Whether you are a new or seasoned seller I am sure that you have invested a lot of time and effort in trying to sell and promote your Amazon listings. In this post I will provide you with my top tips how you can improve your selling strategy on Amazon and really stand out among the competition.
#1: Always check your UPC codes –
When you list a new item on Amazon, you have the option of entering the item’s product or UPC code and Amazon accesses all of the item’s information automatically. Do be extremely vigilant as many times manufacturers do not update their UPC codes even though products have been modified or updated. This means that you should always ensure that the product details automatically retrieved by Amazon are in fact accurate. Skipping this step can get you into all sorts of trouble both with Amazon and customers.
#2: Make your prices competitive –
It’s no secret that many online shoppers are looking to find a deal on Amazon. People walk into stores and then decide to check out the product on Amazon and if the price is competitive enough they will buy it from you. I recommend, especially if you are just starting out to look into how much your competition is charging and aim to beat their price! The best way to always be in the know is by using Amazon’s ‘Match Low Price Feature’ which allows you to constantly update your pricing based on your competition.
#3: Use high quality images –
Pictures are an essential part of the buying experience. Shoppers can not feel and experience your product in person and it is therefore paramount that you offer a superior viewing experience. Pictures which are:
- Taken with clutter in the background
Are totally unacceptable and will do more damage than good. Also, do keep in mind that you want to be honest so only use real pictures of your product and not images you have downloaded from the internet. Try to capture images which:
- Show your product from multiple angles
- Show any and all flaws should your product be used
- Use a neutral background
- Remove all clutter from the frame
Remember that we consume visual images more frequently than any previous generation and you therefore must compete for people’s attention with images which are way beyond average.
#4: Attempt to win the buy box! –
Having your product displayed in the Buy Box is like having your commercial aired during prime time smack in middle of the Super Bowl. The buy box is prominently displayed on the product page on the right hand side and most sellers who win this see a sharp hike in sales. But how do you win the Buy Box? This is the ultimate question and there is no straightforward answer as Amazon keeps their algorithm a state secret. On the bright side, I do have some tips how you can improve your chances of winning this coveted gem:
- Offer low and competitive prices
- Make sure you have inventory availability
- Offer your products using Amazon FBA
- Maintain high seller ratings
- Receive many positive customer reviews
- Create unique item bundles ie 3 or more products sold as one such as a perfume kit
Now none of these suggestions are guaranteed to work but based on observations these are some of the key factors Amazon’s algorithm takes into consideration. Either way, following these suggestions will at the very least increase your sales even if you don’t succeed in taking the Buy Box.
#5: Engage in marketing outside the Amazon ecosphere –
Officially you are not allowed to divert traffic to your private digital assets ie your own website for example. But the opposite is 100% permissible and recommended. Consider using:
In order to drive traffic to your listing. Your offering may very well include a coupon which can be a great motivator for driving this kind of third party traffic to action.
#6: Use Amazon Marketing services (AMS) –
Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) is a very profitable and effective way for sellers to market their products directly to Amazon users. This is basically advertising your products on Amazon itself. The key advantages of this service provided by Amazon through Seller Central include:
- Advertisements are highly targeted and visible
- You only pay per click (PPC) and not based on the number of impressions
- You gain access to advertising campaign data
- You possess the ability to optimize your campaigns based on these feedback loops
#7: Use Keywords for SEO –
One of the most important ways to improve your product’s findability is by using keywords. When filling in your keywords on Amazon, you should first start with the most elementary information:
- Product description
- Product line
And once you do this, I would highly recommend checking out the Amazon Keyword Tool which uses information collected by Amazon’s Autocomplete function in order to find the most popular long tail keywords. This tool will rate your phrases from 1-10 based on their popularity, choose the highest rated ones and plug them into Google’s Keyword Planner Tool which will display the search volume for each term. You now have the most popular search phrases for the products you are selling and this has the potential to improve your visibility drastically.
#8: Use a Professional Amazon account –
The benefits of using a pro account include:
- Individual sellers pay $0.99 per sale plus 15% in fees whereas Pro Account holders pay a flat $39.99 per month plus 15 % in fees. If you are planning on selling 40 items or more than this plan will save you $0.99 per listing.
