SELLING ON AMAZON
There’s no magic formula to successfully selling on Amazon for the entrepreneur or established brand. Of course, covering the basics like well-written copy and unique products are a given. Then, there is self-motivation and diligence, drive, and adaptability. Amazon provides a channel that has its customers’ best interests at heart. Therefore, best practice is expected of everyone. Personal philosophy combined with a highly functional virtual marketplace allows you to participate in one of the biggest digital malls in the world.
Your online store is home base, the place where you really shine. Including Amazon as part of your brand outreach gives your site enhanced discoverability. It may seem counterintuitive to challenge your own brand in an open marketplace, but the exposure (and in-Amazon features) can actually help you obtain a global audience. Amazon has made their user interface super friendly; it is easy for anyone to quickly set up an Amazon account and get selling straight away.
This isn’t a free-for-all bazaar, though. Amazon has rules. Only exemplary behavior and practices are accepted; turnover and customer service, for example, have algorithms to monitor performance. This huge marketing channel is endeavouring to provide only the best service for all parties involved. Trying to bend the rules can get you scolded and listed lower; or at worst, your channel can be shut down.
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Exposing your product to regular Amazon users increases the likelihood of your brand being discovered. Regular customers already trust the channel and feel comfortable purchasing there. A recently commissioned study showed that shopping in marketplaces boosts customer loyalty and increases average purchase value. You may have complete control over the creativity and functionality of your own website, which is perfectly acceptable.
Adding an Amazon shop, however, increases the likelihood of casual traffic by factors. Having a customized presence on Amazon can help even established brands increase profits significantly. The savvy contemporary marketer knows that it isn’t a case of either-or, but both that drives sales. Branded web stores and marketplaces can be complementary to one another. Firstly, it reduces customer dependency on one sales channel, providing a medium for extra discoverability. Die-hard Amazon users who do not use branded web stores are more likely to be exposed to your product.
THE AMAZON SHIFT
When it comes to online shopping today, potential customers are twice as likely to start product research on Amazon than Google. This figure translates to being four times more likely than directly searching for a branded store. Even then, 9 out of 10 customers will also check Amazon for the same product they have found on a branded site. Again, Amazon should be considered complementary to your brand’s sales and marketing strategy. The platform is based on keywords and mass relevance; branded sites are customized to suit a buyer persona. When done correctly, it is possible to maintain healthy sales on Amazon while growing your branded website. It’s about leveraging the benefits of both platforms. There are those who only shop on Amazon and those who believe in exclusively using branded websites. In both cases, consumer numbers are growing.
BENEFITS ARE BUILT-IN
Amazon provides a number of tools and portals that can help streamline and boost brand performance. They offer product distribution solutions on a global scale and integrated customer service, for example. Other, more advanced invitation-only programs for well-established products can give your brand an outstanding edge in a rapidly growing marketplace (Amazon just launched officially in Australia).
AMAZON QUICK TIPS
A healthy and active Amazon account keep things moving nicely. Once you become familiar, there are a number of options that can be utilized to grow your brand. Just for starters, sticking to these basics will make sure you have a hassle-free experience when adventuring into the Amazon.
1: LEARN TO SPEAK AMAZONIAN
Spending some time familiarizing yourself with acronyms and abbreviations will speed up your Amazon shop-management experience. Learn to love ASIN, FBA, and SKU and many other terms for smooth communication.
2: BE HONEST
Misrepresenting your brand has no long-term benefits. Customers will not shop with you again if the product is not what you claim. Also, you can’t afford to refund products that are returned because they don’t match the advertised descriptions. Include as many details and images as you can to thoroughly distinguish your product. Dimensions of width x height x depth and pics from a number of angles are interpreted as being trustworthy. Try and build long-term relationships with your customers that are built on trust and transparency.
Avoid running out of stock. The pace of the Amazon market is so rapid that losing momentum due to lack of inventory can impact list rankings. Negative reviews diminish your sales potential within a number of days. Pay the minimal storage fee to have extra stock stored in a Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) warehouse to buffer spikes in demand.
