre-catalogue your items with Amazon in order for a shopper to buy them. This means you can offer a greater selection of products and you don’t have to have an Amazon listing for your products for the shopper to buy an item during an Amazon Explore session. The customer sees it during the session, they click “buy” without having to go to your Amazon store, and you ship it.
6. How can you become an Amazon Explore host?
First, you need to apply through the Amazon Explore application webpage.
To find the application, go to Amazon.com/explore.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Under “Become a host”, click “Learn more”.
On the next page, click “Apply now”.
To join, you do not need to be brand registered, have a professional seller account, or even have a pre-existing Amazon account at all. If you do have a seller account, Amazon can upgrade it so you can host Explore experiences once you’re approved.
When you apply, you will need to answer a few basic questions about your business, describe the experience you want to offer, tell Amazon how much you would charge in USD, and answer whether you would include shopping and shipping as a part of your experience.
Once you’re approved, you will need a set of gear including: a camera gimbal, a SIM card, headphones, and a designated Samsung smartphone through Amazon. On that phone, you will use the Amazon Explore host app to connect with your customers.
You can purchase approved gear outside of Amazon. However, if you purchase your gear on Amazon, they will subsidize your purchase so that you end up paying less than half of the full retail price of what the gear costs elsewhere.
When you’re a host, Amazon will provide a ton of support. Amazon will train you to be a host, support your launch, and help manage your Explore business. Amazon Explore team leaders are dead serious in helping you succeed. If you succeed, they do too.
Amazon coaches will also test your experience themselves and give you feedback so that you can deliver the best experience possible once you go live. That’s a huge investment in you!
The level of help and support you can get is unmatched. If this is interesting to you at all, you need to check out how to host Explore experiences.
If you have any more questions about Amazon Explore, reach out to them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make even more money on Amazon, click here.
But before you apply, let me know: which type of experience do you want to host?