- Being able to create listings for products which do not currently appear on Amazon as well as selling items in bundles
- Only Pro sellers can apply to sell in Amazon’s restricted categories such as clothing and jewelry for example
- Amazon provides pro sellers with feedback tools such as inventory reports and spreadsheets
- Promotions and gift services are only available to Pro users
- You must be a Pro user in order to take part in the buy box.
Interesting fact: According to statistics, 78% of sales on Amazon originate in the Buy Box.
#9: Raise your Average Selling Price (ASP) –
This will increase your profit margins and decrease your seller fees. The main thing to remember when talking about ASP is that no matter what category you are selling in, the higher your ASP the higher your profit margins. A good ASP to aim for is around $35. Consider the following examples which illustrate the benefit of pricier items:
- A bracelet selling for $15.00 will incur $5.42 in fees which equals to 36.2 %
- A blender selling for $144.00 will incur $ 23.35 in fees which is 16.2 %
The more expensive item has a price to fee ratio which is more than half that of the cheaper item in this example.
#10: Use fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) –
Now, Fulfillment By Amazon may not be for everybody as FBA related fees can add up but this service has its benefits. Amazon FBA offers a number of advantages:
- All FBA products become eligible for Amazon Prime
- Products are offered with 2-day shipping
- All shipping and handling is taken care of by Amazon
Using this service can really increase sales as your products will Have the Amazon Prime logo and this will increase potential customer’s trust in your ability to deliver a quality product in record time. Buying into FBA is equivalent to buying into the Amazon brand.
#11: Customer service is of the essence –
There are a lot of people selling the same product and you want to stand out. You can do this by offering stellar customer service. This will help you with both:
- Converting shoppers into buyers
- And customer retention
The best customer service practices include:
- Answering customer inquiries ASAP
- Resolving customer disputes calmly and professionally
- Dealing with return issues amicably
Note: Keep in mind that when using FBA all returns and customer service issues are handled by Amazon. For most sellers who are very busy running and developing their business this is a major advantage!
#12: Encourage Reviews –
As I said earlier, having positive reviews on Amazon is key to both SEO and winning the buy box. But beyond this, it is the most quintessential part of eCommerce. Customers do not know you and can only make a purchase decision based on their peer’s reviews. These unbiased objective reviews hold a lot of sway over shoppers. And that is why you need to take an active role in the reviews process! I recommend that you stay in touch with customers throughout the purchasing process and ensure that they are 100% satisfied with your product. If they are not, do your utmost to remedy the situation. At the end of the transaction, once your customer has received their item and you have ensured satisfaction, politely ask them to leave you a review. This practice will help you appease dissatisfied customers before they leave a negative comment and encourage customers who have had a positive experience to leave you positive feedback.
#13: Keep on top of your inventory –
Most sellers are obviously highly aware of their inventory levels but I cannot stress enough how important this is. If you sell an item on Amazon that is not in stock you can be severely penalized (that is the stick). The carrot is that if you do maintain inventory levels then Amazon will richly reward you with higher rankings and visibility. If you are selling on multiple channels then consider using an online stock management service which will also synchronize your inventory levels.
#14: Become an expert and build your brand –
These two go arm in arm. You want to build up an edge over your competitors and establish yourself as an expert simultaneously. Brand awareness means creating brand uniformity so that all your products are from the same family and style and therefore makes you distinct and easily recognizable.
Expertise comes in the form of knowledge which you can show both in your listing descriptions and by answering customer questions. The more you engage in establishing yourself as an expert in your field, the more selling power you will possess. It is very simple: people want to buy from experts, not amateurs!
At this point you have all the information you need in order to optimize your Amazon listings and start rising above the competition. Try implementing one tip at a time instead of all of them at once. Here is a quick summary of all the tips I mentioned above:
- Always check your UPC codes
- Make your prices competitive
- Use high quality images
- Attempt to win the buy box
- Engage in marketing outside of Amazon
- Use Amazon Marketing services
- Optimize keywords for SEO
- Use a Professional Amazon account
- Raise your Average Selling Price
- Use fulfillment By Amazon
- Offer high quality customer service
- Encourage reviews
- Keep on top of your inventory
- Become an expert and build your brand
All of these suggestions are highly actionable, please let us know what kind of results you see when implementing them and kindly share any other Amazon selling tips that you think can benefit the rest of the selling community below.