Selling on Amazon: 10 Tips to Maximize Your Sales
Amazon is the world’s largest internet retailer. It’s no doubt then that if you have an ecommerce store, you’re considering selling on Amazon.
There is no marketplace which is better than Amazon. They’ve dwarfed their competitors in terms of total sales volumes. In fact, for every one seller reporting a revenue in excess of a million dollars on eBay, Amazon has four such sellers.
This comparison shows the scale and the magnitude at which Amazon operates, and one of the primary reasons for Amazon’s success is that it has been embraced by both the buyers and sellers alike.
However, like all popular online platforms, Amazon too is crowded. To make yourself visible among the large number of sellers (often selling the same product), it is important to understand how Amazon works.
Understanding what does and doesn’t work on Amazon will give you the tips and techniques needed to get you the necessary visibility, and of course, sales.
1. Enrol for Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) Program
Fulfilled by Amazon is a program in which Amazon stocks the products that you want to sell and then ships them to the customer when they order.
Just to make it clear from the off – the fees in FBA are higher than that in the merchant fulfilled option.
However, FBA comes with the added benefit of Amazon completely handling refunds and returns, along with order related communications and customer service. Also, packaging cost is covered under the fees.
All you need to do is hand over your product to Amazon and they’ll take care of the entire sales process. So you’re getting the entire Amazon workforce as your shipping team. What’s not to like?
The sales in FBA are also much higher than that in merchant fulfilled option.
This mainly tends to be because customers trust Amazon to deliver the products on time. Amazon has spent years building trust with their customers, becoming known for good value and quality products that are delivered quickly. FBA helps you to get a piece of that brand image.
While you might still be unsure about those extra fees, do consider that these higher fees could be offset by a greater sales volume.
If you’re still unsure about whether FBA is for you, Tami from FeedVisor recommends considering the size of your product and how much you sell before giving it a go.
The size and number of products that you sell can affect the fees you pay for storage of your products. That’s why for small products that have a high conversion rate, FBA might be a no-brainer, but for bulky products that can often sit in a warehouse for months at a time, it may not be the right approach.
2. Win the ‘Buy Box’
The buy box on Amazon’s product detail page is the box where the purchase process is started by the customer when he adds that product to the shopping basket.
If multiple sellers have the same product, they’re eligible to compete in the Buy Box. Having the lowest price isn’t going to win it for you however, here are some of the factors that go towards winning the box:
- Competitively priced (including the delivery costs too!)
- Availability of the product – having a low inventory will not cut it
- Multiple Shipping Options
- Seller Performance Metrics – including customer feedback and chargebacks
- Delivery Experience – how long will it take to deliver, the lead-time-to-ship and whether you’re participating in FBA
- Your time and experience on the Amazon selling platform
There are repricing tools available in the market such as FeedVisor which automatically optimize your product’s price by checking the levels at which your competitors are pricing their products.
Even a difference of $0.01 in sales price can get you the coveted Buy Box position and increase your sales manifold. Just remember to make sure you have some of the other boxes ticked too (pardon the pun…).
3. Write Awesome Product Descriptions
When a likely customer lands on your product’s page, you need to make sure that all of your product’s important features are listed in a well-crafted and appealing manner.
Also, on the split side ensure that you do not overstate the features or make false claims. Such a practice will surely lead to negative reviews which will impact your sales.
There are many aspects that go into writing truly awesome product descriptions, but key things that I would remember are:
- How does this product help your customer?
- Is it clear what your product is?
- Is your description true to your brand voice?
4. Prompt Customer Communications
Promptly answering customer requests and queries is an important aspect of every business, not just when selling on Amazon.
When it comes to customer service, Amazon excel, which is why they’re still leading customer satisfaction surveys. They’re known for being a truly customer-focused business, which is why they take the business of customer support pretty seriously.
That’s also why they have such a big emphasis on the Contact Response Time metric. This metric measures the amount of messages that you responded to within 24 hours (Note: this includes weekends!).
Amazon has found that those with responses within those 24 hours get 50% less negative feedback, so you can see why they’re encouraging you to provide quick responses.