4: CUSTOMER FEEDBACK & DETAILS
Remember to check on customer feedback regularly. If you have a number of pages where manual checking becomes tedious, for instance, invest in appropriate technologies that streamline your management process. Amazon is an open marketplace where you don’t want a third party creating a listing of your brand. It is important that unauthorized third parties don’t have control over the pricing, presentation, and customer service of your brand. Bad reviews and poor service can do irreparable damage to your entire brand’s image.
5: TERMS OF SERVICE
Disregarding or trying to bend the Amazon Terms of Service is a big no-no. Amazon is very protective of its customers and doesn’t like them to be pressured. Overdoing follow-up emails, promotional inserts in packaging, and other incentive practices to get good reviews are frowned upon. Shortcuts that can boost rankings in the short-term can get your account deactivated.
6: RESPOND TO ENQUIRIES
The bots are watching the clock. You have 24 hours to answer customer or Amazon enquiries. Running over time risks poor customer feedback for your shop and product. If you are going on holiday or plan to be unresponsive for a short time, update your listings to vacation mode and get someone else to manage your shop while you are gone. There are also automated tools that can at least provide initial responses.
7: INCORRECT FEEDBACK
To err is inevitable. Engage your customers and try to resolve the issues causing the negative feedback as soon as possible. You should contact the consumer and work with them regarding their concerns to get the negative comments removed. The same with incorrect feedback. Most people are happy to remove incorrect negative comments if there is appropriate reasoning and a respectful dialogue.
Amazon wants customers to buy things. It is their business to help customers and vendors engage in commerce smoothly. It is also, of course, to their advantage to display relevant products that have a high possibility of converting to sales. This is determined by what keywords customers are searching for, conversion rates, related history, and several other factors. Include relevant keywords when setting up your product page. See what search results are provided for your selected keywords and phrases, just to get a feel for how things are listed.
9: EFFECTIVE PRODUCT TITLES
Mere seconds, often less than a second – that’s how long it takes the average e-commerce shopper to make a decision and stay for more, or go back to search. Getting a customer to venture below the fold needs to be achieved with very few words. Be sure to clearly state the product brand, benefit of use, and why it satisfies the buyer’s needs. A succinct and complete title that can be skimmed is more art than science. Don’t be shy to enlist the help of professional wordsmiths for precise and effective content.
10: BULLETS TO THE POINT
The bullet points that follow also need to share the precision of an effective title. Create easily-skimmed yet informative detail to attract the customer below the fold or onto the next page.
11: CLEAR IMAGES
Make sure your product images are clear before being zoomed. In the album, include multiple angles and lifestyle imagery. Show a pic of the specs or product descriptions on the backs or sides of packages (this also helps establish trust).
12: CLEAR DESCRIPTIONS
Potential customers are skimming quickly as they search for the product they desire. Avoid waxing lyrical in long paragraphs. Use precise language to reiterate your main selling points and tell your product and brand story. Give the customers what they really care about. Better yet, get your descriptions written professionally to make them stand out.
Be sure to display all the variations of your product. If there is a choice of colour or texture, make sure each is given its own picture. This way, a hovering cursor can quickly show the style, colour, and size options available.
14: PLAN FOR PEOPLE
Write content for people, not search algorithms. Rather than trying to play the system by keyword stuffing, engage the customer directly with information to convince them to make a purchase. When approached from a customer’s point of view, content still needs to be informative and convincing while incorporating essential keywords.
15: BE ENGAGED
Respond regularly to customer feedback. Potential customers spend more time reading reviews than actual brand information. Answering questions and responding to reviews is a good habit to develop early. Customer engagement is a primary way to build brand trust. With more and more product searches being conducted on Amazon before going to branded sites, reviews have a flow-on effect that can impact your other channels, for better or for worse.
THE FUTURE IS NOW
Amazon as a trusted brand provides a well-structured platform for the international buying and selling of goods. Whether you are selling with or selling to Amazon, startups and established brands alike can take advantage of the brave new world of integrated global marketplaces. Developing and strengthening a presence on Amazon is only bound by your imagination and playing by the rules.