What are some keys to success?
Every single day, more and more people begin selling products on Amazon. In fact there are estimated to be over 500,000 individual sellers, of which Amazon announced 20,000 are making more than $1m.
Yes, $1m from Amazon alone.
With an ever-growing sellers pool, the competition is getting tougher by the day, so we’ve made a list of the most useful tips for selling on Amazon. Whether you’re a seasoned Amazon seller or you are a total novice, these tips will help you improve your chances of becoming, and remaining a successful Amazon seller.
1. Sell a great product
Seems obvious but many people fail from the start.
The very first step when creating any business is to make sure that you are providing a product or service that people want or need. In the case of selling on Amazon, you want to make sure that you offer a product that people want and will be happy with when they get! Even if an item looks poor quality (bad images/poor descriptions/mis-spellings), the chances are high that a prospective customer will move on to one of your competitors selling the same type of item. Once you know that you can offer a great product, you can move on to all the ways that you can get it into the hands of the people who will love it!
2. Competitive pricing
So you have a great product... now you need to price it competitively. Pricing is one of the main factors when it comes to Amazon filtering options and winning the coveted "Buy Box". People want quality, but they also want the best price available. Take the time to research what other sellers are selling the same kind of item for, and if you can, price lower or at least close to that - or consider value-add services such as expedited shipping. Once you know what prices you’re competing against, you can then list products at a competitive level. Lower prices mean smaller margins, but it also means more sales, and boosting your brand and ranking of your pages.
3. Customer Service
Your great product and low prices might be what brings the customers in, but your customer service will be what keeps them coming back for more. In the age of online retail, customer retention is difficult, but people are much more likely to continue spending their money on your products when they are happy with your customer service and confident that you will resolve any issues that may arise. Satisfied customers will often leave invaluable positive reviews and tell their friends about your product. Word of mouth is still a powerful form of advertising, and good customer service is the best way to cultivate its spread. And as we know, 3.5 star rating is the minimum you need - ideally 5 stars is what will drive success. And what if your product is new? Consider the Vine program to illicit reviews from trusted purchasers.
4. Win the "Buy Box"
The buy box is the section on the right side of an Amazon product detail page where there is the option to “buy now” or “add to cart.” According to Amazon, close to 90% of sales are done through the buy box; this means that those who can accomplish getting into the buy box are almost sure to dominate the sales for that product. Like Google SEO, Amazon’s buy box results are not an exact science, but it is typically determined by considering the price, fulfillment, and seller rating among some other small factors like customer service ratings and time on Amazon.
5. Use FBA
FBA stands for "Fulfillment by Amazon", and it is a great way to keep your Amazon business running smoothly. Amazon outlines FBA by saying “You sell it, we ship it. Amazon has one of the most advanced fulfillment networks in the world. With Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), you store your products in Amazon's fulfillment centers, and we pick, pack, ship, and provide customer service for these products. FBA can help you scale your business and reach more customers.” By using FBA, you can free up more of your time so you can focus on selling, selling, selling. Would you prefer spending your time at the post office and packing boxes, or focusing on pricing and new products? And you can assume that for most products Amazon is going to get better shipping rates than you !
6. Use high-quality images
Every item sold on Amazon needs an image to display it accurately. You’ll do well to make sure to include high-quality and correctly sized images for the Amazon image portal. Make sure that the photos you use are actually of the product listed! Consider showing some products in-situ (if you're selling knives, show them in a knife block on the kitchen counter, or someone preparing a delicisous meal using them). Of course use the power of video to communicate the benefits of your product. Don't just upload a 30sec ad, show the product and it's points of difference and why the customer would want to buy it versus the many competitors on the site - try to anticipate consumer questions and address those.
7. Proactively manage inventory
Inventory management can be like walking a tightrope – you want to make sure that you aren’t overstocked and paying unneeded storage fees as well as assuring that you won’t run out of inventory causing a delay in delivery. Amazon shoppers today expect everything to be available with prime shipping, which means you need your inventory ready to go out at a moments notice. You can avoid most of these worries by using FBA coupled with Amazon Replenishment alerts for your inventory. Various tools and platforms can be configured to alert you when you are running low/out of stock. Also most of your ad placements will automatically pause. Note that running out of stock is (obviously) a poor customer experience you don't want to occur often, and we believe impacts Amazon's overall algorithm that determines the ranking of your products versus competitors.
8. Optimize product descriptions for searches
In order for a customer to buy your stuff, they need to be able to find it first. Work on nailing down your product page SEO and descriptions to be as detailed and informative as possible. This will mean that people searching for the product you provide will find it, and others who are looking for similar items will run across it as well. The tactics to gain prominence are similar to optimizing for Google with some nuances and a similar cloak of mystery. Consider creating an Amazon "Store" for your products that will also be indexed by Google.
9. Follow the rules
This one is simple – obey Amazon’s rules for sellers. Unfortunately there are a lot of them and they vary by product/category. The rules don't just cover the retail side of selling on Amazon, they also relate to the advertising experience. Cutting corners can be tempting, but in the end, it will hurt you more than it will help - your account can get penalized or suspended for not adhering to the rules. Amazon regularly updates its rules, so make it a point to frequently check for updates and amendments.
10. Register as a professional seller
It’s easy to register as a professional seller on Amazon. It costs $39.99 per month but the 99¢ per item fee is waived, so if you sell over 40 items per month you’ll be ahead. Only professional merchant accounts can land in the buy box for searches, so if you haven’t already registered to be a professional seller, you should do that right now!
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