We learned the hard way, but you don’t have to 🙂
Amazon recruits more than 100,000 new sellers every year, but many leave within six months or less just because they don’t get the results they expected. Costs spiral, sales drop, frustration sets in and the sellers are left with a product no one wants to buy. Most of the time, these situations can be avoided only if you get proper guidance. While we were new to Amazon, we also made mistakes and that’s how you learn. But you don’t have to learn the hard way. In this article, we have collected our most valued lessons we would like every Amazon seller to know.
#1: There are no shortcuts or black hat tricks to succeed on Amazon
Amazon has rules for pretty much everything. So, when you start selling on Amazon, make sure to understand what you can and what you cannot do. Not long ago, Amazon wasn’t this rigid about everything. You could pay and get reviews; you could write whatever you wanted to write in your product description; you could list products with faulty GTINs. And these are just a few examples of the type of shortcut sellers use. They forget that Amazon isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. It’s an investment and needs nurturing to grow and flourish. Your gamble to earn a few quick bucks could be an expensive mistake. Your Amazon selling venture could end or at least be put on hold for a few days or months. I have seen so many sellers getting suspended just because of their silly mistakes.
If you unknowingly break a rule, Amazon won’t spare you either. Remember the pesticide update? Your product could be blocked if your copy contains words like chemicals, bacterial, virus. Now, these are very common words and many of us would have them in our listing. So it is essential that your Amazon seller central expert don’t break any rules, apply any shortcuts, or indulge in any black hat tricks, knowingly or unknowingly, because sooner or later, you will have to pay for it.
#2: Don’t sell random products without a comprehensive market research
Often sellers make the fundamental mistake of not doing their homework before launching a product. Instead, they randomly pick a product that seems to be feasible, which ends up being a disaster and they have to create removal orders to get rid of it. Amazon has evolved to a point where any low price product sourced from China doesn’t work anymore. You need to make data-driven decisions because you will be competing with the sellers who are already pretty ahead of you in ranking and revenue.
Don’t blindly pick a product or niche, use an Amazon product research, or consult product research experts to avoid making the mistake of choosing the wrong product. Trust us, a thorough product and market research will give you access to accurate data related to sales, revenue and profits and this will help you choose a kick-ass product that brings in revenue like clockwork.
#3: Just like Amazon, take your customers very seriously
“Customer is the king” This saying may be old and cliché, but it is cent-percent true. Whether you own a brick or mortar store or a virtual store on Amazon, ensuring an unmatched buying experience will take you a long way. Shoppers nowadays have a plethora of options to choose from and the only thing that will motivate them to keep coming back to you is when you make their journey as pleasant as possible. Besides, a happy and satisfied customer is an asset for your business because he will advocate your brand through word of mouth marketing, the most powerful form of marketing ever. A research suggests that more than 60% of the customers give preference to a quality shopping experience than the price.
On Amazon, a customer can express their shopping experience through reviews and returns. Keep a close watch on both. Obviously, you will get negative reviews but instead of whining that you got a negative review and your ratings are ruined, try to remedy the situation and, more importantly, learn from it. What is it that upset the customer? Is the problem with shipping, packaging, detail page description, or the product itself? Constantly making tweaks as per your customer’s suggestions will eventually improve their shopping experience.
Another thing you can do is helping your shoppers make a confident and informed purchase decision. This can be done by ensuring that you have enticing and informative images, descriptive yet scalable copy and an eye-catching EBC that answers commonly asked customer questions. Oh yes, don’t leave any question unanswered in the “Customer’s Question and Answers” section because shoppers look there to find the answers they couldn’t get in the copy.
#4: There is no bigger sin than inefficient inventory management
Choosing FBA as your fulfillment channel doesn’t free you from the hassle of inventory management. Okay, it does, but not completely. You will be able to delegate the tedious job of shipping the product to shoppers and handling the after-sale woes like returns and refunds, but you are still responsible for determining how much inventory to send to Amazon warehouses. It is critical to know your inventory turnover rate, meaning how fast you sell your inventory. With this information, you can estimate the stock you need in order to maintain just the right amount of stock levels.
