You Can Now Take Amazon Workshop for Sellers Online from Anywhere

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Amazon’s small business workshops — geared toward helping students, entrepreneurs and small business owners set up Amazon shops — will be held online this summer due to the coronavirus.

Amazon Small Business Academy was slated to launch three levels of classes about selling on the platform at six community colleges over the spring and summer semesters. The coronavirus forced the schools to shift from in-person classes to online, or postpone them altogether. 

But it’s good news if you’re interested in learning how to sell on Amazon.

“Because of COVID-19, we don’t know what the timeline is for us to be able to host this in person,” said Director of Regional Entrepreneurship Strategy Ryan Arnold of North Idaho College, one of the few community colleges chosen to host the program.

“We thought offering it online in this different framework would be valuable for small businesses as they’re trying to adjust their sales model,” he told The Penny Hoarder. “It’s a different format than we originally planned, but I think it’s also easier to consume.”

The Penny Hoarder contacted all six colleges about their plans for the workshops. Three of those colleges, including North Idaho College, scrambled to make the courses available online with live instruction — and waived the location requirements. 

The other three colleges postponed or did not provide an update on the program.

The workshops, initially available in only a select few cities, are now open nationwide. Enrollment deadlines are as soon as June 2.

“Ideal students are those who have a product they wish to sell: Small business owners, entrepreneurs, or people who are curious about starting their own business selling things from home,” said Frank Nunez, program manager of Amazon courses at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.

Amazon Workshop Classes

The community college classes are broken into three categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

The beginner class: This workshop will help you integrate selling with Amazon into an already-established or brand-new business plan. It covers virtual selling strategies, identifying your target customer and establishing your brand online.

The intermediate class: In this segment, you’ll learn the ins and outs of product listings,  warehouse and shipping logistics, customer service and product reviews.

The advanced class: The final workshop is all about growth. It dives into advertising and brand-building techniques. You’ll also learn how to use Amazon’s pricing tool and how to expand into international markets.

The online versions are live-streamed. They’re basically virtual classrooms, run by instructors in real time. Depending on the college, the sessions are offered in four- or eight-week segments.

Colleges That Shifted Amazon’s Seller Workshop Online

While the information in the workshops is more or less the same, some factors differ at each college. Prices, time zones and enrollment dates vary. Here’s a rundown of how the program works at the three schools offering Amazon courses online.

Bunker Hill Community College (Boston)

At Bunker Hill Community College, the courses are taught by business professor Hilaire Jean-Gilles.

You can enroll in and purchase each course separately or all at once:

  • Beginner class: $39
  • Intermediate class: $55
  • Advanced class: $55
  • All three classes together: $89

The enrollment deadline for the beginner course is June 2; the intermediate course, June 16; the advanced course, July 8.

Enrollment Deadline: June 2
Cost: $89 (together)
Course Schedule: Wednesdays, starting June 3, 6 to 8 p.m., for eight weeks
Time Zone: Eastern
Software Needed: WebEx
Website: Click here to enroll.

Fresno City College (Fresno, California)

To provide Amazon’s business classes, Fresno City College partnered with two local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) and the State Center Community College District.

Classes are available individually or bundled:

  • Beginner class: $50
  • Intermediate class: $75
  • Advanced class: $75
  • All three bundled: $150

Enrollment Deadline: June 6
Cost: $150 (together)
Course Schedule: Saturdays, beginning June 6, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., for four weeks
Time Zone: Pacific
Software Needed: Zoom
Website: Click here to enroll.

North Idaho College (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho)

North Idaho College is located just east of Spokane, Washington. While much of Idaho is on Mountain time, Coeur d’Alene is on Pacific. 

The community college partnered with Spokane-based Tinderbox Marketing. The founder of the company, Josh King, is leading the four-week program. NIC’s format includes the three beginner, intermediate and advanced modules but offers them all-in-one for $40.

Enrollment Deadline: June 4
Cost: $40 (together)
Course Schedule: Thursdays, beginning June 4, 2 to 5 p.m., for four weeks
Time Zone: Pacific
Software Needed: Zoom
Website: Click here to enroll.

Recordings of the classes may be available by request to re-watch or in case you miss a session, but live participation is expected throughout the program.

“Amazon is pretty clear about that,” Arnold said. “They don’t want to turn this into [pre-recorded lectures]… There’s plenty of that already out there.”

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.