There are also some suggestions that a low contact response time could also result in the loss of selling privileges, possible suspension and potentially affect your chances at winning the buy box.
To ease this process, Amazon does provide the facility to forward customer queries to your email accounts. This is a handy feature which allows you to communicate with your customers even when you are not on Amazon.
5. Handle Customer Reviews like a Professional
Always remember that what your customers think of your product will decide its future. If no one likes it, you ain’t going to sell it!
The quicker you resolve issues that your customer may have faced with your product, the less likely they will be to give negative feedback.
When you are confident of your product’s quality, do go ahead and solicit reviews. And above all, do respond promptly to negative reviews.
Everyone loves a happy ending, and proper handling of negative reviews in current and future deliveries can fine tune your deliveries, and ensure you get better reviews going forward. This can in turn have a positive impact on your sales and even benefit your brand image.
6. Advertise Your Product on Amazon
Whether for a newer product, or an existing product sales push, Amazon Sponsored Products is just the right service. Amazon Sponsored Products are Amazon’s answer to Google Adwords for their platform and is one of their most powerful tools for increasing discoverability.
One example given by Tara Johnson saw a 43% increase in sales after using these ads.
In the same manner as Google Adwords, you only pay for each click that your ad gets with Amazon Sponsored Products.
Using this tool can work particularly well for new products, offers and seasonal promotions, and there a bunch of other marketing services available on Amazon too.
Going further, using Sponsored Products can have a positive affect (though not direct) on your organic ranking in the search results. Your search ranking on Amazon is affected by the number of conversions you have, meaning if your sales increase through Sponsored Products, you could see higher rankings.
7. Offer Discounts on Your Products
Giving away discount initially and getting a chance to feature on the Amazon homepage under New & Noteworthy and Hot Deals categories, can make you lead the sales in the product category in which you are selling.
A side benefit of more views of your product details page, is that customers might also take a look at your related products which are displayed on the page. This can lead to additional sales.
8. SEO is Not Just for Google
Google’s not the only search engine out there. In fact Google’s Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, considers Amazon their biggest search competitor.
When you think about it, it makes sense – outside of Google and all the other usual suspects, Amazon is essentially a huge search engine for products.
Using targeted keywords in the product’s title, which has a limit of 200 characters, can improve the SEO rankings for Amazon’s search engine. Amazon recommends using keywords which highlight brand, description, colour, size, material, product line and quantity/size in the product title field for the product to appear higher in search results. We spoke to expert Nathan Grimm about what you need to consider when optimizing the search presence of your Amazon products.
9. Optimize Your Product Images
Follow Amazon’s guidelines to show a good image to your potential customer so that they end up buying your product.
Vertical Rail recommends checking off the following points to make sure your images are at their best:
- 4 to 5 high quality photos per product
- Possible image formats: TIFF, JPEG, GIF, or PNG
- Filename of images must include the product identifier, followed by the image’s file extension. (Example: B00O5HRY5S.png)
- Images cannot contain watermarks, and should be free of text
- Plain white background – even if the product has a shadow (either real or added with editing software) over a white background
- Product should take up 80% of image, and should always be the main focus
- Include pictures of your product out of the manufacturer’s box, surpassing the experience customers would have if they went to a brick and mortar store to shop for the product
- No drawings or illustrations, actual photographs only
- Recommended size 1000 x 1000 pixels for sufficient detail—the zoom feature is enabled on images this size or larger. Amazon claims that the zoom feature enhances sales, and amazon may even suppress products that do not have zoom-enabled images.
10. Efficient Inventory Management
We’ve briefly covered this already when discussing the buy box, but sales ranks in Amazon are based on the quantity of the sale and its recency.
If a product’s inventory runs out, then the product starts falling in the search rankings which in turn drastically affects the sales of the product. The key is to not run out of inventory otherwise the sales rank of the product is bound to drop.
Selling on Amazon can be a lucrative business for both new and experienced sellers. By following these 10 tips, you can maximise your sales and grow your business.
Have you sold your products on Amazon? Let us know your experience in the comments below!