Too much stock can result in long term storage fees and reduced IPI, while a low stock can result in out of stock scenarios, which is even worse. Of course, this isn’t an easy calculation. Not to forget, the estimation could be more tedious if you are selling multiple products. As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to order inventory that lasts for 3 months. However, the best way to predict inventory is by leveraging inventory management tools.
#5: Don’t even think of starting PPC before making your listing ready for the traffic
Before bringing any traffic to your product detail page or campaign landing page, just make sure your detail page is ready for that. Ready in the sense that when a customer visits your product page, he/she should not get disappointed because of a lack of crucial information or out of stock labels. If your product detail page isn’t ready for the traffic, every dollar you spend on advertising will be thrown away. Amazon calls its “Retail Ready.”
Not only does a retail-ready listing secures a prime ad placement and gets buy box preference, but it also ensures that you make most of your advertisement investment – after all, isn’t that your ultimate goal? Before crafting a PPC strategy with your Amazon PPC experts, ask yourself, “Are my products retail ready?” If not, how can I make them retail ready? Here’s a quick checklist of what a retail-ready product page should look like:
- On-page content – easy to comprehend, informative and SEO friendly
- Images – all 9 images consisting of lifestyle and infographics
- Reviews – at least 15+ verified reviews with a star rating of 3.5 or above
- Buy Box – your product should always have the buy box
- Stock availability – stay in stock, always
Learn more about retail readiness here.
#6: Never underestimate the importance of building a brand
Amazon is a crowded marketplace and getting heard can be a real struggle. So how do you stand out? How do you compete with multi-million dollar sellers? The key lies in your branding. Nothing sells a product better than a brand. Ever wondered why you overpay for Nike shoes and Apple phones? Obviously, because you can flaunt them on the ‘Gram but also because you trust their brand and don’t mind paying a hefty price for it. The modern shopper values credibility, trust, visibility, and customer experience. They prefer spending their hard-earned money on a branded item than cheaply made China knockouts. That’s why every dollar you spend in building a brand is not a dollar spent, but a dollar invested.
#7: Reinforce a mobile-first approach
Roughly four out of five Americans are shopping online with more than half of them shopping through mobile. Instead of planning for desktop and then cutting and tweaking everything to make it mobile-friendly, start creating your listing with mobile users in mind. The essentials of a mobile-friendly listing includes – shorter yet informative and keyword-rich content, easy to read Amazon infographic images and an Amazon Enhanced Brand Content that doesn’t look cluttered on small mobile screens. If you are just launching your product on Amazon, make sure your listing looks just as great on mobiles as on desktop and if you already have a product listed, now is a great time to make some changes.
#8: Always stay aware of the updates and tweaks Amazon makes
Almost every week, we get about 3-4 updates related to the policy changes, advertising, seller central backend and so much more. As a seller, it is critical that you are aware of them, or else it could be costly. Most recently, we came to know that writing the word “Perfect Gift” in your title is a breach of rules. What if you weren’t aware of this update and your title contained the “Perfect Gift” word? Your listing could’ve blocked! We hope now you understand how important it is to stay updated on Amazon. It can be overwhelming, but it is essential. The easiest way to do so is by reading our blogs. Every month, we round up the most important updates that concern you as a seller.
Don’t get overwhelmed; we’ll be there for you
One of the things we didn’t mention was that don’t try and do everything on your own. Outsource what you can. You can’t excel in everything; leave the stuff you don’t know to the experts. Partnering with experienced Amazon consultants from eStore Factory will give you complete peace of mind and competitive advantage. Not only will it save your precious time, but it will also help you scale your business more quickly. Contact us now to sell on Amazon the right way.
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